October 23, 2013

Your Name is Mud

Gen. 2:7- And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Dust. Soil. Dirt. Clay. Mud. Do we truly understand this? Adam was formed from the ground. I began pondering what it means that my original ancestor was literally made of dirt. I come from a family who understands farming, gardening, and lots of hard work to yield a harvest. I’ve ridden horses through my grandfather’s corn fields and shucked the harvest for that night’s dinner. When I was at a personal, devastating low in my life, I stood barefoot in the soil of those same fields and felt the warm, dry, cracked ground beneath my feet and met God there. I’ve seen how, during certain seasons, the soil was allowed to rest, waiting to be turned over, infused, filled, fertilized. I know how that feels as a weary Christ-follower when my life feels dry and untended. I understand the potential of soil to nourish, to hold roots steady, to allow the waters to flow through it and yet to absorb those waters at the same time...until it’s saturated and begins to release to those around it who desperately need it. I have to be so intentional about filling myself with the Word and with relationships that build me, so that I can release to those around me who are feeling dry and lifeless. How often has it felt that a stinky, sticky, nasty situation has been dumped on your head, but that caused you to grow...in much the same way that manure settles in soil and actually acts as a fertilizer? Use those times to dig in and grow! One of the most beautiful things about the people of this earth we inhabit is the colors of our skin, and how they each reflect a natural hue of the dirt, dust, soil, and mud that we walk on. Some of us have skin as fair as white sand, and I’m reminded that sand flows effortlessly through an hourglass, but when heated, becomes the actual glass itself. Some of us have a warm, peachy tone like that of clay...the very clay that can be pliable enough to form into a vessel, or baked strong enough to form the very bricks we trust to build our homes with. Some of us have skin in shades of dark brown and black, like the soil that grows the plants we use for clothing and food, but which, left alone, and under much pressure, hardens into stone that must be chiseled to find purpose again. Which one are you? Do you see that every type of soil has dual purposes? We’re not all the same. We weren’t meant to be. We were formed by a multi-faceted God. He has a different plan for every. single. one. of us. Maybe you are free-flowing sand; maybe you’re transparent glass. Maybe you are flexible clay, maybe you are a strong foundation. Maybe you are a field of growth, resting for a season, or hard at work nourishing those around you. Maybe you’ve been under such pressure that you’ve become hard like stone, but you’re willing to be chiseled so that a statue of beauty can be formed from you. The incredible thing about God is that, if you are in a time where none of those seem to be you, a time where you feel much more like you’re just down to “bare bones” there’s still hope for you. You see, God created soil in such a way that it actually preserves bones...for thousands of years. Ezekiel 37 tells us that God can take those dry bones and breathe in them once again, to create new life. The great thing about realizing that your name is Mud...is that there’s nowhere to go, but up.

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