I wake up feeling exhausted this morning.
I wake up feeling lost this morning.
I drag my feet around the house in a daze. I try to gather my thoughts along with my energy, but apparently both are still tucked in; covered in blankets of sleepiness.
I have no appetite, so in the place of breakfast I decide to make tea. I slowly dig through my tea-shelf looking for just the right tea to fit the morning. Ah, there it is hiding at the back. I grab the tin of earl gray only to discover it feels very light. Quickly I pop the lid off and peer inside. Phew, one tea bag left.
As I wait for my tea to steep I head off to tend to my plants (and by tend I mean water). I start with the house plants that live in the living room, next the flowers on the patio, and finally the herbs I have growing in the spare room; where they get the most light. You should see them, they are growing like crazy!
Honestly, I am shocked walking into that room. The herbs have exploded! The cilantro is so massive that it’s spilling over the sides of the planter and it’s smothering the poor rosemary. In fact, I think the cilantro is going to need to be trimmed down in order to keep both it and the rosemary healthy. I trim the shoots that are hanging over the side, and I trim the shoots that look like they are getting ready to flower.
The trimming is necessary for healthy cilantro. This is something I learned the hard way last year when I decided to let my cilantro do its own thing, even though I had been warned that I should trim it. Sad to say that the cilantro did not stay healthy long (rip last year’s cilantro).
Well, I am doing my best to make sure that is not happening this year.
As I am cutting the shoots off and putting them in a container (I’ll use them for supper), I am reminded of a conversation I had at church yesterday. I’ll save the details, but the main point was that sometimes God “trims” us so that we may grow healthier IN HIM. Sometimes God strips away our crutches, our defenses, and even our strength. He strips us bare so that we may be humbled and then find our true identity in him. Even though the cutting hurts; even though we don’t understand; we must trust that His plan does not change. We must learn to find our identity in Him.
As I finish cutting the cilantro I hear the timer beep telling me that my tea is done. I take the cuttings and head back to the kitchen, and the thoughts of yesterday’s church conversation are pushed into the back of my mind.
Carefully, I grab the steaming cup of darkly steeped earl grey and make my way to the patio, grabbing my bible on the way out. As I settle into the blue cushioning on my patio chair my eyes are transfixed blankly at the trees below. With a bit of resistance I blink my eyes shut and begin praying, but my mind wanders, and once again I find myself staring mindlessly at the trees. Okay, take two. I start praying – picking up where I left off. And once again I somehow end up staring at the trees.
This cycle repeats for a painfully long time. I just can’t (or maybe don’t want to) do it. I don’t feel like I have it in me. Finally, I skip the fluffy and the pretty, and I go to the genuine. I can say nothing except for the feelings that are lingering deep within me.
It wasn’t pretty or eloquent. It went something like this, except with a lot more fragmentation and stammering, “ Jesus, I don’t have the energy; I can’t think. I don’t have the strength; I can’t push through on my own. I don’t know where to find the focus. I’m struggling to renew my joy. I don’t have the energy to be hopeful at this time. So God, I need you to BE the energy, strength, focus, joy, and hope within me. Because I can’t do it. And Lord, as I read your word now, I pray you use it to encourage me. Amen.”
I finish my prayer and I don’t feel anything. I don’t even want to open my bible…I could probably just skip it. But because it’s a morning habit and because I am desperate for hope, I open it and start reading.
I honestly do not expect to find much in my bible reading. I mean, I’m reading Deuteronomy and I can barely focus on the words I’m reading. My eyes are tracing line to line when something grabs my attention. As I get to verse 3 of Deuteronomy chapter 8, I freeze. It says, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Once again I am reminded of yesterday’s conversation at church.
For those of you who don’t know – I have been having a difficult season with my health. It’s not something I want to delve into or dwell on at the time being, but it has been a physical and mental struggle. I only share this to help you see where I am in life and why this verse stuck out to me. Maybe I am going through this tough season with my health; maybe I am being trimmed, so that I may be humbled and so that God can sustain me in a way that others and myself have never seen before.
I am encouraged because reading this verse felt like an answered prayer. As my prayer felt answered through this verse it solidified the ending of the verse in my soul, “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Even when I feel that things have been taken from me, I must remember that I do not live on those things, I live on the words of the Lord. I live on the truth that is spoken in his word, and I live on the words he has spoken over my life. Even when God is trimming down my shoots and I feel like nothing is left, God is still there and his plan for me is still in motion.
I am not forsaken by him, no, he calls me his beloved.
God has a beautiful plan for all of us, and as I took in verse 7, I was even more certain of this. “ For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills, a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills ” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).
Even though at the moment things are hard for me, and at the moment they may be hard for you as well, just remember God has a plan. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy (in fact it is probably going to unbelievably hard), but it does mean HE is with you. When you can’t be strong, he will be.
It’s going to be okay.