Arise, Darling! Winter is Over!

We only have one that pops up in our garden each spring. But it only takes one to make me squeal like a three-year-old …

“Look! The daffodil has bloomed!”

Daffodils are one of my favorites. They are the first to bloom around here. With their perky heads and sunny faces, they trumpet promises of warmth and renewal.

2017 May 22 Daffodil

Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden @ Unsplash

God’s promises are like that, too. They trumpet hope like water in the desert, color after a long grey winter, warmth after a bone-deep chill, the beginning of a new productive season. God’s promises are like that because like the flowers we count on to bloom every spring, so God is unchanging and faithful. We can count on His promises because we can count on Him.

Yes, His promises reveal much about His character:

He’s not slow—He’s patient.
He’s bigger than any giant—and He uses the subtlest weapons.
There’s hope beyond our current difficulties—He’s with us in our difficulties.
There’s always a bigger picture—an eternal purpose.

But did you know …

His promises also reveal much about our character?

May 22 God's promises are meaningless unless they've been tested.

For example:

His promise to never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) doesn’t much matter until we’re in a place where He seems to have vanished. We can’t see Him, hear Him, or feel Him. It’s at this point we have to discover if we trust Him even then. It’s at this point we have a choice: to let our trust grow or falter.

What about His promise to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)? Do we look at our future through the lens of our circumstances today or through His Word?

Then there’s His promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). How many times have we allowed death or life, principalities or powers, present circumstances or fear of the future, convince us otherwise?

Oh, and the one we all think we’ve passed when in truth we have failed over and over. Whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life (John 3:16). How many times have we acted as if our salvation depended on our performance—as if it’s something to be earned?

And there’s other promises we often fail to believe when tested. I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19). The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And how about, He will give life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11)?

I find that it’s easy to perk up when we recite God’s promises—that is until those …

promises experience a hard freeze.

And for me, mothering unattached children frequently blew the door wide open to wintry blasts. But you know what? Though I doubted, I clung like crazy to God’s promises.

I’d like to say those promises have evolved over the years. The way they materialized in the end sure looked a lot differently than I expected at the beginning. But the truth is, the promises didn’t change. My understanding of them did. My mind—my heart—is what has been transformed. And I can tell you now, the scent of those promises is much sweeter than I ever imagined.

So what’s popped up in your garden this spring?

Have you considered

… the effort it took for that sprout to push through the soil? Have you pondered what it might be like to endure a long, cold winter, buried in darkness? Do you realize that near death had to happen for new life to grow?

Oh, but you’ve experienced these things haven’t you? Yes, me, too. And that’s why we take the time to stop, gaze, touch, inhale deeply, and praise the Creator as we see His promises blossom into new life before us.

Like Solomon,

Jesus invites us to enter His spring.

May we follow.

 

“Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
Flowers [daffodils?] appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

Song of Songs 2:10-13, NIV

Rest for the Heart Exhausted

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I’m done! I am sooo done!” How many times did I say this? Countless. Sometimes I would think, Go ahead, lock me in jail. At least there I can be left alone and maybe get some sleep.

Once I packed my suitcases (two huge ones) and was ready to leave the next day. Didn’t know where I was going, but I was done. I was calmer the next morning but by then my husband had found places for all the kids to stay overnight and had reserved a room at a nearby bed and breakfast for him and me.

Another time my husband arranged for me to house-sit for a week for friends going to Europe. All I had to do was feed the outside cats and water the plants. That’s it. I slept as late as I wanted, watched oodles of movies, and spent hours sitting at the kitchen table, staring out at the tall pine trees while I read and prayed and journaled.

oct-30-rest

The truth is, we all have limits. At times we come to a point of physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual exhaustion. It’s normal. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. But there is the need to do something about it.

For a short period of time our church provided semi-monthly respite for us. Wednesday nights my husband took the kids to church while I enjoyed a few hours alone at home. My adoptive moms support group met once a month. And daily I retreated to my bedroom where I sat in my sanity corner (in a stuffed orange swivel rocker) and escaped into a world of fiction, while my husband monitored the kids for the evening.

Yes, I had a wonderful husband and a pretty good support base. We did have to do some educating to build some of this base. But whatever it takes, you must be sure you get regular rest. By “rest” I mean time when you’re something other than Mom. When you’re simply a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman, a person, a human. Just YOU.

YOU: a beautiful lady and cherished child of God.

You need to get the rest it takes for this truth to soak in deep.

And you know what? God commanded it. It’s one of the ten foundational commands (Exodus 20:8). Probably the only of the ten disobeyed regularly. The word for Sabbath means to take an intermission. Like the safety breaks you have to take every few hours at the swimming pool. Just sit down. Quit your activity and rest. The word holy means deliberately appoint. Don’t wait for a break to come along. You know that’ll never happen. You have to make a plan then heed the plan.

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We have every right and reason to demand it for ourselves. We have God’s rubber stamp on it. Let’s take it. Let’s make it happen starting right now.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Psalm 127:1-2, NIV