The Inspire Shop

trains and tracks.

tiffany garza

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
 He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Lately, sanctification happens around the train table. With three little boys, a lot of time is spent gathered around the it in the living room. There are tracks to be built and the speed trains to be gathered and cabooses to be found. They practically dance around the table, finding the perfect pieces for their train, knowing exactly which ones they need.

Often, they call me over to help build the track after they have started one. I join them, usually gripping my coffee to keep it out of reach from my youngest, who is naturally bent at spilling my room temperature coffee and is the reigning champion for most coffee spilt as a toddler.

I take a moment to evaluate what they have so far: pieces tend to be obscure, leading to nowhere and without room for growth. Then they start with their requests: a bridge on one side and the roundhouse on the other, despite it not fitting in with their laid out plans and get frustrated when I have to move it to accommodate.

The Lord is always so gentle to teach where I least expect them and our train table is not an exception.

A few reminders from around the train table:

You can't build when others are tearing down. 
Despite our best efforts, no matter how many blocks we stack, when someone is continually tearing them down we simply cannot build, like my 18 month old son who thinks it is hilarious to take pieces from his brothers’ track. It may last for a season or until we remove ourselves from a negative situation or until the Lord gives us victory over it. Following the Lord’s leading will allow us see, perhaps we just need a little perseverance to see it through.

Sometimes you have to be the one who stops and picks up the pieces necessary for building. Stopping can be the last thing we want to do but is necessary.
While others continue to move and grab, putting heaps of pieces together, we may need to stop for a bit or a season to pick up the right piece. Whether stopping for time to heal or grow or dive deeper or just take it all in. There’s a time to rest that we should never neglect. We have to put things down, sometimes reluctantly from our tightly gripped hands, to usher in the peace of rest, which gives us the strength to pick up what others (or ourselves) may have misplaced or put aside.

You have to know which pieces you have in order to start to build. Knowing your inventory, you must use the correct pieces at the proper places accordingly. 
Knowing what we have in front of us is vital. Starting a project takes knowledge of inventory, what we have versus what we may need and seeking it out accordingly. Perhaps the Lord is calling us to do something but we first need to develop a skill or step out in faith. Building a functional train track involves the right pieces in the right places, and the same is true for the Church. God has given each person gifts and talents and when they are placed in the proper place, his Church flourishes.

When pieces have gone missing, you may be the one called to find them. 
The Lord left the 99 to go after the one missing sheep and at some point we may be asked to go, too. Perhaps a lonely neighbor or hard to deal with family member or an angry co-worker. We are called to love recklessly, which is not always easy and we may want to turn our backs and sail off for Tarshish like Jonah but God is faithful as we trust him to guide us as we follow him.

+ Is there anything you need to stop doing to allow for rest in the Lord?

+ Who is one person you can show love to in a tangible, unexpected way today or this week? 

+ Block out time on your calendar for prayer this month. Praise God for the master builder and creator he is. If you do not know what gifts or talents you possess, use this time to ask God what they are and how to use them for his glory. 

Praying that as you go out this month that the Lord would reveal blue prints to plans in motion that you have been building on or are starting to build. May the Lord show you where he has already been building and the fruit of it as you place pieces down. Praying you would hold your plans loosely as he does the Master Building, knowing full well what is to come and how to connect the pieces accordingly.

Originally posted in The Inspire Monthly newsletter, April 2018