|What is THIS?|
When we came back from Maryland, I was overwhelmed to see how well one large pot of flowers had boomed – but I could not for the life of me remember what it was! I had started some flowers from seeds, transplanted others and rejoiced other flowers had simply made it thought the mild winter – what was this lush, flowering plant?
It stumped me for weeks! And nobody else seemed to know, including a couple of friends with gardening skill!
Yesterday, it popped into my head. A friend had given a baggie full of dried flowers from her garden that she had gotten from her mom! She had assured me that bachelor buttons were both hardy and prolific, even in Texas summers.
I remember now burying them about an inch into potting soil in a large container, not knowing what exactly to expect -- thinking when I buried them, this might not work. But I watered a pot of dirt until we left for Maryland in mid June. And somehow, they survived in the sun and heat with whatever drops of rain that fell in our absence. These are a hardy lot!
This forgetting and remembering made me think of a bit of shared wisdom between a friend and me years ago – “Sometimes, we will not get out of the deserts in which we find ourselves, until we like the taste and feel of sand.” Now, that may seem as dodgy a bit of wisdom as those dried flowers seemed a possibility of vibrant color in my garden – that insight has helped me, nonetheless.
I buried the wisdom, watered it with the truth that God inhabits the praises of His people, and I have seen unexpected blessings bloom, in her life, in others and in mine. But I often forget this – as I forgot planting the dried flowers, and their name. I forget that God can bring forth beauty from unexpected, even forgotten places.
But from a desert?
When I became a Christian, I didn’t bargain on desert treks – long periods of grief, fear, troubles, and setbacks; feelings of separation from God and estrangements from loved ones. Although warned I would make them, I thought I had secured a spot in a safe oasis that would shelter me until . . . whenever. And this is where my friend’s experiences, strength and hope helped me – she told me of her desert trek, invited me to join a praise choir as she and her family were on a brutal journey.
Deserts are scary places – my idea of fun still would never be what some do – exploring and camping in the desert as one couple did in the Tunisian desert. (Paul and Sheryl Shard’ pictures from Distant Shores) They found beauty, wonder and adventure – and some danger. But they made it through, and loved their adventure, even recommending it.
And I can commend such a walk with God . . . knowing that no desert, either a spiritual or a literal desert, is without hazard, deprivation, and even terror. But this desert is the one place where God can show us stuff about ourselves we would learn nowhere else. (Deuteronomy 8:2) And this spiritual desert is where we can learn the excellent provisions of His grace that the world’s oases can obscure.
God, help me remember this when I forget so many other things!
|Tunisian Desert DISTANT SHORES|