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Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I am the way..." (Jn. 14:6).

The inspiration came. I knew it would, eventually. I've been waiting in half dread and half anticipation. It seems to me that any inspiration worth the effort to see it through requires commitment...oh dread! Yet, as it would be, any inspiration that compelling is, well, inspiring!

I don't know how it happened. I was dreaming aloud, as any sleepy little girl does while her trusted Father tucks her in. And He listens.

"I keep thinking I'd like to sit more often on the swinging chair beneath the tree and watch the evening fireflies."

"I'd like that, too."

"Yeah," I said, "but it's kind of hard to get there. The ground hurts my feet without a path."

"We could build a path."

...oooh...there it is. I felt it skitter over me. would mean enlarging the garden...extending the decorative path to become a path with purpose and destination. It would mean more weeding...dread...season after season...dread.... But then again, what is this "we?" This "We could build a path"? It's inspiring, that's what! Dread withered. I yanked it out and tossed it in the weed pile. And I fell asleep with a head full of ideas.

Now, where did I last put my garden gloves? Oh, by the back door. Shovel? In the garage. We have a path to build! I bent over the grass and broke ground. The work began. And two days into it, I was two days...with my Father...In. To. It. 

I pulled the grass back and laid bare the dirt beneath. My Father did the same. Laid bare my heart. And I stood up and saw dirt clinging to it's grass stained knees. Grass is a thin ground cover, but thinner still is it's stain. I leveled the ground and dug fitted indentations to receive each stepping stone. My Father did the same. Leveled my heart, walked across it, and left indentations that were shaped like His feet. I saw the pinching beetles, the stinging ants, felt the mud-fly that kept biting my shoulder. It was all there, up close and personal, what pinches, stings, and bites. What my heart has hosted and shouldered. I placed the stepping stones and packed them in, firmly. All leading to the swing. And so did my Father. We were building a path. Mine to the swing where we could sit together and watch the fireflies poke pins of light through the darkness. His to places in my heart where I want to go, but don't know how. But there are fireflies there, poking holes in the dark like stars with wings. 

How do I get to places of love when I'm too afraid to love, there? How do I get to Trust when the old pathway to it has been washed out? How do I get to the gently swaying swing, the familiar rhythm companionship offers. To the fireflies when it's dark outside? I know the answer. It's God. He is how. He is the path. In me. But He is a path not easily seen when the destination is not wholly identifiable. Kind of like, "I'll know it when I get there. Please take me there." 

"Will you get your knees dirty with Me? Look the beetles and mud-flies in the eye and call them what they are? Will you receive My shovel? May I indent your heart with the souls of My feet?
The path is living. It cuts across life...Mine. And yours."

I acted on His inspiration. And I am sitting here with my Father. Watching the fireflies. But I keep glancing at the enlarged garden. The extended path. I'm glad for it, but I'm sore. My heart is sore where He has stepped. It aches where He dug in. I'm bruised. But I'm resting on the swing with the answer. With God.

"We can build a path," He said. 
We did. 
We are. 
And He Is. 

written by: Carolyn Roehrig

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Victory Garden

I went to war this morning, armed with pruning sheers and garden gloves. And courage! Pruning is not for the faint-hearted. Pruning roses even more so. They go down with a fight, thorns aimed. But as I pruned, The Lord continued a conversation He started with me earlier this morning. 

I've been in Deuteronomy, revisiting the basics. The Ten Commandments, to be exact. This morning I was at number four about working six days and taking the seventh as a holy day of rest. And The Lord began to speak, "Six days of work; not five. One day of rest; not two. A day set apart for The Lord, not as a personal vacation. For holiness, not unruliness. For cultivation, not wildness." I thought about that, and then headed out to the garden.

I started out small. A timid snip here. Another there. But the closer in I got, the more I saw just how wild everything had become. Before I knew it, I was crawling under the plants, reaching between them and climbing over them. Pruning. And getting "thorned." Pruning to open up air circulation. Pruning to bring in light. Pruning what was simply growing in the wrong direction...untrainable canes resisting the trellis. Pruning canes full of leaves and new growth, but wild and terribly misshapen...deceptive. I loped every one of them. And as I worked, The Lord continued talking to me. "The world is wild." He said, "An uncultivated wilderness."

I yanked out a twisted cane and held it up victoriously! It was mean. Wild. Covered in thorns and small, rough leaves...grotesquely shaped. I tossed it into the pile and called out, " Lord! Cultivate my life! Remove everything from it that is wild, misshapen, crowding, deceptive, growing in the wrong direction, sickly green, dying, and dead!"

"Walk in all the ways which I have commanded you, that it may be well with you," He replied. 

The world doesn't like to cut things off. Doesn't like to remove much of anything. It's unruly and grows unruly lives. It'll run roughshod. I don't want that. 

I want my life to be a victory garden.

written by: Carolyn Roehrig