Faith: An Aspect of the Fruitage

These days, many things weigh upon me, in strange middle-aged ways. The weight not always is unwelcome, but has to it a growing depth, a deep rooting nature. 

I was reminded recently of Joy. Once, many years ago, when meditating on the ‘fruitage of the holy spirit’ I realized I had some holes. 

“On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. ” Galatians 5:22,23

This was many years ago. I had been reading this list of facets to the personality that are enhanced by the holy spirit God provides, and realized, I did not nor had ever felt what I would call, Joy. 

I had gone through a lot as a younger person. I was not mournful or melancholy, in fact, most would describe me as happy, but Joy, to me, was different. Joy was multi-layered and complex, as the other aspects of the fruitage are. On the first unmeditated glance Joy could appear simple, somewhat unimportant. But, then I recalled, Jehovah is described as a happy God in many places in the Bible. 

People take many things for granted, I was no exception. I’d read that scripture thousands of times and felt, yes, I display the fruitage of the spirit most of the time. 

What I realized, is the fruitage of the spirit is not, ‘a display.’ No. it lives within your soul, and tho there were other aspects I needed to ask for help with and work on, I ‘felt’ most of them by nature, but Joy, Joy had been a feigned & elusive aspect. It was not a part of who I felt I was. Regardless how others would describe me, I knew, I was not truly ever feeling what I would call Joy. 

I began to focus on this in my prayers. Asking for ways to find Joy. As a mother to three at the time, I felt ragged and exhausted all the time. I could hardly handle meetings & service and when I did go, I could smile but I was not feeling it inside. Prayer began to change this. Learning from the Psalmest so many years ago, I studied creation. I saw how kittens played. I saw snowflakes. I saw the way the sky breaks wide at dawn. I felt how mountain air itself was such a gift & source of Joy. I even wrote and illustrated a book for my children about where and how to find Joy thinking, this is something I must instil in them. I want my children to know and truly feel the Joy that Jehovah wants them to. They must be taught. I kept praying. 

In time I stopped considering myself unjoyful. Entirely. 

Recently, I was trying to teach one of my children about the power of prayer, which is only teachable via recounting your own experience with answered prayers and urging someone to try and see for themselves. I assured her that God does hear, as he says, everyone who asks for something in according to his will (1 John 5:14, 15) and in particular, if you ask for holy spirit, which obviously is evident via this fruit age and it’s attributes, it will be given to us. (Luke 11:9, 13) I asked her if she would describe me as a joyful person, after all, she lived with me, saw me good days and bad, she would know. She said, of course I was. I told her about the self I was when she was younger, and I told her, I am a joyful woman now, because of an answered petition placed over and over again before God. 

After telling her this story I realized, that tho this Joy at times has waned, it has always remained strong enough to pull me back out of the mud pit life seems to become at times. I always love, and truly enjoy, meetings and the ministry. I am happiest when I’m getting there. It gives me strength and a consistent joy despite the challenges I face in raising a family. This joy, resurges, day after day and pushes back the minions of stress and despair. 

Now to get to the title. 

Once upon a time I would have said I had Faith; Faith like a rock, so heavy and thick and sure, it could crush any other thing brought against me. My Faith when I was young helped me and carried me, when Joy and Love and Hope were weak, Faith had been my rock. Jehovah and I had built a solid foundation of Faith in my heart. 

But, like my energy, my Faith over time has faded. It’s fallen into what I could say is, a state of disrepair—my foundation was cracked and the rain is always heavy. It weeps and shifts. It is weak. 

As with Joy, this may be only known and visible to me, well, me and my Maker. I began to meditate on this, analyze where these cracks were, and pray. I’ve been praying about my weak Faith for some weeks. I’ve been praying, but feeling, I’ve not really gotten much of ‘a hearing ear’ yet on the issue. Then, this past week’s Watchtower, “Strengthen Your Faith in What You Hope For.” Are you kidding me? And the Watchtower for this week, “Exercise Your Faith in Jehovah’s Promises.” Well, these articles and scriptural references are ridiculously deep and on point. 

These articles are the repair crew showing up to do the work. They will teach me and encourage me, with Jehovah’s help, to strengthen this vital aspect of the fruitage of his spirit. I asked, incessantly. It weighed upon me in a way I couldn’t carry, the knowledge that I lacked Faith in so many areas. I wanted to fix it but found I was lacking in skill. I was truly struggling to know what to do, despite meetings and study. It was silly, but I began to wonder if this time, Jehovah would answer me. Perhaps, I thought, my faults had caught up with me in an irrepairable way. Perhaps I truly was unworthy of this gift. I felt like I was mimicking the actions, but they were baseless, as I had with Joy all those years ago. I too, prayed about this, apologizing, that I was a fake. 

Then, these articles. 

What can I say? Jehovah knows me. He does not vaguely see who I am, but, knows me, as even I do not know myself. He knows me deep into my psyche and knows just when to answer me; how to reach my heart; how to heal me. He sees all I am, and answers me just as I need to be answered, so that I, hear Him. What a wise God. 

So, I have yet to do all the additional reading associated with these articles, but they are on my personal study list, and the scriptures in these articles are in my heart. Slowly, Jehovah is training me on how to build, surely rebuild, my faulty faith into the sure Faith that his holy spirit provides us each with, if we are willing to work along side Him, listening and joyously eager to move forward, toward, the next step we must take in this journey of life with Jehovah. I have a Father who hears me and talks with me, closely, quietly, but with such strength and compassion. I am so thankful for that. 

How I wish others would know, they have a Father just waiting for them to seek Him out and discover Him. He is drawing each right hearted person at the right time, if only they would come learn from Him when they are drawn. I do not know what other comfort there is in the world, then in the safety of this hope Jehovah provides. How do they all survive? 

The Way the Light

the dawn cracked sky

this 8am darkness

pushed open by this small moment

of light—

I look fondly heavenward

always remembering

the way the light soothes

with just the smallest grazing touch

healing deep into the bones

securing a heartbeat & breath, just one more

by simply being, always,

just beyond the dark, the cloud 
My skin, cold & white, tips forward, toward—

My soul, evergreens,
despite this

First day of Winter 

Point Being…

what point, that small scratch
a little skin broken & blackened
cajun or crushed blood
none could tell, but blackened

the ice mesh covering just enough
that life was just a tremble
cuddling death, and what a warmth
it is, or is it so cold it stings?

my eyes have forgotten the greenery,
the way voices erode quickest, but
the notes remain, playing overtures in my mind
plinking the little metal teeth
its a stone scraped—

wishing wells dry by middle age
some by filling the thirst
some by drought
so pull the bucket while the water remains
pull it until the well is drained

Three Day Roadtrip, Everglades & All

What can I say—winter has a cold welcome of a -26 windchill tonight. 

After spending a week exploring Florida the weather up north decided to make a sharp dive into winter as we returned. 

As for Florida, seems to me it is the land of poor & plenty. Clusters of wealth, houses far too big, and then moments later, shabby mildew smudged homes. By far, the little acreage lots that seem to line the town & city edges seem the nicest. There’s so much of that there, unlike here. Some are run down, some quite well cared for. Loved the little rural urban of so many areas. 

Ft Myers area was lovely, and by far my favorite beachcombing area so far. We did a three day ring from Orlando to Coco down to Deerfield across the Everglades and up through the countryside on back highways back up to Orlando. 

Deerfield was ridiculously warm. Wind was wild and so warm. I’ve never been somewhere that windy and at the same time that warm. The Man of War jellies were everywhere as sunrise slipped over the horizon. Was quite remarkable. 

The Everglades were, amazing, and we didn’t even explore as much as we should have. The sheer number of Gators is mind blowing, and that’s just what you can see. The amount of birds is like nothing I’ve ever seen. As far as numbers of land animals I’ve ever seen, Gators now top that list, other than grasshopper swarms I’ve never seen that many of any wild animal in my life. Truly. 

The west coast sunset was stunning. And the margaritas are worth a mention to. A conversation with republicans was odd. And yeah, I still don’t get it. Anyways…

The drive from the west shore up through the groves & farm land via gps gone wild route, was actually great. We saw lots of little towns and communities along the way and it is lovely countryside. I’m guessing we’ve now seen more of Florida than your average Floridian. They don’t seem to travel much within their area, which is the opposite of your average Canadian.  Maybe because of the drastic population difference, we drive all over the place and explore. Most of us anyway. Twelve hours here, eight there—we can’t fly everywhere. Airfares are too expensive. It’s cheaper to fly to anywhere America than to fly anywhere within our own country. So, I think that usually means, roadtrip! 

Anyways. Winter welcomed us back meanly. It’s cold, it’s dark, and has been storming for several hours now, and expect tomorrow will be blustery as well. Already, I almost forget that winter does not exist everywhere on the planet. 

Coming Home

Finding the storm, waiting, 

Right where it left off—

The simplicity & the complexity run circles

Chasing themselves tired

The wind screams into each ear canal

Just to make it pain, it’s always seeking such extremes

The snow falls in waves that feel like needles & tastes like hunger 
I’ve already forgotten warmth & light & green

The swirling coils of ice blowing 

Rooftop to sky, sky & ground, whipped up in the frenzy—

These moments of hibernation hatch & stretch

Birthing the long longer of winter.