Fat white bunnies and the changing of seasons

The last time I was home for harvest...far too long ago!

The last time I was home for harvest…far too long ago!

If I close my eyes, I can almost smell it – musty, earthy, with a bit of sweat and dust. I can almost hear the hum of the combine, and hear the wheat being cut and harvested into the hopper. Other than spring, when life was reborn everywhere, harvest was one of my favourite seasons on the farm. It was like you finally got to reap from the months of sowing, spraying, checking on things, and praying for just the right amount of rain.

My Dad has farmed just over 50 crops, dutifully and painstakingly at times, watching and praying as the seasons changed. But what’s the one thing you could always count on? There would be a harvest. Summer heat would eventually cool to the right temperature, allowing you to bring in the crop you’d waited months for.

God has a special affection for farmers, I think. What other job is there that so many elements are out of your control, determining your outcome?

I was reading in Isaiah this morning, using this study guide. It’s thick, long and daunting, but helps me ask questions of the text when I read it, rather than just reading. After prophecies of judgement on the people for how they had disobeyed God and followed their own way, God speaks in Isaiah 28: 23-29 about how the farmer tends to his crops. For dill and cumin and wheat – how there are specifics the farmer knows and is led by God on how to harvest, “For he is rightly instructed, his God teaches him.”

God basically says that you don’t harvest forever. You don’t “thresh it forever” (vs28). But in verse 29 we read the best part, “This also comes from the Lord of hosts, he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.”

As I stare out our livingroom window, fat white bunnies hide in the bushes in our backyard, foraging for bits of food. Daylight is starting to take form, and my heart longs for spring. How many more weeks? I am not a fan of winter. But winter forces rest, both on man and the land. And if we had a winter season of only two months, our Alberta land would not have the rest and hibernation it needs to produce the following year.

The seasons are the length they are for a reason, for what is needed to produce in the next.

And I am reminded… God is wonderful in counsel, excellent in wisdom. All seasons change, eventually. Always. And the tilling, and threshing, the sowing and the reaping – are all in his hands. My job? Is to be instructed of the Lord, and rest.

Whatever your season is today, trust that God has you in His hands, and will rightly instruct you.

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First things first: Getting rooted

 

I remember the moment very clearly, when I met my husband, Troy. We met online, and communicated for about 10 days before we met. I was standing in the middle of the gardens of a downtown park, at 9:30 on a hot summer morning. I was so nervous that my first words, other than “nice to meet you”, were “I have to pee!” We had never talked on the phone, so I wondered what his voice would be like. Thankfully, it was instant ease for both of us. We spent every free moment of the next five days together as I showed him my favourite places around the city, went to a Latino market, took him to church, and even met his mom and step-dad. Love grew as we spent time together, and it wasn’t long before we both knew we never wanted to say good-bye.

As my love for Troy grew, as I learned his character and heart, my trust in Him grew too. I knew he’d be a man that would protect, provide, and cherish me. I could see how he’d be a great Dad, and a man who would challenge and support me. As I spent time with him, the roots of love grew deeper, and my trust grew alongside that.

Trust grows as love deepens.

The greatest commandment that Jesus gave us was to love the “Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30-31, Deuteronomy 6:5).

For much of my life, I think I’ve tried to put trust before love. I tried to do and obey and be the good Christian girl I wanted and needed to be. I truly wanted Him, but something still felt missing. I’d ask myself, “Do I reaaaallly love Him? Like I want to?” When you live out of a ‘do-er’ heart, rather than a simple and beautiful love for Jesus, you can easily get swept up in religiosity, anxiety, comparison, and all things that are works and striving motivated.

Then enters grace.

As my prayer has turned more to, “Reveal Yourself to me, Lord” and asking Him to help me to love Him for Him, and not what He can do for me, I find that my heart is changing to, “But I WANT to obey and trust Him, BECAUSE I love Him so much.” He is changing my heart to love Him, on the good days and the hard days. And in the meantime, he is removing the weight of all the things that I often add to our relationship 😉

In Ephesians 3:17-19 we read, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

That phrase “rooted and grounded” refers to building a house. If you look at the cross-reference for grounded (BlueLetterBible.org is a great resource!), it refers to where Jesus was talking about building our house on a rock – Jesus! (Matthew 7:24-25, Luke 6:48)

I planted some parsley and some pansies this week. We went to this beautiful greenhouse and café for Family Day, and I was just itching to buy some seeds and plant something. When we got home, I was ready to dive in to the dirt, and just get it done. But I chose to research how to grow parsley inside, and it suggested to soak the seeds overnight, thus speeding up the normally slow germinating process. I decided to go the route that would give me the best seeds, rather than what was quick. It sounds small, but for me to wait, to take the time to do it right, is evidence of God working in my heart to submit to processes so that roots can go down deep! Small progress, right?!

We were created to love and enjoy Jesus. There will be so many things in this life that vie for that attention, but we must start here, or everything else is a struggle.

Jesus wants us to know Him, to love Him, AND to trust Him. But let’s start by letting Him reveal Himself. Start by waiting in His presence, getting rooted. Start by studying His character, His heart. Put aside everything we think we need to do to become who He wants us to be. And let Him change our hearts first, to ground us in Him. And watch trust flow naturally out of that changed and rooted heart.

What do you want? A simple question, a loaded answer.

 

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Lately, Troy and I have both felt challenged to ‘up’ our expectations. Increase our anticipation, so to speak. To not just strive in some areas of life, but to thrive. It can be easy to get into maintenance mode where we give thanks (as we should) for our daily bread and all the good gifts God has given us, but never anticipate and pray into what He wants for the next or present season of time.

We are in somewhat of a transition again, and more than just having a baby in four weeks! And it has caused us to really lean on the Lord as we welcome His good gifts, but also anticipate what treasure is in this season.

If I stop and picture our little girl, say, five years from now as we bake cookies together or dance with Daddy in the kitchen… I would hope that not only does she have a thankful heart, but that she knows her Mommy and Daddy WANT to give her good things. That she feels she can ask and hope. If she never asked for anything, I would wonder if she truly knew how much we wanted to give to her. Now of course, the decision is up to us, but in her asking she would be showing us that she knows we provide and love her and are there for her needs.

I almost feel as if Jesus is before me asking, “What do you want?” which caused me to go to my Bible and look up how many times in the gospels He would ask someone that same question, before He healed them. As if in establishing their desire, He was establishing their faith and trust in Him. 

Look for yourself. From the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Luke 9:41, Mark 10:50) to the man at the pool (John 5:6) to asking Martha “do you believe this?” before He brought back her brother Lazarus from the dead (John 11:26), Jesus would repeatedly establish someone’s desire and faith before bringing it about to reality. He didn’t do this with every person, but with enough that it stands out to me as something of importance. What do you want? Do you believe this? Do you want to be healed? Jesus questions as though challenging us to dig deep into what we truly believe.

Is He able?

Does He want to?

Will He show up?

And if I truly believe this, then why am I not asking more in my life?

John 16:24 challenged my heart with, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

There are some things I would really like of the near future. And rather than saying, “God, however YOU want it to go, I am okay with that. I will ride the wave. I will watch and see.” I feel like He is challenging me to ASK and believe in His good character and His heart. As though I underestimate His love for me and how much He is on my side, I almost hesitate to ask big lately. Do you? I feel like it is taking MORE faith to ask big things right now, than to let whatever will be, to be. The results are still up to Him, but there is something in the asking that establishes my belief that He is on our side, and that He is good.

Perhaps the asking is less about receiving whatever we want, and more about establishing relationship anyway. If Jesus says tells us to ask and we will receive, that our joy may be full… Well, we know that true joy is never is perfect circumstances or things anyway. That’s not what God teaches us! It’s about the closeness we can share with Him. So in asking, there must be something that He wants to establish in us … Don’t you think?

I don’t know what boat you’re in – trusting and seeing, asking and waiting, or holding on for dear life as God does some amazing things in your life – but there is something to be said for giving thanks along the way AND asking our good Father for big things for the next season of life. Because at the end of the day, the start of the day, and in the middle of it all, He truly wants to be there for us.

So go on. What do you want Him to do for you? Ask. I dare you.

Anything

My sister-in-law recently gave me the book by Jennie Allen called “Anything”, and it’s really brought conviction and thought. Thus, it inspired this poem. 🙂 Happy thursday everyone!

Anything

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In the middle of the night she awoke in the dark. A small light shining through.
A voice beckoned to her, come out into the woods. Deep called to deep.
She grabbed a light sweater, running shoes on, and into the forest she flew.
Tired and weary, the midnight moon lulled her to sleep.

She lay against an elm, shivering. When out of the night the voice called.
Dear tired one. Keep moving forward, do not stop. You must rise, awake.
She knew of Him, had followed His voice thus far. But then, stop. A wall.
Not insurmountable, but a turn was taking place. It was a self-quake.

The things she thought she knew, truths, were heading somewhere south.
From seeing to knowing, she knew there must be more. But wait. Sacrifice?
Nudging her to the forest, into something deeper. Speak from the mouth.
I have your hand, I am with you. This is the only way to life. 

But dear Master, I am not ready. To say and do the things I must.
Yet, like a magnet of great force, You draw me, and I cannot turn away.
I will prepare. Provide. This journey is not for understanding, but of trust.
Deeper in you must go. Until you forget, what it was like to be afraid. 

See with each step you take, you will know My heart much better.
For when one of you is set free in the forest, it will lead others deeper. Free.
I never called you to live hindered, locked in your bedroom tight. But unfettered.
Free to follow my voice, even through the unknowns. Until You really know Me. 

I will choose You, I will. But the heart wants so many things, and it gets in my way.
I choose the good I’ve chosen, only to realize it wasn’t best. You don’t compare.
Please help me to say “anything”! To know You deeper still. Be brave.
This depth is my home, no turning back. New life before me, a trust dare.