Nesting Season

“When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You’ll no longer be so full of questions.” ~Jesus
John 16:21-23 (MSG)

I woke up thinking about that passage yesterday. Male or female, we can all relate to the analogy. We’ve all experienced growing pains, and they hurt. Stretching of flesh and movement of bones is uncomfortable. The birthing of new life is often excruciating.

Anyone who’s been pregnant or been around a pregnant woman (or animal) knows about the nesting instinct. It’s shocking what can be accomplished when that natural burst of compulsive energy kicks in to put things in order and prepare for the new life.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had tons of rocks delivered to my home and I built a retaining wall for spring break. I painted rooms, helped renovate a house, designed and decorated the nursery. I washed tiny clothes and organized his closet and drawers meticulously, into 3-month size increments. Took care of all those things that there wouldn’t be much time for once my baby came. I packed the bag of things I wanted to have in the hospital. Essentials, but also fun stuff like music, books, magazines, candy. You know why that was important? Because in the cluttered moments of transition, we do not have the clarity of mind to remember any of that stuff. In fact, we barely even care about it once the pain hits.

Nesting brings a frantic scrambling to capture and squeeze every moment the energy rests on us. We are planning ahead of the moment of transition, the birth pangs. We are planning to be ready for the season after.

I feel like so many of us are in this place, right now. We are growing, changing, stretching our comfort zones, getting ready to enter into a new phase of life. I think it helps to see this through the lens of pregnancy. We need to learn to embrace the nesting instinct when it hits. To take advantage of the energy boost – it’s telling us we’re almost there. To proactively prepare for the next phase we’re about to enter into. To relish our time in this old phase before it’s gone. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it hurts.

It will be too late if we wait for the labor pains. They are short-lived. Life is never the same again.

Sweet as Honey

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These days are heavy with excitement and expectation – the Lord is really talking, and more of us are listening.

There is an absolute hunger for more.

After putting it off for months, I have just ventured into one of the strangest books in the Bible. I’ve only made it three chapters in to Ezekiel and already love him. I love that he writes with exclamation points! I love how clearly he was given instructions, without room for misinterpretation. I love his obedient heart.

It’s rich with treasures, but one that shines brightest to me is how he describes his commissioning as a prophet.

He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.”  Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
Ezekiel 3:3

The words he was given to digest were not pleasant, and they weren’t written on a fruit roll-up. Just three verses before, he described the (animal-skin) scroll as being front and back full of “lamentations, mourning and woe” (2:10). Those were the words he was to be full of and deliver to his neighbors.

Here’s what I love about it. Ezekiel was so open to receive instruction from the Lord that ANY word and ANY assignment was made sweet enough to bear. In Revelation 10, John experiences the same thing – a scroll of prophetic judgment that was hard to digest, but tasted sweet as honey in his mouth.

We will walk through difficult times. Sometimes the words we hear are not what we were looking for, like “WAIT!” Or how about “Get up!,” “No,” or even “Yes”…just a few of my favorites which have come at times I was really hoping to hear something different.

Even those words of redirection are precious to me. He is talking…to me! He cares about us at the minute level. He has a best plan for each of us, and really wants us to experience it. That’s what I want too – for me, my family, you. One thing I know is that a hungry heart will be fed, and wow, his words are sweet.

How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

The Forgetting

I just did a little study on the life of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob. When I finished, a question came that I couldn’t shake. Why didn’t Joseph, who had been sold into slavery and separated from his family for 13 years, look for his family once he was free? Why didn’t he find out if his father was still alive? Why didn’t he proactively bring them to Egypt for protection? He didn’t even try.

You have to keep in mind that Joseph was a sensitive man, and hopelessly optimistic. He had prophetic dreams that delighted him as a teenager. He seemed oblivious to the animosity felt toward him by his brothers. He was compassionate and courteous to prisoners under his charge. He wept for joy, he wept with grief, he wept at reconciliation, he wept…a lot!

He was a slave or in prison for 13 years before he was elevated to second under Pharaoh – plenty of time to long for home. Once he got out, he knew he had seven good years to prepare for famine, and so he got busy. He also got married and had two sons. He named his first son Manasseh, which means “one who causes to forget” because, he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (Genesis 41:51).

To say that, he obviously hadn’t forgotten them. He chose to. It’s like he asked God for forgetfulness, for help moving on from them, his past, and even the dreams attached to them.

A willful forgetting. I can’t remember if I’ve written this or not (snort) but there are chunks of my past that have been erased from my mind. I’m fairly certain it’s not a symptom of brain damage, and I’m positive it’s not out of fear to face it. Things have simply been lifted, purged – I like to think of it as a tender mercy from the Father.

But there are other things I have had to cry out for him to take, just like Joseph did. I see it more of a refocus to his purpose. A redirection to get his mind back on target. He worked diligently where he was placed. Then, in God’s perfect timing, his dream came to him.

Think about it, the dreams he had as a teenager wouldn’t have happened if he had interfered. When the brothers showed up and bowed before him, it says “Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them” (Genesis 42:9). He got it then. Joseph had the most amazing ability to see life from a Kingdom perspective.

I find that such an encouragement this week! To stay focused where I’ve been placed. To diligently and joyfully carry on with the tasks I’ve been given. To cry out for a forgetting of things meant for another time.

What a reminder that the Word is living, active, and still speaking to hungry hearts. When you feel stuck on a passage or a question…ask for the answer. He is probably trying to tell you something!

For Such A Time As This

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Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.
Esther 4:14

This is turning into a really interesting year. I feel like I have spent the last three years in a chrysalis – protected, hidden, being transformed, strengthened, and prepared for the next stage of life.

I have found myself struggling with the weirdest problem. I am so thankful for this journey and for where I am NOT, that I find it hard to even consider asking for more. My career is amazing. My relationships are thriving. My home is comfortable. My body is healthy. My heart is still on fire for the Lord.

There is a difference between being grateful and being stagnant in a comfortable world. The Lord keeps asking me to ask for more, and not just for others! For my own life too.

“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!”  ~Jesus
John 16:23-24 (MSG)

He’s not saying to ask for more stuff and he’ll give me more stuff. He wants me to ask for what he’s revealed and promised me, and believe that he’ll deliver.
He wants to make my joy complete.

This morning I read about Saul, the man chosen to be the first king of Israel. When he was given the promise privately, he objected that he was not good enough
(1 Samuel 9:21). When his family asked what he had been told, he kept it to himself (1 Samuel 10:16). When it was time to receive the promise publicly, he was afraid to step into it, literally hiding in a pile of baggage (1 Samuel 10:22). The promise just seemed too big, too good to be true for him. He never got over his insecurities or learned to trust God with the promise…and he really made a mess of it!

I don’t want to make a mess of my promises.

I feel perched on the chrysalis, ready to take flight in faith. He has developed and prepared me for this very moment. He is giving courage to trust him with the dreams he’s placed in my heart. He is encouraging me to live fully. Faithfully. And to fly boldly where he has called.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

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