My first memory from childhood was of myself in a seersucker jumpsuit my grandmother had sewn for me. I was four years old, laying on my stomach in our backyard, hunting for a four-leafed clover.
My sister was ill. Very, very ill.
I was looking for luck.
Mom and Dad arranged for Dad’s mom to come and stay with me because they were going to stay with my sister in the hospital. She had been bathed in ice to bring down her fever. She had German measles.
I knew from the looks on adult faces and the tense tone in adult voices and the tears streaming down Mom’s cheeks that my sister might actually die. My sister, three years younger than I.
So I searched and I searched and I finally found one. Four leaves. How lucky! A four-leafed clover!
At four years of age, I had heard about luck and I so wanted to believe—for my sister—for my parents—for me.
So many times since then, I have so wanted to believe in luck.
But I don’t now.
Because lucky leaves can break off and leave one stranded, drifting, struggling to stay afloat in turbulent waters of life where one doesn’t have strength to hold one’s head above the thrashing surf, let alone swim through the rip tides threatening to drown. Lucky clover break all too easily.
One thing I’ve taught our kids, all these years . . .
There is no such thing as luck.
And another . . .
There is no such thing as coincidence.
Everything happens for a reason—for a purpose—for a chance at becoming all we can be—all we are meant to be. All is purposed by God’s divine mind and heart and will.
I consider the gardens I fret over every spring. Every spring I lament over the dead, the dark, the brown and barren ground. Then comes the green and I complain about all the weeds taking over and all the work to be done in taming and planting. All the patience required in waiting for that perennial hope.
And every year I say I’m just plain done with it all!
Dig it up and ditch the flowers and plant grass and let the weeds take over because it’s—just—too—hard! And I don’t care anymore!
But I do.
Truth is, I care too much about beauty and holy and seeing the delight of others when they come to visit and stroll along our winding perennial beds and I hear their sighs—how the beauty stirs something deep inside.
God’s given me an artistic eye and a green thumb.
Who’s the great designer?
Who created all the wonder I just plant and arrange and rearrange in His earth bordered by stones?
So every spring I have my hissy fit and my husband reminds me patiently to wait, patiently. He is so wise . . .
And I wait (though not as patiently as I should).
Then, every spring . . .
Every spring . . .
Just like he promised.
Just like HE promised . . .
Every year, I’m convicted gently anew.
Why, I wonder, do I have so little faith?
Why do I lament in barren times when all looks bleak?
I write a letter to my soul this morning, one I will save for future reference . . .
Dear fretful one,
You need not worry. You need not be anxious. All you need is a bit more faith for a day beyond today when barren will be blessed with new life—lush and green and vibrant—thrilling your soul.
Look! Every year I make it happen! Every year I bring you blessing! Yet, not just every year.
Every day! Every moment! Every instant!
Everywhere around you.
East and west and north and south. Up and down. Macro and micro. Visible and invisible.
My blessing knows no bounds!
So open yourself, dear one—and SEE!
Be blessed with my bounty, for blessing is my will, my heart’s desire.
And though you know pain, I am sovereign still. I only allow pain for holy purpose.
Will you choose?
Will you refuse?
It’s up to you, dear soul. But I hope you choose. Because, beyond the cross is always new life beyond your wildest expectations.
In fact, what’s beyond the cross are your GREATEST EXPECTATIONS!
I hold your greatest expectations, you’re greatest hopes that even you don’t know. And you can bet your whole life on Me—your eternal life!
You will be FULL FILLED, if you just open.
So rest right now, dear one, right now in this moment—whether your moment be barren or blooming. Both are in My hands. YOU are in my hands. Better still, YOU are in my heart.
Always and forever.
Behold, I am changing the order of all things. (I said this in the great Book—Revelation 21:4) Every tear I will wipe away with my own holy hand.
And there will be NO MORE TEARS!
With love—everlasting—never changing,
Your Maker, the Lover of your soul like no other,
My sister survived. She grew up and was discovered to have a voice like an angel. She went to Juilliard and became an opera singer and a teacher extraordinaire. All by God’s grace.
So have I survived and thrived, by the grace of God.
I have known them.
I know them now.
I’m IN them now.
And still, now, our God keeps us buoyant and able to give even out of our emptiness—especially out of our emptiness. Because when one is empty—when one is emptied—one is ready to be filled to overflowing with His grace upon all those who need, still.
God is real. He feathered the sky with angel wings, just before dusk last night.
God is good. His wonders never cease to amaze and delight me.
God is love. He pours into and through every open heart.
And no matter how reality looks to us right now, God has the greatest plan . . .
Greater than all our expectations.
It may look like the day is ending.
But really . . .
A new dawn is right round the corner.
Hold on, dear one!