Today I am excited to start a new series on the blog with you: Ashes for a Crown: Leave it Behind. For the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing things we’ve left behind to pursue more of God. Whether it be a negative mentality, a toxic relationship, an idol or simply an old dream, all of us will reach a point in our relationship with Him where we have to make a choice. We can either continue moving forward in faith and obedience, or cling to our old ways. I am delighted to be sharing this space with a few of my friends, who will be pouring wisdom and truth into our hearts and we explore this topic.
To kick off the series I am honored to introduce you to my friend, Jana Kennedy-Spicer. What first struck me about Jana’s writing is how raw, real and vulnerable it is. There is no pretense about it, and it refreshes me to find someone who is willing to let God use her story, even the painful parts.
Jana Kennedy-Spicer is a wife, mom and Nana who is passionate about inspiring and encouraging women on their daily walk with Christ. A woman rescued and repaired by the grace of God, she loves to share about the realness of God’s love, redemption and faithfulness. She is dedicated to using her blogging, Bible teaching, writing, photography and graphic designs to bring glory to the Lord. Jana would love to connect with you in any of the following places:
No Bitter Root
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
My sore knees and muddy thorn pierced hands were reminding me that it had been far too long since I had been down in the dirt doing the unpopular work of tending flower beds – pulling weeds.
The harsh seasons and recent storms had taken their toll and each day as I passed by I would look the other way and pretend I did not notice this disorder that so desperately needed my attention. I love the beautiful blooms that I knew could replace the matted muddy mess of weeds, but I also knew as soon as I tugged on that first weed, God would begin tugging on heart.
It always works this same way. I pull at a weed in the dirt, God pulls at a weed in my heart.
- Those hurt feelings now causing you to avoid that person at church, pull them up. To get that root of unforgiveness, you’re going to have to dig deep.
- That unkind word you told your friend about your other friend, pull it up. It may hurt, but you’re going to need your friends help to clear the garden.
- The old habit that keeps sprouting back up, it is not God honoring, pull it up, dig all of it up.
When God tells us to eliminate a weed from our life, don’t just chop it off or cut it down. Dig deep, remove the roots so that none of the weed will grow back.
It is so tempting to want to get the job done fast and just pick at the weeds instead of really digging them up. That’s a lot less work. And you reason that once you plant the new pretties everything will look just the way you want it on the outside. But be cautious, because deep on the inside those lingering weed roots are waiting around for just the right conditions to break through all the pretty and sprout up again.
Think it’s quicker to just ignore those hurt feelings and put on a pretty smile? That root of bitterness is just laying low, hiding deep – waiting – for just the right moment… maybe a misunderstood comment, a slight disagreement, an exclusion. And just that quick, the fragrant bloom of friendship has been overtaken by the weeds of resentment and unforgiveness.
In her book Lessons From Gideon, Priscilla Shirer asks, “Are you facing any battles today due to something you didn’t destroy earlier? When God’s Spirit asks us to eliminate something from our lives, we shouldn’t play around with His direction. He sees the future effects of leftover enemies. Take Him seriously. Fully engage in the task at hand.”
Have no doubt friend, whatever roots we leave buried, will sprout up again.
And so my afternoon went, I pulled a weed, God pulled a weed; I pulled a weed, God pulled a weed. With each weed eliminated from my flower bed, room was made for something beautiful to grow in its place; and with each weed removed from my heart, God created room for seeds of gratitude, compassion, contentment, patience and forgiveness to be planted.
As I swept up and discarded the evidence of my afternoon’s labor, I was feeling quite accomplished. Why had I put this off so long? Excitement began to bubble up as I surveyed the cleared beds ready for new plantings and considered all of the possibilities.
Father God, you are indeed the master gardener. Forgive me for letting such weeds take root in my heart. Thank you for patiently drawing my attention to each weed, for tending to my heart, for ridding it of stubborn weeds and preparing it for your plantings. Lord lead me to your Word every day for nourishment to strengthen these tender seeds as they grow and bloom. May the garden of my heart bring you glory. Amen.
Blessings Soul Friends,
2nd Photo credit: Jana Kennedy-Spicer