Why I’m Not Giving Up and Neither Should You

by | Jul 15, 2012 | Saturday

Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door.

Matthew 24:32-33, MSG

My black t-shirt hangs on me soaked, looks as if I’ve jumped into the pool fully clothed. Stray bits of dirt, pruned leaves, and pine needles stick to it like a message tacked to cork board.

I shake a pile of needles over blankets of shed, decaying leaves and think about how the path between here and the Kingdom is messy and costly and hard.

Drops of sweat hang from my son’s forehead, eyebrows furrow when he asks, “Can I stop pulling weeds now, its so hot.”

“You just have to push through,” I tell him, “I’m hot too.”

Sometimes avoiding the uncomfortable, means missing the kingdom coming in its fullness.

God’s rule and reign are always preceded by an upheaval. Before beauty, ugliness. Before peace, war. Before order, chaos. When God’s kingdom breaks in, whether in the heavens or in the nations or in one person’s life, it arrives by way of disruption. ~Mark Buchanan, Spiritual Seasons

Is God disrupting your life; making things feel messy, complicated, hard, and uncomfortable?

Maybe instead of asking to go back inside where the seats are cozy and the air feels cool, we can ask for strength to endure the heat. Because redemption is right around the bend on the road called perserverance, and we don’t want to miss it. (Luke 21:28)

Wherever you weekend wanderings take you, may you find strength for the journey friends.

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  1. Sandra Heska King

    These photos, Shelly, are like paintings. So beautiful.

    Order is my word for the year–so I can identify with “before order, chaos.”

  2. Gayle

    Oh, love the scripture and the reminder. The road has been steep lately, so the reminder was needed. Blessings, Gayle

    • Redemption's Beauty

      This was quite a revelation for me actually, and it does give hope when the road ahead is steep and bumpy.

  3. Sharon O

    Your words are so descriptive. I could almost be there with you in the hot sun with sticky pine needles and dirt. Amazing pictures.

  4. Heather from CT

    I spent the day weeding in miserable heat until the sweat dripped off the end of my nose. Even as an avid gardener, I was irritated and nearly quit before the work was done. This perspective helped me be thankful that I pushed through. Thanks.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Heather, it sounds like you and I had the same kind of day in the garden. I too, am an avid gardener and have let things go longer than usual because of the heat. Once I reached a certain temperature I just ignored it and kept going. My son said I can tolerate the heat because I love gardening so much, and maybe he’s right.

  5. Cynthia Brust

    As you can imagine, this post resonated in a powerful way with me. Thank you — it was just what I needed to read and I will hold in close in the days and months to come!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, it made my heart smile seeing your name in the comment box Cindy. The Lord brought a few people to my mind while he unfolded the words of this post and you were one of them. So glad it resonated, God is faithful to speak when we need it isn’t he?

      • Cynthia Brust

        He is indeed faithful and I am grateful that you heard him and wrote the words as His instrument. Have a wonderful Sunday!

  6. Dea

    I am thankful you had somebody out there working with you in your mess 🙂 Luke and I have been taking a couple of days in his room/closets/drawers. We had chaos in our de-cluttering. He wasn’t as into it as I was but we made it— relationships intact. I think we need to remember that we can be “Luke’s” with God. If we could just “see” we would know that summer and the bounty of fruit is coming…but sometimes we have to brave the heat before there’s a pickin’—relationship intact.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      H was out there with me too and there was such a sense of accomplishment when we finished all that needed to be done. I felt like the commander in cheif telling them what to do – it was my turf. I cleaned out Harrison’s closet and drawers recently too, know how that can sometimes go badly. Glad yours wasn’t one of those. Glad to hear from you Dea, it made me smile when I saw your name in the comments this morning.

  7. debra elramey (@elramey)

    Shelly, first the photos are amazing. Second. This message is timely. I was telling a friend how uncomfortable the heat makes me, and much more pertaining to suffereing.

    And she sent me this poem by John of the Cross.

    To reach satisfaction in all
    desire its possession in nothing.
    To come to possession in all
    desire the possession of nothing.
    To arrive at being all
    desire to be nothing.
    To come to the knowledge of all
    desire the knowledge of nothing.
    To come to the pleasure you have not
    you must go by the way in which you enjoy not.
    To come to the knowledge you have not
    you must go by the way in which you know not.
    To come to the possession you have not
    you must go by the way in which you possess not.
    To come by the what you are not
    you must go by a way in which you are not.
    When you turn toward something
    you cease to cast yourself upon the all.
    For to go from all to the all
    you must deny yourself of all in all.
    And when you come to the possession of the all
    you must possess it without wanting anything.
    Because if you desire to have something in all
    your treasure in God is not purely your all.

    No, I’m not giving up either.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for sharing the beautiful words of this poem, it is lovely. Don’t you love it when God gives sacred echoes to our circumstances to let us know He is with us? So glad this was one of them for you Debra.

  8. Christina

    Redemption is right around the bend–how often do I go back inside to escape the discomfort instead of waiting it out? Thanks for this!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know, me too. As I was studying and reading for this post, what unfolded for me was revelation and hope. He is good in all things, at all times, even when it feels uncomfortable.

  9. charinabrooks

    You blessed me Shelley, thank you.

  10. Jean Wise

    Your words are encouraging and inspiriting. Thanks so much!!

  11. Kris Camealy (@AlwaysAlleluia)

    It’s always in the pushing through where I manage to find the richest of blessings–just after the point where I’m ready to quit. Thank you for this, Shelly, I needed the encouragement to keep going, and i found it here this weekend. Bless you, sweet friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My husband is better at this than I am, always sees the positive bright side when no one else can see it. So thankful for his perspective on days when I want to give up. Glad you were encouraged here Kris, knowing that blesses me.

  12. LuAnn

    Your words are, once again, very timely. The weeding and winding up the kingdom path. I have an awesome story to tell you. I will call.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Can’t wait to hear it. This mornings sermon was an echo to this post too. Love it when God speaks that way.

  13. lolitavalle

    So much needed. The hope we have while at it. The difficult path, full of deep craters and looking like there is no oasis ahead…… but the knowledge and trust we have in His promises. The Kingdom lies ahead.

    Thank you for this reminder, Shelly. So, so timely.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      This seems to be timely for quite a few which means that we aren’t alone in our difficulties and uncomfortable circumstances. That gives perspective and comfort.

  14. Joanne Norton

    Good thinking, sharing, as usual. And so true. In this heat, I sometimes force myself to get the outside job done as needed, not as only comfortable. Good example. Thanks.

  15. Holly

    Excellent words of wisdom. Thanks

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Holly, what a nice surprise to see you here.

  16. Jennifer Richardson

    sometimes our jagged edges get smoothed more quickly
    by weeds and humidity and prickly heat
    …grateful for the gardener who stands faithful and generous
    with us
    in us
    for us
    through us
    in every row we have to hoe:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So true Jennifer. I think perhaps I learn more about Him from being in my garden, than anywhere else.

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