Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Patience of Spring

After a long winter, I can't wait to get my fingers into some dirt.

But, it is still mud. There is a patience that is required in the spring. The grass knows this and takes time to push through the snow mold and old leaves and find its way up to the sunshine. The buds on the trees are opening right on schedule. Time doesn't hinder its process, time is  the process. 

So I sat with a cup of coffee on the back patio yesterday and did some gardening in my mind. I took a sketch pad and made a plan for where and when the seeds would be planted. I watched the sunshine and the shade line move across the yard to see what part was in full or half sun. The birds sang, our dog stared down a squirrel up a tree and I took another sip of my coffee. 

This is spring. This is a season. It is not preparation for what is to come, it is, in itself, a complete and whole season. There is value in the muddy, straining for sunshine, life-awakening season of Spring.

J.I. Packer writes,

"The gift of life, which seemed to be withdrawn in winter, has been given once again and nature, rather than hoarding it, gives it all away. There is another paradox here, known in all the wisdom traditions: if you receive a gift, you keep it alive not by clinging to it but by passing it along." (p. 105)

So after a long winter, when spring offers so much joy and sunshine . . . am I nuturing a demanding, impatient, hoarding, entitled spirit toward it, or am I willing to count it as a gift and hold it gratefully and looosely?

What about other things . . . good health, love, money, kids, marriage, friendships, opportunities . . . do I feel those things are mine - to keep and hoard and store up and protect? Or can I, like the buds on the trees, push through the protective covering and open up to the beauty of surrendering my 'ownership' to them and sharing these gifts with others. 

May we know the patience of spring, the value of timing, the preciousness of new life, and the freedom of becoming whole in the vulnerable process of new growth. May we surrender to the Lord, our fears and worries so that we can see all that He has in mind for us this season, this muddy and hopeful season.

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. " (Romans 8:15-16, The Message)