photo by Heidi L. Paulec at the Naples Botanical Gardens
“Our days are like the grass; like wild flowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone- as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to His covenant,
of those who obey His commandments!
Praise the LORD, everything He has created, everything in all His Kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the LORD.”
Psalm 103:15-18, 22 (NLT Mosaic Bible)
What an absolute wonder is the natural world! From particles to systems, colors and textures, seasons to climates, water and life, dormant and eventual death… it all comes… and goes. Yet, He who called it all into order – was, is, and is to come. The seeds of who we are fade fully. But the Foundation, He remains.
As a young wife fresh out of college, I thought a career-driven path was calling me. Yet, our eldest son joined our family prematurely- both literally (spending several weeks in the NICU) and figuratively (we weren’t even two years into “The Five Year Plan’). His prematurity required extra care and protection. I felt exhausted and totally overwhelmed.
My husband, an older sib of six children in his family of origin, stepped up large. Running his own business, taking classes and making every effort to be home for breakfast and bath time in the evenings, he seemed energized by all that I felt useless and ill-equipped. I am so grateful for his ingenuity and wit that truly me not sink under it all.
Yet, through it all, God’s supreme Goodness spilled Grace upon Grace. Though my vision had been mono-dimensional for quite some time while I’d kinda convinced myself it was missional… but, the truth… for me … the mono-dimension was all about me. I wanted to continue to achieve. I wanted to earn an income. I wanted to be independent.
I’d already learned a difficult life lesson by this point in my journey- that being: we’re not guaranteed any length of time on this earth. That being a deeply seeded reality to me… the wonder of creation, of moments, or days… stirred the sincerest wonder while it also surfaced tension in me. Tension that desired to elevate me and my temporariness here to a place of honor and distinction… while at the same time – God created me to be a Mom and He’d blessed us with this brilliant child.
Generations of family and friends contributed to the Life cultivated in me. From Great-Grandparents to Grandparents to Aunts & Uncles to my Parents, my cousins, Pastors, Teachers, dear family friends… I grew up in the heartland of USA. Somehow, we knew hardiness and finiteness. Our pioneering heritage pulsed within us. We respected our elders, and we looked after those younger.
When I felt thrust into adulthood, I wrestled and whined… way more than I ever wish to admit. But, the beautiful grace of our Micah Timothy… despite my fears and pains, he taught me to live… and grow again. Wasn’t I suppose to be his Mom? Wasn’t I suppose to teach him?
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you?
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
He (Micah) taught me Cultivating Life is on-going, not respecter of age or class, but an honor bestowed upon us by our Creator who fully intends for us to humbly share. Thus, a multi-dimensional calling that requires a humble leaning into Him.
Grateful that throughout each high-risk pregnancy (three in all) and months of bedrest, the Call to Cultivate Life rooted and won over other aspirations. I’ve not always been the best steward of our time, energy, or resources. I’ve often error. Impatience. Pride. Frustrations (esp. with my own incompetence and insecurities)… abound.
Yet, somehow, the brevity of it all seeded roots in this Momma’s heart…
But, now as we’re preparing to send Micah off to college, the fields plowed, the seeds germinate into strong-standing stalk… some storms … we’re still overcoming… yet, we see the privilege and fruit in this gritty commitment to Cultivate a Life.
My Hope and my Prayer for us:
Lord Jesus, thank you that Your Love Remains Faithful throughout all generations. The many before us; the many coming behind us. May we see the brevity of our days and sink into the privilege “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God” who grants us kinship in Cultivating Life together.
Heidi L. Paulec June 28, 2016