Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean???

I closed out Ladies Small group last night with an illustration (not mine) that they were not familiar with, so I decided to share here too.

We all have hard seasons. Perhaps it was your childhood, or rebellious teen years. Maybe your season was an abusive marriage, or a divorce. Maybe you have a special needs child, a parent with Alzheimer’s, someone you love has (or has had) cancer, or someone you love died or left you. Maybe yours isn’t tragic. Maybe you had a hard time adjusting to marriage, waiting on a spouse, or waiting on a baby. Maybe you struggled in college or took “too long” to become established in your career. What contributed to your difficult season isn’t the point, only that you had one.

Now that you’ve thought about it…

What do you do with it? Hard times leave their mark on us. They change us. The question is, HOW have they changed YOU?

Think of hard times like boiling water.

What does boiling water do to an egg? Makes it hard, right? TOO many women who have become hard in response to their difficult seasons. In an attempt to not be hurt again, they build walls, develop a tough exterior and refuse to let anyone in. Know anyone like that?

Now, what about a carrot? Put a carrot in boiling water and what happens? Left long enough, it turns to mush, right? The boiling water makes it weak. I know women who have allowed their difficult seasons to wear them to the point that they are just…soft. They just exist. They don’t feel they are anything more than a victim. Know anyone like that?

And then there’s coffee. What happens when we expose coffee beans to boiling water? THEY CHANGE THE WATER! Praise Jesus! Yes! Add boiling water to Coffee beans, and the water becomes rich, tasty, and full of energy-boosting caffeine… AND the longer we steep our coffee in that boiling water, the stronger it becomes! See why I LOVE this illustration?

The only problem with this is that I am NOT coffee. Left to my own devices, I am an egg. I shut people out and retreat to my peaceful, lonely solitude…

But GOD shapes my heart and fills me with the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control) and THROUGH HIM, I become Coffee. Actually, I think that maybe the “boiling water” of life allows HIM to seep out of me. Either way, when I focus on HIM and not on my circumstances, HE uses me (and you) to do amazing things. We get to see Him work. We get to be part of what He is doing. We get to witness His mighty power. We learn what it means to “follow Christ” and to “know” Him. We learn what “All things work together for GOOD for those who love Him” means. We learn that God’s plan is best, even when it is painful.

Satan wants to remind us of all the bad that’s been done to and by us. Satan wants to make us hard so that we are afraid to get involved in others’ lives. Satan wants to make us so weak that we believe we have no value. Satan wants us to focus on the worst parts of our lives, 

But GOD wants us to be Coffee. HE wants to USE those experiences to make the lives around us richer.

Think about the deepest darkest time you’ve ever been through. 

SOMEONE is in that dark place now. YOU can be the person who leads them out.

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