I arrived home yesterday after spending the last 4 weeks in Colorado and as I sit on my parent’s back porch with perfect Spring weather (and an inch of pollen on my computer as I type) I am starting to process more of what I have spent the last several weeks learning. I had the opportunity to go to MTI (Mission Training International) and receive training with 25 other adults who quickly became family. Its calf season here back in Arkansas, which means that during the timeframe I have been gone there have been several calves born at the Ranch. As I am writing, my stepmom just drove across the land to check on a baby born within the last several hours. Spring means growth on the farm and I think that is exactly what the Lord has been doing in me. During my time in Colorado I spent time meditating on John 15 and what it looks like to be “pruned” by the Father. The pruning process is often not comfortable but he does it in order so that we might bear more fruit. More fruit comes in the spring; it comes after the bitter winter with blizzards. It comes after the draughts of uncertainty. When those times are accompanied by consistently leaning into the Lord and trusting what he is doing, pruning happens. I want my life to be marked by the fruit I bear, the fruit that points all those I encounter back to Christ.
One of the things we talked about during our training was how we enter into a new culture. We discussed the idea of suspending judgment. It so often happens that we step into a culture and make a judgment and assume something that shouldn’t have been assumed. We first should make observations and then make assumptions about said observations before we ever assume anything about the people we encounter. When we suspend judgment we give ourselves the opportunity to explore a new culture to try to understand it before assuming whatever is being attempted is being done wrong.
One of the other tasks during our training was to talk with people in our inner circle to determine how we handle conflict. I was quickly reminded that I like to avoid conflict altogether which can sometimes have drastic consequences. We spent time looking through scripture to see that Christ gave us examples of all types of conflict and it was a good reminder that I need to step into it when necessary but always extend grace.
We took time to understand the stages of transition and how we might handle each situation as we walk through it.
One of my favorite lessons was when we talked about the goodness of God. This is something I have always clung to but is often forgotten when we walk through hard times. If we claim that we trust God we have to say he is good. If we are willing to claim we are NOT trusting God in a situation it is saying the opposite. Dayna Curry wrote a memoir about her time imprisoned by the Taliban for her aid work in Afghanistan. In her story, Prisoners of Hope, she writes, “You have to resolve in your heart that God is good. No matter what happens, you must know in your heart that he is good.” Another one of my all time favorite quotes is from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with an exchange between Lucy and Mr. Beaver. “…then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” My Jesus may not be safe and what he has called me to may not be safe but what I am telling you is that he is good. In the coming months I will be able to pack up my things and tell my family, friends and my precious nephews goodbye all because I cling to the fact that Jesus is good and He is worth it. In our training we talked about paradoxes and how this life we have been called to is not easy but it is truly worth it.
As I begin this journey of trusting the Father through support raising and not working and surrendering all to him I ask that you join me in prayer. Maybe he is calling you into something new or different and I ask you the same question, “Is he worth it?” If you claim that he is good, I promise you he is worth it.