New Beginnings

 

See! The winter is past . . . Flowers appears on the earth; the season of singing has come. – Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV

 “New” is in the works these days. It’s exciting. And a little daunting.

Hubby’s retirement is on the horizon, and it’s been what’s occupied my mind and my schedule for the past several months. (Which is why I’ve put fiction writing on the back burner.)

A new beginning. For him. For us. While we’re walking away from a season in our lives, we’re walking toward another season. (No, I won’t be retiring. I love what I do. It’s a calling. This speaking and writing and ministering to my little flock.)

As we stand at this threshold, I think of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus brought back to life. He, too, had a new beginning, a new lease on life.

But he had to first come out of his tomb and then be freed from the grave clothes – strips of cloth that bound him.

I, too, have been in a tomb – a tomb of fear of the future. The unknown. The uncertainty. Will we have enough money to survive, let alone travel and live our retirement dreams?

I, too, have been bound by grave clothes: Worry, anxiety. About finances. About health. Will our health and strength hold up?

But Jesus called me – by name – out of my tomb: “Michele, come out! Be unbound. Be loosed.”

I need not fear the future. As Corrie ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

He holds my future. He guides me, protects me, provides for me. I need to read Psalms 23, 139, and 91 every day. And remind myself of His promise to never leave me, never forsake me, to be with me always (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

He holds not just my future, but also my present. I need not be shackled by fear, worry, and anxiety. Yes, life happens, but I have a place to go to get what I need not just to survive but to thrive: my prayer room.

“Don’t be anxious about anything,” Paul reminds me in Philippians 4:6–7. “Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

We are all walking away from one thing or another, and walking toward something new, into a season of spring and daffodils, into a time of new beginnings, new hopes, new life.

What tomb are you being called out of? What binding do you need Jesus to loose?

More important, what new beginning are you stepping into?

Remember, you can trust the One who leads you, loves you, and lavishes His best upon you.

Thank You, Lord, for new beginnings, second chances, and hope. Thank you for spring and all it means. Amen.

 “Retirement is a NEW beginning, your chance to reset life, expand on your interests and find new opportunities for your best retired years.” – Wendy S. Fisher

Read and meditate on John 11:38–44 

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

My Black Thumb

 

Viola
Viola

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. – Genesis 1:31 (NKJV)

Every year I get flowers for Mother’s Day. And every year by July Fourth they’re pathetic looking. Or gone to that great garden in the sky. The healthiest looking ones—if you even want to use the word “healthy”—are all leaves and no blossoms.

Why don’t they bloom? I wondered. I water them when the soil is dry, pouring until the water exits from the hole in the bottom of the pot. (Okay, sometimes the plants are wilted before I remember.) I feed them plant food every other week, using a special kind called “Bloom Booster.” I follow the directions on the package and measure carefully to make sure I don’t use too much or too little. I remove the dead blossoms faithfully.

Vinnie (Vinca Minor)
Vinnie (Vinca Minor) 

Do I water them too much and the roots rot out? Or too little? Maybe my body emits too much static electricity (which is why I can’t wear watches) and that affects them.

Even my kids teased me when the church gave flower plants for Mother’s Day: “Pick your next victim, Mom.”

Every year the flower season begins with so much hope. And every year that hope wilts and dies with the blossoms. I concluded that I simply have a black thumb.

This year I decided no flowers. I wasn’t going to put myself (or them) through the angst.

But my husband surprised me on Mother’s Day with a hanging basket of petunias and a flat of marigolds and petunias.

My Pot of Gold
My Pot of Gold

Now, marigolds have always thrived in spite of me. But the petunias . . .

Sure enough, once the blossoms died, I had a green jungle.

“Where did all the flowers go?” my husband asked me one day.

“Oh, you know me and flowers,” I said. “They take one look at me and say, ‘Oh, it’s her’ and give up the ghost.”

“Are you . . .” He went through the now familiar checklist. I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing . . . except . . .

“Wait!” I hurried to the kitchen and brought out the labels that came with the flowers, which gave detailed directions for the care of that particular plant.

The petunia’s label read “I love sun.” (And “I’m super easy to grow.” Right.)

“Maybe that’s why it isn’t blooming,” I said. “It’ supposed to get at least six hours of sun daily. It’s not getting enough sunlight.”

I’d hung the basket on the back deck, which gets plenty of light, but little to no direct sunlight. So I moved the plant to the sunny side of the deck. Sure enough, it began to perk up.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Today Viola (I named her, and, yes, I talk to her every day) is bursting with pink, purple, and white flowers.

One little detail—one important detail—made all the difference.

Just like the flowers, God created each person unique. Some thrive in the sun, others in the shade. It’s important to know the difference.

Petunia
Petunia

And it’s important not to compare.

The petunia, which loves the sun, doesn’t wish it were an impatiens, which thrives in the shade. Nor does the impatiens wish it were a petunia. They just bloom and give joy to all who gaze upon their beauty.

Shouldn’t we do the same?

 

Help me to be sensitive, Lord, to the way You made others. Give me the wisdom to perceive whether they thrive in the sun or in the shade, and to treat them accordingly. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Genesis 1

Impatiens
Impatiens