Those who have journeyed together with me since the pandemic know that this season in life has been particularly difficult for me. I’m not alone. I understand that many people have experienced hardships and struggles during this time. I have felt barren and wondered if the blessings and protection of God have been lifted from my life. However, during my darkest time, God has blessed me with the opportunity to open a new dojo in the middle of a pandemic. I have wondered why God would bless me with the dojo. Why is there much barrenness and pain in my life and yet God is opening a new path in judo?
One day last summer as I was driving around town to do errands, I asked myself why am I being blessed with the opportunity to open a new dojo while the rest of my life is falling apart. Almost as if God himself were were speaking to my heart, a thought came into my mind. Over the past couple of years my heart has been plowed up. The soil of my heart has been tilled, the rocks have been removed. In short, my heart is being prepared to receive seed that can bring 30, 60, 100 times more fruit than was planted.
This past spring I noticed that there were more buds and flowers on our back-yard mango tree than ever before. I was hopeful, but the pattern has always been that most of the buds and flowers eventually are blown off by wind and rain or rot and fall off, yielding limited or no fruit year after year. I have often contemplated cutting the tree down because it only produced dead leaves that we would have to rake up and throw away. To my surprise, as the weeks and months went by, fruit appeared and began to grow. Today the tree is full of mango that will ripen soon. It almost feels like God is saying that He wants to bless me and make my life fruitful. The mango is like a confirmation of God’s goodness and grace. Just like I had nothing to do with the coming bumper crop, I cannot take credit for the blessings that come into my life. All I can do is humble myself and allow God to plow away the hardness of my heart.
The circumstances in my life have not changed, but the attitude of my heart to allow God to change me is making the difference in my life.