Briar Rose (a.k.a. Princess Aurora, Sleeping Beauty) lived hidden in the woods, and would sing to all of the birdies, and rodents, and forest creatures,
I don’t live in the woods, I can’t sing very well, and I hate rodents (who have never cleaned my house, or knitted me a sweater), but I can identify with Briar Rose’s turf. This morning I was greeted with a loud ‘gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble’. I looked out my window and saw a rather large turkey gawking at me. He gobbled some more, and eventually flapped around and waddled away. It’s not at all unusual to have to stop in the middle of our driveway to allow the herd of deer to cross. A fox once terrorized my daughter as she parked her car behind our house. And of course, there’s always bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, and an occasional skunk. Birds build nests on our deck, or in our light fixtures, and sometimes at night I hear the hooo-ting of a hoot owl.
I know this is not so unusual, especially for Briar Rose, but my neighborhood is in the middle of a thriving community, not in some sylvan wonderland.
I got to wondering why all the wild life is migrating to our yard. I believe it’s because when the bulldozers and backhoes create havoc, replacing the woods with housing developments and shopping centers, the little critters have to go somewhere. Their little lives get all topsy-turvey, and they become vulnerable as they wander into unknown territory.
I can identify with that scenario. Sometimes things happen in our lives that turn us upside down, and force us out of our comfort zone. I don’t like that. Oh, I embrace SMALL changes to my environment… I love to rearrange furniture, to a fault. Once, I moved the couch one night after my husband had gone to bed. Later, in the middle of the night, I heard him yelp, after running into the couch, which wasn’t where it was “supposed” to be. I heard him mutter something about not having his glasses on, and about “crazy Shanahan and his moving van”.
BIG changes to my environment, however, are not things I easily adapt to. Empty bedrooms, and empty beds, do not define home improvement. Big changes to my environment cause me to empathize with the little beasties in my yard, trying to find their place of rest. Big, unwelcome changes to my environment bulldoze my haven, bury my treasures, and knock me down.
After the stars quit buzzing about my head, and the fog clears a bit, I know that I have to get back up; I have to relocate from the place of despair to the neighborhood of hope, where belief in the goodness of God promotes my welfare and where dependance on the truth of His word nurtures confidence.
My wedding anniversary was this week. What used to be a happy, delightful day has morphed into a remembrance of how my environment has been altered, and I’m still not used to it. It did, however, provide an opportunity to once again assess what I believe, and to choose to reconnect my heart to the promises of God.
One of those promises I cherish says that He will give me beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning. Not just for my sake, but for His Glory. (Isaiah 61:3). I’m relying on that.
(So next time you see me, you can tell me how beautiful, or oily, I look.)
Back to Sleeping Beauty. When she got up, she was whisked away to live happily ever after. But, in truth, she had faced some adversity in her young life. She was torn away from her family as an infant, had a contract out on her life, and suffered a coma after an attack by an evil witch. Then her prince showed up and did battle for her soul. As she rides off happily into the sunset, we tend to forget her trials and foes.
I think that is how God intends for us to view our lives. We know we face some really difficult hurdles, heartbreaks, and things we are powerless to change. Yet, we can trust in our Prince, and all of the power of His kingdom, to come and save us, to redeem the pain, and give us a different perspective.
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.