Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Bloom Again

When I bought the miniature rose plant for my home office, there were about ten blooms ready to open. A couple of them did. Then, over the next few days, the others began to die and some leaves fell off. I watered the little plant. I repotted it. I put it in the sun, and took it out of the sun. I babied it, yet the leaves continued to brown up and fall off. None of the remaining blooms survived.

Looking at the brittle leaves and stems, I nearly gave up on the thing.

But, you should see it now. No blooms, to be sure, but long green sprouts shooting out in three different places. No more dried up leaves. It’s almost as if the move from store to home was too shocking, the adjustment was too much to support the blooms. Yet the plant didn’t altogether die. Glad I didn’t toss it.

Same it true for my relationship with God. My heart has shriveled up at times due to changes and adjustments and new climes. From one season to the next I’ve faced challenges and didn’t always overcome.

Good thing God didn’t give up on me.

Our Gardener knows just the right amount of sunlight and water and fresh soil, just the right place to position us for the best growth.

I stare at the varying shades of green leaves and think—I’m glad I didn’t toss it when it looked nearly dead. And I’m glad God never gives up on me when I face a tough season with less grace than I wish I could.

My plant has learned to adapt, which is exactly what I’m doing. God knows.

And both of us, in time and with proper care, will once again bloom.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Golden Moments

The sun has just dropped behind the horizon as I sit here in my home writing office. Twelve minutes ago, the golden light bathed my room with a yellow glow. Sure I had to squint, but I positioned myself right in the beam of all that sunshine. Words poured into my computer as I worked in that quiet, golden moment.

Then, five minutes ago, I turned on to listen to their live “Student Awakening” service and felt the presence of God tangibly descend. I stilled the writing process and just received His refreshing. A golden moment.

Tulips are finally blooming in my yard. Yesterday, before my dog could destroy them, I snipped the stems and brought a red and a yellow bloom indoors. They sit in my west-facing window. Their petals opened in the wash of sunshine tonight, too. A splash of color after months of drab. A golden moment.

Hysterical laughter with my family. Trips to and from church where we work on vocal warm-ups, which annoy some of those riding in the car. Singing loud and proud. Lip trills! Giggling. Golden moments.

Our new pup enjoys afternoon naps. He curls up in my lap as I write, and falls asleep. Love those peaceful moments. He’s not getting into anything, barking at the slightest noise, digging around in the backyard, scrounging for crumbs under the kitchen stove. He’s still, warm, sweet. Golden moments.

They don’t happen all the time. If they did, we wouldn’t appreciate them. It’s the wisdom of God. But I want to recognize every golden moment, whether with my beautiful family, or with God, or by myself basking in sunshine, and I want to be grateful. These are graces from the Lord.

Thank God for golden moments.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


He’s curled in my lap again. Sooooo sweet, these afternoon quiet times.

Here on my blog, and in life, I usually liken my relationship with God to my relationship with my husband (bridal understanding) or my relationship with my kids (father/parent understanding). But today, God’s showing me a few things through my care of our new dog which have me reaching for tissues.

As our mini-dachsie mix curls up in my lap, peaceful after our few short weeks together, I hear myself saying words I think God has been saying to me all along:

You’re safe.

Safe in my lap. I’ve got you.

Safe in our family. We will never disown you. (he’s been in at least three homes in his two short years)

Safe in my love. I will never despise you. In fact, I enjoy you, even as we work together to help you better assimilate into the family. (i.e. no nipping)

Safe. Loved. Cherished. Appreciated. Adopted. (we got him from the pound)

God assures me His care is protective. I can rest in His “lap.” I’m safe in His family. God will never disown me. I’ve accepted salvation and God has adopted me as His own daughter. I am in His family. For good. Amen!

I’m safe in His love, even as imperfect as I am. Oh, this unmerited love of God—so past finding out. Not only does He not despise me in my weakness, He cherishes and enjoys me in it, while I’m growing and messing up.

God cherishes, loves, protects, appreciates and celebrates me. That’s so humbling and beautiful.

I reach down and pet my sleeping dog, thanking God for the pictures He gives me in life of His love, adding layer by layer to my understanding of the knowledge of God and how much He loves me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

No Way Out

Have you ever re-watched a movie and worried about the ending, though you knew how it would turn out? Have you bitten your fingernails as the hero faces death, fearing he won’t find a way out? He has to go through the battle to reach the breakthrough on the other side, but you fear for him and wish there would be an easier way. That happened to me last night. Only I wasn’t watching a movie. I was reading the Bible.

I reread the arrest and crucifixion in John’s Gospel last night, knowing what was coming. Dreading the violence Jesus willingly faced. Wishing there was a way out.

Wait a minute. A way out?

Where would that have left me?

The same place I was before I accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation: with no way out.

See if Jesus had taken an easier path, a way out, I’d be hopelessly lost. I’d still be dwelling in darkness, hopelessness, fearing rejection, making horrible choices. Living to die.

But Jesus didn’t take an easy way out. He faced the bloodthirsty soldiers who had something to prove, the mob who couldn’t control their King, the authorities who couldn’t control the mob and the haters who just wanted this change-bringer taken down.

I kept reading the Gospel account, loving Jesus more and more, battling with the gut-feeling of “find another way” versus “thank God You took the way that would save me.”

Amazing sacrifice.

Amazing obedience.

Amazing love.

Amazing God.

Thank God Jesus didn’t take a way out. Thank God for giving me a Way out—Jesus.