Growth

There is much healing found in a garden.

Or for me, in planting one. After two years away, my flower beds are desperately in need of tlc; rose bushes are three years overgrown, hosta years too big, mulch 4 years past needing to be replaced, and the lawn has literally grown over where my vegetables onced happily flourished.

Insert weeks upon weeks of hard work.

Last week a local tree company kindly dumped an entire load of wood chips in my driveway, turning it from a 4 car driveway, to an almost 2 car driveway. Insert hours upon hours of shoveling and spreading mulch. I haven’t sweat this much since I moved off of my parents acreage 8 years ago. 

What’s astounding is how much I love, actually love, the work. I love the tiny spears of green that pierce out of wet dirt where I’ve planted. I love working with the plants, I love working in the dirt, I love the beauty of a well tended garden, and the hope that the labor brings. Hope of fruitfulness, hope of the labor being worth it. And as I work I’m constantly thinking about the Lord, how He labors in my life, laboring hopeful of the fruit that will come forth from the tending, trimming, mulching, and planting. He knows how to lead me, knows what branches need to be cut and just how much. He never cuts more than necessary. He never plants where He doesn’t intend to grow. He never removes what is good for me. 

It is good to remember to trust everything that He does. To trust that it is for my good, to trust that it will bring about fruit in me, to trust that I will never look back and regret His working in me. 

A motherly friend stopped by the other day and graciously endured my tour of my freshly mulched beds. Afterwards she left with a, “Hard work is paying off, Christina!” And I couldn’t think of a more true word for both my flower beds, and my own life. The Lord has labored in me, and there will be beautiful fruit. 

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“Late have I loved You”

11.30pm,

Gungor is playing in the background. A hot cup of Chamomile Nights tea is cooling on the table next to me as I sit on the floor in the entryway to my apartment wrapping presents for a friend’s birthday. Late tonight she’ll be getting back home & I plan to roll out of bed & drive to her house to greet her with presents, prophecy & her favorite flowers.

“You called and You shouted, You broke through my deafness. You flashed and You shone, dispelled all my blindness & You breathed Your fragrance on me”

Friend. Home.

It’s nearing July, and the 6 month mark of my move. Move, I am finally starting to be able to say that I ‘moved’. I have moved. I live here. 6 months later. I am finally starting to be able to say that I have friends. Friends, comrades, companions. 6 months later. I am finally starting to say ‘home’ referencing …. here. I still call KC home, still call Iowa/Nebraska home. But at 6 months I’m accidentally calling Virginia home as well. A week ago I sat in the prayer room in Fredericksburg & realized that it felt like mine, like home to me, for the first time.

Normalcy is setting in, just in time to face another big change around the corner, but thus is my life, it’s the one that I’ve chosen & I’d not exchange it for anything. Not for any stability that meant less adventure, less leaning onto the arm of the Lord.

The night before leaving KC a friend dropped by to say goodbye, I opened the door, threw myself into a big hug & came out sobbing. Thru tears he handed me a leather canteen and said “You’re going into a wilderness, but it’s ok, the Lord said you’re going to come out leaning. You’re going to come out.” I didn’t have a clue what he meant then, but 6 months later I can agree with that. It’s been a dry, painful, lonely, tearful season.

“It was there that I searched for You, and it was there that You found me.”

We talk much of being Rooted & Grounded. We talk, pray & sing Psalm 1, that tree that does not wither, we sing it “Let my roots grow down deep” but do we ever stop to think of the THIRST that makes a tree send down deep roots? I’ve spent these months, deeply thirsting. And I’ve spent these months being deeply filled. Long, late nights crying over a guitar, singing at the top of my lungs & being filled to overflowing in this little basement apartment.

“You breathed Your fragrance on me”

6 months, and I think I’m coming out. Leaning for sure, but I’m coming out. And no that does not mean that I’m moving back to Kansas City. Quite the contrary. I’m starting to believe in myself, believe in my heart, believe in the dreams that stirred me to leave behind all the safety & love that meant home & drop myself in this place of feeling so alone in so much unfamiliarity.

6 months & I feel like I’ve finally got my legs beneath me, and in 6 weeks everything changes again. I’ll need to find a new place to live, which means finding new finances, aka, a part-time job so that I can stay serving 2 different houses of prayer in 2 different cities, and continue to pursue the crazy dreams that led me out here in the first place.

“Late have I loved you”

What an honor, to love & walk with the Son of God. What an honor, to be His friend & give to Him our adoration. Tis so sweet to trust in You Jesus, and oh for grace to trust You more.

Grateful

Most of the time I have no problems living on a missionary’s salary, but there are definitely moments when it is difficult; when I fight to push off anxiety and cling to faith that my Father is God, and He always cares for His children. The last few months have been like that.

There’s some sort of weird spiritual pattern with my family, whenever we are under attack we always see it first in our vehicles. A while back a window was broken out of the car that Kat and I share and two weeks later, the starter and battery went out. We bought a battery immediately but had to wait for the next payday to buy a starter. There was a little conversation between us and lots of prayer, wondering how we could squeeze enough money together to pay for the part and labor. All throughout the days I found myself whispering “please fix our car Lord, please cover us” and within a week an envelope showed up in our mailbox simply labeled “For your car” with almost the total amount of the part. Our mechanic friend installed it but something else seems to be wrong and we’re waiting for my Papa to come next weekend and get it up and running. In the meantime we’ve been lent a vehicle to use. My God is Faithful.

Then my wisdom teeth starting causing problems and the pain pretty much took me out for 4 days. Between migraines and the problems with the bones in my feet – I’ve learned to work with pain, but even Vicadin gave me no relief from this! With no insurance and again, no extra finances I fought fear and rising anxiety about what to do, day in and day out praying “break in, fix it! Take the pain, or bring the finances but You have to act on my behalf!” and after four days, over night the pain lifted. My God is Faithful.

The car is still not fixed, and my mouth still needs to be looked at for sure, but I can not tell you the incredible ammount of gratitude that has been in my heart for the way that the Lord has responded. Still I have prayed, over and over again for the last few weeks “Father provide, provide, provide”. There are moments when I’m overwhelmed wondering what we are going to do with the cold weather coming in and Kat’s and my different schedules, wondering what was wrong in my mouth causing the pain, wondering if I need to get a weekend job to provide for the unexpected bills and my upcoming bills *big post coming soon* while knowing I don’t have the physical or emotional capacity to do that. But I have fought to live and walk in faith, and with deep breaths and some times a few tears I wisper “Father provide!”

This last week I received a phone call from a family friend informing me that he had spoken with one of the best dentist’s back home, and that he was going to do the xray of my mouth for free. Barring any complications he will also remove my wisdom teeth….for free. My Father is faithful.

At that point of the conversation I sat down and nearly hyperventilated. He then informed me that as an early christmas present to katrina and I, he wanted to cover whatever costs were left over to get the car fixed. After hearing me shakily tell him I didn’t know if there was anything else needing to be replaced he paused and asked with amusement “Didn’t your window get broken out?” to which I responded “oh…..does that have to be fixed?”

My Father is faithful, and I am grateful! So grateful for the way that He shows His love for us when we trust in Him!! If I was wealthy and had all of my needs and wants met as soon as they arose, even then it would still be true that it was all provided for by Him. But living a fasted lifestyle, raising support so that I can stay in the house of the Lord, I am given the honor and opportunity to feed on His faithfulness.

Thank You Jesus for always providing for the needs that arise. I’m thankful that I didn’t go hungry today and I won’t go hungry tomorrow all because of Your great love and provision for me. Thank You for the journey of learning to trust and to follow You.