Getting Real

On this stormy day I’m anticipating the warm breezes of summer. Flashback with me to a summer a few years before Covid… Grilled burgers. Watermelon. Homemade strawberry ice cream from my Mom’s 50 year old secret family recipe. It was a typical summer holiday cookout – yummy and very laid back with just the family.

So after a day full of old movies, Nertz, and being totally lazy, it was wonderful to have a couple of friends that we hadn’t seen in a while drop by in repsonse to our Facebook post about the homemade ice cream. We enjoyed the frozen goodness and had a wonderful conversation, ranging from light-hearted catching up, to corny inside jokes, to deep, gut-level honest sharing that you only do with REAL friends and family.

It was 30 minutes after they left – probably 7:00 p.m. or so – that I went into the bathroom and noticed myself in a mirror… Yikes! I had not combed my hair after I got up that morning! But then… I smiled. And I thought how wonderful it was to have people I could be REAL with! They didn’t care. They loved me anyway.

Don’t we all long for that?! We want to know and be known at a deep, gut level and to be so comfortable with friends or family, someone, anyone, that we can smile, relax, and not sweat and fret and fear what they’ll think. We don’t want those insecurities to rise to the surface. We want to be accepted for who we are, they way we look, and the mistakes we make. Not for who people want us to be. Not for who they think we are because we are keeping up pretenses and hiding the REAL us every time we are around them. We long to be accepted… loved… just as we REALLY are.

Some of us will have the rare pleasure of experiencing that with a few select friends, but for many of us even family seems to be unable to know us, accept us, and love us as we long to be loved.

But there is Great News! There is Hope! We have a Heavenly Father, our Abba, who knows us intimately, accepts us totally, pursues a relationship with us relentlessly, and loves us unconditionally! Psalm 139 reminds us “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely…. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

God sees you! He knows you – the REAL you! And you know what? In spite of all your self-condemnation, fears, hiding, and not loving yourself – God loves you! He REALLY loves you! Come to Him. Just as you are.

“He Knows” by Jeremy CampEvery Heart That is Breaking” by Twila Paris

What Are You Planting?

by Debbie Stovall

Don’t you just love the juicy, buttery, salty, sweetness of biting in to a fresh ear of roasted corn? Me too! The crunchy freshness of corn from my garden or the farmer’s market just seems to proclaim “Summer is here.” As summer winds down and with Labor Day just past, here are some deep observations about corn plants:

  1. Corn stalks always bear corn and not cucumbers or beans or watermelons!
  2. One little kernel of corn stuck in the dirt doesn’t just give me one kernal back, or even just one ear of corn. It gives not only multiple kernals but multiple ears! Enough to eat some this year and save some to plant next year.
  3. Planting a corn kernal is an investment that pays off over time.

Isn’t that amazing?! I know you think I’m an agricultural expert. (Not!) But what implications do these observations have for us non-farmers? For Christian women facing daily life struggles?

The Bible tells us in Galatians 6:7 that “a man [or woman] reaps what he sows.” These are Biblical principles referred to as “The Laws of the Harvest.” These principles are irrevocable and apply to everyone. No exceptions.

1. You reap what you sow.  In life, we will harvest the same kind of thing we plant. If you plant deception, lies, cheating, or trickery, you yourself will harvest the same thing. Conversely, if you sow the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control you will be able to gather in a harvest of the same good things.

2. You reap more than you sow and you reap in proportion to what you sow – multiples of what you sow. Just as one little kernal gives you several ears of rows and rows of more kernals, so it is with what we sow in life. Young moms know this by experience. If they speak sweetly and kindly the kids follow suit to some extent. But heaven forbid the Mom of 4 wakes up grouchy! One harsh word in the morning can reap a day full of harshness. Within 30 minutes her seeds of grouchy attitude and speech will have been caught by the whole household and the whole family reaps the nasty harvest. Worse than any viral contagion known to man are the negative character issues within a family.

3. You reap in a different season from when you sow. This is the one I wish I could convince high schoolers of. If I go out on Good Friday and plant my kernal of corn, it will take 60-100 days before it is ready to harvest. In 2017 Good Friday will be on April 14th. It will then be mid-June to the end of July before I get to munch on any of that yummy corn. Nine to fifteen weeks before Farmer Brown gets any return on his investment. As a high school teacher, how many students did I encounter that thought they had gotten away with something because they didn’t get caught or punished that day or that week. What they did not take into account was that the heavenly Father has laws of sowing and reaping that cannot be avoided. Months or even years later I have seen the harvest of something a person thought they got away with.

We would do well to keep these spiritual principles in mind. We can’t change them just because we don’t like them. They fall under the “it is what it is” category just like the laws of an agricultural harvest do. So let’s dwell on these words from scripture as we consider what investments we are currently making in life:

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:7-10.