Well. This has been a day, a week, a two months of battle. Day and night battle. Constantly renewing my mind. Constantly having opportunities to be patient, kind, and forgiving—to myself and to others.
I read a blog post that kind of put into words the tension I’ve been feeling. I know I love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, but my body doesn’t always co-operate (we’re getting real today, y’all). My eyes wander and my tongue wags and my head aches and my gaze sneers. My toes stub and my mouth hisses, my thoughts wander and my pulse is attacked by anxiety. My muscles won’t relax to sleep because I’m constantly tensed for battle. Every moment I have to be aware, every gate must be guarded, every door kept closed so the little foxes do not come into my garden, and everything, everything else must go.
The war has been intense, and 9 out of 10 times I can remember that I AM in me has already won and I have nothing to fear, nothing to be anxious about, nothing left to desire but Him. But oh, when those doors do open and those little foxes do come in and the wildness of my garden is compromised, how I beat myself up!
I was picking blueberries this morning from our bushes in our backyard and I noticed poison oak growing right along the places where I was going to step my foot down to reach into the bush and take hold of the harvest. Those blueberry bushes have taken years to grow and produce fruit. I mean, a good five or even 7-8 years (I’m terrible with keeping track of time haha). Those bushes were planted, grew, and grew, and grew without any fruit for years. And only in the past three years or so has fruit burst forth, despite the fact that those bushes have been bush-sized for years. And only today have I seen poison oak there. How interesting that the discouragement in years past is that the growth isn’t enough, the fruit is not going to produce, there will be no harvest, and yet today, as the harvest was right at my fingertips, my eyes could only see the poison. The poison beneath me, well below the level at which the harvest was at, way smaller than the size of the harvest, and yet it was at my feet. My feet. The poison came not to choke out the fruit of the harvest but to steal peace from my steps. The discouragement was still there yet it had shape-shifted forms.
And so these past weeks, as I have grown to love God so much more fully with my heart, mind, soul, and strength, my focus goes to those places where I fail. Not to the harvest, but straight to the poison, berating myself that there is any trace of poison in the garden I am growing in the midst of this kingdom of darkness.
Yes, I want and need to be aware of my gates and keep the little foxes out, yet my focus, attention, adoration, and peace needs to be set so firmly on the harvest that I am not sidetracked by the poison. The poison is only poisonous to me when I set my feet, my shoes of peace, into it. It is so far below my harvest. It does not have–I do not give it–the root system, nourishment, or support to choke out my fruit. It is unfounded and unfed, yet it is focused on.
The population of foxes in the garden of my heart has decreased as the wilderness has increased. May I keep my eyes on the Gardener and not the patches of poison, yet may I be ever aware of them so I can avoid them and keep my peace. Oh, the Gardener of my heart—Him and Him alone, He is the One I want to keep my gaze on.
There’s a quote from an e-mail that my mom sent me that really spoke to me: “Rest in the strength of my love, and you will experience more and more breakthroughs.”
And when I rest in that strength, that He is faithful even when I am faithless, that He is a much more faithful lover of me than I am of Him, that I do not deserve this God I have and He certainly does not deserve me, and yet we have each other and celebrate each other, oh, what love. He is enough for me and yet I know I am not enough for Him—and so Jesus made me enough. He made me enough.
Why would I ever want to focus on the poison when I have the beautiful face of the Gardener to gaze upon?
Keep up the good fight. I AM in you is already victorious. The fruit is ripe for harvest. Keep your feet walking in peace. Keep your gaze on His face. Keep crushing the poison under your feet.
He is good. He is faithful.
Even when I am neither.
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