“Hello blog readers…good to see ya…it’s been a long tiiimmme…”
Someone cue the Conway Twitty.
It has been quite a while since my last post. Life as a youth pastor’s wife with young children can get a little crazy at times, especially during the summer. These summer days have been full-speed ahead, and the only good spare time I’ve had for writing is at bedtime. By that time, my brain is mush, and let’s face it people…sleep wins. every. single. time.
My days at home with the boys this summer have been so sweet. I have enjoyed every day I get to spend with them, and I refuse to acknowledge that school is just around the corner. I’m in complete denial that I’ll have a second grader and a kindergartener. (If ever I’ve had the temptation to home school, it would be now!)
I’m even more in denial that, unless Caroline comes between now and August 5th, I’ll have zero children in my house from 8:00 to 3:00 during the school days.
This is not ok. My mother instinct is whispering it’s need to nurture something. So, I did what any other mother would do. I got a puppy, and I’ve turned the rest of my nurturing attention to plants.
Yes, you read that right, plants.
I don’t have a green thumb on my body, never have. My sister recently referred to me as a plant hospice worker, sending plants straight on to Jesus. I suppose that’s pretty accurate, and while I haven’t even come close to turning our yard into a beautiful garden utopia– I’m mostly just re-learning how to keep plants alive at this point– I have come to realize that I kinda like the process of caring for them.
As always, it makes me think. If you haven’t figured me out yet, I’m always thinking, analyzing, and rethinking. Caring for plants really does teach me something. Flowers can’t live without water. They can’t grow larger without water, the sun, and a little fertilizer. They’ll choke on weeds, and they’re so much more beautiful when you take the time to pluck off the dead blooms and wilted leaves. Sometimes they just need a little pruning.
And so do I.
So, here’s what this process is teaching me. It’s nothing you probably haven’t heard before, but it’s on my mind and I want to share it with you.
Like my flowers, I definitely can’t live without water, living water. On days I neglect my time with God, I’m starving myself. I’m taking steps toward being spiritually dehydrated. The word of God is water to my soul, and it can’t just be a part of my life. It has to BE my source of life. It feeds me. It helps me grow. It’s life to my bones because it’s the words of the One who made me written TO me. I can’t live without it, or I’ll wither. I’ll shrivel up. I’ll die. But, when I spend time reading it and soaking in it’s truth, I’m like a tree planted by a stream of water which does not whither and yields fruit in season (Ps. 1).
But, sometimes weeds come creeping in. They look pretty and green. Sometimes they even resemble a flower, but they’re not. They overtake and wrap around to choke out the life and turn what once was pretty into an eye sore. There’s all different kinds, but they do the same thing. They steal my time and attention, and they cause me to waste water on what looks like a flower but really isn’t. Time on my phone when I could be reading or paying attention to my family. Filling my day with good things, but leaving little to no time for the best things, like reading my boys their devotion at bedtime because everyone’s already too tired. Doing ‘religious’ activities while forgetting my personal time with God. Doing good intended acts, none of which result in anything meaningful or fruitful . These are the weeds that need to be uprooted and tossed out. They’re not worth it. They’re life-killers, joy-stealers, and time-robbers.
Then comes the hard part for me. The dead-heading. This is when the Lord has to, sometimes painfully, pluck away the parts of me that are ugly. There are many of these, trust me! Selfishness and pride. Vanity. When I wear my feelings on my sleeve. When I’m short-tempered instead of giving a soft answer. When I roll my eyes and have a terrible attitude. When I don’t set a good example for my kids with my words. When I don’t respect and love my husband well. When my priority is M-E and no one else. When life tests me and I do not ooze Jesus, then I have to let Him do some pruning so that something beautiful will grow in the ugly places. Something like what Galatians talks about– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, long-suffering and self-control.
Then, when I abide in Him and He does His work, something really beautiful happens. New growth begins to form and take shape. Beauty blossoms, stretches tall towards the Son, and spreads. It’s a process only He can do in me, and when I let Him, it’s so worth all the painful pruning.
I love when God teaches me through a simple, every-day task. I want everything about my life to be beautiful to Him, not full of weeds and dead, ugly, wasted places. I want Him to have all of me because He gave me all of Himself. I want Him to do His work in me so that I bear fruit for Him and ooze Jesus to the world.
So, come and do Your work in me, Lord. Prune all the dead, uninviting places away and uproot the weeds that choke life out of me. Bring new life and growth, and I pray Your living water will grow something lovely out of my life for You glory and Your splendor.