I used to think that once I wrote something here it was a lesson learned.
After two years of writing I’ve come to realize that anything I create exists to remind me of things I’ll be forever learning.
Today I’m returning to my first post of 2014:
It’s early in the afternoon and I’ve buckled my girls into their car seats to go on a drive.
After closing the rear door and before opening my own, I pause for a moment.
I rub my eyes until little sparkles dance behind my eyelids.
Do you ever feel tangled and trapped in your own life too?
I slide into my seat and before I’ve clicked my seatbelt there is a request from a tiny voice:
“Can we have windows down and music up loud?”
I look in the rearview mirror and see them swinging their skinny legs and I nod.
It’s God’s grace that the girls think these mid-afternoon drives are for them
and I’ll never tell that they are really for me.
for when I get all upset and start sighing over nothing
for when I start muttering and stomping up and down the hall
for when I’ve completely lost sight of who I am and what I am doing
We drive down the 210 east and exit at the base of the foothills.
I make a left and we take the side streets home.
The windows are down and as we stop at a red light in front of the colleges, I smell them.
Climbing over the crumbling wall, the white roses tangle and spill their fragrant all over the sidewalk and into the street.
It’s a mess of beauty.
The girls smell them too and ask to pull over and pick one.
And because I want to say yes as often as I can, I turn the car around and park at the curb.
Hannah scoops the fallen petals from the sidewalk.
Adella scouts out the perfect rose to pick.
I stand watching aphids crawl over the tiny green thorns covering the stems.
Adella chooses her rose as well as a rose for Hannah, who is sitting on the sidewalk with her petal pile.
Using my keys and my fingers, I awkwardly saw off the chosen blooms and scrape away the thorns.
As I peel them off I poke myself repeatedly and The Parable of the Sower comes to mind…
all artwork credit: GodInspires.me
In Bible Study Fellowship we have been studying Matthew 13 over the Christmas break and
Jesus’ explanation of the parable has been bouncing around in my brain for the past two weeks:
“Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart.
This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
The seed cast in the thorns is the person who hears the kingdom news, but thorns of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard,
and nothing comes of it.
The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News,
and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”
I’m confident that my heart is the “good earth”.
It has heard the Good News, taken it in and longs to be a place where God can create a harvest beyond my wildest dreams.
But I can’t deny that I feel thorns and while they are not big enough to choke me out, they hurt.
…and I know I’m not the only one getting pricked, scraped and slowed down…
Adam and Eve toiled in thorns as they worked the land after being removed for the Garden.
The Israelites suffered with “thorny” people they should have removed from their lives.
Paul struggled with the metaphorical thorn in his flesh that be begged God to remove.
…and I stomp and sigh and ask for the thorns of worry and wanting to be removed from me…
Then it occurs to me as I merge back into traffic:
God already has dealt with all of the thorns.
He removed them when He removed our debt at the cross.
He used the hands of fallen man to place them on the head of Jesus.
and I can’t get the thought out of my head that it was not accidental that the thorns woven throughout the Bible
were woven into a crown for our Savior as he destroyed sin.
and I can’t get the feeling out of my heart that this will be my theme in the new year:
when I find myself toiling in the thorny patches of my heart I will pluck them out,
weave them into a crown and place it at the feet of the One who wore them for me
It will be my song in 2014
…the melody of freedom in Christ…
…the harmony of plucking, weaving and letting go…
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