Monday, April 12, 2010

Garden Full of Rocks

Rock On!

My parents always did a lot of gardening to help feed their 4 growing children. Now that it's just the two of them, they have cut back the size and number of their gardens. Saturday my father and I turned the soil to open an old garden so my mother could plant some herbs, and we found many large rocks, and some were only 3-4 inches below the sod. These rocks weren’t there 5 yrs ago when the garden was active; they rose up while the garden was stagnant (resting). (Through a scientific process called “Frost Heaving”)

On the opposite end of the spectrum my father occasionally melts lead (Pb) for some of his hobbies, and as children he often indentured us into smelting service. One key step was to clear off the dross (Impurities) every time we added new metal to the melting pot. (Since lead is very dense these impurities always rose to the top.)

These two life examples show the two reasons God’s work is never finished in our lives. Whether we are resting or active, issues constantly surface. Old hurts and lies constantly work their way toward the surface, and fresh experiences add new problems all their own… This is where this note could turn into a sermon, but I have faith that you can realize the subtle meanings for your own lives, but I did want to hit 2 really big points:

1) Issues are not a good measure of your course: they don’t (necessarily) show that you are going in the wrong direction or even illustrate a problem in your life; they illuminate basic flaws in the world. You can do everything right, and still face the crap that new experiences bring. (So we’ll never be perfect… oddly enough)

2) Issues are not a good measure of your worth: Don’t condemn yourself. Issues are part of life. We are constantly being made new(er), and the biggest mistake we can make is giving up, or self-condemning because this natural process is happening. Instead, take joy that there is 1 fewer rock in the garden, or less slag hidden deep in your life.

The above was recently written in a note on Facebook by Judah Steelesmith, a friend of mine from childhood.

I wanted to share this because when I read it, it deeply ministered to me.  Lately I have been struggling.  I often feel like I don't know what I'm doing, or that I'm a failure, that I just can't get it right.  When I read this, I felt like God was using it to help me see that even if I did everything perfectly (which I can't, nor can anyone else), there would still be problems and issues in my life. 

Over the last few months, God has repeatedly been showing me and reminding me that I need to surrender to Him.  I can't be perfect, and part of the process of Him redeeming me and renewing me is to dig out the "rocks" in my life.  It is so easy to see all those rocks and feel like the pile is getting bigger and bigger, and to wonder how I can ever overcome such an enormous obstacle. 

What I seem to constantly forget is that I am not the one who is going to overcome.  Christ has already done that for me.  What I know, but seem to forget too often, is that it is not what I do, but what Christ has done, that allows me to have salvation.  He is my righteousness.  He is my goodness.  He is my perfection.  When God looks at me, He doesn't see that gigantic pile of rocks.  He sees Jesus.

I am so thankful for His faithfulness.  Again and again, He has reminded me to turn to Him when I need help, when I feel like I can't do it.  The only way I can teach my children to love Jesus and to follow Him, is by loving Him and following Him myself.  Not by trying to be perfect, but by surrendering to Him daily my fears, my failures, my expectations, and my imperfections.


  1. Great letter.....awesome letter. Wow.....I need to read it again....

    & don't try to be perfect.....if you were perfect, you'd be boring....that is why I gave up a long time ago....haha.......

    Missed you tonight at GBS.....we need to get together.....not many more GBS nights left, so let's pick another at Zoe's sometime?

  2. Love to meet at Zoe's sometime!


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