Reach – #LentPhotos (2016#2)

12 02 2016

This is my daughter Jaqulynn’s cat, Darla. She’s a bit of a diva. I’m visiting with Jaqulynn, Joel and my grandson Reese for a couple of weeks and part of that equation is an understanding that the queen size guest bed actually belongs to Darla and she permits me to utilize the bed for the length of my stay provided I don’t do anything crazy like roll over in bed at any point during the night once she has positioned herself for sleep. She is perhaps the world’s most fastidiously groomed cat. She spends the bulk of her life getting her fur to lay perfectly. She actually jumps into the bathtub to wash her feet following a trip to the litter pan. If Max (the younger cat in residence) fails to groom himself to her standards, she will wait for him to go to sleep, hold him down and do it for him. So, you can probably imagine how often she permits a one-year old baby to grab her with his sticky hands and plant a big, wet, cheerio-encrusted kiss onto her perfect self. It is not happening. But multiple times every day, Reese will see her sitting tantalizingly close, a grin will bloom as he toddles her direction, reaches out to grab a handful of fur, only to have her effortlessly move beyond his reach; again, and again, and again. And he’ll try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. He doesn’t get discouraged. It doesn’t even occur to him that it might be a wasted effort, that he should just give up. And, what we all know, except perhaps HRH Darla, is that one day his balance will be good enough, he will move just quick enough, and his reach will finally be long enough to catch her and give her that squishy hug and wet kiss.  

Paul wrote about our spiritual reach and his desire to keep improving, to keep growing in his letter to the Philippian church. He says, “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14). You know, if one of the guys that God chose to write the Bible is saying that he hasn’t reached the top of the mountain yet; that he has a deeper level of commitment, a higher level of maturity that he is reaching for then I should certainly never allow myself to stop reaching for all the grace, all the love, all the growth that God has promised to me. I’ll keep watching Reese reaching out to take hold of Darla, and be encouraged to keep reaching forward, to take hold of God’s promises in my life.


Persevere – AdventPhotos (2015#15)

13 12 2015

My daughter’s mother-in-law, Karen has an amazing skill for growing things (and I’m not just referring to her six amazing kids.) I, on the other hand seem to be unusually adept at generating a death zone for any and all plant life. Stuff that “you can’t kill” is simply a plant that hasn’t yet come into contact with me. One time my middle daughter came home from college and noticing a living bamboo plant in the living room commented, “Oh, you got a new bamboo plant to kill.” Karen has this fantastic jade plant in her 3 season room. It’s enormous and healthy with multiple, thick branches and hundreds of glossy leaves. I love it. I want one just like it. So, about 2 years ago, Karen gave me a potted cutting that she had taken from her plant and nursed into a strong, independent child plant. It was about 8 inches tall, and perfectly healthy. It didn’t stay that way. This is a picture of that same plant. The low point was when there were 3 remaining green leaves lying in the planter, which my youngest daughter took and shoved back down into the soil. 2 of them re-rooted themselves. Whenever I look at this little guy, sitting there in my kitchen, I apologize to him and give him kudos for his perseverance. He’s lived longer than any other green thing in the history of Rhonda Reese Purtee. His circumstances are obviously less than ideal. It’s either too wet or too dry. I’ve forgotten him on the window sill in freezing weather and in scorching summer. He never gets fed. He’s lived in the same little pot for two years now (at Karen’s he was living in a beautiful, big glossy ceramic planter.) But he keeps going. That’s perseverance.  
We all come into circumstances that we believe are more than we can survive. We cry out for relief, for rescue; but it seems as if help will never come. What do we do? We persevere, because we know that we have a God who comes to His people. And so we wait for His coming.