The Leaves that Refuse to Let Go

DSC_0229I was sitting at the dinner table when I looked out the back window and noticed this mighty tree that stood taller than all the others. I watched as the wind blew fiercely and the only movement to be seen was the slight movement of the remaining leaves that refused to let go of where they we’re rooted.

As I watched the tree that evening, my heart kept stirring with thoughts of “How deep do my roots really go?” Roots are what sustains a tree when the winds get high, and the storms get tough. The deeper the roots, the firmer the stand no matter what blows through, or what heat comes.

When we’re going through the storms of life it sometimes becomes difficult to keep holding on and not let them carry us away. Even though destruction and wind damage is sometimes inevitable, so is the beauty after the clean up! It’s through those storms that we find just how deep we are rooted in Christ, the One who truly carries us, and that we draw closer to Him. Trusting in Him, no matter what, will dig and plant our roots a little deeper with each one.

When we let Christ draw us closer and root us deeper in Him, we can take joy in the fact that when the winds come, we will be like those remaining leaves that refused to let go of where they we’re rooted. We can hold on because we know where and to whom we belong.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

 

Removing the Sting

beeRunning through the plush grass on that summer day, I can remember the screeching halt that my running came to as I felt a sting in the bottom of my foot! My immediate reaction was to scream as loud as I possibly could to let everyone around me know that I have been stung by the evil bee that dared to fly beneath my bare feet! At the sound of my hurt, my Mom came to my rescue as she calmed me down, gently removed the stinger, and applied some soothing medicine to my wound. My mom’s gentle response that day calmed my spirit and sent my feet running back into the sprinkler!

Harsh words, cold actions, rude behavior, and hurtful remarks all sting just like a summer bee as they buzz their way through our hearts. At the feel of the sting, we search for a way to remove the stinger, and the healing of the wound greatly depends on the removal process. These stinging moments become the defining moments that God has allowed for us to demonstrate His love and grace to others. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth the process.

Kindness is often seen as a weakness in the world, but God sees it as a strength! He knows it’s not easy to speak a kind word in the midst of hurt and heartbreak, but He knows it’s possible through Him!

It’s tempting to return a hurt for a hurt, a disrespect for a disrespect, or a sarcastic tone for another, but what a feeling it is when we respond with love, grace, and forgiveness! Being nice may seem like a welcome mat that says, step on me, but we know that it’s a Welcome mat that leads others to Christ when we follow His ways and heart!

When we are faced with a sting, we can come to Christ and let Him gently remove the stinger and attend to our wounds so that we can become the welcome mat that leads others to Him just by the way that we show compassion, kindness, and forgiveness!

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

The Story is Inside

objects-in-mirror1Driving down the road one sunny day, I checked my side mirror to see if I could change lanes. As I looked in this mirror checking to see if anything was coming up beside me, I caught a glimpse at words that I have seen hundreds of times before, only this time they were rising up within me.

As I read the words, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear”, my heart started typing my mind a new memo that read what appears to be isn’t what always is. I know for me there has been countless times where my perception appeared very different from reality. When we’re looking at a book, we can’t label or determine the book’s value based on titles, or even what is seen on the outside because the story is on the inside!

People are no different. What is often seen on the surface doesn’t tell the story, the story is on the inside. It takes looking through the eyes of compassion and grace like Jesus did to see past the labels that the world gives and see the heart, the hurts, the scars, and that’s when we show His love better than ever because that’s when we’re seeing how He sees, and we begin to reach the way He reaches.

As we walk out the door today, we can be reminded that what appears to be isn’t what always is, and look through the eyes of Jesus and see the heart!

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

From Sinking Sand to Solid Ground

DSC_0119“How much more can I take?” Sometimes those are the words that seem to come rolling right out of our hearts and then off of our tongues. There are times in this life when the pressure builds to the point that we feel like we’re going to break. We find ourselves standing in what feels like a pit of sinking sand that we have no idea how we got to and life starts to take on a blurred vision that leaves us feeling as if we’re lost and alone.

The beautiful truth is we’re never alone. We may not know how we came to this place that we stand, but we can know the One who can carry us to the place we can stand firm. The burdens of this life become heavy, but we we’re never meant to carry those burdens alone. God has asked us to cast our burdens on Him because He cares for us, and He’s always right there waiting for them, and more importantly waiting on us.

When we reach the point of feeling like we don’t know how much more we can take, there’s one more thing we must take, God’s hand. He’s patiently waiting for us to come to Him. He will pull us up, wrap His arms around us, and carry us! He not only carries us, but He carries the weight and the load that we have been trying to carry on our own. The moment we take hold of His hand is the moment we will truly find rest for our weary souls. A rest that is found only in Him, and He carries us from the sinking sand to the solid ground that is built firmly in Him alone!

Such sweet words to start our day…
In Christ Alone

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

We will not wither, but grow!

DSC_0037Watering my bright pink flowers in the crisp morning air, I heard this whisper to my heart… “You water these flowers because of the heat that is coming so they do not wither or fall away, but that they might continue to blossom and grow, just as I am your water! I will protect and provide all that you need, no matter how high the heat rises, and I will not let you wither, but grow!”

As I stood there basking in the beauty of His creation and His words, I could barely contain my emotions! From the fountain that was springing from my heart at this very moment, I managed to whisper back, “Thank you Daddy for that heart to heart!”

No matter what desert we may be walking through today, we have a continual source of water that provides strength, grace, mercy, peace, and love. Oh, sweet friends, He will not let us wither, but grow! What a precious promise that we can not only hold on to, but stand firm on, no matter how shaky the ground beneath us may become!

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Faith Rises

duet 318Each morning as the sun rises it begins to light every dark corner of the earth. The higher it rises the more it dispels every last drop of darkness out of its hiding place and into the light. The sun doesn’t hesitate to shine because that’s what God designed it to do. Though clouds may blow through and attempt to cover its light, it never truly goes dim.

We don’t have to hesitate to shine because that’s what God designed us to do! Though the stormy clouds blow through our lives and make every attempt to cover our light, we don’t grow dim because when our faith rises higher, it dispels every ounce of darkness and doubt from every corner of our heart its hiding in. Our faith lights the way ahead so that we can see who has gone before us to prepare the way!

God has already gone ahead, conquered every obstacle and battle, and cleared His path for our lives! There’s no seat for fear on this journey that we have in front of us because faith has filled each and every one! What encouragement to take with us today as we step out on to the path that God has ordained for us as He goes with us!

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

The Slimy Pit

DSC_1335-001aWe all face trials in this life, and at times we can find ourselves in a pit of defeat, discouragement, or many others. There are times, if we are completely honest, that we may feel like there is something pulling us under with a force that seems unimaginable. The enemy would love nothing more than to try to trap us in this pit where everything seems hopeless and impossible because the more we feel that way, the weaker our faith becomes, and the deeper we begin to sink.

Even though it may feel like a pit of quicksand pulling us under, we have a faithful quick hand that we can reach for and hold onto as He pulls us up, sets our feet on a rock and gives us a firm place to stand! It’s such a beautiful rescue that not only we get to experience, but those lives around us as well, and many will see and trust Him, possibly for the first time! We’ve got a new song, let’s praise Him!

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:2-3

Foggy Frustration

Foggy Frustration VerseWalking out the front door ready to begin the day, I noticed how incredibly foggy it was and began to immediately feel frustrated. I felt my mouth begin to grumble, “I can’t see in the fog.”, “It makes it difficult to know what’s ahead of me or what’s coming in my direction!” My negative words and thoughts continually flowed from my heart straight through my mouth. Before I knew it, I was convinced my whole day was going to be turned upside down and inside out because of the morning fog.

Sometimes on our journey through this life, our circumstances can become that fog that leaves us feeling overwhelmingly frustrated. The mounting frustration in our hearts will find its way out through our words, our actions, and our behaviors. Grumbling and complaining doesn’t help see us to see any better in the fog than using our bright lights when we are driving through it. It can do quite the opposite and reflect back making it even more difficult to see past it.

When we recognize our daily need for Christ, in the little and in the big, and we rely on His strength to face the day and get through, the fog seems less like a day breaker, and more like an attitude maker. What may start as a frustration may very well be what God chooses to use as a perspective changer for our hearts. Just as the fog that morning eventually lifted and the sun began to shine, our foggy circumstances in life will eventually lift and the way before us will clear. The little lessons that God tucks in with it to teach us something that will mold our hearts a little more like His will hopefully remain long after the fog has risen and dissipated.

Let’s choose today to see past the fog by looking for the treasures that God has hidden within that helps us see further ahead eternally!

“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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV