It began with acorns. Lots of acorns. My husband built a box, buried the acorns and then covered it with wire mesh to keep squirrels from stealing. When green shoots emerged we (mostly by we I mean he) transferred the seedlings into pots. Around 200 little plants sat in my backyard until they were ready to be planted on our new property. That was 7 years ago. Since then he’s planted various bushes, fruit trees, Japanese Maples, Virginia Pines, you name it. He walks around surveying them often, knows how each one is doing and takes great care to help them thrive. One day I’ll be in the middle of a forest. It will be amazing.
Now my green thumb only extends to the edge of my porch, but I do enjoy my ferns and colorful potted plants. A couple of mornings ago I was pulling off dead blooms and thought about this tending and thriving I see all around me.
We live on what is becoming a farm. I look out of my windows and see a garden, a bee hive, my dog and cat running around and the area being marked out for three goats coming soon. My neighbors on both sides have horses and one has a pond where sometimes we fish. Birds are everywhere.
I try to catch bits and pieces of serenity like I did fireflies when I was a child.
Oh, I got it! Wait, there it went!
I really don’t believe this is how it’s meant to be. This grasping for mental rest. I was thinking about this as I pull tired, once-orange blooms in hopes of new growth.
Let me tend to you that way…
Soft reminder. I’m this living, created being who needs God to tend my soul so that I can thrive and grow.
I grab at Him some days, cling for breath like an asthmatic. I ask questions about where Joy is…where Peace went…as though Joy and Peace are missing children.
Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control…grow in our lives when we let His Spirit tend to us. Cultivate us. Prune us. Nourish us. It sounds sweetly religious except honesty can be messy and irreverent. Yet Jesus wants to teach us to trust Him with every aspect of our lives.
But If I’m not in control will all the spinning plates of my life crash into a million pieces?
What if some of our plates need to crash?
What if a few crashing plates bring us relief?
This morning I thought about sisters Mary and Martha from the Bible’s New Testament. Jesus was in their home visiting. Mary sat at his feet, resting in His presence and absorbing His words. Martha was busy in the kitchen doing practical things, like preparing their meal. She became angry at her sister for sitting with Jesus and not helping her. (I wonder if she was angry because she too wanted to sit at His feet but felt constrained by her duties to be a good hostess) Martha came into the room upset and told Jesus to reprimand Mary.
But He wouldn’t. You know what Jesus said?
One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her. — Luke 10:42 the message
Being with Jesus, being tended to by Him, is the one essential thing.
There are many challenges and worthwhile endeavors we might experience but not one of them can fulfill its God-given purpose in our lives, or the lives of others, if we Martha-strive without Mary-surrender.
Jesus, tend to our hearts and minds. Help us slow down and carve out the time to be still with you, however that looks for each of us. Help us learn how to be open and honest with you. Give us the courage to listen with an attentive heart to what you will show us. Help us learn through your kind attention in our lives that you are worthy of our trust.