TALK ABOUT SUFFERING HERE BELOW …

By Lisa Huddleston

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Relationships can be hard. Truth.

And it can be especially hard when a relationship has trouble, and you find yourself with the inability to do anything about what’s causing the difficulty. At a time like this, I am thankful to have a Heavenly Father who knows my heart, sees my tears, and responds to my hurt with encouragement and good promises on which I can rest my weary head.

As you know, Chuck and I live on a fifth-generation family farm in Middle Tennessee with our mothers, cattle, cats, dogs, goats, ducks, and chickens. Besides our moms, other human family is often here as well, and we all benefit from the lessons that surround us in this nurturing place.

In the past few weeks, we have introduced 2 new goats and 4 new chickens to the menagerie. And although you often hear that “birds of a feather flock together,” it can take time for peace to be restored when newbies arrive. The lil’ girls are still running to hide from the mean old biddies who are used to ruling the roost, and the lil’ fellas in the goat field are taking a lot of pushing around from the bossy older guy they are now living with. Relationships can be rough.

Naturally, Chuck and I do our best to smooth the ruffled feathers when we are there, but the truth is that all we and the newbies can do is give it time and let the pecking order fall into place. As we know from bringing in others in the past, cats and dogs will find their own ways, and the same is true for new chickens and new goats. Time will do its good work. We can only wait.

I don’t know about you, but I find waiting to be one of the hardest things to do (or NOT do). I want to fix relationships that are broken. I holler at Blaise when he head butts the boys, and I run to rescue the lil’ girls when I hear squawking and see feathers fly. Do Blaise and the big girls care what I do? Heck no!

And the same is sometimes true for humans. When I see difficulties for others or especially when I feel that I am on the business side of a head butt, it is nearly impossible for me to sit down and wait for God to do his work. But He is reminding me that He is on the job, and I can trust Him even with the most heartrending relationship struggles. He will work all things together for good. He does hear my cries and see my tears. He will restore,  confirm, strengthen, and establish me. I have not been forgotten nor do I need to defend myself. At the proper time, He will exalt me from this humbling, and I can safely and confidently cast my cares on Him.

Thank you, Father, for squawking hens, for pushy goats, for words that salve a broken heart, and for your never-ending faithfulness.

So shall it be. Amen.

Advertisements

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY

By Lisa Huddleston

Perhaps the greatest pain is to be misunderstood by someone you love. By misunderstood I don’t mean that they didn’t clearly hear something you said or that they got the details to a story confused. No, the misunderstanding I mean is a misjudging of your character, your soul. A lack of familiarity and recognition of who you always thought you were—both in relationship and isolation.

Now it would be presumptuous of me to assume that there can only be one correct perception of ME and that I am the only one who knows it. I acknowledge that how I am perceived is at least as important as the ME I think I am. After all, true communication must have a message clearly sent, clearly received, and clearly understood.

But it hurts to find the message of ME twisted into a form I no longer recognize.

You know my name, Lord. You knit me together in the womb and touched every part of the person I am. Please, open my eyes. Show me the wicked ways within me and give me the will to change. And then, only then, help me clearly to express a SELF that is not selfish, a ME that is not mean, an I that is not an idol but a flesh and blood message of understanding both given and received. Insomuch as this is humanly possible and for the glory of God.

Amen and amen.

OLD FRIENDS, GOLD FRIENDS

By Lisa Huddleston

When I was in Girl Scouts, we sang a little song:

Make new friends, but keep the old.

One is silver and the other is gold.

Well, my dear friend, Suzanne, is gold for sure. We met when both our husbands were in their respective residency trainings, and we were young wives. We were each other’s family away from family—sisters in every sense but blood. We talked daily in a time before cell phones. We were pregnant with our first children at the same time, and our babies played together. And when residency ended, we moved apart. Bob, Suzanne, and babies eventually went home to New Jersey, while Chuck and I and our little ones returned to Tennessee. It broke my heart; she said it broke hers, too. But it was unavoidable—sadly nothing lasts forever.

Together again!

Together again!

I know I am too easily attached to things, to shampoos, to television shows, to times, and to people. I try to stay aloof, apart, but I simply can’t. I’m not made that way. I feel too much too strongly and that makes me worry and dread the days that will come when the store stops carrying my favorite product, the TV series ends, the times change, and people must go. I even worry that both my counselor and doctor are slightly older than I and I know they won’t practice forever and what will I do when they retire or, God forbid, die?! After all, good people are hard to find and … pant, pant, pant. See? Too easily attached.

"Pair o' docs"

“Pair o’ docs”

Last night Chuck and I returned from a long weekend spent with Bob and Suzanne. They drove a little over 7 hours and we drove a little over 8 and we met in the middle and we talked like we used to talk and we hugged and we cried and we shared stories of our five grown children and our parents and our work and our plans for when we retire from work and the state of the nation and the states of our health and golf and hockey and good times and bad and then the time was over and each couple drove away in opposite directions once again. And now my heart hurts all over again.

But I am thankful for old friends and golden days and generous memories that forget the arrogance of youth and see old friends through the eyes of authentic love.

One is silver, and the other is gold!

 

ORGANIC DOESN’T EQUAL SIMPLE

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in the garden.

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in our garden.

By Lisa Huddleston

We tend to think that true friendship, true love, true relationship should be easy. We should be able to be ourselves, our truly true selves, and we should never have to change who we are to keep that relationship going. It should be organic, natural, simple.

But authenticity isn’t simple just as organic growth isn’t simple. Both take work–sometimes more work than the artificial kind of relationships do. After all, it’s easier to paste on a happy face, to look and act just like everyone else, to follow the crowd.

Being yourself is hard just like organic farming is hard. You have to be vigilant, to pull all the weeds you can find, to actually squash the bugs between your fingers, and to constantly be on the lookout for anything and everything that doesn’t authentically belong. As I said, it’s hard, hard work.

But it’s worth it. Organic farmers have the satisfaction of knowing that the fruit they produce is real, it’s authentic, and it’s healthy. Just like authenticity in relationships–it’s important to rid our lives of lies and artifice and besetting sins that rob us of who we were authentically created to be. Authenticity isn’t easy just like organic farming isn’t easy. It requires work, intentionality, and vigilance; but, it is always and ever worth it.

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade,” Rudyard Kipling