"Advent-ually" Planting in Hope
Hey guys! We are starting a 3 post Christmas series over at Renewal women tomorrow morning.
I would love for you to following along. If you aren't currently waiting on God to start or finish something, then you will be, just wait long enough! Which is why, learning to wait well is worth your time in gold! I will share the Renewal blogs on my social media but I wanted to get you a preview. Feel free to jump over to Renewal and sign up for our emails so you can read more of the blogs written by myself and our team.
We’ve all been there right? That hard place of waiting. One thing we say at Anthem House Church all the time is how God's always on time, but He’s never in a hurry. Maybe trusting His timing is so difficult because of the speed of ours. We are hustlers, bustling from place to place, event to event, practice to practice and lately it seems even season to season (if you live in Ohio.) Not so with the Father. He hits me more as a lingerer. He loves each and every season exactly where it is.
This year especially one minute it became fall and the next it felt like winter. The leaves were still on the tree because they hadn’t been given the time to fall and yet we were already bundling up in our winter coats and boots. It happened way too quickly and if we are honest, our lives often follow that same accord.
We have a Father who is not a slave to time. In fact, He created it. Time yields to Him. They work together. He does not fear running out of it, nor does He fear not reaching it. My question for us this winter is; how can we adopt His posture when it comes to our time? How do we stop being controlled by the minute to minute updates on our phones, in our schedules and throughout our communities? How do we lay down the hurry and learn to plant, build and prepare for the future?
I don’t want to be controlled by time. I don’t want to raise kid who are slaves to their schedules. I want the freedom to plant in hope, believe in faith and expect the breakthrough of promise. I want to live in charge of my time instead of enslaved by it. If you are nodding your head right now, then this series is for you too. Lets dive in deep and see if the Christmas story doesn’t have a little bit to say about trust and time.
Planting in Hope
By: Kristan Dooley
There was a lot to do. Mary was engaged. I don't imagine she bought a bound wedding planner, like I did, but no doubt she had a list in her head of all before her. Joseph was away. That’s what the men did during the engagement. They left for a significant period of time to go and build a place for their new bride and soon to be family.
They weren’t in touch like we would be; texting back and forth, sending updated pictures of our progress and our plans, posting on social media for all to see the journey toward marriage. They simply had their
work in front of them to focus on. It’s hard to even imagine a day where the constants of social media and connection weren’t pulsing at our finger tips or buzzing from our back pockets. In fact, my generation (the melinneals) were the last to even know what it was like without the noise of constant connection and distraction.
But Mary did and I imagine in the quietness of her preparation she began planting seeds for the future. That’s often the way waiting works right, we starting planting and preparing for a future we assume will unfold one certain way, only to then be interrupted by the Father who knows the way to the future we were meant to have.
His interruptions in our planting make all the difference in the world. If we hear them, if we heed to them, then we can trust it’s safe to hope in them. God will not ask you to plant something that doesn’t grow. He is the producer of fruits, the giver of life. Mary was definitely caught off guard with her interruption, though she may have stumbled briefly (as would we all) in the end she picked up her plans, traded them for His and kept right on planting. Read it with me...
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her (Luke 1:26-38, niv.)
I don’t know what type of season you are in, whether you’re planting seeds in hopes of future growth, or experiencing the fruit from a previous years plant. I do however know what the winter season in Ohio feels like. It’s cold, very cold. The bus stop is not a fun place to wait. My bones usually hurt as we stand there shaking in our boots, bundled up, wishing for the dawn of a new season. I'm such a fan of the snow, from inside the house. But ask me to go out in it and you are going to hear some grumbling.
Winter in a spiritual sense is hard. It’s often a time when you have to trust the seeds that were planted previously are nestling down deeper, preparing to root themselves in life sustaining ways. As they slumber for the season, you have to believe they will also awaken for the next.
We get this in a physical sense. No one would buy a bag of sunflower seeds, throw them into an empty field
and expect to come out two hours later to a yard full of three foot tall sunflowers. No, we would take care of the ground, water the seeds (the ones we can’t see!) We would trust the process and we would wait with hope for their season of bloom.
This had to be what Mary experienced. She was waking down one path, engaged, happily planning a wedding and a future. Probably thinking she and Joseph would settle into this marriage thing, figure out how it works before even talking about having a child. It was fruitful and fruit filled. It tasted good and complete. Then an angel showed up out of nowhere and shifts her into an entirely other season. Now this unwed, virgin would become pregnant with child, by the Holy Spirit. Imagine trying to convince your parents/future spouse of that one!
But she had to be planted. Baby Jesus had to be planted. Joseph had to be planted. They had to learn to trust. No one could raise the future Messiah without trusting the present Father. Developing trust in what they couldn't see was essential to their journey.
Mary had to hope. Without it, her winter months would have gotten the best of her for sure. When we hope in what's been planted we put our faith in what we cannot see and we place it in who we need. We don't fret, we don't panic, we don't throw up our hands and walk away. No, we stand, we stay stead, we believe, we confirm, we profess, we proclaim, we speak life until the day breaks, the sun appears and what seemed almost dead begins to come to life.
What about you? What season of your faith are you finding yourself in? Have you experienced the bone cold chills of winter? Have they forced you to all about give up on the seeds planted back when life was warm and full of anticipation? Don’t give up. Your labor was not in vain. He hasn’t forgotten you. He will not stop working on your behalf. There are roots underground going deeper in stability and health. Trust what you can’t see. Hope in what was planted. Spring might be just around the corner.