"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
By Tonnye Williams Fletcher
Betony’s mom sent her to her gran’s house across the field for eggs. Spring had sprung; all the flowers looked so beautiful. She skipped through the meadow, stopping to gather clover, honeysuckle, and wild strawberries. She braided them into a beautiful flower crown. She placed it atop her curly red head, looking fairy-ish as she did. Just as it touched her head, she felt a jolt. A moment later, she awoke. When she did, a fairy-for-sure stood before her -- a foot tall, but so beautiful! Sparkly -- from the inside out . . .weird. . . . She had a matching flower circlet on her own mound of ginger curls. She reached for Betony’s hand and they frolicked in the meadow until she heard mom calling her name. She let go the fairy’s hand, rushing home, forgetting the eggs and not caring about breakfast. She never passed a meadow again without remembering her fairy friend.
Gif location: https://valkyriethais.tumblr.com/post/148907572890?ref=weheartit
Perhaps that seems like a paradox, an oxymoron -- a "one of these things is not like the other" kind of situation. I believe the two go hand-in-hand.
When I was in fifth grade we moved into a "new" house. It was so lovely. My parents had remodeled an old tobacco pack-house into a beautiful 2-story, 2,000 square foot home. I had my own bedroom, that I dearly loved.
Fast forward 8 years or so and my daddy was ready to make another move. He and mama bought a farm (literally). . . . I'll never forget the day I drove over to the farm with my best friend from high school. The only house on the 31-acre farm was a small cinderblock house that was in ill-repair. Broken windows, dirty, and very sad. In fact, it looked hopeless. I sat and cried and wallowed in self-pity.
I was spoiled. I loved the home where we were living. It was hard to imagine living in this compared to the veritable mansion I had to compare it to. I was selfish. I couldn't understand how my father, who (supposedly) loved me could ever even dare ask me to sacrifice my comforts for THIS place.
I was hurt, I was angry, and I wasn't very nice. I ranted, and I refused to have anything to do with this "new" space. I was in my first year of college when this began. I should have been more mature. I should have trusted my father. He had never given me any reason to doubt him. I had watched him over and over take lemons and make lemonade -- or packhouses and make dream homes.
Instead, all I could see was how inconvenienced I was -- how sad, how angry. I had no compassion for my father or anyone else in my family.
The thing is, Daddy had a vision. He had a plan. He knew this temporary set-back would bring about a better future. I couldn't see with his eyes. I didn't have his experience. I couldn't see the vision he had because he was such a good father who wanted to provide for us -- not just in the moment, but for the long-term. I was just a spoiled teenager with a selfish streak.
We're about 30 years removed from Daddy's decision now. He and Mama restored that little cinderblock house into a reasonable home. Out of care for me, he even sacrificed the front porch to add my very own bedroom so I didn't have to share with my 6-year-old sister. . . .even though by the time we got the bedroom built, I was only in it a few months before going away to college a couple of states away.
They went on to remodel another old home into a beautiful living space on another part of the farm. Over the years, the farm has provided for us in myriad ways. It has provided food to eat, income along the way when we needed it, and space for us to all "come home". And we have. They have given each of their children a space to call home. Shane and I are remodeling our own dream home (an 1882 farmhouse that we had moved onto this farm) and have and acre and a half to call our very own. My sister is in the original homeplace (which was her growing up home that she dearly loves) and she has turned it into a sweet place to raise her two children. My brother has a mobile home on the other side of my parents' house, on a lot adjacent to the original farm. That was Daddy's dream -- his legacy. I was too young, too immature, and too selfish to see that it was for my eventual good.
My parents' care and concern was evident every step of the way. I had no reason to doubt their love, their vision, or their capability. I should have trusted. I had every reason to trust, but I chose doubt and anger and fear.
Where are you living? In a place of trust? Or a place of doubt and fear? Even when you doubt our good, good Father, can I encourage you to walk in trust? We don't have to understand what He is doing. Our life will be much more pleasant, though, if we trust Him through our doubts and fears. He's given us no reason to distrust Him or His love or His capability. We need to realize that His vision is so much bigger than ours. He has our best interest at heart.
It reminds me of what He told the children of Israel in Jeremiah 29 --
10 This is what the Lord says: “Babylon will be powerful for 70 years. After that time I will come to you who are living in Babylon. I will keep my promise to bring you back to Jerusalem. 11 I say this because I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. 12 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13 You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! 14 I will let you find me,” says the Lord. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. I forced you to leave this place. But I will gather you from all the nations. I will gather you from the places I have sent you as captives,” says the Lord. “And I will bring you back to this place.”
God loves us and He is the Master at making lemonade from lemons -- if we'll just TRUST Him -- in spite of our selfishness, in spite of our human nature, in spite of our DOUBT... He calls us to trust. . . .
7 The Lord’s teachings are perfect.
They give new strength.
The Lord’s rules can be trusted.
They make plain people wise.
8 The Lord’s orders are right.
They make people happy.
The Lord’s commands are pure.
They light up the way.
We are living in a difficult time, but in times of doubt, He calls us to trust Him. He promises to work it all out for our good if we follow Him.
Romans 8 27 God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants. 28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.. They are the people God called, because that was his plan.
He doesn't promise no problems, no difficult days. He doesn't promise to give us our selfish desires in the moment. He doesn't promise a mansion here and now, but He does promise to work it all out for our good in the long run -- if we trust and obey. And that mansion? Yep, He's got a vision for that too. It's waiting -- if we are patient and trust Him!
It's such an odd time in our history. Threatened by a pandemic, the world is topsy-turvy. The news is full of chaos of medical proportions and politics are particularly biting. Yet, in the middle of all the yuck, all the chaos, all the sadness, grief, and distance. . . .there is such beauty. Spring has sprung in spite of the darkness. Winter will not -- cannot-- last forever. . . . We look forward to days when we can embrace each other again. We are excited to hope for celebrations, for laughter and happiness -- to gather again with people we love. In the meantime, I am so encouraged to see people reaching out to each other virtually in so many beautiful ways. The world is replete with Facetime chats, Tweets, Facebook encounters, Google hangout, Zoom classes, webinars, and so much more. In Italy, folks sing to one another across balconies. While so much is on hold, love and kindness and compassion and humanity are certainly NOT on hold. While so many things have been postponed or cancelled, care for our neighbors and grace and mercy and music have increased. While we must keep our distance from so many, we have retreated into our homes and held close loved ones. We have spent quality time singing, reading, playing games, planting flowers and so much more. Challenge and crisis either bring out our worst or our best, and I see both in the world around me. Yes, there are hoarders and people who selfishly serve their own best interests rather than the good of everyone, but moreso, there are people sacrificing to heal others, and neighbors helping neighbors and people stepping up to the plate to help when help is so needed. Profits are taking a backseat to well-being, and I have to wonder -- what are we learning? Will we hold on to this feeling when the world isn't so topsy-turvy? Will we remember to sing and hold each other tight and hug each other longer and linger over sunsets and delight over fireflies? Will we make the most of every moment and say I love you often because life is uncertain? I certainly hope so.
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles, Mocha, and Rusty -- our feline fur babies . I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!
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