Archives for category: Prayer

DSCN0767

In the Spring, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful mandevilla plant. It’s been growing beautifully and is filling up the trellis behind it. But one day, I noticed that a vine had reached the top of the trellis. And there was nothing close for it to cling to. Day after day, it grew in the same direction…seemingly reaching for something to cling to. It grew and grew and was just floating in the air, apparently searching for a landing spot.

DSCN0773

So, me and my rescuing self decided that I’d go ahead and help that little plant find a support, something to cling to. I gently took the tender shoot and led it back to the trellis. I thought it was no big deal and that the vine would go on growing, and twist and twirl itself around the trellis.  I was wrong.

Within a few days, the shoot was turning brown, and soon, part of the vine fell off all together.  Where was the point of decay?  Seemed to be right where me and my well-meaning self moved that vine. I was pretty shocked because when I had moved it, it was done slowly and easily and seemed to place no stress whatsoever on the plant. But obviously it had. It wasn’t ready to cling. Not to what I had chosen. And me choosing what and where to cling to for that plant wasn’t helpful. It was damaging. It was forced…and the mandevilla plant would have no part of that. Instead of helping, I hurt it.

(Case in point. See the healthy shoot on the left?  It’s doing just fine without me. And the one on the right..far right kind of whitish looking shoot…it’s still recovering from my ‘helping’.)

So here’s the thing. We’re made to cling. We are. Like mandevilla vines searching for a trellis, we are made with hearts and minds and bodies that yearn for connection. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us stronger, wiser, and more productive. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us weaker, stupid-er,  and ill-equipped. And we, the cling-ers get to choose. But you don’t get to choose what another person clings to. Nope. They’ve gotta choose that for themselves.

As a mom, as a wife, as a friend, there have been so many times when I thought I knew what (or Who) might be best for my loved one to cling to. And no matter how well-intentioned my thoughts or desires were, interventions that force issues could be more damaging than helpful. ( Note: I so know interventions can help lay things on the table, and persuade, and bring things to light, but bottom line, a cling-er chooses what it clings or does not cling to.)    Kind of like with my mandevilla.

Like a mandevilla vine that is not yet ready to cling, sometimes folks need time on their own to decide when and to what to cling to. We can know something is so good and right and true and ‘gently bend’ their little shoots of a son or friend or husband toward the trellis of truth. But if that plant isn’t ready, it won’t cling. Might have to be floating in clouds of in between for awhile.  So often, well-meaning folks can ‘arrange’ (force) connections that aren’t healthy. Seems to me that timing is important.  It also seems to me that willingness is important.

So now, lesson learned, with regards to the mandevilla at least! There are three shoots flying in the wind above the trellis, and I’m not intervening. The mandevilla is on its own. I’m pretty sure it’ll find its way. And I’m believing that for some of those in my life as well. Gonna pray, encourage, and ensure some supports are available….and then wait. Am often amazed at how well things work out when I pray and get out of the way.  With mandevilla plants, and with people.

DSCN0760

Am believing there’s a Sovereign Hand of grace that knows a bit more and has more power than I do. For me. For you. For those we love.

DSCN0778

Blessings ~

Heather

DSCN0756.jpg

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word…”

Psalm 119:25

mountain blue

“Pray with your eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”

~Oswald Chambers

Yep.  This is a reminder to myself.

I hate to be a broken record, but here goes… we have lots of transitions going on in our home with one son going to college on the coast, one daughter moving to the mountains, and one son moving to Sweden…all within a 2 week window (which occurs simultaneously with me going back to teaching after a nice long summer.  In fact, three of those four things all happen between August 14th and 15th.) So, there are lots of details and checklists to be dealt with. In the midst of it all, we’ve seen lots of answered prayers and doors open and I’m thankful…I really am.  But today, I lost sight of the big, for the little.

With all of the good going on, I still found myself this morning just worrying, agitated, fretting…all the things that Psalm 37 (which I have been camping out in this week) says NOT to do, I was definitely doing.  Even though I so know better, I just couldn’t get out of this frustrated funk I was in. My to do list was growing instead of getting shorter, because it seemed that each attempt was met with more challenges, almost like clicking on a link on the computer and having it open up three more windows. I had done all I could with some things and was waiting on responses, so my hands were tied and my frustration was just growing.

I finally decided to run some errands so I could check some things off the list, and that’s when it just hit me…there were lots of inconveniences in the day for sure.  Lots.  But the bigger picture?  It made all of these small little things seem so minute. My little list of things bothering me is a reality, but so not significant in the big scheme of things.  The inconveniences are just part of life.  But how I handle them?  That isn’t insignificant or small.  It’s pretty big.  These little things shape and mold us… Again, gotta give a great Oswald Chambers quote.  He said, “The mount is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something.”  It’s as though these little things, the good and the bad and whether we handle them well or terribly,…they shape us, they grow us, they make us.  They are not just little insignificant things in our day…they lead us somewhere.

So here’s the thing regarding mountains and molehills.  Seeing mountains in the distance with wide open spaces and seeing how big and beautiful they are help us keep perspective.  Majestic huge mountains are a reminder to me of how big and beautiful God is.  He created mountains…can He not handle my little molehills? And molehills?  Molehills are kind of  symbolic for me of just feeding on worry.  Moles are rarely seen….they quietly burrow, causing destruction in their path.  If they aren’t dealt with in a matter of time, they can cause a great deal of damage. So it is with worry. Moles, are like me focusing on the worry, the agitations, the little things that I so can’t control. In the same way that driving up a long mountain road and then catching a view of the incredible skyline of rolling mountains is something I’d prefer to have as my view, looking down at the ground at the ground crumbling underneath me is not where I want my perspective to be. I’d prefer to see mountains instead of molehills in this analogy. (Oh, and you know, when someone is looking down at their feet, others tend to look down to see what they’re looking for…  I’d prefer to keep my chin up and eyes out with hopes that wherever my kids land, their focus is not on the molehills in their lives, but on the mountains. )

So, it was a day for me to hit the reset button on my little attitude flying around.  Thank goodness I did.  The rest of the day has been quite a bit better.  I’m trying to focus on God and His provision and things to be thankful for (and there are a thousand)…and praying through the rest. I remember the days of having daily pow-wows with my kids to help with ‘attitude adjustments’, and today, I definitely needed a pow-wow with myself.  Thankful for re-starts, new beginnings, and the fact that tomorrow, I get a chance to wake up and start again.  And tomorrow, after I read Psalm 37 for the 37th time this week, I think I’ll couple it with Oswald Chambers’ quote:  “Pray with your eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”

Blessings ~
Heather

Photo taken in Toluca, North Carolina…after a storm…July 26, 2015

%d bloggers like this: