Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Garden of Words, Part 1

My father, Walker Floyd, made his living through welding. He owned a little shop in our hometown and put up an iron sign that read “Walker’s Welding Service.” He was a master with the blowtorch, using his expertise, common sense and creativity to not only solve problems of metal, but also to create art. I still have an iron giraffe he made me when I was a little girl.

But Walker was not just a welder. He was a husband, pop, friend, fiddle-maker and player, voracious reader and a gardener. Some of my favorite memories of my dad are simple moments that we shared in our vegetable garden. Daddy took a piece of West Texas dirt, located thirty feet from an expanse of desert brush and weeds, and made it into a lush little patch of lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, carrots and onions. The two of us would spend time out there planting and watering and weeding. I especially loved pulling up green onions and eating them fresh with dinner. It made summer time sweet. Nothing like eating something you’ve grown yourself.

I loved that garden.

This past weekend I went to the Franciscan Retreat Center in Colorado Springs with five other women. The center is a beautiful campus located in the crook of some hills. Nuns run it and deer run wild throughout it. I loved the fellowship I shared with the gals over meals, but the rest of the time I spent alone, hanging out with the God of all, my father in heaven. Being alone and quiet is not natural for most of us, at least for hours on end. The moment I walked into my little room I automatically looked for the remote control. I didn’t see one. They didn’t even have a TV!

But the point of the weekend was to hang with Jesus and experience time alone with Him. The premise was simple:

If God had you alone and had your attention for 8 hours, what would He say to you?
What would you say to Him?

No speaker, no crafts, no camp eggs that taste like well…sawdust. Just Jesus.

This wonderful experience is called a WAAG, or Weekend Almost Alone with God. If you want to learn more about this concept, visit my brother Phil’s ministry web page at www.calebsheart.com

After I got over the TV withdrawal and began to settle into the relaxed pace and spirit of our purpose, I began to commune with my Father. In fact, it reminded me of those days in Texas when Daddy and I would hang out in the garden, working. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we didn’t. But we enjoyed each other’s presence and He taught me how to grow veggies.

God and I hung out in a garden this weekend. Sometimes I talked. Sometimes He talked. Sometimes we just enjoyed each other. He taught me how to grow. Not veggies, but words. He spoke to me about His Word and how through it I can be nourished and strengthened. He pulled up Scriptures and showed them to me, like green onions. Nothing like having fresh scripture to chew on.

For the next couple of weeks, I want to share with you some of that Garden of Words. Just like displaying a prize cucumber, I want to show you a few Scriptures that nourish and strengthen me. I hope you enjoy reading this, but I also hope that you will take a moment to spend time alone with the God of all who adores you.

His garden is worth the visit.

Garden of Words, Part One

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

How can someone truly be still?

Growing up, Mama told me often, “Robbie, be still.”

It was a way to tell me to stop moving around like ants were in my pants and to also stop talking.

Just stop talking.

Maybe even listen.

I cannot count the number of times I have been in a conversation and couldn’t wait to add my two-cents worth. So much so I really wasn’t listening to the other person. Sure I got the gist of what they were talking about, but my addition to the conversation was the important part. They needed to hear me.

I have come to see this for what it is, plain and simple – love of self!

Mama isn’t saying it anymore.

But my Father in Heaven is now saying to me, ”Robbie, be still.”

Robbie, shut-eth up-eth.

Be still.

Not just quiet, but don’t move. Stop.

In our world, taking a few minutes each day to just stop and be quiet and sit before the God who made time and stillness and motion almost seems like an imposition. I don’t have time! I don’t see the point!

We are missing out.

The next part of Psalm 46:10 tells me and you to “know that I am God.”

He is God. I am not.

Be still for a while and just chew on that. I may think I am in control, but I am not. I may think that I can create my own destiny, but I cannot. I may think that I am just fine, thank you very much without Jesus in my life, but I am not.

Blaise Pascal, a mathematician and inventor said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

We each have this hole that only Jesus can fill.

Maybe that’s why it is hard for you and me to be still. Without distractions, without our to-do lists, we see that hole. And if Jesus isn’t filling it, we are more than likely trying to stuff it with something else. Whatever that may be, it is not getting the job done.

The hole is still there.

But then, why not take that time to get still, really take time to shut out the world and get filled up? The sweetest request would be to ask God to fill ‘er up, like we were at a Texaco station in the 70’s.

This past weekend I was still. I liked it so much I want to continue practicing it. I don’t have to go to a nun-run facility to sit before the Father. I just have to purpose to do it, knowing that it is more important than any single job, errand or occasion of fun.

Be still. Shut up and rid yourself of the ants. Sit before Him and know that He, only He is in control. In the silence you will hear music that will blow you away. The songs of peace and joy are found in those moments. Sweet notes that will restore your soul.


tonya said...

Robbie, I just love reading your blog. You have such a wonderful gift of words. I can't wait for the next installment.
It was also good to see you today!

Robbie Iobst said...

Thank you Tonya! If anyone is reading this, click onto Tonya's pic and visit one of her blogs. Her photographs are incredible!

cj marley said...

I remember your mother telling you to "be still" more than once. :) That and trying to save you from being "drowned" in a back yard pool once upon a summer evening.

Sally and Walker are so proud of you now.

Jan Parrish said...

LOL. I think we are sister in this. I can think of many times that God must have been like, Jan..., Jan...! Just be still! Hopefully, I'm in tune enough to listen and those are the times of priceless treasure.

I'm looking forward to the next one. So, since I waited so long to post, I'll just pop over.