He Removed the Stump
One of my biggest landscaping pet peeves is to have large bushes or trees in front of windows. Hate it! The first thing out of my mouth upon seeing my house was "if I buy this house, those bushes are gone!" A flowering bush in front of a burning bush in front of one of only two windows. Not happening with this chic.
After snipping on the bushes for a couple weeks in April, I could take it no more. I cut the flowering bush to the ground. With so many landscaping projects removing that stump was last on my list.
Fast forward to July. A couple times over the month, I would use my shovel to see what I could do in removing this horrid thing. No luck. What to do? What a wonderful time to have a strong and able man around the house. But this is not the case for now. One Friday in late July I wanted to finish my front flower bed by laying mulch. The kicker: I really wanted that stump removed before laying mulch.
With my shovel in tow, I began. Shove, push, jump, jab, stab.
Okay. This isn't going so well. I get out my hand clippers and might as well get the limb clippers too. Oh, get the hand shovel--I never know when its sharp point and scooping ability will come in handy. I was trying to be systematic so as to accomplish my goal. Remove dirt, clip a root. Remove more dirt, cut another root. Shovel, push, jab. Sweat. The sweat rolled down my face and into my eyes burning. Oh, this seems so hard. What am I going to do? It's too late to call a pro as I want it done now. I'm determined to do this and have it finished. It's so hot and I retreat for a quick break. A big sip of water and a moment on the porch step. I must continue. I have to follow through. I have to get this done. I began again cutting each root I could see knowing with each detached root I was one step closer to being stump-free.
This was just not working. I switched gears. I had to step it up. With ALL (and I mean all) my might, I jabbed the shovel into the hole around the edge of the stump. I continued this while taking two or more breaks between gushes of energy. I know I could not fully stop. I allowed myself breaks which gave much needed rejuvenation. Yet, I know stopping for the day would deplete all my desire to finish.
I felt this approach was working with the intermittent breaks but I was running out of strength and energy. On the last water break, low and behold, I asked God to "help me get this done." What a revelation asking God. Yes! I returned to jab that shovel with my all. Jab. Jab. Jab. Jab. And I felt it. It was loose. Attached by only one root. The end was near. The end was within my sight. It still took time to maneuver the shovel and get to the very bottom of the stump to clip that last root. Aha! It's done! The stump is free. My goal is complete. My desire is fulfilled.
Thank You, Lord, thank You!
As I thought about this experience and considered penning it, I reflected on how this is much like my feelings for my true heart's desire: marriage restoration. What a very difficult, painful, and extremely draining journey. Only a handful of friends have traveled this road ahead of me and with me.
I can so easily see the correlation between the stump experience and my journey. Simply reading over my words, I could easily write the feelings about my stump removal right into my heart's journey. The fatigue...the determination...the weariness...the doubts at times...the need for rest and rejuvenation toward my goal and desire.
This is what I felt with my stump and feel with the call on my heart.
1. I didn't want to give up.
2. I was weary and tired, exhausted.
3. I saw no results.
4. I wanted a plan.
5. The sweat and pain felt good in an odd way.*
6. I didn't want to do this alone.
7. I knew the benefit of "following through".
8. I was intermittently encouraged.
*There is nothing better than being soaked with sweat, jumping into the shower, getting clean, and putting on fresh jammies.
My heart's desire:
1. I don't want to give up or stop believing.
2. I am weary, tired, and exhausted from this journey.
3. I see no evidence of my desire being fulfilled.
4. I want to know HIS plan.
5. Knowing He has a plan and is growing me feels good.
6. I don't want be on this path alone nor live life alone.
7. I know there is great reward to following Him and believing.
8. I am encouraged by those who walk this path with me or have gone before me.
What does God say about this?
1. Don't give up.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
2. I will give you rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
3. Keep believing without seeing.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29
4. I have a plan for you.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
5. Trust Me in the pain.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
6. You are not alone.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
7. I will reward your faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
8. Be encouraged.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.". John 16:33
Are you weary and burdened with what He’s asking you to believe?
Do you need rest and rejuvenation from your trial?
Does your determination to keep believing need a boost?
Lord, thank you so much that you care for every detail of our lives. You are concerned not only with the huge heart matters but the mediocre matters that come in the form of large stumps. Only you can give the rest and encouragement like we need. You simply ask us to trust and believe. Thank You for the plans, though unknown and foreign to us, mighty nonetheless. We can’t receive anything better than when it’s Your plan. Thank You for never giving up on us. May we never give up on You nor believing what You’ve placed on our hearts. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.
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