I know some days seem like a blessing and a gift and then other days are very trying and the struggle is just overwhelming. I guess I want to encourage you through the other kind of day that no one seems to acknowledge. It is the day that seems to be the kind that occupies my thoughts today. Its the kind of day where you just don’t know why but you can’t find yourself. It’s as though you hoped in the car and 25 miles down the road you realize you forgot something vital to the journey. You pray that you find it rather than have to turn back but just can’t see it among the garbage in your car that never got thrown away or the toys and articles of clothing that never can seem to make it into the house. You pull off to the side of the road to frantically dig and then you realize it’s at home strategically placed right where your keys were so you wouldn’t forget it. Its like the Charlie Brown cloud that seems to follow just you and even though you can see the sun shining on the world, for some reason its just not shining on you. No this is not an add for anti depressants. Or a sales pitch to sell you something you are missing like a gym membership or a dream vacation. And all the trying to fill that void with the world’s way of filling it isn’t going to fix a thing.
So if you weren’t depressed before maybe you are now but I hope that instead you are encouraged that you are not alone, it isn’t you. The problem is not something to cover up or hide from others. For some reason we think that being vulnerable and open about our unexplained feelings of unworthiness, doubt and fear shows how week we are. But even those women who look like they have the whole world in their hands struggle with this from time to time and if they can’t admit it they are probably living in self doubt so their house of cards doesn’t collapse in on them. We live in a world where we can cut and paste what we want people to see and perceive us as but I think where I get really scared about this out of control feeling is that I feel like this is my only chance. I get one shot at doing this right for my children, husband, and others and what if I mess it all up?
Some days I feel like I applied for a job as a janitor cleaning toilets at NASA and they mistakenly thought I was an astronaut. I am strapped into a rocket ship on my way to the moon and the only part of the rocket I know anything about is the bathroom and even that looks foreign to me. Do you ever just look at your life and go, I should be so thankful or happy but honestly “What Was God Thinking, I Can’t Fly This Ship!”?
I think the enemy knows when one of his masterful lies has matured into a plant ready to bare fruit. He is a gardener of nasty weeds my friend! My neighbors are older and are not exactly thrilled with my bubbly, growing family. In other words, four rambunctious children living across the street is a little much for them. The only thing we have in common is our love for gardening. Elliot is 3 and loves herself some dandy lions. Yesterday our neighbors are in their yard pruning trees and minding their own business, so in true three year old fashion Elliot runs over to their yard and in a matter of a few seconds has blown dandy lion seeds (in the countless millions) all over their yard. All the while yelling to me “I’m making wishes mom!!” Needless to say my neighbors were less than amused. But I just couldn’t stop thinking about how, here we are trying to tend to our garden, we are exhausted from all the work and the enemy of our soul comes over and with one breath plants the seeds that will develop into a million dandy lions.
I guess we could give up and some days I feel like that is exactly what I am doing but I guess the real question is why are we in the garden? Isn’t it God’s job to do the pruning in our lives, isn’t it God who makes things grow and has the power to kill the weeds? I am outmatched by the devil if I am in the garden alone. He knows gardens, His first deceptive act that plummeted the world into sin was in a garden and the woman was ALONE. Why was she alone? God said as He was creating Eve that his reasons for creating companionship for man was, “It is not good for man to be alone.” He knows that when we wander off by ourselves we are more likely to fall victim to the enemies’ schemes and lies. (Side Note: Adam and Eve where not required to toil in this garden, hardship and pestilence was introduced after the enemy introduced the idea of man being independent. And man believed it making the choice to disobey God and bring Sin into the world).
So as I meditate on the picture of my neighbors scowling at my daughter for spreading her seed as they toil in there yard I realize that I am a reflection of that same frustration. I feel like all I do is work and I fall short, sometimes loving my family feels like an impossible thing. I am toiling and I am tired and I am screaming at the enemy to leave me alone but when I turn around it isn’t the enemy getting the worst of me, it is my family and it is me. I am a neighbor chasing dandy lion seeds in the wind, in a garden that belongs to God. I hate to be the voice of reason but maybe it’s time to stop toiling. Sometimes giving up just means SURRENDER, Surrendering to the true gardener.
What does a successful day look like? For me it would be that mountain of a “Mother Trucker” on my couch called LAUNDRY! It never goes away! If I could only get it to stop! But truthfully if at the end of the day I have laundry on my couch but my kids put their heads on their pillows with a smile on their faces knowing they are loved; that is true success. Where does that kind of love come from? Do we manufacture it or does it grow from the garden that God is tending to inside of us? We are a complicated creature of contradiction. We long for rest from our toiling but we refuse to surrender the tools in our hands to the loving father who is longing to take care of us, to nurture us to provide for us, and to tend to our needs. I often feel like I give and give and have nothing left for me. What source do we pull from? Our Father in Heaven is our one true source of all we need.
I have been studying the life of Paul (once Saul) in the book of Acts. I am amazed as the effortlessness of his faith. Countless times situations that would have left me paralyzed by inadequacy he turned trial and tribulation into a story of glory to God. He is imprisoned but praising God and through it an earthquake sets him free only for him to stay in those chains to minister Christ’s love to a jailer. It was as if he was blinded to the fact he was imprisoned by physical chains because his spirit was free. We can fight our trials and see them as the prisons they are or we can waste nothing and turn or prisons into heavenly palaces for ourselves and others. We can be like my neighbors and scowl at the devil and his dandy lion seeds or we can be led by the spirit and turn those dandy lions into tea or wine. I say that because currently as I write this my children are in the back yard gathering up dandy lions for a harvest. Why work for the Devil when he can work for us! Have you ever stopped to think of the power of the verse “For God works for the good of those who love him.”? If we can understand the power of our garden tending God, we can find the rest for our souls!
One of my favorite analogies that Jesus tells us in his final days with his disciples before his crucifixion; it is of the vine. We think we are the gardener but God is saying Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. God is the gardener and he will prune us! Our main job in this life is to abide in him. To let the Holy Spirit life flow through us so that we can bare fruit. So that in the end we are not found lifeless and cut off. Our fruit is not produced by our abilities rather it is produced as we abide. Are we abiding or are we toiling?
Those days we feel as though we left the house without something, it is our source of strength we are missing. We are not loosing our minds we are merely missing a part of our life force, and that cloud over our heads can only be chased away by the Sun (Son). Most days I look at God like he is crazy for strapping me into this Rocket ship of parenting. And I may not be able to fly the ship but I can enjoy the ride as he takes me places I never imagined possible. It is His love inside me that can take me beyond what I could have ever imagined.
When we feel so helpless and we try to compensate for our insecurity and incapability, all we were ever meant to do was turn to God and let Him be everything that we can’t be. When the Devil reminds you of everything you can’t do, thank him for the reminder because when we get to the end of ourselves, we get to the beginning of what we can do in Christ. And in Christ we can do ALL THINGS. So don’t be afraid to admit when you can’t go on the way you are. Because it is He who is greater than this world, who overcame all of our can not’s so that in Him we could be overcomers. When you fall or feel pushed down by the enemy make sure to fall all the way to your knees, because in our surrender and praise to an almighty God we find a place of rest for our weary hearts, we find our strength in Him!