Your Spirit {In the Middle}

Welcome to 31 Days of Celebrating the Middle!
I have found what I think is an apt metaphor for the spiritual condition of many women in middle age - the ancient Chinese custom of foot binding.  Bear with me, I think this will make sense to you.
"The Chinese women used to have their feet bound.  Small toeless feet were supposed to be a thing of beauty, and a proof that the woman had never had to work in the fields.  Country girls who had to work hard had unbound, free feet, but the women who were aristocratic or wealthy had to hobble around or be carried, on feet that had had the toes bound underneath to prevent growth;  little-girl feet that were painfully kept from being the lovely free things feet were made to be in the first place.  It is a horrible thought, purposely destroying, by breaking and binding up, the feet that could otherwise have walked, run, jumped, danced, skipped and hopped.  But some Christians have...needlessly crippled their personalities from running, walking and skipping."
(Edith Schaeffer, from her book Hidden Art
Girlfriend, I will get to the point:  It is your time to dance again, like you did as a little girl, before your feet were bound by the ties of Christian legalism.  
The biggest turning point in my" life in the middle" came when my Preacher-husband began preaching on the doctrines of grace in January of 2009.  He had preached on grace before, but suddenly he became like a man on fire.  He seemed gripped by a steely determination to preach grace as though lives depended on it.  Little did The Preacher know, at least one life was at risk:  mine  
I was held fast in what I know now to be the dark grip of clinical depression.  My two sons were showing signs of rebellion, and my heart wept with Jeremiah:
For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. (Lam. 1:6)


Bit by bit, inch by inch, Sunday by Sunday, as I sat under the preaching of grace, the veil of Old Covenant law was removed from my face, and I could see God in the face of Jesus Christ.
A Christian life based on my performance had bound my feet from a very young age.  Thinking that my life could be blessed to any degree by keeping the law - my choosing to live under an expired covenant -  had bound my feet, lo these many decades. 
Suddenly, it had caught up with me.  In a serious way, it had caught up with me.  It was a severe mercy in my middle, and I thank God for it.  Most spiritual renewals start out feeling like nervous breakdowns.
I fell in love with the God of all grace, as He really is.  There I was, having been a Christian for 37 years, and only then was I falling in love with God as He really is...God, in the face of Jesus Christ.  
Tears coursed down my cheeks one night, as I read these words, and felt them come alive:
Belatedly I loved thee,
O Beauty so ancient and so new, belatedly I loved thee.
For see, thou wast within and I was without, and I sought thee out there.
Unlovely, I rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made.
Thou wast with me, but I was not with thee.
These things kept me far from thee; even though they were not at all unless they were in thee.
Thou didst call and cry aloud, and didst force open my deafness.
Thou didst gleam and shine, and didst chase away my blindness.
Thou didst breathe fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I pant for thee.
 I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace.  
Augustine of Hippo, Confessions    
Please give me a little time, this month, to unpack these things of law and grace - Old Covenant and New -  with you.  Please investigate the resources I will share with you, if any of this resonates with your spiritual condition right now. 

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