Our four-year-old grandson does his part to herd the cattle down the road by waving his cap in order to encourage them along. His dad takes a bit more active approach as he runs along behind the critters!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bloom and Bloom Again

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' (Jeremiah 29:11).  
This is a Bloomerang lilac. The ad said, "Bloom and Bloom Again!" The lilac bush by my porch is not quite this far along, but is definitely going to bloom early this year if we don't get a much dreaded frost.
This blog has been an attempt to count my blessings, and as such has been effective. I have begun to feel thankful for where I am in life. 

However, in the past few years my father died of cancer, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and I gave up my teaching job when the special reading program I'd run for eleven years was discontinued because of budget cuts. During this same time period both my children grew up, left home, and then married. Seeing my children happily married has brought much  joy, but the end result is that here Farmer John and I sit in our empty nest.

Well, wait; I can hear Annie barking "What about me?"  And I mustn't forget my 87 year old mother, who lives with us...not such an empty nest after all...

At any rate here I am, spending my mornings back on the farm, my afternoons working on my first novel in the pretty little brown room I call my office; and most of the time in between is spent caring for my mother. I'm counting my blessings, but I'm aware I have some unfinished grief work to do before I can fully enter into the "new song" of this next phase of my life. Unreconciled grief and loss cripple because of the introspection they cause, while wounds healed by the Lord's light can in turn minister to and support others; we comfort with the comfort we have received. My assignment for this time has been to bring my hurting heart into the Lord's light.

 I remember when I was I child I dreaded my mother's ministrations after I'd scraped my knee. I would claim it didn't hurt and I didn't want a band-aid after all, but she would always insist. "We don't want that to get infected," she'd say as she scrubbed the dirt away and applied ointment, often to the accompaniment of my howling protests. 

And so I've tried hard to open my heart to the Lord and to sit still (without too much howling) while He gently exposes all my sorrows and then applies his healing balm.This has been such a quiet time, a winter time of silent sadness and unexpected beauty. I am grateful for this time back on the farm. 

Spring is here, a time of new life and stepping out, time to let go of winter's chill and move forward. I'm surprised at the amount of courage it takes for me to hold to the hope of Jeremiah 29:11 (above).  Disappointments and hurts make it seem more prudent not to venture out. Challenges so seemingly innocuous as the prospect of volunteering to help with a preschool Sunday School class cause my heart to pound with fear. Yes, because I was not appreciated or valued for the work I did as a teacher of children who could not read, I fear being unappreciated and undervalued at any new job I undertake; I'm really not quite all right yet. What a sad confession. But you know it would be sadder yet if past wounds kept me from future service. Healed wounds lose the power to cripple.  My heart is healing.

I confess I wish winter had lasted awhile longer. Winter was cozy and safe. This audacious spring invites participation and activity that I don't feel ready to join.  But spring is upon me, whether I would have it or not...and so...

I'll dare to hope. If I place my hope in the Lord I won't be disappointed. 

 The following lines are from
 George Herbert's Poem, "The Flower"

Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shriveled heart
could have recovered greenness? It was gone
quite underground, as flowers depart...
..And now in age I bud again;
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. O my only Light,

It cannot be
That I am he
On whom Thy tempests fell all night.


  1. This sentence hit me right between the eyes: "Unreconciled grief and loss cripple because of the introspection they cause, while wounds healed by the Lord's light can in turn minister to and support others; we comfort with the comfort we have received."
    I am so good at sweeping hurts under the rug. Thank you for this exhortation and encouragement. Love you.

  2. We are more alike than I thought! Some of the same hurts and fears. I often feel undervalued and fear some things because of that, especially this year. This was such a great encouragement! Thanks for sharing your heart and being so open!
    By the way, a blog friend got me in a game of tag, and I thought it would be fun to tag you. There are some questions for you to answer. If you would like to join in feel free to stop by. If you're not interested or it's not your thing, please don't at all feel obligated. :) Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!


  3. Thanks for sharing your heart and being open.

    God Bless.

    I came here first time today. Your the third person I was led to come too. I blogged the other two and now here I am at your blog. Wow. The Lord never makes mistakes. His timing. I believe I have read here every post you posted and your writings. Just the bold faced Print. Wow! I did comment on it. I for sure will use that for my study. Alot there but must tread carefully. Gods word needs to be slow and be fed carefully to my spirit so I do not miss it to pass by.

    That is sure a spiritual love reading. Love it all. I plan to keep you on my list Sister. My hubby has said that what you have written in your Bold face print . God showed him all the same. One cannot even share it at times. Most church ministers are blind to see.Spiritually blind. They have been so doctrinized one can not see. So one has to say. Have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Lord is saying spiritually. The Lord said when he was going. I have left the comforter. Jesus in us. The hope of Glory. He is not in open space. He is within his believers. He never leaves us. yes your right. If we cannot leave the past and not forgive people who have hurt us. How can we go on . We cant. I read all about your Mom to the email you were going to send and all the time it was for you. I have had that. It is an awakening but it is a blessing to have it pointed to the right direction. Us the sender.

  4. Thank you Sparkle, I so appreciate your words. God bless you.

  5. Hi! The thing that the Lord used in my life was the poem. I am a widow for the second time. My 2nd husband died just this past January, and I thought he would be with me a lot longer than he was. He had a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer 5 years ago and although he survived and actually lived fairly well during the five years, it is still a time when one's life is controlled by a disease. I have prayed that the Lord would work in my life to conform me into the image of his son, and I know and revel in the fact that all of the trials in my life are making him shine brighter and me less. I am grateful. When I read the poem, however, its like the Lord opened up my eyes to see that although I accept the pain, I no longer believe in the "greenness", not for me, anyway. So much of my life has been filled with pain and sorry (my first husband was abusive and died from cancer which I nursed him through), that I really don't believe that God has any last joy for me in this life. That poem revealed that truth about myself. Thank you. I don't know what the Lord will do with that pain (I cried when I realized that I really DON'T believe there is any joy or greenness left for me in this life, only in the life to come...) but, I do know that he will show me there CAN yet be greenness in my life...and it will be that which he provides.
    I will keep you posted.

    1. @Community Music School--my heart goes out to you. May you find joy in the Lord as you draw near to Him and are enveloped in His comforting arms.