We all have them in our kitchen: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions. They are tucked away in a corner somewhere and occasionally forgotten. I have a cute basket in the corner, under the coffee pot stand where I keep mine. I have a tendency to stretch my amateur cooking muscles from time to time so onions and potatoes are a common commodity as well as the rare purchase of sweet potatoes or red potatoes. Yet, when life gets overwhelming or busy, I tend to overlook them. Sometimes the odor gives them away, or I run across them and they are past palatable, shriveled and growing roots. In the past I just threw them away in the trash can and angrily wrote them off as wasted money.
A few days ago I happened to look in my basket and discovered three sweet potatoes growing roots. I was so preoccupied with myself and what I was going through that I set them on the counter and continued about my day. Come Sunday I saw them again…and while still in my despair, I couldn’t get them out of my head. The blog I wrote before about “Believing in the Seed” resonated in me. Remember, some seeds are tossed into the rocks where they form roots but have no soil in which they need in order to flourish, so they die. (Word of God is heard but not heeded. Luke 8:4-15) The same thing happened with a bag of small red potatoes a few weeks ago. I discovered the bag and almost threw them in the trash like I usually do, but it hit me. I’ve got a garden. This is how they start…why not throw them in the ground and see what they do? So I did. And now, they are thriving. Every day I see them flourishing and wait in anticipation to dig them up and reveal my bounty. It’s a great feeling. Not only did I not waste them, they will multiply, and I have the added satisfaction of tending to them and nurturing them while they grow.
The past few days have been extremely hard for me…the hardest yet…so hard I cannot even talk about it. The road I’ve been on has been so…vivid…so paved with pain and joy and darkness and light. It’s hard to look in the mirror at who I really am. I’m learning so much that it gets overwhelming at times, yet I know He’s there in the midst of it. I know He wants to shower me with blessings. He is revealing things to me that I need to accept.
I truly believe that everyone has good in them and when I start to care for someone it’s incredibly hard for me to give up, even if it’s at the expense of myself. So what does that have to do with those sweet potatoes, you ask? Well, for some people the roots are there, but they need to be transplanted into the soil to continue their growth. There can be no fruit without going to the next phase. (Galatians 5:22-23) After the process of darkness has done its’ job it is time to move on to the next step. But some people don’t want to move on. They refuse. They choose to stay in the darkness. They get comfortable with the darkness, maybe blame others or even themselves for why they are there, and they curse it while still doing nothing to work towards that next phase. Whether out of fear of change, acceptance of their wrongs, or the ability to accept God’s will over their own, they refuse to move, throwing away themselves and ultimately their happiness, right along with it. While it’s a good thing that I care so much and believe in others, I have to limit it to those that bear fruit. I am weak but I am ready to move on. I have to be transplanted and remove myself from the darkness no matter how much I love the person I am leaving there. I cannot be subject to the pain that someone is inviting into their life by continuing to be content in the darkness, especially when they proclaim to know God. I’m not sure how I’ll feel once I’m in the soil, but I do know that I want out of the painful darkness. God only has good things waiting for us if we will listen to Him. He can help us bear fruit, He wants us to bear fruit, that is what each of us are meant to do: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5, 8. He doesn’t expect perfect, but He does want us to follow Him…to trust Him. What’s really odd about this is, I wasn’t sure how this whole story ended, but now I do. This is how God speaks to me. And boy, sometimes you have to be an extremely patient and thorough listener.
God never wants us to feel wasted. He will never throw us out. If we are in darkness it is because of our own choosing. Some may need to remain in the darkness for awhile before they understand, but some of us know what to do. Again I’m reminded of my blog on how we are like children stomping our feet wanting it our way when He is revealing to us our faults and giving us a way out. We just have to reach for it, no matter how scary it is. He wants us to sprout from the darkness in our lives and grow onto the next phase. He wants us to graduate from those experiences. We rejoice in the darkness because that is where we have the ability to grow! (Romans 5:3-4) He doesn’t want us to keep throwing ourselves away, returning to the same habits and same feelings of pain. He wants us to bear fruit in our lives. And He can help because He is the Almighty Gardener. But we have to listen, no matter how hard that is.
Fruit in our lives leads to things like love, goodness, peace, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The devil doesn’t make us do anything, we each have a choice. I’ve said before that freewill isn’t free and this is what I mean. My way always seems to lead to the same pain and hurt, but His will wants me to be free from that. So, I refuse to be afraid anymore. I refuse to give up on myself. I am reaching for every form of help and support more feverishly than ever before: books, bible, note cards, Christian music, spiritual guidance, friends, prayers, websites, you name it. Today I even posted on Facebook that I need prayers. This may all seem desperate, but I am! I want to get off this worn path that I’ve been on. I want to be free from the pain that keeps repeating in my life. I WANT TO BE TRANSPLANTED! I have faith. Strong faith and I’m using it in every form I know possible. I may have no clue what the future holds or how I’ll feel about someone tomorrow, but I do know God is here, and somehow, I’ll be okay…God wants to see each of us flourish. He wants to nourish us, tend to us and help us grow. He wants us all to bear good fruit. Life is a continuous process. Stop throwing yourself away.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4
“You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” ~ Psalm 128:2
“Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.” ~ Isaiah 3:10
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” ~ Isaiah 32:17
“ 4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5“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. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
” ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]
11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” ~ Luke 8:4-15
“22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23