|Cotswolds Evening by Robert Duncan|
Such was the case this past week when I was driving the short distance between our house and the subdivision Mr. & Mrs. Christopher were moving in to a cute little starter home. Something playing on the radio reminded me of the saying, "Your mess is your message", a phrase popular among writers in the past years.
There is a lot of Truth in that statement. We are taught in 2 Corinthians chapter one and verse four that God gives us comfort as we go through a trial so then we can go on to comfort others when they walk through a similar trial (my own translation). There is a lot to be said for having walked that same journey or one similar to what another is experiencing.
I suppose that is why a significant number of Bible teachers and writers have gone through great affliction. They have fallen deep into the depths of despair and met One who had answers they needed. Most likely not answers to the "Why" question. No, His answer is usually the same for each person. I am all you need to go on... He is our sufficiency.
As I watched the road for deer and fast moving pickup trucks, a question arose from the familiar still small Voice. One demanding deeper thought than possible while driving a short distance... a question to ponder for weeks to come.
That question? Is your mess still your message?
I knew what He was asking, of course. Are there parts of past hurts, disappointments, trials, etc. that should have been dealt with and discarded already? Oh, I know... some will always remain embedded so deeply that those scars cannot be surgically removed until I stand face to face with the Creator. The reality of some experiences are just too deep to forget.
But there are emotions, memories, and even frustrations that have stayed around long after their usefulness. He was telling me "enough already... go on...get over it...move forward".
It probably was no coincidence I had spent the previous hour pruning overgrown bushes. That's my job at the new place, helping my son take dominion over a long neglected lawn and garden. So I had been pruning the large bushes growing close to their driveway, making it possible for anyone opening the passenger door to actually get out of the car.
The original flower gardens and landscaping was planted by a Master Gardener, one who loved spending time planting and weeding and pruning and taking care of Beauty. The most recent occupant of the house was a graduate student at the University, working long hours towards a PhD. He hardly spent time at home.
Where there was once great Beauty, what remained was an overgrown jungle appearance. Lots of what was there should not have been. There were intrusive vines and weeds choking out perennials to the extent all that was seen was pretty much the ugliness. My mission... should I choose to accept it... is to cut through the weeds to find what remains of the original flowerbeds and landscape.
Which if you stop to think about it, was what He was telling me on the drive home. Making my mess my message was rather clever at first. Of course, I could write for years about the messy part of my journey. Actually, I have... for Coffee Tea Books and Me will enter into its' ninth year within a few weeks.
I'm not leaving behind the core messages... living a life of Beauty in and through and after Difficult Times... living in Beauty on an extremely tight budget... sharing a love of books and tea time and really good coffee. Writing about my cats... past and present.
But I think there may be some pondering ahead about the question He asked on the narrow country road heading towards home. Like those vines and weeds choking out the Beauty in the neglected flower beds... are there any emotional or spiritual vines choking my life?
Much to think about my friends for I am certain the answer for all of us would be... yes. I have walked with Him long enough to know if He is asking such a question, good things will follow if I spend needed time in pondering.
Christopher's next door neighbor is also a Master Gardener. She walked with me the best she could after just having knee surgery, showing me what were weeds and what was not. I will have a person available for questions, checking again what is of value and what needs to be sent to the curb to be taken away when it is not obvious to the untrained eye.
I have another Master Gardner... the original who walked in Eden. He will be there aside me as I ponder what is Truth and what is... not. What to let go of now and what will be covered by His Grace. The original Creator. The Alpha and the Omega. The Lily of the Valley. He knows a lot about gardens and the human heart.