a story of my struggles

peonies in nana's garden

i haven't shared my heart on here lately. my god heart. the heart that longs for jesus.

and jesus has been changing it a lot this summer. calling out to me. showing me things i was before not willing to see. christopher said yesterday, i think you should share that. and so i think i will.

it starts with bitterness. comparison. insecurities. deep down inside, the side of my heart that i hide from others. i compare. i struggle. i am prideful. i think of myself as better than others, and when i feel threatened i plant the seed of bitterness in the soil of my heart.

and then it germinates. it grows and grows until its evil stems break through the soil of my heart and sink and settle and strengthen.

for a long time i allowed this. for a long time i allowed a foothold for the devil to feed me those seeds of bitterness. of jealousy. of envy. of ugliness.

and self hatred grew. i knew it to be wrong. i knew it to be ungodly, unholy and ugly. but i didn't care enough. i didn't desire differently enough to change. so it continued. i put my friends at a distance, because i was too prideful and arrogant to be happy for their blessings. for their lives. for the goodness they have done and received.

my jealous heart.

that is until this summer. i asked the lord to show me how he sees me. that question hung on my lips for days, weeks and slowly he began to show me the reality of my sin. of the struggle i so deeply carry and so unwillingly share with others.

its funny. i was expecting something lovely and beautiful. i was expecting only lovely and beautiful things for him to illustrate of me. but doesn't that go perfectly with my struggle? of course i would expect the lord to only show me the pleasant things that make me me. of course i was too prideful to think that maybe, just maybe, he would show me some of those unpleasant realities. some of the reasons why i so desperately need him. and his grace.

and as he revealed these things he also gave courage and hope and life. he showed me that this ugliness, the bitter seeds that the devil has sown in the soil of my heart, are not to stay but to be pulled. like the weeds i took great devotion to pull in my nana's garden as a child, so are the sins and ugliness in my life.

as a little girl, it broke my heart when my nana spoke of the weeds that quench life and beauty of her zinnias and peonies in her precious garden. i took it upon my heart, like a hero saving the hurt, to save that beauty of flowers and remove any weed that chokes its life. i spent hours with a brown paper bag in my gloved hangs pulling, weeding out the bad to bring more life to the good.

and isn't that what jesus wants of me in my own heart? to continually tend the weeds, and pull out the evil, to bring fullness, life and beauty, just as i did in my nana's garden? i am realizing this summer that, yes, this is so.

i wish it to be a sin that i can pray for it to be gone and it is, but it isn't. i sense that this struggle of envy, jealousy and comparison will take time. will take a lifetime. of pulling and tending to the garden in my heart.

i am reading this book right now called "a thousand gifts" by ann voskamp. it's really amazing and is exactly the encouragement to help me in a time like this. in the book she writes about combating a discontent life by giving thanks to the lord for the things he gives and does and tells us. daily.

and so i will begin my own entries too, of writing and thanking the lord for all the little and sometimes big blessings in my life. and maybe, just maybe, it can help me to tend to those ugly weeds and bring more beauty and life and joy.

today i am thankful for:
1. a heart to see and a God that gives so much grace


sam fiek said...

love you so much aimee. thanks for sharing your heart and for your vulnerability, and above all, for seeking Him. I'm so thankful for you and for your friendship

Unknown said...

Beautiful Aimee! So insightful and touching....

Suzanne said...

That 'unknown' was me (Suzanne). :)

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for sharing. it's been awhile since i've read your blog, but tonight it has inspired me to maybe do the same things. i love you. (kirsten)

Laurie Sue said...

I too, Aimee, struggle daily with pulling those "weeds", but as I've gotten older I have learned that if I spend a few moments at the end of each day reflecting on my short-comings it's so much easier the next day to avoid those same mistakes. I'm very content with my life. That's not to say I wouldn't want more - more money, more possessions, more wisdom, more TIME, but those things are so secondary when compared to the simple joy I feel everyday by loving and being loved!! All of this, I believe, comes with age. As I get older want for little, but try to feel more.

I wish I could reach out and hug you right now! You continue to make me incredibly proud!

I love you-

aimee bee said...

thanks for the encouragement ladies. i really appreciate it!

Cherise L. C. said...

Aimee, this was lovely. I know it took courage to write, just as it takes courage to "go there" with Jesus. Thanks for sharing. I really can relate to a lot of it, and I'll be praying for ya.

Oh, and I'm reading that same book! Super encouraging and challenging.

aimee bee said...

Isn't it great Cherise! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :)

lesley said...

move to springfield and be my best friend? ;)

i go through some of those very same things way too often. thanks for sharing so openly. praying that God continues to work in you and through you.

NeedleandTwine said...

Thank you for sharing Aimee!
I like the illustration you give of sin being weeds...how we continuously need to tend and take care. Thank you for your encouragement. :)

aimee bee said...

Thank you ladies. Lesley, I would love that. We shall see where the good Lord takes us. :)

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