I’ve been marinating over this topic for a few weeks now, and honestly I feel this is something the Lord has laid on my heart to address, so I’m going for it. This may offend… More
I don’t know about you all but I am so ready for spring! It feels like this super cold weather just keeps lingering and lingering. It almost has this depressive feel about it when it’s difficult to get outside to play with your kids or when you feel stuck indoors because of how cold and wet everything has been for months and months. I am ready to see flowers, green grass, and all the new things that spring forth during this next season.
My husband and I recently went outdoors and planted some trees at our new house. We planted 10 to be exact, but they weren’t trees like you picture in your head probably. They were twigs, and I mean absolute twigs. You know, it was one of those deals where you move into a new home and the Arbor Day Foundation sends you info wanting you to join and participate in a survey about how important trees are and, in return, they send you 10 free trees. I thought Woohoo, 10 trees! This is going to be awesome!
So of course I participated in the survey and waited for my sweet little trees to arrive. I even googled them ahead of time to see what each tree would look like and, in my head I was so anticipating how pretty our yard was going to look. Needless to say when they arrived, I was kinda shocked. I let out a small giggle and said, “What in the heck is this?” I don’t know what I was expecting but is certainly wasn’t twigs!
Nonetheless, we were still excited to plant them, so as we went around the front and backyard, my husband would dig a hole and I was responsible for holding the twig upright while he filled the hole in. I was happy to see how some of the twigs had already sprouted some tiny green growths on them. And I’ll have you know, I prayed over every single one of those twigs! HA! I asked the Lord to bless them and that they would grow into the beautiful trees they were intended to be. Honestly, the main reason I was praying over them was because our yard is nothing but that difficult North Carolina red clay. Mud. Pure mud is what it is. How in the world would these trees ever make it in this type of soil?
I began to think this is a lot like us. We are just like those twigs being planted in that soil. Our survival and ability to thrive and grow are very dependent upon the soil we are planted in and the soil we allow ourselves to become. Jesus talks about the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. In verse 23 Jesus says, “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” He’s saying here that good soil comes from those of us who truly hear and understand the Word of God…those of us who spend time with Him and in His Word…the ones who are hearing it and choose to keep hearing it!
I love Luke’s account of this as well found in Luke 8:15, “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” The part that really sticks out to me here is “cling to it.” In the Amplified Bible, it says to “hold on to it tightly.” This comes from meditating continually on what God has to teach us through our personal quiet time, devotions, reading this blog, listening to sermons that build our faith, and attending church…regularly. Our churches are a place of solid and fertile ground. Church is the perfect place to regularly create the environment of exactly what these verses are telling us. It’s a place to regularly hear the Word. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). By going to church, we are putting ourselves in a position to hear the Word preached.
As a born-again believer, I am told in 1 Peter 1:23 (ESV) that I am now made a seed that is imperishable, through Jesus Christ. I have been made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). I am made to live and live abundantly (John 10:10)!
But, just like the twig I planted in muddy soil, I can’t expect it to grow if I don’t tend to and water the soil. Sure, it may sprout some new life here and there, but it will never reach its full potential unless it is growing in good soil. It will never grow to abundance.
I believe we need to take a moment and look at our soil. Are we staying firmly planted in soil of worry? Are we staying firmly planted in soil of constant doubt and fear? Are we staying firmly planted in soil that is full of shame and regret? Are we staying firmly planted in grief over something or someone we have lost? Are we staying firmly planted in an environment of negativity or ungodly friends who are holding us back?
Friends, we need to tend to our soil! If we are in those soils of shame, regret, grief, negativity, and sin, we will continue to grow the same things! That’s what we will continue to harvest. We need to get in there and pull out the weeds, gravel, and anything that is preventing us from growing and springing forth the way Jesus Christ intended! We need to follow what the Bible is telling us and get into the Word. We need to start having a quiet time with Him each and every day. We need to build a relationship with Him. We need to get firmly planted in a church where we can allow the Word of God to change us, to infiltrate our minds and souls, so we will begin to start thinking His way and become fruit-bearing seeds for His glory.
I love the Psalms. Whenever I just have no clue what to read from the Bible on any given day or I don’t have a devotional or something specific I’m studying out, I head straight to the Psalms. They instantly bring me to a place of worship with the Lord. Many of them highlight the joy I have in Jesus. In Psalm 1:1–3 “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with the mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” I really wish you would go back and slowly read over that just one more time and let it sink in.
Think about it like this: “Oh the joys of those who tend to their soil and weed out the ways and advice of the wicked and the ones who mock us. We are the ones who delight in the Bible, in the Word of the Lord and are constantly meditating in it. We will be the ones who will flourish and bear fruit each season (during the good ones and the bad). We will not wither and we will prosper in all we do.” That’s His promise to us.
Friends, it’s time to weed out all the things that are preventing our full growth. It’s time we commit to stay firmly planted in good soil.
Dear Lord, I thank you for Your Word. I thank You that through Jesus Christ, You came to give me life abundantly. Lord, I ask You to help me weed out all those areas in my life that are not bearing fruit. I ask You to give me wisdom to tend to those things that are not creating the optimal soil in my life where I can grow and flourish in Your ways. I ask You to give me the courage to detach myself from those around me who are creating environments of negativity and, Lord, I ask You to help me be a light in those situations so that those living in that dark place can see You shining through me. I thank You that I don’t have to live with feelings of worry, fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, and grief. I thank You, Jesus, that because of Your sacrifice on the cross I am totally free. I thank You for Your life that is flowing through my veins allowing me to grow to my fullest potential in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever just been wrecked with fear? Have you ever had something happen or come up in your life that literally shook you to your core?
This happened to me recently. Looking back, I’m astonished the fear came in so easily. I’m the girl who daily fills herself up with God’s Word and His truths and makes it a practice to fight off the enemy and his low blows and attacks.
But not this day.
I learned of something absolutely terrifying that happened in my daughter’s school that potentially put her too close to danger, in my opinion. If that wasn’t bad enough, what she told me followed a major scare that took place in our nation. I instantly became frozen and stiff with fear and worry. My shoulders started burning, which is how anxiety typically manifests in my body. I mean, they were on fire and the burning sensation was not letting up.
After that, I was on a mission. I began chit chatting with other moms. I started making phone calls and sending emails because I wanted to make sure I’d done everything humanly possible to protect my daughter.
But before I knew it, the next day had come and I sensed the fear and anxiety now rolling over onto my other two daughters, who are still young and not in school yet. My mind began to run completely wild. It was going places it should never be going.
That night when I went to bed, I had a full blown nighmare that something horrible happened to one of my girls. I remember waking up with the sickest feeling in my stomach. As my day continued I would periodically have visions pass through my head of more bad things happening to my children.
Later that afternoon, my husband and I were in the car driving. We were headed to a cell phone store to ensure that my oldest daughter had what she needed so I could continually feel connected to her, especially in times of an emergency. On the ride over, things weren’t going exactly the way I wanted and, in an instant, I found myself snapping at my husband. Like, crazy-town snapping. I was elevating my voice, lashing out, and making false accusations towards him. (I’m sure someone can relate with this!)
Right after I snapped, I immediately thought What in the world just happened?
I was really taken aback because this is not normal behavior between my husband and I. We don’t argue. I don’t snap at him. I don’t lash out at him. I don’t say negative things to him. He’s my best friend and my most favorite human to be around. So what in the world just happened?
I was still angry in a sense, at the situation and at myself. In that moment I began to sing a worship song to the Lord in my head. About two minutes into the song, I slowly felt my spirit calm down. I looked over at Jeff and told him I was sorry.
That night, the Lord really spoke to my spirit. He took me to Philipians 4:6–7 (NLT) which says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I felt instant relief. Just like that. His words washed over me and I literally felt this heavy blanket of peace laying on my whole body.
Man, why did this have to take three days before I got my act together and dug into my source? My Source of life! Through these verses the Lord was telling me, “Kelli, first of all, don’t worry, pray! Tell me what you need. Thank ME for the things I am doing in your life. Thank Me for the protection I am providing to you, your family, and your precious daughters. THEN, you will experience My peace.”
It was in that moment I resolved to be totally vigilant the next time any fear, worry, or anxiety tried to take hold of me. I resolved to be alert! I resolved to be on the lookout!
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
I see you devil. I’m watching out for you and you are not going to devour this Jesus girl.
Are you fighting fear, worry, or anxiety about something today? Are you sitting there reading this crippled by fear of something? Friend, I am here to tell you to follow the instructions of the Lord. Stop the worry. Pray to Him and tell Him exactly what it is you need. Thank Him for doing it. And then—then—experience His peace that surpasses all understanding. We can be free from fear. We can be free from worry. We can be free from anxiety. Just roll it all over onto Him.
“Lord, I thank You for Your Word. I thank You that in You I am free from all of my fears, worry, and anxiety. I thank You Lord that You are working on my behalf. I thank You that You hear and care about my concerns. I thank You for sending Your peace to continually guard my heart. I love you! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”