Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Resurrection Plant and Hope

A sweet friend at church handed me a plastic bag with what appeared to be a ball of dried moss in it.



“It’s a resurrection plant,” she said smiling.

I turned the plastic bag over in my hand—a house plant. I’m terrible with indoor plants. Any self-respecting flora better watch itself if it enters my house. I brought the bag home and put it aside thinking I would wait to plant it when I brought other plants inside before the first freeze. It stood a better chance of making it if it wasn’t alone. Safety in numbers—that sort of thing.

A couple of weeks later, my friend asked me about it. “How’s your plant doing?”

I told her my plan. "I was afraid I’d forget to water it and it would die.”

She studied me a moment. “It can go years without water.”

What? Hope sprang in me. If I couldn’t kill it, this was a plant with my name on it.

I went home and looked at the instructions inside the bag. Turns out you don’t plant it but put it in a bowl of water. The plant has to be rinsed and the water changed every day for the first week, then you occasionally add water or let it go back to sleep.

It can go fifty years without water.

The surprising thing is it literally opened before my eyes unfurling its tendrils to the water and light. Here are pics after the first five minutes, the first hour, and a few hours later.





If you don’t water it, it curls into a ball again. But somehow, it retains enough water to keep it alive for decades.

Over the past couple of years, if you’re like me, at times you may have felt as if you were curling into a ball, your life-giving hope leaking out. The resurrection plant has specialized fluid-conducting tissues that help bring it back to life. We are designed spiritually so that all it takes is being open to the water of God’s spirit for us to spring alive.

Jesus said, “. . . whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

The apostle Paul wrote, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (I Corinthians 12:13).

But we do have to make a choice. Jerry is fond of saying, “I want to sit near the spout where the glory comes out.”

What he said. We must position ourselves so that we are in a place to receive what the Lord is offering. Like the plant, we need to drink.

I love it when God reveals an aspect of His glorious purpose through His creation and thanks to my friend for this amazing and instructive gift.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee.

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

When You Encounter Prickly Ones



I’ve said a hundred times. “Sometimes, the only way God can get our attention to pray for someone is by allowing them to annoy us.”

I wish I could get the message another way, cause honestly, sometimes these situations make us want to run for the hills.

It’s easy for me to say pray for those who irritate us, but harder for me to live it out. Recently it was about 4:00 in the morning, when the Lord reminded me of my own words.

Convicted—I prayed.

It's through prayer that we began to get the heart of God for that person from whom we want to flee. If we get on our knees, we’ll often glimpse the brokenness inside the spiky exterior.

I remember a situation where I was frequently around a prickly person in a social setting. I found myself looking for ways to avoid them because of what I considered obnoxious behavior. I’d veer off to sit as far away from that individual as possible.

The Lord reminded me he was calling me to pray and to reach out. Reluctantly, I did.  I never dreamed that just ahead would be a tragic circumstance, in which God would allow me to minister to that very one.

We can’t figure these things out because only God sees what’s at stake. And it is not all about the other person. God wants to use these situations in our lives to mold and shape us, as well.

In recent history, so much has happened, that it seems almost everyone is prickly in some way. It reminds me of the first time I ever went to one of my doctors. The nurse handed me a questionnaire to assess my health by asking questions about my life. You know the drill. Every doc has them. On this form, one of the questions was “Do you have stress in your life?” I laughed and wrote “Does anyone ever answer no to this question?” I put a smiley face in the margin confident all health care professionals enjoy getting little cartoons and smart remarks on their forms.

Having never met me before, the doc walked in the room looking at the questionnaire and laughing. She said, “Only those that are in really bad shape.”

It’s probably a good idea to confess our own irritating behaviors and pray about our prickliness, too. 

I’m inserting a little caveat that there are relationships that turn toxic in a way that is unhealthy to remain in them. This is not what I’m talking about here.

Jesus said, “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?” (Luke 6:32 The Message)

Let’s call on the Lord to help us love those who are hard to love and remember the lavishness of His gift of grace to us in Jesus. 

Another post about prickles HERE. 

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee.

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Remembering and staying close


We had traveled over 7,000 miles by car earlier in the summer of 2001 visiting historic sites and National Parks. That summer shaped our family’s future in ways we didn’t yet fully understand. It was as if we had captured a more innocent time in a bottle that pre-911 summer, a time we could never go back to and would never experience again.

I can’t remember what I told my seven- and eight-year-old kids in home school that fateful eleventh day of September, but we didn’t let them see the horrific images at the time—planes and people falling from the sky, buildings melting into the ground, and dust covered survivors running for their lives.

The world had changed.

The casualties on 911 kept mounting until the final tally of 2,977 with 6,000 wounded. And then we faced a twenty-year long war in which we would lose more heroes, 7,000 servicemen and 8,000 contract workers in addition to those wounded both physically and psychologically. The recent exit from that part of the world has added even more casualties to that list and broken our hearts with its collateral damage.

911 was one day in history, but it has also been an era in which a whole generation of children, including mine, grew up with the uncertainty that day precipitated.

In the days ahead, as we observe the twentieth anniversary of September 11, let’s remember the firefighters and emergency workers who ran into burning buildings, which would collapse around them. Let’s remember the moms and dads who went to work that day and never came home to their families. Let’s not forget the ones who died commandeering a plane away from hijackers, so it wouldn’t crash into its designated target in our nation’s capital. And there are so many more whose stories we may never know.

Our hearts still carry the memory of the heaviness of that time. It is crystallized for me in one moment—a few days later I was exiting a store. Another woman I didn’t know approached at the same time. She and I paused, looked at the door as if we both wanted to open it and run as far as we could to get away from the pain. My mother was also dying at the time. Then our gaze met. I thought for a moment we would collapse in each other’s arms or burst into tears. We didn’t but what passed between us was an acknowledgement of the common pain we felt.

We are observing this twentieth anniversary at another time of common pain. So many have lost loved ones due to the pandemic. Some children have lost father or mother or both. Parents have lost children. The exit from Afghanistan shredded us with its calamity. The recent political climate has polarized our nation.

Yes, the world has changed, and we are living in a day of trouble.

But the really, really good news is, God has not changed.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). It can seem every morning that we wake to a disturbing new reality in the world, but we may find God’s presence and comfort to be enduring and unchanging. He is not surprised nor is he overwhelmed by current events.

Another verse that has meant much to me is Psalm 27:5, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” The Message puts it this way, “That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.” There’s no escape from the pain of living in this world, but there is a break from the worry, the confusion, and harriedness. We can get away to his Presence. We can actually stay in it.

So, on this anniversary let’s especially remember and acknowledge those we lost, but let’s also remember in these difficult days to stay close to the One we can never lose.

Also, in memory of those who perished in 911, please remember to thank a healthcare worker, first responder, firefighter, law enforcement officer, or military person for their service. Every day they are putting their lives at risk on our behalf.

World Radio featured an audio postcard of our 7,000 mile cross country trip HERE. which came from a travel memoir of that summer I wrote entitled Dream Summer which I shared here. It concludes with a remembrance of 911.

Books here.   

 

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