Monday, August 23, 2010

Little Plastic Cups

Jonah attended "Camp Keeling" (although I think it should be renamed "Grammy Camp") at the beginning of the summer. Basically, he spent two days and one night with Grammy and Papa while Sarah and Charlie visited from Alabama. He had a blast! Not only does he love playing with his cousins but Grammy packs every minute full of fun and creativity. I'm talkin' painted t-shirts, homemade bird feeders, scavenger hunts (complete with toilet paper roll binoculars), flashlights and sleeping bags, cereal necklaces, coloring, cutting, name it and she's got it. I'm surprised he didn't come home with a full ride to SCAD or at least threaten to quit all academic pursuits to abandon himself to a career in the arts or something. Anyways.....when he came home, he brought with him a little plastic cup filled to the brim with potting soil. I did my best to water and nurture that little thing but I have a confession to make.

We went to Mexico. In my defense, I left it outside so it could get rain while we were gone but apparently it didn't rain all that much in our absence. We had good intentions. It was to be a "Mammoth Sunflower" or so the seed packet said. We were going to let it grow in its safe little plastic cup until it was strong enough to transplant to the yard and then we were going to see if it grew taller than Jonah. Bless his heart. He was really looking forward to it.

Bear doesn't think it was really us being gone so much as the roots were all knotted up in a ball. I think it may have been ready to be moved out onto its own. We just didn't know it. We thought it needed to be stronger, bigger, older, healthier before putting it out there in the yard all by its little lonesome.

Early this morning our neighbor, Dan Gealy, went to be with Jesus. It was his second bout with cancer in the past year. He left behind a widow, a son in his senior year of high school, and a daughter in the tenth grade. I'm gonna be honest. I don't get it. Just at the time when you get to start being your kids' friend and not just a parent. Just at the time when your kids are old enough to do their own thing and you and your wife get some alone time again. Just at the time when you're pronounced cancer free and can take a breath.

Sometimes, God asks us to get out of our little plastic cup. He moves us into a big yard. The weather's harsher. The surroundings are unfamiliar. We don't get it and think it's too soon. We're not strong enough for this yet. But He puts us there with a purpose. To grow our roots deeper. To have our faith strengthened. To allow us room to grow into mammoth giants of faith. We can take hold of Him and His Word, allowing it to fertilize our hearts and minds, or we can dry up in refusal to be stretched beyond what we understand. But if we never get out of that little plastic cup, our growth just stops. Dies out. We get so knotted up underneath the surface of it all. It’s only when we’re given room to spread out with all our doubts and questions do we find stability in a Savior Who meets us at our deepest need. He becomes real to us and our faith increases exponentially.

2 Kings 19:30 says, "Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above". Lord, I want to take root here so I may bear fruit there! I want to be that remnant, God! In Luke 8, Jesus shared the parable of the four soils.

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."

Oh, that my family would be good soil for the seed of Your Word. Protect Esther Grace and Jonah from being trampled. Give them godly friends, not thorns that would choke your word out of their lives. Keep me from being a thorn to others. May the Living Water of Jesus continuously replenish them as they grow in Your Truth, O Lord. May I mother them according to Your Ways and not my own so that they might produce a crop one hundred fold.

As for the Gealys, I pray Psalm 126:5-6 over Debbie, Brett, and Jordyn.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

May their promised harvest be soon, Lord.

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