I had the honor of speaking at the AOS "Let It Grow 2017" women's event. Being around beautiful young women who love the Lord was so refreshing. The words spoken by the host, Tiona Wilson, and the other guest speaker, Alana McCarter, truly blessed me.
Below I have shared the word that I spoke on the topic of "Cherish Your Soil".
God plants seeds and operates in seasons. Every season is just as important as the next and is a product of the one that precedes it. Every season in life serves a purpose.
1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
9 What does the worker gain from his struggles? 10 I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied. 11 He has made everything appropriate[b] in its time…
I believe that everyone can relate to at least one verse in Eccl. 3. There have been and will be times/seasons where God places, or should I say, “plants” us in situations that break us down. Situations that are meant to kill off that which is not like Him. There are seasons where God removes people from our lives and the season of embracing them is over. We go through times of loss whether it be jobs, relationships, friendships, etc. These seasons aren’t the prettiest and don’t feel the best but they are necessary for God to show us ourselves and kill off the things that will hold us back from becoming all He created us to be and do all that He called us to do. After these times however, we enter seasons of healing and building. Seasons of gain.
We love to share the times when God is building us up and we are prospering, however, we often try to hide the seasons of killing and breaking. We walk around as if everything is okay. When people ask us how we are doing, we quickly reply, “Great! How are you?” We paint a smile on our faces and dress up in the nicest clothes during these seasons. We act ashamed of these hard times. We don’t cherish them as we should. But the truth of the matter is, we ALL go through times of weeping, mourning and loss. The Word tells us that we gain so much from these seasons. Have you ever noticed upon coming through times of loneliness, hurt, disappointment etc. that you learned so much about life and yourself? You even learn more about God.
You come out stronger. Eccl. 3:11 poses the question, “what does the worker gain from his struggles?” I’ll tell you. We gain wisdom, strength, and faith that God will bring us through. We gain experience.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
“Sometimes you think you’ve been buried when really you’ve been planted.”
Seeds, depending on what they produce, require a specific soil. Soils have different textures, percentages of clay, sand and/or silt. They have certain levels of acidity and alkalinity, water content, sulfur, and other minerals in order for what the seed possesses to be fed properly, grow and manifest. When a seed is planted in the wrong soil, no matter how great the plant is within the seed, or how much water and sunlight it receives, it will not thrive because it is not under the correct conditions.
God has created the perfect soil for what He has placed inside of us to flourish and manifest. Each of us are a seed that God has planted into the earth. The seasons we go through, the things we endure, and the people handpicked for our lives all make up the soil that is necessary to grow that which is within us. God was and is intentional with all of it.
Most, if not all of us, look down on the seasons of hurt, despair, betrayal and loneliness. We dread singleness and isolation and try to quickly escape seasons of pain. But by doing this, by trying to forgo the process, we forfeit the finished product.
A seed has to be planted, endure rainy days and be broken. The plant inside has to push through dirt and keep reaching up to the sun which leads and draws it out of the ground. The flower doesn’t focus on and wallow in the dirt but presses forward and reaches upward. Many adore its beauty and give no thought to what it has been through. Although it is no secret that flowers come from dirt, it does not take away from its beauty.
Once God puts His hands on you, you don’t look what you’ve been through.
It is easy to look to the left and the right during rough times and become even more discouraged because it appears as though everyone else has a perfect life and things are always working out for others. Well, I want to let you in on a secret…ISSA LIE.
As my pastor often says, “we live in a filter generation where everyone is obsessed with sharing the finish product”. On social media people post their best pic with the perfect lighting and the best filter. When we look around, we see everyone posting the highlights of their life. The best relationship photos, lovely, problem free marriage, perfect hair, best body, graduating with two degrees in 3 years, a new internship, a promotion at a full-time job. When we are surrounded with images of “perfect lives” we quickly forget that life is in fact not perfect. In reality, life is full of ups and downs- people just publicize the ups and hide the downs. No one’s life is perfect and easy flowing. Life on earth is rigged with trials and tribulations. The god of this world is all about destruction so to think that life will be great, is only fooling ourselves. However the great thing about being a child of God is He is intentional. He works everything for our good. Everything He allows is used to forge, build and prepare us for our purpose.
Now, we have all heard that isolation precedes elevation. It is so true. Don’t forget that allow flowers are planted in the same garden, each seed goes in the ground individually.
We want to present the best version of ourselves at all times and don’t want to endure the process. The process is necessary. And sometimes it is necessary to share the process. Share the testimony of where God has brought you AND what He has brought you through to help encourage and motivate others.
Stop looking at others’ soil. Stop trying to hide the dirt your purpose grew out of.
Your soil was designed specifically for you. Embrace seasons of being planted. Endure rainy days. Push through the dirt of loneliness and despair, holding onto the faith that God is growing something powerful within you.