The season is changing and while I couldn't much feel it as I sweated it out cleaning up our garden this morning, everything pumpkin is plastered on the wall at my favorite coffee shop and it is coming. I think that very much testifies to my life as well, in these weeks of return from India. I've pulled away--from blog world but also from community. It's been hard and needed but this week came like a wave sweeping over me. Go, go, go and lots of saying yes. I wish I would quit doing that so much. This long weekend I am coming up for some gulps of air, finally. These words decided to start writing out again, too.
Internationals are spread across this town once again and it brings me great joy. We've had a few in our Cline House already and I am blessed to see the vision which has been thought out, talked through, and prayed over these past months finally becoming something tangible. We have a big bonfire for international friends this coming Friday. It will be a packed house and Lord-willing some awesome relationships established and gospel conversations to be had. Please pray.
I finished my thesis last week, turned it in and I am submitting my application for GRADUATION in just a couple weeks. This whole college degree thing is an accomplishment I never really thought I would see come to pass in my life. After this past year of packing in those courses and often studying my life away, I am thankful and blessed to see it completed.
We're always talking about how each person you meet has more hurts and heartaches then you could ever imagine, right? And the older I get, the more I see it resonating within me. This week has been a tough one in particular for me, seeing a dear little brother wrestle through an eating disorder, a precious family from church watch their daughter disappear into a cult in Wells, TX and there is nothing they can do to rescue her from the deception of the enemy (and these men), waiting on some results of a biopsy for someone in my family, and my beloved little dog Max passed away today.
After weeping over the loss of little Max for several hours, I had to come back to life again and work in our yard with my roommates and precious man from my church who just had a desire to tidy up our yard a bit, for the big international event we are hosting next week. Our garden started off as a great, fun, save money little thing but then turned into a big, gigantic, mess of a jungle. Something I didn't realize about yard work--the lessons that arise which are also applicable to our spiritual life.
Just looking at the roots to some of the weeds we plucked out--it was unreal. Some stretched for miles it seemed, so deeply wound and growing firm, even out of straight up chunks of dirt. When I would pull one of the intricate ones out of the ground, I would just sit there and stare at it for a few moments. All I kept thinking was how unwound my roots have become. I just realize how desperately I need to be that rooted in Christ, dependent upon Him for all things.
Then we were in the garden chopping through the thick vegetation just to get our bodies through, we began to discover so many veggies and fruits! We found five watermelons we didn't even know we had hidden under all that mess. Our Okra was the size of Texas and no good to eat, but surely it could have held a few records. After filling a couple baskets with crops, I just kept thinking how plentiful this harvest had become. Without me even knowing it. It was always there--I just wasn't going out to check on it because I didn't want to get eaten by bugs or get dirty trying to climb through it.
Do you think fear, busyness, trials, pride, etc can cripple us from seeing the "harvest" before us too?
Luke 10 talks about the harvest being plentiful and the workers few, so he instructs us to pray earnestly for God send out laborers. I believe scripture is clear we all go and make disciples, yet the laboring all looks different for each of us, seasonally as well. We mustn't neglect praying, as I am often tempted to do in the midst of the doing.
When I found out my dog died this morning, as my mom is weeping into the phone with his still body in her lap, I could have stayed in my bed and cried all day. I wanted to, in fact, I still want to return there. And of course, I have every right to. After all, I have hurts and heartaches with the best of 'em.
But for those few hours this morning, I picked up the hoe and went at it because in the moment that was the cross he asked me to bear. Treasuring Mr. Mike's time and service to us in our yard, listening to him rattle on in all of his age about this and that. It was the counting even the loss of my dog joy because as I do the steadfastness thickens and I am more complete. More like Jesus and more content in Him alone. A few tears fell while plucking weeds and at some point I start laughing at my roommates talking all crazy. The sadness has come and gone throughout the day, but I chose to steer clear of my room until late, as that bed was luring me away from the hope and promise I know are already mine in Christ. I don't know where it all meets or separates, the balance of grief and rejoicing in the midst of loss, but I just know the Lord put me in that garden this morning for a purpose exceeding that of improving its appearance.
He met me there when I needed Him. And He even challenged me in the midst of a heavy harvest of international friends coming my way.
Aren't you thankful for that? Even in the midst of seasons of great trial and even loss, He ever so gently lures us more intimately towards Him and away from ourselves, even if that requires a garden full of watermelons buried away to remind us of His glory and grace.
May we continue to be filled at His feet as we labor for His glory, trusting His holy spirit to move that more may know and see.