Tag Archives: tree

Towels in the Washer

caution speed bump

Let me set the scene for this blog:

Busy day at work. Phones ringing.  Orders coming in.  Got behind.  Having company over for dinner.  Need a roasting pan for the chicken.  Go to Walmart.  Husband asked to have money put on our debit card.  Wait in line for 20  minutes.  Get home and prepare chicken.  Won’t be done until 9 pm.  Go to lie down before company comes over.  Husband asks for the laundry to be moved from the washer to the dryer.  GROAN!  Just sat down.  Feet hurt from 5 mile walk from day before.  Contacts are dry.  Slight headache from work day.  HANGRY.  Open lid to washer and find towels in with the regular clothes.

TICKING TIME BOMB EXPLODES AND HUSBAND IS THE NEAREST VICTIM!

How often do the most innocent persons in our lives get the brunt of our bad days?  I am not sure that I have ever gone off on my husband like I did yesterday.  Words I usually do not spew out were flying like missiles aimed directly at him with intent to harm.  I did not care in that moment what I said I was just so angry I let everything I said become like a personal attack on an innocent bystander.  I quickly apologized after I cooled down and it is a good thing my husband knows my heart enough to realize I meant nothing I said in those heated minutes of World War III happening right before his eyes.  I mean today I can at least laugh about it.  The look of bewilderment and surprise on his face was truly priceless, poor guy.

Well that was just a precursor to today’s volcanic eruption.  I got a good night sleep and we even slept in, however, something was still off with me.  I noticed my left shoulder was aching and this usually only means one thing…rejection was trying to rear it’s ugly head.  I had my husband pray over me before we started our day.

Kinda wish I would have just left it alone.

 

After returning home from our morning coffee and a drive before hubby went off to work, I went inside to get my camera and a bite to eat.  I don’t want to get into too many details but you will need a little background story to understand what happened next.  We live with my 86 year old father because he is unable to live alone.  He gets around okay and can still take care of himself but he can’t do laundry and upkeep on the house.  Besides on the occasion when we do leave for a few days he gets fearful and something usually arises.  Anyways, dad is very protective of the refrigerator for some reason (we are guessing fear of some kind)  and things are not to be kept in there for very long and must be put into the smallest container possible.  So for the last 5 years there has been an ongoing frustration with what and how we keep things in the frig.

When I went into the kitchen the first thing dad said from his chair in the living room was “What are you going to do with the chicken from last night?”  I replied with an I don’t know at the moment, perhaps make chicken soup tomorrow.  This response was not what he was hoping for and me having my own agenda for the day already planned out, this simple situation turned into World War IV.  I cringe to even relive the live action warfare which conspired again.  I apparently touched a live wire somewhere in my brain and again here I was spewing words (to my own father) that should never have been released from my mouth.  In anger I took the chicken and threw it in the garbage dumpster outside, grabbed my purse and my camera and left.

I immediately called my husband in tears and frustration.  What was happening to me?  I was a wreck.  Acting out of character.  Using unsavory language at people I loved.  Of course he reminds we prayed for God to come in and heal whatever was causing the pain in my shoulder.  And then he said, “Resentment.  You are dealing with resentments from your past.  And maybe it has something to do with it being Mother’s Day tomorrow.  I don’t know, but let Daddy to heal you.”

So with a heavy heart I started seeking God in what to do.  I took my camera out and visited several of my favorite spots which is how I connect with God the best.  I captured birds, turtles, flowers, geese and their babies and even a muskrat only to discover on my journey that God had me stop and ponder at a tree.  A tree with a strip missing like a fresh wound.  He said this pain was from a fresh wound, yet it was an old pain which had been ripped open by life’s circumstances.

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He told me to keep walking there was something else He wanted to show me.  On my way back to my car I used the same path so I saw things going back that I had not seen on the first time through.  I stumbled upon this tree which had been abused my woodpeckers.

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God started explaining to me what I was looking at.  On the surface you can clearly see there has been damage and an entry way into the inner most part of the tree.  On closer inspection one could see cobwebs where something else had taken up residency.  Then looking even deeper you would see the wound itself was torn to shreds.  The top hole appears to have no ending, yet there is a light which shines through the darkness of it.

wounds

This is what so many of us deal with day after day.  We get wounded at some point in our lives and people keep attacking it, over and over and over again until we are empty inside.  Then, when we allow God to tend to our brokenness  He shines His light within us and begins to heal that which has hurt us for so long.  The key here is allowing God in.  So many times we want to fix it all on our own.  We don’t want anyone’s help.  We often feel that it was our fault in the first place that we are hurting.  We didn’t do something right.  We were not good enough at some point.  We deserved the abuse.

I am still not quite sure what I am dealing with but I do feel more at peace after spending some time with the Lord today.  I still am trying to process the loss of my mom two months ago today and there is a lot of pain with that wound.  The tape which plays over and over again that “I am not good enough” and “I can’t do anything right” taunts me even when I try to just close my eyes and ignore it.  

In conclusion, don’t you wish sometimes that life came with warning signs so we would know when to brace ourselves?  Speed Bump.  Road Impassable.  Water May Go Over Road.  Bridge Might be Icy.  Dead End.  No Outlet. Watch for Emergency Vehicles.  Do Not Enter.  One Way.  Caution Pedestrians.  Road Construction Next 20 Miles.  Railroad Crossing.  Yield.  Stop.  Frequent High Wind.  Narrow Bridge.  Pavement Ends.  Deer Crossing.  If only life could send us signs along the way we could prepare ourselves for what is coming up next.  We could be on guard for any mishap which may happen along life’s journey.  Sometimes things just come out of nowhere and we are blindsided, that is where God needs to come in and redirect our steps.  We need to trust Him enough to know the road ahead of us and let Him send the Holy Spirit to give us the warning signs to keep us on track.

Dear God, Be near me today and expose that which You want to heal in me.  Teach me to trust You with littlest of things to the great big ordeals.  I thank You for healing me from my deepest wounds.  I trust you with them.  Shine Your light on my innermost being so that I may be lead in the right direction.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

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I am Seed

just be

Just recently I have realized how much easier life is when I just sit and stay.  Like a dog learning new tricks I am.  To be still and quiet.   To be content with just slowing down.  Smelling the roses.  Picking up pretty rocks.  Exploring new paths.  Waiting for the sunset.  Reading a book.  Painting a picture.  Slow walks along the beach. Taking 1,000 pictures of a cricket or flowers or water.   Just the simple elegant things of life.

So many times in my life I have been way too busy with other things to even notice that God was trying to keep up with me.  Sometimes I have so many projects going at one time that nothing ever gets completed.  I get so dang excited about ideas I sometimes want to dive right in even though I still have other things in the works already.

Psalm 1:3 in the Message Bible says:

Psalm 1:3 The Message (MSG)

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

When I first read this, I felt such an excitement with it and then I realized we were discussing a tree here.  Something which is non-mobile.  It is a seed planted meant to just be.  To just sway in the wind.  To allow the soil to house its’ roots.  To just grow and produce leaves and sometimes grow fruit.  To just be and depend on God to feed and water it.  To just be dependent  on God to shelter and protect it in all stages of growth from the seed to full maturity.

It is only when we slow down that we can truly depend on God.  It is in the slow moments we are reminded that God is in control.  It is in the slow times we see just how good God truly is and how He really does take care of our every need.  He feeds us with the Word.  He waters us with His Presence.  He protects us from all weather conditions life throws at us.

When we stop to just be, all fear dissolves.  After we have discontinued our pursuit of taking care of our own needs, God shows up in all of His splendor and we can be content with just being.  

At some point we need to come to the realization that we are merely the seed.  We have nothing else to do but just be.  Think of seed planted in the ground.  It sits.  It waits.  It is broken.  Then it beings to grow.  It grows both above ground and underground.  We don’t see the roots as they grow and often that is how we are as humans, we hide the roots, yet above the surface everything looks good.  Our trunks our sturdy and our leaves look just right yet underneath it all, buried deep inside are roots some good some bad.

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I encourage us all today to just be.  Take some time to just sit.  Stay.  Marinate.  Accept God is in control.  Be content in the stillness of God.  Begin to know that He meant it when He said, Be Still and KNOW I am God.

Dear Lord, I thank You for taking care of all of my needs.  I thank You that I can really just be.  I desire to get to know You better.  I look forward to just being more in Your presence.  I thank You for allowing me to just be.  Lord, I also thank You that You will begin to show others what it really means to just be so they too can find peace in just being still.  AMEN

Noticed Beauty

1 Peter 3:4
You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Surrounded by death.  Fallen to the ground in silence.  Here lies a leaf still wearing the brilliant colors of its’ once vibrant existence.  It lies now lifeless on the floor of the forest.  Having lost its’ ability to shine, it lies dormant, losing its life.  No longer feeling worthy of being noticed. How does this make any sense?  Why would God create such a great beauty just to put it to death? Anyone see a pattern here?  God has a history of creating and then bringing death, however in the process all things are made new. Beauty rises from the ashes over and over again.

Where I was just a short time ago was like this lonely leaf.  I once was vibrant and filled with color, but as the seasons of my life took their toll, I faded.  I lost my focus on who I really was.  The beauty I had once known began to fade.  I decided it was no longer worth it to even try to look the part of who I was, what did it matter?  Who would even notice?  I was stuck in a relationship of insanity, no reason to change who I had become.  But God in His awesome grace, removed me from the dying tree and gently let me fall to the floor, allowing me to die.  Allowing me to rest.  Letting me go through a process of renewal.

As I laid dormant for a season, I was allowing God to remake me.  He was changing me from the inside out, creating in me a clean heart.  He wanted me to forget about being a leaf and to set my eyes on becoming a tree.  A tree which could provide shelter.  A tree which could produce fruit.  A tree that could bend with the storms of life and not break.  Though the process may have seemed painful to those around me, it was cleansing and brought me to a place of surrender like I had never felt before.  I now stand firm on solid ground knowing that I am beautiful.  I am filled with life.  I am happily bending in the wind.  I am finally where I need to be.

God noticed the beauty in me and He certainly sees it in you.  Are you willing to be plucked from the tree and let loose from your painful circumstances? Surrender it all.  Let God have His way in your seasons.  Allow Him to change you from beauty to beauty so that you  will become a tree planted firmly in the hands of God.  A sight to behold in every season.

Joy is in the Giving Up

Psalm 30:5
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Do you see the shadows in the photo above?  Can you make a guess and be almost 100% sure that they are shadows from a tree?  Does your mind confirm this deduction?  Well as I pondered this picture, I looked at it from a faith stand point, and based on some amazing recent events, I think I can wrap my brain around this point I am trying to make.  If you were to see this photo in a museum you would just take it for granted that is a shadow picture and perhaps not think any more about it, but let’s look at it from a Christain stand point for a moment.

We know that God exists.  We know He does great wonders and healings.  We trust Him to work in our lives, yet we do not see Him.  At times we can feel His presence or witness Him working among us, but not a physical appearance of God.  This is how we should see God, like the shadows.  Even though we cannot see the tree in this photo, we know there is a tree, why cannot we not apply this more often to they way God is?

If we acknowledge there is a God that we cannot see, then why sometimes can we not believe in Him when it just the shadows we see.  If we see the shadows (the healings, the blessings, the miracles) then why do we not fully believe God for all things?  No matter what God is doing, He leaves His shadow so that He may be glorified.  As Christians we should be walking in His shadow knowing that He is right in front of us all along.  This was confirmed to me just yesterday, when it should have been with me all along.

I have two books waiting to be published, yet I have been waiting on God for the provision to get them started.  As I have been waiting, I began to feel as if it never was going to happen.  I also thought the funds would come from somewhere else and I had this all planned out for God.  Last night a man handed me $600 to publish my books and another man from across the world is covering the rest of the expenses.  I really thought the funds would come from my new position at work and the possibility of bonuses, which just did not seem to be happening.  It was if I walked outside of the shadow of God and was trying to  do things on my own.

Just like my dentures, it took me stepping out in faith and right back into the shadow of God for God to move.  I cannot tell you how often my blessings have come when I have surrendered it all, grabbed the hand of God and walked in His shadow, letting Him do all the provision.  So now, I am counting on God again for transportation (my poor van is old) and I am just letting it go.  As before I would fret because my credit is bad and how was I going to afford it, now instead I eagerly await car shopping with my dad tomorrow, knowing the God has already provided for me as I stand in His shadow.

 

Challenged to Be Grounded

Revelation 7:11
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God.

Ever been in an argument where you were forced to stand your ground?  You knew you were right and the other person just refused to give in.  A frustration arises in you as you argue back in forth trying to make your point.  Both of you begin to find offenses with the other and before you know it you go away from the situation angry, even if you were in the right.  Why does this happen over and over again when dealing with people?  Why does it seem like we always have to be right no matter what?  How many families are disconnected because of such arguments?

I wish for a moment we could imagine ourselves as the trees planted by the water along the river as it states in Jeremiah 17:8 “They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”  If we could just find contentment among our brothers and sisters and agree to disagree before the big blow outs erupt and cause damage to our lives.  If only we could find peace in disagreement, what  better place we would find ourselves.

What a reflection we would be to those who are watching us from afar trying to decide if this Christian walk is something they want for their lives.  How enticing would it be if they always saw us in disagreement about this and that?  Would they even give it a second thought?  I guess where I am going with this is simple, we as Christians argue about this religion and that. This rule and regulation.  Celebrating or not the various holidays.  Arguing about the politics of the church.  Do I need to go any further?

If we all believe in God and have accepted Jesus as our Savior, then why cannot we get along?  It matters not what you label me:  Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist…underneath the title of the church…I am a Jesus Freak and I am saved by grace.  Being a Methodist did not save me.  Going to a Baptist church did not clinch my salvation. And certainly being a member of a Pentecostal church does not solidify that I am going into heaven when I die.  The only thing which makes it possible for me to enter those pearly gates is accepting Jesus into my heart.

Nothing else can do it.  Not random acts of kindness or over the top giving in the offering plate.  Even total commitment to serving others will not be enough.  We cannot get to heaven by being good or on our best behavior.  Only through His Son will we be accepted. It does not matter to God what denomination you belonged to, it only matters who you choose to be ruler of your heart.  Let us be like the trees and become rooted in the things of God starting with choosing His Son as the ruler of our hearts so that we may be saved.

If you look closely at the picture above, you will see it is actually upside down. We should be a reflection of God’s goodness as we are rooted by the river.  People should be able to see our reflection when they are looking down so that when their gaze is turned upwards to see the source of the reflection, they will find God.  So stand your ground.  Be rooted in the fertile ground of salvation, but be not arrogant or consumed with frustration when others do not see your point of view.  Be a fruitful tree.

The River is Calling You…YES YOU!

Psalm 1:3
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Wow! So much going on at one time in my life, I seem to be slipping at this blogging!  I have been promoted at work to General Manager and as I am getting my feet wet, I am in that balancing act of trying to re-platform my life.  I am sure I will get back into the swing of things soon, yet it just seems out of my grasp.  Then today in a moment of wondering what is happening at the court house with my husband I get the text from my editor telling me she is almost done!  So excited!  I cannot wait to see what doors God will open while I am just here resting in the peace that He has provided for me.  I feel as though the more I rest, the more that happens!  I have never felt like I was on top of the world before, but I feel very close to that at the moment.  My final dental appointment for now is May 17th and I will once again be able to smile like I used to!  My book is about to hit the bookshelves and the hearts of those who need to read it.  I am settling into my new role as General Manager and the prospect of moving into the new house is getting closer.

So I use the reference verse for this blog because it is the one read at my past owners funeral and it has stuck with me and resonated in my heart for so long.  As my roots in Christ grow stronger and I drink in the Living Water, things just begin to grow and spread.  My branches become stronger and I am able to reach out to others even while I am just standing in His River of Life.  I have wanted to have this peace for as long as long as I can remember.  Even when there are storms bashing about, I am in such a firm location, I cannot be shaken.  Sure I have my moments but they are few and far between.

My wish today is for all of you to come to the river, plant your roots in the already prepared soil and just relax.  Trust God to provide.  Just look at my life, and none of it is a lie, it is truth.  It seems like a fairy tale at times, yet it is so real.  My dentures. My home. The book. The possibility of my husband beginning his walk with God even though the circumstances seem dim.  My promotion.  All of these things are happening while I am resting in His peace.  Resting in the trust.  Resting in His glory.  I pray each of you will bury your roots in the warm and just feel Him surround you.

Below is a picture of a rock I discovered on the retreat I was just recently on.  It was like a love letter straight from God!  May I always be buried in His love, surrounded by His peace.  It took quite the journey to get here, yet I am completely satisfied with what has happened because I know God has been in control.  Will you start now to let Him have control?  The River is calling…..

I Wanna Be A Tree!

1 Chronicles 16:33
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth.

Psalm 96:12
Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy


First things first, I apologize for the breaks between my blogs, life has been kind of “valleyish” lately.  Stepping back into old patterns and just plain not with it!  But onward I trudge through the valley knowing that at the end there is wisdom, love and peace.  Also I know God is standing right with me during the testing and showing me how to overcome my currently situation with grace and unbitterness.  I pray God will see I am trying and honor I am still seeking His wisdom through it all.  Okay onto today’s blog!

During a recent devotion at church, our pastors wife held up sheets of lamented leaves she was sending to her grandkids.  As she shared them with us she pointed out several things like the colors, the shapes, the variety comparing them to us as humans.  She showed some that were blemished and had spots, showing how this could mean cancer in one’s life.  Also from a distance we often cannot see the brokenness but once we take a closer look it is right there.  As she was talking I began to think about my dear friend who has been listening to tree references everywhere she goes and God gave me a reflection to write.  (yes, sorry pastor, during church again..)

Trees grow upwards towards heaven and are calling heaven down….what if we are the trees that are pulling heaven down to earth?  As we stand our ground (regarding the things of God), saturating our roots in good soil, soaking up the sun (Son) and surrendering our arms (limbs) if to say, “Here we are calling out to You oh God, hear our calling.”  As we learn to grow our roots become our foundation and what if at times God just sprinkles some miracles into our lives (just like miracle grow), at this point we grow so quickly that those around us are amazed by the mighty Hand of God upon us and how He is moving us that they begin to gather at our feet to hear the Good News.  They stand in awe so that they too may become rooted and and soon are gathering around to take our seeds of faith so that they too may begin to pull down heaven (His Kingdom come).

As we bend and bow with the winds of change we are brought to a fulfillment of our person.  We will go through seasons and our weathering will show.  Scars will appear and others will see the knots we endured.  Even with all of this, yet we will reach up in surrender asking God to help us grow.  We seek the Son (sun) turning out leaves (souls) upward to receive all that God has to offer.  When it rains we stand and receive.  When it snows we soak in the warmth of His love so that we may remain sturdy for the new growth which is coming so that in summer we can enjoy it’s pleasures.  We are continually standing, rooted in the things of God preparing ourselves daily (reading the Bible) for the next change in our lives, shedding the old (fall) and growing green again (spring) so that we can shine for Him in all of the seasons of our lives.

So I urge you to close your eyes and imagine yourself as that tree pulling down Heaven to earth.  We need to stand in upright positioning trusting God to meet all of our needs daily.  Trusting Him to bring caretakers (pastors, friends, evangelists, teachers prophets) into our lives to give us strength and encouragement. Acknowledging that sometimes our damage comes from ourselves (not enough sun and water/Son and Bible),  other scars come from the actions of others (carvings and other destruction/wounds and hurts), and lastly, storms take a toll (lightening and wind/things we cannot control).  All of these things try to shake our foundation and knock us over but when Jesus comes from Heaven He will not see our lightening strikes or our bare limbs or the knots or the scars, He will only see what you are in your heart.  So get your heart right and thinking straight and you will become a tree of good bearing fruit, one which draws people to your foothold and ask, why so blessed?