A reflection on my 31st birthday...

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At the beginning of this calendar year, I chose the word, "Cultivate" as my "Word of the Year." I am not a great resolutions person... I'd rather have an underlying theme that creeps its way into all of my choices. So, for 2017, it is, "Cultivate." 

I thought of myself as a sort of gardener, cultivating the harvest of my life. If I want more fruit... more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, it wouldn't happen on accident. I knew it would involve me earnestly cultivating a heart and mind that was malleable to the Holy Spirit's molding. It's true that none of us can conjure up the fruit of the Spirit (hence it being FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT), but it's also true that if we sit in our corners, hard-hearted, warmly embracing sin and forsaking prayer and the Word, the Holy Spirit's promptings may fall on our deaf ears.

So, I sought to learn. I finished my BSF study of John and dove into Jen Wilkin's study on 1 Peter. I wanted to cultivate wisdom... an eternal view of life. Regardless of circumstance, keeping an eternal perspective and applying scripture to each and every situation is seemingly the most wise way a person can live. So, I pushed myself to legitimately study His word, along with trudging along with my daily reading plan of the Bible-in-a-year that I have read the last several years.

I also wanted to cultivate a fruit of joy... in this season of discipling small people, the practice of joyfulness is often starved to the bone. I wanted to joyfully thrive in this season, both in my mothering and my marriage. I think this, too, is rooted in biblical wisdom. Practicing gratitude, reminding myself of my eternal purpose, and looking for God's grace in each and every situation, has indeed brought me much joy in a year that has had its fair share of hard times. 

Cultivating requires work... I picture dirty hands, lots of tiny seeds, and no promise of immediate fruit. Although, in Scripture, the gardening imagery is not devoid of return. Isaiah 55 promises us that God's word does NOT return void. So, I cultivate. I read. I read again. I read again and again. I pray. I don't always feel the warm fuzzies of a fog-filled darkened room with a powerful worship song or the awe of standing before a mountain. But... His word doesn't return void. It is in those hard moments that a scripture floats into my mind, grounding me, rooting me deeper into God's truth. 

So, on my 31st birthday, I hope I can say to anyone who may read this... pursue the gifts of fruit in your life. You will not go to bed tonight and wake up in the morning with abounding patience. But, chisel away, little by little, and trust the Maker to mold you further into the image of His Son. Faithfulness in small moments has eternal rewards. Don't neglect the small faithful moments in favor of waterless springs that will ultimately leave you thirsty.


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