Friday Wineskins

Spring is coming. This morning started ABOVE freezing. It’s supposed to hit 59 degrees today. Keep in mind last Friday it snowed, blizzard-like. Jonathon had to shovel me out of the driveway as it just kept coming down. I considered staying home but I had an 8:00 meeting plus sundry other work.

As of yesterday, I finished my first class in the MPA program. It looks like I passed it. I can’t believe it. I haven’t been in school in more than 20 years. Doing papers, using APA, figuring out what “scholarly tone” means has all been a learning curve. Jonathon asked me what my takeaways were from this first class. Well, first, that I can do it. I can get this degree. Second, that I can write. Academic folks outside my sphere recognized it and encouraged me to continue.

On another note, God keeps prompting me with two words: new wineskins. Wineskins are what the ancients used to put their wine in before bottles existed.



This is an old one (above). The words tie back to this scripture:  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” – Mark 2:22. That’s Jesus talking. The context is the question the people posed to him: “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?” Jesus responded by saying that guests at a wedding don’t fast while celebrating with the groom, nor does one patch an old garment with new cloth. It leaves a greater tear because the cloths are not compatible. Their ages differ, their seasons of existence don’t match.

Since 2017, nearly everything has changed for our family. We sold the house we lived in for 10 years. We moved into and purchased my dad’s house. Zac graduated from high school and did a year of college. Ruby entered middle school. We got a dog. I started a new job in another city. Jonathon got promoted. I began the master’s program this past January. So.Many.Things.

The trouble is I keep trying to find my back to the old life, the old Susan. I think God is trying to let me know she’s gone. Oh, I’m still me in a lot of ways. Still short. But I won’t be a stay-at-home mom again. That season is over. I seriously doubt I will work in Shelton again, despite Herculean efforts to find a position closer to home. I probably won’t run a lot of miles like I used to; time and priorities don’t allow it. I’m not the main disciplinarian at home anymore, either. The kids won’t regress to little guys again. They continue to grow up, darn it!

Confession: leaving Shelton felt like a punishment. Where did I fail? What could I have done differently? I didn’t want to leave. Great people befriended me and I felt connected to the town and the church. I felt like I mattered and I could be of service. I got “planted”. The connection now feels different, more open-ended. Maybe that’s okay.

I’ve been trying to listen on this point as the perception is I gave up way more than I received in return. Yet our lives have seasons, like winter changing to spring. I can’t put the new wine into the old wineskins of my former life. If this life encompasses the “new wineskins”, what is the new wine? I need to find the joy and direction in the now. I learned to choose to do this when I was home with the kids for about 10 years. What’s the purpose now? Even after all this time, I still don’t really know.  But I do know letting go of the old is the first step to receiving what’s new.

And maybe that’s okay, too.