Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teach Me to Number my Days

Unfortunately, this week I found some disappointing news this week at MD Anderson in Houston.  Apparently the lymph node that had cancer in it is unchanged from the chemo.  I suppose I could look at it positively that at least it hasn’t grown, but it seems like a lot of feeling yucky for no change.  My best bet is to get into a drug trial.  Pray that I find one here in Vegas because anywhere else would be logistical nightmare.  I trust, however, that the Lord knows what is best.

When I was given the bad news, I kept on thinking that I was so tired and I just wanted my life back.  In the days preceding my appointment, I kept thinking that when I felt better I was going to make positive changes in my life, eat better, exercise.  After I calmed down it occurred to me that this was my life, however undesirable.  I decided that I couldn’t wait to make positive changes ---I had to start now, especially if it helps to minimize the effects.

Before all this happened I asked God to help me “number my days.”  I think of when you count off at a field trip so the teacher can make sure you are there—you matter, you would be missed, you are important.  I wanted my days to matter.  This is not how I would have chosen for God to work but it is doing what I asked—it is making me feel urgency about making my days count.  I am not there yet, but I am getting there.

I have a friend who is watching her son go through some difficult times.  She too finds herself wishing that this wasn’t her life.  “This is not how I wanted things to go; this is not what I want for my son.”
The thing is that thinking that this shouldn’t be your life is useless thinking.  It is your life, whatever you are going through, and God can make good come out of it, if we just trust him.  God sees the big picture and knows exactly what circumstances will bring Glory to Him and bring more people to a relationship with Him.  When we wish against our lives and we rebel against are circumstances, we still suffer (perhaps even more), but we fail to show the glory of God.  Our suffering is wasted, so to speak.

I don’t want any part of my life, least of all my suffering, to be wasted.  None of us can afford that.  Our lives are short in comparison to eternity.  We need to “Number our days” so that every one of them counts.  The proverb says if we do that we will gain wisdom.  I think that means that we will have an understanding about our lives, its purpose and meaning.  Then perhaps we won’t question God’s design.  Or, at least when we do, we will hear the still quiet voice of God asking us to number our days and we will feel we matter, we would be missed, we are important.
Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sometimes Blooming Isn't Pretty--Yet

Sometimes blooming isn't pretty. Scientists have uncovered evidence that the first flowers had no colorful petals. Buds when they are small are tiny and less than spectacular. Although not a gardener, I have heard that sometimes it is necessary to wait until the bulb leaves turn brown and wither so you can cut them off to make room for the flowers.

Sometimes trusting God doesn't look pretty either. It is not without crying and pleading and a fair amount of fear. But if you are lucky then those buds will turn brown and wither and make way for blossoms. That takes time however.

I remember the night before I was diagnosed. The doctor had called to say that I could come in any time and she would adjust her schedule to fit mine. Yep, I was pretty sure it was cancer. I was full of fear and crying. My husband got a little angry (which I'm sure was the fear talking) and said "Don't you trust God?" I don't remember what I said in reply but it probably wasn't pretty. But later I thought that trusting God and crying are not mutually exclusive.

Just look at the Psalms. The psalms are full of the gamut of emotions--crying, pleading, worry, anger,you name it. God is big enough to take our human weaknesses and help us deal with them. We need to come to him honestly and openly with all our doubts and fears. Lay them on his alter, sacrifice the need to wallow and allow him to heal the brokenness of our hearts. In time he can take those fears and exchange them for his hope and strength. For in our weakness he is strong. Sometimes our circumstances collapse us under their weight and we fall to our knees which is exactly where God wants us. That is when he can work his miracles.

No trusting God isn't always pretty--yet. Blooming where you are planted takes time. We water the buds with our tears. We need to let our fears wither so they can be removed to make room for the flowers. Trust God, let him be your strength. The blooms will come in the dawning light of his love.

Psalm 55: 22-23
 Cast your cares on the LORD
   and he will sustain you;
he will never let
   the righteous be shaken. . .
   But as for me, I trust in you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trusting the Gardener

Have you ever met someone who can make anything grow?  They seem to work miracles--they bring plants back from the brink of death.  They can make even the most stubborn of flowers thrive under the most challenging of environments.

I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite.  All plants (and some small animals--don't ask) die in my care.  Don't ever give me a plant or flower thinking it will brighten my day and "it is so easy to take care of."  I know you mean well, but it will die.  No kidding.  My husband once gave me a heart shaped bamboo (I know--so romantic) that didn't even have any roots; it just sat in some rocks and I just had to fill the jar with some water every couple of days.  It lasted longer than most, but yep--it kicked it.  I just have a black thumb I guess.

I've been thinking why it is that I can experience the greatest growth on my life right now, while I have this ugly disease.  It is because I have a great gardener!  He is a miracle worker that's for sure.  He brings brown, shriveled lives back from the brink of death (actually beyond death) and breathes new life into his creations. He makes beautiful blooms come from even the ugliest of plants.

The only reason I have any life at all is because I have a gardener who planted me and waters me and helps me grow.  He has the green thumb and he works wonders despite my brown one.  I just need to trust him and bloom where I am planted.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hooking the Little Fish

I've been thinking about how many problems are caused by time. Not enough of it. Too much of it. Something doesn't come quick enough. Others events come too quickly (how in the world did I become a mother of an eight year old?!).
It really isn't times fault. Each of us is allotted exactly the same amount of minutes a day. None of us know how much time we have on earth. We are all the same nearness to death because we just never know what will happen (really for those of us in life threatening situations this really is a hopeful thought--perhaps not so much to everybody else:-).   The problem comes from our perspective of time.
Sometimes it seems like I can’t be bothered by the little things. I have a skewed perspective of time.  The decision of what needs to be done is made with a jumble of priorities swimming around each begging to be caught.  For example, last week, I let the dishes go for a couple of days because I just didn’t have the “time.”  When I finally did them it hardly took any time at all and I felt better having done them. Ultimately, however, that decision didn’t really amount to much except a cleaner kitchen, a more peaceful domestic status.
But what about the decision not to kiss my husband, comfort my child, help a friend (or more likely a stranger), or share my faith?  Decisions that aren’t really decisions, just fish I didn’t hook because my eyes were distracted by some larger catch.  Decisions that aren’t really decisions still have larger consequences.
But what if I made a decision based on a bigger picture?  An eternal one?  
I am reminded of Phillip in Acts Chapter 8. He was preaching in Samaria, finding great success—healings and popularity. “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.” He must have been tempted into taking great pride in himself.  Did he sometimes loose the message in all the hype?
Still he heard the voice, “The angel of God” telling him to go south down the desert road. Did he pause for a moment wondering if it was worth his time, was there larger crowds down that road. Bigger fish to fry, so to speak?  But he went nonetheless and met a eunuch with whom he shared the good news.  It sounded like he spent some time with him, taking the time to sit and discuss the passage of scripture the man was reading.  They continued walking together and then he asked to be baptized.  Just one man, but who knows the influence he may have had in the Ethiopian courts?  But even if he didn’t go on to influence others, still he is in heaven because Phillip heeded the Angel of the Lord and took the time.  He wasn’t distracted by what he thought he needed to get done but saw the bigger picture and what a change of direction and some time can do.
Blooming where you are planted means having an eternal perspective.  It mean heeding the voice inside you that says take the time, don’t be in such a rush, don’t think about what is in it for you, but look people in the eye and spend time with them.  You never know when the little fish is the one God wants you to hook.
Ephesians 5:15-17
New International Version (NIV)
 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God's Battle

The idea that cancer is a battle is a cliche I know, but cliches develop for a reason. I've never been at war, but I still feel like I can speak of fighting for your life.

It isn't just dealing with the pains of various shapes and sizes which I am sure that any soldier deals with. Cancer, like most enemies,  is sneaky. It catches you by surprise. I thought that I had defeated once and then it reared it's ugly head again. Then just when I had wrapped my head around having to take radical action of a double mastectomy to beat this for good, it caught me by surprise yet again. My surgeon calls me weird. I can't trust my body anymore. It makes it difficult to let my guard down. It is not just my body that gets tired anymore---my mind is weary, my soul needs rest.

And then there is all the emotional ups and downs. One minute I feel on top of the world, feeling like I am beating the hell out of this disease and the next I am a mess because I have to ask my husband to wash my hair. I want to stay strong for my family, but some days I just want to feel sorry for myself. The worst of it is that it makes me so self involved and somedays just saps the fun right out of me.

I just get tired of the battle some days. That's when I force myself to remember that I am not in this alone. I've got the big guns on my side! He is the one that arms me with strength.

Even more amazing is that he fights my battles when I can't.  I'm reminded of the battle of Jericho.
The Israelites just had to follow God's orders and march around the city and shout when the horn blew and the walls of one of the strongest fortified cities in all the world just fell. Not a sword was lifted, not an arrow left the quiver.

The walls didn't fall on that first day though. They spent six days prior circling the city once each day. On the day in question they had to circle the city seven times before the fateful horn blew. They must have been weary of walking. Maybe even a few had started doubting. They looked up at the seemingly impenetrable walls and just felt tired to the core. But they kept walking until the horn blew and they shouted and the walls fell. They didn't have to fight that day. They only had to walk and shout-- I like to think that more than a few of them had praises for their almighty  God on that day.

I'm glad I don't have to fight every day-- I don't have it in me. I just have  to follow my orders and keep on walking where God tells me. I will continue to shout His praises. Then I will just stand and watch as those walls come tumbling down.

2 Chronicles 20:15  "This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I just had skin graft surgery. They removed all the cancerous skin around the mastectomy scar on my left breast and put on skin from my left thigh. I had just started thinking my chest was looking better and now I look like Frankenstein. I was sort of prepared because my father had gotten so many disfiguring surgeries on his neck and face in the years before he died (he would have been 80 today). Hey, I thought, at least I can put a shirt on to hide it. I told my dad in a tribute I wrote about him that cancer is ugly, but the people who fight cancer are beautiful. That he was beautiful no matter what he looked like. Now that it is me, it is harder to believe. Hard when you are looking in the mirror. I am just ignoring mirrors for the time being.

Even before the surgery, I never had a great attitude about my body. So when my friend, who had a unexpected mastectomy years ago, told me to say goodbye to my breasts, I thought she was a bit batty. But what the hay. Feeling a bit foolish, I found my self looking at the mirror one day. I said (out loud:-) to my left breast "you--you are a trouble maker. I am not sorry to see you go." Then I turned my head slightly and said to my right "You, I'm afraid, are guilty by association."

It is difficult to feel comfortable, let alone alone good in my skin right now. It would be easy for me to me to simply say I am spiritual creature and that the physical body doesn't matter but that would be over simplifying the human condition. We are not simply spiritual creatures. God created our hearts, our minds---and our bodies. We are given our bodies on loan to take care of and our physical bodies do effect us continually. We snap at our kids when we have a headache or the natural high from exercise (that, I have to admit, I haven't really understood) causes us to have a good day. Sometimes our bodies scream at us and demand our attention like toddlers who are feeling ignored. And sometimes they are just as hard to control.

But it is true that we are much more than our bodies. We must try to not let our baser instincts take over or let our bodies control our behavior. To bloom where you are planted means to bloom with the body that God gave us---whether that means struggling with your weight, or a receding (or non existent:-) hair line or a genetic make-up that makes cancer grow fast. It means living with the pains and the wounds of life until they fade, leaving us stronger. God made each one of our bodies and they are amazing-- even if they aren't conventionally beautiful. We all must find a way to come to terms with who we are physically-- whether that be permanent or temporary-- to bloom in our God given bodies.

One day we are all going to get beautiful, bright, shiny bodies that won't creak and groan with every passing hour. Someday all the pain will be but a faint memory. But until then this tent houses the Holy Spirit and is fantastically complicated and astonishingly efficacious. So while I am on this earth, I will bloom in the body I was planted in.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the Flames With You

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego continues. The threat of death didn't make them stop worshiping God. Yet Nebuchadnezzar didn't just threaten these men, he actually had them thrown in! The Bible says they weren't even touched by the fire despite it being so hot that the guards that put them in there were killed (wouldn't want that job :-). Even more extraordinary is that Nebuchadnezzar saw another person in the flames with them:

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

There is evidence to suggest because of other references in the Bible that this was Jesus in the flames! This is a reminder that no matter how hot the fire of your life, God is there with you. This event caused Nebuchadnezzar, the most pagan of all kings, to praise the king of kings, the one and only most Holy of God. This, folks, is why we are all here on this earth, am I right??? That's what I'm talkin' about!

I know that God has been here right beside me through this all and he will continue to be faithful. My job is to tell everyone I meet of his faithfulness and love so they can see the goodness of God and know that he will be there with them too.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Praising God No Matter What

The other day I shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how God had equipped them to bloom where they were planted. Their story,however, wasn't finished with them thriving in captivity. God wanted them to go further as living testimonies to His power. Nebuchadnezzar instituted a law that required that all in the land bow down to the god he chose. When the three men refused, they were ordered into the blazing furnace. The men's response shows how much they trusted God:

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Notice how they said "even if he does not. . .we will not serve your gods. . ." You might feel like God is asking you to walk through fire but, please, please don't refuse to worship God. To refuse to trust and praise him is to is to say that our God is not big enough, not strong enough, not loving enough to get us through our circumstances. That is simply not true.

Furthermore, these men's faith was not dependent on any predetermined outcome. No matter what happened they were God's children and they would continue to praise him and him alone. Period.

I want you to know that I fully expect that God will heal me of this disease. But if he does not it isn't because he is less of a God. Quite the contrary. He has been with me this whole journey and I could not go one step without his love and provision. I will continue to follow His plan and praise him to the end whenever that is. I will pray that his glory be revealed. No matter what. Period.

Job 1:22
   “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
   and naked I will depart.[c]
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dancing with God

Here is a poem I wrote a few years ago.  It seems appropriate to my circumstance right now. 

You danced with the heavens and the earth, with the darkness and the light
You waltzed the universe into being with your hovering spirit
And you saw that it was good.

You danced Adam into being also, but sensed he needed another partner too
You gave him Eve, watched them and ordered their steps
And made grace out of their bumbling.

Then you danced with them both, in the cool of the garden
And they knew the warmth of your touch
But they switched partners when the serpent cut in.

You danced with Noah as he built, though to him it didn’t make sense
And you kept him close as the rain poured
And held on tighter through the thunder.

And even after the flood, you tried to dance with mankind
But they wanted to do it their own way and made noise of the music
So that now some of them have forgotten all the steps.

You asked Abraham to dance, though it took him awhile to get out on the floor
And even then he stumbled quite a bit
But yet he kept on to a good old age, full of years, gathered to his people.

Isaac danced with you all the way up on the altar
And you were delighted in his surrender and the merging of your bodies
But then he took it all for granted, and ended up sitting it out mostly.

Jacob wanted to wrestle instead
All his life you tried to teach him the steps
And he finally got it, and danced leaning on his staff

Joseph danced with you all his life
Whether in pit, prison, or palace
Teaching others to dance with his forgiveness.

You dance with me, also, though I’m mostly out of step
But you have blessed me with rare moments of grace
When I trusted the dancer not the dance.

What is the difference between 
                                    Grace and bumbling
                                    Order and stumbling  
wrestling and dancing?
The difference is the answer to one question:  

                                                              Who is in the lead?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Provision for Blooming

I am fixing to have another surgery--again. This is, quite frankly, getting old. I feel like I am getting ready to walk through fire again, though this surgery is not as extensive as the last. I try to focus on God, draw strength from Him and trust his plan for my life. Most days I do O.K. Coffee and chocolate help too.

Today, I am drawn to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. By following God's plan for their lives they found themselves thriving in captivity, eventually being promoted to administrators. God had equipped them with all the skills and qualities to help them right where they were planted and they were considered among the wisest of the land. What a living testimony to an awesome God who equips us with everything we need to meet the challenges He sends us.

He certainly has equipped me! I have so many stories that show God's provision during the tough times in my life. God has always been with me, but what a privilege it has been to so visibly witness God working in my life in the last few years. One of the biggest blessings has been my job as an online teacher. God gave me the skills, experience and opportunity to get this job in January of 2009. Little did I know (but God did) that in November of that same year that I would be diagnosed with cancer. Having this job has allowed me the ability to care for my children, adjust my schedule around doctor's appointments, and work from my lap top while recovering from surgeries. If that wasn't enough, I love it. It gives me all the challenges and joys of teaching without the head aches of the non-virtual classroom. Plus I was able to get insurance so I am double covered. God is such a loving and creative God.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There Goes My Life

Once again I find my life all about doctors appointments. I remember the first time that I was diagnosed, I fell horribly behind in my grading because of all the diagnostic appointments. Then there was the chemo appointments every week for an hour and every three weeks for 4-5 hours. I did start to think of those as quiet time because the rest of the time I was so swamped with my job and parenting. Your life has to be pretty hectic if you start looking forward to chemo:-) Then there was the six weeks that I had to go to radiation everyday. I even had the hour chemo appointments up until last Thanksgiving. When all this started happening again my first thought was "There goes my life." Substitute your own expletive there because I sure did.

To a certain extent I had these same thoughts before I was diagnosed--about being a mom. On some days I don't even have to get dressed ( I am online teacher) and a lot of times it is frankly not worth getting the girl's dressed. I would often think "When they are all in school, then I can have my life back."

I still have a poor attitude when it comes to being a mom. I often find myself thinking "I have cancer and I still have to potty train (unsuccessfully) my toddler and pick up after these kids! ( I think it is funny that when they are being sweet they are my girls or babies but when they are horrid, they are those kids, as if they just magically appeared and I don't want to claim them.) I would much rather lead a Bible study or even teach high school; sometimes other areas of my life are much more gratifying. There I said it. Motherhood is not always the epitome of personhood for me.

I wonder if it ever crossed Paul's mind when he went to prison "There goes my life!" I wonder if he was tempted to just coast and not do anything while he was locked up. I wonder if he ever thought "I have to be in jail AND share the Gospel? You got to be kidding me!" Talk about blooming where he was planted.

The Bible tells me that my life is in Christ. My life is doing what God wants me to do that is right here in front of me-- not somewhere down the line. It means treating my kids (and husband) with love even when I don't feel good. It means being a mother ( and wife) even when I don't get thanked ( which, let's face it, is pretty much all the time:-). It means treating doctor's and nurses kindly and with respect even when they don't move fast enough for my taste or I'm in pain. It means sharing what God is teaching me here with these words even when I'm busy ( sorry about not posting last week-- volunteering for vacation Bible school kicked my butt). It means being grateful for everything in my life. It means blooming where I am planted.

"I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. "
John 10:9-10 The Message (MSG)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Bigness of God

I got some bad news yesterday. The cancer is mostly likely back and I will have to have more surgery.

My immediate reaction was fear and crying. You would think that after all God's provision that I would feel less fear. After all, He knows what he is doing. He sees the big picture and how this experience will make me a better person.

So why the doubt? Why the fear? Because sometimes the obstacle in front of me is too big and that is all I see. It blinds me to the love and provision of God. Which is why Gods largeness is so important. When we would make decisions based on fear and avoidance of pain, he makes decisions based on what would make us more like Him. If we have faith He can guide us on the right path and banish our fears.

I imagine that this was what the Israelites were going through when they were facing the Red Sea. Behind them was the seemingly unbeatable Egyptian army and in front of them the mighty Red Sea. Their obstacles temporarily blinded them to God's love and provision. They were looking at the bigness of the army, the vastness of the Sea instead of how big God is.

The most important idea to remember is that God is bigger than pain. He is bigger than cancer. He is also bigger than our tears and our fears.

He has our lives and deaths in his very capable hands. If we keep our eyes on that, we need not fear.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isa 41:10

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Home Sick

Because of my surgery, I've been sleeping on my couch for six weeks. It has it's perks, mind you, namely being able to watch TV when I can't sleep and not having to listen to my husband snore. But overall, it just doesn't cut it-- it isn't my bed. I end up shifting a lot, dealing with a fair amount of pain and waking up with an aching back. My greatest desire was to sleep in my own bed-- the yearning and the lack caused me tears a few times.

Last night I spent my first night in my bed! It was wonderful. It felt like home.

I think that this world is like that couch. It has its perks--chocolate, snuggling with my girl's, toe curling kisses from my husband. But it also is full of pain, heart wrenching pain. Even when it is going well, there is something not quite right. I end up shifting a lot, looking for that sweet spot that doesn't quite happen. It doesn't cut it.

I think that is one of the reasons that God sends painful or uncomfortable situations our way. It is to remind us that this world is not our home. No matter how good it gets, we have something even better waiting for us. Our imaginations can't even fathom the beauty and joy that will be ours. The pain is temporary and is useful for teaching us. The pleasures are nice. But our heart should yearn for something more-- our home with our Father. God doesn't want us to get too comfortable, too attached to this world. He doesn't want us to settle with the pleasures of this life. He wants our hearts to yearn for what is coming!

Hebrews 11:16
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

True Love

What do you do when love doesn't look like you think?
When the discipline becomes too hard
When then pain too much
The exile long enough
And coveted freedom too long in the coming?

You cling to the promises and hold on to the hope
As the enemy invades and your life is stolen away
You protect the truth in your heart
The truth that God is God, he is sovereign still,
he hears the cries of his people and his promises will be kept whole

Because love--real love that doesn't feed the idols of our heart
and tell us what we want to hear--
real love Isn't all warm and fuzzy or comfortable beds
The truth is that love hurts and it often is born of fire
Fire that burns away the ugliness of our souls
Reveals who we are and
Who lives is in our hearts
Removes the golden glint of fake gold
And replaces it with real gold that lasts forever

Real love sometimes takes away what we want
so we can see what we really need --
God, only God
who was always there--waiting with arms open wide

God IS love and
one day we will see his love as it really is
when the world's lies will no longer hide it
And we will no longer be distracted by what we think love should look like.

Psalm 36:7
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blooming Where I've Been Planted

I've decided to bloom where I am planted which is no small task when you consider my garden is breast cancer. but this is from God as surely as all the bright shiny obvious blessings are from him too. What does blooming entail? Plenty of watering for sure. Being washed in the word daily. Letting the dirt and crude that holds you down run off and disappear into the earth. Drinking lavishly of the Lord's goodness and mercy and feeling the cool refreshment of his love deep down. Then, of course, turning my head towards the son, basking in his love as a sunflower turns towards the source of true light. You don't see sunflowers fooled by any old florescent lightbulb do you? Nope only the real thing will do. Then we need rich soil where your roots can spread out and stretch down real deep. Roots that were there long before the wind blew but which grow stronger every minute it continues --much more than if the roots were never tested.  That's all it takes really--no complicated formula . We make it so very hard. I'm not sure why really. Maybe so when we fail we have some excuse, something to blame when we don't bloom. Something other than ourselves-- because it was all too difficult it was bound to fail, right? The thing is that it was never up to us. You don't see a flower walking around with a guilt complex.  A flower doesn't chose the garden, make it rain, or blow the wind. She just blooms where she is planted and basks in the sun. 

The LORD will guide you always;
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11