Monday, September 9, 2019

Passion for Produce

Yes, I do love fresh fruits and vegetables!  Ask any of my family or close friends.

However, this post is about something totally unrelated to what you could find in a supermarket.

I was recently talking with a friend who has lived a life full of adventure.  After experiencing the heartbreak of being abandoned by her husband, she decided to go back to school . . . in her 50's!  She finished her nursing degree, added a counseling degree and accepted a position as an English teacher/school nurse . . . in Korea! After more than two decades alone, she married a wonderful man whom she met . . . on line!  Nope, not making this up at all.

She is a hero of sorts, in my book.  Her tenacious faith in God and fierce love for her family are benchmarks I'm reaching for, as well.  Susan (not her real name because I didn't get to ask permission to share) is still incredibly active even though well past her 80th birthday.  Her vivacious spirit and undaunted love for people inspire me.

While we were talking, I felt prompted to have her pray for me.  (Frank and I have always been careful about who we ask to pray over us.  We make sure they are living a life we want to emulate.)  She, her husband and I formed a little prayer circle that became a sanctuary right there in the middle of people swirling all around.  She prayed the most tender but direct prayer I've heard in a long while.

Just as we prepared to part ways, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Keep Producing!"  I was a little taken aback and I'm sure my face reflected my puzzled thoughts.

"Keep producing at least a little something every day," she explained.  "That way, when God opens the door you'll have material and stories to draw from.  He WILL open the door in due time.  Make sure you're ready."

No way to misunderstand that message!

Her words took me back to a moment when I was a young mother.  My life was on the fast track.  I had three little girls under the age of 6.  My husband was working far too many hours and had us involved in multiple projects that seemed to require extra effort at least every other month.  I was doing my best to keep up but it was a stretch that had me close to the snapping point.

A lady I respected walked up to me one Sunday evening and said, "Sheri, the Lord wanted me to share this scripture with you."  She gave me the passage written on a scrap of paper and left.  When I finally got time to read it the next day, this is what I found . . .
               Isaiah 46:4
               I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age.  I made you,  and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and save you.

Now many of you will think this a lovely little promise that could be made into a cross stitch and framed.  But my response was that of an exhausted mom and immature christian.  "Carry Me?!  Why does she think I need a scripture about being carried?  I'm doing just FINE, thank you!"

Yes, God is gracious and patient and I did eventually learn the bigger truth of this promise.  I believe He wanted me to understand that no matter where we are on this journey, we're never alone.  He promises in another passage to never forsake us; never to leave us.

Here's how I feel I should blend these two concepts today.  If we just stay faithful at doing the task directly in front of us, He will stay faithful in supporting us.  My job is to maintain passion for producing at least some small contribution every day.  His promise is to maintain passion for His child (that's you/me) and carry us along as we lean into His rich love.  Pretty generous exchange on God's part, I think.

So, for one more day I will understand the importance of producing.  And I will trust Him with the outcome.  Anyone game to join me in developing a passion for produce?


How about you?  Is there a word of encouragement someone gave you years ago (or recently) that has impacted your life?  We'd love to hear about it in the comment section below . . .


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