Today’s Truth

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.

Psalm 62:5

Friend to Friend

As we drove through the scenic mountains of North Carolina, I could feel my soul begin to settle and my spirit grow quiet. It was a welcome feeling … one that was a long time coming.

We had been vacationing at Lake Lure since our children were toddlers. Now Jered and Danna are married and have children of their own. And we were about to meet all of them for a whole week of vacation together!

I. Could. Not. Wait.

But I really needed a little time to just be still. To set aside the busy schedule I had just left behind. To reset my heart and mind on the precious lives and legacy about to arrive, yelling “Mimi” as they scampered into my arms.

Dan and I drove in comfortable silence, occasionally commenting on the beauty of the familiar mountains and rolling valleys. Sweet memories made us laugh as we spotted places we had taken our children when they were young. Now we would take our grandchildren to those same places and make new memories. Yes, it was going to be a great week.

Flowers of every color dotted the hillsides, and I commented on the beauty of the lush green ground cover. Dan said, “Honey, that is Kudzu.”

Whatever Kudzu was, I thought it was beautiful and told him so.

Dan seemed determined to burst my Kudzu bubble, “Honey, Kudzu is nasty and nothing more than a deadly weed. The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so fast that it kills them … basically by suffocating them.”

I was not convinced, so I Googled Kudzu. He was right! Kudzu is a menace. According to Wikipedia, Kudzu is a serious invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres annually. Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences and has earned the nickname, “The vine that ate the South.”

What? How could something so beautiful be so deadly? The Holy Spirit whispered to my weary soul, “Oh, you know how.”

And I did.

I had just spent nine months traveling at break-neck speed … speaking, writing, teaching and mentoring … all beautiful things. But my schedule had become deadly. I was so tired. So what is a girl … using the term “girl” loosely … to do?

I am 65 years old, have just been diagnosed with scoliosis, and battle clinic depression every day. God works through the amazing doctors He has placed in my life and through the medications and therapies they prescribe. Over the past few years, those doctors have have helped me hone in on what works best. And every one of them is telling me to slow down. So I am.

I am slowing down to sit at His feet this year. Setting new priorities, planting and carefully tending new hedges of protection. I have recruited some people who are not afraid to look me in the eye and say, “Stop it!” I am already sensing some radical changes on the horizon.

Cutting back on my travel schedule.

Taking a year off from teaching Bible Study – just a year.

Learning to be more creative in the way I mentor women.

Staying home.

Creating margins.

Beginning a new ministry that will still allow me to interact with women across the world without packing a bag and getting on a plane.

Cutting away the Kudzu.

And so excited to plant new seeds … new dreams that the Father will grow. Not my seeds, you see. They are His alone and will not be a burden. In fact, they will be replenishing and energizing. When we work and serve within our gifting, God empowers and gives us everything we need to do what He created and calls us to do.

Yep! Taking my hands off. Letting go. Resting in Him. No ambition and absolutely no hope for worldly gain or fame. Wow! The freedom that comes from that place is startling.

How about you, girlfriend? Do you need to stop and just breathe?

Today is the day. Take the time to sit at His feet and ask Him … not anyone else … ask the Father what His plan is for your life. Then rise to your feet and do it. Cut away the Kudzu and just do it.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today with a weary heart and exhausted body. I am tired. I am worn. But I am Yours. And I am ready to seek You and Your perfect plan above every plan in my life. I know I will find rest in doing what You have created me to do. I surrender my agenda to You. Lead me, Lord. I will follow. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

I challenge you to read Psalm 23 once a day for a month. Record your thoughts in your journal and see how God directs your steps. Write a prayer of surrender and commitment to Him. I am praying for you now as you read this devotion … that God will lift you up and strengthen you for the journey ahead.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help cutting away the Kudzu in your life? Get Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

12 Responses to “Cutting Away the Kudzu”

  1. Donna B Fleming says:

    Thank you Mary for this devotional this morning. It is just what I needed. Please pray for me that I will listen for & heed Gid’s word as Ge guides me through my chaotic existence. God bless you.

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you for today’s devotion. I am recently retired after working full time for 42 years in stressful job environments. I am struggling with learning to slow down, sit back, rest and spend quiet time before God, letting myself rest in Him. This devotion ministers to me. I have almost, within a period of 3 weeks of being retired, almost committed my time such that there isn’t time for quiet rest and refreshing in God. Thank you for new insights into my need to be still before God.

  3. Dawn says:

    Today’s devotion is just what I needed; many thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been feeling weary about my obligations at home and church, but feeling guilty for not wanting to continue to give 110% to everything, all the time. (Why do I/we do this to ourselves? ) I find now that I’m in my 50’s, I just want to have my quiet time with God, studying, praying and being what He wants me to be, and finding more Christian women like myself. Yet, that nagging voice that tells us to be “productive”….. Thank you again for such excellent insight. Now, go relax, will ya? 🙂

  4. Pam says:

    Sometimes we need to do what He says,”Be Still.” Blessings to you.

  5. Beth says:

    Thank you for being real about where you are. I also am on that treadmill/roller coaster and so desire to get off and do what the Lord is showing is required for me. I will be praying that you will be restored, equipped, encouraged, comforted and that you will see that he who loves you is faithful to accomplish his perfect pleasing will for you. Blessings and peace.

  6. Mary says:

    Thank you,

  7. Sharrilane says:

    Mary: I love that you share your life stories. I can always relate and identify with your experiences. It is like sharing life stories over coffee – total enjoyment. I seek God for my purpose and path each day. I always hope I hear the message. Right now in a hold state – just me and my faith – wanting to gain strength. So again thank you. I love and relate to so many of your character thru your messages. I am 66 also have depression but without faith, I would be nothing. Sharrilane in Nebraska.

  8. Kat says:

    Your words continue to speak to me. I am exhausted. Like you, it is time for me to let go, be quiet, breathe, and seek God’s Pllan for me. Glad that you are slowing down. God Bless – and just breathe!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Thank you! I needed to read this, since my mind was racing with all the deep-cleaning chores I should tackle on my day off. (Not the best idea with chronic illness.) I pray God blesses you with rest for your soul in your year off from teaching Bible study.

  10. Janet says:

    i am currently at Lake Lure-my last day here. Heading home tomorrow. I too have lots of memories and always draw close to God and my husband during these weeks. Praying I can take it home with me!!

  11. May Ann says:

    God spoke to my heart and reminds me of the most important thing in my life and that is to always put my heart and my life in His loving arms. Stress and challenges always surrounds me but only His presence gives me strength and power to overcome them daily. Thank you for God’s wonderful works in your life. God bless us.

  12. Jessica says:

    I needed this Bible verse and this devotion today. I did! God knows that! I just had a heart to heart talk with a dear friend last night. I told her how my job has been stressing me out. How I am feeling the burden of time constraints. I told her how I have been thinking about a career change. After talking it out, she made me realize I am just stressed. After thinking about it, I am realizing I have put most of the stress on myself. I need to better manage my time. I need to pray about it. I need to stop striving to please others, and strive to please God instead. When I do that, I know the rest will fall into place.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8