Beira Brown | artist seeking life's borderless extravagance »

Roots | Letting Go

Last summer as we walked through the garden, John encouraged me to clear out some sick pumpkin vines to avoid losing the healthy ones. The vines were overgrown and entangled with one another. It was a job that required the gardening shears.

Just when I thought I was succeeding, I realized that I had severed the healthiest vine bearing the superstar pumpkin of the garden. And it was not, according to my measure, finished growing or ready to harvest.

At some point, John came back outside and found me standing in a mess of tangled vines. I confessed my mistake. I think he could see the pain and disappointment written all over my face because in true problem-solving MacGyver mode, he suggested duck taping the vine and hoping it would fuse back together as nature will sometimes miraculously do. But I had left no hope of that. Not only had I cut the vine, I had ripped it out by its roots.

As the big tears welled up, I made my way to the shower to rinse off all the dirt and sweat. I sobbed without truly understanding why I was so upset over a pumpkin vine.

I knew there was something beyond the physical devastation that had taken place in the garden.

Then I saw the parallel between that garden episode and what was taking place within my own life. There were situations that were not healthy yet I was not accepting their reality. I was insisting to continue life as if I could be healthy while surrounded by them. I was ignoring the disillusionment trying to take place.

It’s funny how illusions creep into our lives. It’s not so funny how illusions limit our ability to fully live and experience freedom.

Yet, when we experience disillusionment, we meet it with resistance and apprehension because there is pain involved. But I want you to imagine me looking deep into your eyes saying, “Embrace the disillusionment and work through the pain.”

The word disillusioned has a negative emotion pegged to it, but if we looked closer at the true meaning of the word, we would rejoice each and every time we experience it. Being awakened to the reality that a belief or ideal we’ve held is false is a good thing!

Isn’t being disillusioned a version of the truth setting us free?

Isn’t it a way of breaking deception off our lives?

Isn’t it a shift in our vision to have clear expectations, dreams, ideals, norms, and thoughts?

I wonder if the pain of disillusionment is the adjustment our eyes go through as they move out of darkness into the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of our true life in Light.

God breaking illusions off our lives is His way of getting us out of a crazed way of living.

You know what we most often do instead of accepting the disillusion? We get stuck in the pain. We insist on trying to mend when God has already ripped out the roots.

Like the idea of duck taping the vine, we try to mend it all back together again, pretending like we could possibly go on living the same way as before. It is not possible once you know.

I remember myself scrambling, having a flood of thoughts. Please, Lord, don’t let this be it for my beautiful pumpkin! This can’t be how it comes to an end.

Just as I had snipped the pumpkin vine, God was snipping illusions in my life, bring clarity to situations and relationships I had avoided seeing before. Yet I was holding on, hoping it would turn out just as I had imagined, that somehow a miraculous mending would take place. But instead what I saw were the roots out of the ground and what I heard was a loud yet gentle, “No.”

Our attempts to mend when the roots have already been pulled up are a sign of our resistance to God and His order, His authority, and His plan when it doesn’t look like what we had imagined. It’s a sign that we are crazed by the illusion.

Months later, as I conversed with John I heard the answer to my own questioning and wrestling roll off my lips:

“I need to let go. I’ve been released!”

Sometimes the best thing God can say to us is “no.”

Sometimes the best thing God can do for us is to preserve our soul.

Sometimes the best thing God can give us is an end to the season of having our soul crushed.

Sometimes the best He can give us is a new space where our soul can flourish.

Stop trying to mend what is crushing your soul. Let it go. It’s dead.

I know you might think what I’m saying is rough. I know it doesn’t seem like a good answer, like it doesn’t align with God’s plan. Do we ever fully understand the way God works out His plan for us?

You ask yourself, “How could it come to an abrupt end?”

Make sure it’s not an illusion blinding you from the wise answer, the right thing to do, and God’s true plan for you.

God’s main interest is leading us to a place where our soul is whole so we can flourish. Letting go is a choice to live in that reality.

God wants to release us from the situations, circumstances, relationships, systems, and the things that we’ve built that are crushing our soul, but He can’t do that while we insist on seeing it turn out our way.

Restoration isn’t always the ultimate plan. At least not restoration in the way we imagine it. Our vision of restoration needs to align to God’s vision because while we might be looking at something external, He’s looking to restore the internal depths of our being.

The ultimate plan is to restore the true person He created us to be.

As I reflect on the past two years of my life, I laugh at some of the vines I was trying to mend because, in hindsight, they were dead and I was blind to not see it.

Then there are other vines lying in the compost pile that I must remind myself every time I feel the urge to mend, “Do not go digging for them. They’re dead. You’ve been released…”

…Released to birth a new dream and step into the new season, and to do it with a healthy and whole soul.

We need to be healthy and whole. The pace of His rhythm is increasing and the season is new. We won’t keep up without letting go of the weights slowing us down.

If we don’t let go, it will start feeling heavy and we’ll find ourselves living outside of the unforced rhythms of grace. We’ll lose our rest. We’ll fall behind. We’ll get stuck.

I know that letting go of illusions is painful, but remember whom we are tethered to.

Letting go is not the same as Him letting go of us.

Letting go of the thing that is sitting heavy in our heart will clear the space so He can pull us in closer.

Letting go will create the space our soul needs to flourish.

Will we allow Him to rip down the illusions?

Will we stop trying to mend what is dead?

Will we accept the new season?

Will we choose to live in God’s reality?

The disillusionment and pain are temporary. They will not last forever, but the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of your true life will be everlasting.

***I left the pumpkin hanging off the dead vines until it ripened (as you see above). It never did miraculously mend back to life.***

 

Phil BakerSeptember 23, 2016 - 3:54 am

Beira & John,
I loved reading this and remembering our conversation “way back when!”

Thanks for this glimpse into your hearts as you processed – and are processing this journey!

We love and admire you both greatly, and MISS you big time!

-Phil

from east to west | part 1

It’s taken me two months since moving to get to this! It feels somewhat like old news and too late to share but given that I’m slow to process life in general, this photo share is right on time.

We survived our cross country move. Nine days driving over 3,000 miles from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania to Bend, Oregon. It was quite the adventure yet very anticlimactic. It felt surreal yet like any driving trip. At times, I got so caught up on driving and breaks and how much further we still had to go until our next destination, that I completely lost sight of “omg, I’m moving to the other side of the country!” Since we had decided to move many months prior, our arrival in Bend was anticlimactic. Perhaps our exhaustion from a trip plagued by pink eye and a respiratory infection may have had something to do with that. Regardless, we were all at peace walking into our house and knowing that we would get to sleep in our beds that same night.

I almost included some details of our trip, but it became apparent that my perspective of our trip was clouded by all the germs in our car. I’ll leave you with some of my favorite photos, many taken from the comfort of my passenger seat. Don’t judge me. Okay? I was in rough shape!

Part 1: Chicago, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial

 

 

[…] Part 1 of my family’s cross country move  […]

[…] and look at Part 1 and Part 2 of my family’s cross country […]

Home

I introduced my family to the Ungame in hopes of diminishing competition and encouraging the art of listening. I had held on to the board game for years with memorable times with my family in mind. I was interested to see how it would go and I was hoping it would not be a flop considering the years the game sat on our shelves collecting dust.

I love how a simple game can turn into a life lesson, or a confirmation of the things that I’ve learned on my own.

It was Micah’s turn and his card read, “describe what you love about your home.”

I held my breath as the memory of my conversations with his father months prior rushed through my mind.


As we wrestled with the idea of relocating and convinced ourselves that it was not a crazy idea pulled out of thin air, we discussed the impact it would have on our children.

Leaving the geographical location they’ve called home.

Leaving the people that have filled up their physical world.

Leaving all of the safe environment they’ve ever known.

Leaving for the unknown.

Could we possibly go into a new place because of a desire in us?

Could we do so without scarring our kids?
Could we choose a place that they would love as much as us?

Could we handle the pain of their possible disappointment?

The concept of home was shifting inside us, it’s definition being challenged, being redefined.

 

“”Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you…”” John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

If Jesus asks me to make Him my home, then am I not home where ever I go? If Jesus is home and His Spirit lives in me, then I can be at home where ever I live because He lives in me.

I began to feel my sense of home morphing into something I’d never known. This new way of thinking became a new rationale in looking at home.

 

My responsibility is to teach and guide my children to nurture and grow their relationship with Jesus. While my children are little and forming their beliefs, I provide home to them. Their father is home to them. Their parents together are home to them. Not a place, not a house, not a state.

Home is in Jesus, and we are home where ever He is. Since His Spirit goes with us, then we are home where ever Home is–everywhere we go.

I can be content here, I can be content there. I find comfort here and there. The grass is green here, the grass is green there. Not more or less. The same in a different way.


Isn’t it silly how we often make decisions based on home, and the wrong one at that? We think we need to be home to find comfort. We think we need to be home to relax and “let it all hang out.” We think we need to be home to have safety. We think we need to be home to find rest.
We hold onto things because they give us the feeling of home. Only they give us a false sense of home. We think we need to build a home when home has already been built for us.

What we end up doing is limiting life, putting up borders where they don’t belong. We can’t enjoy abundant living because we can’t see past our narrow definition of home. But as we allow the light to open our eyes and enlarge our concepts and ideas, we can “enter this wide-open, spacious life” we were designed to live (see 2 Cor. 6:11-13 msg).

I know that my children will have home where ever I am and where ever John is. Most importantly, once they fully embrace their own relationship with Him, they will be home where ever they are in Him.

My sweet lovable boy (and boy is he loved!) washed me with calm as he let his words spill from his mouth describing his father and I. No description of a house, or a place, or a where, but an identification of who home is for him.

I hesitated publicly sharing this before our move, wondering if I would believe the same in the west as I did in the east. As the boxes have been emptied, the closets filled, and the rhythms of our family restored, I’ve had time to reflect. The belief is still the same.

Do I miss my parents, siblings, and nephews? Absolutely.

Do I miss my friends? You bet.
Do I miss my GT church family? For sure.

Do I miss being home? No.

I was there in the east and I am still there in the west.

Home is not a place.

Home is not a house.

Home is not a state.

Home is a Who and we are home in Him.

JohnJune 28, 2016 - 7:12 am

Love it!

JolynneJune 28, 2016 - 8:15 am

So true, amen

JaimeJune 28, 2016 - 12:12 pm

Beautiful photos, beautiful heart. Love and miss you all!

JoniJune 29, 2016 - 4:34 pm

So Beautiful!! Love you’s!!

CarriJune 30, 2016 - 1:19 pm

Absolutely beautifully written! Love it! Love you all xox