I love this time of year.. after a long rainy winter, we are finally getting some beautiful weather and the first signs of spring are here. All my potted plants are showing signs of life.. it is always a surprise when I see that they survived so much rain and I never managed to transplant them.. yet they are coming back again. Their conditions are less than ideal.. but they persevere..reminds me of our lives.
We live in less than ideal circumstances.. yet every spring we can look ahead with hope and trust that the Lord has new things for us in this season. The hardships of winter may have beaten us down.. but there are signs of new growth.. signs of life. I don’t know about you.. but I need to have hope for the future.. to believe that there are going to be surprises.. things that God is going to do that I never expected..I try to make a point of noticing those things when they happen.. even if they are very small things.. like my rose bushes looking exceptionally healthy this year.. almost ready to bloom.. a precious gift from God.
Easter is coming in two weeks.. a time of celebration.. rejoicing in what the Lord has done for us. We have this time to begin to savor each day and to be thankful for this life.. to pray and ask for restoration and healing.. to seek a greater glimpse of His goodness. This is a special time and I don’t want to waste it looking back at the disappointments..the desire of my heart is to experience the abundant life of John 10:10 every single day in the midst of the challenges and trials.. He is always with us and always pouring out His love into our hearts.. time to drink deeply of the Living Water.. to fill up so we can pour out that love to others.. Let it be so Lord!
I love this picture of us… pilgrims on the path following the Lord as He leads us forward. One of my biggest struggles is discerning the path.. probably because I always have ideas and I tend to be impatient. So.. I go back to Him.. praying for direction and when I sense the” peace that passes all understanding”, I know I am on track again.
I don’t tend to share details about my personal life on this blog.. but I thought I would today. Ten years ago my husband and I were living on the campus of Golden Gate Seminary. This week was the beginning of their last year ..the seminary is moving to a huge office building in Ontario, Ca and it will basically become a commuter type campus. This is very different from what it has been here in Marin County. I feel a sense of loss as they move on.. remembering so many things that happened there. Steve and I had a chance to meet and eat lunch with Henry and Marilyn Blackaby. What a wonderful treat God gave us as we got to know this amazing couple.. so humble and fully dedicated to His purposes. We were impacted by that experience in ways I am only now realizing.
For the last nine years..since we moved off campus, we have struggled to stay in our area and to continue to stay on the path that the Lord has for us. I have a small counseling practice and Steve has worked temp jobs. It has been incredibly challenging. During that period, his sister died of pancreatic cancer and my Dad passed away as well. My mother’s money ran out and she lost her sight. These are a few of the losses we have experienced.. there were many more.
We have seen God’s faithfulness over and over.. His deliverance and His provision. We continue to seek Him daily.. asking for guidance and courage to continue. Ten years ago God was preparing us for a journey that we could never have anticipated.. He was asking us to follow Him through jungles, mazes, and dangerous waters.. We went forward with Henry Blackaby to the altar ten years ago and said Yes to Him.. He has tested us and we have come out of the fiery furnace smelling like roses. He is our rock and our sanctuary.. our refuge and our hiding place and we will continue to trust Him with our unknown future.
Do you remember the story in Daniel chapter 3? It is one of my favorites.. The three men in the fire.. showing their trust in God. The king was astounded at their faith…let it be so for us Lord!
“Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”
About fifteen years ago I was part of a group of women who were reading The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis. It was a book that changed my life. John has gone on to write many other books..his wife and son also write. I appreciate their ministry and their message. This initial book is still my favorite..I often refer to it in my counseling practice and recommend it. The concept of a sacred romance was new to me and a little unnerving at first. Was God truly a romantic and was it true that He was romancing us in this very fallen world? As I began to open up to that possibility.. I saw glimpses of the goodness of God in ways that were wonderfully surprising. Of course.. it began to make sense.. we are created in His image … we embrace and long for romance.. He must have invented it.
Over the years since that time in my life I have kept the romance alive as much as possible..there were times when it seemed exceedingly real and times when it seemed to be an impossible dream. I read John’s other books and reminded myself that I needed to fight for this. I keep thinking about the reminder at the end of the book.. John writes ” Finally, we were meant to remember together, in community. We need to tell our stories to others and to hear their stories told. ..our regular times of coming together to worship are intended to be time of corporate remembrance..’ This God has done’, we say this, He will do.’ ..remembering is not mere nostalgia it is an act of survival.”
He is the Great Romantic who fills the sky with colors for no reason other than our pleasure. He created the ocean and filled it with living things for our pleasure. He wakes us up in the morning with songs..birds singing their hearts out for our pleasure.. just some reminders.. in case today is a day when you need them.
These photos were taken last night from my deck.. and no I don’t live in Hawaii! I wanted to share them with you so that you can remember.. so we can remember together that the larger story of God has a wonderful happy ending.
I believe that this is always true of God. He is always doing a new thing and never runs out of ideas:) The problem is that at times we get stuck. We may feel as though nothing new can ever happen or that we are forgotten or possibly we believe that the past is being repeated in the present. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Spring is the time when we are reminded of this. Every year new things spring up from the ground.. trees are suddenly filled with lush green leaves. The light coming in the window is at a new angle. The old brown leaves that covered the ground are gone..suddenly replaced by lush green meadows and the tiny blossoms of wildflowers. The earth is being renewed by its Creator God. He has taken out his paintbrush and painted the most beautiful watercolor we have ever seen.. it takes our breath away.
Every spring I am surprised by the Lord..totally amazed at His creativity.. so inspiring. His personal reminder that He is at work in our world and that He is doing a new thing around us and of course in us.
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
My car has been in the shop for the last 10 days and I decided not to get a loaner. Instead I am taking this time to slow down and rest and to be alone. Today as I was walking in the valley, I began to realize that God had given me a personal retreat over the last week.
I am fortunate to live in an area surrounded by open space..walking here is so beautiful..trees with fall color and animals of all kinds. Since it is so dry, the deer are coming down lower and lower and they are very tame. It is an interesting experience to be walking along and suddenly come almost face to face with a buck..huge antlers and all!
I am reminded that my life is part of something bigger..and that somehow I am connected to both the beauty of nature and the amazing deer that roam this valley. Their life is simple..they eat, they rest, they walk..they are not worried and apparently not afraid. A good example of how our lives can be if we walk in faith and let God lead us. I am so thankful for this time.. for being set aside to remember what really matters..to be with Him and to enjoy the gifts He has given me.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”
This is the buck I saw today.. He let me take his picture! Isn’t he amazing?
I have started adding photos to Flickr from this trip to Maui and a previous trip to Kauai in 2007. The widget on the side of my blog is a link to those pics if you want to take a look. Photos speak louder than words at times!