It’s the sting of the words that we can’t form, the ache in our chest and our throat searching for the relief of understanding, of being understood, that makes us freeze sometimes. There’s a sense of paralyzation even while we’re still fully functioning—going, doing, being—but still no relief.
Then when come the hard things up on the horizon, it can be enough to send us into hiding. Tired, we wonder at the worth of the work. A post title like Digging into 2018 could be enough to make you want to hide, thanks for opening this up anyways.
I get tired too. It’s all I can do some days to choose to take the next hard thing into view. It’s tempting to hold my breath and make-believe I’m on a tight rope…it’s easy to miss the wonder of it all.
I tended to think of the story Yeshua (Jesus) told about the sower in Matthew 13 in such fate-full terms for a long time. For example, I thought if good seed falls on a path (a place with a lack of understanding according to Jesus) it will easily be snatched up.
Likewise, in my view, if good seed were to fall on rocky ground (a place of un-rootedness), it may begin to grow but unable to take root—it will be sun scorched and die. If on thorny ground (a place blinded by worry and deceit)—it will only be a (fateful) matter of time before it IS choked and also dies before bearing fruit. Pretty exciting, huh?
But what if, we have been given this story to cause us to hope? What if this seemingly sad story is an invitation to take a deep breath, take in hope, and take a step off that imaginary tight rope in our minds? What if this story, Yeshua told, was to teach us how to bring understanding to the places that lack it and establish rootedness to the places struggling for root? What if we can remove the rocks? What if we were to bring vision where sight has been diminished by worry and lies?
This gets, oh so, real for me as I run a small school at my house (I’ve started talking about our homeschool that way to get myself out of some mental ruts). Some of you reading this run schools out of your house as well. But all of us, whatever role in life we are currently serving in, have life to give.
So, I was wondering if, for a few minutes, you would want to let these words captivate our imagination together in what is possible as we do the work of giving life this year: the work of gardeners, farmers, seed sowers, in the lives around us—in our own soil.
In my mind I see my six year old as well as my sixteen year old both closely observing my own land as they consider whether they care for my input in theirs. That’s good, because I cannot give them what I do not have.
Yeshua’s disciple Paul refers to the possibility of being, “fellow workers with God”. God, being the one who can bring growth, has invited us to get our hands dirty. To engage here, touch—experiencing the pleasure and purposefulness of the work of nurturing the ones we love. Dirt. This can feel and be both daunting and hope-filled.
But I have this deep conviction lately that a big part of us holding onto the hope part is to have a clear resolve. I’ve lacked this often. Like I said earlier, with a fateful perspective I was more likely to simply pray that the seeds of God’s words would fall into good soil in my children’s hearts. And may it be! Yet, what I missed is clearly understanding that I am invited (and instructed how) to protect, cultivate—make well…as far as it depends on me.
Although Yoda may disagree :)…I still think these words worth holding:
“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”-T.S. Eliot
This story Yeshua gave us, it’s an invitation. I hear an invitation to do what I can to: bring understanding to my children when they lack it, so that they are not left vulnerable in confusion, establish rootedness when they are struggling to find a solid place of realization, to bring vision where sight has been diminished by worry and lies. I can tell them the truth. I can show them the truth. Most of all, I can trust and rest in the truth and in that way—I will be the truth.
Like Yeshua was for us. He did it without fault, I do not. But in the same way he told Paul that his weakness was not the bad news but rather the good news, that too is our hope. We were never expected to be without fault. Knowing where to look in our times of weakness is simply part of the design (that works) to disciple our children.
The eight year old and the ten year old both are watching my land. They see if it is lying fallow, unworked below the surface, or being tilled, engaged.
Sow righteousness, reap love. It’s time to till the ready earth, break up your fallow ground, it’s time to dig in with God, until He arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest.-Hosea 10:12
The twelve year old and the fourteen year old, they notice when I yell (again) aaaand then I apologize (again) and explain how I got angry this morning about their _____ being left undone (again) because I got all anxious and fearful inside (again) about whether they were going to grow up and be responsible human beings or if I was actually just messing everyone up??? oh dear. real life. Honest. They learn as I meet my limitations, find my daily bread instructing me onward, and I am honest about it.
Dripping raw if I have to. But in my imagination…or did that just really happen?…it seems like rocks dislodge sometimes as the honest truth comes tumbling out of my mouth. Something quite significant happens when mama says, “I’m sorry, the truth is I was afraid…”.
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice.
-William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
The wonderful thing about Yeshua’s story—it’s drenched to its core with real life. We live there, wrestle there, fall (or some days gracefully leap?) off the tight rope there. We get down on our knees to pray AND pull on our overalls to nourish the seeds entrusted into our care—there. What glory.
What clarity we need—to not only know what we can do, but what we are invited to do, and invited to enjoy the fullness of life and the fruit that will come from it. Some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty fold. Some we’ll never see. That’s why we are called the people who walk by faith, with faithfulness, not by what we can see.
Let’s cultivate some good soil this year, because Yeshua told another story saying,
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of seeds, but when it is grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
The seed is His miracle, the growth is His miracle, we are His miracle.
We get to protect, nurture, water, prepare, the ground. And apparently, we’re not alone in any of it. Don’t grow weary. Hold onto hope. We’re not left to fate and neither are our children. Here’s to being invited into family traditions that have stood the test of time. Here’s to hearing…
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”-Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Happy New Year 2018 dear friends! What is feeling daunting to you? Glad to be digging in with you,
Hi, I’m Raynna Myers. I’m an author, photographer, frequent tight rope walker, homeschooling mom to six children, and wife growing in resolve and clarity. This is where I share the journey.
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