Lessons from the Field: Recipe for a crabapple on the Titanic.
Recipe for a crabapple (me) on the Titanic (life).
Spring is here. Well, it’s kinda a little late arriving here on the farm, and I was not thankful for that, but it helped me to see something I didn't before. Here’s what I've been thinking about.
I sometimes think of life like being on the Titanic. Not exactly a perfect metaphor, I admit, just one of those weird ideas that are floating around in my head, and it's kind of like telling someone your dream, so, it probably makes more sense in the corridors of my conscience than typed out on this website. But still, I like it. And similar to that great ship, life is a wonderful panoply, isn’t it? An amazing miracle, big promises of enjoyment, dazzling moments in the ballroom, amazing food to eat and views that take your breath away. At the same time, there are toilets, food and beds to make and trash. Plus, the journey has an end.
Life is layers of reality; being and existence, work and pleasure, feeling and understanding, friendship and relationship, worship and stewardship, and some of that is hard, but Life is also full of other hard things, really hard things, things that bring suffering, regret, shame, longing, disappointment and rejection.
Back to spring. We just had 6 1/2 inches of snow 2 weeks ago. We lost power and there was no heat or water. I realized that I was feeling a tremendous sense of hopelessness, a groaning, not just for my physical circumstances, but that set of circumstances brought to the surface things I am dealing with inside of myself, a lack of hope in my soul. When will spring come? When will renewal and rebirth arrive for this Earth? So I started asking myself this question, and I am now going to ask you it too.
Where is your hope and your joy?
Upon what does it rest?
If you are in a season of a long cold, hard winter and are waiting for hope to spring,
If you are in a season of a dry desert, parched and wandering searching for your soul to be quenched,
If you are a little crab apple (bloom pictured above) like me, a little sour piece of work. You might struggle with the regular “doorways” to accessing communion and intimacy with Christ. They aren’t “working”, what do you do?
As I have been thinking about these things, I wondered, what practices do I have in my life to *see* His hope in my life, to recognize His Joy, when I’m struggling with my crabby apple self, a sour apple simultaneously existing in the Narnian winter and desert? What can I do, when I’m reading the word and praying and not being filled up, not connecting to the Holy Spirit, still feeling crabby and cold and hopeless?
I made a list.
Now, I am posting this list, things that have helped me, things that may be helpful to you.
I’m calling this my “secret passageways” list.
1. Add Truth: you need His word.But if your regular reading isn’t doing it, do something new.
Memorize a scripture verse. Write it and read it, chant it, sing it, put it everywhere!
Pick a psalm and read it through everyday for a month. My go-tos are 18, 27 and 46
Truth from a fellow believer. Call someone and ask them to share what God has been doing in their life! While you are at it, ask them to pray for you, aloud, right then and there. He gave us His church, we need to encourage each other!
2. Stir in Beauty: this is the world He made, and He made us creative, so connect to things you think are beautiful!
Get outside, spend some time close to His creation. Just enjoy it, just take it in, just marvel at it.
Read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie, stories are an amazing way that God uses to transform and teach. What a joy an amazing story can be!
Go to a museum if you can, or an aquarium, even a virtual one. Many times, I have felt my soul stirred simply standing in front of a powerful piece of artwork
3. Bake it all with Goodness: I think of goodness as a mixture of truth and beauty
Music. Do you make playlists? What if you made worship playlists!? I make different worship music playlists for different things. Car rides, sunshine-y days, cleaning. Start with one playlist and keep adding to it. When you hear a great worship song at church, find a version that you like and add it, music is so powerful in orienting your heart.
Focus outward. Do something for someone else, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it can be little! But I find these things to be helpful in drawing me closer to the Lord. write an old fashioned letter or card, send a simple hello text or buy a little treat when you do your shop and drop it off at someone’s door!
Praise Jar. I don’t exactly do this, but I started scheduling one day a month, and set my alarm, to remind me to remember all the good things He has done. The alarm goes off, I stop what I am doing and pray, thanking Him for everything I can think of.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Lord Jesus, King of Heaven, Maker of the Universe and Lover of my soul.
Thank you for giving us this amazing world, full of huge things and little things,
Things that are wondrous and declare your glory.
Thank you that you made me capable of wonder and worship,
Able to think about you, consider my existence, desire to be close to you and enjoy you!
What an amazing and truly awesome thing.
Help me God, when I’m feeling like a crab-apple, sour and cranky.
Help me God, when I’m suffering in my circumstances.
Help me God, when my heart is breaking and I feel far away from you,
Help me to not dwell on my self, or my hurt, my suffering or my circumstance but instead
Help me to dwell on your goodness, your truth, your beauty, and to be connected to you in all the ways these things reflect your glory in the panoply of life.
Give me eyes to see how you love me, are working on me, have worked in me and those around me.
Give me lips of praise and blessing, words that lift up,
Prick my heart when instead my mouth is full of curse, complaint and judgment.
Make me an instrument of your peace, your love and your light.
Help me to remember that you love me, that winter ends, that heaven is reality, that life is a spiritual battle that you have given me armor for!
Mostly, help me to remember that
You love me.
I am yours and you are mine.