Friday, June 17, 2011

Jeremiah 29 Revisited

If you have read one or more of my Blogs, you well know by now, that I have reoccurring themes other than produce. My grandmother’s fifty plus year-old rosebush being one of them. As we speak, it has been dug up again and is being hauled two-hundred miles back home in the back of my husband’s F150 truck. Dodging thunderstorms all the way.

Has the Lord ever required you to let go of something that was so near and dear to you that it had become engrafted deeply in your heart? It could even be considered detrimental to your health to remove it?

If you said no, then pardon my French, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire!”

For fourteen years now it has been our every intention to relocate to the land of our grandchildren. We made all the necessary arrangements to do so. I sent my grandmother’s rosebush ahead to reserve us a spot.

Due to a myriad of circumstances beyond our control that dream seems to be on a permanent hold. I could not bring myself to entrust one of my grandmother’s prized possessions into the hands of strangers who might or might not care for this pale yellow wonder.

The truth is… my heart has been kicking and screaming over this one. You know the old saying, “Keep a stiff upper lip?” Sometimes that simply is not easy. About the time you think you have a grip, your lips start quivering and you look like an Elvis Impersonator. It may become necessary for two of your most trusted friends to stand at each corner of your mouth with a case of super glue.

There were many incidents in God’s Word where God’s greatest men needed assistance to sway the battle. Exodus 17:12 Amplified “But Moses' hands were heavy and grew weary. So [the other men] took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

It was not a sign of weakness that Moses needed help, but a life lesson of agreement, keen discernment, plus, the give and take between leadership.

The Lord gently reminded me of one of my former Blogs/teachings dated August 10th, 2010. (Don’t you hate that?) He told me to dust it off. I have included bits and pieces that pertain to today.


1a. This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Babel was not only a place of exile, but a place of "confusion." The word 'CAPTIVITY' means, "A FORMER STATE OF PROSPERITY!" CAPTIVE means, "ESPECIALLY IN A DISGRACEFUL SENSE!" Hello, this means your disgrace is going to be on display, made public for all of your friends, family and otherwise to see! Often times God is a God of ifs (requirements) before you can inherit the blessings.

"UH-OH!" PLEASE PASS THE ICE PACK - AND THE SHOVEL - AND THE POTTING SOIL! I looked these passages up in many translations hoping this would say something different. Don’t misunderstand – my roots run deep where I live, very deep, and I love my heritage, but I thought my future was somewhere else.

Can we really trust God when it appears we have lost all manner of control?

As I have chewed, and chewed, and chewed....I have determined that captivity may be far more involved than a prison sentence. Captivity could be our marriages, our health, our finances, our relationships, even our ministries. Captivity could be traditions of men, evil imaginations, strife, and offenses, addictions or unfruitful cycles or fears. Only you can identify the cell block of your soul.

A-h-h-h the wisdom of a rosebush….

They never forget what color they are supposed to be. They never forget their purpose. They are always mindful of their season. Regardless of what storms they have weathered, they can grow in the harshest of circumstances, even when they have been neglected. A little tender loving care, pruning, and water can create an atmosphere where the most timid of plants will venture a bloom once more.

The roots dictate the actions of the rosebush. Roots are roots no matter how you split them or where they are transplanted.

Honestly, when the rosebush arrived home today it barely resembled the pictures I received this past spring. The full blooms were replaced with dry dead leaves. It looked like the life was slowly draining out of it. I remembered when my grandmother once commanded me to get one of my rosebushes out of the garbage because I thought it had died.

I planted it anyway. If the timeless rosebush is anything like my grandmother was… it will just dig its roots in deeper.

At the end of the day I choose to trust my Maker with my future, and trust He knows where the rosebush needs to be planted in order for it to survive and bloom again.

To quote one of my favorite people, “Nevertheless, not my will…..”

t-t-f-n (ta- ta- for - now)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Group Hug

Today, I am walking in a different place than I ever thought I would find myself. In twenty-five years of ministry I see myself, the world, and the body of Christ, facing unprecedented challenges. It seems that many of my phone calls come with a cry for help from on High. Where could we go, but to the Lord?

So it is not unusual to find myself in an almost constant state of prayer. When I first read the admonishment from the apostle Paul to pray without ceasing, I wondered how that was possible. Today that scripture holds much more clarity for me.

During the wee hours of the morning…3:00 a.m. to be exact, I was crying out to the Lord for encouragement. I needed a reminder that He was hearing any of my prayers, and quite frankly, a hug would have really been nice.

You might say, “Sister that is a sign of doubt and unbelief!” Maybe, maybe not…it’s OK. The Lord and I are tight. I am His daughter, and He understands the cry of my heart. He knows what I need and where I need to be for that cry to be fulfilled. So of course, He sends me to Wal-Mart! Ok... I know you are shocked!

I was limping a bit, actually a lot, and was pre-planning how to shop quickly and more effectively; therefore, I was going to skip the produce department entirely. I just didn’t have time for any nonsense today! As my husband would say, “ARE YOU KIDDING?” YOU ARE AN EPISODE WAITING TO HAPPEN!”

Hurrumph! I’m sure he doesn’t mean that.

I was heading across the parking lot sure that I had not left an inch of opportunity for the tiniest of episodes. UH-OH…I heard someone yell, “HEY GIRL! WHAT CHA DOIN?” It was one of my all time favorite Wal-Mart buddies!

I am still not sure how we met, but just so thankful we did. We have laughed and cried many a time on each other’s shoulders in just about every department in the store. She is hysterical and we are always comparing adventures. We always say we are going to get our lawn chairs and coffee, park in the meat department, and just watch.

By this time we were standing at the front door arm in arm laughing hysterically. We were oblivious to people having to take a different route around us to avoid getting giggled on.

Before we knew it, the most adorable little lady complete with her curly hair, freckles, and matching hat and tee - shirt stepped into our circle wrapping her arms around us both! We were in a GROUP HUG! She threw her head back and was laughing more than the two of us together. Did she know something we didn’t?

She said, “It’s so good to see you!” I had never met her before! I was thinking she was an angel on a mission. The Lord knew I for sure needed some comic relief and of course, the hug. Then I read the front of her shirt. She held her shirt out for me to read more clearly, “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANY MORE DRAMA. MY SCHEDULE IS FULL!” 

                    Isn’t that the truth?

     t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for-now)