October 31st: Almost {LIKE A TREE_31days writing series}

let's do thisAlmost can be quite a defeated word.

“You almost won”.

“We almost have enough money”.

Teachers say, “almost” to their students, as in, “try again”.

It is this “tying again shade” I try to align with.

The struggle,

the out of your depth,

the awkward,

the uncomfortable,

it will make you or break you.

Should we be people who are being made and remade, or people who are broken and defeated?

The head-pounding-against-the-wall-irony of it all is this:

Christ was a man of sorrows, had to be broken to be lifted up, to then usher in the powerful, overcoming spiritual kingdom.  That is our inheritance. That is what the 14th century writer Thomas A Kempis wrote on in his “the imitation of Christ” work.

If you were a part of the American church in the 1990s then you surely must remember: WWJD; what would Jesus do.  I bet you had the bracelet! But I wonder if something got lost in translation in this nifty acronym.  Is being like Jesus all about niceties, morality, volunteerism, abstaining from the flesh? That was the message of every youth group meeting by every youth pastor given to my generation. I never met and shook hands with this man of sorrows, the obscure, unattractive Son of Man till I was in my thirties. What a shock it was!

But something had to give, because something was up.

I had done, gladly, all the w.w.j.d. requirements. I was a good girl and married a good boy and stayed home with the babies.  We attended and served at church. Simultaneously, I set my face and feet to climb up the American Dream ladder.

Just like the Lowes commercial tells us: Never Stop Improving.

I lived in the almost.

Then, there came that day when I took a long guzzling look around at my little kingdom; the American housewife version of Nebuchadnezzar. Look at all my stuff.  Look how good I am.  Then why the itch that could not be scratched? The yearning that never got close to being met.  I thought my almost would gain approval from Jesus. My almost was actually alienating Him.

I read David Platt’s book Radical in one weekend, alone at a B&B in Maryland. And my w.w.j.d. image of Jesus was rocked. {read my goodreads review here}

We have been in an almost constant state of uncomfortable since. Nearly all our plans and ideas, good plans and ideas that seemed to line up with what God surely would want for us, have not gone accordingly to plan.

However, we have had more peace, and hear so much more clearly from God. We both see with increasing clarity with a 20/20 gospel vision as we swim upstream.  It has not decreased our mistakes, nor done a thing to conquer our sin nature.

We do hear and see and process and rest better.

Did you know that once while Jesus was preaching to the crowds God spoke, thundering from heaven, so the crowds could hear and know God’s approval was on Jesus?  This is what Jesus was preaching at the time:

24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal”. The full story is here

The almost we struggle with, the necessary tension of “in the world but not of it”, is not an almost performing perfectly, not an almost understand it all, but an almost dead to self.  Almost completely empty of me to be 100% full of Him. We will never be that. But we try.

Like the leaves on the tree empty of their life-giving chlorophyll at the most dazzling height of Autumn to then simply die! Why?  To re-generate again in the Spring after the restful hibernation of Winter.

Like a tree.




My 31days of writing series for the month of October in 2015.

My series is done.

Phew! It was a lot of work and discipline.  It felt really dumb and a complete waste of time often. But I was constantly surprise at what came out.  I know it improved my writing skills; helped me to write clearer, with economy and focus.

Thanks for all the comments and reading along.

As always click here to read my series from the beginning.



6 thoughts on “October 31st: Almost {LIKE A TREE_31days writing series}

  1. I loved, loved this!I love your reflections. I applaud your discipline and am encouraged by your heart and authenticity.And my heart goes out to you, I know how hard it is to live in US and not lose focus. the “world” is so loud there–eg buy more, have more, be more…
    Keep going upstream. Liefs,


  2. I’m glad you wrote your series Leah. I enjoy your writing style so much. I don’t know about you, but I’m sitting here wondering what I can write about now. 🙂


    • Exactly! I will be working quite a bit for the next few weeks, and won’t have time to blog anyway, but I always have a running writing idea in my head. May have to invest in a journal to scribbled down any ideas to come back to later.


    • Glad there was something there to ponder Amy. I am not very good at web layout design, but I want to make a header or button on my homepage to direct readers to my Like A Tree series. Thanks for commenting. Cheers! Leah


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