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Like a Little Child

 “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 
Luke 18:17 NIV

It is while wearing two of my hats, military wife and mom, that I speak to you today. As some of you have experienced, military life requires going where the Army says to go at any given time. Even if we are happy, content, and rooted where we live, we must go, and uprooting always causes my mind to spin with ‘why’ questions that have no answers. Therefore, when there are unknowns coming up, I like to line up plan A, B, C, D, and then D2, D3, and D4 because of my human need to be in control.  Reality though, will inevitably involve something I didn’t even think of (such as buying a house in Colorado just to find out that our orders were changed to Georgia). I think though, that this military lifestyle is a lesson in how to surrender to God. I must remember that God is bigger than the Army (and if He is sending me to Georgia then there must be important kingdom work for me to do there).

My kids on the other hand, don’t need to worry because they trust and depend on me. As I schedule movers, declutter, change dentists, and transfer school records, they have the freedom to play outside, run, pretend, and imagine without knowing all the answers because it is their job to be curious and enjoy life. My kids don’t need to plan and schedule because they know that I will take care of them.

I need to remember that for me, as a child of God, there are plans in motion that I can’t even see and a future that I can’t even imagine. God has me in his hands. I can trust and depend on Him and (this is the hardest part) surrender my ‘why’ questions, my worrying, and plans A, B, C, D, and even D2, D3, and D4 to Him because He is in control, not me. Hebrews 11:1 NIV says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Similarly, 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This means that God doesn’t even want me to try to handle it myself, for if I have faith, and admit that I can only succeed with God, then his glory is shown. Luke 18:17 NIV says “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” We are required to surrender our worries, and then enjoy the freedom of not knowing all the answers! (and then go play with our kids)

Your sister in Christ,

Erin Tabor

                                                                                  

Digging up weeds

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”
Matthew 15:13 NIV

There is a small garden in front of my house that goes around my front porch. I am not a gardener by any stretch of the term, so this bed has grown over with weeds and perennials that try to squeeze in between the vines. Considering this is the first thing someone sees when visiting my house, it is not a grand first impression.  I asked my mother for advice and she suggested replacing the whole garden with one kind of tree or shrub that I could take care of and that would make my yard look more uniform and appealing. Thankfully, when I visited her last fall she gave me some maidenhair grass from her own garden that I could take home and plant in my own.

The hard part came when I got home and had to clear all of the weeds, vines, and assorted perennials out of the ground. As I worked down in the soil with a shovel to pull out more and more roots that were longer and deeper than I had initially suspected, I chuckled and compared this to the work of pulling out the old roots of sin in our hearts. Just as there is no room for the new healthy grasses in my garden if I don’t pull out the old weeds, there is no room for God in our hearts if we don’t get rid of the old habits in our lives.

In Matthew 15:13 NIV, Jesus said “every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” He was referring to the Pharisees that were preaching a misguided message, but we can apply this illustration to our own lives by pulling up every root that does not glorify God. In John 15:2 NIV, Jesus explained that “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

If I hadn’t cleared out the old weeds before I planted the new grasses, they wouldn’t have had a chance to grow. Digging deep old sins out of the soil is hard sweaty work but the goal is becoming more like God. In Luke 8:7-8 NIV, during the parable of the sower, Jesus said “other seed fell among the thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” It takes good soil (or a clean heart) to grow more with God than we could ever accomplish ourselves.

In Christ,

Erin Tabor

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/agriculture-backyard-blur-close-up-296230/                      

The House on the Rock

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

My husband is active duty Army, and we have lived in many places. In 2004 we moved to Okinawa Japan, which was one of the most memorable. Okinawa is a tropical island where farmers grow sugar cane and pineapples; there are beautiful parks with flowers, and beaches where the ocean is turquoise and filled with reefs. However, the cities are made up of square concrete buildings as far as the eye can see. These buildings were such a contrast to the beautiful nature that we were surrounded by, that it made us wonder why houses would be built like this. When we finally received our assigned address and drove into the military post housing, we noticed that our house was the same square concrete. Even the shed in the back was concrete.

We discovered the answer to this mystery the first time there was a typhoon (the western Pacific is the most active area for tropical cyclones in the world). The island uses a colored flag system to let everyone know how close a storm is, and when the flags turn black, everyone goes into their homes. There is no panic, no evacuations, and not even any debris because everything outside goes into those backyard sheds. Even the trees are tied down. Everyone already has their groceries because the flag system told them to prepare, and and no one goes outside. During a typhoon I was able to relax with my coffee and play with my young children in the living room because even though the storm was raging outside (the wind roared like a train around the house), I knew that my concrete walls would stand strong.

Those wise people of Okinawa know how to build a solid house that will withstand a storm. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus said that “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” If we put our trust in God and do his will, we will keep standing no matter how strong the storms of this world are, because our foundation is on the rock.

Standing with you on God’s promises,

Erin Tabor

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/aSmLcO3-dbk