Hold Me Steady: on small needs and saplings

Support-Rope-Around-Young-Tree-Trunk

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

Early motherhood has been challenging from the get-go for me. More often than not, I feel empty and in over my head; like I’m sweeping together the very last bits of what I have in order to keep caring for this baby’s round-the-clock needs, to keep giving to my marriage, to keep putting time into my work.

I berate myself for not knowing how to walk through this, how to balance it all, for struggling with what is painful, for needing help.  It is a fleeting season, sprinkled with such sweet moments. There is progress and relief and growth. But the build-up leaves me spent. It’s rough to feel that you’ve run out of steam for the day and it’s only breakfast time.

Especially because I am in this stage, this verse hit me.

I needed the phrase, “every good thing.”

Caring for a new baby, my days are filled with small tasks, and though they are small, they are taking everything I have.  I need the reassurance that they count, that in tending to these small needs, I am doing good things, and that I will be given the comfort and strength I need for each and every one of them.

“Strengthen” in this verse comes from the Greek word sterixai, which means “to make fast, to plant down solidly, or to render constant.”

I love the image of planting. I am not that great of a gardener and I have been the person who excitedly dug a hole, plopped a young tree down inside it, shoveled in some dirt, and then watched in dismay as the soil gave way and the tree went sideways.

It is not enough to hastily drop saplings into post-holes and call it good. They need the right depth, firmly packed soil, sometimes even stakes and ties to help them remain upright.  Good planting is more than picking the right spot and dropping off a plant. Good planting provides the firm support a young tree needs to thrive.

And when it comes to my heart, God is a good gardener. He settles me firmly, he ensures that I have all the bracing I needs to stand upright. He plants me deep and firm when I feel like I am crumpling, tipping, and falling to pieces. He offers the fresh hope I need to rally for the next day, the next task, the next word. He calms me and makes me steady for the work ahead.

Lord,

I feel worn through. I am only a human person who gets tired and frustrated, who doesn’t always know what to do, who has real limits when it comes to energy and pain tolerance, who is adjusting to a lot of changes. But for every good thing that is mine to do and every kind word I am called upon to offer, you yourself will bolster my heart with your unfailing strength and endless grace.

I am not the sturdy, unwavering oak tree that I want to be. I am only a sapling. It is easy for me to get bent and broken and off-balance. But you are a good gardener. So plant me firm and remind me that I can rest and let you hold me steady.

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