desert flower

 

It’s been about eight years since I sang a solo in church. There are a multitude of reasons, but I will say fear has been a major factor. So, as I am preparing to sing this coming Sunday night in our church Christmas program I have been fighting off stage fright.

The first thing I choose to stress about was the song. And although I have decided to sing “You’re Here,” by Francesa Batastelli, my first choice was a song called “Winter Snow.” The young woman who sings it, Audrey Assad, was discovered by Chris Tomlin. Last winter when I first heard her voice, I was just mystified by its beauty, and depth. She sings from deep in the heart, her honesty so transparent in her music.

This fall I bought her album The House You’re Building on itunes. On it, I found a song which has stayed with me and continues to bless me every single time I hear it. The song is called, “Show me.” It’s about allowing God show you how to die to yourself so you can bloom where he’s planted you, something I’ve struggled with greatly. And as I was reading a post a by a wonderful new friend today I found  scripture that I didn’t realize was referenced in the song.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.”
Isaiah 35:1-2

Have you ever thought about what it must be like for a flower to bloom in a desert? Well, to be honest, I hadn’t. Until now. The ground is dry, it’s hard. How difficult it must be for a delicate little bloom to push its way up towards the sun. It’s amazing that it even happens. Maybe, that’s the point.

For some reason I think we take for granted how hard it is to bloom to where you’re planted. And for that matter, to bloom at all. But what’s even worse, I think we often we fail to even see why we are supposed to bloom where God has placed us.

Is it so we can be happy? Is it so we can finally get along with everyone in our universe? Is it so we can be a good little Christians and with smiley little faces all the time. Maybe. But, if we look at the scripture above it says more, more than our happiness, more than our influence, it says when we bloom, “they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” 

I don’t think it says it will be easy. That’s why the song I mentioned is powerful, I think. It references our dying to ourselves as we struggle to bloom, like a flower pushing up through dry sand, using all its strength to move closer to the life-giving light. That’s what blooming is–fighting for life. Moving towards the light of Christ as your source of strength, as your only source of growth, purpose, sustenance.

In the desert the only thing that is going to keep that little flower alive is water and light, and it has to fight for them. There may be a seed in the sand, but it’s going to have to fight to ever make it to the surface. Have you ever had to fight? Have you ever been in the desert? I have. And I’m believing that the God that makes the flower to bloom in the desert will also sustain us and as we die to ourselves, he will make us blossom as the rose.

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You are not alone~

union station coffee

Ever felt alone? As someone who spends her days mostly holed up in the house surrounded by acres and acres of wood and not another human insight for sometimes 8 (or more) hours, I know alone. I do solitude quite well. And, quite frankly, I like it that way most of the time.

But alone is different from lonely. And even though I enjoy my hermit bound writer/photographer/artist/Bon-Bon eating house-wife (yeah, you know that’s a joke) lifestyle, there are times when alone can be, well, lonely.

The truth is though, those times are fairly infrequent and mostly only happen when I stop looking at the blessings in my life and start to focus on what I think I should have instead. You know; a Starbucks with-in an hours drive…a new studio space…a book deal…

In reality, God provides for my needs abundantly and in the due time that I truly need them.

But there are still days that rock my boat and earlier this week I had to deal with some “stuff” in my extended family. I don’t really want to elaborate, but I’ll just say this stuff was sad, messy, exhausting, and left me feeling drained from the emotional stress I experienced. I didn’t even have to leave my house to deal with it, thanks to phones and emails and the wonder of Facebook messaging, I got to handle it all from the comforts of home.

Unfortunately though, the issues I was dealing with were rather private. And although I have a huge support system in person as well as online, I realized this issue was one for which I have no support. None.

It’s not because those who love me don’t want to help. I’m sure if I wanted to talk, they’d listen. They’d be supportive, caring, concerned. They’d lift me up in prayer, hug me, speak Gods words over my pain. Sometimes however, I think you  need to talk to someone who’s been there. Done that. Especially, if it’s an issue where the been there, done that, wasn’t by choice.

So, for me, today, it was a great gift from God to find a new blog by a wonderful woman who is also, ironically(!) named Pamela as well. She’s an artist (like me) a photographer (the kind I dream to be) and a writer. She’s courageous and brave and speaks from the heart at a place called http://www.ipaintiwrite.com. The thing about Pamela is she’s a kindred, in many ways and though I haven’t even talked to her about much yet, just knowing she exists helped my loneliness in a specific area of my life.

Did it ever occur to you that your life, your very existence, might be all the comfort someone needs today?

Let that sink in a minute.

Who you are, the good, the bad, the messy stuff and stuff you’d wish away in a heartbeat, all THAT stuff, that might make you the exact person God uses to heal others. What are you walking away from? What are you hiding? Has it ever crossed your mind that possibly that very thing (yes- THAT!) that thing you hate, despise, or want to erase, that might be something God has allowed in your life so that you might be a comfort to others.

Pamela Hodges didn’t have to blog honestly, with transparency. But she did. She didn’t have to open up her life and let me see it, the good the bad, and the ugly. But she did. I didn’t have to read her blog and be blessed, but I did, and  I was. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful for people like her who are brave, and honest, and write words even when it’s hard and they think no one is listening and it won’t ever matter. Because guess what, it does.

It does.

 

Go check her out if you have a moment, she’s real and I love that.

i paint i write