Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Remnant

I don’t often talk about the Bible lessons that I teach because, frankly, I’m a better yakker than writer when it comes to such things. Today, however, I think I’ll give it a whirl because I have a little something to share.

We just finished a several month study of that familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3.

To everything, there is a season,
and a time for every purpose
under the heavens…

I won't summarize two months worth of study in one post, but throughout, there were three constants:

Seasons…mere line segments in our eternal time lines.
And times...fixed points of opportunity
And purposes…. A simple word,
best rendered as delights.

It’s a beautiful passage, especially for a bunch of women like the ones in my class who are, shall we say, starting to feel the effects of too many seasons. We finished on Sunday with the reminder not to be so caught up with our season that we miss the opportunities for delight  hidden within it-- to look for the beautiful things promised in Ecclesiastes 3:11.

He hath made all things beautiful in time. 
That's in the perfect tense.

Not… He can make
Not...He plans to make
Not….He will make
Not even… He is making
But... He has made

He made it beautiful before we even entered the season.
It’s finished, completed, made beautiful, and perfectly polished just for the discovery.
 His gift to us, regardless of the season, is the treasure hunt.

Sounds like an adventure to me.

So I gave my class an assignment. I asked them to take their focus off of their seasons and to look, really look, for the delights. And  I asked them to report back to me when they found one. This morning, I found one of mine, and  I have decided to share it here.

You may remember this plant that the Duchess gave me back in November.

And you may remember my brown thumb...
And the way that it looked in February.

I yakked all about it here.

Well, I never did show that plant to the Duchess. Instead, I kept on killing it day by day. It finally ended up nothing but an empty pot of soil. No, I didn't take a picture. Just imagine the one above, but even more dead.

I found one last purple twig. It had fallen to the deck so I scooped it up and kind of crammed it back into the soil the way any brown thumber would do. Then, I watered it. And since this plant is called a Wandering Jew, I named it The Remnant of Israel.

Because that’s the kind of thing I do.

Well, you can probably guess where this is going...
I didn't really want to putter in the yard this morning. After all, it's  hot, and most things are dry and wilting. But when I went to turn on my hose, I happened to glance toward a forgotten corner of the yard, and this is what I saw.

I feel the uncontrollable urge to say, "Behold!"
There, right in the middle of my dry and wilted season, I saw God's hands peeking up from the soil.  

I was delighted.

Now, you green thumbers can have all the explanation that you want for The Remnant sprouting up like this.  Maybe the cram-it-down-in-the-soil trick really worked. As for me, I choose to call it a delight and believe that God made it beautiful for such a time as this.

Because you see, I have been going through a dried up season too. Maybe it's the looming empty nest, or maybe it's that pesky fibromyalgia that makes me feel a little old and tired sometimes, but I had begun to wonder if my best days were behind me.

But when I saw The Remnant this morning, I had a radical thought:

Maybe God has another blooming season planned for me, too.


The Polka Dot Closet said...

A time to sing and a time to dance! I got laid off a year ago after 20 years in pharmaceutical sales, I was devastated! I am now having the time of my life, I started an online store and blog. I am going to have my work published in Romantic Homes Sept. issue. You are the first one I have told. I lay in bed every night and thank God, He had a plan it was delights! I love every day and hate for every day to end! Thank you for the lovely post......He has a plan, you just have to look for it!


BECKY said...

Love this post Deb! It is one of God's delights just for YOU!!! I love when He does stuff like this!!

And I know He has a new blooming season for you!
I feel like I'm right at my new season, too! He has just been blessing my socks off, even through my health junk!! This morning in my time with Him I was in awe, and just thought, "Man, it just doesn't get any better than this"!! Hitch up that horse and go for the ride!! He's right there with ya gal!!

Hugs and joy!

Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

This is a fantastic post, all around. I really enjoyed the bible lesson. And the wandering jew? That's perfect. For a long time it was the only plant we could keep because they're so dang resilient!

Thanks for sharing. Glad I popped by.

Amy Kinser said...

I love it!!! I love what God did just for you, because He loves you so much and He delights in you.

Thanks for sharing this.

Manda said...

This is wonderful... YAK all you like when it comes to things such as these, you're good at it.
Besides those passages mean a lot to this little blogger. lol ;)

Anonymous said...

I sat through all the Sunday School lessons and I am still "delighted" as to what you glean from all God's "stuff". Fabulous post. I love them all, (of course) but one's like this add another dimension to you're already creative writing.

PS Keep watering that wandering jew and we'll be watching to see what He does to it and to you!!

Kelli said...

Thanks so very much for this post which causes me to seek delight in all things!! God has graciously given us an abundant supply of good things!! Praying for you! I'm a fellow brown thumber with great aspirations to one day join the green thumbers!

Ann said...

Debbie, this post is a "delight!" I am at that season of life where I am wanting another little one around ... guess with Hannah's looming wedding it's got me wound up .... either a human baby, or a puppy!
: ) Perhaps a puppy for you to help ease the "empty nest?"

But never close your eyes to other delights that do abound. I love this adventure that God has put us in! I also love the eloquent way you express it.

My favorite example in my life of "adventure" was when Lorri was 8. We were returning from taking Yip to the airport (Heathrow). I did not know my way back to Peterborough (our home at the time). We got lost. BUT on our lost way home, we "discovered" a quaint old town called St. Albans. I never would have found it if I hadn't gotten lost. So Lorri and I enjoyed our little adventure (one of many ... I have no sense of direction), but I always saw it as God's hand directing us to slow down and enjoy the sights. We always made it home, eventually.


The Quintessential Magpie said...

I think this is the best post I have read this entire month! Oh, how I needed to hear this.
And I loved every word of it. God is SO good, and His mercy endureth forever! Some day, when we look back on the tapestry of life and see if from the side in which the Master is weaving it and not from the clipped and snarled, partially viewed underside, we are going to stand and gasp in awe! In the mean time, even from this underside, we should still stand and gasp and delight in the beauty that surrounds us, even when that beauty is a remnant. Sometimes, remnants are the loveliest!

So I am standing with you and rejoicing in this day that He Hath made because He has made it beautiful just for us!


Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

And I'm a brown thumber, too! ;-)

Jennie said...

I absolutely love this! What I wouldn't give to be under the tutelage of you and the ladies whose company you keep on a weekly basis! (Do NOT tell Mrs. Lisa this means we're moving there. Because we're not!)

You are so very gifted...in yakking and writing. Thank you for this reminder. And for the grammar lesson. God HAS MADE all things beautiful. And our eyes so often fail to see. Thanks for cleaning my glasses off today!

And I loved the urge to shout "Behold!" Hee hee. I had a similar rejoicing about our sq ft garden that I had all but given up on actually bearing any veggies. We returned from our weekend away to find a squash, zucchini, and cucumber on every single plant. Hallelujah! ;)

Thanks for stalking other kids in my kids' stead. ;) I'll try to make up for it in the coming days!

CAL said...

As always you made me smile, such beautiful words Debbie.

I've made myself promise that I will not think about the past or worry about the future. I will enjoy today and what it brings. This is in part to my dear friend Rose, her passing made me realize how precious our everyday is and not to take it for granted.

So go forth my wandering jew!

gnee said...

Maybe God does have a 2nd season for all his creations in Georgia. Here in Idaho "the remnant" would have been frozen solid in a couple of hours and finished! All kidding aside, isn't it wonderful how we find answers to all of our questions in the scriptures. We know that we are to experience joy in this life and surely both of us do through our faith in Jesus Christ, family and friends. We are surely blessed. Thanks Debbie for sharing your thoughtful lesson. It will give me something to ponder this evening, and I will be looking for more delights in my life and report back.

Gayle said...

Loved this, Debbie. I've said some sad goodbyes to a number of "seasons" within the last eight years. Seasons I thought would last forever. Seasons I never dreamed I could flourish outside of. But as you said, God has made all things beautiful. Despite losing my job in May of 2009, life is good. I'm in the process of beginning a new career. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I couldn't be happier.

Yak on, friend. And nurture the Remnant of Israel!

FrouFrouBritches said...

Debbie, what an awesome message in this post and one I needed to hear as well. I, too, am having a rough season now. I keep saying that with all the yucky stuff that keeps happening around here, something big and beautiful must be just around the corner. Thanks for the reminder.

BTW, I have a black thumb. Yours is only brown. I can't even look at plants without killing them. It's truly sad.

Southern Gal said...

Thank you for sharing that. I'm grateful to have read your words tonight.

Valerie@intelligentExpressions said...

Thank you Debbie - for the message in this post and and your comments over at Intelligent Expressions. I appreciate your thoughts so very much.

As Christians we go thru life, hoping to be Christ with skin on for others to see and grow as a result. 'I count it pure joy' to know He would use me in such a way - and you should as well - in knowing you have been a blessing to me and obviously to so many others as well.

May He continue to bless you and your words and all those who read and hear them.

A very blessed lady! said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! and much needed in my life right now! Thank you you for listening to GOD and sharing his DELIGHT! You made my day with this post ;)

Lynn Richards said...

Well, Debbie. Who knew God would answer my cries in the form of your beautiful post??? Lately, I have felt like your plant. (pre-delight) Going, going going, giving, giving, giving. When my sweet Brenna goes to camp each summer, ALL the emotions hit, because I finally have time to breathe and think. And pray. And get really honest with God. Who, is ever faithful to meet me right where I am. I can't say everything has changed and I know just what to do, but my delight today is your post. And I will keep looking today to see God's goodness.

Linda W said...

While I love reading each and every one of your blogs, this one has me feeling calm, serene, and blessed . Thank you for sharing, my friend.

Leslie @ goodbye, house! HELLO, HOME! said...

When I saw the picture of the Remnant, I remembered Jesus' words: "I have come so that you may have life: and have it more abundantly!"
You gave the Wandering Jew an opportunity and purpose, and it became your delight.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post--brought a tear to my eye.
Some days, we just don't feel like we have a purpose, but BEHOLD! He reminds us, we do, to delight in Him and remind each other of His joy!
Hugs, you sweet, funny girl ;)!

Holly said...

I am not very religious, but I truly enjoyed this post and the message in it. Beautiful.

Every morning when I wake up I delight in the shining sun (when it shines) coming through the tall trees and the smell of the salty ocean air.
I have a brownish black thumb...

southerninspiration said...

I find delight in your perspective, my friend. I came to tell you how I smiled and giggled at your comments on my Friday Fives about weddings, and found this delightful post.....I just LOVE reading your perspective and wit, and you always seem to make me smile. I am so glad we found each other and can help each other thru this similar time in one another's life. I will post things about my upcoming grandchild, and you can look forward to that time as I share. We are going to find so many delights in our next season....and girlfriend, you know what THAT means......more inspiration for BLOG POSTS!!!YAY :D

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

oh, how i love this. a true delight. he has made everything beautiful indeed.


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