Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Will Return -- Please Wait

I have a flock of thoughts about it, but they really all come down to one thing …
I’m (pretty sure) the Lord is asking me to (momentarily) take a big step back and step away from posting on my blog.
Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about Paul and his travels.  At one point, Paul was headed in one direction, towards Asia, but God had other plans.
 “…having been kept by the Holy Spirit …” Paul and his colleagues did not enter Asia.  Later, they tried to enter Bythynia, and again, “…but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to enter.” (Acts 16:6-10)
We don’t know how Paul knew what to do (or not to do), we just know that he went with how the Lord was leading.  Was it a vision? Was it a Word in the middle of the night? Was it a “gut” feeling? A sensitivity to the Spirit’s calling?  All we know is that Paul knew and he obeyed.
I’m almost positive it wasn’t easy, and I’m sure he had no idea what the Lord had in store for him, right around the corner.
And so it is for us, sometimes – for me, this time.
I get the feeling that God is calling me to something different – at least for a short time.  I don’t understand it, but I can feel it deep down within my soul.
I’m tempted to resist. I love to write. I love to encourage people with His truths.  It’s one of the things I think God has called me to. I'm even a bit sad to step back and let go.
And yet, I’ve learned that I’m better off going with what God says, then trying to wrangle out my own ideas.
So, dear readers, I’m taking a break.
I’m hanging the “will return -- please wait" sign on the door of my blog – for now. 
I plan on returning at some point, when I get the thumbs up, from the Lord. In the meanwhile, I do believe that God is doing something new, I’m just not sure what it is. Perhaps I’ll come back with new ideas, new ways of seeing Him, seeing the world, seeing myself. Or maybe just  more energy. J  Or … who knows what?
Have a blessed summer and thank you for your camaraderie.
Love …

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Places to Grow?

It’s gardening week for me … first weeding, now planting.
I wiggled the pink ivy geranium out of the pot.  The roots held tight to the sides of the plastic, but I eventually freed it. I squeezed the densely compacted roots, loosening them from the previous shape, and placed the plant in a new space.
It was for the good of the plant.
I debated, earlier, as to whether I should just place the geranium – in its original pot – in to my planters near my front door.
It would be easier. No one would ever know.  And, after all, wasn't it growing just fine in the current container?
But I thought again.
Perhaps it was growing “fine” but I knew that if I put it in new soil, in a more spacious container,  full of new nutrients, the roots would likely grow deeper and wider and the plant would thrive better.
What once was a place of growth for the plant, was now constraining it from further growth.
It needed new soil and new space ...
I feel a bit like that ivy geranium.
I’ve been growing (or at least I hope I have) in a certain place. It’s been a good place for me.
However, I feel the Hand of the Gardener taking hold of me and loosening me out of this place. 
I’m hesitant.
I try to hold on to what I know – what is familiar.
I’m even scared.
But, I know He knows that there are other spaces and places for me to grow –  places where my roots can grow deeper and wider and where I need to grow in new ways for Him.
I can’t be sure if this is happening or not, but something feels different.
Could it be that this place that I’ve been growing in is now holding me back from being all He wants me to be?
Am I ready for new soil and a new space?
And, exactly what will that space be?  What new circumstances will He choose for my growth? Will they be challenging? Difficult? What new places of trusting Him may He be planting me in?
I don't know, but I am trying to surrender. It’s not easy now. I know it may not be easy then.
I’m trying to loosen my hold on what I have grown accustomed to and allow the Great Gardener to place me where He wants, and trust Him in the process, for this I know for sure, He knows the plans He has for me. In this promise, I rest.
How about you, dear reader?  Do you know of times when God has transplanted you and you have grown in new ways there?

Monday, June 6, 2011

I've Got to Get to Weeding ...

The gardens in my yard are overgrown.
I look at them through my back window and sigh.
I’ve got so much work to do today – so much weeding.
Oh, sure, some of the good plants are thriving after a Spring splattered with more days of rain than not, but it’s not those healthy, thriving, green plants that I am focused on.
It’s all the things in between, that should not be there – AKA weeds – that my eyes are drawn to. They are towering over and trying to choke out my pretty plants.  They are competitive, persistent and sneaking. They try to vie for a place in my yard.
I’ve got to work on weeding.
I’ll do it today.  The kids will help me.  We’ll all probably grunt and grown about it, but we’ll feel pleased – accomplished – when we are done.  Well, at least I will.
As I sat down this morning, facing (literally, at my desk) in the opposite direction of the weeds, so I would not get distracted by the work I had to do, I opened God’s Word for time with Him.
And as I read His truths, I’m convicted of my worry.
My worries – they are just like my weeds.
They come in and try to choke out the good things.
They take up space, grow faster than I would like, and often tower over the other things that are trying to grow. 
They get in the way of me seeing the truth, remembering the promises, resting in the comfort of the One who loves me.
I don’t know where the always come from, but they sure do spring up -- little weeds, big weeds, ugly weeds.
Jesus talks about the worries of this world getting in and choking out the Word (Matthew 13) – the Word of truth, the Word of hope, the Word of comfort.  I can see how it happens, and it’s not what I desire.
Weeds --  and worries -- they get in the way, but they do not have to stay.
Looks like today, I have some work ahead of me. I’m working on weeding out weeds and weeding out worries.  Good thing I have the Gardener. With His help, I’m getting down on my knees and rooting them out. 
How about you?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Time for Good-byes ...

It’s not that I can’t wait for summer. I love summer and I love summer with my family.
It’s just that there is something about this time of year that produces in me a surge of sentimentality.
I’m all choked up.
Tears are close to the surface, occasionally breaking through and slowing rolling down on to the pillow of my heart.
Today is the last day of school for my little ones. Shortly, I will head over to sit back and relax and watch the “Learning Celebration,” where each child will be given a “Christ-like characteristic” that their teacher has witnessed in them this year.
It’s a beautiful time to sit back and relax and enjoy – but,  invariably, my heart will also sit back and be heavy.
I think it’s the “good-byes.”
It’s the change.
It’s the moving from the familiar into the unknown of the future.
Before I know it, my mind is flooded with vignettes from my past of “good-byes.”  Good-bye’s to dreams. Good-bye’s to friends. Good-bye’s to love ones. Good-bye’s to …
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe these “good-byes” are milestones marking time.
Perhaps, they mark time of what – was, was not, is and is yet to be.
It’s confusing, like so many things in life – a swirl of excitement and sorrow. 
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and time to speak,
A time to love and time to hate,
A time for war and time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your faithfulness.  Please help those of us who may be standing on the precipice of change, having to say good-bye to things we have, people we love, dreams we’ve pursued, to give thanks and rest in Your love for us. Help us to remember that You are in control of all things and that You are good. 
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