Tuesday, September 29, 2009

feeling like a maguey...

Ecclesiates 3:11 He has made all things beautiful in His time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

While driving through the desert this past Saturday to a conference I was speaking at, I was reminded of an odd plant that thrives in arid regions. It looks like an ugly love-child of a cactus and aloe vera plant. It has a spreading rosette in the center of the plant which grows spiny, grey-green leaves about three inches thick and has a sharp spike at the end of each tip. Each year the plant grows wider, longer, and uglier.

Seriously, the maguey plant is one of the those plants you can walk by and never even notice or care about; it's forgettable and over-looked. But as I studied this plant, I was shocked to learn this plant has a beautiful story of endurance and perseverance. For over 20 years the plant will grow without producing a single flower or fruit. But then, like a great Disney tale, a small shoot grows out of the center of the rosette. And keeps growing. And growing. And growing. In a matter of three days, a stem roughly two feet thick will reach heights of over twenty-five feet! At the very top of the stem is a beautiful cyme of yellow, fragrant flowers.

After years of ugliness, the beauty that was deep within pushes up and stands majestically in dry and barren land.

Years of abuse, molestation, neglect, depression, trials or tragedy are part of the brokenness of man. But in God's perfect time He restores the years of ugliness with vibrant colors, sweet scents, and towering strength. Even when we can't see the full scope of God's work from beginning to end, He will make all things beautiful in His time. Are you blooming? Share your story. Are you feeling like the maguey plant, ugly and overlooked? Share your story. It's about time we rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping (Romans 12:15).


Diandra Ann said...

Ug. Totally crying. You know my story... It's nice to finally feel like the blooming plant again :) Love you!

Anonymous said...

My sister's family is going through a tough time right now and I just wrote her a note that essentially talks about how right now things seem like they are crumbling. But from my experiences in the past God used those "crumbling" times for amazing glory and good. I am forwarding this blog post to her. I think this ugly little plant will really speak to her. Thanks Bianca. :)

ks*Rebecca said...

I have definitely been the maguey. God is restoring my marriage, my very life. Sometimes it does have to come crumbling down before restoration begins.

Leah said...

Feeling like I've been at the threshing floor. Shredded and torn apart into ashes.

I'm a single parent of a teen with LIMITED resources my employer gave us a 40% pay cut, I got a speeding ticket, 'cause I can't afford to be late or lose my job. The unemployment dept. is trying to garnish my wages for a claim that was filed 2 years ago. I'm $1098 short for my rent and utilities. The man I've been dating for a year last night decided to go to a restaurant that I had recommended to take his 21 year old son out to for his birthday... without me and when I asked why he didn't tell me or invite me he said Because his mom with with me and the boys. (Twilight zone theme here)

Now that I think about it strange timing to "take sometime to focus on his walk" has coveniently and curiously equated to spending hours with his ex-wife, whom is freshly separated from her 2nd husband, with the pretext of watching their 16 year old son's sporting activities.

Did I mention he knows my fianancial difficulities and said to me "I would like to help you out but I have to pay for my landscaping remodel and help "their mom because she's going through a hard time right now since her husband left." (SCREAM!!!!!) (It must be tough only earning six figures instead of six and a half.)

Did I mention that this wolf in sheep's clothing attends church? (Maybe Eli's son, nephew or cousin)

(Somehow I think he thinks he's being noble and quite the Christian example for his ex wife)
and while she's barely separated from her husband he has the opportunity to "be an example of what a Christian man looks like when he goes to church"

HHmmmmm.... What about the responsibility of what's been going on in the relationship with me for the last year???? (Ah that's right, the faithful, praying (me), continuously forgiving....(me) with a teenager and a negative bank account and is soon to be on the verge of looking into a family shelter and unemployment line. Well, you'll be ok, you know the Lord, he has a plan for you. You've been through other things. God will provide.

Bianca said...

This is me. This is me. This is me.

I'm crying not at what you wrote but because of how I'm feeling. Thank you for giving me strength again. Pray for me.

Lucy said...

Strange comfort....

Saw the movie he's just not that into you and a light bulb went on. Actually it was like Christmas lights with music of Joy to the world playing in the background.

The sting of rejection when a man leaves his "catch" to continue the hunt on another "prey" he's been studying, watching their every move and narcistically altering their behavior to appear like a friendly foe, is the most piercing motivator to flee every appearance of evil.

I've been told OVER and OVER again. You can't change people!

You can only choose to change yourself and dismount from the dead horse. Even if you put on a new saddle and enter it in a renown race, you may just be riding and beating a dead mule that was meant to be left at the circus.

Deb said...

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Psalm 116:1-3

Luke 1: Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."

Praying for you

Kaitlynn Chritton said...

You are in my prayers Bianca.

I too am feeling quite like a maguey. Money is tight, bills are overdue and my heart is heavy...

I hope you know how much encouragement your blog brings. Without ever meeting you I know what a beautiful person you are. Thanks for sharing with us. I hope you come speak in Oregon sometime, I would love to hear you in person!

KATEE said...

not yet blooming...
feels like I'm moving forward and into what the Lord has for me then this fear comes that nothing has really changed and that somehow the freedom of Christ is just in a spiritual sense and not for physical evidence of the spiritual changes... I feel like I'm blooming on the inside some days until I look at the stage of my life and see the failures and grr!! I just want my life to truly honor the Lord and live in love & faith in Him and not in fear... I want to be willing to rise when He calls my name and be willing to face the fears of "King Xersus" (I've been studying Esther for a little over a month now:) and truly all for the glory of our God-- living in boldness and confidence in the new person that Christ has made me by His blood and called me to be with His voice. I'm not blooming but believe I will, by His grace and love--

i love praying for you girls--- Bianca, thanks!

katee grace

christy said...

wow i can totally relate katee grace. Everything you say is what I feel. But in the end we Know God is faithful. Just keep swimming....:)

Tish said...

feeling like i am ready to bloom...but the darn "bloom" button is stuck...jammed...will.not.work.

i so hunger to live completely for CHrist in a radical way...focused on His kingdom and glory. and yet every day i crawl into bed thinking that day was no different than the rest.

christy said...

Right there with you Tish....

Bianca said...

Katee, Christy, and Tish, you guys ROCK.

Tish, I know Katee and I will be praying for you. But I need to remind you of something: Remember when we both were praying for you to be able to adopt? You were on staff at Calvary ABQ, we've never met yet we spoke like friends and you shared your heart. God is using you, blessing you, and filling you by your baby! You are blooming as a mommy!!! Thank you for being a testiment of loving like Jesus.

Tish said...

@Bianca, thanks! Yes, I can see how God is indeed using me as a mother...and how even more He uses it to show me my utter dependence on Him. Good stuff!

I think the blooming stuff I am talking about is that God is opening my eyes to the complacency, indulgence, and comfort that His church has surrounded herself in...including me...and it is breaking my heart. I have been blessed financially and, even though I am very, very frugal, I still live in abundance. I feel my heart saying, "Just because I can live this way doesn't mean I should." So I ponder the steps to take...or look for open doors from God..to lead me to a more radical life in which I am totally surrendered to and dependent upon GOd (as opposed to padding my life with comfort and ease and indulgences). I want to KNOW Him now...not just wait til Heaven. But sometimes when I crawl in bed at night I think, "Wow, I got so busy with household tasks and taking care of my son that I didn't spend much time with God."

Tish said...

@Bianca...ok, here are two verses that have been on my heart and are somewhat related to my previous comment.

Ezekiel 33:31...this verse could even be said of your blog. You speak truth but if we just read your Spirit-filled posts and say "oh, what a great writer she is" but never actually act upon what you teach us, then we don't grow...or "bloom." Sometimes I think we want to discuss the truth more than live it out. Can't you just imagine some girlfriends sitting at a cafe chatting about your latest post but walking out the door and never applying it to their lives? So feel free to challenge us, girl, to live the truth you are teaching!

Hebrews 13:13...Jesus is "outside the camp" and we are called to go to Him...but it seems as if we would rather stay in the comforts and luxuries of the camp. I want to cast aside all I have and run breathlessly to Him, not looking back, but I honestly don't know what this looks like for my life.

Ooops, did you mean to turn this into a discussion blog?

christy said...

Wow...tish, you have some great insights...i feel exactly the same..."I want to cast aside all I have and run breathlessly to Him, not looking back, but I honestly don't know what this looks like for my life." This is so perfectly said. I feel like i am trying to get close to God to know Him, but I fail everyday to put Him first...and yes by the time I get to my bed, I am already half asleep, only to wake up the next morning feeling like a failure....all I want is to know Him and be close to Him...and I feel like i am running in one of those hamster wheels...on my side of the financial world...we r struggling and I worry, and then I check myself so I try to trust that God will take care of us and get back to thinking that no matter how much we r struggling, there r people in this world who r struggling so much more...but you know sometimes it's easier said than done...

I feel the same way also about applying these things to our lives...A lot of times I forward the post to my friends and we chat and we share verses...but is it translating into our lives? I know I struggle...I start out really good in the morning...but then as the day passes and I get more tired it all seems to go bad. Again feeling like a failure the next day...but I know God's grace is sufficent...He loves us no matter what...ad every day is a new start...

ok i am definitely rambling, so thanks for the thought provoking words:)

Again, I LOVE your posts Bianca...you r truly a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Wow..how incredible. For the last month I've been in a severe bought of depression, questioning everything and wondering why..why was: the hubby being so demanding, work demanding, daughters demanding, parents demanding, school demanding, patients demanding. I felt as if and I was, on a short leash on life. I could not go anywhere, to many restrictions, I was screaming to just get out! runnin searchin..Knowing and realizing that it was a spiritual attack after a short while, I began to do a personal retreat, pulled away from Family and Friends, work and school...eek! Prayer and Reading Gods word helped and pulled me through. Also a Friend who kept calling and calling and calling fineally caught me, we spoke briefly, then I had to disconnect. I could only do this in the form of texting, I could not say the words. She called me and Prayed, we prayed together....I know now that God was using this time as a time to build me up for He knew what I was about to be exposed to and had to get me ready for this next step. Was it a challenge of my faith? Did I have to stand up for what I believe? for WHO I believe?..Praise God for His faithfulness, Guideance, and provisions in all those areas of my life. He opened my eyes to see and my ears to hear, I convayed my response to seeing and hearing the Dali Lama to my Employer, my views and response to what he, a mortal man with no hope, NO JESUS said. Feared for my job for the second time in 2 weeks. Praise be to God for saving a person such as I. Praise be to God for his protection over me during this time of...I dont know what to call it....on the Flip side, there is now a new level of respect for me from my employer. Even though I was tricked in to going, as first I was MAD..how could they? they know my belief system. Its Jesus. I worship nothing and no one but Jesus. Nothing hidden here. As I begin to examine me experience on that day and the week prior (both involving work) I see Gods hand all over it. Did I go to Him in prayer? Yes, Did I seek Him in comfort? Yes, Did I speak of Him to those who were lost? Yes, Did I run from Him as these things were goin down? NO NO NO. God is faithful!
Thankyou Bianca for your blogs, for the ability to respond to your written thoughts.

Anna P.

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