"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:1-4 NIV)
Gardening. Giving birth. Making bread dough.
I know it looks like we're playing "one of these things is not like the other," but I promise each of these is related to God as the giver of new life.
I was thinking about planting things the other day (which is how you know this must have been from the Holy Spirit, since gardening is not in my mental wheelhouse). I was thinking how, when you plant something, you first work up the soil. You turn it over to redistribute the nutrients and aerate it and prepare it to nurture new life.
In giving birth, there are the contractions and all the work that makes "labor" well-suited to its name. These are necessary for new life to be born into the outside world.
In making bread dough, there is agitation, stirring up. The yeast is a living organism, but without activity and without being subjected to heat, it will not give rise to something new. And even once the life within the yeast has been released, unless the dough is pulled, pushed, worked, turned over, shaped, rested, and subjected to yet more heat, the bread will never be what it could be.
When we're in a season of new life, we may very well feel we are being dug up, turned over, contracted, worked, agitated, stirred up, pushed, pulled, shaped, and subjected to heat. But this is all for our good. It is all necessary to what is being grown, born, created.
If we're in a season when we wish for new life—wish for growth or birth or creation—we may have to ask ourselves if we need some holy agitation, some sacred stirring.
In either case, we can trust the Grower. We can trust the Creator. We can trust the Maker.
God never gives us new life just for the sake of pushing us around. He only gives new life to pull us closer to Himself.
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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!