Planting

My mind is jumbled with thoughts
bouncing back and forth between
naptimes and bottles, roadtrips and budgets.
 I’m finding transition a difficult place to be,
particularly for a wife and mom.   
Taylor’s hard work toward a career is effort in which
I trust, encourage, and rest secure. 
He is doing what is best for our family and we are thankful for him. 
This season of job training and preparation, however,
has us more often at my parents’ Carolina home while
our life awaits us on a hill in Tennessee. 
I find myself wondering how I fit into this big picture. 
Where do my God-given passions and gifts intersect with the world?  
I am a tree longing to be planted by streams of water,
but I keep feeling as if I’m still just sitting in the pot. 
There is purpose in the pot, indeed,
just as there is great meaning to motherhood and being a spouse,
but how much more growth and beauty is beheld when
roots are allowed to run deep. 
Nevertheless, I wake to a South Carolina sunrise and
a heart-melting, sleepy-eyed baby girl ready to climb and play
in a home that, however beautiful and warm,
I did not prepare, in a city in which I do not live.  
Although routine and roots beckon me,
there are rays of sunshine in this seemingly wild ride
us Nashes tend to board,
shedding light on Kingdom things and grounding us in His purposes. 
Perhaps being uprooted is
part of the method and the blessing before the planting, after all.

A rare sense of routine washed over me one morning
as my little girl and I were alone together for the first time in months. 
God came and dwelled among us in the rhythmic tide of motherhood. 
And He fathered me, His child. 
I noticed. 
He taught me of Himself. 
He showed me glimpses of His mercy. 
He broke bread, offering me a piece and I joined Him at the table. 
Oh how hungry I was! 
He filled me with the knowledge of His gentle hands
guiding me into His best for me, and I rested there. 
“I see you, darling.  I desire for you to learn and grow. 
I yearn for you to be delighted in joy.
I expect you to contribute and give of yourself to others. 
Know that I see you. And trust Me.
I am preparing a way for you.”

There was food to be cut into bite-sized pieces,
a little face to be wiped, diaper changes, books to explore,
dirty laundry, clean laundry, thirsty plants, needed exercise,
and tiny hands to hold.
As I cared for Lettie in the blissful quiet of our morning together,
the Father’s words echoed to the depths of my soul.  
Every move she made sealed them deeper and deeper into my heart. 
As I gave myself fully to my “now,”
God spoke directly to my “later.” 

I first heard Him knock in the ever-expanding pile of laundry on the bed. 
I would fold, and Lettie would roll and play and ruffle. 
I would sort, and she would giggle when
she found herself under a pile of daddy’s shirts. 
It was sweet and simple fun. 
Eventually, however, the task we set out to accomplish had to get done,
at which point Lettie found herself in the laundry basket
while the clothes occupied my hands. 
In the hamper, my sweet baby was safe from falling off the bed
and kept from undoing my job,
yet we still got to enjoy each other’s presence. 
I longed for her company,
especially after having had to share her for so many weeks. 
She was not locked away in another room or given to someone else’s care,
she was simply given boundaries that
brought peace and progress to a important task with which
she was not ready to help. 
What she didn’t know was that the basket wasn’t going to last forever;
I would lift her out as soon as the time was right. 
Immediately I saw myself in that basket and
God’s knowing, capable hands making order of the mess on the bed.
He longs for me to be there beside Him,
especially when our time together has been short. 
He placed me there for my good. 
It is not time for me to be picked up and set out. 
Until then, we can talk and sing and laugh together. 
The time will not be wasted. 
I will be safe and can learn from watching Him work.  
And in the end, the job completed will create space and freedom for me
to again jump out to explore and contribute. 

nothing like fresh laundry to roll in

nothing like fresh laundry to roll in

As the final sock was rolled,
my little girl reached up and I scooped her out of the basket. 
She was on the move. 
I smiled as I watched her crawl down the carpeted hallway,
stop to gaze at the nightlight still glowing,
look at me as she questioned how quickly she could grab it,
change her mind,
then head for the closet door on which she
pulled up and practiced finding her balance. 
I got a wave and a shout of acclamation and she was off yet again. 
These times are magical. 
She brings me such delight as she becomes a part of the world around her,
trying harder, doing more, going further.
We have special spaces and toys designed for her to
provide those opportunities she needs not only to explore, but to grow. 
I love to nod in approval and cheer her on as she searches my eyes for pride.
There are times, though, I must say “no” in love and redirect her
to a space better suited for her abilities,
eager to nurture success.
The stairs, for example, are a mountain she has learned to climb,
but the descent will most assuredly end in a tumble
(although she may beg to differ). 
For what seemed like the millionth time,
I pointed her away from the top step. 
She repositioned herself around the corner as if to make a statement that
she was not amused by my “no” and would
be just fine to play by herself, thank you. 
Of course I pursued her. 
When I peered around the bathroom door,
she proudly waved at me donning feminine products in each hand as if to say,
“Look what I found! Haven’t I done a great job all on my own?!” 
There again I saw myself,
flapping my arms at God so proud in doing something independently,
nevertheless how foolish it was. 
When He takes too long to tell me “yes”,
how quick I am to turn the corner on my own to a dead end bathroom and miss the space prepared specifically for me next door by a loving Father. 

I sensed His whispers in my own reaction to Lettie,
now with said product hanging out of her mouth. 
I had no anger or self-righteousness toward her.  
I did what any parent would do-
I snapped a picture, giggled, and gently guided her toward an activity
better suited for her. 
Something I designed for her to be a part of. 
In several years I will show her the photo and we will laugh together
at the innocent joy and pride she took in such a silly “accomplishment”
and we will revel in how far she has come. 
Doesn’t our God relate to us in much the same way?    
He peeks around the wall to find us waving our own ideas or achievements,
and with a gentle touch He guides us into something better,
another room arranged especially for us. 
He covers us in the grace we need to look back at old snapshots
and continue growing in wisdom. 
As Lettie looked up at me, I again reached down for her and helped her
walk into a better space.

Oh my gosh. Please don't judge me for the bruises on her face or the the activity choice. 

Oh my gosh. Please don't judge me for the bruises on her face or the the activity choice. 

As the morning sun hung on to its last gentle rays
before the afternoon heat arrived,
my girl looked at me with tired eyes and reached her little hands up toward mine.
Without a word spoken, “Hold me, Mama” echoed through the living room
and I scooped her up to cuddle her close.   
Noting her need for rest, I placed her in the stroller
and laced up my running shoes to put my feet to the pavement. 
I believe babies know their Creator best when they are in His creation. 
There is a sense of calm and peace and contentment
that washes over Lettie as leaves sway and birds exchange songs. 
It is worship in its purest sense. 
With sweat beading on my forehead I again felt the tender nudge of the Father.
“Climb in the stroller, My daughter. 
Let Me do My work. 
I am strong and can take you places that you cannot get on your own. 
Worship Me.  Gaze in wonder and awe as you
rest in My presence.”

Relaxed, I'd say.

Relaxed, I'd say.

I looked down at the precious feet crossed at the base of the stroller
and thought of the constant ups and downs of their efforts all day long. 
They cannot carry her very far,
but they go as far as they can in the moment. 
I thought of the desperate need Lettie has for a nap on a daily basis
because, however limited she is,
she pushes and prods with all her might
wherever it is she finds herself. 
She needs rest that she might grow and strengthen;
when she has found it,
she will look at me and reach her arms out to be lifted up
so she may again be a part of the world around her.

My morning with my baby girl was one of
communion with God. 
He often uses her to show me more of Himself,
and this day was no exception.
I carried her now slumbering body from the stroller to the bedroom
and laid her on my chest,
allowing her to settle once again. 
As we lay in a peaceful embrace,
I not only breathed in the feel of my arms around her,
but the Father’s arms around me. 
My mind filled with vivid images.
As with trees in a nursery,
He is busy transplanting me from one place to the next. 
The ride is trying and my roots are thirsty for land,
but I sense that even the most magnificent oaks must
make a journey toward the fertile soil upon which they will be planted. 
En route the gardener will ensure the proper containers are used
to preserve the health of the tree. 
He will time it perfectly to ensure the tree is not traveling too long. 
He will advise the finest planting spot for the tree to
flourish and become a spot of shade and rest for all who encounter its branches. 
My heart longs to be engaged with hurting people and
for opportunities to show them the worth and value found in walking with Christ,
but for now I am as Lettie and the oak tree- 
ever reaching for my Creator to lift me up and
place me in the space designed for me. 
I trust that in worship there is not only rest, but strength,
and I commit to walking in that,
hand in hand with God. 
Praise Him for His constant love and faithful guidance,
even in the in-between.
He is good, all the time.

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