Growing Hope

confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, Faith, fear, grace, hope, love, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

Here we are on day 8 of the year with the number that sounded hopeful, a cadence in the sound of its number as opposed to 2020. 2020, the one step forward and one back sort of feel, stuck on the side of the road or bogged down in a farmer’s field.

A year I’d hoped to feel more confidence than persistent dread.

So, it’s gonna be slow growing, the moving into what 2021 has to offer and what I’m gonna need to acknowledge, adjustments to be made with me, within mostly.

No more of this snap of the fingers, all is well and good. No, it’s a practice, an intentional setting my intentions on growing with and at God’s pace.

Changing that leads to blooming and replanting to bloom year after year. Growth that’s not a result of impatience or self-condemnation.

And it’s in the darkness that the growth begins. Dark heavy thoughts that ask why not yet and long to shake off doubtful patterns and to be one and done with habitual self-sabotage to avoid disappointing results.

With God, I’m beginning to know myself well, the things I’m up against, the behaviors that are not for me, are against me.

And Jesus agrees with me so gently.

“Thy faith and thy love and thy hope will grow, the more thou seest the work of God with thee; thou wilt joy in sorrow, and thy sorrow will be turned to joy.” Edward B. Pusey, Joy and Strength Devotional

What feels like trudging forward with no evidence of better, quite possibly worse, causes a heaviness in me this morning.

I turn to another devotional, a popular one, “Jesus Calling” and I’m lighter from reading just one sentence.

“The weaker you are, the more gently I approach you.” Jesus Calling

I know this to be true.

I’m never corrected so harshly by my Savior as I am by myself.

I write the sentence in my journal and my thoughts go to the woman who should’ve been pelted with rocks with Jesus as the witness to her deserved punishment.

I know the passage very well. I imagine her waiting to be punished and gawked over by a large group of better than her in their minds gawkers.

Jesus surprised her, surprised the ones holding the rocks. They all walked away after being told to consider your very own wrongs. The crowd dispersed hearing Jesus tell her to go and be free.

Be free.

“Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, “Dear woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?” Looking around, she replied, “I see no one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:10-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

The bulbs on my daughter’s table are covered in bright green moss. They were the same for days, left beside the kitchen window.

The expected brilliant bloom for Christmas festivities didn’t happen, maybe I’d planted them in too shallow soil, maybe over or under watered.

Then, she moved them to a more open space, she cushioned the soil with soft pillows of moss that she and her daughter collected. The moist earth caused the stems to reach up.

Two bulbs now have little baby bumps, flowers soon to burst forth.

I’m believing. Tiny white flowers will flourish. I expect to see them on Monday and I’ll tell my grandchild, look what you and mama and God did! You waited and you helped the little flowers to grow.

Never having planted the winter flowers, “forcing” their indoors blooming, my daughter and I are learning. Once they’ve bloomed, you dig the bulbs up from the dirt and you put them in brown bags.

You save them to bloom again. You anticipate the hope of beautiful future (next year) growth.

Today, when I don’t know about tomorrow and especially not next year, I’ll think of the most quiet thing I know now, these flowers called paperwhites that decided to wait to bloom in January rather than a “forced” December.

The storms of my thoughts are stilled when I remember my strength comes from unseen joy, beckoning me back to a place that is rest, is a haven for sure peace.

“God stilled the storm, calmed the waves, and he hushed the hurricane winds to only a whisper. We were so relieved, so glad as he guided us safely to harbor in a quiet haven.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:29-30‬ ‭TPT‬‬

God’s love is constant. His rescue is sure. His cultivation of us for His glory is patient and gentle.

Settle in. Settle down.

This is grace.