Enjoyment – Grant Us Only What We Really Need for the Present

The Lord’s Prayer. What a simply beautiful and beautifully simple prayer. 

This is part of a series of entries, and as in those prior (and the two to come), my hope is that you may join me to just sit, soak and soar together, and knit our hearts closer and closer to our most wonderful Gardener.

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He gives food to those who trust Him.jpgPapa, you are so extravagantly generous! Please give us today what we need for today, and keep us from missing the glory that is this day! And thank you Father! I just know deep in my innermosts that Your storehouses are simply overflowing with Your loving and lavish abundance, and that You delight to fulfill all Your promises of provision for every one of us – and then even favour us even more! Oh Papa, You just so delight in us! Help us to claim everything that You have promised us, and that Your Son, our Saviour, has opened the way to! Abba, You know our every need even before we even think to ask! You know too what we don’t need, so please keep it away from us, keep it far from harming the goal of your fulfillment for each of us.

Abba, You bless us so much! You bless us with what we see, what we cannot see, what we have yet to see, and with what we have come to take for granted! Oh Papa! I don’t ever want to take Your Love, Your goodness and kindness – your Heart – for granted!

You are the Father of extraordinary, beyond-imagination abundance. You are King of all there every was, is, and ever will be. You are Eminent and Excellence, worthy of all our respect and honour; the most elevated Monarch. Yet, your fierceness is protective; your jealousy safeguarding. I know that you look tenderly upon me as I dare to bound up in your lap, to dare to touch your throne of Grace. I am your child. I am welcome in your Throne Room at any time. Papa, I want it to always be in a posture of joyful awe and reverence! I know that I can dare to ask you to provide for me and all Your children everything we could possibly need for this day, and you willeverything inwardly and outwardly. You will – for our spirits and souls, and minds and hearts and bodies, for each of us uniquely, and for all of us, for the greater and greatest Good. For you, Father, are in your very nature are just so Good.

Thank you, Papa. Thank you so much.

Erin
Soil and Seed

 

Enjoyment – Beauty Above and Below

This is the time of year when all the plantings in the Spring have grown to their fullest beauty, and when what I see rolled out for me like a carpet of color and texture feeds every one of my senses. This is the time of year when I delight in drinking it all in, marveling at cropped-seedling.jpghow the Gardener allowed me to partner with him to make it soo lovely! Honestly though. I may have cooperated with him, but I certainly didn’t do the Lion’s share of the work in spite of my sore muscles and dirty fingernails. What I see on display before me was originally nested deep within the mystery of the seed, burrowed deep within the cultivated ground, springing forward in sprout and plant at just the right moment, a gift for me to enjoy!

I may plant seeds, and fertilize and water them, but I’m not the One Who fashioned these little dynamos of creation, nor am I Maestro of the orchestra that brings about rich growth and glorious bloom. I may mix nutrients into the soil and hope to have the right combination, but I didn’t create the soil, nor do I really fully understand the chemistry of how all the molecules come together to produce fine fertile ground for abundant growth. I may water, but the composition of water is not of my design, nor is how this fascinating clear substance that somehow nurtures sprouting and multiplication, dropping from weightless clouds in heavy pearls into the welcoming terra firma. I’m not the one that decides a tomato seed must grow into a tomato plant rather than a sycamore tree, or an apple seed into an apple tree rather than a hibiscus.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
(Colossian 1: 16, New International Version)

th-86And for that matter, I didn’t create me. I didn’t fashion myself in my mummy’s womb, deciding on the color of my hair and eyes, and how many strands on my head and in my eyebrows there should be. I didn’t make sure that I should be daughter to this man and this woman, to be born on this date at this time, and grow up in this environment. I wasn’t consulted on how tall I should grow, how long I should live, what talents and gifts I should have to accomplish what purpose. Nope. That wasn’t me. That was and is all God. He synthesizes and symphonizes every single detail of me, of my life, and of my purpose. Some may call me a multi-tasker – God, though, takes it to a whole new level!

Oh friends! Just as he created each seed to produce sole and incomparable glory, and the proper conditions for them to grow in loveliness and nourish the world, so he created each of us entirely unique from one another, to each fully flourish as His child, and to flourish with one another, and most especially to flourish with Him! Just as each plant within its family, each family within the flower beds, each flower bed within the garden, and garden within the vast garden of the Gardener flourishes, so we within our space and time. Fully growing and blooming! And just Who, or who, do we decide to listen to in order to assist in that flourishing?

Fully flourish. Fully live. With Him. Can you imagine? As really you, as really me. That deep part of me that restlessly and excitedly bubbles up, that I interrupt and rush ahead of to fill by my own often misguided and driven desire. That me that I get distracted and side-tracked from, and I incorrectly assume and anticipate for. That me that is protected by warning signs that I often blissfully or defiantly ignore; that me that I head away from off on this detour, and from the very One who knows and calls me by name. What’s the bright and shiny thing over there? And there I go, attracted to glistening lights of promise, assuming that must be what I am cut out to be, wanting to be a daisy when I am really a rose bush, or a rose bush surmising I need this soil when it needs that. And what happens? Exhausted dissatisfaction. Missing something.

Listen, the whisper persists. You seek what is not meant for you, nor will you find what you seek apart from me. I have been deliberate in creating you, and have taken great care in fashioning every tiniest part of you. I have a perfect purpose and plan for you – that only you can fulfill, just as it is for each of my children. Yes! There is more! Much more within you, and to you, and for you that awaits than what you can possibly imagine. But only I know what you need. I know you. I know where you are. Be patient. Wait on Me.  Yes – listen . Listen and risk, but also learn and return. Remember Whose you are and trust in the far superior ‘Best’ I have for you.  I will bring you to the fulfillment of your deepest longing and being, fulfillment of spirit and soul and body and mind and purpose. Listen and learn from my Son while you venture out protected by my Love.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message)

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Trust in the promises of our unseen God Who releases us from the ill-fitting, the grown-accustomed-to, the fallen-prey-and-bought-into! Trust in Him as we recover our unforced rhythms, as our yearnings are answered, as we walk and work with Jesus as He does the Lion’s share of re-centering our minds and reshaping our hearts! Lean heavily into Him as we step out of our lesser selves into our meant-to-be’s and come to grips with the reality that this world’s definition of “life” and “living” is not even the palest in comparison to His. Lift up our parched and exhausted hearts to Him, and rely on His strength to persist in undoing and untangling what I’ve sought out that has grown over, that has deformed and has suffocated the Tailor-made me. Recognize that what I need needs to come not from the created, but the Creator. Learn and know and there is real Life in His ways. Surrendering. Surrendering to the I AM my I am.

Oh Jesus, quickly come into the deep and private places of our souls and spirits, and reveal yourself, your most splendid Character and Love to us! Be our Maestro over our hearts and minds and souls and bodies! May your beauty sprout and grow to bless in unrestrained exuberance, and bless abundantly in this world! Help us to really, really trust You; to rise again and again to stay the course of transformation to the “me’s” You  deliberately and excitedly created on purpose, and with a purpose. Reposition me in spirit and mind to be the most glorious rose, or daisy, or fern, or hosta, or whomever I am meant to be, growing where I’m meant to be!

Yes! I want Your beauty above to shine through me, through all of us, here below! I want that fullness and fulfillment you offer! And Father, that’s what I want for everyone!

IMG_4284So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10, New International Version)

“Then Jesus told Simon, “Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching people.” So when they brought the boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
(Luke 5:11, International Standard Version)

“Immediately the man could see again and began to follow Jesus, glorifying God. All the people saw this and gave praise to God.”
(Luke 18: 43, International Standard Version)

Erin
Soil and Seed

 

Preparation – Getting Down and Dirty

It’s all a matter of what grows best in what condition, and in what climate. Each plant th-70requires specific nutrients found in specific soils. Most need help, my Mum explained as I unloaded bag after bag of peat moss, wood chips and fortified earth. Mine certainly did. No loamy soil in these thereabouts!

Many of us have an idea of what kind of soil nourishes our gardens. I’d been told, well before I began gardening, that much of our community was built upon clay. Dense clay. Slimy, slip-and-slide-in-your-rainboots-clay. Stubbornly-cling-to-your-spade-clay. Spit-and-splatter-on-your-basement-windows-clay.

Apparently clay has a great deal going for it. Clay is a super foundation for some plants, since they acquire strength as their roots forcibly thrust their way through, and firmly grip the soil. Because of that determined and unyielding grip, plants can weth-73ather extreme conditions, and become hardier, stronger. Perfect for asters, day lilies, black-eyed Susans, coreopsis and yarrow, among other things I was told. Clay soil needs a bit more work, but it keeps moisture well. Add a good rich compost to increase nutrient value and aeration, and my garden will flourish, I was told.

I find that the Gardener needs to work my soil too to see His dream for me realized. Too often, after he removes the concrete slabs atop, there can remain directly beneath a layer much like pure, dense clay beneath, unresponsive to his abundance of refreshing water. Like clay, I often dry up in the sun and harden in its pressurizing heat. But we have a tender Gardener. He knows the potential. And that potential he wants realized for us for he loves us that much.

I think all soil in every garden is eager to receive and nourish plants and fauna to growth. I think it’s in its nature. Perhaps it even shares in the joy of the splendor that it helped to realize. The question is, once God has worked my soil (and guaranteed he will), what do I wish to produce from it? What will be its harvest? Will it be resentment or will it be joy? Will it be jealousy or will it be love? Will it be fear or faith?

I hope that as he works my soil, the Gardener leaves a good trace of his DNA, his character mixed and blended into the quality of soil that promotes healthy, robust and resilient growth. He knows better than I that surface work is only the beginning, that in the deep parts there are too many toxins, contaminants and other bits and pieces of garbage. I imagine he knowingly discovers sharp, hard, abrasive materials over which scabs have grown. Still I know I need the Gardener to plunge his digging fork to do some deep-soil tilling, turning it over and over, so he can sift and lift out all the uncompostible, to liberate and transform my soil and blooms into more than clay and weeds. I need his aeration, amelioration and augmentation.

At regular th-72intervals, he blends in the rich compost of discomfort, of challenge, of lessons to be learned and theories unlearned. He softens the scabs and dresses the wounds. Painful, for often they are so deep and so encrusted and caked that I’ve grown used to them. But he persists. Seeds of his Truth are planted with generous abandon, moistened by tears of compassion, and generous forgiveness. He showers them with his refreshing and sanctifying water, his liquid love. Gently he pulls out tares from his crop of wheat, so they don’t damage the good that has taken root. Sometimes he sows more seeds so that his Truth crowds out intruding weed to starve it of nourishment. Slowly, what had been planted beneath begins to stretch and breathe and curl and bend upward toward the breath of his heart.

Till. Compost. Turn. Weed. Lavish sowing of Seeds. Water. Son-shine. He is the Good Gardener, full of tenderness, full of grace. He knows the kind of soil needed to produce a garden that flourishes in his Kingdom. And he prizes abundant flourishing!

My soil needs work. A lot of work.

th-76Will I allow the gentle-hearted Gardener to turn and till my garden’s soil? To weed it of seedlings and mature plants that choke out the Son-flowers? Will I welcome the compost of trials? Will I persevere and withstand the heat and blistering cold, to push my roots down further through the softer layers he’s prepared to the deep streams of water to strengthen them?

My soil needs work. A lot of work. Thank goodness there is One who loves deeply, gives cheerfully, knows fully and who heartily and eagerly undertakes my underneath!

th-42Some seed fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed ·grew [sprang up] very fast, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, the plants dried up [were scorched and withered], because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants.
Matthew 13. 5-7 (Expanded Bible)

“‘O my people Judah, those of you who have escaped the ravages of the siege shall become a great nation again; you shall be rooted deeply in the soil and bear fruit for God.'”
2 Kings 19: 30 (The Living Bible)