Friday, June 24, 2011

how to keep your stem in the Water

{written over two weeks ago... one of several posts I have ready but haven't been able to post because of home internet issues and a ten-day trip out of the country with no internet... thankful for grace!}

Beep, beep, beep.  I wake achy, grouchy, groggy.  Stayed up too late last night starting a project… I grope foggily for my alarm.  Rise with a headache to write my three pages, the threads that pull me up out of dream cobwebs into what lies ahead today, and then through the day’s plans on deeper down to the Important: what I can’t afford not to do.   My hand comes to the end of forming the three pages worth of words, my letters tired and sloppy.  Today it seems the Important is to write this post, write an update before leaving Saturday for our 10-day retreat in a neighboring country… but something feels missing.  
I get in the shower.  Mechanically, I wash my hair, vaguely aware of the hot water.  I massage my neck, trying to ease my tight muscles, not really enjoying anything, not really awake… 
Not until I get to the kitchen table.  There’s my pancake, all ready for me by my wonderful husband, there’s my cup of coffee (also his doing), and there is the kids’ verse calendar, still set to June 7.  I flip the page.  I see this:

And I think, as I cut my pancake absentmindedly, why don’t I feel this more?  Why do I mostly feel all glazed and befuddled, as though I were living in a dream (apart from staying up too late)?  Why do I not feel alive, in the most heavenly sense?
A new life has begun.  Do I feel this birthed in me?  I take a sip of coffee, a bite of pancake, try to ingest this truth.  I am not the same anymore.  Well, then, why am I so sinful still?  
I go grab my camera, thinking this might be significant later, and it’s not until I’m snapping pictures that I see it.  Right next to “a new life has begun”.

Stems in water.  To sustain a life, we must have water.  And to sustain New Life after being cut off from our old one, we must keep our stems in the Water.  
Keeping our stems in Water all day long keeps New Life flowing up through heart veins, keeps fruitful flowers fresh, cleanses out toxins, opens us up a little more beautifully each day.  

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col. 3:3
-Snip- went Christ’s scissors, gloriously, and my life was cut off from its old sin-source and plunged deliciously into a New Source of Living Water: Christ, in God.  And the only way to stay straight and strong is to keep my stem in the Water.  
  • By giving thanks.  Keeping my gratitude list on the fridge always before my eyes, adding a line or two every time I come into the kitchen.  Speaking gratitude aloud to my children, eliciting thanks-things from them, writing theirs down too.  Singing my thanks aloud.
  • By putting life-giving, renewing Scripture up around my house.  [Even just on post-it notes - who says everything has to be beautifully cross-stitched, even if that’s how I’d like it?  Better to get it up there before my eyes, in a simple form, than to procrastinate until the non-existent day when tracts of time for cross-stitching will magically open up…]
  • By pausing at morning tea-time, lunch-time, nap-time, afternoon tea-time, dinner-time, to ponder Jesus.  To take a long refreshing drink of His presence.  To turn my eyes on Him and look Him full in the face.  To bring my children with me, let Him gather them (and me) up like lambs in His arms and feel Him holding us for a long, slow minute or two.
Give thanks.
Make Scripture visible.
Pause to ponder Jesus.  
Keeping our stems in Water.  

And then, Lord willing, my flower-blooms will stay bright regardless of diarrhea, unexpected guests, bloody ankles, burnt rolls, squabbling whining children, power-outtages, dirty bathrooms… 
“‘Tis only the abiding 

that can really satisfy the thirsty soul, 

and give to drink 

of the rivers of pleasure 

that are at His right hand.”

~Andrew Murray, Abide In Christ

Something to ponder...

Has your “stem” (like mine) come out of the Water recently?  

What happened?  What did you do?


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