On The Twelfth Day of Waiting My True Love Gave To Me

The waiting was killing me.

More accurately it was the anticipation of what I needed to brace myself for…just in case.

A daughter-in -law was in labor and transition was taking too long.

I couldn’t be there to help, to assist, to see for myself.

And therein lie the problem.

The must-seeing. The must-knowing.

The eye-opener in the shade of the Tree of the Knowlege of Good and Evil opened all the wrong doors.

For me, this having to know, this wanting to see comes from never wanting to be blindsided again.

I never want to feel the squeeze of my father’s hand as he leads me across the wide main street on the way to my young uncle’s out of the blue funeral.

I never want to step out of a wrinkled pickup truck to crunch the broken glass and see the busted telephone poles and think the rest inside the truck’s cab are probably dead.

I never want to walk back into the warehouse barn on a late autumn day and realize I am fatherless.

All these nevers.

Jesus is telling me the fear that has tried to derail me, to take me out of the game my whole life, is because I have taught myself to never miss a blindside again. I’ve lived my life with my eyes wide open so I can brace myself for whatever comes.

The trouble with this way of living is that fear becomes a regular companion.

Some may say I am suffering from a sort of post-traumatic stress.

Perhaps.

Yet.

I am a Jesus follower.

Jesus, the One called the Prince of Peace. Jesus, Who comes to me with Love and Grace, swords against fear.

To fear is to un-believe.

Fear has tried to be my un-doing, but it has not succeeded.

All the anticipation moments where things could gloriously right or terribly wrong, Jesus is showing me how to take off the braces.

How to wait without anticipating a blindside.

Perfect Love casts out fear.

No matter the technology.

No matter the pokes and probes .

No matter the  calendar counting and keeping.

There is only so much the womb will reveal.

There are two things no ever sees: The moment of a holy whisper breathing into conception, and then, usually sometime between 35 and 40 weeks later..is it a nudge or a beckoning?

How does a baby know when to come?

The Lord’s Day of her delivery found me pew side trying to concentrate  while my son and his wife pushed through the pushing.

I was miles away laying the blindside aside.

I was practicing trust in the not knowing.

I was living in-belief, not unbelief.

The moment I got the call that she was here, the flood of joy and grace and peace and relief cascaded over me, but it was His love that washed me, cleansed me of all the fear residue.

To live without fear, without the braces,  is a place I am learning to live from.

The Word has the last word. He restores all things.

On the twelfth day of waiting my True Love gave to me a sweet grandbaby girl who cried right off with a fierceness, then smiled on her first day for her grandfather. On the twelfth day of waiting my True Love gave to me  my son,the boy miracle, cradling his girl child whispering father love in her ear.

I saw it all with my eyes wide open.

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Adaptations Are For Life

Adaptation.

A form or structure modified to fit a changed environment.

A life able to adapt, to fit into change without letting the change cause fits is a life well lived and a life lived well.

To adapt is not to say one is compromising, although finding middle ground is sometimes the best place to be when integrity is not on the line.

To say I welcome structure and routine does not mean that I do not welcome change…it just means I take great comfort in knowing that some things never change. In the midst of continual adaptations, there is One Constant: Jesus of Nazareth.

The one called The Bread of Life said: “I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Life sustaining, belly comforting,  heart filling, bread.

And if the cupboard is bare of loaves, we are in despair.

One of us, me, the husband or the the children, cry out:

“There is no bread in the house!”

There is no adapting well without bread. Without Jesus.

Adaptations abound in my half century life.

New houses new schools new churches

Tractor trailer trucks slamming.

Hay barns for playing and warehouse barns for living.

Appendix pulled bursting.

Father gone missing; missing gone father.

New houses new schools new churches.

The Bread of Life comes and derailment is averted.

A wedding and babies.

Then, a diagnosis that reaches up to swallow a parent through the floor followed by the adaptation of living with a miracle.

Heads and hearts spin for awhile until feet gain a footing once more.

The Father of Lights, the One with no variation or shifting shadow comes shining.

The One with no turning or changing leads now.

Adaptation does not mean I am going with the flow.

Sometimes adaptation comes with a fight followed by a holy limp.

Adaptation is a yielding and yielding always comes with a price.

You have to let go.

You have to let it go.

Sometimes you just have to eat differently.

For me to fit into the life that has been destined for me, a life that teaches me, feeds me forgiveness, righteouseness, humility, grace and mercy and love love love, I must be modified. I must change.

Sometimes it requires a chisel, sometimes it necessitates a burnishing cloth.

On occasion it requires the quiet waiting of Jesus while I lament, ” There is no fairness in the house!”

The still small voice of Jesus penetrates through my fits to tell me He will never leave me, He will never forsake me.

The One called the Bread of Life meets with me again.

He loves me with an everlasting love  and His is the Author and Finisher, the Perfecter of my life.

He is with me in every adaptation I must make.

He is with me in the yielding.

The Real Deal

I accidentally grew a potato.

Back in the compost pile I was, heaving my bucket.

Back turning the dirt treasure only to see a slender green tendril come out of hiding.

I pulled the green strand slowly, out of the mulch, out of the dirt depths of decay,  and at the end of it was a tiny, fully formed potato.

A sound of delight actually escaped from my mouth and I proclaimed to no one, “A potato!”

I had not been expectant. I had not purposed to plant. Especially in a compost pile.

I had not been thinking I would find anything at the end of the green.

I was not expecting it to carry weight.

I thought it was a weed, cast-off worthy and of little substance.

It is an ugly little potato.

It is full of blemish, ruddy, even scarred in places.

And it is the real deal.

The vines that climb the side fence are not.

I have been waiting. I was purposed in my planting when I laid the seed.

There are no flowers. Only leaves grow over the wrought iron and wood.

There were supposed to be red trumpets heralding.

Morning glories speaking of His glory.

The leaves are beautiful, but I do not care about them because the fruit of flowers I expected have not come forth.

This was not supposed to be.

Jesus encountered a fig tree on his way to Jerusalem with leaves and no fruit either. He cursed it down to the root.

Not because He doesn’t like figs. He cursed it because He doesn’t like hypocrisy. He doesn’t like trickery.

I learned once when a fig tree leafs out it is a sign that fruit is present…or very soon to be. When people see leaves it is a sign. It is a marker. Fruit! Life!

Not this fig tree. This tree was pretending.  Pharisee pretending. Pretending to send of message of goodness, of righteous… pretending to send a message there was fruit on its branches. But Jesus saw through the leaves. Jesus saw through the pretending and proclaimed a withering. This was not supposed to be.

It is hard to see real.

The vines on the fence are lush and full and everytime I touch the soft leaves I am in awe of their beauty, their velvet skins soft in my palm. But I am sad and angry because I planted and sheltered and watered and cared.  There are no trumpets and it was the only reason I planted the seed in the first place. I wanted blood-red trumpets to walk under in the morning glory.

So the potato sits on the windowsill, small, blemished and real.

 

That’s all Jesus wants. He wants real.

I want to be real. Even if I remain hidden.

Even if I’m pulled out of the depths and I am not so pretty.

 

 

I’ve Been Composted

The wilt and the rot fills the bucket.

On top of the vegetable scraps from supper and the fruit leavings from a mid-afternoon snack I drop the eggs shells and coffee grounds from the mornings breakfast.

Decay perfume wafts.

On a really hot day the stink takes over my ktichen and I have to empty the half-filled  bucket quickly into the compost pile in the backyard.

No one does this but me.

Perhaps it’s because I am the keeper of flowers.

I don’t mind putting my hands into the rot because I know there is life shrouded in the decay.

I am not afraid of the breakdown of cucumber peelings or  leftover asparagus stems turning black.

Old egg shells crushed, their insides dried out and lifeless are a joy to me when I toss them into the leaf pile.

I pierce them with my pitchfork when I turn them over and over and over. Till, till, till.

I turn the breakdown like I am stirring a big pot of soup.

The tilling unearths earthworms, long and fat and slow.

At first, in the spring, right after the last winter blast, the pile was full and tall, almost up to my shoulders with leaves and old grass and my daily bucket heaves.

Four months later the pile is small, ankle deep over the garden clogs.

The pile has become dark, heavy and….fragrant.

It was in the rotting, in the decaying,  in the dying, that it became small.

It was in the dying that it came back to life…richer, a Gardener’s delight.

A gardener’s delight to spread on soil for  tomatoes and cucumbers and black-eyed Susans and shasta daisies.

Nothing is wasted in my compost pile.

I have a recurring dream.

In the dream I am in the backyard of a childhood home. When I lived there as a teenager the yard was a sloping space of grass. In my dream it has become a garden. Everywhere I turn there are flowers.

Flowers where the clothesline used to be.

Flowers all along the side of the barn.

Flowers going way to back stone wall and up against the tree line.

Daisies and garden phlox and black-eyed Susans and roses spill and bow all over the property.

In my dream I whisper, “I don’t remember planting these.”

Then,  a woman comes.

She doesn’t say anything to me. but I know that her smile is telling me, “Yes, you did, you just don’t remember.”

This is when I  always wake up.

I don’t remember planting…

But are we not always planting something?  Sowing? Tilling the ground of something in our lives?

Sometimes we are intentional putting down seed, other times the seeds of our words, our actions, even our thoughts spill out, or get flung to a far place. How it grows we never know.

But God.

He knows.

He is the great composter, wasting nothing in a life given up to Him.

He uses it all, the dregs, the leftovers, the parts unbecoming to sit and stew and die.

God uses it all because He is not afraid of the breakdown of death. He knows the seed that dies will produce life in the end.

Will I let Him peel away the parts of me that I think I need to survive this life? Instead of a bucket list, can I surrender to a bucket life, knowing that whatever gets put in there for  His glory will someday get used for His glory.

Even if I don’t remember.