Wild

Wild

It took some convincing, but I finally got my husband to agree. This was our first summer letting half an acre of lawn grow wild. I’m happy to say, we’ve both enjoyed watching new wildlife pop up.

As you would expect, it’s mostly long grass. But undoubtedly this natural setting has brought a few colorful surprises. That’s what I’ve loved most about the whole project. I’m like a new mother with every plant breaking through hard, Illinois soil. Each time buds flower, I root for them to keep filling all the “empty” space. Come blue, yellow, pink, and purple. It’s lovely to finally meet you! (Yes, I talk to flowers.)

This experiment has made me wonder how much more spiritual growth I have yet to discover under the stubbornness of my own heart. I’m questioning the unseen beauty God means to reveal of Himself in me—if I’ll just take the chance, wait, and see. But surprises that come from allowing oneself to be grown by God usually require much more tenacity than weeds outside my window.

I’m thinking Mary’s roots must have run pretty deep for her to trust in such wild unseen! “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35 esv)

In the midst of my own ordinary landscape, I’m asking myself this question: Am I listening to the voice from heaven speaking to me? Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” ( John 10:27 esv) If indeed I am a sheep—am I following the Shepherd’s voice?

We’ve had some confusing days over here.

We’re scratching our heads over some big decisions and questioning, Did we hear God’s perfect will? We prayed and waited, expectant and ready, and just when everything fell into place—it all fell apart.

Or did it?

When seemingly good, godly plans don’t pan out—does this mean we’re not following God’s plan? When everything in my head suggests, Yes—my heart without doubt yells, No! God is doing what he’s always doneworking all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purposenot my purpose! No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him! (1 Cor 2:9 esv)

Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of It’s All Under Control, says, “We really have no clue what God is up to. We think we do, but we don’t.” And the deeper I search the Unsearchable—I have to agree.

The wildest way to live this land.

I am a sheep. And I’ll tell you how I know I’m following the Shepherd…

Answering the doorbell, on no particular afternoon, a delivery man stood clutching a clear vase wrapped in orange ribbon, shiny cellophane, and crisp white tissue. Puzzled as to who might send me flowers, I thanked the gentleman and gladly accepted my surprise. Big, beautiful, orange sunflowers! For me! But what made these so extravagantly different was they came from someone completely unexpected. Someone with no known occassion to do so. For no reason but to show affection, someone pulled out her wallet and spent her hard-earned dollars on a neighbor. If you’re one of those practical people who counts carefully and gives sparingly, you feel my appreciation. Rarely do I give without first internally counseling myself as to why this is a good move. Asking, “How much am I willing to spend with no strings attached?” I’ve always been preoccupied with not having enough, as if running out of something is the worst thing. Time, money, toilet paper—heaven help me should I have to live one day without a busy hour, one more dollar, double the rolls!

Slowly, but noticeably the Holy Spirit is reforming living and giving from reluctance and compulsion—to willing and cheerful.

And it feels wildly different.

I have countless stories like this one of God uprooting the status quo making room for something uncontrollable. Little to large deliverances I never expected—where I was stuck one way and God carved a new way. The best way. The blessed way. The wildest way to live this land.

The most beautiful of all.

Taking my usual walk, a small, blue bloom has made its way through limestone. Smiling at it’s perfectly round face, I point-blank ask the Lord, “Why do these little beauties mean so much to me?” And it never dawned on me before; the most beautiful of all is absolutely free!

The flower, the tree, the mountains, the sea—the Creator of all, the Savior and Kinggives it all completely free! It’s THE most breathtaking, unimaginable, bewildering thing.

10 Comments

  1. Joe downs on September 23, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Very nice. You have put some life long thoughts
    Into words, thank you.

    • Jo Ann Alo on September 23, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Glad you shared yours.🤗💗

      • Linda Sneed on September 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        Your words are Fertilizer for the mind. Good to rest and ponder as I think about what grows me . Truth is the hard soil can bring forth beauty.
        Love your writings … you bless many! ❤️Linda

        • Jo Ann Alo on September 23, 2020 at 7:09 pm

          The hard things DO bring forth beauty, Linda!
          I would LOVE to hear how God is growing you!
          I miss you—the sound of your voice, friend. Maybe we will have a moment to catch up some Sunday.👭
          Thank you for putting you thoughts here. You bless me.💗

  2. Laura on September 24, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Hi cousin, I am again moved by you and your beautiful words (& a yay to David). To stop and love the wild flowers and the birds and bees that are drawn back to such wonderful flowers 🌺 perhaps you can see some old time remedy’s in those flowers; when you look deeper?
    Love ya, Laura

    • Jo Ann Alo on September 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Laura! Yes! Birds, bees, and deer nibbling from the mulberry tree! So fun!
      Oooo…remedies! I never thought of that. I’ll have to search out some names and gather more goodness.🌻
      So blessed you came by! As much as I love to share…I equally love to hear.👭
      Love you!

    • David on September 26, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      I just love the Lord in my BEST FRIEND! God does the most wonderful things in us if we could just get out of the way.

      • Jo Ann Alo on September 26, 2020 at 4:37 pm

        You know it’s true, Best Friend!😘

  3. Karen Knecht on September 26, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Amazingly articulated, you put my heart to words. We do not know, should not expect, ought not direct the plan of our Father. To abide in Him is where the beauty unfolds, just like your wild flower garden. Love your analogy! It speaks to my spirit!

    • Jo Ann Alo on September 26, 2020 at 11:49 am

      So much truth in those few sentences, Karen!
      “To abide in Him is where the beauty unfolds.”—grateful for these confirming words🙏🏻.
      So thankful for our friendship! (God help it continue to grow!) 🌳👭

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