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Week One | Between Two Gardens

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Week One | It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way  Online Bible Study
Reading Assignment – Chapters 1 & 2 | Pages 1-31

My fingers dug into the earth, ripping through the shallow covering of clover to unearth more destructive roots that would threaten the life of my new plants.  Each tug and pull revealed more of the depths of the complicated root system that extended far beyond what was visible on the surface.  As I fought through the mess of weeds of my front garden, I also fought back tears.

The mess before me reminded me of my own life.  Not that my life is a mess, but it has had its moments.
The mess of weeds reminded me of the deep-rooted disappointments and lies that have formed a complex system of doubts about my worth and God’s goodness.

Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you’ve faced your fair share of disappointments and heartbreak.

Job loss.  Heartbreak.  Abuse.  Illness.  Death of a loved one.  Physical limitations.  Financial struggle.  Debilitating anxiety.  Worldwide pandemic.  Whatever disappointment is breaking your heart into pieces, no matter how trivial it may seem, know that pain is pain, and it is okay to acknowledge it.

“We live in a broken world where broken things happen.  So it’s not surprising that things get broken in our lives as well.  But what about those times when things aren’t just broken but shattered beyond repair?  Shattered to the point of dust.  At least when things are broken there’s some hope you can glue the pieces back together.  But what if there aren’t even pieces to pick up in front of you?  You can’t glue dust.”
Lysa TerKeurst, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pg. 16-17)

You might not be able to glue dust, but Scripture tells us that in a garden, dust was the perfect ingredient to make something new, something very good.

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground.  He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.  Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
Genesis 2:7;1:31

The Hebrew word for the ground in verse 7 is adamah.
The Hebrew word for the man created from this dust is adam.

Since a large number of elements that are found in both the human body are also found in the Earth’s crust, both Christians and secular scientists believe that man eventually returns to dust.  In order to return to something, you must go back to the place or state of being.  So in essence, both Scripture and science believe the account that we just read from Genesis.

We are the clay.

And yet, O LORD, you are our Father.  We are the clay, and you are the potter.  We are formed by your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

Five years ago, my mom and I took our first pottery class, as a gift for her birthday.  We learned how resilient and yet fragile the element of dust mixed with water truly is.  With the correct techniques, a mound of earth and water can be formed into a masterpiece.  But with too much pressure or too much friction, that masterpiece can also end up a royal mess.

I have found that the most beautiful place in the pottery studio is not the display shelf with finished pieces, but the recycle bin.

It is here that the broken pieces and royal messes are given a second chance.  The clay is allowed to dry out, to return back to its original state, so that a new piece of art can be formed.

God is our Potter.
Before the beginning of time, He planned your creation, just like the dust-made man in the garden, and each day He provides new mercies (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Hallelujah!


Let’s chat!  We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments.  Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:

Identify – In this week’s reading Lysa asks us to consider that, “if our souls never ached with disappointments and disillusionments, we’d never fully admit and submit to our need for God.  If we weren’t ever shattered we’d never know the glorious touch of the Potter making something glorious out of dust, out of us.” (Pg. 27)

How does this shift in perspective help you to find hope in the pain of heartbreak?

In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus comes from Isaiah 64:8 (NLT). Download our weekly Scripture card.  Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization.

Share with us in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!

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  1. There have been a lot of times in life when it hasn’t gone at all like I’ve intended. Now that I’ve got the benefit of some age and maybe a tiny spark of wisdom, when things go pear-shaped now (as they do), I find it easier to look back and remember how God used previous disappointments. I can find hope earlier in the process now than I could when I was younger. And I can remind myself that this life is not the end, and is not what God intended. Better is coming.

    1. Lisa, there is definitely more wisdom and a quicker sense of calm that comes with age. Job 12:12, comes to mind, in fact. I do know that things don’t rattle me as much as they used to. Praise God! What a blessing it is to be able that you are able to find the silver lining in those times of hardship! Better is indeed coming!

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