As I type, I am surrounded by construction work, drilling to the left, drilling to the right, and even drilling on the street outside my house. Everywhere I look there is rubble, or walls being torn down. While there is a lot of noise, in the midst of it there are things being quietly built back up: foundations being laid, walls being secured, and new designs being drawn. It is a noisy mixture of tearing down and rebuilding, in three different places. As I sit here, sipping my green tea and sharing a few quiet moments with God before the rest of my day kicks in, I am quietly reminded that our lives resemble the havoc that surrounds the place I currently call home.
Maybe you are in a season where all is being stripped from your life and things feel shaky and uncomfortable for you? It could be that there is a sense of old things dying so that they can be returned to you improved or mended? You may be struggling to surrender control over someone whom you wish you could change, or someone is trying to convince you that you yourself need to change too? Maybe you are in a glorious place of rebuilding and new things are appearing all around you, filling your heart and life with excitement and happiness? It is safe to say that all of us travel through these seasons at varying times in our lives, and we cannot always determine just when they will happen.
In the last few days, the word ABIDE, has grabbed my heart and invited me to be still, and to come away from the madness around me. This word reminds my soul that even in the midst of construction work, (whether internal or external), there is a place of deep peace. It is not found in rushing around glorifying busy schedules, but in the solitude of a quiet moment of surrender and reflection. Abide…Abide…Abide!
Are you rushing around in a state of mayhem, losing your grip on everything because you are trying to carry too much? A lazy man’s load never works, even with the things of the heart! Let it all go…surrender it to God. Choose to ABIDE in the knowledge that the only person you can change is yourself, and that God is walking and working with you to bring order to your life. I am right here with you…learning to ABIDE, when all you see is disappointment and change. Take a breath, put everything in His great big hands. Trust Him with the process, the outcome, the journey and even the tears. You are His masterpiece, so choose to abide, and let the Master take over…I know I am.
On a recent short stay in America the beautiful, I learned of two astounding growth phenomena. Mistletoe and Resurrection Fern. Yes a strange combination, but linger with me a few minutes and I will unveil this incredible mystery.
We were driving along the swampy marshes of Alexandria, Louisiana, en route from Baton Rouge to Dry Prong. While we were cruising along the motorway I commented to my dear cousin about the unusual vibrant green circular plants growing on most of the trees that filled the watery bayous. I found what she told me truly fascinating. She explained that this is mistletoe…and it grows in abundance there, but what is so impressive is that it can thrive on even the deadest of trees. I stared at it for the hours, days and weeks that I spent in Louisiana.
All the while it spoke to me of a deeper lesson. Let me explain…
Mistletoe is one of the most luxurious green plants you will ever see. It is shiny, vibrant and altogether lush. Every bunch I have seen looks so impressive I almost thought it were fake. So, this incredible green leafy plant can grow on the most lifeless host you have ever seen. And God spoke to me. Are you in a season where you feel or sense that absolutely no fruit or good thing can come from your heart or life? You look at your dry branches and make the evaluation that this is just a lifeless season where you have nothing to give. My dear friend, even if you despise these days of struggle, unanswered questions, difficult dilemmas, or heartfelt loss, hang in there, fruit can grow in these times. You are able to bless others in this time of transition, so do not write yourself off and bow out gracefully from life. You are bearing fruit that may seem unseen or impossible to you, but you are. Sometimes, the toughest seasons we walk through actually yield the most precious harvest. In due time you will see it and be amazed at how God uses your selfless surrender as a means to encourage and motivate those around watching your life. As mistletoe grows in the lavish way it does, so you are growing as you wait on God and trust His perfect timing and providence.
A week later, I walked down St Charles, a beautiful street in New Orleans, with a dear friend and her son as our tour guide. As we walked they told me about the incredible stately oak trees that stood like tall soldiers down each side of the bustling trolly-train street. On these monstrous trees, with roots almost longer than the trees themselves, grew another phenomena: Resurrection Fern. Incredible.
Resurrection Fern is found growing on the trunks and branches of oak trees. It gets its name ‘resurrection’ from the way the fern acts during certain weather seasons. During a dry period, the fern will be brown and completely lifeless.
It will appear to be dead and you would be forgiven for never expecting it to yield any appearance of life ever again. But as soon as the season of rain comes, that same moss will explode with green life again. As I stood there gazing up at these magnificent oak trees and the fascinating resurrection life of this beautiful fern, I was struck by the cycle of life it goes through.
These two contrasting plants spoke volumes to me of the seasons we all walk though in this journey called life. There will be times when we appear to be lifeless and sense we shall never radiate with abundance or blessing again, but when the rain of heaven comes, life appears and our thirsty soul transforms into an oasis of growth and abundance.
Dear one, which ever season you find yourself to be in, know that the Master has a plan for this transition time and by remaining close to Him you will yield a beautiful harvest in abundance. You are producing a precious fragrance that will touch and inspire many. Lift up your weary head and thank Him for the new thing He is doing, soon it will spring forth, soon you will see life appear. Whether you feel like mistletoe or fern, to Him and those around you, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
It was a drizzly darkish Sunday morning as I made my way into the city.
I wrapped my furry hooded sweater closer to my face and braved the chilly wind with a smile. I hummed a Hillsong tune ‘You Have Made Me Glad’ in my mind and with each step I grew more grateful for all the blessings I have.
Soon my gaze was beautifully interrupted by the sight of the cutest scene ever… a little blonde curly haired child skipped along the footpath holding the hand of a tall dark male. I assumed it was her father. Anyway, as they approached I grew even more curious and bedazzled by their activity. She was giggling as she skipped and he was lovingly amused by her joy. Then, just as they approached me he leaned down towards her and said “Hey sweetheart can I lift you up?’
I could not hear her answer but assumed she said no, as he then rephrased his question by saying “I can carry you if you want?” ~ Then she smiled up at him and said “okay” and lifted her arms up toward him. Then he leaned down and swung her up into his big strong arms and as they walked past me he snuggled her close and they meandered down the street.
Tears immediately filled my eyes as my heart was struck by the beauty of this scene.
As our words collided, I was deeply struck by the voice of God, speaking deeply and beautifully into my heart. He was reminding me that I do not have to walk like one ‘un-carried’. Yes I will always choose to be strong in the face of adversity and testing, but I have a strong God who lovingly leans down and asks me to allow Him to carry me. I may feel I can handle this myself and so not need rescuing, but nonetheless strong arms await to carry me through the seasons of my life. I think I am resilient but meanwhile God is whispering “Denise, I’ve got this!”
So, where ever you are right now…there is a voice calling to you…asking if you will allow yourself to be lifted, carried, loved, saved.
Say YES…accept the loving offer of God. He truly knows how tired you are.
Let His great big arms sweep down and lift you up. You don’t have to do everything alone!
You know, I do not have all I want, nor have I seen every prayer answered, but I know my God can carry me and that gives me strength to live a life of contentment. He knows, and that is sometimes all I need to be reminded of. So I choose to let Him carry me, and it is truly beautiful!
So listen for His whisper, lift up your arms in sweet surrender and let Him carry you!