Sagging Middles

Once upon a time...Fairy tales often begin with once upon a time, but the tale doesn’t stop there. It can’t. A story ends well if we find the answer to one question…

And then what happened?

Without that question, we have no plot. And there must be a plot. The plot drives the story forward. Right?

But here’s where our story differs from the fiction we read and write. Our stories have sagging middles. And I don’t mean I-quit-doing-my-sit-ups sagging middles. The sagging I refer to is the endless waiting, circuitous wandering middle.

It’s during these middles we, as doers, feel helpless because the forward movement has stopped. There is no action. Or is there?

We fail to comprehend this new plot twist because we’re not the author of our stories. The Master storyteller holds the pen, and He knows the exact pace needed to accomplish the character arc He desires.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4 KJV

Truth: Sometimes we need a sagging middle to move us forward.

The Lord alone knows how to structure our story to bring us to a delightful ending.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV

He has made the needed provisions for our salvation, and He’s making the necessary revision in our lives. Hence, the sagging middle. Hang in there. We can and will finish strong if we yield to His hand.

Another fact to rejoice over is our Lord never suffers from writer’s block! He has known the end of our stories from the beginning.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

As writers we understand, only the Author who knows the ending can finish the story. And He alone will finish the story. May we all allow Him to write His story upon our hearts.

Who’s writing your story?

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we need a sagging middle to move us forward.

 

Dead Leaves and Bald Trees

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Are you ready for fall?

I was asked that question last week.

And All at Once, summer collapsed into fall.

Fall? I’m still in July. Where did the summer go?

It’s not that I don’t like fall. I love fall with its delicious aromas, warm blankets, and firelight. But this year, we had a lot of rain, and most days I waited, stuck inside.

Stuck.

Isn’t that the way things go at times?

Stuck in a season.

Stuck on an idea.

Stuck with a feeling.

Stuck waiting for a miracle.

Stuck.

Here’s the thing. When I’m stuck, I’m no longer moving forward.

So I decided to get unstuck. Not in the disarray-discomposure-or-incoherence sort of way, but in the able-to-move-freely, happy-to-be-here, looking-forward-to-it kinda way. 🙂

Why?

Fall is a physical and spiritual reminder to let things go that I cannot change.

The trees are about to show

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Job 14:7 KJV

Even the dead leaves of autumn and the bald trees of winter testify of hope. There is always hope no matter the season. His name is Jesus.

No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring

Maybe I won’t get the answers I long for in every season. But I can’t allow it to steal my joy or my hope. Nor will I lounge about in the current season pondering over things I cannot change. I must move on.

Autumn

Blessings await me in this coming season. If only I can recognize them when they appear.

I loved autumn, the season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it

The Lord is always with me wherever my foot may trod. He will not leave me nor forsake me. I have hope. I am not alone.

Neither are you, my friend. No matter the season you’re facing. You’re not alone. The Lord our God is with us leading the way.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 KJV

During this season, I plan to fall deeper in love with the Lord and let the dead things go. How about you?

Click to Tweet: Even the dead leaves of autumn and the bald trees of winter testify of hope. @GailJohnson87 #fall #hope

Praying for you. Thank you for reading and commenting. You are appreciated.

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Growing In the Hard Places

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 KJV)

Butterfly couple

I have lantana growing next to the deck surrounding my pool. Last month, I noticed a branch straining against the lattice.

Lantana

Later, that same branch pushed its way through the opening in the lattice to enter the darkened world beneath the deck.

lantana 2

It remained hidden until last week when it popped its head up between the decking and the new multi-colored blooms burst forth in the sunlight.

Although it is now in the scorching heat of the last days of summer, I’m not worried about it. The roots run deep beneath a patch of shaded wet earth that shields it from drought. As you can see, it’s flourishing. I should cut it so I can paint/stain the deck, but I won’t because I know how hard it worked to reach the sunlight.

Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch or even shrink to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Either way, growth isn’t easy. To grow, we must choose. Do I stay in my comfort zone where I am secure, or do I brave the unknown and seek the treasure God has in store for me?

Perhaps you’re squashed against a boundary with nowhere to turn.  Maybe you’re facing dark nights of uncertainty with the hounds of hopelessness nipping at your heels. Perchance you’re reaching as far as you can reach in prayer, but still, you can’t feel the touch of the Master’s hand. Take courage, dear one.

You are stronger than you think for your strength comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. His power gives us the ability to endure everything.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)

I do not believe that we can learn contentment without experiencing growing pains. Therefore, I have to believe that we can grow in the hard places if our roots are clinging to the Rock of Ages. He is our Bread and Water supply.

So I encourage you, dear reader, keep reaching heavenward. Soon, the darkened valley will give way to an expanse suffused with sunlight. Then, the Lord will unveil your beautiful colors for His glory alone.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch, or even shrink, to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Thank you for visiting and reading. You are appreciated more than you know. 🙂