Cutting Away the Kudzu
by Mary Southerland
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5, NIV).
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.
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.
Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!