by Mindy Kiker
I was exhausted, depleted of joy and hope. I needed a break, to find rest in the midst of around-the-clock demands. Guilt and regret plagued my conscience. I said “yes” to a call from the Lord, but now it was a burden.
What was wrong with me?
Because God desires to help us look more like Jesus, He orchestrates circumstances in our lives to expose selfishness. When I became a mother, it was a journey designed to crucify my flesh. For you, it may be any number of pressures in life, such as caring for a parent, dealing with a chronic illness, coping with a disability, navigating a mental health issue, or any challenge that threatens joy.
So there I was, feeling God tug on weeds of selfishness. Summertime was in full swing, and I wanted a change of scenery. I joined my family for a getaway at the seashore, hoping a week at the beach would refresh my weary soul. But instead of refreshed, I was devastated. The children did not know that mommy was on vacation. The unrelenting demands of motherhood brought on an emotional tsunami of frustration and self-pity.
Rather than go to the Lord with my mounting resentment, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After much disgruntled problem solving, I devised a plan: I organized the schedule so that the baby and toddler would take a simultaneous nap after lunch the next day. This arrangement would provide a golden hour and a half to myself at the beach.
The whole morning was orchestrated to achieve this feat. At last, I put the cherubs down for their naps and dashed to the beach. I reclined, relishing my success, thrilled to have a time of solitude, be it ever so brief.
Not ten minutes later, I heard a voice from the house, “Mindy, the baby is crying.”
What?! No! I stomped back to the house, tears of frustration stinging the corners of my eyes as I lifted the wailing baby from his crib. The afternoon was miserable as I indulged my resentment. Since the children did not nap at all that day, immediately after dinner and bath, they both fell asleep.
Oh my word, they are in bed. I bolt for the beach. All is quiet. The shoreline is deserted. The air cools slightly as the sun descends to the horizon, the heavens flush pink and orange. Soothing warmth radiates from the sand. As I survey the idyllic scene, gratitude swells in my heart.
“Thank you, God, for a sweet blessing in the midst of my frustrating day. This is true serenity. What a gift!”
A reply from the Lord forms in my thoughts, “Dearest, this is what I planned for you all along. Why didn’t you trust me as your provider? I desire to care for you. I desire to bring you joy, but when you ignore me and instead make your own plans, you fight and struggle and miss the gifts I wish to give you.”
“Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” I Peter 5:7 (The Message)
The Master Gardener carefully cultivates joy in our lives. As improbable as it may sound, seasons of obedience which root out the weeds of selfishness yield seasons of joy.
I pray that you perceive how lovingly your Father cares for you. He desires to remove prickly thorns so that your life will yield sweet Spirit fruit. He is careful with you – your part is simply to accept His master plan. It is God’s pleasure to transform you into the likeness of His Son.