Category Archives: Spiritual

Growth

image

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

Wild beauty

image

The sound was loud.

The air was crisp.

The moment awe inspiring.

We had stopped here, because of need.

Yet, I was surprised to hear the kids had no memory of the place.

So, I decided to take the time and walk them up to the falls.

(Actually, I watched them run up the trail, I walked!)

This photograph is one of the places we stopped.

The falls are huge, and I couldn’t get a really good picture with my phone.

As we walked back down and I listened to the thunder of the water and the comments of awe from the kids it struck me.

God did this.

The only man made thing was the trail and the bridge.

Man only saw the beauty and built a way to share it with others.

God created the wonder.

Man can only stand in awe of the power and admire He’s creation.

Our pastor taught on Psalm 8 yesterday and it is so fitting.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars,
which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?”
Psalm 8:3-4

What a great God!

He created so much beauty and majesty and yet He loves us even more.

No tree or bird or mountain can say that the very breath of God caused them to have life.

Only mankind.

What an amazing and awesome God!

In the midst of the storm

image

This was last Thursday.

The track meet continued even though it was raining.

The track meet continued even though it was very windy.

The track meet paused briefly while it hailed, but didn’t stop.

In fact, I was impressed at the drive of the athletes in such weather.

Our daughter asked her coach if she had ran faster in the races she entered than her best times at other meets  (it’s called a pr).

“PR? Not in this weather, you’re not going to PR.”

Then he assured her she ran very well.

Just as the meet was finishing up the sun broke through the clouds.

A rainbow.

In the midst of the storm our athletes gave their best.

In the midst of the wind blown rain, they ran their races, or jumped or threw.

It is in the midst of trials, tragedy, and tests we prove a few truths.

When I’m struggling with poor health I’m not going to run my race as well as when I feel fine.

When people I love are dealing with weighty circumstances the effort to continue in the daily grind will be more.

When God is showing me areas of sin in my life, I’m going to feel discomfort, even pain.

Yet through the storm He is ever constant.

Through the effort, He builds strength.

Through the clouds, He breaks through with beauty.

In the midst of the storm it is going to be difficult to run my very best, but the self discipline and perseverance I gain are well worth it.

It causes me to be able to run the race of life even better when times and seasons are sunnier.

As I look toward another weekend and the week following I’m asking the Lord to break through the storm of busy.

To help me run no matter the weather.

I look toward the Lord instead of the storm.

Keep it simple

image

Beautifully simple.

My husband coined the phrase while gazing down at this lovely flower.

He’s not the kind of guy one would expect to be looking at flowers.

Yet, the simplicity of the white petals against the dark center attracted his attention and we bought the plant.

How often I forget the beauty in simplicity.

It has been a very full and often rushed two weeks since coming home from our trip.

I’ve slid into the error of working hard, harder, and hardest on my own strength, guaranteeing I’ll get it all done.

Nope.

It normally guarantees nothing but a headache, literally, and my poor family trying to get Momma back to her happy face.

The Lord spoke to me about all the work and try I’ve been putting out.

He reminded me He never called me to do it alone.

He has been with me from the beginning and when I rest in His ways everything gets done, well.

The simplicity of waiting on the Lord.

The beauty of living a flexible schedule, open and willing to change as He leads.

I’ve been neglecting that truth.

My morning devotion brought me back to the excellent truth of resting in God.

“I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I layed down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves up against me all around. ” Psalm 3: 4-6 NKJV

Continue

image

Our middle girl earned her driver’s permit last week.

I smiled broadly as the lady behind the counter gave me careful instructions on how to teach my daughter to drive.

I didn’t interrupt with the fact that I’ve already taught one daughter how to drive.

I just listened and understood she wasn’t attacking my teaching ability,  she was simply doing her job.

Recently I had another experience where I was the one talking, only my well meant efforts were simply seen as an attack on the hearer’s ability.

I felt bad.

Had to deal with my feelings in return,  after all I was only trying to help…

Ehh.

Continue.

Keep working on the attitude in myself, and keep in check my words.

Perhaps I could have phrased what I was saying differently.

Maybe my tone of voice could have been better.

Possibly the timing was poor.

So, as I walk through the day I’m looking for opportunities to get it right.

Chances to continue to love.

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:21 NKJ

There are days when loving those around me are easier than others.

“Lord, please help me to love those around me. Keep my words from bringing those around me to harm. Help me to speak with kindness, especially when the words I need to say are words of correction. Teach me to hear the heart behind those words which cause me hurt. Help me to hear and apply words of correction to my own life. Thank You for always walking with me. Thank You for teaching me how to continue in love.”

Effort

image

As beautiful as these are,
they take effort.

Recently I was chatting with a mother on how much time and attention she put into her oldest four children.

Her efforts have definitely paid off, they are terrific people.

As the weather begins to allow more time outdoors I realize how much effort is required to return my yard to the beauty of last season.

Effort is required in the things which are truly important.

Walking with Jesus is tough.

John wrote to the church reminding them to hold on and walk in the truth.

“Little children, let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1John 3:18 NASB

It takes effort to love others.

It takes continued decisions to walk in loving others.

Forgiveness, kindness, self-sacrifice,…
all come from a choice to give them.

Yet, we are only showing a tiny glimmer of the love and effort which was given to us by Christ.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love,  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be propitiation for our sins.” 1John 4: 9-10

Lord, thank You for loving me first. Please help me to love those You have placed around me, both my family, my friends,  my neighbors,  and any strangers You would like me to reach out to. Help me to understand that true love has boundaries and it is only in the truth of Your Word that can bring new life, wisdom,  and hope. Thank You for the effort You made. Help me to be diligent in my life. Amen.

Surprise!

image

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.”