I wanna erase everything. Delete it. Pretend it never existed. But I can’t. Because it’s a part of me and it’s how I got from there to here. I don’t have shame. Yesterday my husband said “He’s sad about it.” But I don’t think He is. The phrase that was meant to shame me back into…whatever didn’t work. I didn’t feel bad. I don’t think He actually gets sad about things. I mean, if He even exists. I think He’s good with stuff.
Many times, how we respond to people mirrors how we respond to God. I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships between people and how they correlate to our relationship God in terms of trust, love, and even obedience.
We have two choices when met with problems with people – we choose to either respond or react. They may seem like the same thing, but here’s what he’s taught me recently. When we react to someone or something, it’s generally based on the circumstance. It comes from a place of soul-led logic. It finds it’s roots in debate and argument. A response on the other hand, is more personal. It is spirit-led wisdom, rooted in love. There’s more acceptance in a response. There’s less aggression. It doesn’t mean that we agree, but that we are willing to see the personhood in someone, as we wish them to see it in us.
God desires for us to respond to Him, rather than react to the world around us. When we see all the crazy going on around us (circumstances), He wants us to just look up. Keeping our eyes on Jesus no matter what else is going on at our feet is an imperative. Praying that we all keep our eyes on Him and respond to Him as He leads this Fall.
I’ve always been resourceful. When I was a kid, if my mom hadn’t been to the store in a while, I could come up with something yummy to eat for dinner. I would say, “out of nothing, I made something!” I had a certain amount of pride in that skill set. Later in my life, it manifested in me being able to find money when I needed it – often out of thin air! Recently, I was asked to give my biggest strength and my greatest challenge. My mind immediately went to my ability to (almost) create resources. Instead, the word “flexibility” came out – which is also true. As I pondered the quality of resourcefulness, the Lord spoke to me. The impression He made on my heart is that my resourcefulness is provision that I have made for myself. It has confidence in it’s own ability and it believes that my resources never end.
Resourcefulness has a creative aspect to it. The Lord made us in His image; He is The Creator, but He also made us creative. When we take that skill and apply it to our lives without His abundant provision, He will eventually let us run out of provisions to teach us that we are not limitless.
As I’ve repented for thinking so highly of my own creativity and resourcefulness, I’ve also hitched my wagon onto His provision. If I can no longer count on mine, all I’ve got is His. Matthew 6 says that we are not to worry about what we wear or eat or any other kind of provision, for He makes provision for the birds and the flowers. How much more will He provide for us? He doesn’t say to “do” anything, He says to “look” and to “consider”. We are meant to take notice of the provision happening all around us and just KNOW that He will also supply all of our needs according to His riches in Heaven.
And His resources never run dry….
Toward the end of each school year, I write a long list of assignments they must complete to be finished for the year. They have the option to complete all of these in a week or so (if they work pretty hard), or take the recommended three weeks to complete it. They also, could take longer if they desire, moving their school year into the hot, perfect for swimming months of June and July. I give them this choice for them to work on their level of self-motivation. During the rest of the year, we go through most of the work together, so I know where they are and what they are reading and learning. But at this special time, they have the option to finish early and savor the first sweet hints of summer. This is not about speeding through and not digesting what they’ve read. They have to be able to narrate the story to me. Many times, I read the books too, because they are very entertaining and I always learn something.
What do you do to finish the year strong? Post a comment!
In her, I see myself-
older, more frail somehow
a different shape than me,
but me nonetheless.
She’s lived a different life
than I have,
but in some ways the same.
I don’t recognize this person;
she’s not tilting her head back
or trying to play tricks
on my husband
just to hear him scream out
like a girl.
Praying those days come back soon,
when I can enjoy them from a whole
Last spring, I planted 4 square foot gardens in my backyard. The area had plenty of sun, the soil was perfectly ready for anything I could throw at it. Since it was my first time with a vegetable garden, I decided to order seeds instead of buying plants. Though this was probably a mistake, God taught me so much during this process that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I also began composting to provide quality fertilizer for my garden down the road.
At first, my garden was nothing but dirt. Little seeds were making their way to the soil’s surface, but I couldn’t see that. I just watered dirt. I watered dirt faithfully, knowing that anyone who casually walked up wouldn’t have understood, but I knew in my heart that exciting things were going on under the surface. This reminded me of being in a counseling situation or witnessing to someone. We see no change, we just keep on watering the dirt, until one day – Bam! There’s a tiny sprig of hope coming up out of the dirt. All that watering has done something! If you’ve been praying faithfully for years and see no change, please know that things are happening! You just can’t see them yet! God is faithful, and your prayers are not going to waste!
Composting is weird. Garbage goes into a box, and something that gives life comes out. What?? Not sure of the science here, but all of it reminds me of the great exchange that Jesus made for us. We give Him all of our garbage and He makes something out of it. In fact, our garbage only leads to death; He is causing life to issue from death! No one else can do that! In fact, if I let my brain go a step further, He made us from dirt (death), and only He adds life to all the dirt from which we are made. If He didn’t do that, we are all just death walking around. Nothing that is put into that container comes out the same way it went in. It is dramatically and radically changed!
I wish I could say that I grew some amazing vegetables and I’m snacking on my homegrown radishes right now, but I can’t. Something very horrible took place about 2 months after I started watering dirt. My plants got to a certain height and just – stopped. As I was, with extremely limited knowledge, trying to access the situation, I noticed that the ground in my planters was very hard. Very hard. I grabbed my trusty hand rake and went to town. A week later, nothing. I became pretty sure that the ground was too hard for the roots to grow adequately, so the plants themselves were stunted. Boo. I heard a memory verse in my head, “Break up your fallow ground…”. Looking up the rest, I found “Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.“ Hosea 10:12.
Fallow means “dormant, inactive”. The Lord desires for us to have hearts that are ready to receive His word. Ground that is too hard is like a heart that is hardened to Him – there’s no way for water to get down to the seed, and the seedling can’t fight to grow in soil that is too hard to stretch out in. We have to take an active role and prepare our hearts to receive the seed that the Lord is planting, so that it will grow in due time and make more seeds to plant elsewhere.
So, here I am, a year later. Spring is upon us. I’m ready. I’ve been cold for far too long this year. My gardens are barren. I’ve uprooted all of the dead plants – all of the stuff that was meant to feed us only for a season. I had more success in my garden than I initially thought I would. Most importantly, I am wiser about what plants I can grow and what it takes keep them alive. The Lord has shown Himself faithful and true. This year…I’m thinking flowers.
We are SO behind after being in Florida for a week! But here’s the deal, we are closing in on the end of May (school’s out for summer, can’t you just hear Alice Cooper?). It’s coming whether we want it to or not. And believe me, we DO! So, at times like these, I have to remove my list-checking hat and take a deep breath. I find it easier at the end of the year to be less firm on projects, because I remember as a substitute teacher in the school system, the kids are kinda done! We don’t do testing in homeschool, like they do, but there is something in the air during springtime that says, “I JUST wanna be outside; I’ve fulfilled my requirements for the year!” So, if you find yourself getting nowhere fast trying to shove the last bits of something down, take a deep breath and relax. Take a mental health day, or a field trip. Yeah, you’ll be even further behind, (he he) but when you return to the desk, it’ll be with renewed interest and vigor. We’ll soon be swimming, I promise….
It’s the deep, overwhelming, take-your-breath-away kind of experiences that make it. It’s a sort of branding of the soul. There’s a tattoo there, in the shape of my friend. Not sure how she got there, since I’ve sometimes done my best to strongarm people away. But she did. And I love her for it. She shows me the strong love of the Lord when she says that I’m full of poop. She says she loves me in many different ways and even in a language only the two of us understand. No one else besides her and my husband have this kind of permission into my life. It’s not the kind of friendship that blows around by every breeze, it’s the ‘I can totally picture her old self sitting next to me while we are being fed by nice workers in our nursing home’. That, my friend, is glue..