Hope-Filled Mama

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Tag: God

The Path of Trusting

I have spent my life striving to please others, wearing myself out in the process. I find it’s easier to serve others than to take the time to understand myself and be still before God, waiting and listening for what He wants me to do. I will find things to do, and convince myself they need to be done, before I will take the time to care for myself. I do this because I am fearful, fearful that God will not meet me, not speak to me – or that maybe He will speak to me and reveal a word, or a path I would rather not travel.

By Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

This year my small group has been reading a book called The Cure, and I resonated with the man in the book who similarly spent much of his life trying to please God. In the book, the man becomes so disillusioned and filled with pain, he decides to leave the path of pleasing God, and instead chooses the path of trusting God, which leads him to the room of Grace. In the room of Grace, he discovers that God loves him as he is. God has formed him exactly the way He wanted, to be there at that exact time, at that exact place, with his exact personality traits.

When I hear these words, they ring true to my soul. This is what I long for. Not striving, just being. My word for the year is grace. Not only grace for others, but also grace for myself. If I can believe and trust that God has created me uniquely and wonderfully, to do my own unique work, and to trust in His timing, that seems too good to be true. But it is His truth. And I need to humbly trust in that truth.

In The Cure, when the man chooses to believe he is loved, complete and righteous already in the eyes of God, his efforts turn from sinning less, to loving more. As he loves more, God heals his wounds, matures him, and releases him to his destiny – a destiny to be revealed in God’s timing.

In my life, God has brought me to a crossroads so that I might choose to trust in how He has created me. Not to be like any other, only to be me – a good enough wife, an imperfect mother, a forgetful friend, and unbelieving believer. Choosing to embrace my identity, and stopping to listen to God’s truth will continue my healing, maturing me so that I can be released to love others. In loving others, I will bring His grace to those who are broken, helping them to heal, and to reveal His glory.

Some of the ways in which I am choosing to live in my identity now, is to put down my phone and be present to the people around me. Choosing to enjoy my children in their noisy imperfect chaos, allows me to not miss fleeting moments of sweet connection. When I find myself complaining or ungrateful, I try to remember all the good blessings I have in my life. Instead of being frustrated in traffic, I try to remember to be grateful that I have a car with gas in it, that can drive on good roads.

I am also learning to say no. My first impulse is to always say yes when asked to do something. I am now trying to be more reflective about what it is I want to do, saying yes out of a true yes, rather than a sense of obligation. Taking care of myself will allow me to better love those around me.

I’ve spent a long time discouraged about my brokenness — working and working on understanding and healing myself, waiting to be released into my calling. But I’m coming to understand that I will always be broken, but my wounds will identify me less and less each day. In my brokenness, I am already made righteous. I need to walk forward in that truth, living fully in what is already in front of me, and waiting with hope for the future.

 

Ex-MLB pitcher Dave Dravecky gives an excellent talk on how The Cure changed his perspective and life.

 

Weeding my Garden

I grew up in the farmhouse my grandpa was born in. Our family has farmed and gardened the same land for many generations. I come from a long line of gardeners. In the rural Midwest, it’s just what you do.

My mom grows the best tomatoes; my dad grew giant pumpkins; my grandpa grew amazing cantaloupes. Along with the weather and gas prices, what you grow is also what you talk about. And you show your love for each other by sharing your bounty.

Image credit: Erich Ferdinand / Flickr

Both of my sisters are gardeners. But somehow the gardening gene skipped me. Or maybe it just sweated out of me one day while I was weeding the garden at high noon in 100 percent humidity. Or maybe the sting of mosquitoes, or the biting of beetles, or coming face-to-face with a tomato worm drove it out of me.

I’ve always enjoyed eating the bounty, but I could never bring myself to enjoy the process of growing the bounty. It’s a long and arduous journey: preparing, tilling, planting, watering, weeding, watering, weeding, watering, weeding, watering, weeding. Unless there’s too much rain, which then just means weeding, weeding, weeding, and more weeding…

Which brings me to what I want to focus on: weeding. I was back home earlier this summer, and my mom needed help weeding in the garden. While I weeded, I began to think about a passage from Matthew 13:3-9, which we studied as a church:

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (NIV, italics added for emphasis)

The thorns that choked the plants are like the weeds I pulled. They threatened the healthy, fruit-bearing plants. I noticed how easy it was to pull the weeds that were young, when the soil was still wet.

But when I came to weeds that were larger, more firmly rooted, or if the soil was drier, they were more difficult to uproot. Often, those weeds broke off at the ground, leaving the root alive and well underneath the soil. It was frustrating, because I knew those weeds would sprout again quickly, stronger than other newly growing weeds. I also noticed that my grasp of the weed mattered. If I grabbed it too quickly, or not at the right angle, again it would break off, leaving the root below the surface.

It made me think of the weeds in my life, the weeds that choke me and prevent me from living my life as God fully intended. My weeds come in the form of distraction, jealousy, irritation, impatience, judgment, criticism, grumbling. They keep me from becoming the fully functional, healthy, fruit-bearing plant that God has designed me to be.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22, NIV)

Over the years I have weeded my “garden” and cast out big, ugly weeds. But I’ve found that the process is unending. There will always be new weeds. Or some weeds that I thought were gone were really just broken off at ground level. They then grow stronger and spring up more quickly than before.

If I want to be healthy, strong, and living as God intended me to, I need to be diligent, watchful, and disciplined about keeping the weeds from choking me. I need to pull those weeds from the moist ground, before it hardens and becomes more difficult to uproot. And if I find a root that is still underground, I may need to get my shovel and dig it out.

In God’s grace, the seasons come and go. Each day is different from the one before. Sometimes there’s too much sun, sometimes too much rain. A few days are perfect. I hope to be present to the needs of each day as it comes, tending my garden diligently, so in time, my bounty may be plentiful.

 

This post was originally written by me and posted on Estuaries on July 18, 2017.

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