December 31, 2009


Do you know how long it takes giant Chinese bamboo to grow as tall as a building? Some might answer it takes six weeks for bamboo to grow 90 feet, which is true. But they would be forgetting something.

Bamboo spends four years as a tiny plant, being watered and fertilized as its enormous root system is developing under the ground. Then in the fifth year, it shoots up to the sky, growing 90 feet in just six weeks. The plant must survive four years before it can grow at that rate.

On the other hand, do you know how long it takes an alfalfa seed to sprout and grow into one of the few known complete foods? About four days.

I can't really tie those two illustrations together except to say, I think I've been bamboo, but now I want to be a sprout.

The last two years for me have largely been about surviving. Not the cut-off-my-own-arm-with-a-pocket-knife kind of survival, but the survival of my spirit, the survival of my self, the survival of my soul. It hasn't been easy. Sometimes I felt like cutting off my own arm would have been easier, but I think we're finally coming to the other side of it, new and stronger and hopefully brighter.

{But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9}

Funny thing, though, in all the surviving, there was a lot of dying. So many things I had to come to terms with and let die, many things I had to completely surrender, many sacrifices (luckily, no appendages).

{Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18}

When you're in survival mode, you learn a lot about who you are and who you want to be, what you're made of, what you believe in and what is important to you. There's a stripping down of things to bare bones, to the very core, to the vulnerability of nakedness.

I've also witnessed miracles in a new way, both great and small, most all of them beyond my comprehension.

I experienced grace and mercy and heartache and joy, all in waves that brought me to my knees.

For all of this, I am thankful for my time of surviving.

{“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17}

I don't think I fully realized that I've been just surviving until recently. But I hope that seeing things from this perspective means I have, in fact, survived. I feel like I have. And so have decided the new year will be one of thriving.

{For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6}

Things may not go my way. I may not get what I want. I'm certain I will continue to struggle and face trials, learn and grow. And that's all okay.

I believe my life will have seasons of quiet ripening and seasons of surviving. But this January we are entering a season of thriving!

Will I look back on this post in a year, six months, even two weeks and think "good grief, that was that day I drank four cups of hot chocolate and got kind of crazy"? Ehn, maybe.

But for now, today, I'm going to be a little crazy and know God is faithful beyond my wildest imagination. I'm going to be brave, believe big and expect great things!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD... Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year, dear friends. Believe big. Be well.

1 comment:

beth said...

I love this post - so insightful! Here's to hoping you become an alfalfa in the new year :)