July 31

Written by Bill Grandi on July 31st, 2019

I actually wrote the bulk of this Monday morning at Jo’s sister’s apartment that would see us for the final time that day. I was going to title this An Observation. But this morning I went back to it and reworked some of it, mostly by adding some thoughts. But when I reworked it this morning I decided on a different title:

Stretching vs. Atrophy.

Here is the reworked devotion:

This Monday as I read my devotion from “Faith” from an Our Daily Bread collection of devotions, knowing today would the last day we would ever see this apartment and all that has taken place over the last month or so, I had to make some observations. The author’s devotion was on Stretching. As I sit down to have my Quiet Time,  the apartment is quiet. The outside is quiet. My soul is quiet and at rest. Today we pack up and move what remains in Vicki’s apartment. It has been a “stretching” experience in so many ways.

For Jo it has stretched her far beyond her comfort zone. I have not seen her cry like she has in a long, long time. Maybe after my second bike accident when I was seriously injured and the ensuing trauma which followed. Jo has had to go to bank after bank-back and forth-many times. Talk to Job & Family Services (a government agency…’Nuff said0. Apply for Medicaid for her sister. Become POA.  Make future funeral arrangements. Nursing home. Hospital. Phone calls. Way, way, way out of her comfort zone.  She’s a saint putting up with all she has.

For me it was giving up the routine of my job. Not being there for what I consider my responsibility has been hard. It has been hard to leave for weeks (3 of the last 5 to clean out this hoarder’s apartment. Scrubbing on my hands and knees to clean up…stuff. I cannot say enough about how Ryan and Diana (youth pastor and secretary) have held down the fort. Nor can I praise the leadership of OVCF enough for letting me come and go as I have, telling me “you have got to take care of your family.”

Stretching is painful. I’ve had rotator cuff surgery and stretching was vital to recovery of motion. I’ve had meniscus and collarbone surgery. Stretching was vital to recovery.  One of the most important recovery mechanisms after a bike ride is stretching. In the life of the Christ-follower, stretching is vital to growth. It hurts to stretch muscles that want to curl up and atrophy. It hurts to stretch spiritual muscles that will do the same. But it is absolutely a necessity. Stretching helps us to focus not on what has been but on what will be. In our lives, stretching will help us focus not on what we have been, but on who we can become. It is easy to see ourselves with all our failures and shortcomings, but God looks beyond that to see who we are as His new creation through the power of His Spirit.

“Father, thank you for stretching me. Thank you for giving me (sometimes) unpleasant situations that challenge me to break out of sameness and safety and step out onto the water. As I take those steps-present and future-help me to keep my eyes on You, not the waves kicking up. And help me to remember this is all in your plan for me. Stretch me where I need stretched.”

 

10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Stretching is necessary on so many levels, Bill, but I know how painful it can be. Poor Jo! She has been a saint in all this, and definitely stretched to the max. I’ve kept you both in my prayers and will continue to do so.
    Blessings!

  2. Ryan S. says:

    Bill, My prayers have been with you and Jo. It sounds like a light can finally be seen and you should be back home soon. My devotion this week has been on “Spiritual Muscles” and our choice to allow times like these to grow us or allow our muscles to atrophy. I can see a common theme once again…and I am maybe starting to get the message.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      We are home but Jo will be making occasional trips to see her sister. I have been playing catch up on work but will get to your blogs tomorrow.

  3. Oh, Bill…this is a beautiful post. Poignant. Reading it makes you want to recurl cause just reading it stretches you. I lived life status-quo for years. My ministries were my life. Until SUDDENLY…life that I knew was no more. Talk about stretching! Stretching is so painful! I didn’t realize the beautiful spiritual “muscles” that would result by going with the painful stretching. I honestly didn’t think I could ever survive what I did let alone have a life afterward. Abba knew how far He could stretch me and today, I am beyond thankful for these 6 years. I’m toned and back in the marathon of life. Beautiful post. My regards to your wife. I just want to hug her.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks for the kind words Diane. I know you are being stretched just by reading but I love your heart for God. Keep choosing Him and following Him. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Lady Boss says:

    Can I just say that we are very happy to have you back, Big Boss? Jo is blessed to have you by her side through this time of stretching. From my own stretching experiences, I agree. Stretching is painful but helps us grow! God uses that to change & better us every.single.day.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I’m glad to be back and glad to be missed. I agree about being changed. Thanks for the comment Lady Boss.

  5. floyd says:

    I’m glad you can find the beauty and hand of God in the difficult times. It shows your wisdom.

    Good job jumping in and being the hands of action when it’s called for. Way to “gird your loins” brother.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Floyd. I have to find that beauty or it will drive me nuts! 🙂 I believe God can make beauty out of ashes.