Seeds Among Thorns

Our words matter. Our thought process matters. What we speak over our lives, our loved ones’ lives, the stranger in the checkout line, all of it matters. I’m learning the same goes for the words we pray and the way it correlates to how we see God.

For weeks I have been praying for blessing. “Lord, why? Why isn’t this easier? Where is the blessing?” And as quickly as the words dropped from my lips like a thick muddled stew I knew the answer my weighed down heart needed to hear.

My life was not lacking blessing. My life was lacking ease. It was ease that I craved. Ease that I so desperately wanted in any area of my life, somewhere, anywhere. I yearned for the freshness of morning, that feeling of waking up before the first stroke of mayhem, sitting with my first sip of coffee, beginning with nothing but my own thoughts. I missed the way the breeze would dance across my face in the warm sunlight on a midday afternoon, but I have been trudging through the days like I was walking through mire. I wanted life to be calmer, easier, comfortable, more than anything in the world, yet I knew in my heart that in struggle God births good things.

“Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:31-33 NLT

An easy world was never promised but a hope filled life always will be.

I wrestle with God, Paul, and Romans 5 anytime something really bad happens in my life or the life of someone I care for.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5

For so long I have read this as a Christian bandaid statement that just covers suffering under the blanket of a verse and gives us a reason to end it with a solemn smile and a pat on the back, wrapped up with a big, fat, “We’ll pray for you” as we pass each other in Target. It doesn’t take the immense pain you’re feeling away. It doesn’t put the pain into words that I feel in the very make up of my bones the way other scriptures make me feel and it definitely does not make what is happening okay. But, I know God’s working and I know He is good.

I know when he is meddling because his meddling never feels like an invasion. It feels like an opportunity to see life unfold. Skillfully and delicately he takes hold and refashions everything the darkness came to destroy. Somehow He continually, without ceasing, takes the evil and corruption of this world and turns it into something utterly remarkable.

Jesus showed us that sickness will never have a place in the kingdom of God but every morning my first baby, the one who taught me how big love could be, comes in my room every morning and says, “Mommy, am I going back to the hospital? Do you think I’m going to die?” Because she keeps getting sick and we aren’t sure why.

We are changing the narrative, because words matter. What we place our hope in matters. And what our God says matters most of all. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that no amount of darkness could ever defeat what God has built within our lives and my head tends to know that but, my heart is still catching up. I find myself constantly searching for some kernel of truth because without it I feel as though I will be swallowed into the ground below. Overtaken by the what ifs and fear that looms my mind with every unanswered question, he is there. Throughout every trial we have endured recently a deep trust has sprouted and that trust has been what has gotten us through.

This summer our oldest daughter had a week long hospital stay, half of which was spent in ICU. Eric stayed at the hospital and I stayed home with our two younger girls.The week was heart wrenching, but it also showed me how little I trusted God and honestly my husband with our family. I tend to think everything is up to me. It is all me. “I make or break these kids” which in turn was slowly breaking me.

I realized with the force of ten thousand bricks, that my babies have never just been my babies. That realization alone freed my heart enough space to stop white knuckling everything in my life and let Eric do what was truly best for our family. I was able to let God into areas I closed off years ago and I was able to hand over the places hardest for me to give up. The places where I lack any power at all.

In the places where my desire for control looks comical in comparison or in the places I am too small to stand, God’s dominion and sovereignty will always surpass my own.

I have since stopped praying for blessing because blessing will always come. Now, I pray to notice the Spirit within me. I pray to sit with a stillness that allows me to hear the heart of the Father. I want to be so close, to listen so clearly, that I find the contentment I long for every time my heart craves a deeper calm this world could never offer.

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