One of the greatest treasures God has given us is the gift of growth. Of course there are some negatives. I'm growing old - not too treasur-esque. Wisdom is suppose to come with maturity, but my body doesn't get the message. It wants to grow fatter, my feet want to get flatter, and my waist is thicker. I have sweet memories of a nice waistline, but I'm looking more like Sponge Bob Square Pants every day!
"My neck is getting fatter 'cause my face is falling down, and my legs appear much shorter cause my bottom's nearer the ground . . ." It's a new era when you have to pluck your chin before you leave the house because of rogue overnighters.
I was feeling very lean at the last speaking engagement --until I saw the photographs. I'VE BEEN SWALLOWED BY MY GRANDMOTHER!
(For those friends who will say: "Marj you shouldn't say things like that about yourself, this is all in good humor. If you can't laugh about getting older I have no remedies.)
I've been watching the miracle of growth as I sit on my porch swing every morning. For the second year, a mother robin has found the grapevine over my front door to be the perfect place to start a family. Her three babies are getting huge, their little necks stretch up, mouths wide, hungry for food. The mommy robin has been so faithful. She trusts me now, and will appear with food even though I'm sitting there.
I tried to get all three of them with their little beaks wide, but they wouldn't hold still! It turned out very blurry.
She has guarded her nest tenaciously. When my 135lb. German Shepherd (Oden) sits near the nest, mommy robin sits high on the nearby bush and boldly squawks until he leaves. It's amazing to watch - if a robin has that kind of care for her young, how much more God cares for us. We may not always feel protected, but we are never outside of His watchful care.
God's opportunity to grow during difficult times is also miraculous. It's wonderful to think we never stop growing. We can grow spiritually, and in wisdom, until the day He calls us home. For instance, every time we feel fear but turn to God instead - we grow in courage. Every time we feel overwhelmed, but grab onto the truth that that we have the Holy Spirit who has been sent alongside to help us - we grow in trust. Some growth has nothing to do with choice - but character growth is always a choice.
As I understand it, God's growth is two fold: First we confess to Him what needs to change, then, we turn to the Word and let it renew our minds and soak into our heart. He erases - then He rewrites. I honestly believe I am a sweeter person today, because of the growth in my heart since Bill died. All I can take credit for is that I chose to reach for God. The rest was the work of His Spirit.
Many of us are going through great challenges. And with the challenges come choices: to sour or sweeten. Die or grow. Grow stagnant or keep flowing forward. I may not be able to do much about my Sponge Bob Square Pants silhouette, but I'm determined ton grow leaner, stronger and wiser on the inside everyday. How about you?