Don’t Discount Your Potential

They were a motley collection of misfits. A tiny purple alyssum and a scraggly white alyssum. Two mini daisies. A wee snapdragon with a single bloom. Each had volunteered in various annual pots left on our deck over the winter. As spring sprung, so did these tenacious sprouts.

We wanted to plant new, healthy flowers in the old pots. But I couldn’t bear to toss my little band of misfits. Somehow I knew they held such promise. They were of hearty stock, small though they were. So I replanted them all in what I dubbed my planter of misfits.

Kind of pitiful, isn’t it? Still, this silly planter grew dear to my heart.

Jesus’s Band of Misfits

The disciples that Jesus called to follow him were a lot like the sprouts in this planter. They were a motley collection of misfits. A few fishermen. A tax collector. A zealot and a thief. None were learned men. Not quite what we would expect the God of the Universe to choose for his followers.

But choose them, he did. And at times they were quite pitiful. They misunderstood his teachings. They jockeyed among themselves for position. They doubted—oh, how they doubted. Then they all scattered when he was arrested.

Still, Jesus knew somehow that they held promise. They had potential. With a little training, some time with the Master, and an infusion of the Holy Spirit, they would become a great band of disciples. Pointing others directly to God and his Messiah, they would start the Church—his Church—that would still exist 2,000 years later.

My Lovely Band of Misfits

I doubt my little planter will still be in existence in 2,000 years, or even in a few. But with a little care and watering, an infusion of fertilizer and sunshine, it has grown into a beautiful planter of flowers.

The purple, yellow, and white overflow the pot and provide beauty to my deck railing. I am delighted that I had faith in the ability of these sprouts to blossom into something extraordinary.

We Are All Misfits

Have you felt like a misfit, too? I know I have on many occasions. I struggle to fit in and I doubt—oh, how I doubt—my own potential.

But God knows our potential. We who follow Jesus are his people, called to bring him glory. We are called to sprout and grow in beauty and faith. We may be a motley band of misfits, but we are his misfits. And we are dear to his heart.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3–6 (NIV).

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Never Too Late

I’m too old to write a book; too old to begin a new career in publishing and as an inspirational speaker. I should have pursued my dream years ago when I was young and still had a chance at success. It’s too late now.

I see all these young authors at conferences and on Facebook. One young woman got a publishing contract at 17! (I don’t want to even tell you what I was doing at 17, though if my memoir is ever published and you read it, then you’ll find out).

Another young mother I know is on her seventh novel already. All I have is a blog, a couple self-published poetry books, ideas for some nonfiction books, and an unedited memoir manuscript no one wants to take a chance on.

These are the thoughts that threaten to derail my dream—the dream God has planted firmly in my heart and soul. These are the lies I’m tempted to believe. These are the demons I fight daily to continue down the road late-traveled.

Moses was almost 60 when God called him to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s grasp.

Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 and barren when God promised them a son who would be the beginning of a legacy they could never quantify.

Anna, the 100-year-old prophetess, was given the honor of telling Mary, Joseph, and all who would hear, how important the tiny infant Jesus would be.

Elizabeth, in her old age, birthed the one who would cry out in the wilderness and point all Jerusalem to Jesus as the Messiah.

God is not beyond using old people to further His kingdom and glorify His name. And I’m not even as old as any of these important Bible characters. So I guess He can use me, too, if He chooses.

I refuse to let the naysayers in my own head stop me. If you’re struggling with your own internal naysayers today, join me in refusing to listen or believe them. God is greater than all our shortcomings and all our doubts.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Matthew 14:30–32 (NIV).

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Unseen Things — Other People’s Thoughts

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write about unseen things that nonetheless exist. My first thought was to write about angels or God, but that seemed too predictable for me. Then last night I was at my critique group, sitting quietly while two of my group members read and made purple and blue marks all over a one-sheet I’d prepared for an upcoming conference, and this poem came to fruition.

Other People’s Thoughts

You can’t see them or hear them
But as surely as ideas
careen through your own brain
other people have thoughts
that may or may not involve you
Probably not, truth be told

Still you wonder
what they might be thinking
what they might think of you
Do they think you’re a great writer
or a hack who should give up
sooner rather than later

You wonder
until you get distracted
by thoughts of what’s for dinner
Your favorite song about the thief on the cross
Your most recent vacation adventure
An event you’re looking forward to
A pebble in your shoe

Sometimes, though, you can almost hear them
Or it seems that you must have
as you make a comment to your son
and astonished he replies,
Were you listening to my thoughts?
I was just thinking that same thing!

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Wedding Flowers

I gave the florist clear instructions
My wedding bouquet was to include
White roses — I am worthy of you
Blue carnations — yes, no, maybe?
White daisies — innocence

The perfect bouquet
To greet the guests
To adorn the altar

Alas, she got it wrong
Or maybe she was right
Instead of my favorite white daisies —
. . . . .The flowers of the first bouquet
. . . . .my love had ever given me —
My eyes were assaulted
By orange marigolds — despair, grief

Perhaps they were prophetic
Of the despair and grief
Lingering in my soul
Destined to mar many years
Of our otherwise perfect union

Perhaps they were merely
A florist’s mistake

_______________________________________

I missed the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub on Tuesday dealing with flowers and their meanings. But when I read the list of flowers I was struck by the meanings of two in particular — the daisy and the marigold. It reminded me of my wedding day. Since I missed linking to that prompt, I’m sharing this for Open Link Night today instead.

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The Joshua Tree

The desert dry, the bitter heat
Home sweet home to prickly pear
Lizards striped and scorpions mean
A climate only the strong can bear

King of them all, the Joshua Tree
A reminder of Who watches and cares
Waters the landscape with His tears
As lightening illuminates the sky

Heaven weeps at the arid soul
Who forgets her source of life
Whose faith and love have dried up
Shriveled in the midst of pain

A wasteland where sagebrush thrives
Even in sorrow flowers bloom
God looks down and blesses
When tears of compassion rain

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Inspiration

Perched precariously atop the canyon wall, the tiny striped chipmunk — I’ll call her Lenna, which means brave — nibbles a pink thistle flower. Undeterred by the sharp thistle leaves, she darts back to the lone source of lunch and plucks another flowery morsel.

In the distance, lightening strikes and thunder roars, brings life-giving rain. Each drop holds hope of new thistle blossoms for this hungry little girl. Perhaps that’s why tonight she feasts on all the existing blooms as she sees the promise of more to come.

In this desert canyon habitat, rain is scarce, rocks are prevalent, and the views are spectacular. Little Lenna doesn’t much concern herself with the Inspiration Point views.

Cool thunder showers
Punctuate the summer heat
Heaven’s tears of life

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My Muddled Mind

Muddled thoughts
confused, chaotic
ever churning night to day

Their origin
their destination
It seems I cannot sway

Yet El Roi
the God who sees me
invites me to come and pray

He knows each thought
each crazy fear
won’t leave me in dismay

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I haven’t been writing much lately. Can’t quite pin anything down. But it’s Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub so I decided to check out the Quadrille prompts that I’ve missed and write one for OLN.

 

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