When You Stop Resisting God

Last week, I was asked to write a piece on depression and Lent for The High Calling.  At my lowest point, I imagined God asking the question, “Will you live the life I ask you to live?”  I was humbled and so encouraged by the comments on this little essay called, The Best Question.  (Click the link and enjoy.)

Yesterday, I’m walking to the vernal pond and recalling that depression.  I remember how many years I resisted the reality of my life.  It didn’t look like it was supposed to.  But God knows what I don’t know; He sees what I don’t see.  But I wasn’t ready to surrender. 

Humbled again, I’m silenced as I walk in the woods.

We find our secret pond, and on the surface, I see the blue sky reflected. 

My daughters peer deeply, waiting patiently.  All of a sudden, we see the new frog and salamander eggs.  They might even be turtle eggs. 

Then, the water’s surface trembles:  little salamanders, spotted bright red and orange dart beneath the leaves.

Can you see that one hiding?  

I look out, and I see an entire pond filled with eggs, and tiny creatures move about everywhere. Those white cottony puffs are great big globs of frog eggs.  Next week, we’ll see unimaginable numbers of tadpoles.

As I think about my life (the one I resisted all those years), I hear another whisper of the Spirit.  I look deep into that pond, and I see how fertile, how bountiful, how rich and teeming this exact spot is.

This very spot where I find myself (no matter how wrong) will produce life in abundance as I cooperate with God.  And when nothing seems to be happening, I just have to look beneath the surface.  

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Journal:  Will I live the life God asks me to live? 

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You Can’t Touch This

It’s finally warm enough to visit the vernal ponds in the woods behind our house. 

A  Vernal Pond

Last week, I didn’t know what a vernal pond was. 

It’s a temporary pool of water, normally full of rain or melted snow, that lasts through the spring.  What makes a vernal pond so special is the absence of predator fish. 

Without fish, a vernal pond allows all the toads, frogs, turtles, salamanders, and newts to develop and thrive without being devoured.  You can go to the vernal pond, examine all the eggs, spy on tadpoles and baby turtles, and pick up salamanders. 

I learn that in Pennsylvania, nobody knows how many vernal ponds exist or where they are.   These secret ponds evaporate and hide. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources sends researchers deep into the woods to locate, certify, and protect these wondrous locations.

What child (and her mother) can resist the mission to discover a secret habitat? 

And how can I not relish the symbolism of such a beautiful concept?  Just as the forest depends upon that temporary safe haven that cultivates what cannot develop elsewhere, I might form my own vernal ponds–deep within my soul, secret and safe from predators–where the things of God breed and develop.

This new season of birth and growth in nature reminds me to protect my own inner habitat from things that devour my hope and energy.  And I want to be the kind of wife, mother, and friend that protects the places deep within the heart where others are growing and changing.  I ask myself and others what we need to thrive.  I live with flair by developing habitats where what needs to grow in us can and will.  Untouched by predators, not threatened by what devours, we have a season to thrive. 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons, Werewombat) 

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Journal:  What do I need to do to create a thriving habitat both internally and externally in myself and others? 

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Breathing Deeply in the Froglet Phase


When you aren’t a tadpole anymore, but you still aren’t a frog, you’re a froglet.  I’m reading a book about frogs to my children (how could we not after chasing a toad on Saturday?), and I read that, on the way to becoming a frog, the tadpole endures a curious in-between phase. 

The froglet phase. 

She has lungs but must stay in water.  She has feet but can’t yet manage the land.  Now a foreigner in the place once her home, she cannot even breathe.  Her gills betray her, and her tail that helps her swim disappears.

She doesn’t quite fit in her environment because she’s made for a different one.  
 
I read the text with my daughters and look at pictures of frantic froglets, fanning a worthless stub of tail, bursting through the water’s surface to gulp that breath of air.

Something about coming to the surface like that resonates deeply with me.  I saw myself in that froglet.  I saw myself gulping for spiritual truth, for spiritual refreshment, because the physical environment wasn’t–and couldn’t–be my satisfaction. 

As spiritual beings made for communion with God, how do I manage in the grime and slosh of daily life when I’m made for a different environment–a heavenly one, a spiritual one?    We toggle like froglets on the rim of two environments.  I need to rise, fast and direct, to the surface of the water and take the deepest breath I can from the environment I was made for.  

When a frantic froglet realizes her gills and tail won’t work–and shouldn’t–she propels herself up and out of that murky underwater world and up into the light.  She breathes in what she was made for.

It helps me live with flair to think of myself as a froglet.  My environment wasn’t meant to sustain my life. There’s a whole world outside of the dark water.  I need to swim up, breathe deeply through a life of prayer and connection to God, and look around.

There’s glorious land ahead. And once I see it, the weight of this world doesn’t hold me down. 

(Image “Tailed Froglet” courtesy of W.A. Djatmiko)

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