We have officially reached that time of the year which I affectionately refer to as ‘The Crispy Season’.
Outside, the plants that were lush and bright only last week are now dry and wilting. The spiders are in their heydey, weaving webs all around the yard where they glisten in the hot August sun.
The other night after dinner we all went outside to try and make the most of these last evenings of summer. The kids rode their bikes and scooters while my husband and I puttered around the yard. At one point Robb stopped me to ask if I wanted him to go ahead and trim back the hostas which encircle a fountain in front of our house. They looked so sad and droopy. The evidence of being munched on by hungry snails was obvious and the blossoms had long since dried up. They were totally and utterly pitiful.
And yet, I actually hesitated to answer my husband’s question. As he stood there, shears poised in the ready position, I wasn’t sure if I really did want them trimmed down. Because, to cut them back meant that there would be nothing left. Nothing blooming. That area all around the fountain would just be bare dirt. And I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that. It would mean that this season really is almost over.
And I couldn’t help but think about my own ‘crispy’ seasons. The times in my faith journey when I’ve been made painfully aware of the drying, decayed areas that are ready to be cut back.
But so often, I find that I’m hesitant to cut those dried up places out of my heart. I cling to them, foolishly believing the lie that it’s better to have something there than nothing.
Reading through the Psalms recently, I came to a small portion of a verse that made me squirm a bit. It resonated, convicted, challenged.
From Psalm 68:6 “…only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”
When we stay in those parched places, allowing the sin to remain, our rebellion prohibits us from experiencing the sweet relief of God’s overwhelming grace and forgiveness.
If I never cut back those crispy, dried up blooms on the bushes in my yard, I’m cheating the entire plant out of the opportunity to reach it’s full potential of healthiness. And if I never cut out those dried up, sinful areas of my life, I’m cheating my heart out of it’s own full healthy potential. Because once the dead and decayed is removed there is room for new growth.
But in the meantime, like those plants, I’m left a bit exposed. And it’s the exposure that always makes me hesitate.
In my humanness, I want to cut off the dead stuff and see fresh beauty immediately. I want that dried up bloom to be replaced by a new one instantaneously. But, that’s not how it works.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
Before I am able to see the evidence of new growth, I must first spend time laid bare. And it’s uncomfortable, this place of being uncovered. But this is where all of the good stuff really happens. This is where the dying, decaying sinful areas are truly laid to rest. This is where the room is made for new life to being peeking through. Slowly at first and then bursting forth into glorious blooming evidence of God’s mercy.
So, I cut back those dried up blooms on my plants. And I cut back the dried up areas of sin in my heart.
Because no matter how much time I must spend exposed, without the visible evidence of fresh growth, I know that the crispy season will eventually give way to a new season. I will get to see what happens when I let go of that which would have kept me from ever seeing the fruit of new life springing forth.
And the fruit is what I long for. Fruit that points to the heart of my Savior and His deep love for His children.
Fruit that is far more beautiful than any dried bloom.