These Golden Days

by | Nov 11, 2014 | Encouragement, Writing


I pulled out of the driveway two hours earlier than planned because H was adamant. He insisted I arrive at the beach house in North Carolina early to avoid a storm predicted to hit the coast in the afternoon. After just one month of marriage I realized he is wise beyond explanation.  I listen when he speaks with conviction.

After I unload a tote bag of books, computer, suitcase and enough food to last a week into the elevator and ride up to the second floor of the house, rain streaks the windows two minutes later. And a fury of wind follows, bringing bitter cold temperatures along with it. While looking out the wall of windows over an endless expanse of grey churning ocean, I tell him he was right as usual, phone pressed into my cheek.

I spent the past week alone at our friend’s beach house for making progress on my book, a place my family has frequented over the past decade due to the kindness in friendship. When I walked out of the elevator and into the quiet house, every room held out a memory for me with invitation.

Perhaps the FOR SALE sign at the entrance has swayed the swiftness of waxing nostalgic.


Immediately upon arrival, the sweet face of my daughter lit up by the flame from candles on a homemade birthday cake returned with a glance toward the kitchen island. I could almost hear her fourth grade girlfriends encircling the moment, singing the birthday song in unison. Gift bags covered the kitchen table, giggles filled the floor beneath.

A few years later, I would stand in a brisk breeze on the deck taking photos of unsuspecting teenage girls traipsing through the back yard and over the dunes, onto the beach.

As I look down to the outdoor shower below, a faded memory of my son looking up at me with sun-kissed cheeks and a toothless smile brings back the joy of mothering my children into adulthood.

And then there is the couch in the living room that holds grief. That summer H couldn’t talk about work for the pain that threatened to shadow the joy of vacation.

In the words of Fred, the owner of the house, “I have come to the realization that we don’t really own property, we just lease it.”

Isn’t this Kingdom perspective? We are, all of us, travelling through to an eternal place, leasing time from God who is the owner of all Creation.

These days of waiting for the promise of fulfillment to the goal of London have turned disappointment miraculously golden. I didn’t plan on that kind of redemption but then again, isn’t God’s wisdom often surprising?





Huddled in a booth with Fred’s family at their restaurant Aqua, one of my favorite places on the planet, we enjoy tapas and talking about politics, England and the trip we made together to Rwanda. We hadn’t broken bread together for several years but we picked up right where we left off.

In true friendship, your affiliations, religious beliefs and tastes about life in general don’t really matter. It is you who matters most in the meeting. This is what Jesus offers when he calls you friend, a clean slate of reunion with meaningful conversation.

Jesus was there warming his face in the heat from her birthday cake, smiling over the railing at the folly of youth beneath and weeping for the pain we bore through a dark season.  In these golden days when fall slants creation with hues of wonder, He sits with me in the bay window as I write new chapters. And dream of what awaits on the other side of the Atlantic.


Transition is that uncomfortable place where what fit like a glove suddenly threatens  to strangle you with uncertainty. And waiting can be a frustration or second nature attentiveness to the goodness of God who is present, always.

Lease time or own it. It’s really a choice, isn’t it? Much like accepting His friendship and listening to the voice of conviction.



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  1. Mary Bonner

    Speechless. He used you to write words that I needed to read. These words have left me speechless as I face the fact that I need to lease more and own less.
    And…love Beaufort! I’ve vacationed on Emerald Isle for 30 years. I was praying for you last week. I hope it was a good time for you and your writing.

    • Shelly Miller

      Well Mary, your comment here is a gift, thank you. I actually stayed on Emerald Isle. It’s beautiful in the fall, love it there. And we love Beaufort too. Can’t believe you are familiar with that area. We pastored a church in Morehead City. I think we talked about this at Allume last year maybe? I had a productive writing week. Thank you so much for praying.

  2. DeanneMoore

    You amaze me…so does our God. Such wisdom here, such wonder at a God who gives sight…of what is, what has been, and what will be. We may live with uncertainty, but God is as sure as ever. Thankful for these golden days of redemption and of hope in during your “golden year.” Those last three sentences…God used them in my life this morning. So grateful to have a friend like you…

    • Shelly Miller

      When Murielle was 7 she had her golden birthday (the time you turn the age of your birth date) and we gave her a Golden Retriever, the best gift ever. This is my year of jubilee, I hadn’t thought of that until you said it. Thank you for always being gold dust sprinkled over my days. Not sure what I would do without you.

  3. Nancy Ruegg

    Fighting back the tears here, Shelly. (Must leave the house soon; can’t go smeary-faced!) Such a heartfelt, meaningful post. Those two sentences near the end, the ones in bold type, spoke volumes to me. God continues to shower goodness upon us, even during difficult times. I’ve probably told you about my blessings journal, and how, during a particularly trying year, I recorded more entries than any other year previously (out of twenty-plus). Jesus was definitely there, he is here now, and he always will be. Such glorious, comforting, strengthening truth! Thank you for highlighting it so poignantly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Nancy, your comment touched me this morning when I read it. And it touches me again as I re-read what you wrote. I’m thankful for the way God is so intimate with the ways He chooses to speak to us. Honored it was through this post.

  4. The Offense Of Joy

    I love this line so much, Shelly: And waiting can be a frustration or second nature attentiveness to the goodness of God who is present, always.

    I love that and I’m letting it sink into parts of me that need to taste that sweetness today. I love how you think and process and I love the thought of what it must have been like in your brain at that beach house! I bet even God was leaning in.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh my goodness, well, you are a true friend Misha. Only true friends say things like that to me. Hugs.

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