Leeches in the Shallows – And An Invitation to Swim

It’s been awhile since doing an update for “Our Little Eden,” which is usually focused on our summer homesteading life.  Not that there’s nothing new to report.  Like the sweet young couple that is living on the property now, and helping to improve it.  They even planted the whole garden!  Seeing that this year we have to direct our focus more on making money to pay bills, having help with the garden was a big answer to prayer.

Overall though, it’s been a relaxing summer so far.  And hot!  Every afternoon after doing some work, I jump in the pond to cool off.  I also find peace there, floating around in the silky water with my “duck’s eye view,” observing hundreds of periwinkle-colored dragonflies zipping about on an invisible superhighway just above the still, glassy surface.  I can hear the wind riffling through the aspen leaves, and the soft twang of an occasional banjo frog tuning up.  Then, the much more obnoxious croak of a bull frog, which is almost always followed by an entire chorus of these giants stationed around the pond, all competing for the biggest mouth.  I feel like I can tread water for hours, allowing myself to daydream the afternoon away without a care in the world.

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But I have to confess, our pond is not all delightful.  It has leeches. :-(  These ugly bloodsuckers, as I read, are especially drawn to an open wound, but if you wade too long in the shallow end, they still may just attach to your foot or leg!  I personally use a float to get out to the deep water as fast as I can, to avoid walking in the shallow part. Leeches aren’t a problem in the deeper water.

The Pond of the Spirit

Recently I remembered that Jay Ferris once used a pond as a metaphor for one’s spiritual life.  It’s one of my favorite posts by him, and you can read the whole thing here: https://lovinglikegod.com/2012/06/06/the-pond/

Besides the land, which is like our physical life in this world, there’s the water, which represents the Spirit – and is a strong draw for the spiritually awakened person.  Even if its depths seem dark and bottomless, we find ourselves desiring to swim in what we know is a deeper level of intimacy and union with God, and with those whom God puts into the pond with us.  It’s not for the weak of heart, however, to swim in this manner.  But the call goes out… who will trust and obey?

Finally, between the land and the water is the shoreline.  This supposed “safe place” can be seen as the edge of spirituality where many people stay stuck.  Half-hearted religious activities, shallow relationships, and “always learning but never overcoming”..… most of what is done in the name of “spiritual life” is anything but a full body immersion into committed relationship and sonship, as it was for Christ.

Jay described the edge of the pond as containing, “fallen venues, paradigms, and even idols.”

And I’ve been thinking lately, how it is especially these edges of church comfortability and religious mixture, that “spiritual leeches” lurk.  Also called “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” there are bloodsuckers that prey, (financially, and otherwise) on those who have an interest in spirituality, but who are fearful and unwilling to fully “lose themselves” to the deep waters of genuine, spiritual union with God, in the same way that Christ Himself was.

And if one is wounded in addition to this?  There’s an even better chance that they might get leeched. :-/

Wisdom is needed, to recognize the danger of wading through the safety and familiarity of spiritual shallows for too long.
“Come out from among them,” 2 Cor. 6:17a.

And courage and determination is needed, to obey the invitation to jump into the depths of closeness to God, beyond the shallow shoreline (religious, relationally, and otherwise) that holds us back.
“…and I will receive and welcome you,” 2 Cor. 6:17b

Love is in the Wind

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I once took this picture of a funny looking pine tree, that was in a row of plain, “normal” looking trees:

What is your impression of what may have happened?   At the time I saw a dancing tree.  One that didn’t care what it looked like to others, but moved to an influence upon it that was different from all the others.

But still.  All the trees in this picture are standing strong (even the twirly one) with the help of wind.  Yes, wind, and even more so – strong, harsh wind, is one of the factors that helps growing trees and plants become thick, strong, and healthy.

It was 3 years ago that I took this picture, and the memory came up on Facebook.  Incidentally, it was also just today that I read this by T.A. Sparks:

Want to understand why the winds are allowed to blow so fiercely… the storms? To get us away from that natural, easy-going-ness or cheapness, lightness, frivolousness and to make us people of weight. Strength – through testing, through adversity – strength… to endure throughout all ages. There is much which is going to be carried away in the last great testing, and if, therefore, trial and adversity is the only way to deepen us, to put caliber into us, I suppose we must expect more of it as the time shortens.

That’s so good.

One of the reasons I have personally not written in awhile, is that I’ve been “in the weather.”  Not under it, but “in it,” and as a result feeling overwhelmed with a lot happening all at once.  You know – trials within, and trials without.  We all have them.

Sad to say I wasn’t exactly dancing in this storm, though, not this time.   It was one of those “new trials” that I hadn’t been through before, and all I could mostly do was hang on.  But the Love of Christ brought me through it, and as a result there is a new strength and determination to follow after Him harder than ever.

Our Lover is so incredibly wise, to always put Love in the wind.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be
mature and complete, and not lacking anything.
– James 1:2-4