The past 7 weeks have been unlike any we have experienced. The world has been placed in a time-out and life as we once knew it has been altered, temporarily. To make good use of our time at home, we have worked hard at transforming our home’s exterior. The changes have been wonderful. Old, ratty bushes were removed and replaced with new ones that will hopefully grow into beautiful landscaping. The areas around the trees have been cleaned up and mulch has been added. A garden was planted. And my favorite…shutters. We made these ourselves and absolutely love them. The compliments we are receiving give us great joy. We almost don’t recognize our house. But with all of these changes, I am often thinking of something else that needs a transformation. Something that is longer lasting. Something that is eternal. Our inner lives. Our spirits. As much as I love the new look we have given to our home, I know that even this is temporary. It only lasts for as long as this world is in existence. Our spirits are eternal. And the relationships we are cultivating are eternal.
I recently observed one of my friends and her son. He is 16 now and has grown into quite a guy. She has done an amazing job raising him and should be very proud of the man he is becoming. This has caused me to take a close look at my parenting and for a moment I began to slip in feelings of comparison and jealousy. I have not done as good a job as she has in parenting. Oh how I want to be the shining example of a Christ-led life, but I fall short so often. At times I feel I have failed my kids and messed them up for life. While this may hold some truth, it is not entirely true. They do have a firm grasp of what it means to be a Christian. But there are so many gaps that need to be filled in. So how do I handle this? Where do I go from here?
My first thought is that God is in control. He hasn’t failed or fallen short. He is just as much on the throne as He has always been. He knows our weaknesses and is more than able to fill in those gaps. He has come through before, so nothing less should be expected. Turning to Him in prayer is the best place to start. Confessing sin and weakness, and then trusting Him to work these things out. I remember the numerous times He has come through for us. Turning seemingly impossible situations around for good. Doing what only He can. Our faith has grown in these times and I am sure stronger faith will come out of this as well.
Who else wishes she was their BFF? Such an amazing family. I love how open they are with their faith. And throughout the entire Fixer Upper series they maintained their integrity. Beautiful inside and out.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Lord we are so grateful that You are working out plans that are for our good. We praise You for knowing the deepest desires of our hearts. You are omniscient, all knowing. You know before we do what we will be needing. And You know what ultimately will be best for our lives. I am so thankful for the ways our desires are met. Your plans far surpass our wildest dreams. We may think we know what we are needing or what we want, but in the end when we look back over our lives, we can see Your hand guiding us toward some things and away from others. Oh how grateful we are for this guidance. We are protected from things we had no idea would harm us. You also place in us a desire for following Your will for our lives. You gently lead us as a parent guides their child, holding their hand, walking beside them. May we learn to follow You and not run ahead. May we learn to listen to Your still small voice speaking truth to our hearts.
This verse has come alive to me tonight. I have been wrestling with several things lately, all combined have stirred up inner conflict that is beginning to spill over. It is evident in my thoughts toward my friends, it is coming out in negative words of complaint to my husband, and it is causing me to want to run from several relationships that I have no idea what to do with. I do not like conflict. But tonight these words came gently to me in a way that gave me a new perspective. Instead of continuing to think over all of these things, trying to come up with solutions, or just running around with every possible scenario that could ever happen, I must turn my attention to God. Period. Fixing our thoughts on Him means not allowing our minds to be in charge. We must actively choose to think differently about those situations that are upsetting to us. Did she say something that you took to be rude? Was he not listening to you and assumed you were talking about one thing when you meant something entirely different? What about that slow driver in front of you? Maybe they are distracted by thinking about a serious medical issue in their family. Oh the list goes on and on. For me it has been several different issues with multiple people. By changing my thought pattern I can see things in a new light. I am able to give grace and offer forgiveness. I am more understanding and patient. I can think things through more clearly instead of being driven by fearful thoughts. Tonight pray for God to change your perspective to think on things the way He wants you to.
Last week in our Mom’s in Prayer group I learned of a unique Japanese tradition called Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi which is the process of taking broken pottery and repairing it using powered gold, silver, or platinum. I find this so interesting that instead of throwing out something that was once treasured, but is now considered useless, they take great care to repair the broken piece and end up with something that is far more valuable.
So often we feel The Lord leading us to do something, speak to someone about Christ, teach a Bible study, or maybe write a book. But we hesitate thinking we can’t possibly be used by God because of the laundry list of sins we have in our lives. We feel broken by sin and unusable. How could God use a mess like us? Thankfully He does not see us that way. He sees what could be with the proper mending of Christ’s blood covering our sins.
Oh sweet friend, you are not too far gone for God to use you. He is excellent at repairing our broken lives. Lean into Him and allow His transforming power to mold you into a new creation, fit for anything He calls you to do.
Romans 12:2 says “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Unfortunately, after my Mom’s in Prayer meeting, I woke up the next morning to a mess in my garden. Either the wind or a squirrel broke one of my pots. I was not able to mend it properly, so it will most likely be thrown out.
I don’t often receive a word from God, so when I do I pay careful attention.
Pull up by the roots
Eliminate or destroy completely
We had a large amount of poison ivy pulled up from our yard and a few months ago and we pulled up an area of grass to create a garden. But it is hard to pull up, or eradicate every plant. Sprouts keep coming up. The soil must be thoroughly tilled. Every root must be removed. Every time a new sprout pops up it must be plucked out immediately. This is how we are to tend to the garden of our lives. Daily we need to be bringing our sins before the Lord to eradicate. Only He can remove them completely. It is up to us however to desire for this to be done. If we are still exposing ourselves to the same situations where we are most likely to sin, then we are not fully working with Him to cleanse our lives.
Think of how much time a gardener spends in his garden. He daily waters, prunes his plants, and pulls weeds. Much care is taken to ensure His plants are thriving the best way they can. In much the same way we are to tend to our hearts. Daily we must water our spirits with the Word of God. Soak in His truths. Bathe in His words. Let them go down deep to the roots of our heart. This is where real growth happens. We do not want shallow plants that will wither when hard times come. We want strong lives that can withstand the storms of life. We need to be continuously fed the Word of God like a tree that is growing next to a river. The Bible speaks of this 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.”
Job 11:14 “Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.”
Colossians 3:8 “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”
James 1:21 “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”