At the end of my last post I mentioned reserves of patience and a couple mamas mentioned needing such reserves for their wee ones. That got me thinking and praying about encouraging mamas, deepening reserves, so to speak.
I went to Ezekiel 47 because I was thinking about water.
This chapter is all about growth and change through the Holy Spirit. I think it can be a source of hope and perspective.
A man in bronze (an angel?) brings Ezekiel to the top of a high mountain, through a vision. One thing he shows Ezekiel is the river flowing down the mountain, out of every side of the temple of God. It's the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, flowing to every direction of the world!
The man measures along the river and gets Ezekiel to step in at certain places. The first time Ezekiel steps in, the water goes up to his ankles. The second time, the water goes up to his waist. The third time, it's too high to walk into, it's over his head!
Deeper and deeper, farther and forward. That's a Holy Spirit principle. Yesterday Isaac was running around and around our main floor; he kept cycling past us. We were a bit startled: "When did he start running?" Just the other day he was bum scooting around that living room-dining room-kitchen loop. And it's like we looked away and looked back - I swear he was only on his second loop - and the next thing we knew, he was crawling. Then we blinked and on the next loop he was hobbling and on the very next he was walking! Now he runs full speed, leaping over Frisbee's tail, dodging his toys.
But there's more! Yesterday Isaac said a very clear "two" after I said "one". This morning he sneezed but I didn't notice snot running down his nose, so he went to the kleenex box and said a polite, "kee kee" to let me know. Um, what?
We start out this mommy-ing thing knowing a little, changing our first diaper and figuring out how to work a pack n play. But soon we find we're comfortable with the diapering thing and we move on to making baby food. Now I can do crafts with Isaac and bake with him but I have no idea how to teach him to ride a bike or how to get him to like his big boy bed. I also can't quite grasp how to handle a second child … or a third … and a fo-...just kidding, can't even mention that possibility. Anyway, it's a progression.
You know what else is ever flowing, always changing? Our resources. Ezekiel sees fruit trees growing up on both sides of the river banks. The chapter says they bear all kinds of fruit. The fruit doesn't fail and it grows every month. It's because of the fresh river water that the fruit grows. That water's the Holy Spirit and the trees are us and the fruit is the result of that Holy Spirit-us combo. I can picture a new fruit growing in each circumstance. Ones we've never seen before. Oh, this is what I need today! Or, maybe the fruit gets bigger and fuller every time, drooping the tree. That's how rich our resources are. And maybe there are some fruits that are tried and true, always there, always available for us to pick. That would be where patience comes in.
"… since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…" (Colossians 1:9-11).