Nurture Your God-Given Promise

There are dreams inside of each of us. Sometimes they are more obvious and other times we have to search deeper to find those gifts placed in our hands.

A wise friend once showed me that we are supposed to hold the things that God placed inside of us in our hands surrendered as an act of faith. This revelation was expanded as she continued to tell me that we are called to lift our hands with our palms up towards heaven, ready to receive everything God desires to give us.

The point of this act was to make sure that that which was gently and lovingly placed in our hands by our Heavenly Father is not dropped. To steward these promises well by taking care of them, but still leaving these things delicately offered back to God in complete surrender.

Upon revisiting this divine discovery, there was a greater understanding of it that was released to me. The gift, the dream, the promise placed gently in our care, is in need of nurture and warmth from us in order to keep it alive. The thing we hope for, cannot reach its full potential if it is not tended to and nurtured while it is in the early stages. The promise needs warmth and security, otherwise the coldness of the world around us will kill that infant dream before it can ever reach full fruition.

In elementary school, there were baby birds we kept in our classroom. They were in an incubator until the baby birds were ready to hatch. The incubator kept the chicks warm and cared for the unborn babies while they matured. Once they were born, they no longer needed that heat to keep them alive.

After they hatched, we got to take turns holding them. We were given strict intrusions as to how to hold them because they were so small and fragile. We had to cup our hands so they couldn’t fall out of our little hands. They were so young and still sought the warmth of the incubator, but not to the extent they did before they were born. So we had to hold them close to our hearts to give them our warmth.

It is the same way with the hopes and dreams placed in our hearts. We have to keep them close to our hearts so they are safe, secure and nurtured. When our hands are cupped, the dream in our hands is protected from the elements and from the harsh external climate. But to the same measure, we need to leave our hands open so the dream can grow upward as we hold it. By leaving it in our hands loosely, we are telling the Lord that we trust Him with our promise, or to put it in other words, we are giving Him our “Isaac”.

The promise we now steward from God, for God, is not easy to carry and, like an infant acting up, comes with problems to endure through and overcome. We may feel defeated by the trials we face for our dream, to the point of crying out to God. What we don’t realize, though, is that those tears cried are watering the seed inside of us. God uses that which caused us pain to bring us immense joy when He fulfills what He promised. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of agony, tears of elation, God uses every tear we cry in our hearts and for our dreams to nurture and water the seed we contain.

As the seed grows, we can open up our hands a little more to let the sunlight shine down and feed the promise
Just like a baby in it’s mother’s womb, there is growth as the promise develops and matures. In order to allow the growth the hands that hold that hoped thing must be opened wider while still keeping the unborn dream safe and secure.

We have to place our hope in God as He places these things inside of us to tend to. He calls us to keep them warm as they continue growing inside each of us. If there is no warmth, then the likelihood of those things we place our hope in will not survive. The cold threatens to take the life from the hopes and promises. With proper love and care, however, they will always be kept warm despite the environment they are placed in.

It is easy to see how simple it is for dreams and promises to grow cold as a result of lack of care, and as a result can shrivel up and die underneath the frost. This is common when a dream seems impossible and out of reach.

Because of this, the dreamer loses the hope conceived in their hearts and neglect the egg. The heat we were providing is turned down if not shut off completely. The small unhatched egg, the dream inside of us, is forgotten and without being tended to through hope, love and faith will die. With it, a piece of us will be die as well. In the place of the unborn promise, an offensive odor is formed.

We abort our dreams before they can be born lest we have another miscarriage when we don’t see the promise coming true. But one has to wonder, maybe the first time a dream was thought to be miscarried was really an abortion too. What if in our impatience to see the promise birthed now and out of intolerance to wait for its expected time of delivery, we actually killed it? What if it would have lived and became something great if we just waited for it to reach fulfillment?

What was forgotten, was that like the unborn baby bird, our dreams and promises need time to mature completely. They need the heat from being nurtured, even before they are welcomed into the world. That which we hoped for, needs to be hoped in, especially when it seems impossible.

Beloved, do not be discouraged when your dreams have not come true yet. They will take time as they are growing and to rush the process might be detrimental to the promise forming inside of you. Only as you wait upon the Lord’s perfect timing, will the seed within you reach full maturity and be brought into reality. Wait on God to fulfill what He has placed inside of you, what He has promised you.

In the meantime, tend to the dream. It will come to fruition only if it is cared for in every season and in the nurture provided. Hold the promise delicately with open hands and a willing heart surrendered to God. But at the same time, hold it close to your heart with warmth and hope. Without either, the dream will perish. Only when both elements are present will the Lord grow it inside of you and give it to you as a gift when it has fully developed.

“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” “He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.””
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭22:1-2, 8, 11-12‬ ‭

“He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭7:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“The son of the free woman was born through promise.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭4:23‬b ‭ESV‬‬.

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.””
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬

“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Fruit of Your Labor

Recently, I went to Connecticut for a family party and it was incredible! They had a plot of land and they all lived in close proximity to each other. By close, I mean next door or across the street. The siblings, all with families of their own now, still were close not only in proximity but in relationship to one another too.

This was encouraging to see but the part that really amazed me was how they grew all their own produce. They had blackberries, plums, Asian pears, mulberries, hazelnuts, tomatoes, squash, to name only some of the many plants they tended to on their grounds. That was most inspiring to me, the fact that they planted all these plants and had prospered from their fruit and land.

They had livestock and it impressed me how they lived off of their own crop and the work of their hands.

I got to talk with Bill and Amy, the owners of the one section of the plot of land, and they talked about how their son, Andrew, was the true visionary for their abundance.

Apparently, Andrew saw, in his head, what he wanted to plant and where it would grow best. He took into account how tall each tree or bush would grow and what the perfect way to plant each one of them so the view overlooking the mountains was not lost. He did extensive research on this project and it paid off. He even mapped out where each plant had to be planted because of its projected height.

(Backstory: Andrew is one of the most creative people I have ever crossed path with. He works with leather and will make a life-size replica of something like an elephant head. He “dabbles” in art and is able to put professionals to shame. Anything he puts his mind to becomes a masterpiece and now in addition to his long lists of artistic abilities, he has a green thumb as everything he grows thrives.)

When he first had the idea to plant all of the produce, Andrew was the only one who saw the end result before the seeds had even been buried in the ground. This, however, did not discourage him to give up on the whole endeavor. IMG_5404.JPG

The parents relayed to me their skepticism at first, of their son’s most recent project. Andrew was away when some of the trees arrived, Amy recalled, and he told them that they had to go in the ground immediately, so Amy and Bill went out there and planted them despite their ability to grasp their son’s vision. They told me how they were not able to see the goal that their son had seen but waited patiently.

As time went on though, everyone was able to see the progression of the plants and trees as they continued to grow. Suddenly the vision was shared by all and it was all due to one person enduring and persevering despite any and all challenges.

While I was spending time with the family, I got to taste the fruits of their labor, literally. It was all so delicious and naturally sweet. I only saw the final result, I did not get to see the process to get to that point.

This, however, made me think about my own internal growth. I thought how I do not see myself experiencing growth while in that moment of self-expansion. God is the one who sees, like Andrew, what the end result has in store for me but how he differs is that he also sees the journey that we have to face and the victory that awaits us over it. He sees what the climate around me will threaten to do to me and how to best protect me against the elements of life.

(The climate can be those things in life that could launch me forward and they can be the things that could freeze me to the bone and hinder me if I am not sheltered properly.)

The Lord has to make sure that the thorns do not grow around me, stealing all of my nutrients and nourishment. If the weeds do grow around me though, then I have to be so rooted in Christ, that even though I am surrounded by unhealthy growth, I am not affected by it.

Like Bill and Amy, I may not be able to see the end result of what God has planned in my life. I may look at the current state and be unsure how I could possibly be all that I was made to be. I need to remember that like a tree, the seeds in me take time to grow into a big strong foundation. When I look at where I am, I need to remember patience is important but also see how far I have come already as I trust the Lord to take me further, still.

I heard it put this way, “You can rejoice in the outcome but do not live there.”

If I live in the outcome, I would be missing so many lessons that are going to bring me there. I also cannot live there because then I will postpone the joy that the Lord wants me to experience in my current tribulation. To be like Christ, I have to be joyful in the testing, or in this case, as my tree or vine, continues to grow.

I have been equipped to persevere but I need to know that my strength comes from God alone. Even if there are other trees and vines around me, I can only depend on the One True Vine.

In life, others may not see the journey I have traveled so far, to get where I am, but that does not disregard the progress I made so far. I may not see the improvement myself, but a seed takes time to become something great, and my odyssey has to be treated the with the same persistence and patience.

Like me only getting to see the end result of the fruits and vegetables planted, many people may not see how much hard work and diligence that was required of each one of us to get that final outcome.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10