04 Jan

Rewind

forza car crash

Pavement.

Sky.

Pavement.

Sky.

End over end the car tumbled. Cars whizzed by.

My car came to a sliding, grinding stop somewhere off the side of the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pushed rewind.

Spinning. Flipping. Cars going backwards passed me again. I put myself back onto the road back around the corner that I crashed on. I tapped the breaks and drove down the tricky stretch with no issues. I even went on to win the race.

Oh how I have come to love the rewind feature on this racing video game. I can undo all my mistakes. I can redo the moments that take me out of the race. Damage undone. Victory still mine. I don’t have to lose when I can undo all that makes me a loser.

Rewind.

I used to wish I could rewind my life. A lot. Go back and change decisions. Go back and choose not to date that guy. Go back and make healthy choices.

Go back.

Do over.

Change.

But the truth is going back to change the circumstances of my life would change my life completely. My sense of empathy would be different or non-existent. I might not be married to my husband, be blessed with my children or know the friends I have. Perhaps another state would be home. Perhaps I wouldn’t even know Christ….

My heart would carry fewer scars, certainly. And I might have more money or be famous (goodness knows those are things that really improve life, huh??). I would likely have cried fewer tears.

But…

I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have stretch marks that speak of babies (both planned and unplanned) that grew in my belly. I wouldn’t have stories to share with other women as they struggle with insecurity, anger, depression and sadness. I wouldn’t have once embarrassing moments to weave as tales for laughter and relief for other women.

In erasing my mistakes and rewriting my past there would be no story of grace on the pages of my life. I couldn’t share grace. I couldn’t live grace. I wouldn’t be thankful for grace. I wouldn’t know what it is. Or how to offer grace to others, for I never would have received it.

It was the lowest points in my life where God began to speak the loudest. As I scraped my backside on the bottom of the pit I dug, I began to look up. Ask for help. And hope for rescue.

And, oh, how He came. With love and sense of security. Promises of provision, eternity and purpose.

Now, imagine me with this rewind button. At the first sign of heartache or pain, insecurity or doubt, failure or folly I would have pressed the button.

Just like the cars that drove backwards passed me while I rewound the game, God would have moved back. I would have missed Him. I would always be moving without Him.

I can’t imagine a life without Jesus’ love.

Since the night I got on my knees in my tiny little bedroom and ask God to take over my life nothing has been the same. My heart is changed. My life is changed.

I’ve still made mistakes, some worse than I had made before I knew of God’s presence in my life. And while I lived with the consequences of my own actions, God never left me and is always moving to make me a better me. More like Him.

Oh the laughter that my husband, my brother and I share when I play this racing game (the game that really is my brother’s). Sometimes I am great — shiny side up between the lines zipping my way to an easy first place finish. Sometimes I am a crash test dummy pushing cars, banging into walls and seeing if I can somehow flip my car back over to drive…again. And sometimes I drive like Coco the Chimp. Arms above my head holding the controller and driving better than I do when I held the controller in front of me. I don’t know why this helps, but sometimes it does (until I get the giggles…which always happens).

Really I lead my life this way, too. I think. Some days I am on my game – focusing on God and who He calls me to be. Busy homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, ministry…whatever…I’m just on. Rocking it. (No need to rewind.)

Other days I lose my cool at my children. Give into a nap instead of household duties. Gossip when the phone rings in the afternoon. Somehow I finish the day, but it is not pretty and definitely not a pattern I’d like to repeat. (rewind??)

Then there are days when I am Coco the Chimp. I throw my arms up and ignore all that God has made me to be. Anger flashes. Grumbles rumble. I shoo my kids away. And snarl at my husband. There’s no giggling here. Just a life lived like no one is in control and nothing matters. (um, can I get a rewind, please?)

I am happy that I don’t have an option to rewind or reset, because I know there are days I would use it. And I would miss the glory of God as He shines in my broken life, gently reminding me of all things heaven-sent. I would miss Jesus.

Father, thank you for forgiving my mistakes, shortcomings and sins. Thank you for redeeming my life and making something amazing with my nothing. Help me to live in and through you so that my days are Yours and help me to have fewer days of crashing and bashing. Thank you for grace. Amen.

What about you do you ever wish for a rewind button? Do you find that some days you are just in the groove and other days you are scraping and bouncing off the walls?

02 Jan

To Live a Life of Construction Paper Glory

Jesus birthday card

There it lay on the living room chair. Bright orange construction paper glowing in the Christmas afternoon sun.

A birthday card constructed by little hands with the brand new card making set. The first card she would make. Her first fruit offering.

“I love you Jesus” written with care across a birthday cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I imagined Jesus receiving the gift. That when her heart moved toward Him and began to cut and glue….His heart swelled for her.

The new year is upon us. A blank canvas of prayers, teaching, plans and love hangs just on the other side of tomorrow. And during these days of resolutions and themes, I begin to ponder what a fresh page on the calendar will bring for me.

A bright orange birthday flashes across my memory. The glory brought to God by a simple act of worship left for Jesus (and mothers trying to find the floor under Christmas morning chaos) to find. I can’t stop thinking about that card.

It goes on…

“Dear Lord thank you for sending your son. Jesus to die on the cross.”

 

 

 

 

 

“and thank you for Christmas.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not a resolutions kinda girl. Perhaps once I was, only to find that by the end of the first week they were amended and by the end of January they were forgotten.

And some are finding a theme, a verse, a word…a something to define their year with God. To grow into. To work on. To express their journey. I’ve never been good at finding just one word for anything (HA!), and the task seems more than my brain can fathom, let alone execute.

And yet…

I see orange construction paper.

As I ponder the faith of this child that stretches me…humbles me…inspires me….there is a whisper to my soul.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark 10:15

I love listening to my children talk over the breakfast table. Usually, I am puttering in the kitchen while they eat breakfast. Some days their discussions are of plans for the day, dreams from last night or silly little games they love to make up. But often I listen as our daughter tells the gospel stories. Our son asks questions and listens intently. Sometimes even his imaginary friends ask questions and Isabel begins to share with them — even attempting to lead them to Jesus!

You see, Isabel is like those children mentioned in Mark 10 (the ones the disciples try to keep from running to Jesus). She runs toward Jesus with every breath she takes. Learning about Him, loving Him, and living for Him. And when you receive something and make it the center of your life you begin to live it, to breathe it, to give it away (even to your brother’s imaginary friends). And your heart beats for such love for your Savior, even construction paper projects become acts of worship and can change lives.

I’m going to put the card up in our house. A brightly colored reminder of how easy it is to worship Jesus. A reminder to live everyday looking for the chance to pour my offering out to Jesus — whether it is a song on my knees while I scrub floors, a blog post, a prayer offering in homeschool, an opportunity to serve another, or simply a daughter counting the gifts of grace all around her. So, in 2012, I want my life to be a big bright piece of construction paper glory for God. I want to live in a way that simply points to Jesus.

What about you? Do you make resolutions? Themes? What are you praying 2012 holds for you?

06 Dec

Something about my Martha-ness

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10:40

 

I’m a Martha. I mean a Martha. I make lists. I make lists of my lists. I plan. I plan about planning. I crave order and all that is color-coded, neatly filed and easily accessible.

Christmas takes me to a whole new Martha level. I have a list for my Christmas cards. A list of gifts to be given. A list of gifts received. I have a grocery list, a meals list, a baked goods list. I have a box for my Christmas decorations – well several – each labeled and numbered according to the master list I have posted on the closet wall. I have drawers dedicated to the perfect Christmas bags and wrapping paper. And stacks of Christmas CDs. I can prepare a meal, decorate the table and select the carols to set the mood all in my label-maker-happy home.

Yes, it is as sickening to write as it is to read.

But recently God showed me something about my Martha-ness. He showed me that dangerous curve in the type-A driven road…the one where Martha went veering off into canyon of whining and  complaining, where she eventually missed the blessings of Christ (you know, the ones that were literally in her own living room).

The name of that curve? Distraction.

It wasn’t Martha’s preparations or plans that were the problem. It wasn’t the meal that she had made or opening up her home. It was the distraction of all that had to be done. Had to be done. Whose list was she checking things off on? By whose plans was she guided?

Jesus tells her, “Mary chose the one thing that is needed.”

The one thing. Not the decorations or the linens. Not the Christmas cards or the gifts. Not the punch, the turkey, the gravy or pies.

Jesus.

Read it out loud this time….  Jesus.

Jesus didn’t tell Martha that preparing is bad. Or that lists and order aren’t needed. No, sweet one, He knows there are carpools to organize, ministry schedules to be made, and meals to be planned.

But His point is far more precious, and so easily missed. Jesus is needed, and often we let our “have to be dones” distract us from what we need more than any carpool, ministry or family meal.

So here’s a new strategy for the Marthas, semi-Marthas, Marthas-in-training and anyone else who needs to remember the one thing that is needed. Give Him your first moments, your best moments, your Mary moments  (and yes, go ahead, put them in your Day Planner)…commit to Him that before you trim the tree, prepare the meals, shop for gifts, pull into the carpool lane, or make another list you’ll just BE with Him.

Perhaps you’ll find you don’t need all the have to be dones on your list. Or maybe you’ll find that you want more of the one thing that was needed. Or you might even find that when you are centered on the One that all the must haves, should dos and still needs of this season of decorated excess aren’t cutting it this year…that perhaps you are going to have a Mary Christmas after all.

05 Dec

Expecting the good things of God

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I was saved in February. There were no Christmas decorations up. No carols played on the stereo. Just me in my little bedroom under the eves offering my life to a Savior, in return for love. Grace.

There I sat crying and waiting. The moment was glorious and humbling. Full of expectation. Full of hope.

As a new Christian I lived in full anticipation that everyday Jesus would show up and doing something amazing in my life.

Last weekend we lit the Hope candle on our advent wreath in our home. When asked what hope means our six-year-old replied, “expecting the good things of God”.

Aw. Yes. Hope. Expecting the good things of God.

As we watched the hope candle flicker and dance in front our Christmas tree I was transported back to that little room where I first breathed in Christ.

Waiting.

Hoping.

Expecting the good things of God.

From where I was sitting, over the top of the advent wreath I could see the December calendar. A month full of preparation and celebrations loomed just on the other side of this sacred moment. Christmas parties, baking, shopping, family celebrations, decoration, church celebrations, visiting, wrapping, cooking, stress and more.

Planning was beginning to throw a shadow over my hope.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on Jesus.

Her sweet angelic voice broke through the silence. Her face lit by candlelight and the tree, her beauty never shone so brightly. My daughter was singing Christmas carols.

For those that don’t know my daughter, let me catch you up. Whew. That child. She’s full of life, and drama. She puts on concerts and tosses a hat on the floor in case anyone wants to get rid of their extra coins. Often her singing and acting are ways of searching for the spotlight, the center of attention.

But this moment was not about her. Or us.

It was about Jesus.

In the warm glow of that room, Jesus was all around us. We were wrapped in His love and peace. And I couldn’t help but think of the smile on His face, as He received Isabel’s tiny offering of worship. Her good thing for God.

That moment has lingered in my memory all week. I’ve worked to get back to that place. To find that feeling because that, my friends, is Christmas. That feeling of warmth and peace. Of hope. Of celebrating the good things of God. Christmas is a celebration of hope. A celebration of God born man to touch our lives. To transform our hearts. To fulfill the promises of God – to embody the good things of God.

Jesus is our Hope.

Right now there are sales everywhere. Decorations are filling up every mantle and store window. The bell ringers and carols fill the air. We are here. The season of Christmas is upon us. And it is so easy to get caught up the trappings of “celebrating” Christmas.

It is so easy to let planning, and pleasing others begin to overshadow the sacred moments. As we strive for the bigger, flashier, more memorable holiday we strive to create the magic and mystery that arrived in a stable so long ago.

We don’t have to recreate Jesus. He’s here.

Allowing the moments of Jesus to unfold this season will radically alter your family, you…even Christmas itself.

What if we lived every moment of the next few weeks in full anticipation that Jesus was going to show up and do something amazing. As though it isn’t amazing enough that God became man and chose us from manger to cross unto eternity.

Standing in full knowledge that Jesus chose you before He drew his first earthly breath, what could you receive as a gift this year? What can you anticipate this season?

Search out those grace filled moments this December. Linger there where the world falls away and the good things of God fill the air around you.

Listen to the children caroling. Teenagers laughing. Inhale deeply the smell of fresh-baked cookies and Christmas trees. Sit with your family and share memories, plans or Scripture. Sing. Dance. Wrap gifts. Serve others. Smile at the cashier who is dealing with the Christmas chaos all day long.

Accept every moment as a gift from Jesus. And offer your thanks back to Him…as your good thing for Him.

My prayer for all of us over the next few weeks is that we can wake every morning filled with childlike anticipation of Christmas celebrations. That we will launch into every day ready to unwrap the gifts Jesus chose for us. That we truly celebrate this season of Hope. The season of celebrating the good things of God.

08 Nov

The Woman She Was. And Is

Grandma bw face

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her Bible always sat next to her chair.

Worn leather cover. Cracked binding. Notes tucked in the pages. Hand written reminders of verses, victories and love scratched on the pages.

My Grandmother’s Bible was part of her. She started every morning with it laid open on her lap. Day full of possibilities. Heart open to the direction of Scripture.

As she cleaned the house, played games with me or visited friends in the neighborhood she was the Bible. Often quoting verses or telling me stories of Jesus. She sang hymns and danced with me. Her shaky voice still echoes in my heart “and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and tells me I’m His Own”.

My Grandmother was the Bible in motion to me.

Time, illness and age have changed her. She doesn’t watch the news, or read. She doesn’t talk anymore and relies on people to meet her basic needs. Truly I don’t know that she knows who I am, but she seems happy to see me (I take that as a good sign).

Yet, techonology has given us a glimmer of hope for what still blooms inside my Grandmother.

I laid the ipad in her hands. Waiting. Watching. Hoping.

Her eyes shifted to the screen. There in the largest possible font the words awaited her. His words. The Word. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

I could see  her eyes track across the screen. She was reading. And at the bottom of the page she waited. I turned the page. She read some more.

We repeated this pattern twice more. In a few minutes she had read almost all of Genesis 1.

Her smile was enough. Even if she can’t find the words or doesn’t know my name…I knew.

The Word makes her complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slumped over in her chair, stains from today’s lunch on her shirt, once curled and neat hair, flat and messy. Most would not see her as a role-model, anymore. And truthfully, I forget to look for the woman that my grandmother always has been, not just the one time has molded her into.

My grandmother was a woman of God.

My grandmother is a woman of God.

And as she read Scripture this weekend, I saw her. Perhaps as God sees her? Beautiful. In love. Full of Jesus.

In that breath…that moment. I wanted to be just like her. A woman of God.

A woman who so saturates my soul with the Word. With God. That when all the things of youth and this world are stripped away at my core you find Jesus.

When my words fade and my body fails….what will I be?

Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,

but the word of our God endures forever.

Isaiah 40:7-8

Father, teach me to be like my Grandmother. A woman of God. A fount of scripture. A love affair to last through eternity, rooted in a love letter from a King to a peasant girl. Teach me to read, love and memorize the Word so that I can be a godly influence for my children and grandchildren. Help me to make Jesus my core. Amen.

 

03 Oct

How Big is Your But?

sisyphus1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to be an incredible wife….

I want to be a nurturing, involved mother…

I want to be a phenomenal home manager and homeschooling mama…

BUT!

I’ve discovered something this morning.

My but is too big.

Today as I contemplated my life, my tasks and all that never seems to get done I sought answers. Why are some days better than others? Why am I Patty Productive one day and Sally Sloth the next? Why do I allow the buts, excuses and interruptions of life to keep me from being the woman I want to be…that I could be.

Sometimes, admittedly, I know the reason. I am willing to let laundry sit, dusting go undone and leave beds unmade if we are lost in the chapters of a fascinating library book, if the sound of counting and learning fills the hallways, or if there is a child in need of snuggles, love and giggles. In my opinion (humble it may not be), those moments are far more important than the smell of any cleaning product or straightened sheets. The moment will pass quickly that my children are here…chores can always be done.

And that sounds noble and loving, right? If only those were my only excuses. Then my BUT wouldn’t be so big and I would be much closer to the woman God has made me to be. Some days I just don’t want to ___________ (fill in the blank) and I’ll find other things, anything else to do so that don’t have. I will research until the cows come home, clean out cupboards and reorganize the entire playroom just to ignore other chores. Or I’ll justify watching a movie in the middle of the day, taking a nap or lingering on Facebook for longer than I care to admit.

This morning, as I write to you our house is clean; the meat for the month has been separated and sealed for freezing; tomorrow’s roast is marinating filling the house with the smell of garlic, rosemary and onions; the laundry is going; the kids are playing; school is tucked up until tomorrow. I’ve been productive. And I still have had time to linger over a cup of coffee, listen to music, play with kids, and more. What’s the difference?

My but didn’t get in the way. Before I even placed my feet on the floor this morning I began the day in prayer. After my thanks and praise I had one simple request. Today, God, help me focus on the things you’d have me do. Let me do what you bring to mind. The result? The list above. I so often get caught up in my own trappings and excuses I find myself lost in a sea of chores, with too much to be done and not enough time. When I lay my head down at night I fight disappointment and look into tomorrow already behind and anxious. This is no way to live.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

As I read that verse today and nodded in agreement I began to ponder the word commit. What does is it mean? In Hebrew the word is galal, to roll. So the verse says, roll your plans/works onto the Lord. I thought this was an interesting word picture and it made me think of Sisyphus in Greek mythology. Are you familiar with this story? A deceitful and crafty king, Sisyphus, was sentenced to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down before he reached the top. Thus having to start over. Never finishing the task, never knowing the satisfaction of a job well done, never again to have a sigh of relief at the completion of good work. (hmmm…perhaps the stone was actually laundry?? HA!!)

Are you seeing this unfold? Imagine your plans, your day is that stone. When you pop out of bed in the morning and take on the day on your own steam you are much like Sisyphus. Pushing your day up the hill. Easily tripped up on your own excuses, other people’s interruptions or expectations and more. In an instant the boulder rolls back down the hill and you are to start all over.  Ever feel like that? (by the way, happy Monday!)

Now picture rolling that stone…those plans, works and expectations onto the Lord. Nothing defeats Him. Nothing surprises Him. As He directs that boulder and pushes it up the hill called Monday you follow closely. Eyes on the Lord. Pressed in for direction and success in His plans and glory. No buts to trip you up and no pressure because the agenda is not yours to pursue and push. What needs to get done will get done in the Lord.

And tomorrow is another day waiting to be rolled onto Him.

Do you know how free this made me when I realized it today? Seriously, picture me and a little snoopy dance. Now, does it mean I sit on the couch watching soap operas and wait for God to interrupt me. No…God expects active participation in this life we live together. And in order to stay close I have to walk with Him, pursue Him, love Him…verbs. Action. Committed to Him.

How big is your but today? Do you have excuses and issues that are keeping you from being productive and embracing the joy of this life in Christ? Well, stop. Right now. Drop the but. Roll your day into God’s waiting hands, turn your eyes to Him and begin again.

Father,  I know this life of pushing my own boulder up a hill built in this world is tiring, time-consuming and often unproductive. Help me…us…to learn to look to you. Help me to roll my day into your hands and focus my eyes on You. I want to live a life focused on You, full of You….for You. Amen.

21 May

Lessons in Faith from a Five Year Old

Her little hand clutched in mine we lay on her bed. The house was still and quiet. As evening set in around us, she began to pray.

{we’ll get to the prayer in a minute}

Perhaps one of the things that amazes me most about being a mother is how much God uses it to teach me. Motherhood has become my training ground for patience, kindness, truth, love, every imaginable skill (and some I never imagined I would need or learn) and faith. I come face to face with Jesus and the truths of God on a regular basis — out of the mouths and hearts of our children.

A few  months ago we became aware of Isabel’s love and passion for orphans (or as she calls them children who don’t have any parents — she does not like the term orphan. But that is conversation for another day.) In an attempt to nurture this godly spark our family set off on a new project — read Whose Child Is She? and …a Little Child Will Lead Them to learn more about what we’re doing and how.

Last week God brought a new friendship into our lives that has the potential to change the shape, if not the course, of our very lives. And while it remains to be seen how this will all play out, I can tell you that next week our new (already dear) friends will be coming to dinner — to tell us of Africa, orphans, the missionary life they are called to. And even more than that, they are coming to hear Isabel’s heart, see her passion and her dresses and help fan the godly flame growing in her wee little heart. I don’t know what God is going to use this for, but I can tell you whatever it is it is already changing us. Her. Me.

Back to her prayer. As I read Isabel James 1:27 {Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.} and talked to her about what she wants to do for the orphans I saw a different look in her eyes. One of sadness. An ache almost.

In her sadness she told me about how it makes her sad that they don’t have parents. That they are missing the love they could have like our family. And before I could say a word, she smiled and said “they need Jesus. He’s our family from God. We can help with that.” Humbled. Tears pouring down my face I sat there on her bed and nodded. What more was there to say.

“My turn to pray,” she chirped and grabbed my hand. “Dear God, thank you for my mom and dad. Thank you for our new friends that are coming to dinner next week. Thank you for helping us to do things that we don’t even know are in the Bible. Thank you for Jesus. Help us give Jesus to the orphans. Amen.”

Through tears I saw her little blonde hair fall over her tear soaked dimples. Where does that passion come from? With a deep sigh she turned her big blue eyes back to me. “I love you mommy.” “I love you too baby girl.” And there we laid hand in hand on the bed with Jesus. Trying to understand the truth of His love, of our place in this world, and the realities of children who don’t have parents. It was one of the sweetest, heaviest, holiest moments I have ever been a part of.

These moments of motherhood are humbling and amazing in one breath. God is using Isabel to teach me and remind me that He is all we need. And He is what we are to give others — in whatever form that comes…love, dresses, hugs, help, prayer, truth, light, joy, etc.

Will you join us in prayer? Pray for the children who don’t have any parents. Pray for our family as we begin this new adventurous chapter. Pray for Isabel that she will be lifted up and encouraged to follow her heart. Pray for a mama who feels terribly under qualified and in awe of the baby girl she is raising. Pray that we find ways to give Jesus to the orphans…to our neighbors…to the world.

28 Apr

Holding onto the Boxwoods

Sitting at my desk as I look out the window I can see grass, trees and flowers I planted last weekend.  This doesn’t seem so terribly remarkable to you, I suppose, because you don’t know the old view. Until last week five foot tall (probably closer to six…at any rate they were taller than me!) boxwoods blocked out the sun and my only view was the edge of greenery and the deadwood underneath.

Even before the house was officially ours we knew we had to trim them or rip them out. They were overgrown and growing out over our walkway, you had to steer clear of them just to enter our house. From the street they didn’t look so bad, really. In fact some people had mentioned how the boxwoods made the house look stately.

From the walkway side they were green, full, and imposing; it wasn’t until I was standing in the middle of them with my clippers that I realized what horrible shape they were in. There were lots of dead branches, dying leaves and vines choking the trunks. Several hours later they were virtually chopped to the ground and I stood staring at the front of our house. It looked SO big and open. Better than I could have envisioned and I was so excited to fill in those once shadowed gardens with flowers and plants.

And as excited as I was outside I couldn’t imagine what it would change on the inside of our home. The front rooms (my office and the dining room) while nice rooms have seemed dark and less welcoming then the rest of the house. We used them, but honestly have not really enjoyed them or figured out how to live in them. With the boxwoods gone, the light pours in. The brightly colored walls and rugs take on new hues and I linger at my desk, and we even sat and talked at the dining room table after a meal!

One person even said, “I wouldn’t have had the imagination to visualize what it would look like with them gone, but I love it!”

As I have begun to ponder the boxwoods I began to think of my own life…my own boxwoods.

What am I holding on to because I can’t visualize life without it?

Are there things that are overgrown in my life?

Things that look healthy to a passerby, but are actually dead and gnarled underneath?

Things that are blocking out the light and prohibiting new growth?

Last year was a season of great loss and sadness in my life — my aunt was deathly ill, we sold our old house (as the neighborhood became someplace we didn’t want to raise our children), I had a couple of health scares and the end of year was marked with my Aunt’s death and funeral. I had hoped (and prayed) that God would begin filling me up this year…filling in the holes left my months of stress and sadness.

Not quite. Instead, He is continuing to prune, work and dig in my soul. As though the season from last year prepared my heart for His Holy gardening gloves to do their work.

But in light of the boxwoods, I now view this season a little differently.

Can you imagine the change in my soul when these overgrown, dead things are cleared out and His light shines through? I can’t, truthfully…and perhaps that’s why I have never let go of the habits and thoughts…I couldn’t visualize life without them. But He could.

So now I ask you…do you have any boxwoods? Don’t know? Can’t visualize life beyond where it is now? I urge you to ask Him to point out the things in your life that inhibit your growth and His light. Throw your arms open and ask Him to go to work!

Father, I long for a safe, comfortable life, but I know that is not what brings You glory and it is not what draws me closer to You. And what I want is more of You to pour in me until I overflow…if You have to rip my boxwoods out to let that happen I am ready and willing, and so thankful that You are able and You already know the woman You want me to become…I can’t wait to be her.

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