My Ungrowing

The tiny houseplant was a gift to my daughter as a teacher. Its little pot barely containing the roots, yet I pull it from the pretty little pot, give it water and its leaves lift up and persist, my home, its home now.

Not sure why it’s taken so long to decide, to decide it needed room to grow and lifted it from the flimsy black pot and dig deep down the soil already waiting in a container that contained something planted before that would not for the life of me grow.

Moved the tender tiny clinging still plants to the border and I placed the philodendron (maybe) in the center and just because, I put the ceramic sparrow there, to rest and to watch with me, the new place the plant will grow.

“Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.”

Psalms‬ ‭119:88‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I changed my morning spot, baffled over why I’d not thought to do so before.

Uncrowded now, the succulents are next to the others, two fat containers of thick odd things that grow best left alone. I’ll nourish this new planting, watch it flourish, see how it will go.

What a proud reply I’d been quick to give, popping back like an annoyingly cute little toddler pulling on the fabric of someone’s shirt, insisting on attention.

Interrupting all other conversation, anxious to be addressed, noticed, allowed to be the star of her own show.

“Me, me, Me!”

I was determined to be sure others knew I was there.

My confident reply even if no one asked, “I’m just gonna take every single opportunity I get to write.”

Their faces, sometimes awkward smiles and oh, okay, go you kinda responses.

Their reactions puzzled a little as if “This is different, who is this person?”

What began as an answer to prayer sort of sneakily meandered it’s way to obsession and half-hearted and hurried completion.

Let me tell you, Jesus was merciful in not allowing me to make a bigger mess of it. Clearly, a couple of columns, a few pieces were written two hours before deadline and what I know for sure.

It was only grace driven by God’s design of my days that He not me made sense, brought it all together.

None of it my creation alone, still God allowed me such grace in the midst.

Cause my heart was not in it. Thank you, Lord,

Yours was.

Were it not for me telling you so, you might never know. might think there’s no need for you to know.

The answer came one morning, the understanding of and making right this time.

“dormant”

I thought that is it. I’m in the dormant stage. It’s not so lovely a word and not ever say or think with regularity.

I checked to see if I had it right. Did it mean doing nothing, did it mean an on purpose lack of plowing and cultivating of my writing soil?

Yes, dormant. Yes, latent. Letting things lie, all the while knowing I’d be back, they as well.

Yes, stepping away and letting the roots grow in their own.

Dormancy, a season of inactivity because opportunities had somehow become contradictory to opportunity and were heartless obligation.

Counterintuitive, my “ungrowing” season.

I believe it will be.

The minds that are alive to every word from God, give constant opportunity for His divine interference with a suggestion that may alter the courses of their lives…Richard H. Hutton, Joy and Strength

Next week I’ll write my final “Faith” column for the small town paper. I’ll say thank you to all who’ve read and I’ll welcome the new one, the one who’s waiting already for simply a time to grow.

Now, my hope feels unhindered and my pathway one of peace. I’ve not forgotten the morning God, that you told me of my treasure, the one you planted there to grow.

Meanwhile, my hope is in my ungrowing, my revival in my rest.

I believe, Lord. I believe.

“Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!” Psalms‬ ‭119:116‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This post by Holly Gerth confirmed my assurance that it’s okay, okay to wait and see what God has for me.

https://holleygerth.com/blog/

Happy Way of Life #8

I was outside literally two minutes or less, finally finished, I made my way to the spot I sit and watch the blue cool pool water paint patterns on my feet.

I’d been cleaning like crazy, Friday night instead of Saturday morning.

I was raised that way.

On Saturday morning, nothing happened until we cleaned.

My mama handed out assignments and by noon you’d have thought our house on the poor side of town was tucked away behind stately gates.

I adhere to her pattern, my daughter and son do too. We like things straight.

We like our places put together and pretty.

Now, it’s morning and I have Saturday’s day about to unfold. I’ve been awakened by a text, “You up?”

“In bed, awake”, my reply.

“Get ready.” her instruction.

Last night I tried to remember my mama’s particular words and I couldn’t. I tried to bring to mind her philosophical response, fashioned in blunt reply.

What I miss most of all are Saturday morning calls, coaxing me not worry…to let these two be, to know that they are good.

I can’t recall what it was, the thing I said just like her. I wanted to remember, tried so very hard.

I had to let it go hoping it comes back when I least expect.

Because last night, I sat in my spot, magazine by my side with a splash of wine in pretty glass. Relax, Lisa Anne.

Relax now.

Don’t stress. Let it be. Pick your battles. It’ll be fine. The truth always comes out and again, stress’ll kill you.

Momentarily, I heard the sound.

The arrival, I was ready.

Closer to me, at just the right time, I tilt my eyes towards heaven, and there are three.

The geese, the geese.

Mama always said, “Here they come.”

And yes, they did.

Again.

Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow in heaven. I’ll keep looking for you, mama, in my every single thing.

I’ll be listening for your reply.

Amongst One Another

I suppose it might be possible.

That there might be some amongst us who don’t know struggle, haven’t had it woven intricately in the layers of their skin, embedded deep deep deep in the pits of their tummies.

I saw someone last night and I remembered how she’d been real with me and I, with her.

How I’d said yes to her unexpected invite for lunch, just wanting us to know one another more.

First of all, how often are we so honest? How rare are women that brave?

She shattered my illusion of her life more sublime than mine. She told me her story.

And, I mine.

I guess over a year or more ago. She listened as I shared the colors of my Bible, my story.

And I saw her and I told her what that meant to me, her opening her heart, her curiosity of mine.

What if we did that more? What if we left each other loved and uplifted, caressed on more than typical passing platitudes?

We’d know more the feeling of being amongst one another. We’d be more generous with our giving of time, less greedy for dominance in conversation.

Another friend made me cry when I held her and let her cry. It was hard.

Then soft.

She said it, what I already knew.

“I think I just saw God.”

I read a beautiful prayer this morning, a prayer by a French Archbishop whose name I can’t pronounce. It was a prayer asking God to find us when we can’t find Him.

Take my heart, for I canst give it and when thou hast it, oh, keep it for Thee and save me in spite of myself. Archbishop F’enelon

Someone mentioned feeling as if in an abyss yesterday and we then talked about the “cliff”.

If you’ve ever been in a deep place feeling like you can’t pull yourself out or if you’ve found yourself on the edge, on the cusp of disastrous choice worn out and miserable over what’s come your way, having to get real quiet or real loud and maybe say God, come near, be my rescue, remind me again.

Save me, yet again.

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

We’re not made to cower.

Impatient Wonder

Two or three things stuck last week, adding to the mix even more this morning and now, afternoon as well.

The first is the perspective changer that uncertainty is a gift, an absolute gift.

Uncertainty, held by grace.

And wonder.

Last week, I berated myself out loud to another, her commentary brought new perspective, brought me to consider a kind response.

To realize I had not been “resourced” back then to choose alternate responses.

Too much wrong food, buying stuff just because and giving in to a pattern as if there was no other way but back and so scared I might be moving in reverse not forward.

“Coping mechanisms” she called my overindulgence(s).

You’re self-aware, you’ve called yourself out this time, that’s progress.

You’re not stuck.

“Oh.” I remembered later, what a gracious choice. What a gracious idea giving permission to mess up and even more so, a prompting to step surely and rightly again.

I’ve been talking about turning 60 for months now, anxious that I might not do the things I said I was gonna do when I was a year younger than I am now.

I’ve got about 30 months to 60 and I guess about 900 days. I’m no math person, let me use my words.

Words are my thing, not numbers.

Wondering if I will, uncertain if I can.

Impatient to see what I will.

Stuck.

If you’re Southern you might remember a ready reply your mama, your grandma or grandpa would give in reply to whether and when.

Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!

What might happen depending on God being willing and I imagine whoever started this go to reply, the road might have been impassable, their door might have guarded the way out and they may have decided not today, gotta wait for the creek to settle, gotta wait for the water to flow back downstream to the river, to the sea.

Gotta wait for the settling.

Today, I read about the woman in Proverbs again, the passage that tells a son what to look for in a wife. The verses are filled with guidance, the descriptive nature often causes wonder of worth.

Today though, one part stuck.

“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The part about considering, about patient wonder, about tentative even proceeding.

About waiting patiently for an undertaking, taking graceful steps towards uncertain yielding of creative crop.

Giving myself a pass on not perfecting.

I hadn’t cooked for days. My husband was having omelets, pb&j’s and pizza from a box.

I’ve a meal in the oven now, rosemary roasted turkey, potatoes and carrots to be beside asparagus drizzled in butter and warm grain rice.

An assignment for a magazine had me insecure and regretful, due tomorrow, 1000 words for a hundred.

I find a little teacup and steep the bag in steam and down the hall I go and I pray

Father, help me to write the words that someone is needing, that they read my words and begin to be better.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me

I go back for the tea, meet the waiting laptop and the notes scribbled and scattered and I read, I read before I write, the little teeny words on a square on a string I’ll tear off and keep.

And now, the article is done, pool time and blueberry creamy coolness to be followed by dog walking and sky studying.

Sunday, oh, Happy Day you have been!

Words and Pursuit

I love a pretty word, love the way it prompts pursuit.

Draws me to be hopeful it’ll fit just right, my emotion and understanding.

Love the way it awakens me, a word saying “Carry on, continue, you’re not too far gone.”

I found myself drawn to confirm my understanding, the word “ardent”, I felt descriptive of someone committed, zealous, passionate even in their effort to be near, be in relationship with another.

The book I read in the mornings is made of quotes and verses and very often, I must pause to understand the linguistic disconnect.

I’m not sure I’d ever heard it, that God was an ardent pursuer of me, a sort of suitor refusing to accept my rebuff.

Lord knows, back in the day, the nice guys I cast aside, rarely did they continue their pursuit, lost interest, lost cause.

Today, I couldn’t quite believe with my whole heart. I teetered between the why and His will. I wondered if others tired of wanting to understand but, being unable to believe.

Someone stopped by and her whole face was smiling. Another stopped by and she cried, I cried with her.

Another called and I apologized before I ever began, I’m sorry I’m pitiful today. She told me she’d woken the same way.

I sat in my car and she prayed I’d know his nearness, that I’d remember my strength because of a God who pursues and protects me. She prayed there’d be a break in my heavy load and that the big things looming would have His hand on me.

And it wasn’t all of a sudden, like a gathering of hallelujah singers all around, it was a gradual sense of God’s presence.

A calming factor, a sense of hope and an affirmative reminder that I believe.

The to do pad on the fridge, blank until today. Home from long day, I decide on a bike ride. The slight cooling down of evening air on my face, I pedaled strong and determined and never let up, careening around the curve and back through my yard. I hop off my bike and back inside, realize the day is different.

It’s dusk and it’s evening and there’s chili simmering on the stove.

I reach for the fridge and my note to self from early morning.

Believe God.

Now, I know you know I didn’t, haven’t seen God. But, he pursued me today and followed me and happened to have people see me, hear me, listen, smile, cry and pray.

And they were intentional. They were wholehearted and enthusiastic. They were passionate in their pursuit of my heart as I was of theirs and we were mutually ardent in our compassionate responses.

Goodness and mercy found me today. It seems it was not without effort because sometimes I look and don’t find and I grow weary and worn, wilted, drained and deplete.

But, He never lets go His ardent pursuit.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ardent, a word descriptive of a committed and fervent one. One who never gives up.

A quote from my little morning book from the Rev. John Tauler, born 1290 and deceased in 1361, 71 years of understanding of God’s pursuit:

For God is right diligent to be with us at all seasons, and to teach us, that He may bring us to Himself, when we are like to go astray.

None of us ever desired anything more ardently than God desires to bring men to the knowledge of Himself. J. Tauler

Oh my goodness, knowledge so very close to being too wonderful to know.

To know that I am known by God.

Wonderful to know.

Quiet Voila’

Last week or maybe last year, sporadic in my notice and recognition, I decided “child’s pose” was very much like prayer.

The prayer pose in the dark of early morning beside my bed or in the middle of a day when my pacing feet and pounding heart had left me with no place to go but to

Go there.

To hide away on my side of the bed.

You’d have to walk around to find me.

To hit my knees and find my soul beckoning me rest and my shoulders, lower, lower until they too are closer to the bottom and to wait, my muscles groaning in extension, I’m reaching, now gently.

As far as I can and I wait for God to cause my hands to open towards heaven.

Like a quiet “voila!”.

Saying, this is yours God, not mine.

Like a child, my outstretched hands are both released from my heavy thing and opened for the pure embrace of God.

Lean a little deeper into the prayer like a languished stretch and then ease back upright to maybe a sort of sun salutation.

I rise. I’m better, Son of God, I salute you, your Spirit, now.

I’m better today.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up for FMF prompted by “release”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/04/05/fmf-link-up-release/

Oh, and by the way, my book review of Kate Motaung’s recently released memoir, “A Place to Land” is in a draft right now, I’ll be posting tomorrow and giving away a couple of copies!

or you can order here: https://www.amazon.com/Place-Land-Story-Longing-Belonging/dp/162707662X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=headhome-20&linkId=3e098af8efaaaff2f28a716b3f563944

They Rested

Never random when she calls, it’s always an interruption for both of us.

Still, we are rapt and attentive, anticipatory.

We pause, we interject.

We listen, we add to the conversation.

We are one and we call one another from the proverbial cliffs of our own anxious waiting.

Sometimes I call her down, sometimes she consoles, corrects, cajoles me.

Either way, there may be tears. There is always prayer and always, always we are both equally better.

Or at least, we’ve filled a big chunk of the space in our minds tainted by what we are dying to know, what we are willing ourselves to believe all will be His will or we are plain worn out from devising outcomes from which to choose and get ready for.

We are both willful we decide.

This morning, I want to know more. I’m reading my Bible like the good book it is, enthralled to know more, I decide to read each account of the day between death and resurrection.

I choose Luke because of one sentence in what amounts to no more than a paragraph.

Just a paragraph, a pause.

John, Mark and Matthew all the same, a resignation of accepting the death of Jesus and a business transaction on the part of a man named Joseph.

“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:50-54‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The women prepared the spices, they’d taken care to continue in their parts. Verses before, they’d been told of promises.

Jesus saw their longing, their lamenting. He spoke of our own longing, our lamenting when and will and how and how long?

“But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Told them days of blessings are a sure thing. Every single word of Jesus was purposeful, was promise.

Was a promise he kept and still keeps.

As if saying, Believe. You will see!

That day in between, sad but serene resignation, accepting, doing what we can do.

They did what they could, they made the preparations.

They were careful in their role as ones who cared.

They did what they could and then rested.

“Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:56‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, I made a new to do list.

I’m in charge of some things and I’ve promised to do another. My children will be with me tomorrow for lunch and I’m ditzy when it comes to hosting and cooking and timelines.

I’ll read the narration for our cantata and I’ll sing and worship.

I added a bold bracket around my list and asked God to use me and my abilities as He sees fit.

And I remembered wisdom from another:

“I will when I can.”

Today, I’ll rest in my waiting. I’ll do my best to embrace the time, the day between.

Sabbath, I surrender to you. I’ll give grace to me and to those around me.

With anticipation and excitement I’ll celebrate the life and newness and resurrection tomorrow.

Like Mary and the others, I’ll hold on hopeful and wholeheartedly to your promise that it is not finished with me, there are still mountains to be moved and beautiful blessings from barren times for me and for the ones I love and humbly pray intercession for.

Prayers spoken and answered, she will call and we’ll sing together because His glory has been shown.

Yes, we have seen God’s glory!

New life!