A couple times this last week I pressed my nose to the window watching the Noahic rains and had the fleeting thought, "I hope all my newly planted things don't wash away." The clay and rocks that I cursed when the soil was given to us have proved to be a cruel mercy. I stood under a cloudless sky this afternoon and looked down at all the newly planted things in our garden and noted each one to be still firmly entrenched in their dirt home. All the seedlings are fine. The seeds are also sprouting and so are the thistles.
I love to marvel at how nature and gardening...planting, watering, weeding, pruning, harvesting so closely resemble all aspects of life. I wrote this sentence a little over three years ago in a summary of the Gospel of Mark. "Pay attention to how things grow too, it's a sign of what the Kingdom is like." I have old journals out to re-read about seasons where I was at various crossroads. A new one has been presented to me. If anyone ever sits across from you and says, "So I have a proposal for a plan for your life," get ready to do some praying. I'm glad those were her next words. "I want you to pray about considering this....." I've been at similar junctions many times... It's familiar....too much so in parts. I sigh about the weaknesses that still seem unchanged as I reflect on years gone by. Yet I am comforted to find that I am still me. That I am still plodding along in the same direction and that God still has His fingers in the soil of the garden of my heart. That the aspects of His character that I most desired then are the ones I most desire now, only more deeply.
I should have seen it coming. I've met a quite a few new people lately....almost every one of them upon hearing that I spend my days as a housparent to teen moms, asks, "So how long do you plan to do this?" Introductions haven't included this particular question for a while. First of all it's not my plan, so I eloquently elaborate by shrugging and saying, "I dunno. Till God moves me elsewhere." I wonder if I really meant that. I think I did. I guess I'm just surprised by this possibility because I wasn't looking for it. I'm not wanting something more, somewhere new, something....else. For once.
The sun and rain have already faded the empty seed packets precariously perched on popsicle sticks that mark what was planted where. (Is that a zinnia or a pumpkin?) So I stand on the horizon under the cloudless sky of God's lovingkindness and peer into my soul to see if anything has sprouted. So it is that I've forgotten what I planted. So I'm not sure what I'm expecting to grow.
I want to do an overview of all that I've gotten from Shadow of the Almighty. But for now I share that my heart and mind are stilled and resting because of this excerpt that I read the day after the epic-life-plan conversation:
"I have not the foggiest idea where or how God will lead you. Of this I am sure. He will lead you and will not let you miss your signs. Rest in this - it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you. This will sound meaningless to you, unconvincing and 'old stuff,' and that is what it should sound, for it is only a man's counsel. The sound of a 'gentle stillness' after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God. Tarry long for it." - Jim Elliot
our garden spot
last Monday's toolbox
my sweet helper
the young upstarts in their new placement
this heap of junk and weeds in the corner of the yard opposite the garden is going to be a berry orchard(?)....soon