Grounded Podcast

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Becoming a Well-Watered Woman, with Gretchen Saffles

Do you feel you more like a blooming garden, or like a dry stick, lacking life? Gretchen Saffles, founder of Well-Watered Women, is passionate about helping women live abundantly in Jesus. She joins our hosts to share how we can grow and flourish as the women we were created to be. May God use this episode to breathe new life into you as you move from surviving to a life of thriving in Christ.

Connect with Gretchen:

Instagram: @wellwateredwomen and @gretchensaffles

Facebook

Website

Episode Notes:

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Erin Davis: Good morning. I've got a mental image to kick off your Monday morning. I want you to picture a beautiful garden. You got it in your mind? I want you to imagine that it's full of bright, pink hollyhocks. The flowers are just starting to bloom where I live. So, we'll accelerate this a little bit. I want you to imagine that it's full of fragrant purple and white hyacinths. I've seen some of those. They smell so good. And maybe some delicate little blooms of the lily of the valley, which was my mama's favorite and still is my mama's favorite flower. Then, I want you to picture that there are green leaves, and there are trailing vines, and there's life. There's fruit. 

Got the picture? Now, let's have a different picture. I want you to picture a dead stick. And here's a question for you this Monday morning: Which one are you? The fruitful garden full of life? Or the not so fruitful dead stick? I'm Erin Davis, and this is Grounded.

Alejandra Slemin: Good morning, friends. I'm Alejandra Slemin, and Grounded is a weekly videocast and a podcast from Revive Our Hearts. And you know what? We've had some really interesting things happening lately. I don't know if you check, but in our chat in the comments we get, we have a family, Erin. We have a Grounded family. And together, we celebrate birthdays, weddings, we cry, we laugh together. 

Erin: It's a big family. 

Alejandra: It is a big family, you know. One of the comments that a viewer wrote was, “Thank you in each episode for bringing us on unique and very interesting focus and always highlighting the faithfulness of God for every challenge.” Peg wrote that to us. That's amazing. Another thing that proves that we are a family, Erin, is that I got mail this week.

Erin: Real mail, like in your mailbox? 

Alejandra: Yes, handwritten, all the way from California from one of our Grounded viewers. And let me tell you, this lady didn't just bless my life with this beautiful flower but also with such encouraging words and lots of Scripture handwritten on this card.

Erin: How’d she know we were gonna be talking about flowers today when she sent you that card? 

Alejandra: I can't believe that I got it this Thursday.

Erin: Amazing. Amazing.

Alejandra: God knew. He certainly knew. So yeah, a garden or a stick? Oh, there are days I feel like a garden. And there are days I’m just like, completely done. 

Erin: Yeah. Me too. 

Alejandra: I'm finished for sure. 

Erin: Me too, when actually we were planning this episode and thinking about this episode, I was a stick all the way. 

Alejandra: Yeah, I hear you.

Erin: Dry, just dry. I spent this last weekend at a women's retreat, and I don't feel like that stick anymore. I felt like I've got some new life. I'm so eager to carry that over this morning. But yeah, sometimes I'm like you; sometimes I'm a branch with lots of blooms; sometimes I'm a stick.

Hey, I keep having the same version of a conversation over and over lately, with my women friends, with my sisters, with the women in my family. This goes a little something like this, it sounds a little different every time. But I think at the heart, it's the same conversation. “I need to get away. I need to get back in shape. Ah, my kids need to go back to school, or the school year needs to be over. I need something. I need anything to breathe some new life into the parts of my life that feel dead or stunted.” 

And here in Missouri, spring has certainly arrived, we can tell that because all of our eyes are watering and all of our noses are watering that comes with spring, here in Missouri. But I think even though outside, we're seeing more sun, we're seeing more plants. Everything's leafing out. I think many of us in our inner life in our hearts, we feel more like that dead stick. Here's my sense, I have a growing passion about this as I talk to women and as the Lord works in my own life, it's time to come out of survival mode. 

You know, that's what happens to plants in the winter. They go into survival mode to conserve their energy. But they don't stay there. Spring happens, and they come out of that way of operating. We hope this episode will be some “spiritual Miracle Grow” to pour on your lives. 

Alejandra: We certainly need that miracle grow. I mean, I think everyone like you just said we're either tired of the things around us, or we're tired of what's happening inside of us. There are times, you can't put it into words, but there is just this “you're just not happy about things” feeling.

Erin: Yeah.

Alejandra: Or you're just not focusing on what you know you should be focused on. I'm not sure we've talked about this, but the mission of Revive Our Hearts here on Grounded is that we want to call women to experience the freedom, the fullness, and the fruitfulness that we can only find in Christ. As we think of that, I want us to ponder some questions this Monday morning. Are we free? Do we feel like we are free? Does our life feel full? 

And not that kind of full that we certainly feel on Monday mornings in our homes but for meaning, not busy necessarily, but full of the fruit that only the Holy Spirit can give.

Erin: Alejandra, I bet you can name the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let's try. Love . . .

Alejandra: Joy . . . 

Erin: Peace . . .

Alejandra: Patience . . .

Erin: Kindness . . .

Alejandra: Goodness . . .

Erin: Ah, I always get stuck here . . . faithfulness . . .

Alejandra: Gentleness . . .

Erin: I always skip gentleness too, not on purpose, but then self-control.

Alejandra: And then self-control. 

Erin: Did you ever sing this song in camp when you were a kid? The fruit of the Spirit is not a . . . Did you do that?

Alejandra: Not a geyser? My mom sang it to me too, when I was displaying a different kind of fruit. You know that? 

Erin: Oh, I'm sure she did. Mamas are good at that. We named of all of them. Are we living them all? I'm not sure. 

Alejandra: Yeah. How about fruitful. I mean, it is not the same as being crazy productive, but meaning producing the fruit of the gospel.

Erin: I really want to be fruitful. I do. On Monday mornings, especially it's like, I want to maximize this week for the Lord. I want there to be fruit by the time I get to the end of it, that I was investing in the right things.

I want there to be fruit flowing out of me because I made the right choices to be in the presence of God. Read the Word of God, worship God. We're going to talk about all of that this morning. Gretchen Saffles is back with us this morning. If you are a Grounded faithful viewer, and I hope you are, and if your first time here, I hope you become what Gretchen will be familiar to her to you. She's the founder of a global online women's ministry called Well-Watered Women. That's a lot of alliteration, Well-Watered Women.

I have to say it very carefully. She's gonna show us how to be rooted in truth, grounded in grace, and to have a flourishing faith, not a stunted faith, this morning. 

Alejandra: So you know that to-do list that you got for the week? Well, put it aside.

Erin: I’ve got one.

Alejandra: Put it aside friend, for now, grab your Bible, and get your little journal or Post-it notes because we are going to need them. We're going to get some Miracle Grow happening on Grounded today. But first, before we get that shower of Miracle Grow, we need some good news. And there is a woman on Grounded who is as beautiful as the garden that Erin described at the beginning. Good morning, Portia. 

Portia Collins: Good morning. Oh, Alejandra.

Erin: You’re our Petunia Portia. You're always so gorgeous. 

Portia: Thank you.

Alejandra: You’re beautiful. 

Portia: Thank you. So are you ladies. So are you.

Erin: Thank you.

Portia: Well, if your heart feels a little wilted from all the heartbreaking stories on the news this morning, get ready for a ray of sunshine. Meet Ira Miller. Four years ago Ira became a centenarian. 

Erin: Centenarian and good job Portia. 

Portia: Yeah. I got it. So it's time for you guys to use the comment function, alright? I need you to talk to me. If you're watching this live what is a centenarian? Tell me.

Erin: For bonus points spell centenarian

Portia: Right, right. And look, this is the perfect time. While are you using the comment section, just go ahead and hit that share button. Share this live with your friends with your family. Invite them to the party. That's why this is like my Monday morning jolt of good stuff. 

Erin: Oh, yeah, we want them here. 

Portia: Yes, yes. So, we're watching the comments section. Y'all tell me what a centenarian is. Erin, do you have any idea Do you? 

Erin: I can guess based on the word centenarian is somebody who's 100 is my guess. 

Portia: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, if you said 100 in the comment section, I'm watching over you got it. You got it.

Erin: Gold stars. 

Portia: Gold stars. Yes. So, four years ago, Ira decided to celebrate his birthday by packing 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. You guys know that we've had Operation Christmas Child here on Grounded before. It is an initiative of Samaritan's Purse, and they send boxes of needed supplies to children around the world as a way to share the gospel. 

Erin: Oh, look at Ira right there. 

Portia: Yes.

Erin: Doesn't he look like the sweetest grandpa you ever saw packing his boxes for Operation Christmas Child? 

Portia: Absolutely. 

Erin: Love it. Well, the fact that Ira packed 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child in celebration of his 100th birthday would make a great good news story, but it's kind of an old good news story. Because let me give you the update. Ira is whatever a centenarian I probably said it wrong there a centenarian and I can't do it Portia plus four is. Ira is now 104 years old. Amazing. And last week listen to this, Ira packed his 1,000th box for Operation Christmas Child. Ira packs almost a box a day at the age of 104. I'm inspired. 

Portia: Me too, me too. Let me just tell you, I love Ira. Ira, if you're watching this, I love you. Fun fact …

Erin: I want him to adopt me. I always need more grandpas. 

Portia: Look, I was just gonna say fun fact, my grandfather passed away when I was in high school, but his name was Ira. So when I found out about this story, I was like, “Oh!” 

Erin: You're used to saying Grandpa Ira? 

Portia: Yes, yes. So, listen to what Ira said about what he's doing. I am sure you guys are going to perk up in your spirit. Ira said these 100 boxes are going to 100 children around the world. And they're going to hear about Jesus. I just focus on giving God the glory for His faithfulness, that this dad can still be a missionary at 100. 

Erin: That's him still talking about himself. Dad can still be a missionary and 100. Mom can still be a missionary at 100 or 40. In my case, man, we're talking about being fruitful. That is what it looks like to be fruitful at 104, to still be finding creative ways to share the gospel with others. That's what fruitfulness looks like.

And Ira, I don't know if you're Grounded viewer, I hope you are, I hope you're watching or listening. You are good news this morning. And your life does bloom like a beautiful flower. It shows us that we never outgrow our need for Jesus, not at 104. We’ll still need you and that we still need Jesus and that we never outgrow our opportunity. We can still be fruitful. We can still showcase the beautiful gospel to a hurting world. 

Portia: Absolutely. Amen to that a man. 

Erin: Amen.

Portia: Well, it is time to get Grounded with God's people. And guess what? We got another ray of sunshine lined up. I love this sweet lady. Gretchen Saffles is no stranger to Grounded or Revive Our Hearts ministry. She is back with us today to talk about what it means to be a well-watered woman. Gretchen is the founder of the global online women's ministry Well-Watered Women. She's also the author of a new book that is fittingly titled TheWell-Watered Women, that has a lot of alliteration guys, I'm doing good. I'm doing good. Gretchen and her sweet family live in Atlanta, Georgia. I am so happy that she is back with us today. Welcome Gretchen. 

Gretchen Saffles: Thank you, Portia. I'm so glad to be here today. 

Portia: Oh, we’re so excited to have you. So, let's get to it. I've got my book. And you know, this is super special to me, because you handed it to me directly at TGC. It's the Gospel Coalition Women's Conference, everybody, sorry, I use my acronyms.

I have had it in my hands very often since you passed it to me. I haven't finished it yet. But what I have read is so incredibly rich. One thing that I love about the way that you have written out about this is the way that you segmented the structure. You specifically focus on the well, the Word, and the way. So, can you give me a little breakdown of each of these? And flesh out why you chose to focus on these three things.

Gretchen: Yeah, absolutely. So those three specifics are three sections in the book that come from the book of John. I mean, the very first thing that you're going to see in the book of John is the Word Christ as the Word of God who has always been. You're gonna see Christ as the well of living water in John chapter 4. When He meets the woman at the well, He meets her right in her need. 

What's so interesting is it was in the middle of the day that he met her, not the time that women would normally go, because she had a lot of things that she was hiding. Yet Christ who is the Living Water met her at that well, not to offer her a bucket of that water from the well, but the spring of living water, which is Himself. And then we see Christ as the Way, of the Way the Truth and the Life in John chapter 14, verse 6. 

So I wanted to divide the book into these three sections to show that when we meet Christ at the well, we drink deeply, the living water that always satisfies and never runs dry. This is when God plants the seed of the gospel in our hearts. And when He plants that seed of the gospel in our hearts, He calls us to die to ourselves. We are called to die to the flesh, to the sin nature, in order that we may be raised to life with Christ and live fully and fruitfully and abundantly right here, right now. 

And so, when we meet Christ at the well, He exchanges our nothing for His everything, our brokenness for His healing and His wholeness. As we root ourselves in the truth of the gospel, we begin to grow in grace. And how do you grow as a believer? By being in the Word of God.

Hebrews chapter 4 says that God's Word is living and active, there is no other word, no other book on this planet that has that same attribution. It is God's Word that He breathed out for our encouragement or correction, all of those things so that we can live fruitfully. So, in order to grow, we have to be in the Word. We see that Christ is the well, and Christ is also the Word. He is the Word that gives our souls the life and the fruitfulness that we longed for. And then as we are women who are in the Word, who were drinking deeply from the well, then we follow the ways of Christ. It changes our life that changes our thinking. 

Jesus is not just somebody that we come to you and we're like, “Oh, hey, Jesus, nice to meet you. I'm going to walk away now.” No, He changes everything about us. I mean, Portia, I'm sure even in your story, and in my story, and everybody who's listening, we can say just all the different ways that Christ has changed us. I am a completely different person than I was 10 years ago, and 20 years ago. And that's not because of what I've done. It's because of what God has done and through His Word. 

So, as women who follow the ways of Jesus, we then become disciple makers. We want to be women who are fruitful and multiply by sharing the gospel, and by living a life that is following the ways of Christ. 

Portia: Oh, so y'all can already see why I love Gretchen. Okay, I'm ready to throw my shoe right now and just say that'll preach. Okay, that'll preach. We both share similar hearts that we love. You can see we love, love, love, love Jesus. And we love God's Word. And so, I'm sure that even as a woman who loves guides, where have there been moments where you felt dry and nearly wilted away. I know that that has been the case for me. 

Gretchen: Yeah.

Portia: It has been hard. I think the hardest part when I go through those seasons of dryness is getting back into those gospel rhythms. You know, sometimes it's kind of like when you are driving. Have you ever been driving a car and far off in the distance you see what looks like water? And you think, okay, that's the place of sustenance or whatever. Then you get close up to it, and it's nothing. You just you realize, I am still dry. I have not quenched the thirst. And so, it's super frustrating. You'd be very frustrated. So, what would you say to the woman who is experiencing that? Like, I'm trying to get there, but it's just, I'm frustrated. It's not working. How would you encourage her? 

Gretchen: So, we all go through different seasons in life; we go through seasons of suffering transition, seasons of spiritual drought, seasons of wandering. We see that in the Bible. Right now, I'm reading in the Old Testament. I'm in the book of Deuteronomy. I'm seeing just God's people wandering through the wilderness, going from place to place. And yet, God is faithful to meet them, but there are times where they are struggling. 

I see myself in the Israelites going, “Okay, God, where am I going to get water now? My soul is so thirsty.” And so, we see God always bringing the people back to Himself, because we are so prone to look for water in other places, right? We are so prone to go to, “Well, maybe if I just work harder. If I just try to be perfect today, then I'll find that satisfaction.” Then we fail, and we're like, “Oh my goodness, I'm dry again.” 

Or we look for it in our spouse or in our children or in our friends or our work or our social media. The list can go on and on. All of these things are empty wells that just leave us longing for more. And so, we see God calling us always back to Himself. In Isaiah 55 He says, “Come to me all who are thirsty.” You know what He says, “Come and receive this freely,” come and drink deeply from His truth. 

In Psalm 63 I love this, because King David writes this literally in a wilderness, like he is actually in a wilderness. He's thirsty. And he says, “Oh, God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you, my soul thirst for you, my flesh paints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” So we've all been that thirsty, and we're longing for more, we're longing for Christ. But then He says, “I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory, because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

When we are experiencing that thirst, no matter what the season is, or the cause, we have to go back to the source. We have to go back to Christ, who is always there to offer us that cup of cold water the living water of Himself.

Portia: Amen. Amen. I want to throw a question at you. We already did this with our sisters who are watching. So today, are you a dry branch? Or are you a beautiful following growing garden? Tell me? 

Gretchen: Yeah. 

Portia: Tell me, give me, give it to me. 

Gretchen: Yeah. So I would say, the beautiful, flowing garden. I have been having time, sweet time with the Lord. Now, I also want to preface that with I had been exhausted lately.

Portia: Keep it real. Keep it real, girl.

Gretchen: I’ve been exhausted lately, but you know what? I wrote this down last week that “I will fight for what matters no matter what it takes.” And what matters is Jesus. And so, I felt myself getting thirsty, getting tired and overwhelmed. And so, this weekend, I deleted social media off my phone. I didn't check email. I didn't check the news. I got outside with my boys. I spent time just lingering in God's Word, talking to Him, listening to worship music.

I knew that I needed to go back to the source, to the well, the Word, the way, in order to be a fruitful, abundant garden. And so, I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But I do know that Christ is my life. When I am rooted in Him I can flourish and grow in grace, no matter what tomorrow may bring. 

Portia: Amen, sister girl. I could just send you like a high five. 

Gretchen: Let’s not throw our shoes, but I would do it with you. 

Portia: Look, I always tell people when I'm excited, I throw ’em. Like, I'm gonna throw my shoe. 

Oh my goodness, this has been such a blessing to me. This has been such a blessing to me today. As you know, we love to close our time out by encouraging our sisters with a Scripture or passage directly from God's Word. Is there something that you would like to share with all of us Grounded sisters today? Just to encourage them as they journey into becoming well-watered women? 

Gretchen: Yeah. So in John chapter 15, Jesus tells us the way to a life that flourishes and blooms in his time, and it's to abide in Him. It's to remain in Christ. This is not just what you do when you read your Bible. It's as you go throughout your day running errands, picking up the dry cleaning, being with your kids. We can abide in Christ. He says that apart from Him you can do nothing. But in Him, He calls us to abide so that we may have joy and have that life to the full. 

So, I would encourage women to just meditate on John chapter 15, especially as everything outside begins to bloom again. Take time to even go sit in nature and ask the Lord God, where am I not abiding? What are the false finds that I've been attaching myself to? And how can I abide in You as I go throughout my life and live this flourishing fruitful life that You have called us to? 

Portia: Amen. Amen. Well, Gretchen, from my heart from all of our hearts here on Grounded, thank you so much for being with us today. It is always a joy to see your sweet smile. Go hug and kiss those sweet kiddos from me.

Gretchen: Okay. Oh, I will do that for you. Goodbye.

Portia: Goodbye.

Erin: Oh, Portia. That was good. 

Portia: Yeah, absolutely.

Erin: I was like on the edge of my seat here. 

Portia: I know. I know. I know. Listen, I almost forgot guys. I want to remind you this month we are offering The Well-Watered Woman to all of our Revive Our Hearts family for a gift of any amount. That's right. So, if you're interested in checking out this wonderful book, like I said, I got my copy.

Erin: It is like it's a it is a feast for the eyes. It’s beautiful.

Portia: It is. It's meaty, so pretty, and meaty, you know. 

Erin: My favorite combination.

Portia: Listen, I encourage you guys to hop on over to the website to get it today. We'll drop a link in the comments and the show notes. 

Erin: We always do. I love that when you ask Gretchen the question, Are you a stick or garden? She said, “I'm a garden; I'm flourishing.” I love that encouragement that we don't all have to be dried up shriveled up, that the Word really does make us fruitful. It really does breathe new life into us. 

So if you're a garden today and Lord's helping you flourish, I praise Him for that. If you’re a stick, get yourself to the Word. 

Hey, the name Grounded comes from a verse in Ephesians. It was not an original idea to us. There are no original ideas to us. And that verse in Ephesians, Paul is talking to Christians. He says, “I want you to be rooted and grounded in Christ.” That's plant language. And that is the theme of our next Revive Our Hearts Conference . . . Grounded.

I like to think that that is because of what the Lord is doing here through Grounded, we are seeing your hearts changed. You're changing our hearts as every week we come together and we talk about Jesus. So, the next Revive Our Hearts Conference is Revive ’21 called Grounded. And it's coming in October. We want you to hear about it.

And we also want you to stay tuned through the rest of this episode because we've got a really fun announcement about the conference. So, watch this really short video. But while it's on, this is a good opportunity for you to grab your Bible and head to where we are going next for grounded in God's Word. We're going to be in the book of Matthew, watch this short video.

Woman: Picture an ancient oak tree. Its wood is solid, its branches reached to the sky, and its roots run deep. In the book of Isaiah, God's people are compared to an oak tree, unwavering, resolute, and deeply rooted.

Teen: “That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

When the storms of life rage around us, you can be rooted and grounded in God's Word. Like that oak of righteousness.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: In what are you trusting? Will you be able to stand firm because you're being held by the God who cannot be shaken?

Woman: You can learn to stay rooted and grounded at Revive ’21, a conference hosted by Revive Our Hearts in person and online. On October 8 and 9, women will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana, and tune in live from living rooms around the globe to discover how to live rooted and resolute.

Nancy: Those who trust in with all their hearts will never be disappointed because He will never fail. 

Woman: You can be grounded in Christ, grounded in the gospel, grounded in God's Word. And you can stand firm in a shaky world. Join us for Revive ’21.

Erin: I hope you did grab your Bible. We are heading to the book of Matthew chapter 13. And there we find a parable that Jesus taught. He's doing that all the time in the Gospels. A parable is just a story with a point. This one is about the way that we respond to God's Word. 

You know your Bible probably adds a little subtitle to it above this passage in Matthew 13. It might say The Parable of the Sower or The Parable of the Four Soils. I like to scratch those subtitles out because they are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. If there's a better way to title it, that might just be the writer in me. And this is really not a parable about the sower. It's really not a parable about the soils. It is a parable about the seed. And Jesus tells him what the seed is. And so, I want us to read this parable.

It's found in Matthew chapter 13:1–9 And then Jesus explains a few verses later. Let me read us. Matthew 13:1–9 follow along with me.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

And then Jesus loved to add this line: “He who has ears, let him hear.”

So just a few verses later, if you're reading through Matthew, chapter 13, the disciples come to Jesus, as the crowd started disperse. They're like, “Hey, Jesus, what's the deal with the parables?” I imagine they felt kind of like I do, like, “Just give it to me straight. What is it that you are trying to tell me?”

And if you look at the context of these verses, the people had pressed into Jesus. They were looking for some real hope, some real answers for the real problems that they were facing. And so He gets in a boat, and they lean in. I can just picture it. He starts talking about seeds and dirt.

And the disciples are like, “Why? Why do you talk to us that way? Why do you talk to the crowds that way?” And so, Jesus quotes Isaiah, it's fascinating to see how often Jesus quotes Scripture. And Jesus quotes Isaiah, and He says, “Listen, here's the deal. Their hearts have hardened. And so, I have to talk to them in stories.”

And here's what I wonder about you this morning. Has your heart been hardened by the past year? Do you have empathy fatigue? Do you have compassion fatigue? 

You know, I was reading the news this weekend. And again, many difficult stories of really horrific things, and I felt almost nothing about them. That's evidence that my heart has become hardened. And so, with fear constantly dripping into my heart and my home, and I've had through-the-roof stress levels this year . . . You probably have had too, due to too many constantly changing shifts in my responsibilities.

And there's so much sorrow. I see evidence in my life that I’ve retreated into survival mode. Like those plants that I mentioned at the top of this episode. That's what plants do every winter, they retreat into survival mode. There's no leaves; there's no fruit. They conserve all of their energy so that they can just survive so much darkness and so much cold. And that's a pretty good picture for how my heart has been post-pandemic.

I've retreated into survival mode. I told you, I taught at a retreat this weekend. A woman came up to me at the end, and she said, “I was dead inside, and I'm alive again.” And I feel that way this morning. And what makes the difference is what this parable is about. This parable is about how we respond to God's Word. We all naturally gravitate to survival mode. Jesus gives us the truth here in a story that we can understand. Now, it doesn't always happen this way. Sometimes Jesus would tell a parable, and He wouldn't give the punchline. But here He gives us the parable. And the point if you fast forward just a little bit is in Matthew 13. But in verses 18–23 Jesus graciously explains the parable. 

Let me read it to us. He says:

Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another case sixty, and in another case thirty.”

Now, if you read the same parable in Luke chapter 8, it's a little more straight to the point. They don't contradict each other. They were just different kinds of notetakers. Matthew, being a tax collector takes more meticulous notes. And in Luke's version, it tells us very plainly, the seed is the Word of God. This parable is about how we respond to the Word of God in our heart of hearts. 

So some more questions for you to consider this morning:

Is your heart hard? That's the first kind of soil. Is it hard for the Word to penetrate? I'm not saying you're not reading the Word. But is it hard for the Word to get past you reading it to you living it?

Is it choked out by the many, many, many cares that we're all carrying, that come with life in a broken world? That's the second type of soil the rocky soil.

Or is the word of God choked out by not bad things, but good things, the allure that something else that anything else can fix our broken state? Is the Word choked out by you putting all of your hope in this pandemic ending? Is it choked out by you putting all of your hope in the economy recovering? Or you going back to work? Or you having a different job? Is it being choked out by the all the hope that your kids are going to go back to school, and that you're not going to have to worry so much about so many things?

Let me tell you about all of those things and putting our hope in them. It's a briar patch. It's a briar patch, to put our hope in anything other than God and His Word. But there is an alternative.

It's the fourth type of soil. And that's where the Word of God goes in deep. It sprouts, roots, and then fruit for the kingdom of God. I have some great news for us this morning: soil can always be fixed. 

Listen, I'm a gardener. I have a big garden. It is one of the great passions of my life, to garden. I can tell you that the soil can always be fixed. You are not just one type of soil. You're looking, listening to those lists, and you're thinking, Am I rocky? Am I thorny? Am I hard-hearted? Or am I the good soil? There's variation in the soil. 

And today is a good day to change the soil. You know, all gardeners . . . where are my gardeners at? Tell me in the chat. All of us gardeners, we're really just soil farmers. That's all we do, really. We add things to our soil. We take things away from our soil. We add manure; we add compost; we plant certain things because they replace certain nutrients. I plant turnips every year to replace the nitrates that my green beans take. Why else would anyone plant turnips? I'm not sure. But we add things.

I have a friend whose garden is nothing but a rock. Every year she works to remove those rocks in the hopes that some day she's going to have a beautiful garden. And God can change our hearts in the same way. That is the encouragement that I have this morning.

Several years ago in response to this passage, I started praying a very specific prayer that every time I teach, every woman who hears me teach would be the fourth type of soil. Now, that's a bold prayer. But that every time we teach, every time I teach every woman would be the fourth type of soil. I just want to pray that for your life this morning.

Jesus, you are the Word, and you've given us the Word. And when the Word works in us, we do become that flourishing garden. And so, Lord, I pray for every woman watching grounded live this morning, every woman who's listening to it. I pray that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and the power of Your Word, you would make each of us the fourth type of soil, a place where Your Word goes down deep, where it puts down roots, and where it sprouts up and produces much fruit. We love you. Please make us the fourth type of soil. In Your name I pray, amen.

Alejandra: Oh, Erin, yes. 

Portia: Yes.

Alejandra: You got me sister. You got me writing, you got to be thinking, you got me praying. And you got me praying, “Lord, I want to be fruitful.” If your heart was touched and convicted, if the Holy Spirit convicted you as you heard Erin speak and the Word of God being shared, just write that on the comments. If you feel that in your heart, “Lord, I want to be fruitful.” And for a Monday morning, that is a good prayer to the Lord. It isn’t Grounded if we don't give you the good stuff to put in your toolbox for this week. So today, we want God's Word to keep fertilizing your heart.

Gretchen was recently on a Revive Our Hearts episode. She was with Nancy and Dannah, and she was talking about how we can be well-watered women. 

Portia: Gretchen will help you to wrestle with if it's okay to not be okay. Talk about why our limits are actually a good thing. She kind of already alluded to this a little bit in our talk this morning. So, I know you guys are gonna love it. We will drop the link, as always, in the comment section and the show notes. 

Alejandra: Portia, are you ready to fertilize your soil? Because I am.

Portia: Yes.

Alejandra: I'm sure many of us are ready to be fruitful. We've got a list of Bible studies that we recommend because we know that will help you to develop deep roots in God's truth. And we'll drop the link so you have easy access. 

Portia: Okay, so you guys already saw this during our little commercial break. But we also have exciting news about our conference. Look you see how dramatic I made that y'all? 

Erin: You should, this is super exciting. 

Portia: Yes. Because we get to do this. Yes, drumroll . . . so we will host the Revive ’21 Conference this fall as the theme is Grounded: Standing Firm in the Shaking World. Whatever your comfort level, we've got an option for you. Okay, so if you want to come—which I would love to see your face in the place. I want to see you there in Indianapolis. But if you're not, if you're not comfortable, guess what? You can join us online on our livestream. And here's the exciting announcement. The Grounded team will host the online event. 

Erin: It's gonna be like a weekend-long Grounded.

Portia: Yes.

Erin: It'll be amazing. 

Portia: I am so excited. It's gonna be all about being women rooted in Christ. Our registration is now open. We will drop a link. 

Erin: We always drop the link.

Portia: So, you can check it out.

Erin: We want to see you however you want to see us. 

Alejandra: Yes.

Erin: So, if you're gonna see a person, that's great. If you're going to be watching us from home, that's great. We're gonna find ways to engage with you. But you can count on the Grounded hosts hosting that livestream, and we are really excited about that.

Hey, we got a comment here that I think is worth reading. It's a good check to help me rethink some of the ways we've been talking about this. Emmy says,

Whether or not we are a dead stick or a blooming garden, [and then she found the cutest little plant emoji,] does not depend on our situation or our feelings or our past or anything we do. It depends on Jesus and our relationship with Him.”

You are so right Emmy. Our feelings are not the barometer of if we are a stick or a garden. Actually, Jesus gives us the barometer. In the verses we've been talking about. It is the fruit of our lives. It's the fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in us. It's the fruit of working for the gospel. And so yeah, maybe you a good thing to do is to ask a friend, because we're not always great at assessing our own spiritual lives. Hey, am I a garden or a stick? Do you see life? You see fruit? Or do you see evidence that I am dried up? Little homework assignment there, Grounded friends.

Okay, we started this episode with a mental picture. I love a mental picture. I love a word picture. It's the writer in me. Let's end with one. Picture women around the world, which is what Grounded, women around the world as seeds. And those seeds, all seeds, hopefully, they don't stay seeds buried in the ground in the dark in the dark. Eventually, they poke up through the ground as a little seedling. And then leaves start to unfurl. And there's beautiful buds. And then they're spectacular flowers as that plant turns its face towards the sun.

This happened with me on Easter. I bought tulips for my mom and my aunt. My sister and I put them in the window just to get them out of the way. And within a few hours, all of their little faces were turning towards the light. That is a good picture for us Grounded women. It is possible to flourish. 

We don't have to stay in survival mode. We don't have to live dry lives, even in a pandemic, even in a world that's very, very broken, and very, very chaotic. And even in the midst of what I know many of you have, what we all have, personal pain points that aren't even the same thing as what's going on in the collective. 

Now, we don't want to be fruitful just to draw attention to ourselves, but to adorn the beautiful gospel. I want you to picture Grounded blooms around the world as we're flourishing, because of God's work in us.

Portia: Yes, we don't have to be dry, wilted branches. We can be well-watered women. 

Alejandra: Amen. So, friends, hurry back next Monday, so we can keep watering our plants, because we're going to be tackling the issue that impacts so many of us is dealing with dementia in ways that we can honor Christ. It's going to be a really good episode. I can't wait.

Portia: In the meantime, let's wake up with hope, next week on Grounded.

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About the Hosts

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta. 

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra is a sinner who believed in Jesus at the age of seven in her native country, Dominican Republic. She is a wife and homeschool mom. She's passionate about Christ, studying the Scriptures, discipling, teaching, and learning alongside women. Currently, she supports her husband as he serves as a church planter in Victoria, BC, Canada. Alejandra loves herbs, designing headbands with her daughter, being outdoors, and serving her community.

About the Guest

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles is the founder of the global online women's ministry Well-Watered Women, the creator of the Give Me Jesus quiet time journal, and a passionate writer who longs to see women grasp the fullness of the gospel in everyday life.  As she shares from her life experiences, Gretchen writes with authenticity and boldness, encouraging women to seek Christ right where they are and live in his abundance. Gretchen lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two sons and loves going on adventures with her family, traveling to new places, daydreaming of wildflower fields, cooking tasty meals, baking chocolate chip cookies, painting, reading good books, and teaching women to know and love Jesus.