A Harvest of Righteousness

A Harvest of Righteousness

The autumn sun cast a warm glow across the living room floor, where I sat in the midst of a group of 10 strangers. We were visiting a small group from a new church for the first time, and we were going around the room, taking turns reading as we worked through the book of James. As my turn approached, I felt apprehensive. I am a natural introvert, and though I’m a good reader, the thought of fumbling words in front of a room of people I’d just met had me on edge. Still, I bucked up and began to read.

My portion was from James 3, the wisdom that comes from above. I read over the familiar words about jealousy and selfish ambition, not giving much thought as I worked my way through carefully (so as not to embarrass myself). Then I came to the last verse, a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18 ESV).

Peace. What did I know of peace? Here I was in a group of strangers. Again. You see, we have recently moved to a new town – our 7th move in my husband and I’s five years of marriage. Seven moves – some across town, some cross country. Add to that mix two babies. From the moment we said “I do,” it’s felt like a whirlwind of change, so peace sometimes fell between the cracks of chaos and mayhem.

I don’t know about you, but seasons of sudden change bring out the worst in this Type-A, planner of a gal. I get anxious, overbearing, irritable. Yet, the words of that verse stuck with me the rest of that day. And the next day. And the one after that. They would emerge at random moments, and I would roll them over in my mind. Since it was the beginning of fall, messages of harvest were everywhere. I was at my local crafts store, browsing the fall home décor, when it struck me: A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

God met me right there in the 40% off section to open my eyes to an area of sin in my life. I had not been making peace with the recent changes. Though my mind trusts in God’s sovereignty, including this move, my heart was still striving against it. Why? I think James explains it: worldliness. My attachment to my world was sowing discord in my heart. You see, James says that as we seek friendship with this world, we move further and further away from sowing peace with God. In fact, loving the world makes us enemies of God himself. This isn’t a harvest of righteousness – it’s spiritual drought.

We all do this – we all chase stuff. We all choose between the love of God and love of the world, and left on our own, we would choose the world every time. But God gives more grace. He seeks us, woos us, and draws near to us as we come to him humbly – cleansing us and purifying our hearts through the gift of repentance. So that, a harvest of righteousness is sown in in our lives by God himself, who in his grace makes peace with us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

So what season are you in right now? Are you reaping a harvest of righteousness, or are you thirsting in a spiritual drought? Are you sowing peace, or is discord uprooting your heart? 

We’re moving for the 7th time in 5 years – and you’ll never guess why!

We're Moving

 

In my last couple of posts, I mentioned that there were some life happenings that had put blogging on the low end of the priority list. We’re now at a place where we can share the big news: we’re moving. AGAIN. The clickbait title wasn’t a joke, in our (almost) 5 years of marriage, we’ve moved 7 times. Some of those were just into different houses in the same town, but some of those were big, interstate moves. This move is one of the latter.

Some of you may know, my dad had a lung transplant six years ago. During the recovery, there were severe complications that led to an additional 6 months in the hospital. I was studying for my Master’s in Virginia at the  time, and I packed up and moved back to OKC to live in a hospital hotel for the latter part of the hospital stay. I wrote some thoughts about that experience here and here (and here).

My dad’s quality of life has never been fully restored post-transplant. The long stay in the ICU debilitated him physically in a number of ways, primarily in the form of painful neuropathy in his legs and feet which make walking unbearable. While he can walk, the severe pain coupled with shortness of breath make it very difficult to do. He spends most of his time in a wheelchair. Over the last 5.5 years since his hospital release, he’s been fairly healthy. He had one scary episode where his gallbladder had to be removed, but he’s had stable health for the most part.

However, we learned in May that he has chronic rejection in his lung. There is no treatment or cure for it, so it will steadily decline in function until it’s no longer viable. There is no prognosis for how long that might take, but they say the average survival rate after the onset of chronic rejection is about 2.5 years. We are praying for more, and we accept that God is in control of the number of my dad’s days.

In light of the diagnosis, Ryan and I decided we need to be closer to him to provide encouraging support and to help with his care. Even though we moved to OKC just a year ago, we feel this is important and right. So, we are moving to Bartlesville at the end of the month! Ryan has accepted a job offer there, and he starts August 1st. We went house hunting last week, and we put in an application for a rent house that will be a good fit for our family.

Let me just say, I hate moving. We have moved so many times in such a short amount of time that I am beyond ready to plant some roots and stay awhile. What about you? Are you a perpetual nomad like me (by force or by choice), or have you never moved in your life? Also – any moving tips and tricks to share are heartily encouraged!