we sit, the four of us, around our scratched but sturdy bar height table. they want skinny carrots, not the fat ones, cuz they're too hard to chew. duh.
our landscaped yard that dave put hour after hour into this summer (and spring and fall)
it's 99% done.
catching up on our stories in ashton's cubbies book, we're all at the edge of our seats because timothy has planted his pumpkins and can hardly stand the fact that they've not grown yet. "what should i do?" "'i've tried everything!" "they just won't grow!!" timothy complains to his dad.
and as i read the next part, i can hardly stand the excitement; the freedom that came to me on page 27 of ash's appleseed handbook. a truth that has been floundering around somewhere behind my eye balls has finally settled down in my heart. i'm overjoyed.
rewind to sunday. pastor gary is speaking about christians being under conviction and about moments in our lives when we feel conviction because we are compromising what we really believe to be true about life and about God and about how to get to joy. it was rad. and i just felt like God was speaking to me about the way i react to my kids in high stress moments. i do exactly what i don't want to do. i do exactly what i've told myself a million times i will never do again. compromise.
and at the end of his message, he brings it home by reminding us that our rules and our religion and our step by step plan will never, ever get us to a place where we find ourselves in a high stress situation and our default is the exact, right, godly thing we should be doing. it won't work. we can't make the pumpkin grow.
he went on to say that God can do that for us. we have to just keep coming to Him, to keep spending time in His word, to keep talking to Him, to keep giving thanks. and all the while, while we are doing those things, underneath the surface, He is working on us. He promises to change us, to make us new, to speak life into dry bones, to soften the hard ground and make it fertile soil.
i went to the altar that morning. asking God to take away anger and stress and to replace it with peace. " i never want to throw cheese again, God." "what should i do?" "i've tried everything!" "I just won't grow!"
we talked about it in the car, dave and i, and about how my check list personality doesn't really get the whole God is doing it for you. you see, when i have a good day, or even a good few hours, i think, "yay!" "i don't get mad anymore! God did it!" and then i get mad and think "never mind, i totally suck. God didn't do it." He either did it or He didn't do it.
but today, at lunch, something clicked in the chambers of my heart. it started beating faster and my hands got a bit tingly, that's when i know a truth is making permanent residence inside of me. God IS DOING IT. He IS working in me. i know He is. slowly and steadily underneath the surface of this life, HE is producing fruit. my focus does not have to be what not to do, but just on Him. being with Him. the fruits of the spirit do not come through works. (you can totally fake the fruits of the spirit, though. am-i-right!?!) the people who have the fruits of the spirit aren't even trying to have them! the fruit comes when we abide in Him. you see, that pumpkin is being made into a pumpkin even when there is NO EVIDENCE OF A PUMPKIN. get it?! crazy town. translation: God is making me into a person that doesn't react in anger or frustration to my kids, even when I'M STILL REACTING IN ANGER TO MY KIDS. um. hallelujah.
"your pumpkins will grow when they're ready, timothy. you keep watering your seeds, pulling out the weeds, and letting the sun shine on them. God will make them grow."