I really strive to not live legalistically. Jesus had plenty to say to those who stuck to the Law while sacrificing love for people. That said, he did command that we take a Sabbath, a day off once per week where we rest, make no plans or commitments, and take time to sit with him. I have learned the hard way that if I do not take a day off to do this, I am a total basket-case by the end of the week. My Saturdays with Jesus are the largely the reason I can get anything done well the rest of the week. Sometimes, though, I need reminding when it comes to just how much that time is necessary.
Last Saturday I made plans. To be fair, they were good plans (they always are, aren’t they?). Nevertheless, I did not rest. So by Friday of this week I was on meltdown mode. Truth be told, I feel totally at peace about moving to London. I have complete confidence in the Lord to work out the details of the move. However, regardless of how much my conscious mind and heart believes that, my body apparently does not. For the last two weeks I have had an eye twitch, a twisted stomach, hot flashes, a racing heart, and a loss of hair and appetite. So by the time Saturday came, I was desperate for time of restoration.
Oh, how it came! This is what I felt God speaking to me, and I just had to share it. Just FYI, for those of you who are new to the Serwat Story, we are not your typical missionaries. Ladd is the adventurous, risk-taker who loves transition and thrives in change. I am the maintainer and sustainer, that loves consistency and planning. Truthfully, I struggle immensely in transition! So if you are like me, this should encourage you when God moves you from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end.
I am like my houseplant.
- It is kept alive by watering it regularly. When I do not tend to it, it withers. It can appear green and healthy for days without water, but it is still slowly dying until the next watering. It is not always obvious that it has gone days without water. But if I touch the soil, it truly is dry. I know it is suffering deep down at a root level, and in a short amount of time, it will become obvious on the outside as I notice the branches drooping heavily and the leaves turning yellow. Even though it dies slowly, it revives nearly immediately when I water it. God has designed me to absorb his spirit – the Living Water – so I am never dry. Even though I can go days appearing “healthy,” without the constant outpour of his Spirit, I am dying. He has also given me a new heart that responds instantly to his sustenance. I need it regularly. Unlike the houseplant, I have the choice to receive the water or not. Unlike me, God does not forget to water me. He does not get too busy to feed me. He doesn’t get caught up in more important affairs, like I do, and then remembers last minute to come and refresh and sustain me. “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is” (2 Tim. 2:13). His goal is not just to keep me alive, but for me to grow.Which brings me to point two…
- Even though my houseplant is alive, it is not growing or flourishing. It’s branches, although healthy and strong, are not getting longer and covering more territory. For the years that it has lived in my house, it has remained the same size. There is no need to prune it, because there is nothing to prune. It is very healthy, when I remember to water it, but it isn’t growing. The size of pot and amount of soil will not let it grow beyond a certain size. If I were to put it in a bigger pot, or outside, it would grow much bigger, even though it would have to adjust to a new environment. God doesn’t want me to just remain healthy in the pot I am in. He wants me to grow, which means a new environment, a place for my roots to explore new depths. I have grown to my capacity in this environment, this pot, which is maybe why I have felt so much pressure. My roots want to go down deeper, but there is no room here to grow. God wants me to master receiving regular watering so he can transfer me to new soil.((At this point in my time with Jesus, I thought I would do some digging – no pun intended – on what it looks like to re-pot a plant…))
Instructions on how to repot a plant:
“Repotting houseplants is an essential component to keeping plants healthy and encouraging new growth. When roots become bound and tangled and start taking up more space than the soil does or begin growing over the edge of the plant pot or out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot your plant. But there’s no need to wait for the roots to get to this point to transfer your favorite plant to a new container. In fact, periodically replacing planters is an easy way to change the look of the plant arrangement or to accent décor in a particular room or space. It’s also an easy and useful way to extend plant life and cut down on the frequent watering that root-bound plants require. Learn how to repot houseplants by following the five easy steps below.
- Moisten the soil in the pot of the plant that is to be re-potted and gently remove the plant from the current container.
- Use a small pruning tool or sharp scissors to snip any roots that may be tangled and sticking out through the drainage holes. Avoid over snipping.
- Loosen the root ball by shaking it gently and using your fingers in a tickling motion to separate tightly clumped roots, being careful to not damage the roots in the process.
- Line the new container bottom with a layer of clean potting mix approximately 3 inches deep.
- Place the plant in the new container and fill the sides of the container with potting mix. Sprinkle an inch or so of potting mix on the top of the root ball and lightly water the plant.
3. To sum this up…
In the transfer process, it says that the roots will stick to the old pot, intertwined around the drainage holes. To fix this problem, the Planter will need to take sharp scissors and cut away the parts that are holding on so it can be transferred well. However, there is a word of caution: AVOID OVER SNIPPING. I have roots in me that are intertwined in my current home, roots that are grasping and holding on in hopes to remain where I am familiar and comfortable. Jesus desires for me to let him cut away the roots that are clinging to this pot so he can transfer me well. That said, I must be careful to not over-snip. I believe this is a reminder that even though I am being transferred to a new pot (London), I am not to cut off all that connects me to this one (CDA). I can’t be tethered to this pot in a root-bound, bondage kind of way. But I also don’t need to be an extremest, cutting too deep into my roots so that it is counter-productive. I can trust Jesus that he will prune exactly what is necessary, but nothing more than what is necessary.
The soil needs to be moist, not dry, to make the transfer process go over without unnecessary damage. This is a warning to be extra watered in this season of transfer.
God’s hands are tender and gentle. He will not jerk me from one place to another without tenderness.
He is the foundation of my new pot. but it isn’t until I am in my new place that God will fully submerge me in healthy, new soil. He gives me grace when I need it, not a minute before. It is wrong of me to expect to be surrounded by all the new soil (have it all figured out with all the answers) before I am actually placed there. God provides as the time comes.
In the new pot, with more space to grow, I will be able to retain Living Water better than I could without the space of the previous pot.
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”
“Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass. The same happens to all who forget God. The hopes of the godless evaporate. Their confidence hands by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web. They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last. They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure. The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of stones; it takes hold on a bed of rocks. But when it is uprooted, it is as though it never existed.”
My song of the day was “Rest In You” by All Sons and Daughters
I hope that encouraged someone!