It has been a very long time since I have been awake like this. So long I can’t remember if I was married and writing as quietly as I could with Bill sleeping peacefully beside me, or if I was single and writing at the kitchen table with Elizabeth sleeping peacefully in her room. I am not one of those people who do their best writing in the wee hours of the morning, either. My head is just too fuzzy so, most of the time, I write my brains out to clear my thoughts and exhaust my intellect enough to doze off. As it is now, I am parked at our PC in the front room, just a few feet away from Bill resting in subconscious-ness, and waiting for my Earl Grey to steep in my favorite Seattle’s Best (my apologies to the Starbucks loyalists) coffee cup.
Tonight I have been thinking heavy thoughts. These are heavy thoughts that I have been evading for a long time but have finally caught me in a vulnerable moment. And after thieving precious time from a husband who needs to be awake in less than five hours my thoughts have finally stolen my ability to drift off into undisturbed slumber. I am left to assess the impact these thoughts have had on me and take inventory of the truths that remain untouched. And I am comforted to discover how rich I still am:
God has not forgotten me.
This summer Bill has been working very diligently at clearing out the portion of our property behind our fence that has been overrun with wild grasses and unruly blackberries. The grasses have been mercilessly hacked away at and shorn until just a few inches of stalk remains above the roots. It won’t be long until these stalks attempt to reclaim their positions of prominence but they will be cut down regularly until all that is left is a soft carpet of green to cover the paths between elders, poplars, willow, and blackberries.
The blackberries, however, will serve an altogether different purpose. Our first thought was to wind the long suckers around the fence rail to encourage the blackberries to grow along the fence. This was a short-lived effort, though, as the sucker snapped in the middle and died in its forced spiral shape. We threw that one away and tried supporting a different sucker so that it would grow in a lazy arch towards a nearby bush. This one too broke in the gusts of a stormy evening so we attempted to tape it back together with florist’s tape. The miniature cast did not correct the break, however, and we had to throw that thorny sucker away as well.
What happened next was something that we really should have anticipated but were surprised by nonetheless. During one of Bill’s ruthless mowing sessions he noticed that the stalks that were broken had begun to bud and bloom. Even now we can see where small green clusters of berries have started to form. Nestled among the soft green leaves is the promise of a fruitful bounty. We know now that this would not have happened if the suckers had been allowed to continue their aimless wandering. In fact, the only possible outcome of letting them grow unchecked is a tumble of thorny stalks winding over and under each other but never producing anything beneficial.
So, tonight, while I was shedding tears that only a broken soul could yield I thought of the blackberries. Many things in my life have needed to be pruned away in order for God to use me to bear good fruit. While I know that my own endeavors are not inherently wrong and I am confident that I would make every effort to glorify the Lord in them, I have known and understand the pain that comes when God shears off those things that have become dear to me. I dare not risk stepping out where God is not leading me nor will I attempt to hold tightly to that which He would have me let go.
No, God has not forgotten me. When I experience any lack of opportunities or the loss of things that I have grown accustomed to having, I can know that He has done it. His desire is to see that I flourish, not to merely take up space. He intends to fulfill His purpose in my life and to do that there will be broken moments and a cutting away of things that would distract me, and others, from His work. And I can anticipate more prunings to come.
And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.Philippians 1:6