We planted it back at the beginning of summer. Along with the strawberries that never quite made it, and the sweet pea that bloomed in beauty.
It was the first of the three plants to sprout, and the excitement was palpable. Day after day we’d rush to the pot to see what progress had been made overnight. Then, it just…stopped. Long, green shoots waved in the breeze with nary a bud in sight. Eventually we surmised it was a dud. Or we did something wrong. It just wasn’t going to bloom, and that was that.
I really need to just throw that thing away, I’d tell myself each time I’d walk in or out of the front door. It’s just taking up space. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Then…one day the tips began to change; to look a little like wheat. Ooh, this is it! We all thought. It’s going to bloom after all! And yet, there it sat in it’s wheat-like state for week after week. Such a disappointment. It had so much potential. It served to taunt me of all my own failures; a daily reminder of all the things that had promised to bloom, only to come up short in my own life.
Or in her life over there…she’s been working at that for years with nothing to show for it. Hrmph. She doesn’t know when enough is enough does she?
The morning dawned bright and clear with a brisk chill in the wind. We headed out like any other day for school, groceries, coffees and friends. And we stopped in our tracks. There on that useless, dud of a failed plant was the most striking purple and yellow bloom – and there were four more buds surrounding it!
I stood and stared at that delicate bloom, tears stinging my eyes. As the squeals of my children’s delight wafted on the air around me, a Still Small Voice whispered in my heart of hearts -
This is a promise. For you.
My mind immediately flooded with the myriad of tasks He had called me to before. Some days, some years before. Dreams and visions, some of which had nigh faded into the oblivion of just another thing I must have heard wrong.
Yet, just as we never know what is going on just under the surface of a tree or flower, so can one never be sure what is churning, germinating, growing, pushing through just beneath the surface of a heart; of a soul. He has not forgotten those things to which He has called me. Or you. He has not sat back and hoped for the best. No. Just beneath the surface of it all, yes, even way down deep, He has been cultivating and pruning and working.
And He has promised to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. To weave the beauty and passion, heartache and hardship, into a tapestry the likes of which are not to be found anywhere other than here. In this heart. It won’t make life perfect, pain free, flawless or easy. But it will ensure that not one thing will be for naught. Not one tear will be wasted. Not one prayer will float beyond His hearing.
This weaving, this working, this mysterious melding of mundane with glorious takes the toil, pain, joy and sorrow and works it to the very best for the one who places it all in the hands of the Weaver. And to be in His hand, His gentle yet infinitely strong hand…oh how that is the very best place to be.
So now, as I pass that pot time and time again in the comings and goings of this life of mine I am reminded of that promise. And I cling to the hope of things unseen. This heart flutters with anticipation of what is to come. Eager to see how the beauty blooming just beneath the surface will push through the filth and dirt and manure to burst forth in glorious color. For I know it is coming.
I’ve linked up with Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, Women Living Well, Life:Umasked, Denise in Bloom, Intentional Me, Womanhood With Purpose, Fellowship Fridays, Hope for Hurting Hearts, Grace Laced, The Better Mom
There seems to be a recurring theme in many of my conversations of late. These conversations pop up when
you I least expect them, and at seemingly odd times. The topics of discussion range from family life to broken hearts to school to abortion. But they all are circling back to one central theme (dare I say truth?).
Faith is messy.
We in the western world like things put into neat little compartments, wrapped up in pretty packages, with nice, clear labels. We like to have a category in which to put everything. A place for everything and everything in it’s place, right?
And when it comes to faith and matters of the soul, we seem to take those ideas and desires for a neat, tidy, pretty, labeled package to the extreme. We want to know what category you belong in. Then we want everyone to know that we are okay, we know what we’re doing, we have all the answers and don’t need any help. We know what to say and when to say it. If we venture into a church with any sort of regularity, we barely have to think about what we say, where we go, what we do. We are in auto pilot. We put on our best clothes, smile our pretty smile, and talk about how much we love Jesus. And that’s the way we like it. It’s simple. It’s clean. It’s easy.
But what I’m experiencing in my journey of faith is turning out to look much different than that. My faith is messy. My life, my relationships, my mind is messy. I don’t necessarily mean messy as in messed-up; wrong; dysfunctional. Though at times it is all those things, too. I mean it’s complicated; more gray than black and white; it takes energy, critical thinking, and blood, sweat and tears.
And it desperately needs community. The Bible says that faith without action is dead. But I’m also finding that faith without community is shallow. “Christianity” in the western world has become shallow, cold, exclusive rather than inclusive. It is sterile, impersonal, and lonely. Of course, I’m speaking in very general terms. And I use the term “Christianity” very loosely when it is in such a context.
If people claim to be a people of faith, there needs to be community present along with the actions that accompany that faith. There should be real community, where life is shared, warts and all. Where people are free to talk, discuss, question, wrestle and grapple with the messiness that comes when humans mingle with the Divine. In an atmosphere of true community, there is safety in walking through these questions, issues, and even doubts that are swirling within the spirit of each one of us. Real community is beautiful, supportive, freeing, and messy.
It’s not easy, or pretty, to work through your stuff, whatever that stuff is. But, oh what sweet intimacy and friendship and love that is cultivated when
people we put their our guard down and truly share life with one another. Why do we put up the facade that we have it all together? Fear.
If they really knew the real me, they’d never want to hang out with me again.
If they only knew what I really wanted to ask about God, they’d think I’m an idiot.
There’s no way I’d deserve to be loved by God if He, or they, knew my past.
Sadly, most, if not all, of those statements have been proven to be true (other than that God not loving you part) in countless “bodies of faith” over time. Most likely, each of us has personally experienced it.
But the beauty of real community – community based upon and within the unconditional love of a Man who walked this earth and shared His life with all sorts of people – is that in such community, there is freedom to question, to ask, to wrestle, to struggle, and to decide. And the true beauty? No matter the decision, there is always love. Lord, let me be a part of a community like that! And make me the kind of person who fosters community like that.
(alternate title for this post: Emotional Road Rash)
Raw. Exposed. Sore. Tender. Burning.
These words are my
emotions soul this week. I am raw, exposed, and in pain. To say my emotions are raw seems like an understatement. My spirit has been scraped, the essence of who I am grated upon until the tender layers underneath are exposed to the elements.
This week, I have had to deal with a very sensitive matter with a person I encounter daily. Most of the aspects of this matter are entirely beyond my control, and yet they affect me, and my family, deeply. My heart feels as though it’s covered in road rash. You know when you have a scrape, or hang nail, or burn that you somehow manage to forget for a millisecond until a cool breeze comes along and suddenly a moment that would normally soothe or calm you, now inflicts pain and sets your wound on fire again? It stings.
I have done my best to resolve things and restore the relationship. To no avail. Sting.
I have approached the other person with humility, respect, and love and gotten cold and callous in return. Sting.
I have gone through my days functioning normally only to have something jar me back to the reality that things are broken and I am unable to do anything further to repair them. Sting.
If I were to lay out the entire situation for you here (which I won’t), you might think I’m taking things too personally, that I’m paying it too much mind, that I’m giving it more gravity than it deserves. Perhaps I am. But at the moment, I am grieved.
I am also angry. And hurt. And saddened. And confused. I also don’t fully comprehend to what extent the fault is mine – or mine by association.
All I know is that I have done all I know to do. I have said all I can say. I cannot control the actions/thoughts/words of another. But I can control mine. And I have, and I will. It pains me that there is nothing more I can do; that further conversation only serves to deepen the damage.(if you know me at all, then you understand how devastating it is to me to not be able to put a voice to all that is churning in my heart).
One bright spot, this has propelled me straight into the arms of my Savior over and over each day. As the pain singes anew throughout the day, I run to Him and find comfort in His embrace. I can only pray that He will make all things new. That He will take the manure that is this situation and bring new life and beauty from it.
I wish I had a tidy little conclusion for a post such as this…a way to tell you how it all got resolved. But I don’t. It’s not easy for me to put this stuff out there for the world to read. It’s really difficult for me to put it all out there with no real conclusion. As much as I love authenticity, I don’t always love the mess you wade through to get to authenticity. But, I decided when I started this blog that it wouldn’t be worth it to put out there the fake, put together, have-all-the-answers me, because she doesn’t really exist. If I’m going to share myself with those who wish to walk alongside me, I need to share myself truly, or not at all. So for now, I will leave you with an expression of gratitude for your patience as you walk with me through this dark valley of My Journey.