Category Archives: personal

God has a purpose

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Yuk!

I wasn’t expecting to see this bug when my hubby and I went out to the garden.

I don’t know what it is, but it wasn’t chewing any of our veggies.

My husband took this picture of it and we left it alone.

A few years ago I would have squished it simply because it looked like a bug that deserved to be squished.

I’m not a big fan of bugs and when my kids were small I went out of my way to kill anything I thought would be a danger to them.

Yet a lesson with a snake taught me to not be quick to decide if something was dangerous.

Our oldest girl was about 8 and saw what she thought was a toy belonging to the neighbor boy.

It was a white and black ringed snake coiled up in the lawn.

She picked it up to avoid the mower.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a toy and didn’t appreciate being picked up by the tail.

Neither my husband nor myself had seen such a snake and we killed it on the spot.

We later learned it was a California King Snake, and a good kind to have since they eat Rattlesnakes.

We learned an important lesson and have always regretted killing the snake.

God has created many things for a purpose and He makes it clear in Genesis that man is to rule over that creation.

I try to take seriously that authority and I am certain God is continuing to teach me how to honor His creation even in the midst of the Fallen state.

If He has a purpose for a bug or a snake He certainly has a purpose for me and every person He creates.

That being said, I can’t always understand the purpose of the things in my life.

I can’t always see how each piece fits together.

I woke up feeling low today because I have a headache which started yesterday.

“How do I get my list done when I feel awful? “

I am in charge of your list.

“But Lord, I don’t want to be sick!”

I will lead you.

Ok. It is enough.

My day hasn’t begun the way I’d like and it probably won’t look like what I had planned, but it belongs to Him and in everything I can praise Him.

Because I don’t know the purpose doesn’t mean that it is lacking.

Growth

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This is a pumpkin plant in our garden.

Jase is holding the ruler because we are charting several plant’s growth this summer.

Yet, the idea of growth prompts me to look deeper.

How am I growing?

Have I allowed the Lord to water me today with His Word?

Are there any weeds in my heart which seek to choke out the seeds God has planted?

How do I tell the difference between a baby seed and a baby weed?

In the garden it normally takes a little time.

The same it true for my heart.

I have learned when I’m unsure if something is of the Lord I need to wait and not commit myself to it.

Prayer and patience have saved me from poor choices more than once.

A few days ago I was feeling tired and sad.

The garden of my heart seemed to be wilted.

I had sought the Lord in prayer, yet something was lacking.

I felt led to read Psalms.

I read and read, yet had not found the key to my need.

Psalm 139 was it.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.” Psalm 139: 1-6 NKJV

Softly the truth of God, His love, His care, His understanding, renewed my strength.

I’m still growing with the Lord each day, and at times it feels fruitful and others it just hurts.

Yet, as I tend the plants in our garden I look to Jesus.

Dear God,

   Please continue to grow me in Your word and Your plan. Help me to recognize weeds and to uproot them. Show me where I’m lacking and please guide me in growth. I want to be a fruitful vine, yet I know it can only happen through You. Thank You for Your faithfulness, love, patience, and so much more. Thank You for never giving up on me. I love You.

Amen

Blessing beyond measure

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Well,
I’m finished.

Thursday was my last day to teach at the Academy.

I wanted to hug all the kids about a dozen times.

I had to work at not crying.

I was so blessed to receive a beautiful rose bush and a gift card to our favorite restaurant.

The best gift however was this quilt and pillows

I was presented it at the 8th grade promotion.

It is made up of Bible verses and notes from my various students.

Not just this year, but from every year I’ve taught.

Wow…

My oldest daughter even got in touch with one of my students who lives in another state.

The sweet lady who was my aid this year pieced it and another of the teachers was the one who had the kids work on it, and a third lady quilted it.

To add a special touch my life chapter is the center: Psalm 23.

I asked her how she knew.

She laughed. “I was there the morning Travis asked you what your life verse was and you said, ‘It’s a life chapter, Psalm 23, because I just can’t break it up, it all fits together. ‘”

I had forgotten about that moment, but she hadn’t.

My Anne looked at me when I laid the quilt and pillows on the bed.

“Mom, you need to take a picture. You need to write a blog about how blessed you are.”

I agreed.

The beautiful quilt is only a tiny representation of the blessings I’ve had working these last 8 years.

I have been so blessed to spend many days with the most terrific people.

Each and every one of my students I have had the privilege to know and love.

The lesson were more than just reading and writing, but character and wisdom.

They have taught me so much.

I have a beautiful long list of the memories of each student.

Some I only taught a year, but each has left a blessing on my heart, even those who were a challenge.

I have been so honored  to work with so many talented gifted people.

People who ignite the imagination of the students.

I have been thrilled to watch the young adults graduate and move on, some even beginning new families.

The truth is I haven’t been working these past 8 years.

I’ve been living with the joy of doing something I love.

I’ve been drawn ever closer to Jesus.

I’ve been taught, stretched, encouraged, and loved.

It has been an absolute pleasure.

Dear Lord,
   Please hold each of the children in Your hand. Please guide each family. Continue the work You began in each heart that these young men and women will be able to fully develop into the men and women of Christ You created them to be. Watch over them and protect them. Please let them know how much they are loved. Thank You for allowing me to have a tiny part in their lives. Thank You for letting me love them!
Amen.

Joyful

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Yup!

I’m joyful.

So is our daughter who recently became engaged.

Yes, they are young.

Yes, they have so much to learn.

Yes, they are beginning a journey they really do not understand.

Life has taught me there is very little I can do to make things go the way I think they should.

After living through almost 20 years of marriage I can testify that I’m glad.

God’s plan is so much better than mine.

God’s will is so much richer than what I can see.

I’m joyful He has been guiding and directing our family all along.

Will they have trouble?

Undoubtedly.

Yet I have peace knowing they are following the Lord as a couple and as individuals.

Will they have heartache?

More than likely.

Yet I’m trusting God to guide and comfort them through whatever lies ahead.

Will they have love?

Yes!

We love them.

They love each other.

More importantly, Jesus loves them.

So I’m joyful.

“Dear Papa,

Thank You for our recent addition to our family. Please help them to love You more than anything else and to love each other more than anyone else. Show them how to walk in each day as unto You. Let their lives be a blessing to those around them. Let their future be centered on living daily with You. No matter what storms of life may come, help them to find shelter in You and to walk hand in hand throughout. Thank You!”

Spring clean

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My daughter took this as we were preparing to land in Seattle.

I was blessed to be able to visit my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins recently.

Unfortunately my hubby couldn’t take off from work and stayed home.

While he was here he started a major spring cleaning.

To the point of bleaching the white kitchen cabinets kind of cleaning.

It was a lovely surprise to come home to.

Of course I’m now in the place of daily cleaning, trying to keep up the beauty.

It reminds me of my walk with Jesus.

I rarely need a huge overhaul spiritually if I keep up with the daily spiritual relationship.

Yes, there are those moments which cause extra time: the soup boiling all over the stove or news of a loved one being given a number of days left on Earth.

However, normally to keep on top of clean it takes self discipline and attention to details.

Did I speak only words of edification today?

Did I wash at least one load of clothes?

Did I put priorities first?

Did I stay humble?

As I polish the furniture am I allowing God to polish my character?

Sometimes I can say, “yes” and sometimes not.

That is why this is self discipline, it’s not easy.

Thankfully I know God is walking me through each step, guiding me each day.

Surprise!

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Bunnies!

My wonderful father-in-law called me last week.

“Hopie, I’m bringing you two baby bunnies.”

He was a bit nervous, knowing my hubby was still away on a business trip and I don’t know the first thing about rabbits.

“No problem!  I’ll get a hold of my friend. See you soon!”

My dear friend dropped everything and brought over a cage and a water bottle she wasn’t using for her rabbits.

My mom graciously let us have some hay.

My hubby told me over the phone where and how to set up a heat lamp.

(It is snowing so I figured they needed some extra warmth.)

With that we found ourselves the owners of two tiny bunnies.

I was surprised.

God knew exactly what, how, and when.

God provided all the needs.

God even cares about something as simple as helping me care for the unexpected.

So I’m trying to build a memory here.

Because I’m not good at handling life’s surprises with calm decisions and wise reactions.

I wish I was!

However, God has again provided.

He is my strength, my stability, and my substance.

“Lord, thank You for helping me handle this surprise so completely. Please guard my heart from pride or selfish ambition which would hinder me from seeing You in every surprise. Please help me to look at life through faith and not fear. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I know I can trust You no matter what surprises await me.”

When things get rough

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I don’t know if I’m the only one.

But sometimes things get rough.

It’s funny.

Rarely does it have much to do with my circumstances.

Most of the time it has everything to do with my perspective.

I loose hope.

Which seems ridiculous.

My name is Hope.

How can I loose it?

Because I’m human.

Because I have flaws.

Because I forget all the positive beautiful promises of God.

At least my emotions don’t line up with what my head knows to be true.

So…

Maybe I’m the only one who gets discouraged.

But when things get rough,

And I can’t see past the emotions,

I have a few weapons.

I have friends.

Lovely people who pray for me,  especially when I drop texts asking for prayer.

I have journals, to look back and remember all the times God has stepped in and saved me.

I have God’s Word,  which comforts and guides me.

I have prayer, which helps me to steady my emotions and which quiets my heart so I can hear God’s guidance.

When things get rough, I choose to remain steadfast on Jesus.

After all,  He is my example in everything and life certainly wasn’t easy or smooth sailing for Him.

If He can walk through this world knowing it was His calling to come and die a terrible death, I certainly can walk through a few uncomfortable circumstances.

As I reflect on Jesus I find my courage returns.

As I meditate on His promises I remember my hope.

No matter what this life holds, it is only temporary.

Heaven awaits.

Eternity with Christ.

Hope renewed!