December 16, 2014
This morning as i was trying to save my lavender plant, i took a good look at the stem. It was very woody and thick. On closer inspection i also saw it was only a matter of time before it would have died anyway! The thick stem was eaten hollow on the inside by termites! So what the hosepipe started the termites would have finished! Add to that the red clay soil which hardens into rock and it was a wonder that the plant survived so long as it did!
And that i, guess, is a wonderful summary of life here.
If the termites don't get you, three or four other things take over where they left off! One thing after the other to get you down.
You buy pasta only to find it smells and tastes like soap! Or when you place pasta in rapid boiling water you see you have bought an enriched version of it - aka the bug version! You bake bread and forget to put salt in it. The sugar is wet.... yes, wet. You consider to throw it all away but then you remember you don't live close to a shop. In fact you will only go to a shop in two week's time. The nice pumpkins and passion fruits are eaten up by the same blasted termites, the lettuce rot with all the rain. Wounds get infected for no reason, it's just that season. On and on. Add loneliness, lack of good friends close by, water problems and you feel what is the use of trying to stick it out? And these are just to things i am willing to name!
Then i walk out my back door and sit with my neighbour. And i see real hopelessness. Of the lasting kind. I see nothing to make me feel like leaving and everything to make me leave. Overwhelmed and in despair but living like that constantly.
And i think, why do i look at the waves and become afraid? Or why do i only see the charging Egyptians and not the opened-up Red Sea? Why do i chose to hear the enemy's discouragements and not the Lord's encouragement? Why do i let the termites and soil kill my soul slowly, slowly?
What and who do i chose to believe each day? All the junk that is thrown at me? Or do i chose to see God in my day? And not only a God, but the One who knows me, loves me and deeply cares for me? I want to lift my head, stick out my chin and look beyond the muck and mire all around and see Him. I want to. And i call out to Jesus - Lord, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!
I want to lock my eyes on the Prize - not a what but a Who! Because He is worthy and i want to live my life for Him. He gave everything for me. I don't want to be stuck in the mud! I want to run and be free to live for Him!
Oh to have Joy! To not just survive - to Thrive and Bloom!
Bella, oh to have Joy!
I was digging a hole. And crying while digging. No, it wasn't a grave for some beloved pet. It was a new hole for my most beloved lavender plant which was broken off this morning. Broken by a hosepipe as it was dragged along. Not the worst thing to happen, but for the timing.
I decided to replant the little bit that was left over in faith. Looking at it everything screamed this is The End. More tears. And the soil so, so, hard. And this in the vegetable garden (a safer place in my mind!). I was trying to dig deep enough to fill the clay earth with some sand so my lavender will actually have half a chance and as i was digging away a thought struck me....
How is it possible for these tender roots to grow deep into rock-hard soil? How on, or rather, in earth is it possible? I was really hitting the ground hard now with my hoe and making little difference! What chance did this broken plant have? It seemed so hopeless as I was quite hurt and angry and so i was putting some "effort" into digging!
And then a still but clear voice, filled my mind "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord".
Is that just not IT? Not by MIGHT! Not by POWER! But By My Spirit!
How many times have i tried to do a thing by might and shear power? Only to be disappointed and tired. How many times have i picked up a too heavy load in my own strength? Not by might. Not by power. But by My Spirit.
For sure, life out here is hard. And not just in a spiritual sense, we need to work hard physically as well. We have times of no water, or the pump breaks or the bread is all gone. I need to physically jump in to dig a hole, knead the bread or we need to clean out the very septic tank and many other small and big things. Things that drain us, things that get us down. But somewhere there needs to be a balance - a sure sense that God is the One who gives me strength to go on. That He is the One who helps me to have courage. Courage because it is not by my measly might, or my puny power. But by His wonderful all-encompassing Spirit!
I don't have much hope for my broken plant, but i did get hope for my broken spirit. God is here beside me and it is through Him that i will make it, nothing else.
And in times of HUGE discouragement, i can crawl into someplace quiet and know, He is working, slowly but surely. I do not have to hack my way into life. I can relax. God is in control and He gives me what i need by His Spirit.
December 11, 2014
Yesterday was one of those days, to say the least! I won’t bore you with the whole long list of things that went wrong but I need to name a few…
I had this really bad cold and instead of getting better, yesterday I got worse….terrible ear ache all day long, and to top it off we had no water, so dirty dishes and dirty laundry everywhere and we are expecting guests today! So, I was freaking out a bit when my dear husband said that not too worry, God will help us through it all. On the outside I was saying Yes, of course, but on the inside I was losing it.
Worry, as Ann Voskamp puts it so well, is belief gone wrong.
I was not merely worrying a bit, I was in a STATE of worrying! And this State was not good at all.
In our weekly meetings with the people in our village, we have been going through the Old Testament stories that shows God’s plan for this world – stories about Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Babel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses …. Stories that tell us Who God is, what He wants of us and How He is really. On top of that I am reading Ann Voskamp’s book on Advent as well….you know those times when God has to hammer in the truths from a few different directions all at once to get your attention? Well, this is one of those times!
In this morning’s reading she also mentioned Abraham and the story about nearly sacrificing his son. Abraham named the place where God provided a ram in Isaac’s place just that – God Provides. Yehovah-Yireh.
Now, I know this story. I had just written a lesson on it. I am going through all these stories of how God provided everything for the Israelites in the desert – I have read, written down and listened to this story even in a few different languages! (How hard is it for God to get my attention?) In any case, here we were without WATER. Does that sound familiar? I always hoped I would have been a Caleb or a Joshua, but sadly it seems I would have been just one more unbelieving little Israelite! Sigh.
Without water - that life-giving-very-important-thing! Did I go directly to God? No. I worried. Worried about the dirty laundry and dirty dishes and wondering if should give the guests only one group towel and order them to all shower at the same time? yip, that was me. And I was ready to give it all up. To pack a bag (the suitcases were too hard to get to in my current state!) and slowly walk away down the dirt road. Once again, sigh.
Yehovah-Yireh also means God sees or will see to it. And that is what He did. Not me, I didn’t do much except fret and worry. He Saw. He gave a Plan, like He always does.
A bit of background is needed here – we have a well that was nearly dry a couple of weeks ago and so we put in a pump by the small river to at least water the trees and garden, esp the vegetable garden. But I did question the wisdom of such a large investment just before the rainy season when the outside world will be wetter than wet! But we did it and now I see God had a plan all along – we can now use the river water (after a struggle to clean it a bit) in our house as well. He Saw and He Helped.
And so I guess, every place where we have ever lived I could have named Yehovah-Yireh. I can honestly say over all these years He has always Provided and He always Sees To It in what we need. I just need to get it into my thick head to run to Him first of all, to TRUST Him and to know that He knows and cares. I need to believe and stop worrying.
Bella, humbled by the Patience and Grace of God, truly His Grace is enough.