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16 September, 2015

Dormant...but not

We are trying to articulate the season we are in. The word, "dormant" keeps coming up. We are waiting, resting and recovering. We are not able to carry on our “missionary endeavors” as we usually do when we are in this country. We aren’t scheduling meetings. We don’t have office work to do. We aren’t planning what to say or show in the next gathering. Hence, we feel dormant. 

Recognizing this, we choose to wait with expectancy. We pray. We dream aloud of what it will be like when we get to go home. We talk of hopes and dreams for our participation in Uganda. We pray, listening. We set daily goals and evaluate at the end of the day. We study in small increments, pacing with activity and rest.

All around us we see creation preparing to enter its season of dormancy. Trees are losing leaves. Flowers are fading. Some gardens are waning. Outdoor temperatures are cooling in our area. Fall is coming on and we delight in seeing the beauty it brings. We know that soon enough this beauty, too, will fade as the trees/plants go dormant, waiting.

And then, in the most unexpected ways, we see that dormancy is really preparation for new beginnings. While much of the plant kingdom is preparing to shut down, others break out of dormancy into a new beginning. Their time to bloom is now. New growth is taking place. God spoke lovingly to us as we witnessed this in our little wooded setting during a recent walk.
Our hearts are encouraged. In dormancy good things can come. It is a time of rich preparation for new beginnings. It is making us ready for what comes next. Even as we feel dormant we recognize we are in a time of preparation and learning.

Jeff is slowly moving onward. We aren’t stuck in the round-a-bout anymore, but his forward locomotion feels slow and tedious. Fevers still plague him. Physicians continue to run tests, ruling out what they can as possible causes for the fluctuating temperature. Our calendar is dotted with medical appointments. Jeff does well in getting out and about, then comes home eager to lay down and rest. But he is gaining ground. This week he begins his cardiac rehabilitation class. For the next couple of months or so he will meet to exercise while having his heart monitored, learn more about living with an artificial heart valve and how to maximize his recovery efforts. We rejoice he has reached this important milestone.

We wait with expectancy, confident in God and his work in us. We see his hand in it all and we rest in him. When we feel tempted to be restless we remember the surprising flowers bursting forth in September (rather than in May) and we marvel at the tiny new plants breaking through the rocky soil and into the light. Then we lift our faces to the Son and soak in his warmth that brings healing and hope. We are dormant, but not. Praise Jesus!

Jeff , one month after surgery


03 September, 2015

Learning While Waiting

This past week has been a long month. Well, maybe not quite that long but it seemed to take a lot longer than seven days to get into the new week. We spent some tiresome days with a lot of waiting.
Waiting on results. Waiting for answers. Waiting to feel better. A lot of waiting.

We have the mindset to learn all we can in this season of traveling the road of recovery. Even when we are weary we remind each other to learn well. So we wait and look to learn (even when blurry-eyed and muddle-headed from little sleepJ).
A little frog hanging out around the water feature in our wooded setting caught our attention. The frog sat so still for long periods of time. It waited. We watched. The frog was active while waiting, positioning itself ever so carefully for the best advantage in food-gathering and self-defense.

During the long dry spell we watched how various plants responded to lack of water. These rhododendrons hung their leaves, drooping them way down as they waited for water. (I didn’t take a picture of them that way, because, well, who wants a picture of wilted rhodies?) Then, when the rain finally came, those leaves were perfectly positioned to channel all the rain drops right down toward their roots. The plants were active while waiting for the rain. After rain, they perked right up and pointed their leaves back toward the sun.

Actively waiting. How could I do the same? How should I best position myself? My mind went to Isaiah 40. “Wait on the Lord.” My mind saw, “Wait on,” and flashed back to days of waiting tables. (No photos available. Didn't want to spend hours sorting through our storage to find some.) Waiting on people seated at the table. Active in that role of waiting, I was attentive to the wishes of those who were eating at “my” tables. I went back to them over and over, engaging with them to find out how I could better wait on them.

“Wait on the Lord.” So I am. I go to his table over and over again. I find as I offer praise, as I listen to his word and talk with him about Jeff’s recovery, I get rightly positioned and find joy in waiting.

We came to the Lord’s Table today and thanked him for reduced fever and for increasing strength. We rejoiced in his companionship on the road of recovery. We gave praise for better sleep. We thanked him for the many people praying for us, encouraging us to rightly position ourselves as we wait on the Lord. We told him of our gratitude for his enabling us to learn in every season. We praised him for the privilege of actively waiting on him.

What do you do in seasons of waiting? I want to learn more!