So... I was alone. My kids had plans both Saturday and Sunday that didn't involve me.... :( Which is great, because they are teenagers, and their world is expanding, although it is taking me a little getting used to it! Usually I don't mind being alone... I find great solace in times of quietness, and look forward to them. Yet, this weekend, the loneliness was ... well ... just there... !
In my effort to be honest, and real... I don't want my blogging efforts to come across as if I am some sort of superwoman who has it all together. Simply because that is not life, and it is not reality. There are highs and lows in our lives, and I want to convey to you that having difficulties and things in our lives that aren't pretty - that is reality.
The difference comes in what we choose to do with those difficulties - that is really the game changer.
And so, this past weekend, the highlight of both my Saturday and Sunday was getting out to water my garden, feed my chickens, and that was about it. Not real exciting, mind you! While my kids were out floating down the river in tubes, I was .... home alone. So, there you have it. I was having a bit of a pity party for myself!
Anyway, I headed over to our garden (our property where the garden is planted is a short distance from where we live), and began to water my garden. My loneliness threatened to flow out like the water pouring from the hose. I felt quite intently the pangs of loneliness as I watered, even though my garden was showing signs of promise...
The garden was making progress, slowly but surely! The potatoes are popping out of the ground, and sporting their lovely green tops.
Some of my tomato plants already have blooms!
The tomatoes seem very happy in the greenhouse. I have a few plants in the middle of the greenhouse that I will plant once they get a little bigger.
I only planted 12 corn this year, because I promised my husband I would keep my garden small. They seem to be growing happily along as well!
The raspberry bushes that we planted last year have dug in their heels, and have produced a large amount of blooms! We should have quite a nice crop of raspberries next month!
As I finished watering the garden... I had nowhere to go, and time on my hands, and the loneliness was mounting. Those who know me well probably have never seen this side of me, because I stay so busy. Yet today, I couldn't get away from the fact that my husband was many hundreds of miles away, and not here with me. And the loneliness was quite overwhelming my heart.
I found a comfortable lawn chair, and got my Bible out the truck, along with my trusty camera, and filled up my water bottle with some cold water from our well, and found a nice shady spot to relax in.
I knew I was long overdue for this talk with the Lord. As I closed my eyes, and began to talk to the Lord, the tears were flowing, and the pity party was just getting started.
I opened my eyes when I heard some cackling, and realized our lone turkey had arrived to keep me company. I realized even in that moment that she was lonely, just as I was. For some reason, she has been kicked out of her gaggle, and wanders around our property throughout the day, by herself. Sometimes other hens will come to visit, but she never leaves with them.
I was surprised at her visit, because I had found my shady spot just a few yards from where I had dropped some bird seed on the ground for her. But she did come!
As I watched her peck away, and cackle, I wondered what she would think if I talked to her. So I gently began to talk to her. She looked my way, and kind of backed off. Then I thought maybe I would sing instead. So...
... I began to sing an old song... "Shut in with God in a secret place, there in the spirit beholding his face, gaining more power to run in the race, I long to be shut in with God."
As I began to sing that song, she stopped as if she was listening for a moment, and then went back to eating. I continued to sing, and as I sang, I felt as if the heavens were opening up, and the presence of the Lord was just bathing me and covering me in His beauty and spirit. As the tears flowed, I felt the overwhelming loneliness leave me, and it was replaced with the sweet peace from the Lord. Even Ms. Turkey felt it, because she stayed and quietly pecked and cackled away.
I looked around me at the beautiful scene set before my eyes, and began to praise the Lord. My heart was so full of Him, and so full of praise. As the trees seemed to bow, sway and move to the wind, and the gentle breeze caressed the grass, and my turkey friend continued to share my company... the sweet spirit of the Lord moving in my heart caused such joy to come, where there had just moments ago been the perfect lineup for a pity party. Instead of having a pity party... things changed when the King of Glory arrived... and the pity party never even got started... but the praise party continued for several hours!
Then I began to sing... "I come to the garden alone... where the dew is still on the roses... and the voice I hear... falling on my ear... is so sweet the birds hush their singing.... And He walks with me and He talks with me... and He tells me I am His own... and the joy we share as we tarry there.... none other... has ever known!"
Oh what beauty it was to experience the words of that song even as I sang them... and I knew the great Master Gardener had stopped by for a visit... and oh what joy it was! Now... tears were flowing... but they weren't tears of loneliness. They were tears of joy springing up from a well deep inside my soul filled to overflowing by His presence.
I opened my eyes and realized that my turkey friend had decided she had eaten her full. She carefully made her way back to the cover of the woods, and then the quiet stillness pervaded. In the stillness of the moment, as the trees swayed, and the grass danced... I knew He had walked beside me, was behind me, and before me. Whatever I face... He faces with me. Whatever emotions course through me... He understands. Whatever I don't understand... He knows. I am safe with Him! "I will never leave you nor forsake you".
Our earthly relationships will never satisfy us, like being in His presence will. While I still miss my beloved husband acutely.... one moment in the presence of the King assured me that He knows. He cares. And all is well. He removed the sting of loneliness, and replaced it with His peace. He stopped the pity party in its tracks.
I've come to learn that pity parties never really work for me. I've tried to have a few, and always the Lord comes, and tenderly shows me how much He loves me, and instead... the pity turns into praise. When I look in wonder at the majesty of his creation.... there is praise that rolls up in my heart and spreads itself forth in song. Praise for the One who created! Praise for the One who comforts! Praise for the One who knows!
When the time came for me to leave my shady spot in the garden with the Lord... I was sad. Yet, it was time for a meal to be prepared, and for sweet fellowship with friends who were coming by our home soon. Oh, it was hard to leave... my heart was so full of the feast that the Lord prepared for me in the garden.... but it was time to go.
And as I left, there was a song in my heart, a joy that had been renewed, and a peace like no other.
And as I drove home I thought... it was worth every lonely moment, every one... just to spend those hours with the Lord, and to be comforted and reassured by Him that all was well. And it is. In Him... all is well!
My circumstances had not changed.... but my outlook and perspective on those circumstances had. And that is why a believer can face uncertain days, and difficult problems in life... not because we are better or worse than anyone else, but because we can look at the problems and difficulties knowing that in Him... all is well. He is the only One who can calm and cease the existing storm. He is the only One who knows what the future holds. He is the only One that can bring peace in the very midst of the storm... And He is the reason we can face uncertain days... because in Him, all is well!