~to promote or improve the growth of by labor and attention

~to seek, to foster…love, friendship, quiet space

The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

James 3:18 HCSB

Autumn had faded to winter. With each passing day, as darkness came quicker, I began to feel boxed in. Confined by the cold, thick darkness, another layer heaped on top the wreckage of my body. As the year wanes, I was at a loss for a word of the year.

I had taken up this practice some years back.  Typically well prepared when the clock strikes midnight, stretching towards the new. Grappling with more new normal,  I was at a loss. Time passed in a way so uncharacteristic of me, with utter silence of a word. The word.

With lent, I chose to give up news. Sick of divisiveness, the ease of insults and innuendos hurled, not only were my ears assaulted, my heart was too.

Certain when forty days passed, I would pick it back up. Turn on the television and brace myself.

Only, I did not.

Before I realized what was happening, not only passing on news, I was passing on television altogether. The quiet became a solace. A balm when weariness and pain began to consume me.

Horror of horrors, when my sweet man was cleaning off the DVR’d shows, he began asking about those I had saved. “Delete,” I said without hesitation.

I became intentional in our space. Cultivating a quiet solace for my mind. Space for my body to rest. Cultivating a soft place to fall (my man’s words not mine) when my precious husband walks through the door frayed and frazzled from his day.

Insert time out here~smile~…Can I just tell you what it does to this broken woman’s heart? After dinner is over, he sets down in his chair across from mine, looks over at me and says these words, “I love being here with you, this is my soft place to fall.”

His words, a gift to tuck deep in my heart.

Pages turn, days go by and flowers bloom. Soil is cultivated. Locally grown strawberries abound. Bees are happily buzzing. Birdsong keeping me company in my days.

I find myself close to mid~year when I realize God had slipped a word in. It was there all along, so focused on the new, I had failed to see it. Dropping it into my lap. A tender gift of grace. Changing my way of life along with my heart.

~CULTIVATE~a verb, an action word, slips quietly in The Wilderness Marathon.

I use it often these days. In fact, it is safe to say a day has not gone by without using the word several times over. If you are having conversation with me, likely you will hear it multiple times.

Somewhere in my journaling, posing the question to myself and God, “What am I cultivating today?”

Peace or divisiveness? Kind words and compassion or hurt feelings? Present in your presence or distracted by busyness?  Softness in the holy of hard, or bitterness? Love or hate? The list is endless.

I looked up the word, cultivate. The fact that it’s an action verb is weighty enough. Though, it was the antonyms that tugged at me. Destroy. Ignore. Neglect.

Cultivate carries over to every bleeding part of our lives. What I cultivate can cause harm or healing. Peace or dissension. Unity or division. Lends power to ignore, neglect, and destroy.

In His quiet, yet powerful way, with tender grace and mercy, God has planted this word in my heart. In my life. In my harder days, making me aware and intentional in how and what I cultivate.

What are you cultivating today?

My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same. ~Job 4:8 NLT

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

other places you may find me…


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