gardens and weeds and a garland of grace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

it's easy to be overwhelmed with joy when your circumstances are ideal.
it's difficult to be overwhelmed with joy when your circumstances are less than ideal, or far from ideal.

this afternoon, like a prodigal daughter, I wrote, "so overwhelmed by God's faithfulness and provision! He cares for the sparrow - such rest and joy for my heart." and yes. it is true. He is faithful. He provides. He cares for the sparrow and much more so for me. That is a constant truth and a never-ending comfort.

yet, as the day went on, those seeds, so carefully planted, were plucked. choked. snatched. somehow, between a headache and ruined plans and sudden expenses and my own selfishness and bitterness. why is it so easy for me to live less out of joy and peace and more out of discontent, hurt, irritation, stress, worry, bitterness? instead of being overwhelmed with joy I become overwhelmed with life. happiness is based on circumstances, joy is deep seated. yet, I chase happiness and seek it like it's the race I was made to run, instead of resting and finding my joy in Him and Him alone.

My heart is so fickle.
Yes, God, I will praise you when life is good.

But what does my heart look like when life seems less so?
It's so much easier for me to think of all that He "hasn't" done instead of reflecting on all that He has. so much easier for me to dwell on a lie rather than meditate on the truth. so much easier for me to be swayed by reality instead of living in His truth.

I need to remember that He is always faithful.
Indeed, His mercy is new every morning and His faithfulness is never-ending.

I'm in a season of learning of His faithfulness. Seeing His work in my heart. It's so fitting that outside, winter is in full force.
Brokenness. Barenness. Stripped of all imprecations, masks, and pretensions.
My heart very much feels like winter.
I am learning of my own brokenness and seeing my own sin.
It's ugly.
I'm learning that there are weeds that I planted. Me.
And it hurts to have to pull them up.
I am a terrible gardener, but I try. I get my hands dirty and tug tug tug at the roots of weeds that go down deep. C. S. Lewis' words from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as he writes about Eustace's transformation from dragon to human by Aslan, sum it up much nicer than I could.
"The very first tear he made was so deep and I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away."
It's embarrassing and uncomfortable and painful. Seeing my own sinful heart makes me want to pretend that I am all good, all right, I need no grace. The lie is, I don't need grace. The truth is, I don't deserve grace. The reality is…I am given grace.

That alone should never fail to make me weep.
I am underserving and could never achieve it on my own, yet, He gives more grace.
And it is in Him that I find my rest and joy.
Not in circumstances, situations, possessions, achievements, talents, or people.
But at the feet of Jesus alone.
"But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" - James 4:6
I am so proud.
Proud of my own "goodness."
Look! I write about my heart and struggles! I am such a good Christian. I can own up to my mistakes and write about what's on my heart -- that makes me a better disciple, right? I'm brave enough to cry out. So look at how good my heart is!
My heart is so fickle. And yet, it is willing but my flesh is weak.
I am seeing so much brokenness in my own heart. So many things that stem from my sinfulness and the seeds that I planted. By His grace and goodness, I have sowed good things. Joys. Good relationships. New adventures. But I have also planted bad seeds and am reaping them now. Bitterness. Envy. Fear. Entitlement. Pride.

And so, I am in a season of waiting and learning and sowing.
Plucking up the weeds and pulling planting good seeds.
Praise God that with all my failed efforts and messy attempts, it is He who gives the growth.

A garland of grace in a garden of weeds.
I dance barefeet on earth waiting to be sown with good seeds.
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.


  1. The lie is, I don't need grace. The truth is, I don't deserve grace. The reality is…I am given grace.

    I love that. This post is what i need to read today...thanks for sharing some deep insights.

  2. This is just what I needed today! Thank you

  3. Hannah, after over a year of reading your "big" blog, (which is LOVELY!) I seem to have gotten a glimpse into your heart through this little place. :) Isn't it so true. We don't deserve grace--we are given it anyway. We need it so much; sometimes more than we know. Everyday. Every minute we are needy of the grace that God gives us, and others are needy of it too. And they need our grace and understanding (which we receive from God) as well. Thank you for sharing this, Hannah. It really spoke right to my heart.

    much love + hugs,

  4. And I weep.

    Praying for you, dear sister. "He will be faithful to complete it."

  5. This is just what I needed to hear tonight. And I have always loved that quote from Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Thanks for sharing this! We girls are in this together. Hugs to you. <3 <3 <3

  6. Oh, Hannah this is so beautiful. It reminds me of this song by JJ Heller. "So break me into pieces that will grow in the ground." "Be gentle with me,Jesus,as you tear me apart."
    Both this post and that song are so honest and so true and really speak to me.

  7. Lady, I just love your heart. I love that it's focus is on the Lord, and that I can constantly relate to your struggles / joys. Your blogs are such a blessing to read. Keep your eyes on the prize, sister. xx

  8. I can so relate, Hannah. This post is so beautiful and heartfelt, and encouraging. Thank you for sharing your heart. I praise God for using your struggles and your sweet heart and the words you share to bless others. I've been meditating this week on the fact that everything good in me is from God. I have nothing to boast in. If it weren't for Christ, I would be nothing. HE is everything. In Him I live. It gets my prideful heart in the right place. And yes, I am so prideful. I have a fickle heart. I want God to work in and through me to bring Him glory. And remember each day to be humble and love others and surrender myself to God's will with joy and love for my Savior.

    Blessings, friend! ((Hugs)) too because I feel like giving you one. You're such a blessing and encouragement to me. Really.


  9. this is so raw and beautiful. i can feel the honesty and it tugs on my heart. God's using you and your words, hannah. don't ever doubt that. :)