I have several hanging and potted plants on my patio. I love the lush greens of ferns, and how a cliff hanger fern has red-brown vines that curl up into a spiral. I love the texture and lighter green of an asparagus fern; the delicate leaves of a friendship fern and the variegated leaves of spider plants. Each type of ivy is different than the next, sometimes I have trouble distinguishing the varieties as being ivy.
Something that always amazes me about plants is how they grow in spurts. There is a time when the plants on my patio all go dormant. They still show their beautiful greenery and rich vines, but they don't grow. Even though they receive the same elements of sunshine and water, there are seasons when they lay dormant. At least on the outside. The reality is that the dormant seasons are seasons of rest and recuperation. Storing up the necessities to grow later when the sun is warmer and the days longer and fuller.
I think that those who follow God are a lot like that too. There are times when I don't see or feel myself growing, times when I feel stagnant in my growth in God, but there are other times, when I grow by leaps and bounds. It is when I am growing by leaps and bounds that I realize that I never stopped growing in God at all, but I was being prepared for the spurts of growth that would be visible to me.
God moves us each through those times where growth isn't visible. Underneath the surface though, and many times without our realizing it, God is stretching us in new ways, deepening our roots in trust, understanding and faith.
There was a time not very long ago where I no longer heard God. I wasn't getting much out of the sermons, I felt empty in my ministry. It wasn't until later that I realized, through a lot of prayer and working with my mentor that God wasn't going to treat me like a newborn baby anymore and that it was time for me to be still and know that He was there, even though I didn't see Him working in me or in my life.
Today, 8 weeks into unemployment and at a very frightening time in my life, I am watching myself grow in leaps and bounds in my relationship with God. God's glorious, and vital sunlight is reaching deep into my soul, deepening the very roots of my faith, teaching me that His love and mercy is always there for me. Even in my self-induced darkness, I can see through the light of His amazing love and grace.
Even though I am concerned today of what may lay ahead in my future unless I soon get a new job, I am growing in God's word, in the lessons that He has for me. I am recognizing those things about myself that He wants me to change. I have a deeper faith. My heart beats for God. I recognize that the time that I wasn't feeling in touch with God was a time He wanted me to rest in Him, where I could store up those vital nutrients of faith and trust and stretch upward against the soil to burst forth into His amazing grace.
Heavenly Father, sometimes the lesson isn't learned until the class is finished and the test is done, and finally...finally I get it. Sometimes, I don't see where you are taking me, and sometimes, I don't see you there at all. But I know this, you promised that you would never leave me, and I believe you. Forgive me Father when I fail to trust you. Forgive this broken woman when my heart tells me you have left me. Shower wisdom on my heart God that I may know that even when my heart feels abandoned, that my mind would take over and remind my heart that you will never leave me.
Thank you Father, for you are an amazing God. You are my sunshine, my strength, my provision, you are my heartbeat, my everlasting love. You are my God.