Butterflies

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The pictures captured on my phone do a very poor job of sharing the beauty of these amazing examples of God’s creation.

I simply love the picture of a butterfly.

My heart has such a thrill when I am able to pause even briefly to enjoy the small winged insect.

The picture of a tiny egg.

The ugly worm which crawls from it.

The fat caterpillar which it becomes through gorging itself on as much food as it’s able.

The slumber and waiting.

Finally, it’s time.

A butterfly is an amazing picture of what God can do in my life with my soul.

At birth I’m tiny and unaware of the world around me.

Yet, as my body and mind grow from child to adult I begin to feel a need to be fed.

A desire to be filled.

Only as I learn about Christ and His bridging the chasm between my sin and the Most Holy God, do I find the food my soul has longed for.

Once the plate has been passed to me there’s no limit on how much of Jesus and His plans for me.

I can gorge my heart and soul in the wealth of love and wisdom from His Word.

These are the days I live in, yet I have so much more to look forward to.

Some day this body will die.

Someday Jesus will renew my spirit and give me a new perfect body.

Someday I will emerge into what I can’t even comprehend, any more than the fat fuzzy worm can grasp the effortlessly beautiful floating on breeze  butterfly he-will-be.

How great is God!

How amazing is the work of His hands.

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My husband, my blessing

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Yup, those belong to me!

Bell and her dad are two peas in a pod.

They both enjoy being able to work out.

They enjoy the outdoors.

They are super funny!

And anyone who knows them well can say they have many sides to their personalities.

Infact, I can easily point to characteristics which each of our children have that are a reflection of their father.

It’s amazing to me how blessed I am to be married to this guy!

I was chatting with someone about how my hubby had learned to dance as a teen and had shared it by teaching all of us how to dance.

It was one of the best memories from the wedding last summer : Daddy dancing with the bride.

It has become one of my favorite things we do as a family.

I am so thankful for the gifts God has given through my husband.

He is a hard working man, not unlike my father.

He is a brilliant man who has poured hours upon hours into learning as well as teaching.

He’s amazingly creative and has written and preformed in many skits.

His ability to act as well as write skits has brought Bible truths to kids both here and in other countries.

He’s a loving father.

It’s not been easy for him to divide himself in so many directions, but his love for his children has caused him to put off more and more of the things he enjoys to be at events or to touch their lives.

He’s a wonderful man who loves me, but most importantly, loves Jesus.

He’s not perfect.

Neither am I.

Yet through our broken battered sin-torn lives he has walked with me and Jesus.

We still have a lot to learn.

We still have areas of healing.

Yet we are determined to hold hands while we face the future together, with Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for my husband. Bless him today as he walks into whatever You have planned for him. Please teach me how to be a good wife to him. Please protect him from the evil in this world and help our family to grow ever stronger in You.

Goals

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“Way to go Bell!”

She was so blessed to receive a medal in both the 800 meter and the 100 meter.

This morning she was talking about her plans to train for next year.

Smiling, I replied that it’s good to have goals.

Lately I’ve noticed the emphasis on “be yourself”.

Which I get.

The point is don’t try to fake it, be who you are.

There’s something lacking.

Mostly because the idea is missing the One who knows who each of us is.

Paul wrote that no one is pure, not even one.

So our sinful state distorts the truth.

We can only be who we were created to be by being in close, minute by minute association with the Creator.

When our daughter said she had a goal which she wanted to work toward, I was glad.

Goals are our way of gaging and measuring where we are and where we want to be.

The goal needs to be directed by Jesus and patterned by His will.

When a goal is birthed from our own flesh ruin can be the result.

Solomon is a perfect example.

God asked him what he wanted and his reply was honorable.

He wanted wisdom to rule Israel well.

God granted it and blessed him.

Yet we see Solomon’s end as very sad.

He didn’t follow the wisdom he had from God’s own word.

He was the wisest and one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, yet in Ecclesiastes his words reflect  depression, a man who has lost the joy of living.

What would his words have been had he stayed focused on his original goal to be a wise ruler?

We can’t tell.

Yet there is nothing keeping me from walking in God’s will daily so I can discover His goals for my life.

I can state that as I’ve walked this far I have found so much peace and joy when I’m squarely centered on His goals.

Continued anger and frustration are the evidence of my goal-making-done-to-please-myself.

James puts it perfectly.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? ” James 4:1 NKJV

I want to avoid setting my goals in a way that would take me away from my God.

Instead, I am working to know God’s will for me daily, to put off my pleasures, to grow in the wisdom of God’s Word.

Do you ever feel like a failure?

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You know,
those days where you want to lay down and quit.

This morning started to feel like failure.

I woke promptly, without an alarm at 5:30.

This surprised me since my husband had received a call at 2:30 and neither of us has been able to go back to sleep easily.

Yet as I lay there talking with the Lord I realized why I was awake so early.

Today is the first day of the State Track and Field.

Bell will be running today.

The bus is leaving at 8am for the two hour drive.

I wanted to be sure to get a solid breakfast ready for her as well as a lunch.

I thanked the Lord for my early morning and quietly snuck out of the room.

As breakfast prep was nearly finished my thoughts turned to lunch prep.

Shoot.

No bread.

There’s a sandwich leftover from yesterday’s lunch.

AWESOME!

I washed, peeled, and sliced carrots.

Coach said she needed some easy carbs.

I’ll bake muffins.

There’s no milk.

At this point my attitude began to degrade.

I thought about the 45 min drive to town yesterday when I could have purchased all these needed items.

I thought about my carelessness of not saving some milk.

I thought…

I’m still in control. Do you trust Me?

-sigh-

Yes, Lord, I trust You.

I stopped and confessed my sin of thinking this was all my own effort, of leaning on my own strength, of being willing to allow circumstances to hinder my morning.

I just stopped completely and prayed.

After getting my heart back to order, I told the Lord I trusted Him to guide me even in this.

Remember the crazy cake.

Hmmm….

Yes, it’s a recipe I received from a friend years ago, who upon hearing me explain I had not made a cake for one of our children on account of no eggs and no milk.

She had been so sweet about it and explained it didn’t require either and was easy to make.

Where on earth is the recipe?

It’s in your holiday binder.

I’ve never made it before.

There’s always a first time.

You’re right Lord!

So when Bell came in the kitchen her breakfast was hot, her lunch was nearly finished, and her mom was smiling.

I explained that as soon as the cake was done it would be packed into her lunch and she’d be set.

As we joined together to pray for her before she headed to the bus I could focus on the words without so much as a hint of failure.

On my own things go poorly.

But God never asked me to do it without Him.

How good it is to trust in the Lord.♡

Roses from ashes

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That’s me!

The one missing a tooth.

My sister and I are sitting on our big brother.

It was one of our favorite things he would do.

When visiting on leave from the military he’d put on his suit and move the furniture.

Then he’d get down on his hands and knees and say, “Now get a good tight hold.”

I’d climb onto his back and stick my toes into his pockets.

I’d grip the back of his suit like I could hold on forever.

Then I’d laugh and say, “Okay!”

He’d jump and buck till I could hold on no longer.

I’m certain he was doing it carefully as I never got hurt.

Neither did my sister.

We absolutely loved it.

I remember on time my parents opening a package from him and inside was a framed fabric covered in foreign coins.

Another time he was on leave and my mom needed a sitter.

He gladly offered to watch us.

I remember him being in the kitchen trying to make us Campbell’s.

I kept checking on him since I was hungry and yet there wasn’t any soup heating.

Finally, he asked me where the can opener was.

I quickly fished out the only one.

He was puzzled.

“No Hopie, I mean the big can opener. This is a camping one.”

I shook my head and explained it was the only one I knew about.

He was surprised but made us lunch anyway.

I remember him asking my mom about it when she returned.

She explained that it was the only one they had.

It wasn’t long before he bought her a “big” can opener.

These memories are precious to me.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want and as much as I’d like to say I could go on and on with stories about my brother, I can’t.

I never really knew what happened.

Yet my childhood memories are all I have of him.

He cut all ties with everyone.

We have tried to find him.

When my dad was killed in a freak accident we tried.

When news that our sister (my older, his younger) was dieing we tried.

But to no avail.

Yet God was still working.

Recently, my oldest brother received word from our niece.

After battling cancer, our brother had died and she had spent more than a month trying to find him to tell him.

He got in touch with my mom and she contacted me.

I cried.

Pulled it together and called him.

He’s a great guy and I dearly love both him and his wife.

He got me our niece’s phone number and I called.

Since then we are getting to text.

She even helped me get in touch with one of our sister’s sons.

It has been wonderful.

I have praised the Lord for bringing our family back together.

I’m excited to see what He’s going to do next.

The photograph was sent to me in a text by my beautiful niece.

I had told her of my memories of her dad playing with me and my sister.

Her voice became full of emotion and said, “I’ve been going through pictures and found one of my dad with two little girls on his back and I wished I knew who they were.”

Through my tears I responded, “It has to be me and my sister. ”

Days later she sent me another text with a picture.

She asked, “Do you recognize this?”

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“Yes! That’s me.”

How much it blesses my heart to know our brother might not have kept in touch, but he did keep our pictures.

What beautiful roses have been growing from the ashes of missing years!

What an incredible love God has for us!

I’m forgiven!

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The ocean.

A beach.

It has been a place I’ve never grown weary of.

Possibly because I don’t live close enough to be bothered by the unsavory.

Yet the waves ever washing the sand bring to me a calm.

The rhyme and rhythm of salty hands polishing every stone as they pass.

In and out bringing beauty of foam and sting to the air.

Peace.

The ocean beating on the beach speaks so loudly of a God who set them in motion and constantly watches over all of His creation.

The constant washing of the waves brings into focus the way Jesus has washed my soul from the blacked death we call sin.

As I think on the miles and miles of coast, the depths of the ocean we know so little about, or take in the massive forms of the beasts who live there my heart swells.

In all His wisdom and grace and ability God created each cell, amoeba, and every grain of sand.

Certainly, I can place my trust in Him.

Surely, He is able to shoulder my needs and cares.

Definitely, He is my every need and the fullness of all I desire.

For at the bottom of all Jesus has forgiven me of my sin and saved me from living for myself.

He has renewed my life daily by teaching me through His word the joys of life to the fullest, not in position or possession, but in service and love of those around me.

In each day I can see His hand.

I can feel His love

and praise Him for His forgiveness.

Blessed be the name of the LORD!

Hidden beauty

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Weighty,

intertwining,

jumbled,

I managed to untangle limb after limb and drag them across the yard.

Two of our trees needed to come down and the task of starting to clean up was my object for the day.

These trees were large and therefore it was work.

As I rounded a corner heading back to the tree I stopped.

Just behind a fern.

Out of sight from the main.

Hidden and beautiful.

These little purple pansies, reminders of last Spring when I planted purple pansies in the same area.

We had snow again this winter so I had zero expectations of seeing a single pansy since I have planted that number this Spring.

Yet, there they were.

Hidden beauty.

I thanked the Lord for them.

Took a picture and went back to work on the tree limbs.

The thought of hidden beauty made me look deeper.

What other beauties have I been missing?

How have I passed over the beauty in those around me?

What beauty has God placed inside of me that I’m ignoring?

Thankfulness came to mind first.

Being thankful is such a blessing and yet I seem to miss it frequently.

Joy was next to peek out.

How often do I allow the busy to rob me of daily joy in Christ?

Peace and trust.

What amazingly beautiful gifts these are.

And how I want to be a lady who is full of both, the peace of God which passes all understanding and the trust in Him which puts to death fear and failure.

So the next time I pass the tree with the pansies, I’m going to let it be a reminder to pray.

Dear Father God,

Please help me to pay more attention to the hidden gifts and blessings all around me. Show me how to walk as a woman who is full of peace, trust, joy, and thankfulness. Help me to reflect Jesus to those around me. Thank You for the flowers, what a wonderful reminder!