Archives for posts with tag: Freedom

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“Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you…”

Cool quote. Not sure who it’s by. But cool, powerful quote.

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

 

“I will do something new, Now it will spring forth…Will you not be aware of it?”

Tough to be aware of what’s ahead, what’s in front of us, when we’re looking in the past…in the rearview mirror of our lives, so to speak. When moving forward, it’s important not to be looking behind or accidents can happen. Yep, when moving forward, it’s important to be aware of what’s behind, but to be focused on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Forward Steps. Not backward.

Gotta leave behind the old to get to the new. Leaves fall when trees let go. What makes them let go?  Gotta make room for the new, get rid of the old, before we can add more new.  Cool how the old,…the crunchy leaves soon turn to soft, and soon become a part of the soil. They soon become a part of the nutrients that feed the tree.

Yep, past is past, it’s there…it can remind us, feed us, fuel us with knowledge, wisdom, gratefulness and grace. But have you ever tried to keep, to hold onto a beautiful leaf?  It doesn’t stay beautiful…it fades and becomes dust. If we live in the past and try to  focus on and hold onto our little leaves of the past, we are left with a perspective that keeps us at bay and offers…dust. But if we let go, and let those leaves fall, yes, they become part of us, part of that soil that feeds in a good way.

I love how scripture speaks of the God who makes all things new. Redeems. Forgives. God grants hope that moves beyond the now to the what’s to come. A God that encourages us to remember, but not be held by former things. A God, who like moving waters of a river, calls us to move forward, to catch a ride with Him. Not stay in one place, for waters that do that quickly become stagnant. And stagnant is not good. It stinks. Literally and figuratively, it just stinks. Waters aren’t meant to be kept still. Not in streams, not in oceans, not in us. The heart that beats within us is constantly keeping our blood circulating, moving forward, and becoming full of life-giving oxygen with each beat.  The movement of that flow stops, then so do we…

But back to my little leaf metaphor 🙂 .  Leave behind the old, bring on the new. May the leaves be a reminder of the beauty of the past, but the letting go of it and the moving on toward the new. There’s a quote that I’ve seen a lot this fall and it’s beautiful. It says, “The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.”  Yep. Definitely. In trees, and in me.

And like with trees, sometimes there’s a dormant season where you feel a little bare and don’t see the beauty of the new quite yet.  But it’s coming. Sometimes there’s just a little time to regroup, rest, and just be before the new comes swooping on in. And after winter of seeing gray and bare branches in the cold,  I know I sure appreciate the newness and beauty of Spring a lot more than if it had just marched on in right after the leaves left. Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics before the new comes….and then we appreciate and are ready for the new  so much more.

Just a few thoughts on leaves, the past, and the God who makes all things New.  Wonder what new things are in store? Wanna let go of the old to have open hands and heart to ‘be aware of ‘ that new thing. So here’s to Fall, and letting go, and believing that Spring is on it’s way.

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Blessings~

Heather

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 

 

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Outside of the Southern Arts Society Building, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

“God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

~Mother Teresa

I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold. I’m thinking that applies to stuff. Am also thinking that applies to us and the ‘gifts’, those unseen talents, abilities and passions, that we have to share with the world. That ‘world’ may be one person, one family, one community…or that ‘world’ may be internationally reaching people on a global level.  But yes, she was so on point again when Mother Teresa said, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

 

That’s quite a convicting statement for me as I try to declutter stuff that’s been stuffed away for years with more stuff on top of that. It’s also quite convicting as I try to figure out how to use use the gift of my years, days and moments. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, for as Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So cool. Our passions so often parallel our gifts. What we treasure is so fleshed out in what we love to do.

What we hold on to and put our time and energy into is so what holds us, and if that doesn’t line up with what I say I treasure, well, it might be time for a bit of a priority re-boot. I’ve been doing a lot of examination and re-boots lately, for sure. And it’s been a good thing as it’s been a kind of taking-out-the-trash, and holding-onto-treasure type of thing….with stuff, and with my mindset. One more quote, a good one…”Where your heart is, there your treasure will be….” Matthew 6:21 Love that. Our actions kind of show us don’t they? Gulp. Yes they do. That can be a great thing or a convicting thing or both. It’s been both for me.

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Treasures….Boxed up note, keepsakes, and heirlooms from Grannie

One more thought on treasure-holding.  My morning duty at school has been to be a greeter/ door watcher of sorts at our school. I stand at the door and say “good morning” and make sure these young students make it safely from the cafeteria to the main school building. And do you know what I see EVERY morning?  Students holding hands as they walk to class. Young siblings, friends, cousins caring for each other. Holding hearts by holding hands. I see goodbye kisses and hugs at classroom doors. I see older siblings ensuring not only that little ones are safe, but that they are encouraged. Maybe these babies remember what we as adults can so often forget…that we are the treasure…

 

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Another ‘break it down’ simple statement came from Jesus. In Mark 12, He told us to Love God and Love others. Bottom Line.  Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love others as you love yourself…  We are admonished to treasure what gives priority to these two statements. Love God, Love others.  Period.

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Castles in the Sand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Many treasures can slip through our hands. They come and go. But am thankful for the reminder from the example of my students holding hands to hold onto the treasure of those we love. Yes, I think Mother Teresa so had it right when she said that “God gives us things to share, He doesn’t give us things to hold.”  I know that she knew the things for holding were hands and hearts and belief.  And the cool thing is, those aren’t things at all….Human hearts and hands and beliefs were categories that so transcend any ‘thing’.  Anything. And if what I treasure gets in the way of these, then maybe it’s time to trash it, let it go. And then as I let things go, to be sure to hold on tight to those hands, hearts, and beliefs that we treasure. In a world that loves alienation and fragmentation and a glorification of stuff over souls, yeah, it’s important to make a determined effort to hold on tight to what you treasure

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I’m thinking the more we let stuff go, the more our hearts and hands are free to hold what’s precious and truly matters. As my inspiring principal (with a background in drama that impacts her speech(-es) greatly) once said to me, “Heather, what can God put in your empty hands that He can’t give you with what you’re holding on to?” She of course added to the impact by holding out both hands wide over her head and closing her eyes.  Point made. I wasn’t happy with her that day, as she was encouraging me to get rid of lots of materials that we needed to move on, but she was totally on point.  Point taken <3. Again. And I’m so thankful for her words not just with regard to my classroom, but more importantly, with regard to my days.  Days are definitely a gift to be treasured.

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Just a few thoughts on treasure from one who wants to remember daily the reminder that yes, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold…”   and that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Blessings ~

Heather

“…Hold on to what is good,reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 I Thessalonians 5: 21-24

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:17-21 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’  And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these.”

Mark 12:28-31  

 

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How we live today so matters for their tomorrows.

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“…now faith is confidence in what we hope for,

and assurance about what we do not yet see.”

Hebrews 11:1

I love that verse. And more than that, I love the truth that faith is about what is unseen, but…there are signs all around that can be seen.  Just like Melanie’s reflection in the water, I can see in part…I can see her feet, but there reflecting in the water is the confirmation that there’s a whole lot more to the picture than what I can see.

Praying today for eyes wide open to see the ‘reflections’. To see the signs that point to the truth that God is who He says He is, and that what is seen with our eyes, is only a teeny tiny part of our reality.  Am so  mindful of people going through some really tough  things, and am hopeful that they catch glimpses of the beautiful truth that God is so very present even when we can’t see Him. We might not see Him face to face..but we sure can see signs of His goodness, His truth, His Presence all around. Praying that the reflection of who He is becomes so very visible to those who need to know that they are not alone. It just takes a little tweaking of the vision, a little determination to see beyond what’s seen. It just takes a little faith.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part;

then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  

1 Corinthians 13:12

Blessings ~

Heather

The Daily Post ~ “Reflecting”

Grow

So, in recent weeks, I have heard reference to a story multiple times. It’s a story in the Bible of a man who had been sick for a long time.  I’m not certain of the infirmity, but according to scripture, he had been waiting to be healed for close to 4 decades.  Yep, almost 40 years of waiting.  So Jesus comes along and asks him a very obvious question. This is how John 5:1-5 tells the story…After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

I bet there were some raised eye brows and then maybe some snickers then. Of course he wants to get well, right?  I mean, of COURSE!  But Jesus asks.  And Jesus is good at cutting through all the layers of facade to the heart of the issue.  He merely turns the most obvious assumption (that this man indeed does want to get well) into a question which encourages the man to take ownership of the issue.  And what does the man say? It’s pretty comical actually. He starts the blame game a bit. John 5: 6 states,   The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”    Observation number one…we need each other.  He could’ve asked for help.  Observation number two, he blames his not being able to get in the water on having others stepping in before him. If it were his child he were concerned about or a family member, would he have pushed through with everything in his power to ensure that they’d get in the pool.  Did he advocate for himself and his ‘becoming well’ with that same passionate whatever-it-takes motivation?

And I wonder…I wonder if he had actually become somewhat comfortable with his infirmity.  That is to say that  I wonder if his scars, his infirmity, his lack of ‘being well’ became such a part of his identity that he had lost the drive that would make him scoot with abandonment to the pools with the desire to be healed. I wonder if he forgot what it was like to desire to live without the affliction.  Sometimes, when things are not within our reach, it just hurts too much to desire it, to hope.  A hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.  We wait, to no avail, and then we stop expecting, hoping, wishing, and become stuck in the place where we are. Or, we realize that it’s “easier” (short-term), to just stay stuck…because it takes a heck of a lot of effort to move from complacency to becoming well.

I recently had the honor of being around a number of people who struggle with alcohol and various addictions.  They had all gotten to the place where they were tired of sitting at that pool’s edge living with their battles and most said, “YES”, I want to get well. They said “yes to working hard, sweating through, and overcoming the challenges they were facing as much as it depends on them. Some had had friends, or legal ramifications,  literally drop them in that pool of water, that is to say, the desire for them to get well was owned by someone else. These were the ones  that seemed half-hearted in the attempts.  But the ones who knew how life had gotten so out of control that truly said, “YES”, I want to get well…those seemed to be the ones who were hungry, passionate, striving for something more.

A loved one of mine was in their midst.  He kept saying that after the number of weeks he was there, he could do this on his own.  He could muster up the energy and courage to fight the battle on his own.  And I was terrified.  Because, although he had taken steps and had the desire to get well, the “well” that he wanted was very shallow…for it takes time to deal and heal and develop patterns that reach to the core of who we are and heal from within.  I know God can heal in a heartbeat, but I also know that there are scars that come along with almost any affliction/sin/sickness… some visible scars, some so deep that we don’t even know how much they effect our daily lives. And I wanted more for him.  So much more.  I didn’t want the toe dipped in the water and a short – term heal, I longed for him to have that total immersion, that total commitment to being truly ‘well’.

So here’s the thing.  He said yes.  He mustered up the courage to say that there was a big need that he couldn’t handle on his own.  He  said yes to the fact that it wasn’t a quick fix, but would take time, energy and a lifestyle change. He said yes to the commitment to courageously seek change, to seek to be well not just for the short term but for a life time.  He said yes.  And all I kept thinking was that he’s alive again. ALIVE.  And he knows and I know that when you’re alive, you feel things.  Good things. Bad things.  You’re not numb, anesthetized to it all, you feel…  Complacency can feel like comfort, but looks more numb.  Risking, living, breathing, changing, all costs.  It hurts. And there are times in our lives when we are so aware of that. Taking risks, growing, sets us up for rejection.  But it also sets us up for a possibility to truly make an impact, to share, to lose, to gain, to LIVE and ultimately to live the life that God created us to live.  He knows the plans He has for us.  It is ours to walk in them, …or not.

Well, I say all this to say, that I’m thinking there are areas in my life where I’m a little too content to sit by the pool.  There are areas in my life where I’ve been passively “waiting”, when I need to be actively scooting toward the waters of change.  I love how Jesus can change, redeem, renew things in a heartbeat, but often, the first steps begins with our acknowledgement not only of our infirmity/sin/habits, but of our desire to be well.  He will do what we can’t if we will offer Him what we can. I love that so much.  God loves us…so much.  He doesn’t want us stuck, comfortably numb waiting for what He has already offered.  He calls us to a life of risk, of adventure, of passion, not a life of waiting by the pool.  Life is short.  Life is also a gift…not just to us, but to those around us.  We impact.  If our lives are spent blaming others for why we aren’t this or that, we may be missing out on so much.  LIke the man by the pool, we can rationalize why we are still stuck in this or that area of our lives, but we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get well?  Excuses can so be rationalize and laughed at and made light of.  But excuses keep us stuck.

So, when my loved one said, “YES” to taking the short term hard road for the long term gain, I rejoiced.  He was choosing to grow.  He was choosing to LIVE.  And each step, each day, each “yes” he says in his life, is like a little green shoot on a vast tree.  It comes quietly, and appears so small, so tender at first, but over time, the leaves grow and cover a vast tree.  One step plus one step plus one step leads to a journey of growth.  And he is being an incredible example to me of being courageous to say I don’t want to be ‘stuck’ here anymore.  And as I watch the process unfold, I am aware that it truly is a process. Like so many good things, it takes time.

And that brings me back to the photo, to the visual that encourages me so much.  See that little teeny tiny shoot of a green leaf?  It’s just one little leaf.  But one plus one plus one plus one equals an infinite number.  Pretty soon the leaves will just cover the tree.  What will draw out those little leaves?  Sunlight. The sunlight beckons the little leaf on out…and provides nutrients to allow for that little leaf to grow and join other little leaves that end up covering a tree.The love of Christ is so like that.  The warmth, the light, the truth of Christ just beckons us onward, to be enveloped and embraced by the wonder of being loved. And when we know we’re loved so deeply, so totally, in such an all consuming way, it makes us want to grow, to leave beyond the sin, the complacency, the habits, and flourish. It makes us want to scoot with abandonment to the pool and say ‘yes’, I want to be well. I want to be WELL.  And then….then we can say, ‘it IS well, it IS well with our souls’…  Thanks be to God for the love that fills and moves and motivates and heals to depths we don’t even know are there.  May we forever be aware of the love of God that urges us to leave behind the complacency and not only say ‘yes’ to being well, but be willing to scoot and  jump into the pools with abandonment.  I can’t help but think that like a loving Father waiting in the pool for his child to jump in the water, God is waiting with arms wide open for those who trust in Him.  Here’s to little steps and big leaps.

Blessings~

Heather

“…His loving kindness leads me to repentance.”

 Romans 2:4

 

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“He had everything but he possessed nothing.

That is the spiritual secret.”

A.W. Tozer

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So, I have a recipe for a super good pumpkin roll.  My sister gave it to me years ago.  It takes quite a while to make and it tastes really good.  Really good. It looks beautiful and festive, but ya gotta be careful or it just doesn’t quite look like a “roll”, but more like a bit of a flop. My family has had to ‘sacrifice’ eating the pumpkin “flops”. In years past, I’ve given the delicious pumpkin rolls to friends and family around the holidays.

But here’s an interesting tidbit of information. Guess who else makes pumpkin rolls? Little Debbie. Yep. “She” makes little tiny pumpkin rolls. And they are delicious.  Dare I say even more delicious than my pumpkin roll!  Yep. It’s the truth.  The filling is lighter and creamier and it’s perfectly “rolled”.  And while I’m confessing about my baking skills being ‘one-upped’, I may as well mention that I used to make brownies from scratch.  But no more.  Do you know who makes better more chocolatey brownies than me?  Betty Crocker.  Yep.  “She” does.  It takes 1/3 of the time and tastes better than mine.  Mine turned out differently every time, but hers? They are consistently the same.  Perfect (as long as I don’t forget to follow directions.  That’s another topic!)

While I’m at it, there’s one more very obvious baker in my life who can put my cakes to shame.  It’s my sister-in-law.  She makes the most beautiful cakes ever.  I remember the first time I realized that my cakes weren’t quite up to par in comparison to hers.  It was on the birthday weekend when my son first turned one year old.  I had made a yellow layer cake with chocolate icing and lots of sprinkles.  Of course, it had two candles…one for his first year and “one to grow on”.  I was proud of the little masterpiece and he enjoyed it like every one year old should.  Well, then we went to his aunt’s house.  She had a beautiful cake waiting.  Absolutely beautiful.  It was a clown cake, no less. And that little guy who had learned to walk reached up and couldn’t resist getting some icing on his little hand.  Was too cute.  Needless to say, we all enjoyed the delicious, beautiful clown cake that my sister-in-law made.

So, here’s the thing. I think sometimes we women feel like we have to do it all.  Like we have to be the best or something.  At everything. And if we’re not?  Jealousy and envy creep in and sour the beautiful things in our relationships, the beautiful things in our lives.  We have these standards that we feel like we have to live by, and then we compare ourselves to our neighbor, or our co-worker, or our friends or family member. And here’s the thing that I’m learning.  We need to remember that we all have different gifts.  Betty Crocker and Little Debbie might be great at baking pumpkin rolls and brownies, but …but maybe “they” can’t do some of the things that I do.  Can they write a song…or teach a learning disabled student to read? Sometimes, we’re so busy looking at others gifts that we forget our own.

Life is so short.  I’ve passed the half-century mark this past year.  (My assistant at school reminded me of this and we laughed, but I sure didn’t like the way it sounded.)  But it’s important to remember that the years go fast.  They go so fast.  Our minutes turn to days, turn to years, then turn to lifetimes.  What we do with our time, with our gifts, makes such a difference.  God has created each one of us  with different gifts. He gives us gifts to build community, to draw people to Him, to change our world by being a reflection of Him. What’s so cool is when we appreciate other people’s gifts, we can enjoy the fruits of their labor. When we stop trying to be this or that, we can truly look to using our own gifts and being the person that God created us to be.  His will in our lives is so much better than what we could ever imagine.  He has purpose in our lives.  If we don’t seek Him with our gifts and talents, we miss out on so much, and so do others.  It’s like there’s a missing piece in the puzzle if we’re not using the gifts that He gives us. A missing piece that makes the picture, the community, incomplete.

I remember as a young mom meeting in a Bible Study with dear friends.  They were awesome people. They wanted to be good moms, raise their children to love the Lord, and serve Christ in their homes, churches, and communities.  But there were times when comparisons and differing views would creep in. Homeschooling versus public school. Staying home versus working. What to allow or not allow children to do, to play, to do.  I can remember looking to the left and right and feeling…despair at times. They were all very gifted women, but we were all gifted in different ways. My home wasn’t always what I wanted it to be for my husband and I had such differing views on things.  I was committed to my marriage, to raising my children as I knew best, but sometimes, in the company of others, I just felt like such a failure. I loved my home, but it wasn’t Martha Stewart-y because it had 6 precious little ones running around all day.  I can remember wanting to have family devotions, but my husband barely came to church half the time.  I remember many a Sunday, bringing the six little ones to church, and saving the end seat for him.  I was fine as long as I didn’t look to the left or the right too much.  But when I did, despair would sometimes creep in.  And when I was focused on my short-comings, or just falling short of whatever image I was comparing myself to, well, I couldn’t be aware of what others needs around me are.

So again, here’s the thing. We need each other.  Women, sisters, friends,…we need each other.  What a beautiful thing when we can embrace the gifts each other has and enjoy them.  What if we really jumped into each others lives using the gifts that we’ve been given? What if we helped clean each other’s homes… and allowed each other to see the yuck and then helped to clean it up? Division comes when we compare, for pride and insecurities (which seem to ironically go hand in hand) builds walls. Community comes when gifts are shared and used. It doesn’t just take people being willing to use their gifts, it takes the humility of people being willing to accept, to need, to share.

I love how  I Corinthians 12 speaks of the Body of Christ.  It gives the visual of how we all have different gifts, and when used together, it’s like a well-oiled machine at work.  When we use our gifts, and allow others to use theirs without condemning them for not looking like us, well, there’s community.  The Body of Christ works when the feet do the walking, the mouth does the talking, the heart does the pumping, and the eyes do the seeing. He designed the body perfectly, and He designed the Body of Christ perfectly as well.  We each have an integral part, a purpose.  It wouldn’t be too great if a foot tried to do the talking or an ear tried to do the talking.  I think sometimes, when we try to be what we’re not, we may look as ridiculous as mouth trying to be an eye or an ear trying to be a hand.  It just doesn’t work.  But when we each do our part?  It’s a masterpiece of community.

So, here’s to the Betty Crockers and Little Debbies, Martha Stewarts and Aunt Rhondas of this world. I salute you and so enjoy the fruits of your labor…and your brownies and pumpkin rolls. And I…am trying to contribute in my own little way, with whatever gifts I have…knowing that in God’s view, in His Creation, nothing is insignificant. We bring our widows mite, our two cents to Him, and He multiplies the efforts and blesses.  Because, bottom line, we are merely vessels.  Some of us may like be decorative vessels that others admire.  Some may be like clay pots that are used for the most ordinary of tasks.  But bottom line, all of us are molded as clay by hands of a Creator who knows the use for which we were designed.  All of us are needed.  All of us are treasured. What pours out of us depends on what we allow in.  May we fill our heart, our mind, our spirit, with the Truth that comes from a Loving Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves and who created us to draw others to Him. For as 2 Corinthians 4 says, the all-surpassing power comes from Him, not us. We are merely vessels.  And vessels are important.  What is poured into vessels is important.  Because it becomes what is poured out. (Oh, and if it isn’t poured out, it probably stagnates and stinks.  Just saying.)  So, yes, what is poured in to those vessels is important.  What is poured out is important, and can be a great blessing to those around us.  Just like that coffee that I just had?  It went perfectly with that Little Debbie pumpkin roll. And no, I will never be able to bake like Betty Crocker and Little  Debbie, but I am thankful that I can enjoy what “they” bring to the table. Here’s to celebrating each other’s gifts and the uniqueness and beauty of what each of us brings to the table.

Blessings ~
Heather

 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile jars of clay containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, and not ourselves.”

2 Corinthians 4:7

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Boundaries.  They keep things in.  They keep things out. Sometimes they protect, sometimes they guide.  Sometimes they are chosen for us.  Sometimes we choose them for ourselves.

I love the visual of being on a narrow path…with few choices, clear disciplines, parameters born of conviction which one day….one day…after much discipline, and choosing to be hemmed in… leads to  w i d e  o p e n  s p a c e s.  Seems to me that’s what happens when we choose wisely.  I’ve shared with my kids so many times that if they are wise in these early years, their options, ability to choose, freedoms will multiply as they get older.  They’ll go from walking on narrow paths to wide open spaces.  I just love that visual…and that truth.  Am hoping that for my kids, and hope they want that for themselves as well.

Because… if they choose to walk on a broad path now and listen to the culture that says to “do what you want whenever you want however you feel”, well, it will lead from wide open spaces…to… narrow paths which continue to narrow.  For the consequences of choices have a way of catching up with us.  If we’re wise, they lead to new freedoms, options, choices.  If not, they lead to a narrowing of our choices, our freedoms in our lives. When we choose boundaries early on, we get freedom, beautiful freedom, later.  When we choose undisciplined lives, we get boundaries imposed upon us.

I guess as a mom of teens and twenties in a culture that equates freedom with the ability to do whatever you feel like, the word “boundaries” brings up a lot in my heart and mind. I’ve said the words, I mean, we’ve had the conversations…  But each of us makes our own choices for sure, and finds our own destinations. People can lead and guide,but ultimately, we choose our own path. I know I did, and learned so much…some lessons so the hard way. I know the joys of seeing vast open spaces, and also the despair of having very limited options as a result of making stupid decisions.  But, you know that feeling when you walk to the beach on a planked boardwalk that is so narrow that two people can barely pass, and then…then you come to the end of that boardwalk and see the ocean which takes up the whole horizon and the beauty is just breathtaking?  I kinda think that’s a picture of what God wants for us, and what I’m praying for in my life and those I love. I’m learning to walk that narrow path in order to enjoy the amazing view. Yep, praying for wise boundaries that lead to wide open spaces…as vast as the ocean is wide.

Blessings ~

H

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/boundaries/

God'sDEsign

After a day of hearing headlines and wondering how changes will impact our society, I stepped out on the deck for a breath of fresh air.  I zoomed the camera in to the beautifully blooming tree in our backyard.  It never ceases to amaze me how intricately designed our world is.  This little bloom for instance.  It is beautiful, intricate, and functional.  It has a purpose.  It will produce seeds soon. As the seasons change, the seeds will fall to the ground.  One day, there wlll be other trees with other blooms just like this.  Bees will come.  Hummingbirds will come.  Life will be sustained.  The cycle will continue.

I am not going to enter the debate that’s hit the fan with the Supreme Court’s divided decision today.  But I am just in wonder at the way there is so much beauty and function in the way that creation was designed.  I believe we’re all a part of that.  I believe there’s a beautiful and purposeful Master Plan, and a Creator, a Master Creator.  I also believe that we so often just don’t get it.  In the name of rights and freedom and choice, we miss the beauty and the purpose of that which we were intricately designed for.  To glorify God.  To serve Him and not ourselves.  To obey the precepts knowing that whether we understand them or not there are purposes and guidelines and safeguards that enable us to enjoy the world around us and the One who Created it.

Romans 1 is ringing in my ear…how the creation speaks (LOUDly) of the glory and presence of God…but there’s a refusal to see, a refusal to acknowledge Him.  Romans 1 talks about how “God gave them over…” to their lusts and desires.  He lets us choose, lets us go our own way and face the consequences. We choose the broad and broken road in the name of rights, but narrow is the way of freedom.  Freedom is not license. Freedom is the joy and clear conscience that comes with doing and being what we were designed to do and who we were designed to be. God have mercy on us as we continually go our own way.  May Christ-followers be lights in a dark world…not judging, but walking with great discernment at a time when anything goes in the name of rights, and those who choose to have principles are silenced as being close-minded.  May God have mercy.  He allows us to go our own way, but how sweet is the picture of the Father of the Prodigal Son who runs to him and welcomes him home when he tires of the broad and broken road. He love us like a Father who runs to His child.  Love that.

So, there’s joy in seeing the intricate design of the world around us.  The intricate beauty of the wispy pink frail flower just blows my mind.  The beauty of the sun going down, a baby’s hand, the mountains, the sea, the capillaries in the body, the heart that pumps, the amazing, amazing things we just take for granted.  Praying that I have eyes to see and ears to hear the beauty of the world around me, and to give praise to the Creator who intricately designed us all.

jo12

http://www.cosmicgirlie.com/silent-sunday/

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