Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stir the Soil

Here we are, poised on the cusp of yet another Lenten season... Ash Wednesday is tomorrow! (Lent is simply the forty days before Easter, traditionally characterized by fasting, confession, reflection and preparation; Lent is not "in the Bible" per se, but it's kind of modeled after Jesus' forty days in the desert. There - Lent in a nutshell.) 

I have never felt more in need of a quiet, contemplative time in all my life. I'm just coming out of one of the best times of my life. Up until ten days ago, I was gainfully employed at a job that made good use of my gifts; working with encouraging, wise, intentional, life-giving, fun colleagues and a congregation whom I adore; making a difference in people's lives (I hope) by pointing them to Jesus. 

Bliss, people - pure bliss. Sure, there were challenges to be faced and overcome, questions to be answered, difficulties to be endured. There were times when my weaknesses and short-comings (yep, pun totally intended) became painfully evident. But overall, it was such a satisfying time. 

I knew it was temporary. That was a given from the get-go. I was pretty tempted to hold myself just a teeny bit aloof, to not give myself whole-heartedly to the endeavour. But I decided against that, figuring that the joy of jumping in with both feet, of being fully immersed in the give-and-take of community for a time would more than compensate for whatever pain might be involved when it came to a close. 

I'm still trying to determine if that has indeed been the case. Maybe I need to allow more time to pass before I can be sure? But no - it was absolutely, totally, one-hundred-per-cent worth it! These past ten days have been pretty rough, though, to state it mildly. I feel adrift on a vast sea of uncertainty. The plans and projects that seemed so sure before I entered into this look differently to me now, somehow. I just don't know where to go from here.

Enter Lent. A time to seek, to search, to question, to consider, to ponder...to clear away the mind-clutter and get quiet and still before my God. I am beyond grateful for God's perfect timing.

A prayer "randomly" came across my screen a few weeks ago (thanks, PB) - and something about it really resonated with me. I've determined to pray it, and mean it, daily - or even more often - during Lent. Join me? And watch and see what God will do?

God, stir the soil,
Run the ploughshare deep,
Cut the furrows round and round,
Overturn the hard, dr
y ground,
Spare no strength nor toil,
Even though I weep.
In the loose, fresh mangled earth
Sow new seed.
Free of withered vine and weed
Bring fair flowers to birth.

(Prayer from Singapore, Church Mission Society)

1 comment:

  1. As I am visiting as your neighbor on the linkup at #TellHisStory, my heart is drawn to your story here. I retired about a year and a half ago from a church staff where I had been totally immersed for 13 years. It was all the things you mentioned and possibly a few others. I believe the Lord blessed that time and whatever I offered, but it also exposed me to many things that were behind the current in Oz that were hard to see, hear, and carry. This staff was for the church my husband and I were a part of for 21 years. As I have taken time to reflect, breathe, and listen to the Lord, I am coming to see more clearly. It has meant beginning to seek the Lord for a new church body to be a part of as a non-staff member and to sense Him afresh and in ways I had not noticed were slipping away in the midst of 24/7 involvement. My prayer would agree with the one you posted and that the Lord might speak gently and clearly of what He would have you know, see, and understand. Blessings on you! Pam