Water hits the dry soil and puffed faces of lavendar mums, and I tilt the basket at the mailbox so that the water seeps and doesn’t spill off onto the ground. Leaves shake and shudder, high and naked on their branches in the early morning dew and northern wind blowing south. They are strong, but even they will have to loosen their tightly clenched fist and give way to nature and God’s timing. The brown ones, already dead, a warm blanket for dormant hope, seeds of faith lying deep, they crunch underneath my feet, signaling the passage of time and it hits me. That Fall is already here and before I can really grasp it and hold it firm, winter will have blown in on an arctic gale and clutched my bones and these dying leaves with it’s icy grip, them just trying to hang on, me just trying to hang on.
I water, force-nourish, and I notice how the flowers refuse to drink, how they stand defiant, soil all clotted hard, and the water just slips right off, falls to the ground below, missing it’s purposeful mark. So I, persistent that the plants will drink, keep pouring, slowly, until the soil is softened enough to receive.
This is the way with me. I harden in my selfish desires and unbelief.
But He continues to lay my heart bare, to rip off the scales that blind me. He causes me to be in the pit-place that I loathe being in, but I am here, and I realize I have been ungrateful for what He has given. He uses this dark place to make me see.
I bow head and weep confession for my sin. When I’m ungrateful, when I complain and allow myself to be bitter, and I don’t give thanks, I’m saying to God everything He’s given isn’t enough. When bad things happen-when I am sick for two years and beyond, not knowing when I will get well–and I refuse to praise with grateful lips, when I refuse to worship with serving hands, then I stop the hoping and begin the hardening, and the refusing to receive His nourishing rain.
The rain may seem inconvenient with it’s downpour, and unrelenting, uncomfortable drenching, my soul shuddering cold, and how it makes everything spill over and I can’t control it’s containment, can’t restrain it.
It’s water washes out the hardened surface, carves new paths in my heart, forms the grand canyon in me, pushes out the impurities and guts the ugly and I ache–a cold wind blowing right through the gaping hole of me.
This is when my faith wanes. I callous up, and I clot my soil dry, make it so hard that no one can see what’s inside, and they can’t prod and pick at me.
This doesn’t allow His life-giving water in, the water that I will never thirst again by, but at least, my fearful mind rationalizes, they won’t get to the roots of me, laid bare for them to crush and eat away at my very core.
What does my faith rest upon in this dry, wintry gale season, blowing hard, blowing right through me? What does faith look like when I’m too cold to receive His rain? His grace?
I look up.
Come back for the ending here tomorrow?
Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose: