Last week I made a comment about feeling like life was passing me by when I was a mother of small children. Every day I set another milestone ahead of me as a goal to get past. Like this one: If I can just make it till they are sleeping through the night …
… off the bottle
… out of diapers
… into school
… and so on.
I remember thinking, I should be enjoying this stage more. Everyone tells me it goes by fast. But no matter how many pep talks I gave myself, there were days when I was sure God had made a mistake. I mean, how do you take a woman who was born to complete projects, and assign her to a life where nothing is every completed? I was certain God meant for me to find meaning and purpose outside of my assignments at home.
Here’s how bad it was on some days. If Mary Engelbreit herself had knocked on my door to deliver a hand-painted picture with the the saying “Bloom where you are planted” I seriously might have slapped her.
It was in the middle of that difficult period of my life that God moved my family across country from Arizona to North Carolina. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any harder – it did. It was only for two years but I was devastated. I felt like I was so close to regaining my “real” life, and just when I could almost touch it, God ripped it out from under me. Well, I didn’t really blame God. It was more my husband’s fault, as I saw it.
But just when I was determined to suffer in Southern-fried misery – and with a husband who had taken me sooooo far out of God’s will (at least as I saw it) – God taught me a lesson. And wouldn’t you guess, it had to do with blooming where I was planted.
Seems I had it wrong. The blooming God needed to happen wasn’t in my circumstances. I wasn’t supposed to figure out how to do more in the midst of challenges. God didn’t want me to work harder to overcome my “limitations.” Instead He had something new in mind. God didn’t want more of the old.
God had a fresh vision for me … and the blooming needed to happen inside my heart. In the midst of what very difficult, lonely, and disregarded circumstances – God wanted something new to grow.
- In the midst of feeling unappreciated, God wanted gratefulness to grow.
- In feeling overlooked, God was training me to look to Him for affirmation.
- Instead of rushing to the next moment to happen, God wanted me to find Him in the current one. He needed me to mine more value out of the present.
God needed me to stop trying so hard to control the circumstances, and to trust that He wouldn’t let any hard time go to waste. Yes, He knew it was hard for me. After all, He made me. But He also knew there was still work to be done. It was a time for my insides to match my outsides.
Typing those words on a blog makes it sound like a simple, clean process. It wasn’t. It took years to accept that God had (has) something to teach me smack-dab in the middle a hard times – and I’ve have MANY more since then. And sometimes it takes daily (hourly) pausing from the struggle of the moment and looking up to Him for advice, encouragement and refreshment.
Last week I was driving when I saw one of my favorite sites in the desert: the saguaro cacti are blooming. And the image of a beautiful flower perched amidst thorns seemed perfect for this message. So I took a few photos to share with you.
And then God put this Scripture into my mind:
“Forget the former things;do not dwell on the past.See, I am doing a new thing!Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
Are you feeling weary today, dear one. Take some time to read Isaiah 43. It’s a beautiful reminder that God sees you, and has not forgotten you. He may or may not change your circumstances, but He can do a new thing in your heart.
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In His abundant and refreshing love,