Ruthann J. Weece

Making room to grow

Making room to grow

I was given this plant by a beautiful friend when she left the country.
Not because she wanted to but because she had to.
And she left the remains of this wonder to bless me.

And although I love plants because they’re living organisms that remind me of the beauty of life. 
Sometimes they die and I hate it when they fail because it reminds me of my inability to keep everything I love alive. 

You see, 
plants like humans…thrive under the ‘right’ conditions.
And this plant at times has called for me to take extra care of it…to give it a little extra water, to place it closer to the sun rays and even to trim it. 

Well, lately it’s been doing fine but I’ve been noticing even in its state of survival it’s roots are beginning to grow outside of its original pot and it is asking for room. 

It’s time for it to be replanted.
For me to give it a bigger home for it to spread its roots.
And I’ve been resisting it.

I suppose its because its truly mimicking my life right now.
I could come up with a thousand reasons why not to do it, but one of the most common phrases I’ve repeated is
-‘It’s doing fine where it is’.

And it’s true,  it is surviving but what I’ve been given some thought to lately is
-it’s not thriving. 

That the possibility of its health improving if I’d make room for its deep roots has me thinking lately.  

Isn’t this true in life?
If only we wouldn’t resist the changes our lives need for what is to come…

These past few years I’ve been really considering how life is a series of trusting…a chain of events that have been testing my willingness to wholeheartedly trust God.

As our kids have been growing up and traveling along the paths God is directing them I’m learning more and more about this.

We see this in parenting so vividly.
Every stage of raising kids calls us to a greater level of trust and challenges where we place our trust. 

When our children are infants and toddlers there’s a natural dependence on us that occurs.
And it’s a good feeling to be wanted and to be able to meet a child’s needs of love, nurturing and even to be able to provide physically, spiritually and emotionally what they need.

Yet the reality of all of this is truly overwhelming, as it feels way more than we physically have within to give.
It’s here in this season we learn to lean greater into God and those He’s surrounded us with to help us in this endeavor…and here we grow into a greater trust in God. 

And yet it’s also here that many of us grasp for other things to help us control the ever-changing circumstances swirling around us hoping to keep our heads above water.
We quickly learn this tactic of surviving is misleading…
because although initailly we might be duped into believing we’ve got it all under control, we really have nothing within our control we just merely think we do!

It’s here that an event often occurs where we are faced to really trust God.

One where we are faced with if we trust God- despite the outcome?

Will we remain faithful if it turns out the way we want it or even when life turns itself into an even greater tragedy?

You see these events come into the lives of all humanity….the most faithful of humans and even those of us who are just trying our best. 
There’s no differing considered in heartache and suffering.

And as these little humans grow up and become adults we as parents continue growing in our journey of trusting.

Trusting for their good, their safety, their success, their faithfulness….this list is exhaustive of our desires for our sons and daughters. 

And yet there’s so much more than this at stake in these moments of time…

You see I truly believe God has greater concern for our children than just their comfort and safety.
Yet these are two of the most common pleadings we as parents spend a lot of time repeating to God. 
Think about how much of our striving is for this for our kids!

And yet this is probably some of the least of God’s concerns…really…

Sure it’s okay to pray for their safety even now we have two of our kids trekking this very minute across the country preparing to do the hard work of church planting and a son who will be spending the next couple of months in the desert training for our country’s safety and you can bet we’ve prayed for safety for them.
But it’s been within these prayers God has been challenging me to go deeper…to scrape at things even deeper. 

Because God has greater plans for our kids than just their safety or ease…
He has an adventure for them that He’s leading them into.
Out into their own journey of faith and trust. 
Our kids need their own crossing of the Jordan River to know God!

And this means a whole new way of us learning to trust God too. 

This past year not only have I been learning to walk this earth without the comfort of my parent’s support and guidance but my husband and I have released our last son, our final arrow. 
And although there’s a whole lot of grief and loss one experiences with these changes I’ve been discovering something even greater and deeper here…

You see God cares greatly for our broken hearts but He has something else hidden in this season too for us to uncover.

I found it in the pages of Job’s story…I had to look for it a bit deeper than ever before…
as sometimes one can get stuck in all that Job lost…his family, livelihood and all the common things we ‘fill’ our lives with and yet it’s beyond his pain and loss we find a treasure…a mystery of sorts.

It’s as if God was calling our short attention span to wait and to read to the ending of his story. Calling us to not give up where his life seems so sad and hopeless but to continue on. He beckons us to not get tempted into believing Job’s life was over when he lost all he had because there was something greater to come…something even bigger God was doing…

It’s in these few words hope rises…

‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.’ Job 42.12

Did you see it?
The ‘latter’ part of his life was blessed more than the first. 

In the beginning of his story we hear of how full his life was.
How he was a righteous man, blameless before God…how he had 7 sons and 3 daughters…his possessions and servants are listed with enormity and his life appeared more full than one could imagine and yet this is the season of life this faithful follower of God was stripped of all that was near and dear to him.

And throughout the story of Job we read of his faithfulness even in his dire grief. His steadfastness to God even when those closest to him persuaded him to give into self pity and doubt but Job remained faithful and this is where we find this verse above tucked away.

And then following this reminder for us to uncover we see how Job’s life began to be full again, he even was given the exact number of children he’d lost.
I don’t write this foolishly to say everything we lose we will be given more or even given back the exact same things.

But what I do see in the pages of Job’s story something of greater value.
This discovery began whispering a new desire deep within….
not for what I would be given but what God was doing in the secret places of my brokenness.

My heart’s desire these days is not to go searching for something to ‘fill’ this emptiness but to ‘grow’ something He’s planting deep within me.

For here in Job’s story I am reminded that God doesn’t just want us to surrender our fears or even our losses He wants to restore us with a greater hope and trust in Him. 

God has MORE for us beyond the loss.
MORE hope…
MORE for us and MORE for our kids too. 

So rather than clutching onto the control that gives us a false sense of security
-may we stretch our arms out to our loving God who is MORE than able to carry us and our children. 

This is where our lives find the ‘fullness’ God has for them when we allow Him to grow what’s within…
‘Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!’ Ps. 126.5

When we freely receive all the changes life is bringing into our homes and receive them our lives become full and they heal…because transition is hard.
Making room for change and trusting God is hard because sometimes things get harder rather than easier. 

And sometimes it means resting in the hard until we heal but just as my plant needs more room to spread its roots and grow.
my heart needs more room for this too.

And because of the lesson this plant is teaching me these days I’m learning its time for both of us to no longer survive but to thrive within these days!

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