I woke up this morning with the feeling of standing calf-deep in water. It was a weird feeling, scary, calming, hard, peaceful, a sense of work ahead (hard to describe). And the thought “the middle is hard, all you have to do is stand firm” came to mind. I’ve not posted much on Glory Abides this week, but I’ve been hammering out an outline of the book of Joshua (it’s long!). It was feeling like a long road was ahead, the beginning excitement was fading and I was in the rhythm of writing and studying but feeling the drudge begin. Don’t misunderstand, I am loving Joshua and learning so much; but, I was feeling like this could drag out for years! And there is so much! And a “deadline” of sorts had come to mind! So, I felt like I needed to do an outline. That way, if a portion of scripture starts speaking to me I can go there. My list making, everything in order, “we’re not there, not yet!” mentality can be satisfied because there is a plan and someplace to plug in the “randomness” that pops up. I hope this makes sense.
It’s been really interesting to see themes come up. Boundaries. There are a LOT of boundaries drawn in Joshua.
Anyways, back to my morning…standing in calf-deep water and that thought that the middle is hard.
The middle is SO hard! This is something my MomPat has talked about before, how the middle is so hard. The middle of a college semester, when your just grinding it out. The middle of a book (sometimes). The middle of summer, when its So hot and there is no rain. The middle of winter, when spring seems so far away. The middle of a divorce. The middle of an addiction. The middle. Your not at the exciting beginning, and your not at the end with closure; your in IT, the messy middle.
Several weeks ago I spent the morning visiting with a girlfriend, and we talked about how the middle is sometimes so hard when things are changing and you don’t know or you in the middle of something and you just have to keep going. I had started to read a book called Rising Strong by Brené Brown and that evening after our visit, turned the page to find this on page 12, “The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.” WHAT! That’s exactly what we were talking about. Yes! The middle is hard and messy, but it’s where all the good stuff is. Although not always seen, especially when we’re knee deep in muck.
And for the record, I picked up the book today in order to revisit that page and the adjoining page starts Chapter 2 and says “Civilization stops at the waterline.” Appropriate? I think so. And, there are no accidents. How true on so many levels.
So, I’m standing calf-deep in this Jordan river with Joshua. It’s hard! It’s beautiful! It’s messy!
Somedays I think it’s time to take the easy and known, safe, road. But then I take another step into the water. Keep going. Keep taking one more step, trusting in the Lord. The road will have some potholes because the middle is messy. But God’s beauty, blessing and abundance is everywhere.
I wrote this in one of my notebooks (I have 4 going right now. Hello, my name is Amy and I have an addiction to notebooks.) “Circle the vision (Jericho) with prayer. It’s like the foothold of the Promised Land. They circled Jericho, but is was just the beginning. And God handed it over BEFORE they started circling. That dream within was there before I started circling, planted as a seed before the ground was ready. He prepared it ahead of time. Its the scarification of time and weather that prepares the seed. Then, the weather warms. The Light shines longer and brighter. The Holy Spirit waters. And when the time is just right, that seed begins to grow. That new creation is circled in hopeful prayer of what is coming. There WILL be fruit. There will be dreams fulfilled for His glory.”
That seed is sprouting, the ground is being cultivated. It’s been the weather of life that does the scarification (scratching and wounding) in order for this seed to germinate. The hard stuff. The middles have been pretty messy at times, because that’s part of having this human experience. It’s the disappointments. Mistakes and circumstances that teach us. The relationships that come and go at just the right time, even when we don’t understand in the moment. The cold lonely moments, the warm fun of the sunshine. It’s the love we feel from others, and God. Life.
I’m grateful for the scarification, even when it hurts. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness having its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Well, I’m in the middle. It’s hard and a little messy right now. But there is magic and beauty all around. The civilization of man stops at the shore line and the beauty of the Lord engulfs me as I take steps into the water. And then “…you shall stand still in the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8) We are to take the steps into the water, and “The waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away….and those flowing down…were completely cut off.” (Joshua 3:14-17) It’s amazing.
It’s a beautiful picture of being an active participant in God’s creation and the sprouting of that seed which is placed within us. The humility of allowing God to lead while you take steps, sometimes with eyes closed in uncertainty. Take the step, let the Holy Spirit guide and water that seed. Jesus is there, hand outstretched, ready for you to walk one step at a time. Sometimes it’s hard to simply stand there. But, we must be still and know, with each step. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s somewhere in the middle where the beauty exists. He dries up the ground and we can stand firmly, on dry ground.