Living Succulent

I've been missing for a week or two now. Things have been  c r a z y  (is there ever a month of June that isn't?). Financial stuff, a family death, and some crappy sickness has been beating us all over the place. I kind of lost my blog and newsletter footing for a hot minute. But, in my absence here, I had the fantastic opportunity to do a guest post for Fueling Mamahood! Let me know what you think of it.

I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to grow succulents. You would think it would be easy, considering that I live in the type of climate they're supposed to thrive in. But the problem is, I myself don't understand how to live here.

Currently a transplant from the lush green grasses of Ohio and then the stunning peaks of Colorado, I've landed in the mostly flat and mostly dry desert of West Texas. (I know, technically, Colorado is a desert climate as well. But the snowy mountains, thick pines, and graceful aspens sort of disguised that fact for me.) This change has left me dizzy, parched, and frustrated.

There's a common myth about the desert: things in the desert don't need water the way everything else does. Desert things can basically survive without water - it's their superpower.

But plants in the desert don't need less water than foliage all over the rest of the planet. They have simply learned to take in water differently. 

But I'm sort of used to having an abundance of water, close Christian friends, and time to pursue God on my terms.

And my mamahood in Texas doesn't look like that. It looks like a lot of time without, a lot of struggle to push my roots deeper, a painful growing up through dry cracks in the earth. I keep looking back to what I'm used to...the greener, lusher, wilder, energized...and then I'm comparing myself to my former self, twisting my circumstances into the most awful shadow of what I used to have. (Just like the Israelites did, Exodus 14-16)

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. They complained against God, tested His patience on multiple occasions, and sought out idols and extravagant foods because they refused to be satisfied with God in the desert.

Let me be the first to say that I don't want to end up like them. I don't want to walk around hating my life because it's not how I pictured it turning out. I don't want to shrivel up in the desert because I don't know how to depend on God alone.

"Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
The beast of the field will honor Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I give waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My people, My chosen.
This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise."
Isaiah 43:18-21

God declares that we are to move forward at His pace, without comparing it to our past. We must find our abundance not in our climate, but in Him.

You know what's funny about the desert? Things don't grow very tall. The intense heat and crazy winds beat the plants down. Often plants grow in ways that conserve their water rather than wasting its precious liquid in growing tall.

A desert plant knows that it has to survive long periods of time without water. It can't afford to dry out completely, though, and risk getting burnt by the sun. So whenever water comes its way, it drinks greedily, as fast as it can, filling up its leaves. (That's why most desert plants and cacti have thick leaves.) Then, this water helps them last through those extra dry times.

A spiritual desert is no different.

Rather than pining our loss of water, our loss of easy closeness with God and/or other Christians, we must drink deeper than ever before, seeking water whenever it may be found, and living abundantly out of those short bursts of saturation.

I want to be a glorious tree, planted by God and rooted in faith and having plenty of fruit to go around. I want results and I want them now. I want to be a tree, when I'm only just a seedling, struggling to grow in this sandy earth.

I've talked about abundance in the desert before, and its way of showing me that Quiet and Alone are a different kind of abundance. This lesson is another layer of that desert life. A way to not only be content in the dryness, but to actually flourish here. That's wild and free and powerful. And that's a little taste of who God created us to be.

If you're interested in how I'm starting off my mornings with a little bit more of the wild and free, sign up here for my email newsletter. You'll get your first one this Friday!

5 comments:

  1. I love your attitude! And you are so right, it's those hard times we have to dig deep.

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  2. I heard something at church a few weeks ago that was basically along the lines of "do we get mad at a seed for being a seed instead of a tree?" And the answer is "no, because we understand that the seed has to be nourished and watered before it can grow bigger and fulfill its potential". Keep with it my friend. :)

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    1. Whoa, I really like that. Nothing wrong with being a seed. Thank you!

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  3. I really loved this post friend! I must admit, I just killed a bunch of succulents and I'm so sad about it. I didn't think that was possible...
    But anyway, I love what you said about drinking in deeper when we're in a spiritual desert, that's so important! I think that the times we don't want to pray, read our scriptures, or go to church are the times we need to the most.

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    1. I know, I kept hearing how "easy" succulents were...but now I'm determined to do better and figure them out, haha!
      It's very true. We always need Him most, especially when we go searching for other stuff.

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