Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lessons from Gardening...

While I tend to be a "glass half full" kind of person, when you have a major disruption to plans that effect not only yourself but ripple out to many others, it is sometimes a little difficult to remain happy and optimistic. But even after a few short days, I can already see there have been a few silver linings to our "deer"tour.

We were here to help really great friends move into their new home- one of the true blessings of having three sons. They surely are a force to be reckoned with! Also, we are so thankful we can now see other friends who are temporarily home from the mission field, though under less than desirable circumstances.

Some other bonuses to being home without hours scheduled at the daily grind (read LensCrafters...), I have gotten a lot of things done that really may have NeVeR been crossed off on the mental to-do list.

One of them is the gardening. Savannah and I spent a few afternoons tackling our less than stellar gardens that we've inherited while we rent our home. Needless to say I don't want to put a lot of money into them. Getting something "free" or cheap means elbow grease, and ransacking others gardens for overgrown perennial beds! When one volunteers to do the thinning, people are more than gracious to let you take the goods!
Needless to say there are so many benefits to gardening. There are lessons to learn, spiritually and just every day life applications. As I was teaching Savannah to tell the difference between a weed and a flower, she made the connection that most weeds are hairy and prickly. How right she is! Flowers tend to have smooth and shiny stems and leaves, while weeds and other "less desirables" (mint and comfrey!) have bristles, fibers and sometimes all out thorns on them. Good observation. Good application too.

I showed her how the weeds will grow right through the flower plants, and if you remove them you have to be so careful, as the weed roots are often stronger than the flowers roots. It can be done, but not with the same reckless abandon we used when we attacked the patch of dirt that was all weeds.
She began practicing her new knowledge on these little wild daisy plants. A couple of times she pulled up a flower, and then just put the now rootless stem "back" so it looked as good as the others. Other times she pulled out just the weed, but was less than careful and broke the flower stem so the bud just dangled on a now insufficient stem. She wondered why my plant looked fine, but hers had looked quite battle scarred. Now they aren't the most glorious plants to begin with. (Think free from the field across the street.) But given the right care, they will do the job I want them to do.

I was really struck with the analogy. God often tells us things, just like I told my daughter. We are like these scraggly plants. Weeds pop up, and with God's care they can be removed. He can reach in and know just the right amount of separating to do and pressure to apply, and like a surgeon he can take out the problem, leaving minimal scarring. He is a good and gracious God like that!!!

But... like a little child, sometimes I see the weeds in another. With less than tender care and certainly with no physician-like wisdom, I can begin to pick and pull on others in my little patch and do great damage. I can try to put them back- rootless and snapped- to try and support their little blossom on my still intact stem, but the evidence of my carelessness will be shown as soon as the heat of the day shines hard. With no root, they will wither. With a broken stem they may survive, but surely the beauty of the bloom will fade until the water can begin to flow again, nurture the root, and with a lot of time send out a new shoot.

These things were quite deep to put on Savannah at the time, but she could very easily understand sometimes it is best to let Mommy take the weeds out of the flower bunches.

I however, learned all too clearly. While in truth we are all just a bunch of worthless wildflowers, with God's tender care and pruning, weeding and precious watering, we can serve His purposes and do the job he wants us to do! Praise Him!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wisdom of God...

I am listening to a series on wisdom. It is wonderful, and over 24 sessions, and I am barely on the third. But, I have been struck with a truth that I had not thought of in this light ever before.

Truly there are gifts from God freely offered to all people, whether they acknowledge God as the giver of them or not.

Every living human being is born with breath. A gift from God.
Every mother who bears a child has been given a gift from God.
Every person who has health, a job, family, friends, just naming a few things...  has received them as a gift from God.

And God will allow them to have those things whether or not they ever acknowledge him, thank him, praise him, or ever even think about him. These things have been offered on the open hand of God to be taken and run with, and if so chosen, one need never look back. Truly their end will be a horrible one,  but it is still true.

Wisdom, however, is not one of those things. If one seeks Godly wisdom, it must be searched for, prayed for, diligently pursued. Wisdom is available, but one must enter into the closed and protective hand of God that holds wisdom. He does not place it our there for anyone to casually or carelessly take it. One will not receive Godly wisdom until they acknowledge who it is they are asking it from (Psalm 111:10). God gives it liberally to those who ask for it (James 1:5).

Daniel 5:14 I have heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

Daniel had something that Nebuchadnezzar "heard" was wisdom. He had no idea of the God from whom Daniel received it, but he surely did learn. I love that passage, for even though Daniel did not know the interpretation of the Kings dream, he knew who did and committed - under penalty of death if he did not deliver - that he would tell the interpretation. And he did!

That same kind of wisdom is available to me if I truly seek after it as for hidden treasure, priceless rubies, and precious gold. Also, I must be willing to abide in the hand of the Almighty that possesses all wisdom, for this treasure is not something just available for the taking. I must recognize God, acknowledge my lack, refuse to stand on human intellect, and passionately pursue it.

I am thankful for this study, and so excited to learn more of what he is going to teach me!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What is inside...

When it comes to trials, there are a few common things I am learning most about them.

They come unexpectedly. There is little time to think before you need to respond. The response is a very good gauge of who you are deep down inside- to the fiber of your being.

A friend said to me yesterday, "When the 'cup' gets bumped, what is inside comes spilling out."

How true that is! What have I filled my cup with? What will come pouring out in the midst of a trial? What will that say of my faith? Really, how big is God to me?

In the midst of great adversity and sorrow, people speak of barely being able to function. Yesterday a friend said after her son died, she was unable to even chew, let alone prepare food. Such great sorrow. Any amount of Bible reading is sometimes impossible. Prayer is solely through the groaning of the Holy Spirit making intercession.

I am learning that I need to daily fill myself with God's word, and let it transform me, that in the day of adversity, I will stand strong.

Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

What strength looks like is sometimes very deceiving. Many may have thought Jesus was weak when he wept at the grave of Lazarus. In the garden as Jesus prayed "not my will but thine be done", I am sure he could have been accused of being less than strong. But we know he is the epitome of strength.

We are told that we are to put on the whole armor of God, so that we can stand.

True victorious Christian living is not fighting, wrestling, struggling. It is standing.

Not being blown over when the wind blows, but resting in the knowledge of who controls the wind. Not running and seeking shelter in the wisdom of man, but allowing God to shelter us in the shadow of his wings for truly that is where we find peace.

These are things that we may not truly understand until our cup gets bumped, but it better at least be in the cup in the first place.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maiden Voyage!!

All hitched up and ready to go. I loved it when we had the two together how it looked like we had the color choice planned. Don't you think the golden fawn color is beautiful? 

Like the Titanic was beautiful. Beautiful until all of the deer are attracted to it like an irresistible magnet!

Less than two full hours into the trip three (not one, not even two... ThReE!! in lovely "Ducks in a row" fashion!) beautiful, pain-in-the-neck deer decide to cross in front of us. While we were on the thruway. Going 65 miles per hour. With close to 50 feet of vehicle in length. And nigh up to 10, 000 pounds. Something was not going to make it. Needless to say, the deer literally never knew what hit him. And we were shocked at the damage to our vehicle- the impact felt like barely a bug hitting the wind sheild. 

Cell phones to the rescue- not to call 911... to mobile upload to facebook! (And NO... that is not blood! Well it is my van's blood... radiator fluid!) The second little duck  err... deer decided he was going to turn around and look back at the third deer still WiSeLy standing on the shoulder to the right. I so would have preferred he turned into a pillar of salt at impact as opposed to the 200+ pounds of flesh! And I do NOT recommend grilled-steamed deer meat with an anti-freeze  marinade. I am just sayin'. 
Because we were on I-90, we had to use a state contracted towing company to take us the 1.5 miles to the next exit. Thank the LORD it was only that far. I think I am going to suggest my boys go into some kind of profession the state subcontracts to. They will do quite well! 

All in all, we are well, safe, and SO THANKFUL for friends that we can call to come over 75 miles (one way) at 10pm to flat bed and tow us home. Bob and Toma... truly you are gifts from the Lord, and we pray God's bountiful blessings upon you for your generosity and spirit of a servant! In light of the events of May 17, 2010, this was surely not a big deal. Perhaps our plans have been rerouted a little, but this will not change our lives forever. Our prayers and love go out to the Ireland family. Truly God loves us with a perfect love, regardless of what it feels like in the moment. Our faith is what sustains us. And not because we have such strong faith, but because it is in the One who is mightier than all else. 


Monday, May 3, 2010

This Just IN!!

I just got word tonight that we will have two children at Word of Life this summer!
Siah was accepted into the STC Summer Program on "Maintenance". I have no idea what that entails, all I am thinking right now is that his weekly "chore List" that I assign him may seem like a walk in the park come the end of August! For that I will be grateful, and when he is 25, he may be as well!
I also informed him that his iPod is not needed this summer either, to which he just looked at me with a "You have got to be kidding me" kind of face. I wasn't kidding, and showed him the official papers from WOL that stated that fact. I pray that his maintenance activities will keep him so exhaustingly busy that he may not even think about that...
...or about his cell phone that he can only have on his "off" times. Be Advised all Verizon Wireless subscribers!! Your texts will now have a fighting chance at successfully sending once his cell phone usage reduces to between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am! You can thank me later!