sow in hope {encouragement for moms}

A mentor recently asked me how motherhood was going. I was honest. “It’s hard,” I said, “Mainly because I can get discouraged in teaching the same lessons to the same child over and over and over and over again, wondering if they’ll ever get it.” She kindly chuckled with a touch of sympathy. Then she said something that hasn’t left my mind.

She said, “Remember to sow in hope, Lara. Sow in hope of the harvest.”

I have chewed on those words ever since. Sow in hope. Sow in hope. And I’ve asked God to expand those words in my spirit.

 

sow in hope

 

I’m not a farmer. But my grandparents were farmers. And I remember us taking trips to Tennessee for visits. We’d usually arrive in their gravel driveway just as the late afternoon sun was starting to set over the hills. Cows would be grazing in his pastures. His tractor would be resting in the field. And with the smell of my grandmother’s southern cookin’ lingering in the air, we would take a walk through their garden and they would talk about rain levels and hopes of a coming harvest.

I didn’t pay much attention.

But I learned this. I learned that a farmer sows seeds in hope. He cultivates the ground and pushes seeds into the earth. He pulls weeds and feeds and waters. He sweats and prays. But he doesn’t make the seeds grow. Only God can actually bring the harvest.

 

I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

 

I’ve thought a lot about what this sowing and reaping looks like in motherhood. And I know that many of us will struggle with the idea of sowing in hope because it means a release of control — or perceived control. It means years of pushing the seeds of God’s word down into the soil of the hearts of our kids — one by one, day in and day out — without always seeing visible signs of growth. But if we don’t sow in hope of a coming harvest then discouragement will press down. And discouragement is not our inheritance in Christ.

It may not be a tomorrow harvest. Or even a next day harvest. But God does have a good plan. He’s writing our story just as much as He’s writing their story. And His loving Father heart can be trusted.

We sow. We water. We sweat. We pray. But we do it all in hope. We do it resting in the God of hope. Because He alone brings the growth. He alone brings the harvest.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How does this “sowing in hope” challenge or encourage you?
 

Also, don’t forget, only 5 days left to take advantage of that mac-daddy deal I mentioned yesterday!

 

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how to heal a relationship after an argument

My tendency after my husband and I have an intense “discussion” is to dissect each and every point in which I’m right and he’s wrong. I go through my mental transcript of our “conversation” and justify myself — my ill feelings, my poorly chosen words, my straight up ugly — while condemning and blaming him for his. And I do it almost subconsciously. Almost. And if not subconsciously then definitely naturally.

I mean I don’t have to make myself justify my unlove and ungrace. I naturally do it with professional critique and lawyer-like arguments. And the result is always and forever the same when I go that route. The result is always and forever pride, which always and forever leads to desolate lands.

 

healing after an argument

 

We had one of our uglier “discussions” last weekend over something ridiculous, rooted in something bigger. But then Easter happened. And God absolutely, faithfully broke me over my own sin. He gave me fresh glimpse of the scandalous reality of the gospel.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how I’m reading that book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. Reading…being crushed by…however you want to say it. So I was “reading” this book after our lovely display of depravity and as I read Hession’s words describing the characteristics of a bondservant of Christ, I knew God was calling me to humble repentance.

But I couldn’t do it. Not really. I mean, I wanted to repent in the sense that I wanted to obey God. I knew mentally that I had a role in our argument. And I did ask my husband to forgive me. But I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel repentant. I felt like I wanted to defend myself. And really, that desire to defend, in and of itself, points to the depths of my need for a Savior. In fact I’m coming to the realization that doing something just because I know I should, is no more noble or righteous than not doing the thing at all. It’s just further evidence of my desperation for Jesus.

So by God’s absolute grace, I asked Him to break my heart for my own sin. I told him that I didn’t want to just say confession words. I wanted to see myself in light of His glory so that the confession flowed from a place of brokenness. And He answered.

He broke my heart.

 

And I (Isaiah) said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Isaiah 6:5

 

It was like He lifted the veil of pride just for a second so I could see myself in light of His beautiful, selfless perfection in Jesus. And I felt utter shame for my sin followed by overwhelming joy that He would still die for me while I was yet His enemy.

And with that revelation, He changed my feelings.

I went to my husband and apologized from a place of God-given humility. It wasn’t something that I conjured. It wasn’t even something I did because I knew it was the right thing to do. It was something He did in me in spite of me. He allowed me to see the shame of my own sin next to His undeserved grace. And I broke.

What does all of this blabbing mean to you? Well, take it as a challenge — just as I’m challenging myself. Take it as a challenge to be broken for your own junk-in-the-trunk. I’m pretty certain that is the wrong use of that phrase but it just fits.

It’s easy to point out all the mess we see in others. That’s the easy, natural thing. The hard, anti-flesh thing is to reflect on our own mess before a holy God. But honest, God-given repentance followed by rejoicing in the cleansing of His blood is the only road — the Calvary road — that brings the abundant, selfless life Christ died to give. And that will be the only real step towards healing in any relationship.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Think of a recent, not-so-pretty “exchange” you had with someone else. How would selflessness look in the aftermath of that messiness?