Gardening is one of my pleasures in life. This spring I’m busy transplanting rose bushes, adding hydrangeas, and calculating what herbs to grow this season. It’s my version of “crop rotation.” As we dig the holes for our shrubs I’ve learned the importance of digging a very large hole, and since we live at the coast, it’s important to amend our sandy soil with rich, fertile loam. If we don’t take that precaution our plants will never thrive. Continue reading “Soil Conditioning”
Smitten. That one word sums up how my husband and I feel about Remy, our rescued standard poodle. And Remy delights in us, confidently knowing he hit the jackpot the day we adopted him and took him out of what had been a painful situation for him. Leaning against us whenever the opportunity presents itself, he demonstrates his total devotion and affection for us. This is no gentle lean against our thigh, but similar to Velcro, he adheres his whole 65-pound body to us, leaning so “hard” that we can easily topple over. We’re Remy’s protection and his safe place.
Do I lean into God and is He truly my safe place?
Hanging in a bag tucked away in the rear of our closet, surviving many corporate moves, was my wedding gown. After about 20 years I finally took it in for professional cleaning, preservation, and had it boxed. Unfortunately, the process took its toll on my gown as many of the decorative pearls fell off. The lady performing the work was distressed and took it upon herself to hand sew new pearls onto my gown. Upon final receipt of my wedding dress, I couldn’t believe my eyes—it was better than it had been when I handed it over to her. Fully restored, my wedding gown surpassed how it originally looked.
Fast-forward many more years and a couple more moves. The box has transferred neatly from one closet to the next as we’ve moved across the country. Finally, in what we hope is our earthly “forever” home, I wondered why in the world it’s primly placed in a box. So, the next time we had some of our granddaughters over I asked if they wanted to play dress-up with Gramma’s wedding gown. Imagine their excitement over donning the gown and veil and feeling so very special.
So thankful I didn’t keep what had been made new and better stashed away in a box!
We have a new year and a new beginning—ushering in thoughts of fresh starts, a chance to do things differently, or even over again. How will we use the New Year our Lord has given us? Even though it’s the middle of winter, my mind skips ahead to springtime when I first observe the daylily leaves in my garden pushing through the soil. Crumpled over at first, the leaves appear fragile. But with exposure to the sun and rain and air they are able to strengthen and flourish, eventually growing into mature plants with numerous beautiful flowers. I want to grow stronger and substantial this year. Will you join me in this endeavor?
What change do you desire in your life this New Year? Continue reading “A Fresh Start”
According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”
Part 5 of 7
Many of us know the feeling—insomnia, anxiety, shortness of breath, and perhaps heart palpitations —all physical symptoms of when life is spinning out of control. We’re convinced we’re living life to the fullest, yet with many demands imposed on us we’re staying busy all the time, and neglecting to take some downtime.
Detecting their fatigue after a time of preaching and performing miracles, Jesus admonished his disciples to, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b, NIV). How often do we apply that advice? It’s difficult to pull back from a go-go mentality or way of life. Even more so if it’s all good stuff we’re doing for church, family, and others. However, as we pray, we may detect God saying, “Slow down.”
God desires our attention and will use any means to slow us down in order to get it.
I’m reminded of the story of Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley—two eighteenth-century Champions of the Faith) who had little time to herself. As the mother of 19 children, with only 10 of them surviving, Susanna encountered numerous challenges and demands. So, when she wanted to pull away and pray, she would cover her head with her apron. That was how Susanna slowed down and took time communing with her Lord, and her children knew to leave her alone when they saw her in this posture. She lived the truth of Psalm 46:10a (NIV): “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Perhaps it’s time for us to take a good hard look at what we’re undertaking. Are we sacrificing quality time with family and other relationships? Are we merely going through the motions of doing or are we actually thriving in the work we’re accomplishing? Is it possible that instead of being too busy, our problem is actually how we do our activities? Often, this is God’s call for us to prioritize, delegate, and work smarter. For each of us it will look a little different, but God desires His daughters to:
- Come to the quiet.
- Relax in His creation.
- Refresh our spirits.
- And learn to take a Sabbath rest.
We all know the saying, “Life is short,” and if God is calling us to slow down, it is time to heed what we’re hearing. Earlier this year God used a dramatic situation to grab my attention when I passed out on a Sunday morning. After praying for discernment on what to learn from this event, I’m making wiser choices about how I use my time, ensuring there is quality time with my Lord, my family, and friends. Yes, He will use any means to slow us down.
Father God, I hear your still small voice telling me to slow down. Help me to act upon what I’m sensing is your desire for me. I need more of you and less of this busyness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV): “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Matthew 11:28 (NIV): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV): “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
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