Notes from Jan

Time between Times

May 23, 2022

How do we handle sacred space? In Philip Yancey’s book, Grace Notes, he writes,” Rather than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times.” Time is also a focus in the book of Ecclesiastes. Remember those words, “There is a time for everything…”?(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NLT)

During Sunday School, a class member reminded us the Greek language has two words for time. Chronos, which is clock time, quantitative and sequential. And Kairos, which is qualitative and significant time like, “I’m having the time of my life.”

Well, as I age, I’m aware of both when I open my eyes and behold a new day with relief and anticipation. So, I welcome Philip’s nudge to pause for a moment.” It’s one of the benefits of aging. There’s more time to pause, to listen and maybe hear God in what may seem like the nothing part of a day. Then, at a later time, discover some minutes morphed into moments. Touched by Kairos.

Part of my nightly ritual includes reciting Psalm 23, The Lord’s Prayer and several Bible verses. But only after I review the day and thank God for blessings easily missed. It’s not that I’m so holy, but that I’m so needy. I need the focus. It helps me shift from worries and concerns to the best that was and my hopes for tomorrow. Trust me, when Jud was around, I wasn’t reciting verses at bedtime. But that’s another story I won’t be telling, except to say, I miss him.

Speaking of Psalm 23, I learned something about sheep from reading Forward Day by Day, a daily devotional from the Episcopal Church. This month’s contributing author, Rex Peterson, is a sheep rancher in Nebraska. His reflection on Psalm 23:2 gave me pause. “He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.” He added,” Lying down in green pastures is a rewarding but risky business. It means regularly leaving the familiar behind and being vulnerable to risks and enemies. It also means trusting the Shepherd and following the commands.”

Actually, I get it. For much of my life, but no longer, I needed to be made to lie down, with or without the green pastures. My Mama’s last words to me, just before she died were, “Janice, go to bed!” I’d hoped for something more edifying and affirming. Well, I blame her Norwegian genes for making me think working is holy and pausing to ponder is a form of sloth.

So, back to time between times. Some of you readers are facing moves. It’s tough to leave the familiar, no matter how challenging it’s become. The familiar feels safer than the unknown pastures ahead. However life’s risky at both ends of the spectrum. In the middle we’re working too hard to notice, sometimes. But maybe it helps with whatever you’re facing to pause between tasks. Take a moment and remember the Keeper of the clock is also the One who blesses minutes with moments.

Yours and mine.

It also does me good to focus more on the Shepherd and less on where I’m headed. So I recite, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” (Psalm 23:1, NLT) Then settle into, “My times are in your hands…” (Psalm 31:15a, NIV)


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  • Reply Radina Welton May 23, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you once again! I needed those words right now when a big dozen-sizing move is happening after 54 years of marriage.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 23, 2022 at 6:09 pm

      Well, while it’s a hard task, the end result is more freedom, less baggage. A lighter load will help you soar, dear Radina. Blessings on you as you prepare for another patch of green pastures. For sure, you’ll feel like lying down now and then. And congratulations on 54 years of marriage.

  • Reply Nancy May 23, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you Jan, for taking โ€œtimeโ€ to share the rich nuggets you have accumulated to pass on to all of us! The idea of pausing between tasks is so helpful. Thanking God for each blessing of the day.
    And being reminded God is first, foremost and most important!! Nancy

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 24, 2022 at 10:31 am

      What a year we’ve experienced in Community Bible Study. And what a treat to see your face at the gathering of leaders. You contribute miuch, dear Nancy. Colossians is a practical and challenging way to end our year. Living in a world of distractions, it’s a daily discipline to “set(our) minds on things above not on earthly things” and to “be thankful.” Both are wise uses of time. Happy summering to you and your family.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe May 24, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    Oh Jan, your post spoke to me as they all do. Wasn’t it the poet Mary Oliver who said that how we live our days is, of course, how we live our lives? And after reading your wise words, now I can’t get that “Tine After Time” song out of my head so thank you for that. :). And by the way, we are invited to return to Norway to continue ministry in the spring of 2024 – want to come visit?:)

  • Reply Wendy May 25, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    The older I get the more I relish times of quiet when I can pause before the Lord, and just … rest. <3

  • Reply Dale May 27, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Jan,
    If I have not “timed out” on this blog, I want to thank you for this important reminder. God has used medical issues to force a pause in my life many times but I have decided I would like Him to consider some other options (e.g., time at Burt Lake or a long bike ride). He said He would consider this and get back to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 1, 2022 at 11:24 am

      Well, you’re in Good hands. If I were prescribing, I’d write RX: Burt Lake. And I still like seeing your name popup. Although, i’ve been so busy with framily visiting and Lily graduating from college, I’ve not checked in for a while to see if anyone is sitll reading this blog. Tomorrow we share our twin birthdays. I know, I’m older but I like our common day. And YES, I received the card from you and Marty yesterday. You are always early. Meanwhile, I’m hunting something suitable for you. As usual, your card will arrive late. Love always to you and Marty.

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