So. This is a thing about me. When things get a bit overwhelming I go quiet. This comes from some of the advice we received when doing missions training years ago: Don’t write letters when you are going through a dip. You will get people all worried. And in the time when there was only snail-mail, this could worry people unnecessarily, who would get the letter when that dip had flattened out again.
It was good advice, and I do still try not to share the dips. But what about when the dips do not seem to flatten out very quickly?
My parents spent most of the summer on opposite ends of the earth, waiting for permission and paperwork to live in the same country. Both Deon and I have dealt with grief and anger at South Africa again: The land that we knew so well is now a foreign place. And it is frustrating when we do not even know who to direct that anger at.
And most of the Swedish summer has looked like this.
It has been the wettest Summer in a. 25 years. b. 67 years. c 100 years.
(It depends whose opinion you listen to. But, yes. It was the wettest and dreariest summer in many many years.)
I have found hope and encouragement talking with friends, in prayer and God’s word and in looking at flowers. The variety in this new world of flowers amazes me! Obviously all the rain is needed to bring forth such an amazing amount of growth.
And there is the lesson, isn’t it? It can pour for ages. It seems like there might only be a glimpse of light for a few moments… but then there can be a week straight of glorious sunshine! Outpouring of light, filling up of vitamin D and bringing forth GROWTH.
This flourishing would never be possible if it did not rain. The dreary days and umbrella-grabbing moments are needed.
Without them we would not appreciate the glorious sunshine when it comes.
And there would not be the flowers that entertain (just when I think I have seen the full range available I see another gorgeous new kind. Wow! Such beauty!) and the whole ecosystem would be poorer. What a range of life we see on the flowers in this country, even in the freezing cold!
All of this takes time.
We feel like seasons accelerate very quickly here. We know that soon winter chills will be felt: the mornings are already a little nippy. But still, it will not happen overnight. And neither will the challenges disappear within moments.
The great news is after a long time of waiting, we know my dad’s papers have arrived and he should be in Sweden next week (DV). But some other challenges take longer. Like the times of silence I feel drawn to. Not blogging for about 2 months! What an outrage! But times of silence, like a seed resting beneath the surface of soil, do not mean that there is death.
There are new normals to adapt to. This fungi growing in our garage was amazing! It looks just like lychee! Strange… unknown… but so interesting! There are just a few weeks in the year that they show themselves, but they are not dead for the rest of time.
We are still getting used to so much new in this strange world of northern Sweden. It does seem like parts of us have to die so that others can live.
But there IS growth! And for the time that fruit is ready to consume, we enjoy it! And right now there is so much wild growth to enjoy. Cloudberries, red currents, blue berries, mushrooms… and these would not be available without the rain.
God has been sharing lots through these plants of mine. Often the supermarket sells cheap plants, really only flowering branches shoved into some soil. I took great delight in not throwing these out after their flowering, but nurturing them so that they would live longer than cheap plants are intended. And, AH! The joy this has brought!
All 4 plants are now blooming – roses, pansies and even a little pelargonium branch that had accidentally broken off and fallen into a pot of herbs I bought.
How God must delight when He sees those transplanted out of darkness into light, or from different places across the world, taking root and beginning to flower in new places. I speak to these little plants of mine, relishing their blossoms and smiling broadly at the flowering-despite-the-odds.
How I long to see the kids I will be teaching this year, developing roots, growing down, and beginning to flower despite what situations suggest. I yearn to see people, so hopeless, in our town, beginning to blossom after long seasons of rain and drought.
How so many of us yearn to see individuals reaching up towards the Son, growing strong and, in turn, giving off seed to bring about more growth.
It is all in the waiting. the watching. the abiding.
This prayer fills my heart this week:
He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Eph 1v8)
I pray that YOU will know that kindness, as well as the wisdom and understanding that comes with waiting. The showers may last longer than we like… but they are, ultimately, still a kindness.