Archives for posts with tag: hope

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So, Mother’s Day is a sweet one. Memories kind of fill the air on this day as we stop and remember our moms, and being a mom, and the mom-figures in our lives. And it’s a day to celebrate the incredible gift that it is to be a mom and to have a mom.

But…this year..am especially aware of so many who have an ache right around now. That ache is a  pit-in-the-stomach, ache-in-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut kind of feeling that comes from the void of knowing that their mom is no longer around.

So, I just wanted to share a card that I made for a friend of mine whose wife passed a little over a year ago.  There are very few words to fill the huge void that grief can create, but, sometimes, just being remembered can help fill the voids. So, to my dear friends and loved ones who have experienced the deep loss of their mom or wife or loved one, and it makes Mother’s Day sting, well, just wanted to share that you’re being remembered today.

And, I want to thank you as well. Because through watching others grieve the loss of their moms, and say the words, well, I’m so reminded to cherish the day. To cherish our loved ones. To say the words, embrace those we love, and make the most of the time we do have. Because each day is a treasure, a gift. Even the days that we grieve. Am thinking that the ache of grief and loss, and beauty and gift and of what we have lost can walk hand in hand. Am hoping that the beauty of the gift of who she was in your life outweighs the ache for you today… and that you can remember her with a smile and laughter and tears that cleanse. I have a feeling most moms would long for that for you. Just a few thoughts on this Mother’s Day…

Blessings,

Heather

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After a quiet Sunday morning of taking my time to drink my coffee, read, pray, even take some photos of a few things on the deck and blog a bit, I went out to the car to leave for nursery duty at church and saw…not one, but TWO flat tires. And I’m not talking questionable or just a little low on air. I’m talking F  L  A  T.

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And I felt a bit deflated for sure. More than just a bit.

And the thought hit me that I better walk around the side to see if the other two were flat as well. Relief. Phew. They were both good. Am guessing I ran over some glass or something on the left side. Anyway, moving on…

So, I asked my husband if I could use his truck, (he said, ‘yes’…and I was proud of him because he didn’t say a lot of the other words I thought I might hear…) and I left, and only showed up a few minutes late for nursery duty. I got to care for some sweet little ones and then went to the worship service, and sang songs and heard lots of words of truth and encouragement.

And I’m home now and I’m trying to focus on the good things to be thankful for. I mean, I  had a truck to drive home right? Or, I could’ve been in the car when we got two flat tires. Or…even worse, Tanner could’ve been driving. And having gratitude for things can be easy to list, but sometimes, sometimes it’s tough to feel.  And honestly, that’s where I am…

I’m still feeling deflated…And it’s so not about the tires.

Flat tires are a teeny-tiny inconvenience…a small thing. But it’s a teeny small thing on top of lots of other small things and a few really big things. One on top of another pushing the air out of yours truly. And I’m just being honest that I just feel like that so very flat tire.  And my husband kept saying, I’ve never seen “two flat tires” like that…and it felt as though he was implying that someone had intended to give me flat tires, like I was on someone’s hit list or something. And that didn’t help me either… Neither did “discussing” some of the other challenges we’re facing. And the deflated part of me started filling up with hot angry fumes that were so not helping.  Then I said words that I wished I could take back and it would’ve been better if I had used the words I thought my husband might say this morning, because mine hurt a lot more than a few cuss words would. Yep.  Deflated is a pretty appropriate word. And two deflated tires were pretty symbolic of two not so encouraged people.

BUT….BUT I love that there’s a place I can go with all of that. One that I can turn to. Yes, Triple A will get a call today (soon), but aside from some short conversations and niceties, all they can do is help me get those tires fixed or drop it off somewhere that can help. But they can’t fill up that void when life kind of sucks the air out of us, or just ‘sucks’ period. We all go through times like that.  No matter what our walk of life, there are times when we just need to be lifted up a bit, filled up a bit.  The irony for me is that often the ‘lifting up’ of my heart, emotions, is determined by what or who I’m ‘lifting up’ in action. Yep. That’s the truth.

Because life does get hard. In waves. And some of the hard is just life and some of the hard is our consequences. And some of the hard is in our control and some of it is  so not, but is in the hands of those we’re doing life with. For the good or the bad, for better or for worse. And so many people say “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  Well…I can’t find that anywhere in my Bible. I read, “Because he has set his love upon Me, I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him in trouble.” Psalm 92:14,-15  It says “IN TROUBLE.”  I read about how the Lord is our help THROUGH struggles, WITH Him. And I know with certainty that God HAS allowed so much in my life that was WAY more than I could handle. I mean, case in point, we had a 2 year span when we had 6 teenagers in the house at the same time. These six teenagers were not visitors, mind you… they were living there because they are mine 🙂  It was way more than I could handle at times, but was God with us THROUGH it? YES. And another thing. My husband would be the first to say that a lot of his choices have brought a lot of heartache…aches that were way more than I could ‘handle’.  Nope, I’m not a “God-won’t-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle person. I”m a “What-God-allows-He-uses-and-walks-with-us through-it-ALL” kind of gal.

And He does. And He has.

So that. That is what I will focus on. He is who I will lift up…and guess what?  It helped to lift me up for sure to focus on what’s true rather than what I feel. I sat on the deck and read… and was happy to see that the coffee cup that I chose this morning pre-flat tire awareness, was this one.  Hope.  Good thing to focus on.

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And do you know what else is cool? This morning, the verses I read were from James 1.  If you’re familiar with James 1 you might smile a bit right about now.  Yep, I read about ‘counting it ALL joy’… and persevering when things aren’t so great. Funny. I had even taken a photo of the Bible reading this morning.  I loved the way the light was shining on the page and me and my so analogy-driven self was thinking how that Light was shining on the words on the outside, but were so lighting me up on the inside. (Yep. My grandfather called me ‘sappy’ for  a reason.)

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And here’s another PRE-flat tire awareness photo that I took this morning…

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And do you know why I took this one?  Because it’s such a visual of needing supports. The Mandevilla plant my mother-in-law gave me would be flapping and flying in the wind or grounded on the cement if it didn’t have supports to cling to. Kind of like me. Triple A, the Word, friends and family, my church, and my God…boy do I need supports in my life. Maybe that’s a flip side of days like today… I’m so aware of my needs for supports and am not quite as Ms. Independent as I may seem. I need people. I need God. I need Triple A. A lot.

And here’s another photo I took PRE-Flat Tire. DSCN5248

This cute little chickadee actually was still for a bit which is not a small thing. Because these little birds usually flit about like crazy. Birds have been a constant reminder to me lately of how there’s provision for today…this moment. (Matthew 6:26). And I’ve needed that reminder.

So, I guess I’ve needed a lot of reminders today. And that’s the cool thing…they were right in front of me even before I realized I needed them.

And I sat on the deck and got my eyes of me and my little pity-party and saw some cool things…DSCN5255

Some vincas from a sweet neighbor…

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DSCN5256…and here’s my absolute favorite tea cup bird feeder. The wind had gotten a hold of our umbrella and actually turned over the table with the pot that held this. But it’s a reminder that even our favorite material things don’t last. Tires. Cars. Tea Cups. They are the stuff, the temporal stuff. They don’t last. Gotta focus on what does. Yep, another good reminder for me.

So, I sooo hope that you could not relate to any of this…that your life is going awesome with very few blips in the road and that you’re thinking that my flat-tire-catalyst for a confession of deep need is totally foreign to you. But for those of you who may feel a bit ‘deflated’ today…am hoping that me reminding myself of some things might encourage you a bit as well.  Remember the mandevilla (we need supports, like each other), Remember the chickadee (there’s provision for today), and remember the broken tea cup and flat tires (the temporal is just that- short-lived…let’s hold on to the eternal, let go of the stuff…)  And, when we feel ‘deflated’, there’s one we can go to to fill us up. Remember the God of all hope. Paul said it bestin Romans 15:13…”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”    Yes.  That. That is like air in the tires…like breath to my lungs, like hope to my heart.

Keep Pressing On ~

Heather

p.s. Will probably be blogging about the analogy of keys and locksmiths tomorrow because guess who (me) forgot to tell the Triple A guy that we can’t lock the car… cause the key doesn’t work externally…and so I’ll probably be getting a call from the tire place at around 8 a.m. or so saying they can’t get in the car.  Yep. There are lots of analogies for a blog on keys and locksmiths. Stay tuned 🙂

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“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips”, Your mercy O’ Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”

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Bloom  (Taken in Old Salem, Winston Salem, North Carolina, May 5, 2017)

So, when the word “spent” is used as an adjective instead of a verb, well, it doesn’t have the best connotation. It alludes to being used, depleted, …spent.  When we say that someone is ‘spent’, well, we’re saying that they’ve given and people have taken and they are depleted, done, spent.  And yes, that tends to have a negative connotation.

But recently, I’ve been looking at that concept from another angle. Maybe being spent is not such a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, we are meant to be spent. Meant to be spent? Yes.  Not in a self-made-martyr kind of way that draws attention to self and exhausts to the point of being use-less, but in a ‘leave-it-all-on-the-field’ kind of way that empties one self out, letting in no regrets.

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…one bloom rising above the masses…

So often I have more regret over what I have not done rather than what I had. I regret the half-hearted attempts that breed half-hearted results. I regret the phone calls not made, the letters not written, the songs not shared.  (Oh, and I know a certain someone who presently has almost 400 un-finished, un-shared blog drafts…yikes.) I regret the good-intentioned, never completed things that go by the wayside. I regret the wasted use-less time that often empties me rather than fills me. I regret the things I supposedly have “learned”, even spoken, but have not yet truly applied. I regret the not taking time to look in the eye and ask the questions and say the words and get in there in real and tangible ways.

Being spent for the right things has a way of crowding out the wrong things or fillers in our lives.  Weeds don’t grow where flowers are blooming, where other seeds are planted. Being spent for the right things also has a way of filling up…motivating, encouraging, inspiring not just me, but hopefully those around me as well.

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It is only when a flower sheds its beauty in full bloom, full array, the last hurrah before the petals fade, that the seeds are formed. A flower in reserve is a flower with no blooms, because once the unfolding comes, the petals will fall off. Yes flowers that save, conserve, reserve, would merely be un-bloomed buds. But as we hopefully learned in elementary school science, flowers produce seeds. So blooms not only color our world in the now, they hopefully reproduce…and multiply the beauty shared.

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Poppies in a Garden in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, North Carolina May 5, 2017

And the beauty shared?  I loved that it comes in  all colors, sizes, and shapes that make for a beautiful bouquet. When one stops to see, to really see, they can’t help but behold the beauty. Yep, we all have different ways to be spent for our world… And I’m thinking it’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

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So here’s to being spent. Yep, spent in a no-regrets-kind-of-way that makes our pillows soft and our sleep sweet knowing that we did what we could …that day. And here’s to knowing that even when mistakes are made, that they are to be learned from. I love that flowers are seasonal…and perennials get a chance to bloom and re-bloom over again…to be ‘spent’ over and over again.   To be shared over and over again.

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Jesus knew a thing or two about being spent. Not on futile things that are so temporal. But on being spent for life-changing, mind-blowing eternal things.  Am thinking Christ-followers should too.  A few thoughts (and reminders to myself) on being spent from a garden of blooms somewhere in the middle of North Carolina.

Blessings ~

Heather

“This is our time on the history line of God. This is it. What will we do with the one deep exhale of God on this earth? For we are but a vapor and we have to make it count. We’re on. Direct us, Lord, and get us on our feet.” –Beth Moore

 “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” –Mother Teresa

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” –Jim Elliot

 

DSCN2410Day is done. Love the calm that watching the sun go down brings…almost like there’s permission to stop, slow down, and rest. On a Friday night between the busy-ness of the past week, and the goings of of the weekend ahead, so thankful for the little bit of time right now to just be still. And I love that the verse that says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), well, it tells us to ‘be still’ before it tells us to ‘know’. Sometimes the ‘knowing’ comes when we stop ‘going’. And somehow, looking at that sun going down gives me a little time and permission to do just that.

Blessings~

Heather

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10

I love the zoom lens on my camera. The lens will go from a close up of one thing to a close up of another thing in the push of a button and then back again in a heartbeat. The camera is still pointed at the exact same place, but the whole perspective changes. (Nothing else changes, only the perspective…)

So this morning as I held up my camera, my view which started out as this…a tree just beginning to bud…

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….turned to this…blooms…full pink blossoms…in the push of a button. Voila!

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First, what we zoom into is what we see. There are a myriad of lenses to look through. Where we fix our gaze is what we see. Faith helps us fix our eyes on the unseen…to trust in God, and that filter can become a lens that helps us see the beauty beyond the bare. I don’t know about  you, but there’s a  lot of “bare” to see in my world. Zooming in helps me see the beauty…and the presence of God in the midst of it all.

Second…that our human eyes (and hearts) can only see so much, even with zoom lenses…. And that what we may see as bare branches and a teeny tiny bit of growth, God may look beyond to see as the beautiful thing that is yet to be.  He knows what is to come and He loves us right in the middle of it all. That’s a beautiful thing that I’m zooming in on today.

Blessings ~

Heather

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

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I don’t usually repost things I’ve written, but last night and today have been thinking on this poem so much….and the concept….that sometimes answered prayer comes as gentle rain and sometimes it comes as a violent storm.  I’m aware of so many praying for loved ones, and just wanted to share this with hopes to encourage some of you all to not fear the “storms”…because sometimes that’s exactly what it takes for change…the very change we’re praying for might just in the midst of or as a result of a storm.

Anyway, it’s totally raining buckets here… and it’s on my heart, so here goes…  Let it rain ❤

…like water…

I wish that a gently falling rain

Could quietly wash away your pain

And leave a newness and relief

A renewal, deep sense of peace

Wish that as water rinses clean

You’d just be washed and yes, redeemed

Wish that a gently falling rain

Was merely all that it would take

But how this pain seeps deep within

And takes root, this hold, this sin

It lingers, grows, and goes beyond

The surface, and takes hold, a  hold so strong

So maybe more than gentle rain

We need a storm to unleash this pain

To loose the dirt settled deep within

to loose the chains held strong, this sin

So I attempt to not fear the storms

And the churning that may come

For to be washed and clean and whole

Is worth the trials to be endured

We dip our feet in, dip our toes

But we need immersion of our souls

So fear not, friend, immersion brings

A welling up of life, a spring

Within the soul, within the mind

Within the heart that longs to find

A peace so deep, a grace so real

A Presence of the God who draws near

For like water to the soul

Oh how God’s love will cleanse and know

the one who seeks to know His grace

The one who seeks the Lord’s face

For like water in wells so deep

The love of God is ours to keep

To wash our souls from head to toe

Like gentle rains or storms that blow

For like water to our souls

The love of Christ plants seeds

of Hope

For those with pain too deep to know,

May the love of Christ be

like water to their  souls.

Psalm 51

“…wash me and I will be whiter than snow…”

Photo taken at the Broad River Greenway, Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Blessings ~

H

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So this past week, I was really convicted about something.

And that word “convicted” stuck out to me.  I mean in the Christian realm we can use that word quite a bit. We say that we are convicted of this or convicted of that. Oftentimes it might be the ‘little things’ like eating too much or wasting time or saying things before praying through. And I thought about how so often when we (I) say we are convicted of something, we (I) STAY convicted of something because sometimes there’s a release in the admission…and we (I) leave it there.  We (I) just leave it there.

So here’s the thing that struck me. We use the word “convicted” a lot and that’s all well and good, but logic follows that if we are convicted, we are a …(here it comes) convict.  A convict?  Yep, a convict….one who is convicted of something. Not the verb, the NOUN.  Now THAT word has a bit different connotation. It also has lots of visual imagery of prison bars and jail cells and men in orange jumpsuits. And it struck me that if we (I) say we (I) are convicted without moving into the rehabilitative phase after the conviction, we (I) stay a convict.  Yikes. We stay stuck. I stay stuck and choose to inhabit a prison of sorts if I (we) don’t learn from the conviction, the guilty feeling, the conscience speaking and move beyond it.

It was always a no-brainer when dealing with my children. I mean, if they are truly sorry for something, the behavior will change, right? As a mom who loves them, I needed to help them to learn and turn. Learn from the behavior (with not so fun “lessons” via time out, restrictions, etc.) and Turn. I expected that from them and helped them see the reality of what would happen if they stayed stuck. Loving them and wanting good things for them helped me see and act with clarity and resolve. (Most times, anyway.)

Do I do the same thing with myself?  As an adult, I’m amazed at how much I can rationalize things. That’s so not good. The “no big deal” phrase and cultural norm can keep me stuck. If I feel truly stuck in something, convicted, convinced of sin or a lack of wisdom, I will own it.  If I own it, I will hopefully change the behavior, transform the thinking, move beyond the being stuck, imprisoned and convicted, to being rehabilitated, changed, free.

And it takes honesty. And it takes work. And it takes not listening to what the world says about things and truly listening to, seeking out, and bathing my heart and mind in the scripture that is the Truth that sets free. And it takes praying through and surrendering and being very honest with myself. It takes shoe leather (or canvas or whatever they make shoes out of these days). It takes action. Determination.

If I were to share the thing that convicted me with a lot of people, so many would say, “Oh brother, that’s no big deal….” ( I hate that phrase when it comes to things of the heart and actions that can free us..but that’s a thought for another day…)   My conviction had to do with priorities,…an awareness that my ‘go-to’ for encouragement and a lift wasn’t ‘seeking ye first the kingdom of God”, but was more seeking others’ words, others’ thoughts rather than me going first to the Source myself. Not a bad thing, but not the best thing.  Christ-followers need to be attuned to when we’re veering from the path, getting a little off track. Because the little steps lead to the big journeys.  And the watering down of priorities can lead to horrific outcomes.  I know that and have seen it and don’t want to live it. Being stuck is no fun.  So many times it can lead to others being stuck too. Not good.

So today, I put my running shoes on. Figuratively and literally as a reminder. I’m doing a little inventory on myself and being honest about my priorities. I’ve gotta pray before I quickly say things or hit “send”. I’ve gotta seek the Source and not put second or third or last things first. I’ve gotta be honest with myself about time and be aware that each day is a gift that can be wasted or used to honor the God I love. So many things are simplified by merely putting first things first.

So today starts with coffee and scripture. And do you know what else it starts with?  A new morning, a chance to start again…a new beginning. It starts with gratitude for being able to ‘learn and turn’ and enjoy the simplicity of lessons learned and new goals set. It starts with a determination to make the most of this beautiful Saturday knowing that this day, this moment will never come again.  But the things I do and the steps I take?  They will lead me. They follow me. And I’m thinking that I want to choose to stay on the simple narrow path that leads to freedom. Yep, I’ve got my running shoes on.  Thankful for being a runner in this race of faith…and that goals with determination lead to destinations. I can trust God with the destinations as I honor Him with my steps. The big ones and the so little ones. They lead. And when the race is over, I want to be thankful for where those big and little steps lead.

Blessings~

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God,

and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33

P.S.  Wanna know something funny? I thought this would be a paragraph post. Maybe two. Maybe another goal of mine should be to take a writing course on editing which focuses on “abridged versions”. Yikes. To those who made it to the end, thanks for staying with me!

P.P.S. Just a little note of clarification. The journey I speak of today has nothing to do with earning God’s love at all. It has everything to do to responding to His love though… It’s not about salvation, but sanctification. It’s about the way we run because He ran to us. The way we love because He loved us. The way we live because He died for us. My steps, right or wrong, can’t change His love..But they can lead me closer to Him and further away. Here’s to the moving closer…

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Anxiety. If you listen, or scroll, or read for any amount of time these days, that word will most likely pop up pretty quickly. Worry, anxiety, depression…these are battles  of the mind and heart that so many face in their lives. About a month ago, I was dealing with a lot of worry about a current situation in our lives. I couldn’t see how things would play out and it was really eating at me from the inside. It was pretty all-consuming, and I was making bold attempts to not feed the worry (cause yep, as I’ve said ad nauseum, “What we feed grows…”), but I was having a tough time. Worry seemed to be winning. But then, then… I read this quote: “Faith is rest, because it believes the work is done.” (Dan Bailey).

I stopped.  Rest.  I’m not sure why it hit me so incredibly hard, but it did. I smiled big.  Faith, belief leads to rest.  Not just rest like a nap. Rest like a quieting of the heart’s hamster wheel of worry. Rest like an ability to be ‘all in’ in the moment we’re in because we’re not pondering what the future will hold. Rest like a holding out of our empty hands instead of wringing them in anxious waiting. Rest in the soul that allows me to go all out in the daily stuff of life. Rest that says, “You’ve got this” not to me, but to the One who really does. God has got this.

He knew what would come before I did. He knows what is to come. And He’s right there in the middle of it all. When we take those situations, heartaches, worries to Him and lay it down, we make room for Him to do what we can’t. When we trust Him with it all, it frees us up to be wholly devoted to Him in the big and little stuff of our daily lives.

We are much more present living life with the people in our midst, working hard, loving well and reaching those in our world, when we’re not so busy trying to keep the world spinning…or worrying about it not spinning.  So, “Faith is Rest”.  Trusting is Resting. That’s been my new ‘go-to’ when worry crops up. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting.  When fears for my (adult) child crop up.  Trusting is resting.  When the uncertainty of future weighs on heart and mind. Trusting is resting. When my friend and her family were in a car accident yesterday and her neck was fractured. Tears were flowing, but my heart was knowing that God is in control and because of that I can trust Him with her and her family. Why?  Because trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. That’s what I spoke to my heart.  Truth. And Truth sets us free to rest in our hearts in situations that are difficult, trying, even terrifying.

If I believe God is who He says He is, I can trust Him with it all.  And the cool thing is?  He can use it all. For our good, For His Glory, He can use it all as we lay it at His feet. We put our spinning worlds down, and He, the Creator of All, can get our wobbly worlds back in sync.  When we put our worries into praying with faith, knowing that God can use it all, we put the reigns back in the hands of the One who Loves and Knows and sees beyond what we ever could. He’s a bit more adept at spinning the World than I am. That sun comes up every single solitary morning whether I see it (or worry about it!) or not. Just saying.

So, when worries crop up (daily, hourly, even momentarily!), am learning to speak truth to myself…to remind myself that I can trust God with it all.  Trusting is resting in His Sovereign Will, in His undying Love.  Trusting is Resting.

Blessings~

Heather

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”  

Romans 8:26-28

P.S. ( Always, right?  Sorry!)

Romans 8  I have  to include the link to whole chapter of Romans 8. It is so incredibly rich on any given day, but it is especially full when battling fears. No condemnation. He works all things for our good. He loves us. He has provided.  Yes, rich words and Truths indeed that can fill the heart that needs to remember who they trust and why they can rest.

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Matthew 6:26

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On this Thankful Thursday (actually, it’s finally being posted on a Saturday…better late than never..)… I’m thankful for flowers (weeds) by the side of the road that beckoned me to stop and breathe for a few minutes.

I’m thankful for the sun on my face and the wind through my hair. I’m thankful for the solid ground under my feet and vast sky beyond the field and the awareness that like those flowers (weeds), I’m pretty small in this vast, vast world.

I’m even thankful for the stressors that push us to find the respites. And for the respites that sometimes show up in unexpected places, like roadside ditches where a few little flowers (weeds) are blooming with a beautiful sunset in the background.

I’m grateful for the truth that  when we’re fully-alive and fully-living and fully-putting-ourselves-out-there, well, there will be pain…and heartache…and uncertainty and struggle.  There will be loss, and hurt, and defeat. But there will also be victories won, big and little. There will be muscles made and skills honed and fortitude grown in the struggles if we don’t lose heart, if we don’t give up. That’s the key isn’t it? To not lose heart?  To keep on keepin’ on.  To keep on putting one foot in front of the other…

I’m thankful that one of the very things that might help us to not give up or give in or lose heart could be as simple as a phone call, a letter, an I’m thinking of you text, or a glimpse of some roadside flowers (weeds) that glow in the mellow tones of the sunset on a warm March day.

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I’m thankful that although sometimes stopping and breathing and taking in the sunset might take moments from our days, it adds energy and hope and light and joy and value to the rest of the moments of our day because, those moments of taking it all in? They help to process, to see things in a different light.

I’m thankful that my children (who happen to be adults ) whom I adore are living and pushing and stretching. And even though it is so incredibly difficult to watch at times,  I am thankful for the growing pains, the casualties, the falling downs and getting-back-up and the tenacity and compassion and gratitude that can result from those moments. I’m praying that they always have hope to get back up in a world that is pretty good at pushing down.

And I’m hopeful that irregardless of how many times my  kids fall down and need to get back up,…I’m hopeful that they will be those who help lift up, not push down. That they will be little respites to those in need. That they will love because they know they are so loved.  A lot of people don’t know that to the core. I pray they KNOW it, and live it out of the love that they have received. Not just familial love.  Supernatural, all-consuming love from the God who knows every falling down, every gift, every scar, every fabric of their being. The God who Loves them and knows them to the core…and calls them to know Him more.  He’s the Ultimate lifter of our heads, of our hearts, of our hands.

God’s infinite, all-consuming grace seems so clear and present in these little snip-its of time that I take to see it. It is mine to show up and open my eyes to see and hears to hear and heart to just feel….and He always shows up.  Sometimes in flowers. Sometimes in weeds. And sometimes it’s not about what they are, but just about how I see them in the Light of grace.  And it’s a bit ironic that I often see those things more clearly on tougher days because on those days?…On those days I am aware of my need, and I’m looking, seeking, knowing that I need to take time to find the reminders of grace. What we seek, we often find.

Oh, and am thinking that more than anything…in this crazy, chaotic, rushed and so often angry world where the ground doesn’t seem so stable and the future doesn’t seem so clear?…Well, knowing that He sees us in a different light and loves us through it all and beckons us to dare to LIVE a life counter to so much of what we see….that knowledge beckons me on to know that regardless of what I see to the left or the right, He’s with me  in the middle of it all. And sometimes all it takes to be reminded of that is to take a few moments to stop and see.  Yes, what we seek we often find. When we see things through the eyes of grace, there’s very little room for seeing weeds as anything but beautiful, beautiful flowers.   And the cool thing is that in Christ, God sees us through eyes of grace. Kind of like looking at us and seeing it all, but treasuring us as a beautiful flower. Knowing that we are loved like that can change the perspective on any landscape we face…be it on mountaintops, valleys, or roadside ditches.

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Blessings ~

Heather

“We love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

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