Desperate for more
Awaken my soul
Prick my heart
Wake up my soul
Where I live, in the Appalachian hills and valleys, or "hollers" as we West Virginians call hollows, edible goodies are tucked away in the nooks and crannies, scattered all throughout the land.
Hunting for treasures is sometimes just as delightful as finding the foraged treats. One such is the Pawpaw, a custard-like banana-tasting, mango-textured fruit with many seeds mixed through its light-yellow colored pulp. Eating it is ingloriously messy, as the peak flavor comes just before it fully breaks down.
I grew up in Ohio, home of the Pawpaw festival, but funny enough, I didn't eat this fruit until high school biology class. It was love at first bite. Moving around the country with my husband's career took me away from these delights, but I would sneak into the woods back home and search these out in early fall if my visits coincided, which wasn't often. But now, I have my own patch of land smack dab in those hills where Pawpaws grow. And I found a grove this year near my property, giving me seed to put in my very own patch this season right in my "backyard". (I use that term loosely as my yard is a series of hills.)
Seeking delights God's heart. He constantly invites us to seek Him, find Him, know Him. Knowing Him begins in the finding, but in order to seek Him, our tastes have to be set upon finding Him. I spent years hearing of the Pawpaws, but never really sought out the unique, rare flavor. However, when I did enjoy the fruit, it quickly became my favorite, one I can't get in a store or order from a catalog easily. It became a prized possession that I must hunt and find annually in the right season, under the right conditions. Cool, crisp morning walks in the woods near streams and creeks, up a winding hill path and over ridges, the journey took me through beautiful wandering experiences and pleasant places. I began to love the hunt almost as much as the prize!
I found myself this year in my relationship with God, desperate for more, even desperate for desperation. Through a few years of hard grief, after losing my mother suddenly, busy seasons developing a farmstead from scratch on overgrown land, and the busyness of raising beautiful children with my husband, my heart became crowded, clogged and consumed. My time with the Lord waxed and waned with a rhythm and pace of monotony, lacking excitement and passion. Times of devotion would come and burst on the scene like the full moon, but it was the dark, still nights that lingered. Needless to say, just before this Pawpaw season (I love God's perfect timing), I found my passion for finding again when God found me desperate for desperation, heart sick, if you will, homesick for sweet intimacy with the Father.
This opening poem is from a series called "On Being Found and Finding." I am sharing this collection of poems about my journey of discovery, even our journey as His image bearers, detailing being far and wanting to be near to God's Presence, as close as we can be. On the day I wrote "Lost and Found" (below), I realized that "Desperate for Desperation" was accidentally written in between a page break of "Where art Thou?" (below), which was written on the day I had also found my first Pawpaw of the season. And so the story goes...
Where art Thou?
Orient yourself to Me
Only True North, that's Me
East, South, West, I am, too
No matter where you turn
It's always back to Me
Where are You?
I hear Your voice in the midst
Like a distant memory
How could I forget so quickly?
Of all the love and care You have for me
Still in the center of Eden
But so far from the heart of God
How can it be?
That I chose to fill myself
And satisfy my soul
With anything but the satisfaction of Your voice
And the taste of being known
Craved more, found there's nothing
Compared to being full of You
And Your voice cuts through the fog
Confusion no longer calling
Your voice, my name on Your lips,
"Where are you?"
Lord, I don't know
I just truly know I need found.
I just know I'm lost without You
Wandering places we've once roamed
Wondering why I've strayed
Naked, exposed, covered in the knowledge
That I hurt You
When I chose something else to fill me.
Lost and Found
Desperation sandwiched in finding
A long lost poem
Found as the mist rises from the earth
Smell of sweet almost overripe hill papayas
Filling the air. Pawpaws from the forest
A tropical anomaly in the middle of the country
God's mystery planted for me to discover
Walked by it, right by the road I drive daily
Years I passed this unripe, unready tree
Not knowing it was my favorite planted for me
How did it travel to the base of the mountain?
No legs to carry it, no feet to stand
Did it fling itself in the breeze when God moved?
His fingers planting it deep in the earth
Filling a grove right beside me for future delight.
He's just like that. He is such a mystery.
Using discarded things to speak
Using hidden mysteries to be found
And to find those you must be found.
To be known is to be found like finding fruit
That's been there all along growing
Right in your presence, yet not knowing.
Who you truly are is not only what you see
It's a mystery hidden deep in God's heart.
He knows. He put beautiful things in you
Like seeds buried below
And to know you must be found
And to be found you must be lost like the seed.
God seeks us every day. He asks
"Where are you?"
Watering us with words of love
In the garden
But He knows your location.
He knows. He knows your desperation.
He knows. Call upon His name.
A reply in the midst of the mist
An answer to the question echoed
Not just to Adam and Eve, but to you and to me
Here. Here I am. A revelation. A reply.
A finding. A binding. A knowing.
Fully known. Fully exposed. Found.
And God just wants us to know
We are meant to walk with Him
By His side, in the garden
Enjoying the fruit He planted
For our discovery is His delight
He desires to be found.
And to be found by you.
So you can be found, too.
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, " declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile."
Heidi Mendez spends her days in the hills and hollows of West Virginia pursuing God. She loves traveling and praying for new friends she meets along the way. Her mission these days is restoring her family's heritage homestead, passed down from two generations thus far, with her husband of thirteen years and her three adventurous children. Heidi's hobbies include beekeeping, foraging, gardening, raising chickens, music, and, of course, writing. Most days, you can find her digging in the dirt, just like when she was a kid!