Ahhh, another day in the weeds...uh, I mean garden. To our credit we do have a large garden that is (mostly) weed-free, but our lawn, well, that's another story. I went out today to pull some of the nasty plant life from what should be a nice, luscious lawn since it has been raining off and on for a few days. When the ground is wet, it is so much easier to pull out the weeds, roots and all. For most of them today, I didn't even need a spade or a shovel to help me do the dirty work -- just my bare hands.
I began to equate the moist soil with my own soul. It seems that the times when my soul and my heart are tender, it is much easier God to uproot the sin in my life. What makes my soul tender? Oddly, it is easier to rattle off those things that I know harden me -- anger, distrust, disobedience. While I believe the opposites of those things do make for tillable heart soil, I think to be completely workable, there must also be concession and courage.
I must concede that I do not know best and yield to Him who does.
I must be courageous, knowing that He who started a good work in me will carry it through to the end. No matter how messed up I feel, no matter what pain this world may inflict on me (or that I cause myself), no matter how much I feel like I am drowning, I must have courage to allow this plan to unfold without trying to control every last detail. I must have courage and admit that I have faults, that I am not always right, and even if I am right, many times there is something I could have done better. I must face my fears and in surrendering those out loud to God, I must allow His healing powers to set me free.
Do you remember that I told Hannah I was going to read a book about Heaven so I could help her find some answers to her questions about Grannie? I have the book (I'm reading Randy Alcorn's book Heaven), but it has spent more time laying on the table than actually in my hands. Out of the blue, Hannah called me out. Mom-my, are you reading that book about Heaven yet?
Um, sure, honey. I'm reading it. I just haven't gotten to the chapter that talks about the answers to our questions.
Whoops. I probably should have read past the introduction.
A four-year old can have too good a memory, eh? I felt it to be a bit of a nudge that perhaps I should get on with it, to stop being afraid of what I might find out, and to just read.
One of the questions Hannah and I both had was if people in Heaven could see what was happening on earth. Alcorn's supposition is that yes, people in Heaven can see what is happening on earth and his explanation draws on several Biblical references. Although I had expected relief at this conclusion, my first actual thought was, Gee, I hope she looks down when I'm doing a good job. What if she sees me mess up? Will she love me as much?
Sometimes I wonder how I got so wrapped up in love being contingent on my good behavior, on doing the right things. Since I did not see Grannie everyday, it was easy to shield her from my...um...less favorable side. I could put my best foot forward for those eight or nine days we were together because, let's face it, I wanted her to be proud of me. Whether or not she expected me to always be this way, I'm not sure. Being a mom herself, I'm sure she knew that I could lose control, that I wasn't always so calm while disciplining my children, and that at the end of most days I was exhausted. I wanted to live up to every expectation that she had of me, but did I want that because I really wanted to strive to be a better person or because I was afraid of losing her love?
Knowing that there is a strong possibility that she can see what is happening in my life, should she choose to look, I think I must set down the fear of disappointing her, of somehow losing her love, of not living up to, at least what I perceive to be, her expectations. Instead of striving to be loved more, perhaps I can strive to honor God. Instead of setting out to be perfect, I can choose to learn from my mistakes. Instead of sitting in fear wondering when I'm going to blow it, I can choose to wrap my life in the unconditional love of God and be satisfied with grace.
Conceding that grace is pivotal to walking with Jesus and having the courage to not look perfect (note there can be no be here) are crucial to accepting love at face value. To try to guess at motives or wonder if it is unconditional or not takes the joy out of just feeling...loved.