Friday, April 20, 2012

Dandelions aka Weeds

So some of you may have noticed that more and more time seems to pass between each blog post. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all my laptop has still not recovered from it's blue screen crash and it's really difficult with out it. Secondly, I've been really busy. I can see the eyes rolling now. Typical, right? Well it certainly hasn't been because of a lack of ideas. I've been gardening. Can't get any more metaphorical then that!

Like everything else, Father has a way of making all things work for good and somehow, if we allow it, we can learn something, even from the worst experiences. On a light hearted note, I'd like to share a couple things I've learned today. From mowing the yard.

Yes, you heard, or rather read, correctly. I. Mowed.

I haven't actually mowed the yard since I was a teenager living at home. But lucky for me, my momma didn't raise no sissy and my dad taught me all I need to know about lawn mowers. But today I learned a few new things.

1. Lawn mowers have actually changed quite a bit in the last 10ish years since I've used one. The push mower I started using around the time I was 12 was not self-propelled. Unless you count the genius of the mower in getting someone like me to push it all by itself as being self-propelled. The mower I have now is self-propelled and has a bag so grass doesn't shoot out everywhere. This is kind of cool because even if you forget and mow in the wrong direction it doesn't matter because the bag catches the grass and so there is no wrong direction. This also means you don't have to rake and bag the grass!

2. Next time don't let the bag get completely full otherwise said bag will be too heavy for you to pick up and you'll end up dumping out half the bag. Which means you'll have to rake and bag the grass anyway completely defeating the purpose of said bag.....Yeah.

3. Don't fill the trash bag up too full with grass from your lawn mower bag otherwise it will be impossible to lift and so you will drag to the curb and it will undoubtedly tear. You will then have to rake and bag it...again.

4. I still have a lot of dandelions growing in my yard. How ironic is that?! And after each one got mowed over it was like a little life lesson. Just like you can't expect the weed to disappear just because you cut the top off, you can't expect the weeds of your soul to disappear by cleaning up the surface. You gotta go deep and sometimes it's hard work. But if you don't, eventually the whole neighborhood will start to notice.

5. Who needs a work out DVD when you can mow your yard? It's seriously hard work and burns a lot of calories. Which is why I rewarded myself with a bowl of ice cream, guilt free.

6. I have a mild grass allergy. Where did that come from?

And finally #7

He's always with me. 

As I was huffing and puffing, pushing my self-propelled mower, I started to feel kind of embarrassed and not just because I was huffing and puffing. We live on a somewhat busy street and have a sidewalk in front of our house. I couldn't help but wonder what other people must be thinking seeing me mowing my yard as they walked or drove by. In some ways I felt very empowered and strong. I couldn't believe that I was doing it. I was actually mowing my yard all by myself. Never have I done that in all of my adult life. But in many other ways I felt very alone and defeated. So I just told Him about it. By Him I mean my Father, God. And with every step I know He was with me. He heard me. He cared. I know there are many more worse things in this life then what I'm going through but He cares because I'm going through it. He's with me. His compassion is for me. His thoughts are for me. His love is overflowing. His perspective is greater. His vision is bigger. His desire is for me. I'm lost in Him and I'm not alone. I can't explain exactly how I know this other then that I just know. You can know too. And if you don't but you'd like to, just tell Him. Ask Him. And listen. If it was more complicated then that I think there would be better instructions in the Bible...but there's not. Ask and He'll answer. Seek and you'll find. He hears us. He knows us. He's always listening and always wants to answer. There are only about a gazillion places in the Bible that read exactly like that.

OK so I've mastered the art of mowing. What's next?

*scary movie music EEEE  EEEE EEEE* Weed Eating....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lazarus, Come Forth

Have you ever read the account of Lazarus? I've heard it as a child in Sunday school and I've heard teachings on it. I've even skimmed through it as I read through the book of John but I've never intentionally sat down to read it until this morning.

Last Sunday I prayed with a woman who has a friend that is living in darkness, so to speak. As we prayed with her I thought of Lazarus. I could hear Christ's voice as He called out to him. I prayed that this woman's friend would also hear God's voice and come into the light.

This morning I was thinking and praying for all the people I know who are living in darkness and I prayed the same for them. Before I even read the account the Lord started to minister to my heart about some similarities between certain characters and myself. I started to think about how the whole reason behind Jesus allowing Lazarus to die was to bring glory to God and to give us a picture of what it means to move from darkness to light. Jesus even says in John 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." He wasn't talking about our physical bodies, (although I do believe miracles can happen in the way of the dead being brought back to life), He was talking about our spirits being brought back to life when we believe in Him. I also started to think about how you didn't see Mary or Martha trying to drag out the dead body of their brother and bring him back to life themselves. Just like we can't drag someone to the feet of Jesus and change their hearts ourselves. It was the voice of God that raised Lazarus.

After reading the account though in John 11, light started to shine in my own heart. I realized that Martha is the one that went out to Jesus. Bless the Martha's out there who have felt guilty all their lives for not being more like Mary. She wasn't disappointed in His timing. She ran out to meet Him. She knew that even as her brother lay dead that anything Jesus asked of God, God would do.

Then there was Mary, who as you may know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I have a tendency to be like.

She did not run out to meet Jesus.

I thought about that for a while. I thought about despite my love for Father and my faith in His ability I still doubt His timing and His goodness sometimes. Mary heard that Jesus was coming and she remained inside, heavy with disappointment. She didn't have a big enough vision for what He was capable of. With great sadness, almost accusing Jesus she reminds Him that if He would have come her brother would be alive. Can't you almost hear her tone through her sobbing?

"Where were You?! You could have saved Him!"

And do you know how beautiful our Savior is? He saw the sadness and the disappointment in Mary's heart. He heard her accusing tone but He did not reprimand  her. He did not call her out for her lack of faith. But it affected Him deeply, so deeply that He wept. I don't honestly think He was deeply moved because Lazarus died but because the people that had loved Him so and that He had deeply loved doubted His goodness. The viewed His actions and believed He was capable of hurting them or that He was selfish or inconsiderate or unloving. That deeply moved Him.

Sometimes things happen that we don't want to happen and sometimes things don't happen that we think need to happen. I never really have a hard time seeing God as bigger then those things but I've often doubted His timing and His goodness. Like Mary I've felt disappointed when I didn't think He came through for me. But now I see that this moves Him to tears. It hurts Him in a way lack of faith never could.

Today I will be like Mary after Jesus called to her. When He calls to me I will get up quickly and I will go to Him. I will even be like Mary and pour my heart out to Him but today I will also choose to be like Martha and I will trust in His goodness and His unfailing love for me. And as for my loved ones living in darkness? I will trust in God's timing and the power of His voice to raise them from the dead and bring them out into the light. I will believe like Martha that He is the Christ, the Son of God.