Sometimes I feel like a nut; sometimes I don’t: Finding stability in a fickle world

Yesterday, I felt like I could run a marathon.

I clicked that exercise DVD off and felt strength, like my limbs had grown long and powerful in 30 minutes.

I was a lean, mean, health machine who laughed at crunches and slammed through jumping jacks with precision and ease. Photo by Weerayut Kongsombut

Today, I was about to throw my running shoe at the TV screen because that guy in the t-shirt and gym shorts wouldn’t stop jabbering.  Couldn’t he see I was short on oxygen after just 5 jogs in place?

When someone is suffocating right in front of you, don’t you bypass the small-talk and incessant chatter and tell them to skip to the end already and go have an ice cream cone or something?

Some days choosing blueberries and yogurt with granola comes easy.

Other days I need chocolate so bad I want to order a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s–hold the sundae.

Isn’t so much of life like this incessant movement back and forth and back and forth, making progress, stumbling, feeling accomplished, feeling like giving up?

Some days I’m attacking that to-do list with energy and focus.  The next day I’m distracted and just want to play hookie from grown-up life.

Some days I’m relaxed, spontaneous, fun mom.  The next day I snap in half when three of my kids demand that I help them right this second, now, now, now as if they can’t see with their own two eyes that I only have these two hands.

What is this roller coaster life I lead? Why these fickle whims and why is perpetual progress so elusive?

I read in Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope:

If we place our faith in what God is doing, we should brace ourselves for a lifelong roller-coaster ride.  Our faith will be high and mighty one day and free-falling the next because it is based on the apparent activity of God in our circumstances.  ….In our most difficult losses victory does not result from seeking God’s answers or His activity.  Many answers will never come; much of His activity will never be seen.  Victorious faith walks evolve from seeking Him.  In Hebrews 11:27 we read that Moses “persevered because he saw him who is invisible”–not because he saw the burning bush.  He gazed straight into the face of the invisible God.  He built His faith on Who God is, not what God had done.”

She says, “When you don’t know what God is doing, you can find stability in Who He is” (p. 112).

Moses looked right past that burning bush.  Sure, it caught his eye, but he glanced at the bush so he could gaze on God.

That compelled him into perseverance, into pushing past the fear and insecurity, pain, anger, the possibilities and probabilities of failure, and the overwhelming threat of the unknown.

I admit it.  Sometimes I flop down in the middle of these circumstances and think—this is what God will do.  This is how God acts.  

But He’s so much more creative than little ol’ me and those unexpected ways of His send me into spirals of doubt and worry.

Why isn’t God doing what I want Him to do, when I want Him to do it, how it makes sense to me?

That wobbly faith of mine, it’s revealing the cracks in the foundation, how I’ve trusted in what God does, not Who He is.

I think of the farmer in the parable, sowing that seed on the rocky soil, on the path, among the thorns.

And I think how I’m fickle here, too.

I’m this avid gardener in April and May. But come July, one summer rainstorm sprouts a rain forest right in my front yard.  I walk out that door and step into a mighty jungle that has grown to towering proportions overnight.

Overnight, I tell ya.

And a girl just can’t keep up with that, not in the mid-summer Virginia heat and humidity.

The weeds choke out those tended and welcome plants, just like that parable says.


the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15 NIV).

The NLT says they:

hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

Cling to it.

There it is.

Look past the burning bush and fix those eyes on Jesus, on WHO He is, constant in every situation.

And hold on for dear life to God’s Word, not letting those fingers fall loose for one second.

That’s what prompts our hearts into patient perseverance.  That’s what produces this abundant crop of a harvest if we just don’t give up.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King


Devotions from My Garden: Soil Samples

Last year, I decided to expand my back garden by about two feet.  This grand scheme seemed urgently necessary.  My daughters had been begging me to grow tomatoes and cucumbers so we could “eat our own food” and my garden was packed full already.

Besides that, my girls live on strawberries and I had, in a moment of frugal inspiration, decided that growing our own berries would be cheaper than paying someone else to grow them for me.

Within a year, those determined little strawberry plants muscled in like they owned the whole joint.  They spread into every corner and began popping up in random unclaimed territory.

We needed more room.

So, I bought some inexpensive garden fencing, pulled on my gardening shoes and rolled up my sleeves for the job ahead.  I figured I’d dig a little and then plant and mulch.  In about two hours I’d be kicking back with a lemonade and surveying the finished product.

It only took one shovel dug down into the dirt to realize this may have been a bad idea.  At the very least, it would take much more work than I planned in order to create my idyllic backyard Eden.

Apparently, only about the first half inch of earth was actual dirt.  After that it wasn’t so much soil as pebbles, clay, and yes, even broken up blocks of cement.

This was not good earth.

It took intense digging out of the old mess, which had me on Motrin for a week afterwards to combat the back, leg and arm pain.  Then I dumped in bags of topsoil, manure, and fertilizer and mixed it all around to form an “earth soup” of sorts.

That was all just prep work before I planted and mulched, fenced in the area, and then kicked back to enjoy a cup of hot tea before bed time since my morning job had turned into an all-day project.

The truth is sometimes we God has to get down and dirty in our lives, too, digging out the pebbles, clay, and even cement that hinder what He intends to grow.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus reminded his disciples that there are different types of soil—people who are variably receptive to God’s Word.

The seed is scattered on:

  • Hard road with no growth: Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them
  • Shallow Soil: And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
  • Weedy Ground: The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.
  • Good Earth: But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams (Mark 4:14-20, MSG).

This is a challenge to us as we share the Gospel with others.  Sometimes we are frustrated with a lack of growth and we keep shoving seeds into the soil.  We get pushy about it, edgy, and feel as if everything depends on us.

Yet, God patiently engages in intense soil preparation long before we see the first shoots of green push out of the earth.

This isn’t just about others, though. It’s also about the quality of the earth in our own lives.

The seed in the shallow soil and the weedy ground began to grow—a relationship with God had sprouted.  Yet when the initial emotional highs and excitement faded, the shallow-rooted plants didn’t last.  Then there’s the weedy ground where the sprouts of life were choked out by stress and busyness.

I’m content to live with weeds too much of the time, too “overwhelmed with worries about all the things I have to do” to stop and listen, receive, and act on the work God is doing.

So, He pulls out a shovel and starts digging out my mess of pebbles and cement.  He pours in fertilizer and rich dirt.  Then He yanks out the crabgrass and clover threatening to choke out life.

It’s like when you have all these plans and scheduled activities and your daughters get sick one . . . after . . . . the . . . . other, staking a claim to the couch and a bucket.

Instead of rushing here and there, I’ve pulled my most comfortable sweatshirt over my head and my favorite white socks on my feet.  I’ve brushed my hair back into a loose ponytail.

I’m prepping soup for the Crock Pot and bread for hot ham and cheese for the perfect dinner on a cool, gray and rainy day.

I’m cleaning up messes and  destroying germs with Lysol and Clorox.

And I’ve settled down at the kitchen table ready to sit with God for a while.  He’s been pulling weeds out of my life this week.  That means changing my plans and interrupting my schedule.

It also means, He’s trying to make something beautiful grow.

What’s He doing in your life?

Is He reminding you not to give up on others and what appears to be the hardened soil of their heart?

Is He asking you to dig your roots deeper in the ground so that you won’t topple over at the slightest wind or dry spell?

Is He yanking out some weeds that have been choking out His work in your heart?

It’s time to let the Master Gardener work unhindered so that we can become good earth and “produce a harvest beyond (our) wildest dreams.”

Here’s What I’m Making For Dinner:

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King