Maintenance – We Have a Place

th-86Have you ever dared to allow your inner child to imagine what it might be like to sit on God’s lap on a big comfy chair with Him, or to sit across the table and share a cuppa with Him, to lean against the doorframe and have a casual chat with Him, or even to gab with Him as you drive? I confess even as an adult I have. And regularly. I’ve imagined Him sitting in on a meeting, gardening with me, folding laundry with me, making dinner with me, even shovelling snow with me. This time though I was swept up into more than just my own imaginings, and I’m convinced what I experienced is as much for your benefit as for mine, which is the (gulp) why I’m sharing. If these words manage to bring any comfort, any hope, any wonder to even one searching heart, it’s worth my taking the risk.

If I dare reduce the very real, very tangible impressions to a soundbite, what would it be?

Quite simply:

We are loved, and more, we have a place.

Come. Risk reading the following in first person, as if it be you recounting it, for my friend, this truly is as much for you as it is for me.

“I was sound asleep, but in my dreams I was wide awake…”
(Song of Solomon 5:2, The Message)

It was as if I had one foot in the bedroom this nighttime, the other in a stunningly spectacular Palace, so dazzling it takes the breath away. I am abuzz with excitement and eagerness, dusty and sweaty as if returning from travels, standing in the arches ready to enter an absolutely strikingly splendid Throne room. There is no palace, no golden ivory arches, no garden on earth that matches the utterly stunning magnificence! I am hugging my Bible (though I know I am welcome without it), and looking directly at my King, my Lord, resplendent in His richly elegant long and stately and radiant robes, sitting on the throne with majestic and welcoming ease. Ah, how I am filled with an inexplicable and beyond-words, beyond-deep love for Him! I am so excited to see Him, so utterly excited that it hums in me. And oh my stars He is excited to see me too! I am at home. These pillars, this floor, this whole experience – all have an inexplicable familiarity to them. “Family” and “wanted” and “Mine” seems to ring and mingle in joyful song in this place. I am relaxed, filled with the serenity of unrestricted and unlimited love, with utter security in Whose I am, with where I am. I have a place. And this moment is mine. Mine alone with Him.

He looks directly at me and in His eyes and His body language, His whole manner really, I see and am immediately drenched in a love so real, so deep, so broad, so high that I know that I can and never will see its limits, for there are none. I have the impression that we have spent time together before: out and inside the archway, on the steps, over there in the chairs surrounding that rather large and substantial round table. A flash of Him walking beside me in my garden, lifting my arms as I shovel snow, holding me as I cry, sitting with me at my computer, hanging onto the strap beside me on the crowded bus, laughing with the family at the dinner table.

“Come,” He calls me by name. “Come, dear one. Come, my precious child,” I hear in my deeps and am soaked in the warmth of the real and kind and broad and inviting smile. “Come, and take your place and sit with Me.” Ooooo! I have a place, I thrill and I can feel myself squeal with delight! I have a place with the King Most High who calls me His very. own. child!!  With arms open wide, He gestures that I come close to His bosom, up upon His lap where I long to be.

I ignore the inner jeer that tries to yank me back down to the bed: Tsk! What are you doing? You’re an adult and don’t sit on anyone’s lap! and besides you’re not yet worthy – and really, let’s face it, won’t ever be. I wave its vapour away and leap forward. I just don’t care. As I run toward Him, it is as if I’m running through and am soaked in a translucent gossamer veil of Love, and all the soot and dust and smelliness of my travels seems to wash away, evaporate behind me. As I bounce forward, I am clean, sparkling even, and am covered in soft, comfortable, and humbly splendid robes. How did that happen? Surprisingly, I’m not really consumed with wanting to know, and my now soft and un-calloused feet press on the cool cobalt-blue marble-like floor as I bolt in sheer delight toward Him, the K.i.n.g., and gleefully snuggle comfortably into Him. He is delighted! This is how He sees me – how He sees us all; this is the relationshipthe culmination of the Plan decided at the foundation of the world so long ago, that our Father and Jesus and the Spirit had prepared all along, and made happen by His Life and the Cross and His resurrection. I am filled with deep, deep gratitude beyond all human expression, so much so that I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust!

I sit on His lap as He sits on His throne, my back leaning into Him as He is leaning forward around me, His Face pressed to the side of my own. His right arm is wrapped in a loving embrace, a hug around me, and His left holds the Bible that I have since opened in my lap. I have my King’s full and complete attention. He affectionately whispers my name, and I feel His breath warm not just my cheek, but radiate to consume me. I feel and hear His Heart beating.

“Show me. Show me, Papa, my King. Read its words into my mind and heart and spirit and soul and body,” I ask of Him, as eagerness to absorb what He is about to say overwhelms me. I am impressed again with the notion that to come empty-handed would be just as welcome: to come as I am, wherever I am is the most important. I have peace in where I am in the bumpy, sometimes jarring and choppy journey that brought me here, and in what I am about to learn. My eyes easily focus on the Word, and my ears on His deep and soothing voice that at the once fills the whole space and soaks my whole insides and outsides. My heart and spirit and soul lift and open themselves like a bud reaching and opening up to warmth of the sun, to the dewy rains of Spring. Even if it is correction that is coming, there is no fear bubbling up within me, no anticipation of condemnation. Rather, I know that I am truly loved, and with that there is only His honest and True wanting for my utter fullness to come to be, and so the need for – and help in – the correction of errant habit or manner in me. It is for my good, to prosper me. I swell with a whole host of emotion. With utter tenderness He wipes it all away, and fills me with His teaching and His encouragement literally lifts me up.

What other word is there than Joy? Joy watered and saturated in Love? Everything embodies Love and I am swept up in Joy in my every iota, every atom, and we share and savour and relish in it together. This, He impresses on me, all of this, is for everyone!

the-narrow-roadOur time is drawing to a close. I don’t really want to leave, but I am comfortable that I must – at least for now. The joy has not lessened in the slightest; instead another layer of contentment is added and renewed purpose is poured into me. I have a place, an important and specific place meant just for me – in this world, and in His Story: a place along my own journey with Him, intertwined with all friendships and acquaintances, and woven together within the greater and vast masterpiece that is all of His Creation, His Narrative.

Re(a)lationship” – this I am to continuously consider. With Him. With everyone.

I am caught up: He has something exciting on the horizon! He leans in first and we share a deep, deep hug as He tenderly whispers my name. Though not sure of the details of steps ahead, their duration or direction, it doesn’t seem to matter. I am oddly content with not knowing the minutia (!!), and am cheerful and I agree to whatever He has for me yet to do. And I want to live long to do for Him! With almost a nod to the Father, the Spirit in my deeps assures me that He knows the way.  I am covered. In many ways it seems.

As I bound toward the archway, clothed in freshly cleaned travel clothes, I look back and we exchange wide smiles. I will tell of this!, I promise Him. He holds my eyes, my spirit, my mind and heart and body in a crazy-loving gaze. Though I have a notion that He doesn’t really need them (after all, He is everywhere at all times I tell myself), I am captured by His delight in my sharing with Him ‘progress reports’, my ‘this and that’. Today, I am to continue to discover His Presence in my everyday, to practice ‘re(a)lationship’. I am to come back often. And He is so looking forward to the next time. I am to come as often as I wish and need, in whatever position – plight or praise, shattered or searching or singing, or anywhere in between. But I am to come. At any time. I won’t ever be interrupting Him. Never bothering Him. And never, at any time, at any moment, will I ever be alone.

Ever.

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God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”
(Exodus 33:14, The Message)

Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. (2 Corinthians 3: 16, The Message)

Erin
Soil and Seed

 

 

 

Welcome to Soil and Seed!

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“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”
– Alfred Austin

(for more gardening quotes, go to http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_gardening.html)

Ahhh… you might think. A gardening blog: a place to land and linger, inspired by hope-filled visions of luxurious abundance just outside your window. A gardening site full of sage guidance and experienced advice, hints and hacks, pictures of blooms and produce, landscaping plans and planting schedules! A place where you can almost smell the sweetness of the dirt under your finger nails, taste the bead of salty sweat on your lip, and anticipate contentedly surveying the finished carpet of blooms, or heavy vines of harvest. Well… maybe.

This blog is my first ever, and in its parcels and plots, I hope to share my love of gardening and the One who created the garden, who invites me to partner in its tending, who tends my garden within.

th-23You would think that having grown up surrounded by the natural and instinctive skill of my mother and grandmother, to their superior aplomb and finesse in the art of gardening, I would be genetically inclined to carry on the tradition. You would think. The only thing I do carry with me is a deep love for buds and blooms, and an unsurpassed eagerness to hustle and toil to enjoy the fruits of my labors. Even after all these years, I am still a novice. A keen novice with a khaki thumb, ready and willing.

The first time I ever picked up a camera as a young child, my subjects were close-ups of flowers, capturing the tiniest patch of petals, the soft cushions of stamens, the glistening ladybug on a dewy variegated leaf. I marveled at the detail found in these tiniest th-27corners, at how the color was painted, pulled and stretched over its minutely textured surface to produce the most glorious depth in each streak of its hue. For me, the garden has always been a place of peace over the years, an oasis where drinking in the wondrous beauty has encouraged reflection and inner growth in those hidden, deep places that only the seeds know of. Here has become a place where I often connect with the Master Gardener as He cares and tends me, and invites me to tend with Him His own glorious creation.

Like any new plot of land, this blog will transform over time from sparse to lush. There’ll be weeding, transplanting, fertilizing, composting, tending the soil, watering, and so on. I hope it to be virtual community garden if you will. A place for sharing: sharing practical gardening tips, and sharing our reflections and revelations on how the Master Gardener is tending our own inner patches.

th-30Let’s take our time together. Let’s get eager. Let’s walk and linger. And let’s learn at the Master Gardener’s knee, and marvel at how our gardens grow.

Erin