Saturday, January 24, 2015

For the Past Three Days

For the past three afternoons, I've walked in this setting, across this landscape.

I've seen the tracks of rabbits. I've seen three hawks circling in the sky, their cries piercing the silence until they perch quietly on the snow-burdened tops of the trees.

As my children sled on the great hill, I part the curtain of evergreen trees and enter into the deep, icy woods.

Later, I think about that hawk's beautiful cry and the tracks of animals. I think about their secret winter lives.

I'll go back throughout the winter, listening and watching.

Friday, January 23, 2015

2 Great Truths that Discouragement Teaches

This morning my husband and I discuss diacouragement in our work lives. It comes! It happens! What I've learned in the last ten years is to see diacouragement as a signpost on the journey. 

It shows me two truths:

Diacouragement reminds me of what I really want and need. If I'm not discouraged about an obstacle or setback, then maybe the dream wasn't all that important to me.

The extent of my discouragement reveals the meaning of this goal or dream. I listen to these feelings, and I learn about myself  and become even more honest. 

Discouragement also, praise God, breeds creativity. Discouragement in my writing life sent me on a journey of blogging, self-publishing, speaking, and teaching. It was a Refiner's Fire to purge anything extraneous or inauthentic. 

If an obstacle comes, I don't cringe; I create. 

Every dream needs the school of discouragement. It reminds and refines. It's the signpost we should note carefully for what it's teaching us. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Big Truth in a Little Something

Notice anything about my succulent (crassula ovata "Jade") plant? This is the plant I've neglected and damaged with all my moving it about. But look!

It has propagated! 

As I observe the sweet little new plant, I grow curiouser and curiouser. I learn, according to Tabitha Sukhai that "these plants thrive on neglect." And I learn further that the new little plant grows from the wounded and dropped leaves of the big plant. 

Neglect and wounding foster what becomes a nearly indestructible plant that grows more and more no matter what obstacles come. 

Not enough attention? No problem; I grow. To many wounds? No problem; that's how I grow. Feeling neglected? No problem; that's what helps me grow. 

I love what my Jade plant symbolizes: Whatever we feel like we lack, and whatever kinds of wounds we bear, we know God can turn that environment into indestructible growth. We keep before us the truth that God "causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28 NLT). 

Besides, what I perceived as damaging was actually good for this kind of plant. It all works together to bring about the plant's health. What a curious and wonderful truth!