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If We Don’t Give Up

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Every time I walk out to the front yard I feel like I have super powers. (Then I walk back in, and my kids remind me I most certainly do not.) Last year, my dad gave me a shoot off his blackberry bush. It was maybe eight inches long. I planted it at the end of last summer, and now that little bush is taller than me and giving us giant handfuls of blackberries every day. We made mountains of blackberry pancakes Saturday morning and ate them on the patio while we listened to old hymns and watched Lottie try to feed the dogs bits of syrupy food. At some point, I noticed both girls had purple lips and purple fingertips and a little syrup in their bed head hair. Such is the way of Saturdays.

Beside the blackberry bush is my hydrangea. That one tested me this year. Last year I only got a couple blooms because of a late freeze. When the late freeze came this year, I batted my eyelashes at Matt (and promised snickerdoodles) and asked him to help me cover the hydrangea bush and all its tiny, confused buds with old bed sheets. We used clothespins to fasten the sheets to the branches as the ice pelted down, and by the end of it our yard looked like it had a gigantic blowfish that had taken up residence in the flowerbed. We had to refasten the sheets a few times because the strong winds kept blowing them off. I wanted to give up, certain the buds were already frozen and dead. But we kept fastening and covering until the freezing days were over. And now, all over the house, I’ve got vases and jars and pitchers full of the lacy globes.

There’s a verse I pray every day for Matt and myself, “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” (Galatians 6:7-9, NIV). 

I’ll be honest and tell you I’ve never been more weary. We are taking an adoption class right now, and I’m realizing one of my biggest fears surrounding our adoption is that I won’t have the energy, the stamina, or the caffeine supply to parent well–both our biological kids and our adopted child. Loving and leading and listening–those are the good, hard things we pour into those around us. They drain us and leave us collapsed on the sofa at the end of the day. But it’s the last promise in the passage that keeps me going, “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9, NLT).

I’m staring at a big bunch of hydrangeas on my dining room table right now, and the etching in the pitcher that holds them is throwing a rainbow onto the runner, a hidden gift since I just finished reading about Noah and the flood, about second chances and walking with God. I’ve just closed my Bible, and this stubborn soul of mine is reminded once again that this is where I get my strength. From Him. From this Love Letter He has written for me. With the light casting lines across the wood grain, I can see sticky fingerprints I missed last night. The blessing doesn’t look like a clean house or kids that always make wise choices. The blessing looks like dirty floors and piles of laundry and this messy, beautiful thing called family. The blessing doesn’t sound like awards and prestigious titles. The blessing sounds like forgiveness and vulnerability. And the blessing doesn’t make me feel like I’ve got it all together. Rather, it leaves me on my knees in acute dependence on my Sustainer. It’s with a weary heart that I discover the harvest of blessing isn’t some thing. It’s Someone.

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