Pruning Possibility

I went for a run (okay, a walk/jog) this morning at my favorite little walking trail.  It was cool but one of those perfectly crisp late fall mornings.  As I rounded the last turn, panting because I had upped my jog just slightly, I noticed a worker pruning away all the dried dead flowers in the butterfly garden.  The butterfly garden is the most beautiful place of the trail.  It’s a small serene sitting area surrounded by flowers and trees that attract hundreds of butterflies in vast variety.  But today, it was desolate. As the worker clipped and snapped, he formed massive piles of stems, leaves and dried petals.  He carefully snipped each one until the garden was barren.

It was a somber sight, the impending winter looming in the chill of the morning air.  I love this garden.  It’s where I have summer picnics with my son and sunny day chats with my best friends.  Yet today it was vacant and void.  For a moment I had that empty feeling.  The one you got as a kid on the last day of summer break; that feeling of loss that comes at the end of a season.

Then I remembered.  In order for the spring to come, the winter must stake its claim.  In order for new growth to occur, the pruning must take place.  Plants must be pruned for a season, in order to return more healthy and vibrant.  This garden will flourish again in the right season, at the right time.  Yet, if not properly cared for, it would cease to thrive.

Oh but if we could remember this truth in our days of pruning!  As God shapes and molds us, cuts back and snips away at the dead places within us it is painful.  Yes painful but, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

After all, as I’ve heard it said before, the meantime is called the “mean time” for a reason.  Life comes in seasons and though the winter can be long and cold and at times seem unending, the spring is coming.  It is coming.

Let us look forward to the spring but remember the winter has its place for a purpose.  If rooted well, a plant survives the winter, coming back stronger and heartier in the spring.  My mom always said about planting Hosta, “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap”.  If properly cared for and rooted in good soil, given the necessary protection, these plants will grow in great abundance.

We, if rooted in good soil, will survive even the harshest winter to come forth blooming in great abundance in the spring!

Hebrews 12:11, Ecclesiastes 3:1

Fear to Freedom

hebrews-12-1Fear.  This filthy little monster creeps in unexpectedly to rob joy, steal hope and stifle dreams.  Fear causes immobility because it whispers the “what ifs” that lead to deception.  Fear is the one lie that offers a bounty of lies in its wake.  It creeps in slowly, unknowingly and often disguised as reason, logic or reality. It takes the fragile flower of hope and crushes it with doubt. It leaves confusion where there was peace and fog where there was vision.  Fear breeds rapidly if not recognized and removed.  It gives life to deception which leads to discouragement.  Discouragement causes defeat and defeat leads to despair.

Despair; “the complete loss or absence of hope”.

God does not give us the spirit fear. He “gives not a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound-mind”.  Fear comes from the “enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour”.  Fear is one of the enemy’s most powerful tools and it comes so often in disguise that recognizing the root of our rot as fear, can be difficult.  Yet, nothing is impossible for our God!  “For we know all things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose”. All things.  Our God is mighty, strong, a consuming fire.  “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”.  For “all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be and we are God’s masterpiece”. He has “created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”.

Fear says, “its impossible”, God says, “I’ve already made the way”.

“Let us then strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us”.

Let us run.  Not from fear, but without it.  Let us drop our chains, the ones God never intended for us and let us run. Run in hope. Run with vision. Run with purpose. Run in the direction of the dreams God has placed in your heart.  Run in freedom.

2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8, Romans 8:28, Deuteronomy 4:24, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 12:1

Choice

courtesy coachjohnbrewer.com
courtesy coachjohnbrewer.com

The busier life gets, the more difficult it can be to “be still and know”. Even when I take the time to sit and rest in the presence of the Lord, I find my mind still spinning in several other directions and it seems nearly impossible to just rest. This morning I told the Lord I want to run away with Him, just us, no outside distractions, for a week. Then He reminded me how he uses all of this, these blessings that sometimes feel like burdens to teach me, to strengthen me and to reveal himself to me in new and glorious ways each day. Humph!, Ok then God, no chance you’re calling me out of my job and household duties today? Then help me open my eyes to seek your face and my ears to hear your voice above all the other noise that beckons for my attention. These blessings are beautiful but sometimes it feels like they’re piling up into one beautiful mess when I have little time to devote to each one. Remind me that only one thing is needed and help me choose the better portion. Choice. We do have a choice to make in every situation. The enemy would love to tell me I have no choice, I’m just too busy to concentrate on the Lord and I’ll never get my thoughts in order. Satan would love for me to buy the lie that I’m too weak, ill-equipped, or over-extended. He would love for me to believe I’ll never see any fruit from this business, my family or any other area of my life. If I buy in to that first whisper of doubt, that first lie that I says I have no choice, then I open myself to the downward spiral of lies that creep in like termites and quickly begin to rot away the truth. It is vital to know the truth and then choose to let it be your lifeline. The truth is God equipped me for this path before he even called me to it. He is faithful and constant and will never forsake me. God uses all of this for his glory! I choose Him. I choose truth.

Luke 10:42, Philippians 4:8, John 8:32, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 13:5

Roadblock

road_block

With a new year at hand I have been focused on goals; personal goals and business goals. I desperately want to be debt-free this year. God revealed to me this morning that I have been so focused on the end result that I have neglected to take the necessary steps to get there. In order to achieve any goal we must take action steps to achieve it and clear any road blocks in our path. He showed me an unresolved sin of jealously blocking my path. I have set myself up in comparison to others and feel inferior and unsuccessful when my accomplishments fail to meet theirs. He reminded me that my path, the path He set for me long ago, is completely unique. Comparing myself to others will only hinder the progress of my journey. How can I take forward strides on my path if my eyes are focused on someone else’s? “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” Clearing the stumbling block of sin from our path is the first step to achieving our goal. Not only did God remove this sin of comparing myself to others but I found myself lifting these people up in prayer. I want to see each of us succeed and be blessed by seeking God’s perfect plan. We are all His children and in this business we are all one team. We are all running the race set before us and are subject to the same pitfalls and spiritual attacks. God wants to bless each of us with that which he purposed for us long ago. Only the Holy spirit can reveal these things to us as we stay connected to Him. Today I allow God to clear my roadblock and begin to take the steps to achieve the goal set before me.

James 3:16, Hebrews 12:1, Ephesians 2:10