Archives for posts with tag: patience

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Sometimes waiting is hard. It just is.  But it’s a lot harder when we focus on what’s not there rather than the beauty that is.  Take this little branch for instance. It’s there.. Dormant. Sturdy. Barren. Little buds are just starting to  form. And pretty soon, it will be covered with leaves and the branches will be barely visible for all of the growth of the leaves.  But it will still be there…it will be the foundation that’s been there all along, the structure on which the delicate blooms sprout.

Maybe one of the sweet benefits of waiting for what is to come, is just being aware of what is…and seeing things as they are. Because sometimes the greatest foundations, the ‘bare bones’ of the structure of our lives are only recognized when all of the fluff and growth and answered prayer isn’t there…yet. Sometimes waiting in the barrenness of winter is such a good thing. Gratitude grows in the waiting. It grows in the winters of our lives because it has to search, to dig deep, to see and be thankful for what is…and still hope for what will be.

 “But as for me, I will look to the LORD;

I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

 Micah 7:7

spring again 3

Well, I found myself thinking something today. I was thinking that I didn’t want a lot of effort in certain areas to be “All for nought”.  I didn’t want years of effort and prayer and work to be futile, meaningless, and void of any good benefits.  Like so often happens, what we think tends to come out in our words in a matter of time. For me, it was only a matter of minutes before what popped into my brain came out in my words.  ” I just don’t want it to be all for nought.”

There, I said it.  I didn’t want all of the effort to be wasted.And that’s a natural thing to think, hope, and say.  But that’s in the natural.  The walk of faith though, doesn’t live in the natural. It wades into the supernatural and is like a journey of going deeper and deeper into the depths of who God is.It is choosing to change our thinking so that it’s not about us.  It’s about Him. It’s not about our goals, it’s about His purpose in our lives.

When I was saying I didn’t want the efforts to be “all for nought”, I was forgetting something. I was forgetting that with God, nothing is wasted. I was focusing on me bearing the fruits of the labor. I was forgetting that it’s my job to be faithful to Him.  It’s His job to do with it what He will. I was reminded today that nothing brought to Him comes back void.  And that?  That is a beautiful truth to focus on.

And why is there a picture of trees?  Trees take a long time to grow.  Lots and lots of time.  And they start from a little seed.  An acorn, a hickory nut, a maple seed can all fit in the palm of my hand.  But year after year after year, they grow.  Sometimes answered prayer is like that.  We plant the seed.  God gives the growth.  Sometimes it sure doesn’t grow as fast as we’d hope.  But good things take time.  And lots of prayer, and along with prayer, faith that God is hearing that prayer.

So, when those ‘seeds’ are planted and prayed for…I want to learn to trust God with the results.  I do what I can, He does what I can’t.  When I don’t see the results the way I’d like as fast as I’d like, I need to just remember that just remember the oak tree.  Roots go deep. Branches grow out. There are dormant periods. Only 1/3 of the tree is seen…I don’t have eyes to see anywhere near all that is going on with my “seed”.  And after that tree grows tall…then comes the acorns…more seeds to be planted…more fruits of labor, etc.  And who knows how many beautiful acorns will come and be planted from one giant oak tree? So, am thankful for the oak tree.  For the reminder that what may seem “all for nought” is …..Not.  Definitely NOT.  Am so thankful for that.

Birds Waiting for spring

When I was a little girl I knew the names of all of the birds in the backyard.  Not just birds.  Trees as well.  And fish in the nearby ponds and rivers.  You see,  my Dad is a teacher at heart.  We spent a lot of time outside and there were always a lot of teachable moments that he took advantage of.  I’m thankful for that.

I’m not sure whether it was my Dad or my mom, or both or neither, but as a child, when I saw a robin in the winter, it was said to be a sign of Spring.  So when I saw this robin perched on the branch with it’s little head facing toward the sun, all I could think of was that this little guy looked like it was waiting for Spring.  (Me, too!)

And that brings me to the topic of ……………………….waiting. It’s not an easy topic at all.  I learned that firsthand today as I tried to get some photos of birds. You see, birds can be a bit camera shy for sure.  Especially chickadees.  And the chickadee was the one that I thought was so cute so I really wanted to get a few shots of these little creatures that flit all about.  So, I’d wait.  And wait some more.  And then, there would come a little chickadee landing right at a spot for a great photograph, almost posing, for Heaven’s sake, but by the time I’d find the little guy in the lens and then focus, he’d flit off in the wild blue yonder.  And I’d wait some more.

Well, after a lot of those unsuccessful moments of trying to capture a photo of some birds, I learned something. If I’d anticipate where the birds were landing (all near the birdseed of course), and focus my camera on that area and wait for the birds to fly on into my range of vision instead of trying to point the camera all over creation as it came in, well, I was a lot more successful.

birds dinnertime

And I started to think about waiting, and how we can make things so much harder on ourselves in the waiting.  There’s a verse that says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isaiah 40:31)   T


Life is full of lots of waiting. Sometimes we can be like the chickadee flitting around trying to busy ourselves to fill the time until whatever we’re waiting for finally shows up.  Or, we can be like the blue jay that bulldozes it’s way and takes over the situation and tries to control what it can’t control.  Meanwhile, all the rest of the little birds have made sure to steer clear of this disruptive fellow. 

birds little chickadee

Or, we can be like the bird that pouts a bit and lets everyone know that he indeed is waiting and how incredibly difficult it is.  We can complain with the waiting. And complain and complain and grumble some more.

Birds who's looking at you

Or we can be proud and pretend.  We can pretend that we aren’t waiting and we don’t have a care in the world.  We are just fine and no we are fully in control of ourselves and our surroundings thank you very much.  Proud Bubble. About to pop when the waiting goes a little bit too long…

birds wren 2

Or we can take it to a whole other level and just not be satisfied with anything or anybody until the waiting is over.  We can challenge people to get things going or ….or …..or we don’t know what we’ll do, but it’s so not going to be good!  (The cardinal’s face says it all!)

birds cardinal 6

Or, we can learn to focus on the tasks at hand.  Not looking to and fro, trying to make things happen quicker.  I’m all for hard work, but right now, the waiting I’m referring to has to do with waiting for things that are out of our control, not in our control.  We can be resolved to enjoy the moment.  Do the task at hand and notice our surroundings and the ones who are around us.  Be all in where we are rather than focusing on the next thing.  Funny how it’s easy to always be looking forward to the next thing in a way that makes us not even enjoy the moment we’re in.  I don’t want to look back and think on missed opportunities because I was always focused on the next thing.

birds portrait

This photo sums up for me the waiting process that I think is pleasing to God.  No matter how busy we are, if we can find that place of solitude of knowing that God has it all in control and we can trust Him, the waiting looks a lot different.  It’s the “Be still and know that I am God” kind of waiting demeanor.  Not like the bulldozing blue jay, or flitting about chickadee, or confrontative cardinal.  It’s  the ‘I’m going to fly on wings of eagles’ kind of waiting.  Because why?

birds be still and know

Because….I know who holds me in the shadow of His wings. Right before the verse that says, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….”, the verses say, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”  (Isaiah 40:28)

In those times in my life when I’ve been able to be still like the above bird, rather than being the cardinal or blue jay, or chickadee, there’s been a resolve of knowing a few things.  God is in control.  I am not. ( I mean, there are just some things …a lot of them…that are not in our hands!)  And last, God is good.  Put them all together, and it’s just trust.  Trust.  Trusting God and His perfect timing can make the waiting for the answered prayers and relational breakthroughs and desire for direction a joy rather than a wrenching of the heart and a wringing of the hands.  God’s got this…

Oh, and I hope I can get a memo out to my little (metaphorical) bird friends. His eye isn’t just on the sparrow….  He’s non discriminatory when it comes to caring for “birds” of any feathers.  Confrontative Cardinals.  Flitting Chickadees, Bull dozing blue jays.  He knows us well and He loves us well.   He gives.  It is ours but to receive.

Matthew 6:25 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Take heart, little cardinal.  His eye is on you, too.

waitingagain

The Lesson of the Shamrocks continues for me. Awhile back, I blogged about these precious plants that my grandmother had given to me years ago. To make a long story short, I thought they had died, and was so very thankful to realize that they hadn’t died. When they emerged from the soil, they were healthier, fuller, and more beautiful than ever.

Well, that was then. A few weeks ago, we had a new saga with the Shamrocks. The story included a 14 year old boy with a dog on a leash. They were on the deck and the boy (who will remain nameless to protect the not so innocent) gets distracted and wants to go inside, attaches leash to table with pot of shamrocks on it. Dog tries to run to follow boy inside, and moves the table quickly which results in the ceramic pot of shamrocks flying through the air only to land with a loud crash on the cement deck. Voila, soil and shamrocks spilled out in a mix of broken pottery and bulbs.

The mom (me) comes out and sees the whole deal and recognizes the fact that often 14 year old boys do not totally engage the brain and gives him grace and a free pass on this one. But the shamrocks are all over the place. And even though it’s just a plant, it again brings up the sense of nostalgia and loss for the grandmother who had given me these shamrocks so many years ago.

I don’t cry over spilled milk or dropped pots. I’ve so learned by experience that gets you nowhere. So,I gathered up the bulbs, and proceeded to plant them in not one, but three pots. Now, only a few short weeks later, the bulbs are quickly blooming and filling the pots, and I’ll have more shamrocks to share, and more to enjoy. The pots that were mostly dirt with scattered shamrocks are now filling in with beautiful blooms of deep purple. Instead of being cramped into one pot, the beauty is being multiplied.

So here’s the thing. I was so enjoying the fullness of those shamrocks that they probably would’ve stayed in the same pot for years unless they had been disrupted. Sometimes the very things that we see as disruptions in our lives end up being the opportunities for growth. Sometimes we miss out because we like the status quo more than the unfinished product that takes time, patience, and process to come to fruition. We’d rather have the seemingly behaved child who is momentarily pacified than go through the painstaking process of training that brings up conflict for a moment, but peace for the long haul.Or we’d rather have a diet that takes the momentary disciplines away, but breeds only short term results.

I don’t like looking at a pot of straggly plants as much as I do a full pot of shamrocks. But good things take time. They just do. And often the “quick fix” is just a temporary short cut that breeds mediocre results. Sometimes the inconvenient ugliness of process leads to beauty that far exceeds the quick result. Just some more ramblings that I need to take to heart. Discipline and growth often walk hand in hand, and vision allows both to flourish. But the road to results is full of imperfect, unlocked potential that is not yet visible to the human eye. Vision that motivates and inspires is not the kind that is seen with the eyes, but felt with the heart, and formed in the crucible of will, determination and patience.

It’s the kind of vision that God must have with us. I’m so thankful He is willing to take time with this “unfinished, at times broken product”, and patiently draw me near and grow me up as His child. He sees us where we are, but encourages, refines, sculpts, and disciplines us to move to where and who we were created to be. We may feel like a broken pot, spilled all over the ground, but God sees the potential, the beauty in the midst. It is but ours to surrender to the process…and bloom.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this…He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion…”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/daily-prompt-broken/

Patience

New Haircut

It’s not always easy to be patient during a haircut, but he let his older brother take his time, and quietly sat with this look on his face. Good things take time, and his patience paid off with a good haircut!

Patience

He didn’t like sitting in the chair. It was tough enough for him to sit still for a few minutes at any time of day, any place. But to sit there while his older brother was carefully cutting his hair, while he had itchy hair on his shoulders, and hair in his mouth? This was excruciating.

But he waited. And the beauty of it was, that this very fidgety ultra-talkative 10 year old was waiting QUIETLY and PATIENTLY. No complaints. The fact that he was very uncomfortable showed in his eyes, but he waited.

His sister and I watched, and laughed, and enjoyed the process of watching his older brother give him a much-needed haircut. Would we have enjoyed it if he had constantly been complaining and telling us how miserable he was? No. Did we know how miserable he was? Yes. We knew without him speaking a word, but it blessed us because he didn’t burden us with the complaints of what is obviously often part of having a hair cut.

This preadolescent showed us love that day in that he was patient and endured the “torment” of being itchy and tired and fidgety (all felt in extreme variations by preadolescents!) This moment was a visual for me. So often when we endure things, we tell everyone about every detail. But that puts the weight on the other people as well. Sure there’s a balance. But some things in life are so much better for all if we would just bear them on our own, without involving everyone in the details of the little hindrances and irritabilities.Sometimes being patient and quiet in the little things can be such a quiet encouragement to others.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

It’s funny how a simple thing like a boy getting a haircut can be a picture of something a bit bigger than that. I am thankful for the visual, and for the photo that captured the moment when I was learning more about patience and love from my 10 year old son.

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