September 4, 2017 by Kgalalelo
Spring is now here in South Africa and the 1st of September marks the beginning of the season and this year it falls on a Friday. It is supposed to be a warm or hot day under normal circumstances, when people wear short sleeved garments but in my part of the country, Bloemfontein, it is still cold. This is one of the coldest cities in South Africa during winter that begins in June until the end of August. The morning temperature on the first of September was only 1 ℃ and escalated to 21 ℃ in the afternoon. I was wearing a jersey and a jacket throughout the day. In winter, the morning temperatures drop as low as -6 ℃ which is horrible for people who do not prefer the cold like me. I was born in spring, in October, and therefore, this is literally my season.
Besides the fact that we celebrate spring on the 1st of September, South Africans also celebrate Casual Day on the same day. This is a nationwide fundraising initiative to support people with disabilities. Anyone who purchase the Casual Day sticker can wear casual clothes to work including children at the schools. I usually purchase stickers for myself and my kids. It’s a worthy cause, for the Bible says “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).
I took half day’s leave from work on the first day of spring as there was a sale of work at my children’s school on that day too. This is an annual fundraising event for the school and parents are not only encouraged and requested to donate things to be sold at the event but also to participate and assist on that day whenever they can. We therefore, accompany our children to the market as parents especially those with kids at lower grades as the older ones I assume, prefer to be on their own. Different activities are arranged to entertain the children like jumping castles, inflatable rolling balls, colouring competition, face painting and manicure corner and many others. There’s also a fashion show for all grades, that I particularly enjoy, however, this year, only the grade 1- 3 learners participated in numbers and just six kids in the intermediate phase and not to mention that the high schoolers never bothered to enter the competition at all. It was a disappointment as some of the parents were looking forward to all the phases.
I always look forward to this event with my children as we get to spend some time together as mother and daughters but this year’s event was particularly different as I noticed that my kids were drawn more to their friends than me. I was by myself at times and as I was watching them with their friends running around with excitement and going to different stalls I said a little prayer in my heart that I may receive the grace to let them be when the time comes and allow them to grow and spread their wings. I know that they will always need their mother but I prayed that I may be the mother who is always there but able to allow my children their own space at the divinely appointed times and not suffer from the so called empty nest syndrome that I usually hear about.
I’ve been going with them to the event since they were in preschool and now that they are in grade 1 and 4, they are growing and don’t need me as much to hold their hands or take them to the loo anymore. I therefore, bought a cup of coffee and a cupcake and joined some of the mothers who were sitting on the bench talking. I presume that next year as they turn 8 and 11 there could be another shift because growth and development are daily occurrences and I should prepare myself mentally and love them every step of the way.
Spring is a happy season and when I was growing up, September used to be the month where people in my neighbourhood took time to clean their houses thoroughly as in winter, everyone hibernates and nobody wants to do much. They called it spring cleaning; furniture would be moved and rearranged, sheets changed, windows and walls washed, cupboard emptied and cleaned and the outside as well cleaned and the plants watered. These are exciting activities that brings a different kind of energy that opens up the soul and fills it with energy. At home, everyone participated without any resistance or grumbling. My parents would each give us tasks to do and we did them with laughter and vitality. We would assist in washing the blankets that we used for winter, wash the curtains and my brothers would assist my dad with gardening. Everyone in our communities did the same things and when completed, we were allowed to sit outside in the cool days of spring with our friends. It was fun!
I put a picture of a peach tree blooming as this is usually the first sign of spring for me. We had peach trees at home and when I saw the tiny leaves and small pink and white flowers flourishing I knew without even looking at the calendar that spring had come. It was announcing its arrival in its own unique way. Every season has a distinctive way of making an entrance and my season bloom the flowers. It’s a season of new beginnings, things come alive and the season is dominated by bright colours everywhere, the cold winter melts away as we receive the warm weather. The trees becomes green and all kinds of vegetation. Every season is important in its own right because God designed it that way. The bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”.
As we think about the prospects of spring in our outer environment, we also need to focus on our inner environment as our hearts also need spring cleaning. We need to look at what is growing in there, is it colourful, does it bring joy and laughter, is there warmth of love for others and ourselves, is it a happy season inside of our hearts or a sad season, have we left the winter behind as we enter spring. Are we entering spring with pure consciousness that is light or is it a heavy consciousness that still sees bleakness.
Solomon says in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”. This is a time for us to go before the Lord and ask Him to work in our hearts. We all go through the season where everything in our lives is cold, the temperature drops and sometimes below freezing point. We try so hard to keep warm and put on a lot of covering, we sleep early to run away from the cold and our hearts are hardened because of all the difficulties we experience. The situations around us seem hopeless and we harbour all kinds of emotions that do not serve us and hardens us even the more.
We need to search our souls and ask God to remove anything that is unlike Himself in us. Psalm 51:7 further says “purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”. Hyssop is said to be a wild shrub that was used for Jewish purification rites. Every culture and religion has its own way of purification usually from uncleanliness of any kind but what is better than being purified by the blood of Jesus Christ, the lamb that washes away all our sins.
There is nothing that the blood of Jesus cannot wash away, even the toughest stains in our hearts. Isaiah 1:8 says “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool”. A clean house smells fresh and a clean heart surrounds the body with good aura as you spread positivity in your environment. Your body houses the Spirit of God and the Bible puts it this way “do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
There are many things that disturbs the equilibrium of our bodies and that is an unclean mind and a heart that harbours ill-feeling. The challenges of life and how we deal with them can fill the body with dis-ease and also there is nothing that you could ever do that the blood of Jesus cannot make amends for. In the same breath, Jesus teaches about hypocrisy which is falsehood and dishonesty in our actions and in our hearts. We all need to search our hearts for traces of falseness as when spring cleaning occurs, it goes into the deep corners of the house even the ones that guests don’t know about. These are the areas that also seeks thorough attention and because nobody knows that they exist, you as the owner, know every hidden corner of your own home. The carpet of your soul requires deep cleaning with a heavy duty vacuum cleaner and who is the better cleaner than God Himself who knows all these hidden places.
Nobody is exempted from spring cleaning as we all falter every now and then and the strength of another may be a weakness to another person and vice versa. Jesus said about the teachers of the law and the Pharisees that “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honour in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’” (Matthew 23:5-7).
No matter who you are in life and whether you are a revered member of society, the sinful nature creeps in, in various forms, and we all need to repent and go before the Lord and ask Him to empty us and fill us up anew. Jesus said in Mark 10:18 “No one is good-except God alone.” “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
This is the season where we need to notice what is growing in the garden of our hearts, is it weed or good fruit. Are we certain that on the peach tree, good peaches are growing, are the plants sustainable or they will be eaten quickly by the birds or as soon as they ripen they will rot as quickly as they grow. There are many influences to growing a good crop and the sower of good seed in our hearts is always God. Ephesians 4:22-24 says “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy”.
It’s a new season, put on your new nature as the Bible says, that is created in the likeness of God, holy and righteous. I am grateful for the message as I am only a messenger that as I immerse myself in the season of spring, I will too remember that I need to spring clean my own soul daily and allow God to uproot those things that are no longer needed for my journey forward. There is a place that God wants to take all of us, if only we can heed His call and submit our will to His Will. Jeremiah 9:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
Enjoy the spring season, I surely will!
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. &
The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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