California, for my neighbors

My csa box (community supported agriculture) down here in the land of sunshine comes with a flower option.  When I saw that on the sign up page, I dreamily pictured the kids and I trekking around delivering flowers to people, so I checked the box.  Yes, please.

As is my habit, I immediately started second guessing myself.  The extra cost was silly, I thought, and really, what can flowers do?  It turns out they can do quite a lot.  They open doors that are usually shut.  They break down defenses that are strong and ready.  They catch people off guard and make them give you a double take.

This week, as I prayed over the flowers, God brought to mind the house on the corner of our street, where I knew a widow lived, but I had never seen her.  So I puffed up my courage and off we went.  I may or may not have ushered the children in front of me like a shield.  This knocking on doors and meeting new people - it just doesn't come naturally to me.  The lovely woman who answered the door was 91 years old and so delighted by my three little blondies and our visit, that the kids and I started planning to have her come to one of our poetry teas.  (Our visit, and subsequent visits, would have been important even if she had been grouchy, but sometimes God rewards our initial obedience by making it easy to continue.)

From the beginning of this move-to-California thing, God has been clear in my heart that this is where he wants me, and he has been kind enough to confirm it over and over again.  I may not know all the reasons, but some of them are clear.  There are two posts from a blog I've been reading this week that I want to share because they dovetail with my thoughts lately about our move and obedience to God.

“Misha,” I heard God say to me as the pastor spoke, “What if I didn’t bring you to your street for you? What if it’s not about you at all? What if I provided this home for you and your kids because I love you, yes, but also because I love your neighbours?” 
“I am the one who listens to the thoughts of your neighbours every night, sweetheart. I am the one who hears them cry and sees their tears and knows their broken hearts over things you have no idea about. You don’t know what is going on in each of their lives. I do. And my heart breaks for them. I love them dearly. What if I brought you to your street for them?”

"The only friend who can ask for that level of obedience and sacrifice is the one who did it first. And He did. And He still does.
God can ask for that level of obedience and service because that is how He treats us every day.
I have learned that nothing brings me joy like being Jesus’s friend.
And I have seen how much my joy increases when I do what He asks me to. When I trust Him for rest in that. Trust Him for the strength I don’t have. When I surrender all of my control.
The more I obey God, the more joy I have – because  I am partnered with Him."

Yet Jesus is never so near to me as when I lift my cross, lay it submissively on my shoulder, and welcome it with a patient and uncomplaining spirit. . .
We do not know what is lost by our self indulgence, what glory awaits if only we have the courage to climb, or what blessings we will find if we will only ascend the mountains of God.
 L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert*

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