I am sitting on our deck watching the ways Spring has moved in once again. My crab apple tree has bloomed. Although the flowers look the same, they aren’t. The flowers that bloomed last year turned to crab apples and then eventually fell to the ground. The new ones are just as pretty and the tree is even a bit fuller this year.
I think of the season I am in. The fruit I bear today is much different than the fruit I bore five years ago. That is what it means to be rooted in Christ and to trust in His ability to produce fruit according to His will. It is fascinating to think of how His power and strength equip me. I surely couldn’t do the things I do on my own.
I look up and notice a Robin’s nest in the same spot as it was in years past. I see familiar little heads bobbing up and down as the mothers feeds them a worm. The mother Robin leaves for a bit and comes back a bit later, sometimes with another worm and sometimes without. It is all familiar and yet I know they aren’t the same little heads I saw last year. Those little heads grew and left the nest.
The function of the Church remains unchanged, just like the Robin’s nest. My church, in particular, has seen many people come and go. We have had a few pastoral changes and are in the midst of, yet again, trying to find another senior pastor. There have been moments of frustration and some despair as well. The mother Robin leaves the nest at times. Do the chicks feel despair too? Regardless, the babies survive and continue to grow. Within our nest, our church, we are still surviving. Not only surviving, but growing in different aspects. Of course, a pastor is essential. We cannot survive forever without a senior pastor, but reflecting and leaning on God has shed light and even a bit of beauty.
Earlier, I pulled my dog away from a bush where I saw a duck egg hidden. In the distance I see Emmett and Lucy, the two ducks that return every year to lay eggs in our yard. They are splashing around in our ditch. I’m sure they could find a better spot, one with a pond and better hiding spots to hide their babies. This is where they choose to come back to though. This is their spot.
There have been times Matt and I talk about moving. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a bigger house? A place without cold winters? Or, what if we moved closer to friends? The possibilities are endless. In the end, there is something about this place we see as home. Our kids have good friends down the street. They love their school. Even the playscape the boys transformed into a water slide today means so much to us. This place has brought joy and pain, but it is our place. Just like the ducks, Emmett and Lucy, it is our spot to raise our kids. This world always tries to get us to want more and maybe sometimes that is okay. Most times, though, I think we need to just be content we are.
It is Spring. The weather is warming, the grass is turning greener, and I sit reflecting and cherishing it all––knowing other less desirable seasons will inevitably come. A book, The Problem With Suffering by Gregory Schulz stresses, “We never learn anything except by suffering”. I wish it wasn’t true, but I have learned from my own life how true that is. On this beautiful Spring day I will relax and enjoy it. When the storms come I will remember, or try to remember, I am learning, growing, and most importantly being drawn closer to God for the next Spring season.