copyright 2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original
Our family has been in a season of preparation for a long time. Preparing to move, preparing for the baby to come, preparing for taxes. We're getting a lot better at preparing than we used to be. We'd been 'fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants' people for a very long time. However, with having a large family, ministry and a business to run we just couldn't do that anymore. So we've been learning to prepare for things, thinking ahead, scheduling, planning. The Bible encourages us to look at the ants to see how they prepare for winter and how hard they work. This is the learning curve that we've been on for several years now.
What are the results of preparation? There are many benefits and I want to touch on several. Knowing that all your ducks are quacking where they belong as far as it concerns your human capacity is a very good thing. It helps you deal with the unexpected 'quackers' that always show up. I'm sure we have all been in situations that we were completely unprepared for and they sure throw us off course. For example, the sudden death of a loved one, an accident, natural disasters, an unexpected pregnancy, job loss. There are some things one just can't prepare for and those things bring great anxiety, turmoil and stress. So it is good to prepare for the things that we can, it can greatly alleviate the burden of the unknowns and unexpected.
Preparation isn't an easy task. It takes planning and forethought. It cuts into all the regular chores and seems, at the time, like you could use the time slot in a better way. The other day I felt strongly impressed to get things ready for our baby to arrive. Technically we should be a few weeks away from that event but I did it anyway. I sent my husband off to the store to get the necessary hospital items, found some newborn baby clothes and got the bag packed. What a relief it was to know that should anything happen, I was ready, the sense of peace and accomplishment that washed over me when I set the baby clothes in the cradle and zipped that bag shut were enormous. At my last appointment the doctor said the baby was ready to come at anytime and I should be ready, how thankful I was that I had already prepared. After that appointment my body has been physically practicing for the great event (read - lots of Braxton Hicks contractions), my husband has been sick and I've had trouble with my hips and am fighting off a cold myself. Whether the baby comes now or in a few weeks, at least that little bit of my world is ready. I'm also learning how to schedule our family's time...but that is another post altogether!!
Sometimes preparation seems to make more mess than not preparing would but I think we all know that is not the case. When my husband isn't teaching music or tuning pianos, he paints houses, interiors and exteriors. He could tell you about many difficult days that have transpired when he decided to skip a preparation step. At first it seems like things will go faster, you'll be careful, it will be no problem, then, the inevitable happens, a paint can spills, you used the wrong paint or some other catastrophe. The mess or mistake needs to be cleaned up and corrected, hours later you are finally back on track, you haven't saved any time at all. Preparing saves time and brings peace to the process.
My mom and dad are avid gardeners and have been planning and preparing for the coming growing season with eagerness and anticipation. When I talked to them earlier this week they were preparing to plant tomato seeds. Their preparation will provide many tomato plants for their gardens as well as mine. Their preparation allows them the opportunity to have enough for themselves, to be generous and to save money in the process. Their careful preparation of the soil will result in another wonderful garden I am sure - abundance, provision, pleasure in the task - more results of preparation.
God has given us a task as his children to prepare His bride, the church. One day, Jesus, the glorious bridegroom is going to come back and the wedding of the lamb will be upon us. I have been a bride and have helped many brides prepare for their wedding day. As friends of the bride we do everything we can to help the bride be beautiful, spotless and prepared for her groom. Sometimes it concerns me when I see those that call themselves friends of the bride drawing mustaches on her face and tearing her clothes. We spend many hours complaining about what the bride could do better, pointing out all her faults and weaknesses. None of us were perfect brides, somewhere along the way we may have gotten mud on our dress, perhaps there is a blemish hiding under some makeup but no one would dare to point that out on a bride's wedding day. If we can help and make corrections in a loving way as we help her prepare that is what friends do. However, whispering, gossping and pointing out all the yuckiness is not what preparers of brides do. We are there to make the process better, to walk alongside and help.
We are called to be preparers of the bride, friends of the bridegroom. If we are truly friends we won't cheat on, deceive or slander the bride, we will do all we can to help her get ready. May I encourage you to examine what sort of 'friend' and 'preparer' you are. A wedding day cannot happen without the help of many hands, we all have preparatory work to do in the kingdom of God.
Spring seems like a time of getting ready and preparing for so many things. May I encourage you in all your preparations to watch for God's flowers to bloom in your gardens.
PS - The baby's arrival is rather imminent, so if you suddenly don't see any posts from me, you'll know why, though we will let you know of the arrival!!