Look! It's the same weeds I pulled four years ago! And last year! How many times must I pull the same weeds?
It occurred to me that perhaps the Lord is saying the same thing about my heart's garden. I strive to keep my weeds under control but inevitably I let my guard down, grow weary or make a poor decision and up they pop once again.
Either the root remained or passing birds redeposited them or they were borne upon the wind. In some way they found fertile ground in my heart.
When He moves us from out of our darkness into His light inevitably the weeds will be seen.
A gentle hand is required to remove the weeds without destroying the flowers. Though, sometimes the weeding will leave open wounds, bare patches, holes in my heart that leave me aching and vulnerable for a time
I mostly keep my head down during the process, heavy and burdened. Should I dare look up I find my neighbor nearby bringing calm peace and trust to brighten my spirits, if I will be open and allow her in.
I look behind me to see how far I've come but only see a plain path. It's only after much patience, when He's done - for a time - that I can see how He added His masterful touch to transform the difficult, the ugly, the bothersome, the sad, sometimes heartbroken weedy parts of my heart into something beautiful, useful, and meaningful to me and perhaps also to someone else.
"One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I'm askin' from You.
Just give me the strength to do everyday
What I have to do..."
That's what was in my head this morning when I woke up. Marilyn Sellars sings the perfect scratchy vinyl version on youtube. (I'd publish a link to it for you if I could figure out how. Still working on the techno part of this blog). But, it's interesting that a song will sound in my head at just the time that I need a little encouragement. My friend calls it a "companion song". That's a perfect description. I could use a companion right now.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with life. Like today. I'm working on two very big projects at the same time, the garden revamp project and the re-do the guest bedroom project, both of which need my full attention. At the same time, I look around and see all the other garden projects waiting for me. Then I look around the house and see the purge the linen closet project, the reorganize the pantry project and then there's the Garage with a Capital G project where all the extraneous things from the previous projects pile up. Projects, projects everywhere!! Arghhh! Maybe I shouldn't look around so much.
I have to remind myself that they don't all have to be done immediately and I can set aside the jumble and overwhelm and just focus on one thing at a time. Like getting the guest room done before our family arrives this weekend, and then our friends after that. Everything else can line up for second place. Except the plants my friend gave me. They have to be planted several days before yesterday.
Oh dear, what's a girl to do? Well, first off, she shouldn't panic. What's the worst that could happen? The plants will languish in wait, the weeds will keep growing, the pantry and linen closet will remain unchanged and the guest room will be just a mattress on the floor. The only thing possibly harmed in this scenario would be the plants. Which may now be dead.
Okay... so what's the best that could happen? Everything could magically get done and done perfectly without me exerting any energy whatsoever either physically or mentally. Or I could move forward and calmly apply my gifts and talents to accomplish the tasks before me and learn to enjoy the process of "living in the midst life", and understand that it's ok to feel the pressure and pull of life's inevitable events, big and small, for there are blessings to be reaped from that.
Since I don't believe in magic and I need to exercise my "moving forward skills", and I am motivated by love and the deadline is just two days away, I think my choice is pretty clear. The most important thing for me to focus on today is the guest room because that most closely involves relationship and love. No, my family and friends don't need a fancy guest room to sleep in while they're here but I love them and I'm so happy they want to visit, and it's a blessing for them, and for me, to be able to provide them a comfortable and pleasant place to rest.
So, there. Thanks for helping me sort this out. I know what I must do. I'm gonna get those plants in the ground!! <kidding> They'll be fine. And though there are love and blessings to be had in accomplishing the myriad other tasks I could do around the house, today I'm gonna go for the guest room kind.
I've finally come to realize that it's okay if others don't agree with my opinions or the way I conduct my life. To some my life may seem random, without focus or purpose. It seems that way to me sometimes for I have not accomplished any great thing, by the world's standards. But I have been married to the same man for 38 straight years-in-a-row-one-right-after-the-other, and we like each other better now than when we married. That's so amazing, especially when I think of those difficult times when we could have chosen to separate. Each time we chose to work it out. Those were the best decisions I ever made.
I believe all things work together for the good of those whose hearts are seeking after God. All of the things and events that have happened to us, all the choices we've made in our lives, the things that make up our individual histories, are all integrated into the people we are today. The good, the bad and the ugly, to quote a famous saying.
Problems may occur if we deny those events, decisions, choices. In fact, I'm going to be bold and say that problems will occur if we deny our past. Like our Creator YHWH, we are made body, soul and spirit to reflect Him, Father, Son, Spirit; yet in a mystery yet to be fully understood, integrated into one. If we have unresolved issues hidden in our hearts it affects our entire being and eventually those deep things will work their way up like rocks in the ground work their way to the surface to bend the blades on our lawnmowers.
We have to accept the choices we've made and make amends if we need to and are able. That means we need to ask for forgiveness from God and others, or extend forgiveness, even if it's <gasp!> God we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness is the great releaser. It frees us to let go of the event, removes the hook from our heart that continually catches us so we are free to be healed and move forward into life.
This does not mean, however, that we can flaunt the bad or even good choices we've made in life, for that demonstrates pride in ourselves and shows we find our identity in our hardships or accomplishments; or our accomplishment in overcoming our hardships; or in ourselves, a tenuous being who is changing every day. But neither should we deny them if we are to be whole and available to engage with others and embrace life in our present.
Measure by measure, freedom comes from the balance of embracing our past tempered with living honestly before God, ourselves and others. If someone asks, tell them the truth, using wisdom as to how much you tell them. Some are unable to handle the whole truth all at once.
This is a process that is never complete, will never be complete. For the rest of our lives there will always be another rock that will surface. This, too, is something we must accept. This is one facet of how a life must be lived. Acceptance of our past coupled with the pursuit and allowance of healing will birth a life well-lived with as few regrets as possible.
Has it really been almost a year since I've visited my own site? Yes, it seems it has. I must confess, I've been a bit frightened of this new venture, allowing strangers into the secret recesses and dark passages that comprise the personal world of my mind.
It's time, though, to get this show on the road. I have a plan, to strike out and follow the path set out for me. I know, in my first post, I talked about this very same thing ~ if I'm a writer, then write. Okay, so it's takes me a while to get with the program.
Yesterday I had some very profound thoughts but today they're gone. I wish I'd written them down yesterday.
I sit and daydream ~ the thing I do best ~ and thousands of wonderful ideas float by, like the beautiful blue sky that peeks through the clouds that float across the valley.
I also want this site to be helpful to those who stop by. Things like yummy recipes, other excellent websites, thoughtful discoveries about life itself, the ups and downs of gardening and homemaking. And even the exciting adventures I have with my Abba.
So, I suppose this little post is a re-introduction of myself to this baby site of mine. A re-familiarization and a reminder of what I believe I'm supposed to do.
Is that a word, re-familiarization? If not, I'm going to make in one.
"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
from whence shall my help come?
My help comes from YHVH,
Who made heaven and earth."
Yesterday, my precious friend and her daughter-in-law surprised me by stopping by my office during my lunch break. Suddenly, this beautiful face peered through the window at me as I sat at my desk. Sometimes patients (I work for a medical professional in town), will do that when they don't believe the "CLOSED" sign hanging on the door really means it. I can be rather impatient, preferring patient-free lunches but friends are good to stop by, and Susie, the friend of my heart, can stop by anytime.
Katie, Susie's daughter-in-law, and Perry, Susie's son, just moved up to the Peninsula this past weekend and Susie and Katie were shopping for various things for the house the kids just rented. They eventually want to purchase a home so Susie and Katie had driven by a place up on the hillside. So, of course, I had to see what they saw, so we looked up the listing online. The house is nice, a bit of a fixer but the location and property are phenomenal - 10 acres, sweeping view of the Strait, lots of trees and tons of potential for a young couple just starting out. What is it they say about property? Location, location, location!
Now, you have to know, that since the moment my family moved from Lake Tahoe to the high desert of Lancaster, CA, in 1971, my heart has longed for and searched for a way to return to the beauty of the water and mountains. Over the years I've mourned as if for a lost lover - which, right there, should have been a clue something was out of balance.
So when we moved here to the Olympic Peninsula, from Sacramento, CA, it felt familiar, like home. The water, the mountains, the most indescribable evening-sky-blue I'd ever seen. It was as if someone had taken Lake Tahoe and stretched it over the horizon in all directions. The way the trees here flow down the mountains to greet the water is the most satisfyingly beautiful sight I can think of. I have a visceral reaction to this beauty.
We rented our quirky little house in the perfect bluff location for almost two years, but, naturally, the time came when our landlord decided he wanted his house back. We had 2 months. Our budget was limited, it was 2008, and housing prices had come down. We discussed renting again vs. buying and decided to give ourselves until the end of the first month to find a place to buy. I so did not want to rent again. Emotionally, I'm a terrible renter.
We probably looked at 30 houses from Sequim to Port Angeles, either made, or attempted to make, offers on three different ones but each time someone beat us out. Running out of time, we remembered the very first house we had looked at and went back for a second look. It had an odd shaped lot, the carpet stunk, the floors creaked like an out of tune orchestra, it was nearly barren of trees and had scrubby grass instead of lush ferns, but it was in a good "location" surrounded by very nice homes. It didn't have the water view which I longed for but "it had a nice mountain view" and was the best thing out there in our price range.
To stick within our time frame we needed to make an offer that day. It wasn't our dream home, but we decided, despite it's shortcomings (is any house ever perfect?), we should make an offer and let God decide if it was the place for us.
Our offer was accepted. We moved. I mourned.
Fast forward four years. Even though we've done some "fixing-up-of-the-place", it is not, was not, at all what I'd hoped for, dreamed of, longed for. It's still barren, rocky ground mirrors the way I feel about my life. We have no children and I'd chosen to spend most of my early adult years pursuing doctors and pregnancy over building a career. The inability to conceive really takes a toll on one's self-esteem, self-worth and emotions and I didn't much care about having a career. Perhaps that will be a story for another day...
Suffice it to say, since the moment we moved off that bluff, I've found myself, again, longing for, searching for a way to get back to the water and the mountains. I confess, okay, I'm jealous of anyone with a water view and trees. It sounds childish, I know, that this simple desire could so completely overcome me in such a powerful way.
Lately, this demon has lain mostly dormant in my spirit but, yesterday, when Susie, Katie and I looked at this house online, jealousy reared it's head in a most powerful way. All my disappointments and unfulfilled dreams of family, house and home, which I blamed God for, all the questions and jealousy spewed from deep down and actually caused me to feel nauseous. In the few minutes remaining of my lunch break after Susie and Katie left, fighting back tears, so as not to totally ruin my makeup, I had to ask God to please show me what this was all about. The mournful lump sat heavily on my spirit threatening to erupt into tears with the slightest permission. I had to swallow hard.
Two hours later, He finally answered me. Speaking to my heart He said, "Why should I give you your dream house when you have rejected and neglected to love and build Mine?" It sounds like a rebuke, but rather, it was more of a loving correction. His voice was saturated with sadness and longing. Metaphorically speaking, as I was already sitting down, this word knocked me back into my chair, a little stunned. My heart broke as I felt His heart break and I felt the same deep remorse as when I had done an awful deed toward my husband, breaking his heart. I worked my way through the mucky mess of emotions and found the path to confession and repentance. I declared my love for my Father and His House and people, and my acceptance of whatever restitution He would require of me. He said He wanted me to share this, so I now do as He asks. I hope I have not destroyed our relationship completely. I long to be restored to Him and ask nothing of Him. I am afraid He won't want me back. I tentatively lay at His feet and wait and see.
Though I'm still trying to discern the full meaning of Father's words, I've done a little soul-searching. One thing I've found is that, for some reason, I think God owes me this dream house. After all, He denied me parents (I'm adopted), He took me from my beloved Lake Tahoe to the awful desert, He denied me children when all family members and friends all around me popped them out like bunny rabbits, He seems to bless everyone with everything but for me He only offers more brokenness and requires more obedience.
Whoa! Hold it right there Little Missy!! Rrreeewwwinnnddd that tape!! If He hadn't allowed you to be adopted, you would not have had parents, wonderful ones, who moved you to Tahoe in the first place; if you didn't have all those loving and dear family members and friends bringing babies forth through sacrifices of pain, there would be none at all in your life. If He hadn't allowed difficult events in your life to strengthen you, you'd be a weak, dependent, sniveling mess. And have you even looked around lately at all the blessings of beauty, shelter, clothing, health and sustenance your Mighty Father has given you? You don't shake a stick at that kind of blessing! Not only did He Handpick you but He Handpicked and delivered these specific events and people to you, with your specific character in mind. I charge you, child, to look with fresh eyes and be thankful. Look to the Mountain Who gives Life. To the One From Whom Breath flows and Whose Light glows.
"He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
YHVH is your keeper; YHVH is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
YHVH will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
YHVH will guard your going out and your coming in from this time
forth and forever." ~~~Psalm 121:3-8.
Sometimes I just need a swift kick in my sometimes ungrateful, whiny backside to restore perspective. Obviously, I'm still learning to be thankful. Along with every day comes a lesson on this subject.
I've also realized that it's not my Father who hesitates to restore our relationship. He's always faithful and quick to forgive and draw near. It's me who is the tentative, hesitant one, unable to approach Him, hindered by fear that I've wounded beyond repair, worthy only of rejection. He waits for me to forgive myself, all the while longing with open arms for my return. I want no other lover besides Him. I do know what real blessings are and I intend to weigh my dreams against these true treasures. I want to thank God, my Papa, for exactly what I have, who I am, that I am.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains, you know, the ones that I see through my huge sunny south-facing picture window, set into the sturdy wall of the little house that He gave to shelter me. The same mountains that tower above the valley which He settled into this exquisitely beautiful Peninsula to which, because of His magnificent love for me, He so graciously brought me.
Then, I'm going to look to my Mountain, Himself, from whence comes my help and remember that He is my true blessing, a truly exquisite shelter. My Perfect Dream Home.
Have you ever awakened one morning with that dreadful feeling of remorse over something you'd done the night before? I have, more than a few times. Like when we'd spent more than we had on something we didn't need or when I'd done or said something really idiotic. And like that time when I'd had too much to drink ~ oh, wait, that was just a plain 'ole hangover.
Well, after posting my first blog late last night, this morning I performed that self-check, scanning heart and soul for heavy blobs of remorse. To my surprise and relief I felt none, not even a remnant. Instead a very real peace rested there. Then I realized that I had only done what God had asked me to do. If it turned out badly or if somebody took offense, well, He was the One Who'd asked me to do this. Not, mind you, that I would turn and blame Him. I prefer not to offend or anger anyone and I'd do my best to take responsibility for any bad writing and apologize when necessary. But there was, still is, a peace in my heart knowing that stepping out in faith, doing what He'd asked me to do, created a safe resting place in Him. If someone hated something I wrote, I could just point them to God and He could deal with them. Then with a swift kick of a click, I could delete their rude comment from my site.
In last nights blog I referenced The Whisperer of Love and Healing. God Himself. For years, He's been after me, very patiently urging me to write down the things of my heart. Last night, I finally caved in, created this site and posted my first blog. I couldn't take His loving, woo-ful nagging any longer.
Now this morning, this remorseful-free morning, having established within myself, this purpose of writing, I am free to dance within sentence structures, play with adverbs, nouns and adjectives, lift up phrases like banners to the Son.
It's so sweet, this freedom.