See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains? You too, be patient and stand firm. James 5:7-8a NIV
When I married my husband, a long-time farmer, I didn't have much experience with growing plants.
Killing plants? Yes, I had been known to kill ivy. (It was a point of personal pride, do you know how difficult it is to kill that stuff? I excel at it...)
We purchased a little homestead, and he began to plant things. Fruit trees, ornamental plants, and a huge garden.
Here's what I've discovered: there's a lot more to growing crops than placing a seed in the ground. Preparing the soil, amending the soil, planting the seeds, weeding, mulching, more weeding, picking, preserving and then replanting for the fall crop....
Farming is truly the practice of active patience. You can't make a plant grow faster. But you CAN encourage it, help it along and pay attention to it.
When the Bible instructs us to 'Be patient and stand firm', the instruction comes with the expectation that we will be active in our waiting.
Not a 'pacing in the hallway' kind of active waiting, but rather, a mindful acceptance that growth takes time yet requires attention on our part.
Life takes time. While you're waiting for ______ I encourage you to be active in your patience - prayer, reading your bible, researching books and bible studies that can help you grow, reaching out to others, and intentional gratefulness are all ways we can practice active patience.
What are you waiting for? How are you practicing active patience?
"Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
Galatians 5:25 - 6:5
I have a vision board in my hallway. Years ago, when life was at its darkest point, I was invited to join a group of women to create these boards. Mine has pictures of horses, relaxing interior photos, a woman relaxing in a suds-filled tub, beautiful flowers and tranquil scenery.
At that point in my life, I was hurt, broken, wounded, in pain, and exhausted. My vision board featured phrases like:
...a passion for fire...
...love your power...
but my all time favorite, a phrase I held on to for dear life was this: "When all of life looks like it is falling apart, it may just be falling into place."
How many times have we been in the midst of a difficult time, and needed the reminder that all will be well...? I love the verse God led me to this morning:
So we're not giving up. How could we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. II Cor 4:16
Even while we walk through horrible times, God is with us - working in us to create new life!
Be encouraged today, dear one. God has promised that not a minute will go by today that does not contain some measure of grace for you. I will be praying this verse as a prayer for me... for you...
"Sometimes I feel like I gave them wings that were too big for me to deal with, but God's grace has to be sufficient. He is really the only protection they need."
It wasn't a comment that I haven't heard before. It was made by my mentor, friend and hero, an
unschooling, delight-driven, child-led-learning mom. She holds doctorates in education, and is an unwavering supporter of homeschooling families in our area.
She is a continual encouragement to me and to my husband, that we can give our son space to grow and mature and explore, and that we can TRUST GOD for the rest.
Do we really trust God with our kids? Do we agonize over every decision? Do we hold our children loosely, giving them wings over giving them ulcers?
I remember praying when Trey was little - 'Lord, I surrender my son to your will, but we need go over a few guidelines first...' I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was dead serious!
Jesus invites us to surrender our fears, our control and our expectations. He invites us to rest in his promise that his grace will carry the day and is truly all that we, and OUR CHILDREN, truly need.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness..." II Corinthians 12:9 NASB
Most of us hold as tightly as we can to our blessings - health, family, peace, security - singing grateful praises. When changes occur though, and those blessings are removed or threatened, we immediately pray for their restoration.
Jesus' approach to is a bit different, isn't it? "...anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal." (John 12:25 MSG)
Praying for you today, that you'll hold your life loosely, open to changes and ebbs & flows, knowing that God is leading you to eternal love...
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)