Surrounding my patio is a thin strip of dirt. Big enough to dream of planting, but not so big that I will become overwhelmed in the planning. Digging my hands into the wet soil, with its richness and potential, is a love that has followed me since childhood. Knowing that a handful of seeds can grow deep roots and produce such beautiful goodness on the other side is the framework for our walk to the cross this week.
Just as creation and the Fall accompany our journey to the cross, our walk is not complete without redemption. It establishes the call Jesus fulfilled as He walked His own path to the cross and sacrificed Himself creating an overflow of redemption for each of us.
The cyclical growth of creation lays the foundation for our discovery of redemption’s journey to the cross. There is the planting and the slow growth of roots that produce blossoms that then open wide with abundant fruit. I see this mirror my own life. I also must develop the innermost parts of my heart to create an abundance that creates an overflow of fruit for others to enjoy.Creation lays the foundation for our discovery of redemption's journey to the cross. #TellHisStory Click To Tweet
My own story of redemption is one of stopping and starting. Just as plants grow, produce fruit, and then grow dormant, my walk to the cross is not without hesitancy, abundance, and desolation. There are days I walk with certainty toward my Father and other days my forward progress leads me astray. The growth I experience is slow, but over the years looks steady and sure because my eyes look to God first, more often than not.
Throughout the Bible, we find words spoken about redemption. It is the gift Jesus left behind as He sacrificed Himself on the cross. Every good gift comes from God and redemption is the way to freedom. Until we plant our roots down deep and allow them to grow with nourishment from God’s Word and truth, we will not have the foundation to grow a surplus of love and grace. I seem to learn this the hard way. I am in a season of re-learning and as a result some of my roots are coming loose.
When looking to the cross, I see the end and immediately begin forming plans and outlining details to see how quickly I can reach the destination. I forget that it is in the falling and getting back up again, I achieve more growth than I ever could by rushing past the lessons that God leaves along the way. In my hurry, I miss the slow growth of salvation, the hope of eternity, and the love of a Savior that produce the deep roots I need to survive. In the slow growth, I give myself the gift of time to receive God’s abundance. My focus is on how I am going to get there, not on the blessing of new life in Christ that will help me persevere more than my own power could ever help me.
The truth I need to walk this journey can only from God. If I slow down, I find all I need in His Word and it is a salve for my deep wounds and richness for the soil that bears my roots. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says,
For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now he is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption.
My life and dare I say yours is richer because of God-given wisdom. When we choose to follow Jesus, all He asks is obedience–a yes, rather than a no, open hands ready to receive instead of arms crossed in defiance, and faith as small as a mustard seed. It seems doable, but then again I am the one who told you I struggle along the way.
But God promises love, grace, and new mercies even on the days you and I struggle. His invitation to walk with Him never ends.God never stops inviting us to walk with Him to the cross. #redemption #TellHisStory #walktothecross Click To Tweet
If I can leave you with any encouragement, it is twofold:
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:38-39
And these words from Kris Camealy in her book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement:
The only way to it is through it. One the road through Redemption we’re forced to see the underbelly of our humanness, the struggle we pretend doesn’t exist–the weakness we’re afraid to show anyone. The blessing and challenge of the journey come through the revelations God gives us about ourselves–and our sins.
Together, let’s pray as we walk our own path to the cross, that we are open to receiving the gifts that Jesus’ death on the cross provided for us.
Together we are redeemed by our loving Savior!
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Beautiful post. I love the garden metaphor. I love to garden, but since I live in an apartment have no opportunity to really get my hands in the soil outside. I do have some indoor plants, but it’s not quite the same. But I can still get my “hands” into the seeds in the Word of God and make sure they are planted in the soil of my spirit through reading and meditating on it, fertilizing it with prayer and watering it with praise and worship. It is often an up and down experience, but on the whole, if we are committed to Christ, we will go in the right direction towards the cross and be changed by its place in our lives. God bless you, Mary.
I love how you created your own analogy of digging into the seeds of the Word of God. Amen. There is so much in the process of getting to know God’s truth that connects with how we need to dig, prune, and nourish in order to keep that growth going. I pray you find beautiful truth in the seeds of God’s Word as you begin a new week.
Thank you, Mary. I find that sometimes I read and read and don’t find any particular seeds, but then at some future time I come back to something that speaks loud and clear and takes root in my life. As with gardening, we need to have patience to see the fruit of our labor.
i’m a little late to the party, but that’s life these days. thank you for pointing us to the cross, to Jesus, to a deeper faith, friend.
i see Him in you. yes, I do …
There is no right time to come and join in the place of community. So glad you came and joined in the conversation. Your encouragement is always such a blessing.
I loved your beautiful words, especially the part where you remind us, “Jesus keeps inviting us to walk with him to the cross.” My heart was heavy today thinking about people Iove who are not walking with Christ right now. It was reassuring to know he will keep inviting.
It’s hard to see loved ones who are walking a different path. I am praying for you as you pray for them that they hear the invitation to walk with Jesus to the cross. Blessings!
These words are so timely for me having recently been very convicted of a besetting sin in my life and my need to put in the work to conquer it. Thank you for the encouragement. laurensparks.net
Thank you for telling me this. I pray you allow God to work in those deep crevices to restore and redeem them. Blessings!
I think you and I are a lot alike. Your journey sounds like mine! But the great thing is, if we look for Him, we can find Him every step of the way.
I liked your line, “In the slow growth, I give myself the gift of time to receive God’s abundance.” We don’t like slow, but it’s really the best thing than can happen to us!
Amen! I am thankful we are never alone on the journey. I know I don’t like slow, but it is in that space of waiting that I learn the most. I am thankful for you and how you share your heart. Blessings!
Thank you for these precious thoughts on planting, waiting, even pruning and growing. Your statement here, “I am in a season of re-learning and as a result some of my roots are coming loose,” reminded me of the process of “root-pruning.” It certainly feels unsettling in these different seasons (I am in one also) to have some of those roots that I thought were so crucial, being pruned away. But I can see how they need to go now, so that deep taproot growing deep in Him, can be even deeper. Thank you for these precious thoughts of redemption and walking with Jesus. Blessings to you!
I am so glad to know I am not alone. I try to believe that because I am a certain age that I should know more or certainly not fall onto the wrong path. But the beauty of our lives is that we are always learning and God is more than willing to keep teaching us. Praying for you as you continue to find solutions and walk your own journey of root-pruning.
It’s so true that growth is often slower than we would like it to be, and recognising that there are different seasons is so important. I’m grateful that God is committed to our redemption and that if we keep our eyes on him he will lead us forward at the right time and in the right way.
I am also grateful that God never gives up on us. I love how you said He is committed to our redemption. May we surrender ourselves to following God on the path He takes us and believe His timing is always perfect.
This is such a beautiful post, Mary. So so true that true growth is slow. It makes me think of the parable of the sower. Rooting does take time and patience, a patience only God can truly grow in us too. He just keeps taking us deeper. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement.
The process of digging deep is meant to go slow. I know I want to rush the process because I think I can. I am praying for patience as I continue to let God prune me so my roots can grow deep. May we all know that God knows us best and will provide all the patience we need to grow deeper with Him.
During this Lenten journey I keep thinking of the post I saw “somewhere” – God doesn’t ask us to give up coffee or chocolate, He asks us to lay down our lives.
Truth! I have seen that somewhere too. This is such a good takeaway today. 🙂
I am keeping a gratitude journal these days, Mary, and your post reminded me of one thing I wrote down that I am grateful for today is the way God has used the difficulties in my life to refine me. That’s what resurrection is all about–growing into Christlikeness every single day of our lives. Thanks for helping to prepare our hearts for Easter and for your vulnerability here in this space. Hugs
What a perfect thing to do – keep a gratitude journal. I imagine you learn more about yourself through this journal than in just writing random thoughts down in a journal. You are such a blessing to me and this community. May we all allow the deep work of refinement in our lives to bring us in closer relationship with God.
So many good lines in this post, Mary. I think we all can identify with the road to redemption having its share of bumps and potholes along the way. I loved this: “I also must develop the innermost parts of my heart to create an abundance that creates an overflow of fruit for others to enjoy. ”
I also believe in developing the innermost parts of my heart so that I can reflect God’s goodness to others.
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate knowing that many of these words resonated with you. I am in a season of working on those deep, inner parts of my heart so it is very fresh right now. I pray you find God’s presence to be so palpable as you dig into your own heart.
I am so grateful He keeps inviting me to walk with Him. My progress is so very slow sometimes, and I wander on all these roads paved with the best of intentions (aren’t they all?!) but He keeps coming for me and leading me back.
The best part is that God keeps coming for us and inviting us to walk with Him. I also find myself wandering but love how patiently God draws me back to Him. Thank you for being here.
Good morning, Mary. What a beautiful, edifying post. Your description of the slow growth speaks loudly to me. As a new Christian, I expected results, healing and other things fast. Only in the slowness, I found more intimacy with Jesus, something I would never trade. May Our Mighty God bless the work of your hands this given Tuesday.
I am a person that would love to learn everything quickly. But you hit the nail on the head when you talk about slow growth leading to more intimacy with Christ. Blessings as you seek and follow Jesus this week.
I’ve been reading through Proverbs lately and it keeps bringing home the point that we desperately need wisdom and understanding….otherwise we are fools (basically). Easter makes me take a longer look at myself and it helps me gain, or re-gain wisdom and understanding about my fallen nature. I am human and Christ’s journey to the cross reminds me of just how much I need Him. So thankful He has redeemed me…
The journey to the cross is lifelong and it also reminds me how much I need God. I am thankful for patience and repeated lessons to get me closer. Proverbs is such a good book for driving home lessons that hit us right where we are. Thank you for sharing a bit of your own walk. Praying we gain wisdom as we re-learn the lessons we gave forgotten and in the process draw closer to God.
I have had a tendency in the past to become frustrated with the “relearning” process. It does seem as if God sends us back around the same lessons over and over again, but I’m beginning to see this as grace and the cycling of lessons in new seasons as an opportunity to draw closer to his heart. So, my friend, we’ll just keep planting in our little strips of dirt and waiting for fruitfulness.
I believe you have touched on this cycling of lessons and how it draws us closer to God. I guess I just wish I wasn’t such a slow learner. 😉 I will join you in the planting, cultivating, and growing.
Awww, Mary. Such a beautiful post. I think in our, “just do it” society, it’s too easy to lose sight of the beauty of the journey, of the lessons God leaves for us to learn on the way. I love your gentle words and reminders to slow down, to look to the Lord—to the cross—and look around us on the journey. Don’t just route the quickest way to the destination. Thanks for this reminder, my friend!
I appreciate your description of my words as “gentle”. I wonder sometimes if I sound like I am preaching. I always hope that is not the case. I pray I am inviting you into my mess to learn more about your own walk with God. And I need my own reminder. Slow down, smell the roses, and let God lead the way. Thank you for being here!
Thank you for sharing your story here, Mary! Oh, for faith as small as a mustard seed, so we can continue to take up our cross and follow Him.
One of my favorite redemption verses is from Psalm 107: “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” That is what you are doing here! <3
You all are like family to me and when I share my story I am really sharing HIS story. Thank you for showing me the verse from Psalm 107. It is exactly what is happening in this community. Blessings on your week!