Lavender at Sunset

I love lavender. I have for years. I have five lavender bushes in my narrow little strip of a flowerbed. For a long time, it has been my dream to have a little house with a wraparound porch, enough rooms so that my sister or friends or missionaries could stay with me while in town, a little guest house were Christian writers could come to get away and write, and enough land to have a greenhouse and a small field of lavender. In my mind, I always see it just before sunset as the sun’s most golden rays light up the lavender and the bees and butterflies that have gathered there. It’s not a dream I tell many people about (until now) because it seems so out of reach and yet it’s been there—a glowing hope in my heart.

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A curious moth hanging around the lavender in my flowerbed—just before sunset.

This morning, as I was making my bed and talking to the Lord about various things, I said, “Lord, You know that ‘x’ needs to happen because of ‘y’ next month. I’m trusting you to do something.”

A few minutes later, I picked up my Bible and started reading Psalm 81. When I got to verse ten, my heart rejoiced. It says, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” What a precious reminder that when we put our trust in Him, He provides!

But then I read on. Verse eleven says, “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.” How sad! Israel could have experienced the blessing, protection, and provision of the Lord—but they wanted things their way. Their hearts lusted after certain things, and they “walked in their own counsel to get it. They fought for those things—tooth and nail—with their stubborn hearts pushing them ever forward.

Things could have been so much better for Israel. God would have “filled their mouth.” He would have subdued their enemies and turned His hand against their adversaries. He would have fed them with the finest wheat and given them honey out of the rock. He would have satisfied them.

Since I am neck deep in the rewrite of the sequel to Winter’s Prey these days, I couldn’t help but think of Jessica Bennett and her struggle for contentment—for satisfaction—in what she thought would make her happy. She, like the Israelites, clung to what she wanted, what she felt God owed her, rather than putting her life in His hands and trusting Him to satisfy her.

Today, my lavender sits un-mulched under 2-4 feet of snow, depending on which end of the flowerbed you’re talking about. Over the last few weeks as I have watched the drifts get bigger, I have prayed, “Lord, please don’t let the trunks split under the weight of that snow. Please don’t let the fact that I was called away for an emergency while I was mulching be the death of those plants. I was just trying to help someone. Please spare those plants.”

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Can you find the flowerbed?

This morning with a few little branches of lavender sticking out where the plow scraped by and with thoughts of Israel and Jessica Bennett running through my mind, my heart went to that glowing hope. As a single woman, you go through life, you age, and you inevitably reach moments that tear your heart: The moment you realize you can still wait and hope for marriage, but you must start establishing a life; the moment you realize that as much as you want to have children your chances of that happening are now very small; the moment you realize that if you ever do get married, your dad is gone and won’t be there to walk you down the aisle; the moment you see your friends’ and siblings’ children growing and entering a new stage of life and you realize you’ll probably never get to be a grandma. This was another one of those moments for me. Had I been clinging to my little dream? Was I saying in my heart, “I might not have all of those other things, but maybe I could have this”?

I am 41 years old, and there is a sense in which I have given away most of my life “free of charge.” The only assets I have ever owned are my two cars, one of which is 16 years old and the other is 21 years old. The security pictured in that little glowing hope in my heart is desirable. But does it stand to reason that it would make me happy?

Is it wrong to dream, to hope, or even to pursue those dreams? No. But what if those dreams aren’t what the Lord has for me, for you?

What if what He has is much better?

If I cling to my dream—fight for it tooth and nail—but reject what He is offering me, what will I have? Israel had no joy but rather sorrow. Jessica Bennett certainly had no joy, instead she lived in misery. I don’t want that in my life.

I want my mouth to be open to the Lord so that He can fill it. Did He tell me this morning to forget all about that dream and get rid of it? No, but He did tell me to make sure it is in its rightful place, to put it and all of my future in His hands.

So, with tears, I laid my dream back where it belongs—not for the first time and probably not for the last. I want what He wants for me. I’m willing to trust that He knows me, my needs, and the desires of my heart and is far more capable than I am. I am trusting Him to do as He sees best and to satisfy. I would rather have the joy of His presence than the sorrow of a selfish heart.

So there, my friends, is a very real and raw part of my heart. Let me ask you, Is there something you are fighting for that’s keeping you from receiving what God has for you? Let it go. He will satisfy.

 

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