Reflections

Emergence

A couple of weeks ago my daughter’s teacher sent home a plastic ziplock baggy with two beans in it. The beans represented hours of anticipation on behalf of her preschool class, as they watched and waited for the two beans to show signs of life. Finally, roots sprung forth, splitting the seeds from their core, proving to everyone what they had known all along: something better was coming.

And now those beanstalks sit on my kitchen windowsill along with my monstrous money tree and failed attempts at daisy seedlings.  I’ve watched them with rapt fascination since they came to live with us, studying their progress every morning and evening and (over)watering them as I see fit.  I have watched them grow and bend and spread their leaves in new directions, reminding me again and again of how God brings forth amazing things from the seemingly inconsequential.

As I’ve watched their progression, though, I had no idea that something else was happening.  It happened first under the soil’s protective cloak of darkness, and then – unbeknownst to me – sprung forth into daylight.  As I watched the larger things growing, I had no idea that God was hard at work creating something else, calling something new out of its shell and into the world.  A tiny sprout – no more than two inches long – now sits between the two beanstalks.  Though the larger plants have plateaued in their growth, the mysterious seedling grows a little more each day.

And I now watch it with rapt attention.

What is it?  Where is it going?  What will it become?

It’s really not unlike something I’ve felt stirring in my spirit for a couple of months now.  For over two years, I have identified myself strongly with missions in Belize.  My heart is there, in tiny thatched-huts and on rocky dirt roads…in a tiny church family with a faith as big as the ocean…in women and children whose stories have intersected with mine in undeniable ways.  I am – and will always be – a missionary to Belize.

Recently, though, there has been something else stirring in my spirit.  It’s something I knew was there, but I never knew the life it contained.  This seed…the seed of writing and speaking and using my love of words to tell people about Jesus…it is growing.  While I was investing in another branch of my life, God was hard at work plowing and watering the seed I was content to halfheartedly tend.  When I wasn’t paying attention, that seedling sprouted and began to grow and now, as I get to watch, God is doing something completely new with it.

What is it?  Where is it going?  What will it become?

And now I identify myself not as a missionary who wants to be a writer, but as a writer whose heart beats in two continents.  I am a writer – now, not just somewhere out in the future (though certainly that, too) – and God is taking this long-neglected seedling to new heights.  I don’t pretend to know where this is going or what it will look like in six months or a year, but I know that it is growing.  I can feel the Gardener’s hands nurturing it as it grows, tenderly cradling it and calling it forth into daylight.

“Go,” He says.  “Grow.  Spread your branches.  Stretch out.  Be what you were created to be.  Your time has come.”

What it will be remains a mystery.  Contrary to my nature, I am becoming okay with that.  I know what I need to know – that God has planted something in me and has begun its process of growth.  That process is requiring sacrifice I am simultaneously prepared and unprepared to make.  I will not be going back to Belize this year…or maybe next.  I had intended to go because, as I mentioned, that was my mission for so long.

Instead, I will be attending a writer’s conference.  I think of it as watering and fertilizing this tiny seed so that it can have all it needs to grow into whatever it is meant to be.  The Creator is calling forth His secret plans from the darkness of a seed, and my job is only to stand back and watch it grow….to come forth when I am called and to keep coming into the light.

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10 replies »

  1. Dear Jessica
    This is my first visit to your blog after I found you at Jennifer’s. and I can see why you call yourself a writer. Very nice and well- written post. I hope your enjoy your writers conference.
    God bless you, especially at the conference
    Mia

  2. It’s only recently that I have dared to call myself a writer. I love the analogy of this seed that the Master Gardener has planted in us. It is very exciting to enjoy the journey and see where He leads us!

  3. I don’t think it’s possible (money) but I would LOOOOVE to go with you to this one!! I almost went to the debut one a few years ago – I had won a ticket! – but it was two weeks before Nigeria and at the last minute I gave the ticket away.
    I love the heart behind this conference, and I am excited for you Jess! 🙂

  4. Jessica, always a delight to come here. I love your heart and your writing. This had my heart beating a bit faster… “Go,” He says. “Grow. Spread your branches. Stretch out. Be what you were created to be. Your time has come.” Simply beautiful.
    I will be excited to hear all about the Allume Conference. I wish I could go, but God has put on my heart to go on a mission trip to Guatemala this year (so excited!).
    Many blessings to you.
    Beth

    • Hi, Beth! It’s wonderful to hear from you this morning! It sounds like God has you spreading your wings a bit, too, huh? Guatemala will be amazing, I promise you. If you’ve never been on something like an international mission trip, let me warn you that you will leave huge pieces of your heart there….but that somehow your heart will have grown three sizes larger at the same time. I’m excited for you! God has beautiful things sprouting for you!

  5. Dear friend, I thought this might be where your heart was going to grow towards. Its so difficult to choose between two good things isn’t it. I know how your heart beats so deeply for Belize. I also know what a precious gift of wordsmithing you have been given. I am excited to hear about your time at Allume. So excited that God has led you in tgis direction

    • Janel…you are such an encourager. Thank you. Thank you for your words and your excitement for me and your friendship. You are a blessing. My only sadness is that you (and Laura and so many others of my JTreat friends) won’t be at Allume with me.

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