Lessons From My Garden on the Kingdom of God

STEPHANIE FORMENTI|CONTRIBUTOR We planted a garden this summer. We have three raised beds dedicated to some vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, another for herbs like basil and oregano, and one bed specifically for wildflowers. As I have watched seeds turn into flowers, and little sprouts turn into tomatoes, the Lord has taught me about work—my work and His work. Our little garden is my summer classroom for understanding work in the kingdom which led me to three parables in Matthew 13 that integrate yard work with kingdom truths. Both my hands-on time in the garden and the teachings of Jesus highlight that kingdom work involves three important aspects: weeping, waiting, and watching. Weeping: It brings me such joy each morning to walk outside and see how many new flowers have bloomed or if there are any tomatoes to harvest. But no matter how many delights my garden produces, there are always those pesky weeds. Every morning provides new gifts as well as new frustrations. The same is true for life in the kingdom of God. We know that Jesus the King already reigns and is already on the move to make all things new, but we also experience how all things are not yet under His feet. Although the kingdom has come, it is also still to come. It is already and also not yet. So, the work we do in the kingdom is work done smack dab in the middle of that tension. We push against darkness and evil and injustice and ugliness and hatred. But those things also push back against us. Kingdom work occupies that space— the space of tension...

Lessons From My Garden on the Kingdom of God2022-07-28T14:41:16+00:00

The Mist of Motherhood

RACHEL CRADDOCK|CONTRIBUTOR If I am being completely honest, laundry is my least favorite household chore. Like Mary Poppins, I can find an element of fun in most jobs that must be done around the house. But when it comes to laundry, I long for a fairy godmother’s power to simply swoosh away the piles of dirty clothes. Being a mom to four means my laundry basket is always full and sock-matching seems never-ending. We have forty-two pairs of socks in a week’s worth of laundry; the odds of finding all eighty-four socks in the same week are slim. In the new heavens and the new earth, when Christ returns to redeem and restore all things, I have a holy anticipation that socks will no longer go missing. I am convinced sock causalities must have something to do with the Fall. In my flesh, laundry is a begrudging chore. In my flesh, I can’t see laundry rightly as important kingdom work. When I focus my eyes on the earthly things I can see—the piles, the baskets, and oh-so-many socks—I easily become overwhelmed.

The Mist of Motherhood2022-05-03T21:30:53+00:00

Small Acts of Faithfulness

JESSICA ROAN|GUEST I remember marveling at how small it was, that tiny little coffin. It still wasn’t real. 4 months old. Was he really gone? Was my friend actually mourning her first child? I have never felt so helpless, so unable to do anything to help. As I stood at the cemetery, I heard a familiar voice begin to speak. I couldn’t see him, but I’d recognize that kind voice with a slight lisp anywhere. He spoke of God’s love and hope amidst maybe the worst tragedy a young mother could suffer. As I looked around at my co-workers, most of them unbelievers, my heart breathed a sigh of relief. That familiar voice belonged to a youth pastor I encountered in my teen years. This soft-spoken, kind, humble man was a pastor at a friend’s church when I was in high school. We were never particularly close, but his presence was God’s gift to me (and many others) that day. God was there in this seemingly hopeless situation using this man to bring my friend (and myself) the comfort we both needed. I saw him a few months later, and thanked him for his message on that sad day, but he will never know just how much his presence meant to me in that season of my life. You see, that year was full of tragedy for my family. My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed within a few months; my mother-in-law’s health was failing; and my son’s nine-year-old classmate had suddenly passed away from complications with the flu. My children were young- five and eight-and while we were trying to help them navigate all of this loss, I was unknowingly mourning these young deaths as if they were my own children. Recently, I reflected on this pastor’s seemingly small role in my life...

Small Acts of Faithfulness2022-05-04T23:25:55+00:00
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