Blossom

Recently, I returned from a trip to Kona, Hawaii where I served as a part of the Missions Builders Program at Youth with a Mission’s (YWAM) University of the Nations.  For the next several weeks, my blog posts will focus on all that God spoke to my heart during my time there.

One particular night in Kona, as I was lying in bed, I began to fade into that fuzzy place between wakefulness and sleep.  Floating through my head came a stream of images, all of flowers in bloom.  I roused myself awake and asked God what He was saying to me about blossoming.  Over the past several weeks, God has continued to speak to my heart on this topic.

I was led to the following two passages of scripture:

And why worry about your clothing?  Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.  They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.  Why do you have so little faith?  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:28-34 NLT)

My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.  I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.  He browses among the lilies. (Song of Songs 6:2-3)

These passages highlighted such beautiful truths to me about how God’s love towards me provokes my life and my heart to erupt and blossom into the fullness of beauty before my Heavenly bridegroom.  I blossom as I put my trust in Jesus.  The less I worry about the cares of this life and the more I choose to place my focus on Him, the more my heart opens up before Him, the more my character as a woman after His heart develops and the more the path of my life unfolds in accordance with His desires for me.  In Matthew chapter 6, we are compared to the lilies of the field growing, beautifully dressed and wonderfully cared for.  We are reminded of the simple but transformational truth that God loves to watch us grow in the fields He has planted us.  He loves to dress us up and cause us to radiate His beauty.  He delights in the way the sparkle in our eyes and the warmth of our smile can so clearly express and communicate His love.  And His care and concern for us is wonderful.  As we seek God above all else, He promises to provide everything we need to sustain and to bring about more growth in our lives.  He asks us to focus on what it means to appreciate and celebrate the beauty of each moment. As we continue in faith day by day, our lives unfold delicately and delightfully before Him, according to the rhythms of His grace.  As we do this, He is faithful to come into our garden.  He comes to enjoy us, to love us, to be with us.  In this place of intimacy, openness and transparency before Him, He whispers to our tender hearts, “I am yours and you are mine.”

During my time in Kona, the Lord convicted me that I was not living to the 100% potential of who He has called me, fashioned me and created me to be.  I was allowing worry, fear, my past, my weaknesses and my own sense of inadequacy to keep me in a holding pattern of living a life with limits.  I was keeping far too much of my potential locked inside and hidden away from the world.

I recently read the following beautiful quote by Anais Nin: “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”  I did my research on the author of this quote and while I don’t think I would agree with the majority of her work (as it does not glorify God), I did find the words expressed above to be beautifully articulated.  They express something I have begun to feel stirring from the deepest parts of myself.  Now is that time for me.  The risk of keeping myself locked away, only living to half who God has called me to be, is far greater than the risk of blooming before Him, fully trusting Him and allowing my whole heart to give way to His passion and purposes for my life.

I wonder how many of us are living closed lives, tight in our buds, afraid to open our hearts fully, afraid to fully engage in life, afraid to take risks and afraid of what might happen if we actually trusted God to direct us and guide us in His purposes and plan.  I believe the time has come to blossom.  Invite the King of your heart to step inside your garden.  Find out how wonderfully He cares for you.

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From the Breaking Point to the Breakthrough

Do you ever have those perfect storm moments in life?  Those moments when everything seems to come crashing down all at once?  I have experienced several of those moments over the course of my life.  God reminded me recently of one particular time I struggled through a perfect storm.  I came home one night and crawled into my bed.  As I tossed and turned through the night, in the middle ground between sleep and consciousness, I remember this one thought playing on loop in my mind: From the breaking point to the breakthrough, from the breaking point to the breakthrough, from the breaking point to the breakthrough.  I know that was the whisper of the Holy Spirit speaking directly to my heart.  I certainly didn’t feel anything remotely like breakthrough was happening, but I was aware that I had reached my breaking point.

Although I surely hate the breaking point seasons of life, there is a lesson God is repeatedly teaching me: Breaking is good and God wants us broken.  It is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.  I have learned that God wants to break my self-will and my self-reliance.  He wants to bring me to the point of recognizing my limitations and realizing that the weight is too much to carry on my own.  He wants to get me to the place that I am willing to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing, I don’t have it all together and that I have more questions than answers.  He wants to expose my faulty patterns of thinking and relating to my circumstances and make me aware of the holding patterns that have kept me in bondage.

In my brokenness, I am able to truly humble myself before my creator.  I am able to surrender the reigns of control to my heavenly Father.  I am able to lay down my agenda and my own will, to fully pursue and follow His purpose and plan for my life.  When the Lord strips me bear of every false comfort and causes me to look at myself for who I truly am, I am able to recognize my need for my Savior to govern and watch over every single area of my life.  When I am broken, I am able to lay down my pride and be honest before God and others, regarding my true heart condition.

This place of brokenness, honesty and humility is the breeding ground for breakthrough.  God breaks us of every chain that has held us back and hindered us.  He breaks every curse and strategy of the enemy.  He breaks every branch that is not bearing fruit, in order that we can thrive, grow and flourish in ways unimaginable.

Brokenness is a tool that God uses.  Unfortunately, the enemy uses it to.  He has a way of distorting our perceptions, so that all we see in our brokenness is pain.  When all we see is our pain, our brokenness feels dark.  It feels ugly.  It feels forever.  It feels like an end.  It is not.  If we allow it to, our brokenness will be the point through which God shines most brightly in our life.  He will bring beauty out of the ashes.  And what feels like an end will only be the beginning of the amazing work God plans to do in and through you.

If you will allow it, God will use your perfect storm moments in life to display His perfect power in the midst of your biggest weaknesses.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

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