Sunday, August 15, 2010

May gathering

We tell people that you do not have to be fully healed or "moved on" (whatever that means) before you can share what God has taught and is teaching.  Nor do you have to be done grieving before you can bless another person.  (Good thing, since we're never really done grieving!)  In May, Cathy Bonnesen was proof of both those statements.  A dear friend, she agreed to share with us her journey.

Her topic: girdling roots.  A master gardener, Cathy has extensive knowledge about all things green.  She had been working on their landscaping and noticed that one tree was not doing so well.  Upon closer inspection, it became clear that the tree was suffering from girdling roots.  Basically that means that the roots grow around themselves, around the base of the tree, instead of going out in all directions.  The problem is that over time the roots will strangle the tree, as they won't allow the tree to continue growing.

Cathy shared some of her story, which includes infertility and miscarriage.  She read Psalm 103:1-2 

"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
       all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
       and forget not all his benefits"

She and her son Noah, whom she homeschools, had studied the elephant.  Most of us were probably taught that an elephant never forgets.  The above verses challenged Cathy to remember what God has done, to never forget the "benefits" He has placed in her life.  The dictionary defines "benefits" as an act of kindness, something that provides well-being.  Strongs Concordance defines it this way: to treat a person well, to bestow upon, deal bountifully, do good, reward, ripen.

Psalm 103 goes on to say: 

"3 who forgives all your sins

       and heals all your diseases,
 4 who redeems your life from the pit
       and crowns you with love and compassion,
 5 who satisfies your desires with good things
       so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

What are some ways we can "forget not" what God has done for us, especially in the midst of tragedy, grief, or trials?  Cathy suggested finding meaningful scriptures in the Bible and putting them in prominent places in our homes.  Take notes over a teaching message and look over it periodically.  Make a list of things for which you are thankful and review it regularly.  Journal good things that happen.  

Psalm 77:12 says " I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds."

Meditate means to "murmur in pleasure or anger, to ponder, imagine, study" (Strongs)

At times we can over-meditate, or meditate over the wrong things.  It's easy to meditate over what ISN'T happening, over the losses we have had, what someone else's life looks like, etc.  It can be unhealthy for us.

Here's where the concept of girdling roots comes in.  Cathy showed us some pictures of girdling roots, and explained that just as girdling roots on a tree eventually choke out the life of the tree, when we forget all of God's benefits we go round and round, and healthy growth cannot happen in our lives.  Eventually we are at risk of emotionally and spiritually strangling ourselves.  When we just keep circling over the same subject over and over again (infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, etc), it becomes impossible to focus on the bigger picture.  Don't misunderstand - the Lord does direct us to focus on these areas for a season so we can work through what we need to in whatever timing is for each of us.  But there comes a point when we need to look beyond what we see right in front of us.  Sometimes we can't see it for ourselves - others can, and God may speak through them to try to get through to us.

Cathy shared the idea of a Victories List - she and her husband created a list of things that were good that happened in their lives. Many of them were relatively small, daily things that are so easy to overlook and very easy to forget.  She shared how helpful it was to look over the list and remember what God had done, remember the small and big ways He showed Himself to them. It helped them to take heart and press on through trials.

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