As a gal who loves gardening- ok, attempting to garden- spring is so exciting. It always feels like the world around me comes alive. It is filled with hope, expectation of growth, and so much sunshine and warmth. There is a sense of achievement that comes from the routine of sowing, reaping, and everything in between.
Here in Oklahoma, however, winter keeps rearing it’s ugly head. Just last week we had snow. Now, it is April. Rain, wind, even tornados are what I have come to expect in April. Certainly not snow, but there it was, a dusting, when I woke up three days ago. It did not snow for Christmas. It did not snow for New Years or even Valentine’s Day, but the day I pull out my gardening stuff and my fruit trees begin to bloom... hard freeze.
Life can be a lot like that. Just as we begin to bloom where we are planted, the enemy comes along and throws a hard freeze or a scorching drought our way to try and discourage us. It can feel like all of the energy and work you have expended to grow is withering away in a flash.
But here is the thing, friend,
if you have deep roots even the most frigid cold spell or the most polarizing heat will not end you or your walk of faith.
Having deep roots will not lessen the numbing of the cold or the sting of the burn, but what it will do is give you the ability to withstand those trials. It does not come naturally in our current climate of instant gratification and always looking for the next big thing— to be still long enough to dig in and firmly plant yourself close to God. It takes effort. It takes consistency. It takes attention and planning, just like gardening, except the stakes are higher. In the winters of our lives, it often seems like the thing to do is run- run toward the warmth. But that fire will burn and that fire will leave permanent marks on your soul. Withstand that cold and then comes the heat, the refining. Most days it feels like a constant cycle between the two extremes. The enemy is like that. No one ever said the devil would take it easy on us.
In fact, he is like the black hat wearing guy in a western. He doesn’t follow the rules. He is a shoot-you-in-the-back-before-the-count-of-three kind of enemy. The worst part is that he does not show up in a red cape with horns. No. Instead, he masquerades as the earthly things we want most- the temptation of getting exactly what we desire is such a tricky place. Around every corner, we have to decide is it a blessing or trickery? Remember the enemy does his most efficient battle when we don’t know what’s happening. He wants to be your sun. He wants to be your shade. He will morph into exactly what you desire.
Draw deep in to God consistently, in the light.
That allows us to see exactly what we are up against while trying to grow on our walk of faith versus stretching in the dark. His words are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We must use that light and remember our enemy at every step, lest we be fooled. Once we understand and focus on Kingdom values, we more readily recognize and are able to access them. That is when we will see growth and take root, even in the bitter winters or scorching summers of our lives.
What I know from tending to plants and souls is that the spring always comes and so does the nourishment- not always in the way I expect, but when it does it is beautiful, refreshing, and so very life giving. It has been a long, hard winter in my life and I so am looking forward to the bloom because I know it will have been worth the battle. Selah.
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Hi. I'm Jen-
a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, we are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring.
I am a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. I find great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for me.
I over use the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. I cheer too loud in the stands of my kids’ activities and hug more than is socially acceptable. A natural born encourager and armchair warrior, I am learning to redefine my mission field and make the most of each day I am given.
I am chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. I am learning to practice perseverance over perfection and long for the day I get to see my grandparents and Jesus’ face.
Until then, I am just looking for Grace in the Grind.