My husband has found a new hobby! He has decided to try his hand at woodworking and building things. Don’t get me wrong…he’s a super handy guy and always has been and I have been blessed over the years by his knowledge, skills and talents. He has some training and familiarity in electrical work, he has flexed his muscle in remodeling and even built the deck on the back of our home. He maintains, sharpens the blades and changes the belts on our fleet of lawn equipment and he is an awesome chef in the kitchen, too! Yes, I married a multi-talented man. AMEN! Frankly, when I look around our home and see the extent of his work- there is little he can’t do! (And if you were to say that…”You can’t”…to him- he’d figure out how to do it just because HE CAN. ha ha)
Hubby’s latest conquest was a gift for me- this potting bench. Built out of scraps and pallet wood, he custom-built this piece so it would fit perfectly in it’s intended space in the shed. The addition of my daughter’s hand-painted terracotta pots were just what my potting bench needed. Perfection!
I love it.
I LOVE HIM!
I had mentioned in prior posts that we were preparing our garden for the season…and we have. The kids helped by placing seeds in the fiber pots…we added rich soil…and have kept them watered.
For a few weeks they occupied space on our clothes dryer where they could soak in the afternoon sun, but remain safe from the cool nights and the warm days. When the risk of frost passed and their roots had developed, I placed them outside on the patio table so they could acclimate to the great outdoors. But, something happened….they wilted. After the second day, they looked positively peaked. Ailing. SICK!
Oh no! Did I put them out too soon? The mercury rose quickly and it seems like Spring gave way to Summer in only a matter of days. Maybe their roots weren’t strong enough. Should I bring them in?
No. I continued to water them. Moved them to the shade outside occasionally. And let them continue to grow in -what would soon be- their natural environment. Their intended place. They started to thrive and in a short while those plants began to outgrow their little pots. They were ready for more.
I find it awe-inspiring when God places simple examples like this in everyday life.
In Priscilla Shirer’s study, One in a Million, I am learning about wilderness experiences in life and how God uses them for our good…to draw us closer…to grow us and push us to realize and truly experience God- and the potential God placed within us. It is true that the times of greatest adversity are the very times that strengthen our roots and draw us closer to the Lord. Reaching for the SON.
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
Do you see that? God did NOT lead them on the easy, shorter road. HE CHOSE to lead them through the desert…and they left prepared and ready for battle.
Yes, just like my plants they were thrust into the wilderness. They walked out of Egypt ready to battle in the flesh. Yet, God chose to lead them on a wilderness path that would force them to rely on Him and not themselves. He used this experience to change bad habits, remove idols, cast off fear and doubt and establish true faith and trust. There is so much we can learn about our trials in life and God purpose for us in them by reading God’s Word. But, we see examples also in nature.
Back to my poor wilting plants. I was tempted to bring these plants back in to the easy, climate controlled environment they were accustomed to. But, what would that have accomplished? Those little plants would eventually outgrow their small pots and would never bear the fruit (or veggies) they were created to bear.
Maybe your current “wilderness” is a health trial, marital struggle or long period of unemployment. Hang in there and have faith. No, it’s not an easy journey as you follow the Lord through this struggle. You may wilt. But, He will bring the rain. Don’t turn back.
For others, I think many of us get comfortable in our little pots. That pot may be the comfort of your church…doing what church folk do…and maybe ignoring God’s voice as he calls you into unfamiliar territory. Maybe you’re a habitual Bible Study attendee, but ignore the call to lead a study with some new folks who are on the fringe. What if, in addition to teaching the kids class on Sunday morning, God asked you to use the same material to lead a backyard Bible club with the kids in your neighborhood this summer? Or what if He was leading you to start a ladies study in your own neighborhood? Would you be willing to leave the comfort of that little pot?
It’s time to get out of that small pot. Endure some heat and ask God to keep the water flowing as He leads. God used the Israelites’ experience in Egypt to keep them in a time of famine. He never intended for them to stay in that small pot. He had a much bigger purpose for them and He has a much bigger purpose for each of us, too. The plant’s roots can only grow as big as the pot. There is a choice to be made. Camp at the edge of the wilderness = stay in the small pot. Or follow the pillar = rely on the Lord for provision, have faith and be planted…and BLOOM, thrive, and bear fruit.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
I feel a stirring.
I don’t know where or what just yet.
I have two little seedlings here in my home- a son and a daughter- who need nurturing and rich soil. I know that we must continue to water them in the Word while their roots develop.
But, for me personally-I am praying for a bigger pot today…or no pot at all.
Lord, lead me.