Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Prairie Salad

I am looking out over the prairie at Taltree Gardens & Arboretum on a perfect 80 degree day. It reminds me of the meadow that was next door to our house when I was little. I remember making a bed in the long grass and lying in it so that I could watch the puffy clouds as they strolled by. I wondered at the balancing plates of Queen Anne's lace, giggled as I chased after yellow moths, and stood in silent amazement upon discovering a monarch cocoon on some milkweed. One of my favorite things to do was create prairie "salads" for Mom out of mixed greens, "bacon bits" of yellow dock, and the yellow "eggs" of wild snapdragons. Most of all, when I think of that meadow, I remember joy. Pure, unspoiled joy.

Queen Anne's Lace
Yellow Dock
Wild Yellow Snapdragon
As I sit here at Taltree and watch two butterflies dance and see a hummingbird alight on a tree and spy a hawk soaring overhead, I catch a wisp of that joy and I want to seize it, bottle it, and take it with me so that I can fight off the sadness and bitterness of the world.

Is that kind of joy still possible as an adult? Is joy allowed? Can we still find pure, unadulterated joy when there are work deadlines looming and dinner needs to be on the table and chores never end?

I am learning that a lot of what keeps me from joy is my perfectionism. Why can't I shake it? Why can't I give up the control? I do a terrible job of running my own life—why can't I put my life in the hands of...oh, I don't know...the One who made the universe? If He can spin planets and hang them in the sky, I'm pretty sure He can handle my mundane life. Why can't I learn to wait? Why do I demand that God always work on my time schedule? Why can’t I just learn to trust, rest, and relax? Little happy Cherry haunts me because I struggle to believe I once was her and I can’t quite figure out how I got here.

So I have a chat with God in the prairie. I pour out my heart. I tell Him how desperately I want to let go of the control. I want to trust Him, but how? I think about how I learn to trust anyone. I spend time with them, watch them work, look at how they treat others, and observe if they keep their promises.

So if I’m going to trust God, I need to spend more time with Him. I’m pretty inconsistent with that, but I can improve. I've seen God do amazing work in my life like provide well-timed housing and $1 cars. And hasn't He turned many things I've called “bad” into good? Why should I expect the current trial to be different? What has God done in my life that I expect bad from Him? God wrote the Golden Rule, so I’m pretty sure He treats others better than anyone I know. And He always keeps His promises. So what’s not to trust?

If I don't grab hold of His grace and mercy and love every day, the world wins. So often, I start the day asking the Lord to show me how to prioritize my day and then I jump in with my Type-A boots on and do my own thing and completely ignore Him. I long to relax and let go; let go of the worry and fear and pride and selfishness and just live for today and enjoy it.

Lord, remind me each day to meditate on your Word and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance. Show me how to wait for you and trust. Teach me to thank you for every good gift (and they’re all good). Help me realize just how big you are so that I can see just how small I really am. Teach me to abide. To rest. To love. Remind me that I can do NOTHING without you. Grant me more moments of this peace that embraces the soul.

Help me to capture this joy and never let it go.

Copyright ©2013 by Cherry Lyn Hoffner. You may not reproduce this post in any form without permission. However, linking to this post is encouraged.