I need to give a shout-out to Melanie at Only A Breath for creating this fabulous button FREE of charge. She rocks.
No. It’s not technically a word. I’m aware of this.
But when I asked Him to lead me to the word, the one bundle of letters that will be the lens I look through for the new year, I kept vacillating between two and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t chase one away.
One moment, I knew for sure it was “compassion.”
And two shakes later, I knew it had to be “cultivate.”
So my word for the year has become “compassionvate.”
I need to focus on compassion for all – for strangers, for my husband, for my children, for my extended family, for my friends.
But through compassion, we cultivate.
There are several definitions of cultivate:
1. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till. The land is my homefront, the crops my family. Those small meaningless tasks that go unappreciated and unnoticed to those under my roof are not unappreciated and unnoticed by our God.
When I fold laundry, I’m plowing.
When I drive and pick-up from school, I plow.
When I prepare meals and kiss skinned knees and mediate disagreements, I fertilize.
I am raising strong and mighty crops. And strong and mighty crops cannot be raised without compassion.
2. To grow or tend (a plant or crop). So I plow and fertilize, and continue raising my crops. But there are times to step back, to not hover and allow those wings to sprout on their own. Much like we nurture seeds in the garden come spring, we know that ultimately, the plant will have to bloom on its own someday.
There are just some things I won’t be able to do for my children. No matter how much plowing and fertilizing I do, sometimes I just need to step back and let them succeed or fail on their own.
3. To promote the growth of. I was talking to a dear friend just yesterday about how I need to give my oldest a little nudge now and then to try something new. The expected response when I ask if she wants to try something new—be it soccer, horseback riding lessons, or piano lessons, is often “No. I don’t want to.”
And while I’m not interested in over-scheduling my children, there is a time to promote their growth. That growth can’t be promoted without someone nudging a bit—but not pushing.
On another note, I must promote the growth of my marriage as well. Marriage is oftentimes just plain hard, friends. I know. If we don’t promote its growth, we deny ourselves the possibility of walking closer to God and in turn, experiencing a level of intimacy with our spouse that we never thought we could experience.
4. To form and refine, as by education. “Some people don’t have homes,” my youngest has been spouting out in rather odd moments, for no apparent reason other than the fact that a few weeks ago I told him about his Grandpa Richard. My father was homeless for two years while I was in college and died when I was 27. Spencer never had the opportunity to meet him but my father forms and refines all of my children through his own story of victory.
It is when I speak frankly, in appropriate language and without shock, that my children and I have the best conversations about this world. I’ll spare you the details of the childbirth conversation we had not so long ago.
5. To seek the acquaintance or goodwill of; make friends with. The word “seek” stands out to me here—we must cultivate our friendships as well. Female relationships are critical to our well-being yet so many women have been hurt by other women.
It’s been only through humility, love, and compassion that I’ve been blessed with real Heart Sisters. In the past, I dismissed the friendship when things got bumpy. Then I grew up and accepted I wasn’t perfect and in humility, I became more willing to walk through the murk, the stuff that’s just difficult.
In the past, I missed the reward of authentic, safe friendships by fleeing the scene. But its only been through embracing humility that I’ve been able to go there.
May we be the planters of seeds this year, sisters. May we bear much fruit. And may we all just press a little harder into Him in 2013.
What about you? What’s your word for 2013? I would love to hear them!