Friday, July 15, 2011

Hope Rising

I first noticed it a few weeks ago while I was running.  Summer storms had left chaos around the neighborhood.  I had assumed the overturned flower pots were just more debris from the driving wind and rain.  As the days passed I thought it odd that they had never been righted.  Until this morning when I passed them again and happened to look inside.  It seems the upturned flower bins are that way for a purpose.  Beautiful flowers are growing sheltered by the shade provided by the large tin buckets standing on their sides.  It is quite stunning, and gives pause for reflection.  Surely it must be a mistake, I think.  And then I look closely at the neat arrangement of growth, as if someone thought long and hard about what flowers and foliage would grow best in the unusual placement of their flower bed.  It reminds me of my life. 

 When we first learned that I would not be returning to my last place of ministry, it took our breath away. We were in shock.  In the span of a three minute conversation our lives had been upturned, like the flower pots after the storm.  Yet slowly shock gave way to something else.  Quietly, slowly, we began to discover a deeper truth holding us; perhaps this wasn't a surprise to the One who had called me there in the first place.  Perhaps this was part of God's calling me to a new path.  Perhaps this was part of a greater plan.

One of my students shared Gunther's song "Beautiful Things."  I play it often.  It stirs me deeply.  When I feel discouraged, it reminds me that from the beginning of time God has always taken the debris of chaos and plants beautiful gardens.  I love these lyrics:

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around

Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

As I am living into this new season of our family's life,  I am learning how dependent my faith has been upon outcomes.  I am beginning to see that faith in God is less about trying to convince Him to arrange for better outcomes and instead to trust that He already has the outcome in His hand.  Faith is becoming a daily choice where I choose to believe that the outcomes are unfolding according to a greater plan.  Even though I don't always understand, by Grace I am choosing to believe that the greater plan is beautiful.  Just like the upturned flower beds.  They are beautiful.  Unexpected.  Singular.  Unduplicated.  But incredibly beautiful.

And just as those new flowers are rising out of strategically placed potting soil, reshaping a lawn into an invitation to enjoy beauty from a different angle, I sense God inviting me to trust that beautiful things are growing out of the soil of my life too.  Though the seeds planted there are still tender, not yet sturdy and strong, their tenacious hold on new life inspires me to hope.  Those subtle stirrings are indeed there, every time I let go of my need to have things turn out in the ways I expected and allow God room for surprises.  Uncertainty seems to be the best seed bed for hope to rise in.

This is me trusting,


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