Rooted in Truth

Gardening is not my favorite task.  I have friends who LOVE it and their gardens are spectacular, but me, not so much.  When we purchased our home we inherited a flowerbed the size of Rhode Island.  Seriously, it’s so big.  I got pregnant shortly after we moved in and so the flowerbed sort of fell on hard times.  A few years ago I decided to rejuvenate the flowerbed, if for no other reason so our neighbors wouldn’t have to hide their eyes as they drove by our home.

At that time we bought 40 bags of mulch!  Yes, you read that right.  We also pulled ALL the weeds and ripped out everything that was dead.  Since then we’ve had some successes and some failures in our growing seasons.  We have some finicky hydrangeas that sometimes bloom and sometimes don’t.  We have a rose bush that grows so big every year regardless of what we do to it, which I’m thankful for because if left solely to me I’m sure it would already be dead.  We have a crepe myrtle that up and got some weird powdery mold disease and turned all white.  Geesh.

Every year around this time the flowerbed needs a good weeding and clean out from the winter.  There are dead leaves to be removed, weeds that have taken root as the weather has begun to grow warmer, and pruning that needs to be done to seasoned plants that are beginning to burst into bloom again.

I have been in a season of winter in my own life for about a year.  Sometimes my growing seasons coincide with the seasons of Earth, but at other times my seasons are lengthened as I walk through an area that needs extra time to process. Sometimes my stubbornness slows down the process and sometimes it just takes me time to figure out what is even going on in my life as I wrestle with hurt, loss, joy, love, brokenness, healing, whatever it might be that needs to be wrestled.

I’ve been watching the weeds in our flowerbed grow and thinking that they needed to be tended, but I’ve been busy and so I’ve put it off.  The thing about weeds is that they take root and they grow fast.  Some of their roots run deep and require work to remove them.  Some of them are shallow and can easily be plucked out of the ground.

As I ripped up weeds today, I was shown some weeds that have rooted themselves in my mind and spirit.  Over 20+ years of being in ministry I’ve encountered people, men typically, but not always, that have spoken to me, on more than one occasion, and told me that my emotions are a hinderance in the ministry.  That I need to cry less, be less passionate, be better able to ignore the things that are hurtful, basically just feel less.  And do you know what I’ve done?  I’ve listened.

I listened because I respected their role in my life.  I listened because I have big feelings and am passionate about what I do and figured, you know what, I probably need to manage my huge feelings better.  Yet, as I’ve been in this season of winter I’ve been wondering why I feel strangled.  Why my voice seems to feel lost.  Why I feel as if I’ve lost a part of me.

As I was ripping up the deeply rooted weeds in the garden, I realized that these words to be less of who I am have rooted themselves in my soul.  Over time I’ve intentionally been less expressive of my feelings, less passionate in my thinking, more docile.  I think, at times, I’ve even stopped fighting for what I think should be done because I don’t want to cause drama or be difficult.

This is very sobering to me.  I want to passionately pursue the purposes that God has called me to and I want to pursue those things as fully me.  I’m a daughter of the most high king, a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a teacher, a pastor, a peer.  Those titles all blend together.  I can not separate them from each other, though at times I have definitely tried.  Each one together makes me, me.  Each role grows me and makes me stronger as a person.

Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is a master gardener and recognizes that a garden full of variety is far more beautiful than a garden with only one type of flower.  As he plucks out the weeds that have taken root in our hearts and restores those spaces with fresh blooms, I pray that we remain rooted in his truth – we are fearfully and wonderfully made and HE does not make mistakes.

 

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It’s A Veggie Kind of Day

My 8 year old is an amazing young man.  He is genuine, compassionate, and full of life – most of the time. But every now and then something hurts him to his core and that is hard for this mama to handle.  It’s tough to know I can’t take those hurts away and that he has to learn to process them as he grows. It’s tough to see him question his value and worth because of words spoken to him.

Recently, a close friend of my son’s told him he wasn’t a very good artist.  It really hurt him.  I’ve tried to explain to him that art is whatever you make and that everyone does it differently.  He may not become an illustrator, but he can have fun making art. This week he’s been working on a project for school and this all came up again.  “Mom, I’m not a very good artist, I can’t really do this project.”

My goal is not to shield my children from negative comments (although as a mom that thought does pop into my head) but to teach them their identity in Christ.  I want them to know that they don’t need to carry the burden of another person’s hurtful words.  I want them to look to Jesus and see that they were created perfect, in his image.   I want them to know the truth of the Gospel – Jesus died and rose again so they could be forgiven and free.

So, we scraped the lesson plan for today and focused on matters of the heart.  We took a Veggie break and watched “A Snoodle’s Tale”.  This is by far my MOST favorite Veggie Tale.  The fact is it has no veggies at all, but Snoodle’s instead.  If you haven’t seen it, it is a must see.  It is a brilliant allegory about creation, redemption, and God’s perfect love.  Love that heals, love that takes our pain, love that lightens our load.

I know that life will bring hurtful words from time to time.  I pray that my children learn to give those hurts to their creator and hold on to the truth about who he created them to be.

Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”