Yesterday Eden and I went outside, where I shivered in the Indiana September morning cool, and picked weeds. It kind of turned into me picking weeds, and Eden talking about how much Daddy loved her, how God made the sky, wasn't it a beautiful day Mommy?, and picking up "baby" leaves and cooing, "oh, how sweet". Truth. So I was the one picking weeds. It was one of those times that the parallels from nature to real life were so easily drawn that it was kind of cliche. I ended the time with a sore lower back, a huge trashbag full of nasty weeds, and a renewed outlook on life. Seriously.
It's crazy how full earth is of natural things that play out spiritual principles. I was wondering the other day over how poetic Jesus must have been, using all those parables to encompass massive truths that basically overturned social, cultural, and spiritual misconceptions. Maybe the disciples just wanted Him to be literal sometimes. But I think He is so in love with the good work He made He felt like it would be wasteful to not incorporate it. He did it all on purpose, you know. It was His idea to make things that ingeniously have multiple layers to it. Sometimes when I read Tolkien or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or C. S. Lewis I start to think, if these men were so smart...and could create such depth in their imaginations, how smart is God? How much are we missing out on just becuase we don't take the time to explore all the millions of Truths He has put into our every day life that are exclaiming, "HE IS!" Like Romans 1:20 says, "For since the creation of the world, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
I could make a list of excuses why our flower beds have been neglected this summer. Something that involves trips to Texas, my son having surgery, his 21 days of recovery where he wore arm braces and basically I was pregnant again except this time the 20 plus pounds weren't safely encased, immobile, and most importantly, soundless and opinionless. But now that its September, and our neighbor's house still hasn't sold, (could it be our lawn?) I decided it was time. Needless to say, I had a hard time even seeing our intentionally planted flowers and bushes from the weeds that had overtaken our soil. It made me frustrated at some points because a lot of our plants didn't even bloom this year, and I am blaming it on the massive weeds, that were readily going to seed and sending out deceptively pretty yellow and white flowers. We put money into our plants, not to mention a lot of time spacing them out, planting them, watering them, and then one three month period of neglect, and suddenly it was as if all that time had been wasted. The unintentional had overrun what we were intentional about. Proverbs 24:33 "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a bandit, need like an armed man."
See where I am going with this? You can't make this stuff up. It's like God is by nature such a TEACHER, and His desire is so great that we'd learn His truths, that He just can't help himself. Here, He says, I will put it everywhere. Anywhere. He doesn't stand far off, laughing at our ignorance. He is practically shoving it in our faces. Acts 17:27 "He did this so that they may seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us." Or maybe this verse is better validation: Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to Me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know." Or Colossians 1:9- "That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding."
Lately I have felt the Lord really addressing bitterness in my heart. Which is weird, because I always flatter myself to think I'm not a bitter person. I can't think of things I haven't forgiven. But I have been realizing that bitterness isn't about a one time forgiveness, and for me, its deeper than the basic offense/hurt/forgiveness/freedom cycle. It happens on a moment by moment, thought by thought basis. Throughout my day I find myself wrestling with a lot of thoughts, and the tone of them are often bitter. "I bet this person has never sacrificed like I do as a mom"...(vomit on myself for thinking that.) Or "If I had the kind of means this person has, I'd be happy and free too" equally as disgusting. Or "I could really give them a lesson on [whatever thing I think I've really mastered in my life, which clearly by this thought alone shows I haven't mastered love, which binds all things together in unity according to Colossians 3:14]." Do y'all see what I'm talking about? Bitterness, for me, isn't just limited to the normal scope. It's pervasive, and deceptive, and it wears a lot of different identities."Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Hebrews 12:15
I so often wish that sin would wear one of those flashing lights, like "Hey, I'm sin, I'm here to destroy your life, your marriage, your kids' lives, your relationships, and your faith." How much hurt would I avoid if I knew sin at the moment it stepped into my life. But most often, it's disguised, and it comes in with my intention or desire. It's the unintentional, habitual thoughts that can take down years of victory in a certain area of my life. Like those weeds, it's not that I planted them. Chad didn't plant them. They came of their own accord, blown into our yard maybe by the dust in the air from our neighbors, or originating by their own spontaneous accord. Either way, they exist. And they rob the plants I intentionally put in our yard of their nutrients', and they are a pain to take out. In fact, some of the ones I wrestled with most had little younger counterparts that were so much easier to yank out and I kept berating myself for not getting out in the yard sooner. Had I, the work would have been twice as fast.
Yesterday I was reminded to be careful, to be on my guard against bitterness, in all of its forms, to get it at its root, to keep it from growing and multiplying, and to stop it from robbing the nutrients from the intentional fruits of the Spirit that the Holy Spirit has painstakingly been tending to in my heart. It's easy to be overrun by sin. God is the ultimate worker in our hearts, though, supplying us sun and and soil and rain and nutrients, our job is just to make sure that we listen to Him and get at those weeds quickly.