Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Sunflowers and Scaffolding

You may have seen a number of tweets and blogs about oneword365, an idea that instead of a resolution you choose one word that becomes your focus and that you intentionally use to shape the year ahead. You can read more about it at oneword365.com , and here are my thoughts on my one word...SCAFFOLD

I have twin 15 yo boys who seem to grow constantly, sometimes it's a gradual growth and then every now and again there is a growth spurt, when I'm convinced that they actually wake up taller than they went to bed. Our spiritual growth can be like this, sometimes it's baby steps gently moving through the difficulties, sometimes it's a bit like treading water strengthening the position before moving forward and sometimes there are spurts.

2013 has been a spurt, challenges with family, friends and health constantly requiring me to make choices and and adapt to changes, and after each change another seemed to follow, leaving little time to catch breath or to consolidate the learning. Changes to how I work, how I play, to friendships, to relationships.

Some changes included losses and have been so hard they caused physical pain as well as emotional heartache, and whilst I would not choose another year like it, I have seen growth in pruned branches, growth in my understanding of me, of learning who I am and not what other think I am or want me to be, I've learned about depth in relationships and friendships, I've learned that choosing God is not always easy, but that He does pull through. I've learned that I will always hope, and accept that there will be pain in that. My heart was broken and renewed by our youth at our Summer Camp as I saw them pray and love each other through their own hardships and joys. I learned that sometimes when you are asked to make a sacrifice that there will not always be a lamb hidden in bush to take its place.

Yes 2013 was a hard year but I never wished it over, it just feels a little too much like its been a bit too quick, a spurt I was not fully prepared for. The picture I have of the year gone is that of a sunflower, those beautiful, summer evoking flowers, often cartooned with broad smiles. It might seem an odd picture for my year, But there has been a lot of common ground this year.....

Sunflowers grow fast and in fact are one of the fastest growing plants, my growth has been full of fast spurts this year at times it felt too much. As they grow, sunflowers lose leaves, parts of them now gone, loss is hard.

Sunflowers grow tall not to be noticed, but to get clear access to the sun, one characteristic is that the heads track the sun's movement. I certainly had not foreseen to grow as I have, the circumstances and difficult situations and consequences were not part of my plan, but a very conscious decision back in January to Choose God has meant that I have sought His face more this past year than other years, sometimes to seek Him I have had to turn my face away from lots of stuff, and hold fast to His promise that

"God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" Romans 8:28 NLT

And so now I find my self standing tall, good deep roots in my home and church, slightly battered, more than a little bit bruised, full of seed and fruit and questions and hopes and dreams to take into 2014 and choosing my one word.....SCAFFOLD

2014 I am choosing to scaffold my learning, to build a structure around my growth, to strengthen and develop it, to continue learning how these new things work and how I continue the transition. It's not a defensive wall, to keep people out but rather a structure that invites people in. Scaffolding is a process through which a more competent peer helps another in their development. I will be purposeful in seeking guidance from other wives and mothers, workmates and friends, older and younger and I hope to find a group that will form a part of this, and that this scaffold will help protect my growth, my learning as I'm sure there will be storms still to weather, challenges to overcome and I'm certain that God did not bring me through this to wish it away, or just to feel thankful it has finished, but instead to be a better me and bring Him greater glory.