May Week 4 - Wait

May post #8

 

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Friend,

Forgive me, it’s long, but I hope it’s worth it 🌱


It’s been a drizzly bank holiday Monday today... and I don’t know about you but my brain has been in a bit of a reflective mood.

In thinking about the upcoming week, framed for me as ‘May week 4 - Wait’ I’ve been a little stuck on what to say...

The process of talking about this process of life, of dreams, hopes, faith, the journey they go on and the mirror of it that we find in nature, has been a strange one for me. It’s allowed me to write thoughts down that come directly from my recent and current experience. It’s allowed me to share and talk about this process in a new way too.

1) Hope🌱2) Prepare🌱3) Plant 🌱4) Wait 🌱...came to me as I dug up the back garden in preparation for sowing a lawn. It was dusk, I was hot and tired. Frustrated and talking to God about some stuff. Things I long for, things I’ve trusted him with but can’t see him doing anything about, and the general frustrations of life and adulting (whatever that means). Over the week it took me to do the lawn he showed me this process that I was actually doing...


He showed me how the hedgerows were coming alive with colour and life... life that had been there, waiting for two season, which was only now beautiful enough for us to notice. He reminded me that when we plant a seed we have to let it go, we have to bury it and we can’t check in on it. He reminded me that preparation is painful and hard and that the things I felt him addressing in my heart were necessary... he gently showed me that I couldn’t take those things into the next season with me... like dead leaves they had to fall away to make room for new.

In the act of sharing these things with you I hope you’ve found encouragement but, even more than that, I hope you’ve found company in the trenches.

Looking ahead to June I feel the need to continue looking at this process... with the hidden fifth step... ‘Grow’. But, for now, wrapping up our May, it’s ‘Wait’.

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Waiting is difficult. Waiting is hard. Waiting always takes longer than we’d like. It’s always less comfortable than we’d want. It always tests our faith and our hope to breaking point... and then pulls us back. Waiting is full of promise but it’s also full of pain and longing.

The wait can take a week, or it can take five years. It can be for something seemingly tiny, or something life changing. We end up questioning everything. It can turn us completely on our heads. We feel frustration like never before, we build up our expectations and attempt to hurry the process. We want things NOW. We don’t want to have to wait. And we certainly don’t want to have to wait for long.

The only difference in how those of faith deal with the wait as opposed to those without, is that we have someone to aim our questions at. We have God, who loves us and listens, is kind and faithful. Who is a good and corrective father, who takes delight in us and loves to hear our thoughts. In the waiting - the time between that seed being sown, and it becoming a thriving plant - we have someone to keep us company in what can be an isolating and lonely place.

Whether you know God or not (and if you don’t yet, I pray you will soon) this process of waiting for our hope to become reality is a long and hard one to navigate.

One thing I can guarantee, however, is that which nature screams out to us every day... seeds are created to grow. Once planted, the seed WILL grow. It WILL. There WILL be fruit. There WILL be reason, there WILL be reward.

You’ll find yourself tested in this waiting... you’ll find yourself challenged and stretched. You’ll find yourself frustrated, going between disheartened and hopeful. But, if we hold on, press in and refuse to quit, the fruit will come - we will see our hope come to life.


Real Talk:

It’s these times of waiting that I’ve known God draw nearer to me than ever... times when I’ve learnt more about him and myself... when my faith has been tested and I’ve been able to draw closer to God.

In thinking about how to talk about ‘Wait’ this week, I was drawn to two verses that comfort my heart through these times. The first is Romans 8 verse 25. The second is Romans 5 verses 3+4. Together these verses comfort my heart and reassure me that I’m not alone... that others who’ve gone before know what it is to wait. At times like these it’s all too easy to play the ‘no one knows how I’m feeling’ and ‘you can’t possibly understand’ tapes over and over in our minds.

The first verse speak truth straight to that lie. There are people who have gone before and, even more miraculously, there is a God who loves us who knows too.

The second verses also tell a story of purpose in the midst of process... purpose in the waiting... Indeed, Romans 5v3+4 speaks straight to this... there IS purpose.

In the waiting, our salvation is our God. He is present with us in the process. He promises to never leave nor forsake. He promises to be faithful. He is our saviour and our friend. He promises that nothing is wasted, he promises to work all things together for our good. He knows what we need better than we do. He is a corrective father who wants to teach his children how to thrive. And, beyond everything, he is much more concerned with the inner workings our hearts, than any ‘doing’ or ‘having’ that we desire.

The waiting is an opportunity to press in to God. It’s an opportunity to learn about his faithfulness. It’s the psalms come to life. This whole process is a journey through the valleys and the hills of life... I pray that these Romans verses comfort your heart... and allow us to focus again on God, and be reminded of his purposes within it all.

🌱 Thoughts on a Friday

May post #7

 

 🌱Dear Friend
I don't know about you, but I've found this week HARD. It feels like its taken five days to wake up, and that only now (on Friday afternoon) am I beginning to think clearly about what's in front of me.

I wonder if you're feeling similarly this week? Its all been a little hazy...

Perhaps you've been waiting on news about a promotion, or terrified by a huge brave step you took not too long ago that's yet to pay off... Maybe you, like me, have been struggling health wise this week. Or you're feeling overwhelmed by the reality of your every day and, also like me, are struggling to catch your breath.

It's funny, isn't it, that as soon as we begin to pay attention to the process that our hopes, dreams, and consequently all of life takes, all of a sudden we can see evidence of each step of the process all over the place!

Be it in the classroom, where you arrive at the beginning of your day with a plan... and have to simply plough away at it, laying foundations in your class’ understanding and letting them absorb their learning... only ever to be able to see if they 'got it' later on in the day when you're marking their books. OR if you have a big idea, send some emails to see about making it happen... and then the baby is crying, there's laundry to be done, the washing up piles up and it takes all you have to check three days later to see if there is a reply.. and another three to answer it.

Hopes and life and ideas and dreams and process takes BRAVE.

It takes huge amounts of BRAVE for us to even show up for life. And oh so much more BRAVE to go after something new.

For me this week, the BRAVE has been found in making appointments for two weeks time which will be hard, but (in the long run) GOOD. BRAVE has been saying no to things that are too much right now, and knowing that if they're right the opportunity will present itself again later. It's taking a day to REST even though we think 'adulting' looks like carrying on regardless, even to the detriment of our health.

Whatever BRAVE has looked like for you this week, can I leave you with this encouragement...

In life, faith, relationship and all that we do, we spend a lot of time PLANTING seeds... they are seed of ideas, knowledge, love, hope - all of the things! We plant seeds daily. We also prepare the ground daily, and wait. We birth dreams daily too. We don't see everything we want to see happen at once... but if you’re alive, conscious and in relationship with others I guarantee that this process is at work in your life.

This week is PLANT week... it's been hard to write about because it's all a little abstract. But, can I please draw your attention to the story of the mustard seed.

In the Bible Jesus talks about a mustard seed (or acorn). He's using it to illustrate a different point... but the image he gives us of this little seed turning into a mighty tree is applicable to the process that we are paying attention to...

Now I'm gonna quote Jesus...

"...like a mustard seed...the smallest of all seeds on earth...when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade."

He says that in Mark, chapter 4 verse 31 and 32.

This image has stuck with me this week. It's an image that has brought me HOPE because even in the tiniest of actions, or the tiniest of hopes there is potential for the largest fruit.

When we do the small things, they can turn into big things. When we think we're just surviving, actually we can be growing. When we're all at sea, there can be growth around the corner. And, when we take that little seed of our innermost hope, and plant it in the fertile soil of our well prepared hearts, it can, in time, grow into the biggest plant in the garden...

The hardest part of this planting business is that when we plant the seed, we can’t see it any more. We can’t check in on it. We simply have to trust that there is hope and there will be growth.

There is always hope and always growth.

In the act of planting we TRUST the process and God to grow a bigger dream than we could ever imagine...

So, friend, take heart. What you see is not the end. The seed may be small... but the fruit will be more lovely than you can yet see...

Here's to that. Here's to hope.

🌱Anna x 

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