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Guest column: In honor of Dorothy’s 60th birthday–today! Happy birthday!

Dorothy with Irish weaver on 30th anniversary trip to Ireland/Photo by Grant Zimbrick

Dorothy Zimbrick is the one and only mother of Emily Zimbrick, “Grand Pooba” of this blog, and Anna Zimbrick, the only sister of Emily. Married to her best friend for 30 years, she is probably the oldest contributor by far. A B.A. in English Literature and a few years of teaching almost too long ago to remember, constitute her formal education and work history. (Except for a brief stint at a card shop trying to get over the ”empty-nest” syndrome.)  She has been very involved in women’s ministry at every church she attended. Helping marriages is a shared passion with her husband, Grant, and they have taken counseling classes and been privileged to teach marriage-focused Sunday school classes. One of her primary (and sometimes hardest) goals is to be a super supportive and hands-off mom and mother-in-law to her grown daughters and son-in-law Charles.

Cranberry, pecan, lemon peel scones/Photo by author

I made scones this morning. I had to. I needed a fresh, hot, baked creation. I can’t go to Starbucks and get one. I’m celiac—which means I can’t eat anything with wheat, barley, or rye—as are my two daughters. But I baked before knowing we were “special.” Some of you might be familiar with the book 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman—well, I’ve identified a sixth love language. Mine is baking. Today’s version is fresh/frozen cranberries, lemon peel and chopped pecans.

The ladies Bible study that I attend resumed last week. There were several new faces among the familiar. Some really young women, unlike me. Some new to the faith, unlike me. Some unfamiliar with the Bible, unlike me.

A “get acquainted” topic was to share something you did over the summer that was “refreshing” for you. I was glad there were several women sharing before me. I thought I would have time to come up with something. In a silent panic I reviewed my entire summer:

  • In-laws came for 11 days—I needed to be an attentive hostess.
  • Helped oldest daughter and son-in-law move to a new city six hours away from old city, still East Coast, still clear across the country from me—I needed to come up with several space-saving ideas, volunteer to make valances, pillows, window seat cushions.
  • Had 14-year-old “niece,” the daughter of a cousin come stay for two weeks—definitely not refreshing. Needed to encourage her, challenge her.
  • Kept house “near” perfect for showings at a moments’ notice—needed to dust and clean bathrooms every day.
  • Sold house—needed to move.
  • Bought another house—needed to find the “perfect” replacement house.

Because I am usually honest in Christian settings, I admitted that I didn’t do anything really refreshing, but I was certainly hoping the Bible study would be that.

As soon as the words were out of my month, this partial verse came to mind, almost like a speaker in the room. “That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

It was all I could do to not cry. I realized I had completely neglected countless opportunities to spend time with the Lord. Truly quiet time before the day’s craziness began. Or finish the day’s craziness with quiet time reflecting on what I had and had not accomplished—what He might have wanted me to do. When I returned home and looked up the whole verse, Acts 3:19-20. I was so taken aback by the first part:

“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus . . .”

It did not take me long to identify my sins. Busyness, self-importance, I’m the only one that can really do this job (at all—or the right way).

I am a “Martha” to the inth degree. I really don’t like sermons and books that give her a bad time. I do admit that interrupting Jesus while He taught was pretty bad—I would never do that. No, I would just stay in the kitchen with a bad attitude. (As my daughters could testify, I have done that.)

We are told all day long what we need—a new car, eat more healthy food-less junk, exercise more, invest more wisely, a great pair of jeans, the latest tech gadget, a bigger TV, and, of course, a wonder bra.

But what does God say I need? I think a better way to understand that is “What does God want for me?” Here are just a few things that He brought to mind:

  • “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of me but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with my God?” Micah 6:8
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6

Isn’t that what we’re trying to be? “Satisfied” with all the other things and activities?

  • “You keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because she trusts in you.” Isa. 26:3

Photo by author

I do need to be at peace. I know Jesus wants me refreshed. And tomorrow with my scone, I’ll talk to Jesus about this again.