Death Warmed Over

In my heart, there are so many things I want to talk about. There is so much going on with the world at large, as well as in my little corner of it. Things that seem frightening. Things that appear to be unfair and unjust.  Things that seem hopeless.  

So much of what is going on around us these days, is causing many to want to give up and throw in the towel.  It seems that disaster, destruction and death are all around us.

But, all I can think about are the plants that were in my office.

Here’s a little story about the Tell-Tale Plant.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl that many called, Suzie Sunshine. Suzie was fearless in her relationship with God. As a consequence, she was fearless in her approach to life, work, marriage and any other relationship.  She never knew a stranger…only friends to whom she had not yet been formally introduced. She didn’t believe in “personal space.” Everything about Suzie Sunshine was, “in your face,” right on front street. You never had to guess where she stood…ever. Her life, in this fearless state, seemed to be sublimely surreal to the casual observer.  When, in fact, Suzie Sunshine has the 6 generations of consistent faith in God that had been lived out in her viewing and hearing to credit. That foundation made each journey through hell look like a walk through a field of daisies.

In one of her excursions through hell, doctors discovered that Suzie had breast cancer. Stage 4.  It appeared that she was doomed.  Their biggest mistake was to tell that to Suzie Sunshine.  She wasn’t having it. And the people who surrounded Suzie, weren’t having it either (otherwise, she would not have had them around her).  

One of those supporters gave Suzie a potted plant, as a means of encouraging her. This plant seemed to have some kind of mystical connection to her. When she was doing well, it flourished. When she was afraid or distraught or despondent, the leaves would begin to turn brown.  But, it never died.

Neither did Suzie.

Several tours through hell later, Suzie found herself in an office she didn’t really want, holding a position she didn’t ask for, standing her ground for people who went through things she’d never personally gone through.  And that plant?  The tell-tale plant had grown like ivy, covering that office in lush, vibrant, glorious victory.  Suzie was able to step down from that position and hand the reigns over to someone she knew God had placed in the position, to go back to an office and position more suited to her personality. But the plant had grown too large for that office, so…it had to be cut down.

Suzie took the cuttings and began to grow them in other pots, to scatter around the building of her office space. She even gave pieces away.  But, there were three little remnants that refused to grow. So, she threw them away.

This is where I come into the picture.

The day that she threw those remnants away, I came into the office kitchen space and saw them peeking out of the garbage bag.  Knowing the history of this plant, I was stunned to see pieces of it in the trash.  I thought to myself, “THIS should not be!  Surely there is some life left in these remnants. Lemme see what I can do.”

I used a glass candy bowl, covered in daisies. I clipped the bottoms of the remnants and put them in water in the bowl.  I also added some plant food sticks and a half a cup of coffee (in my world, coffee IS food). The plant food clouded the water and made it difficult to see inside the glass bowl…I guess you could say it kept the mystery of the development away from the untrained eye. But, from time to time, I peeked in anyway.

Some days later, I decided I wanted to see what was going on.  They were in water, but the levels were low enough for me to actually see the bases of the remnants.  They looked like they were dying!!! The ends were brown and limp as I pulled them out of the water. I freaked out for a minute, then I heard, “Just add more water.”

So, I added water and went back to work. I kept doing this (and, every now and then…more coffee). It made the water look DISGUSTING, but I would not give up…I just waited.

It took a few more weeks before I dared to check again.  When I did, I discovered STRONG roots had sprouted. It was safe to plant them all in pots of dirt.

Today, those remnants are thick stemmed, rich green BEAUTIFUL plants, growing in their own pots: two in my kitchen and one in my living room.  Not a brown leaf in the bunch. And, believe me when I tell you, in the last month that we’ve been in my home together, I have checked on them regularly, because the rest of my life did NOT look as lush as those leaves would imply.

It’s still the tell-tale plant.  My life may look like death, warmed over, but I’m fine…the attacks of the enemy have been interesting lately, and at times, exhausting. I feel strong and full of hope even when I look wilted, frail and limp at the edges. And, to many, my environment looks DISGUSTING. It may not appear inviting – not in the best neighborhood, with the best ride and the best trappings, but it’s got everything I need to be what I am becoming. I just keep adding more water (the word of God), plant food (prayer) and COFFEE (songs of praise and worship and prayer in tongues).  

It won’t be long, now.  I am about to show you how strong my roots are becoming.

Stay tuned, KP family…


The Wonder Years

I have been off the grid this year. It wasn’t intentional. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t MY plan at all! But, that’s how God does things when He’s making something BIG out of your life. I was learning some very big lessons about myself, by spending an awful lot of time in front of a full-sized mirror…the eyes of another person. I have figuratively stood before that mirror like Adam and Eve stood before God after their first act of disobedience…naked, and  thoroughly ashamed.

I met my match.  I met myself. This is someone who had the appearance of everything I have ever been and gone through, standing before me like an unfinished thought. Someone with all the disadvantages of mis-information, as emotionally, socially and spiritually stunted as I was when I first met God. Someone who never had anyone actually believe in them, but feeling like, “I KNOW there is more to me than this!”

Me – knowing all that God has taught me and all that He’s brought me through – meeting the me who, at that time, had no hope, WISHING someone would throw me a lifeline.

I don’t know if you can imagine coming face to face with your own raw potential and having God pose a question to you: How would you treat YOU?,

“What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?”

I was given the opportunity to confront every negative thing that I have ever been, seen, felt, thought and done. I have seen myself in ways that I would never imagined or even wished I could.  It has resulted in a deep appreciation for the work God has been doing in me all these 48 years. All the patience I required. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought to myself, “It would be so much easier to just…walk away.”

At that point, I would simply cry. And thank God for never giving up on me. Then, I would reach out, again, to my new friend/the old me, and encourage him a little bit further.

But, you can’t really TALK about this kind of thing to anyone while you’re in this kind of process.  People normally cannot handle this sort of pressure on a relationship. It really does require a season of incubation.. Not entirely like the time I spent in my own ‘cocoon’ a while back…it has been more like being pregnant with a fully grown human being. NOBODY knows what THAT is like!

And, then I remembered…God knows…

“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning”

God had to deal with Jesus pretty much the same way. When Jesus turned twelve, God imposed “radio silence.” And from His big trip to the temple, until His coming into ministry, at age 30, the Bible says not a mumbling word about His comings or goings.

Jesus, being fully God and fully man, had to be a real handful! Honing that power and personality had to be more than a notion.  I imagine that anyone in on that process had to go through some changes!. In a day and age as we live in now, there would have to have been a legal dream team drafting those “Non-disclosure Agreements’ to keep a lid on all the goings on! But, everyone in on such an intimate process would be integral in the development of all the attributes that the Christ required for his 3 year mega ministry. Everyone else was pretty much out of the loop.  

The problem with a major transformations is they usually fall under the category of, “a progressive miracle.” You don’t know it’s really a miracle until you get completely on the other side of it. And so, to protect the imperfections of the perfecting process, God takes all of the attention off of you, while He’s still working on you.

I believe there are times when we feel our lives take on an aura of unimportance.  We can go from day to day, thinking that none of this matters in the least. But, consistencies are developed in these ‘wonder years’ that may lead up to one moment that could change the existence of everyone around us for a lifetime.

I am watching this happen right now.

This process has been, as I mentioned before, more than a notion. It was one thing to be in on my own, personal process. But, to be processed for the sake of another’s process?  It has taken me farther in my faith, than I thought I’d go.  It has cost me more than I thought I’d pay and has kept me longer than I thought I’d stay.  And the silence?  The excruciating silence of this wonder year has very nearly, literally, killed me.But, there is something to be said about dying to live again.

The fact that I have penned this little ditty on Independence Day, has not been lost on me.  I’m certain that means something. I’ll get back to you on that.

As much as I missed talking to you, my Kaleidoscope Family, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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