On this day last year I found out I was pregnant with my seventh pregnancy. It made for a very interesting birthday. Little did I know that almost two months later I’d be in the hospital fighting for my life as that pregnancy ended. That was the same month it was discovered that something in our then four year old’s heart sounded “not quite right”.
This past year was a pressing year, where God pushed me in my faith to levels I never imagined. All the while carrying through the things he had placed in my hands in the ministry.
Many times I struggled moving forward, but God continuously led me to keep going. He showed me clearly that he was very present in the midst of my struggles. So much so that one day as I was thinking about all the plans we were going to have to make for our daughter’s heart surgery, I heard this phrase very clearly spoken to my heart.
“Keep watering your garden.”
For those that don’t know, I am very passionate about gardening. It is therapeutic for me and so satisfying. I love flowers and I love to watch things grow. I see life in plants and most of all I see God’s hand and work of art.
So for him to refer to me in this way did not surprise me. I pondered on what that phrase meant and what God was trying to teach me. At the time I took it as God just wanted me to persevere in my faith. But through time I have realized even more the significance of that phrase in my life.
You see, many times in our lives, especially when we serve in ministry, we want to give up or stop doing what we’re doing to tend to our hardships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly that there are periods of working hard and periods of rest. But what happens many times is we feel so overwhelmed in our humanity that we want to let go of the wrong things.
If I stop taking care of my garden it will die. The plants dry out and it never achieves its full potential because it stopped receiving the attention it needed. It requires perseverance to water, nourish, clean out and keep a garden. And this principle should be applied to the things we have in our hands that have been placed there as part of our calling.
What you are doing for the kingdom of God is a privilege. The opportunities you get should humble you and cause you to feel honored that God would entrust such an important task in your hands.
Persevering does not mean neglecting yourself or burning yourself out. Persevering means asking for help, reaching out in the middle of your struggles so that you can continue to move forward. Continue caring for the seeds you have planted. Water them, observe them, take care of them. God will be more than faithful to take care of you. I have seen it in my life. I see beauty beginning to bloom in areas of my life I once wanted to give up on.
Remember that we have a very real enemy, and that is exactly what he wants you to do. He wants you to divert all your attention to your struggle so you will forget who your God is and stop taking care of what he has paced in your hands.
If you are going through a hardship in the middle of your growth in serving God, don’t stop! Reach out for those God has placed in your path to speak life and encouragement your way, and to cheer you on as you overcome the struggles. Don’t try to do this alone, we were created with a need to remain connected to each other, and most of all to God.
I leave you with this, James 1:2-4 describes his process very well. It reads, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its course so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Perseverance needs to finish its course, and that wont happen if you stop what you are doing. Don’t stop.
The next time you feel you want to give up on what God has called you to do, remember these words. Keep watering your garden. In time you will see the fruit of your labor and perseverance. God is and will always be faithful to carry you through your struggles.
He will NEVER fail you.