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Category Archives: Love God

Garden Work

garden

Each summer I volunteer some of my time at a local farm, pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables, mulching, filling CSA bags with goodies, whatever needs to be done. And if you’ve spent any time on a farm, you know that there is ALWAYS work to do.

My daughter had heard about this non-profit farm and years ago we visited it to see how we could help, over the years I keep returning. It requires a beautiful drive in the country to get there, and while I’m enjoying the scenery, I usually pray that God will use me at the garden, placing me with someone who needs a listening ear or encouragement, and He never fails to answer. I’ve had some wonderful conversations while working alongside interns, other volunteers and the farm family over the years.

Last week I drove out to the farm on a beautiful day, praying en route that I could be used to minister to whomever needed it most that day. I arrived and heard voices in a remote area of the farm, I followed the voices to find one intern (there are usually several) weeding a large area with a group of mentally challenged adults and a man who led the group. I quickly jumped in and began cleaning out the area alongside, making conversation as we worked. I was delighted to meet this group of young people who were willing to do hard work, and the intern kept complimenting and encouraging them. Before long, the group announced they were leaving the farm as their time was up, and the Intern said she had plenty to do elsewhere, would I be willing to continue weeding the area I had been working? Of course.

I started the lone task and before long became bored and hot. I kept looking around for someone to come and join me but there was no one to be found. This is unheard of, usually there are people all over, looking for ways to help each other. I found myself talking out loud to God: Lord, I feel like I’m missing something, I come here to help and I asked you to provide someone who needed ministering and I’m out here  alon…….oh. Suddenly I realized I was out in His creation, with no phone or distractions, open and available to hear from Him about how best to help someone. I was the one who needed it most that day.

For the next hour, I opened my heart to hear about the places that God wanted to work in me, about the sins I needed to confess and the weak areas that needed to be strengthened. I have often said that I feel closest to God when my hands are in the dirt, and this day was a gift just for me, as I pulled the weeds and dead layers from around leeks, onions and chard, God was doing the same in me. After all that was removed, it looked like not much was left, but what remained was strong and healthy, much like my own heart. I walked away from the area when my work was complete, never seeing another person at the farm that day.

As I was  driving home, I thought about my part in this; I was open and available, without distractions, doing work and asking God to show up. These are all things I should be doing regularly, because God is always willing to do His part. What seemed wrong and out of the norm was exactly what I needed that day. God has surprised me so many times in my life by allowing me to be used by Him in ministering to others in creative ways, and He did all over again. Just for me.

If you’re interested in a local non-profit farm or looking for a place to volunteer, I can certainly vouch for this this one: http://www.keipos.org/

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New Year, New You

resolution

It is that time again, the season to be thinking of all the ways to improve in life with New Year’s resolutions, when in reality maybe we need New Life resolutions. I don’t need lofty goals at the beginning of the year that will just make me feel bad about myself when I don’t reach them; I need attainable goals that I can set for a lifetime and keep. It reminds me of the difference between going on a fad diet and simply changing my eating for a lifetime. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here goes:

I will strive to have daily time with God through prayer, reading, and believing that He is right along beside me throughout my day (LOVE GOD)

I will strive to take care of myself by being intentional with food, exercise and relationships (LOVE SELF)

I will strive to cultivate intimacy with my guy, respect and trust with my teens, deeper relationships with a few and wider relationships with many (LOVE OTHERS)

Who’s with me?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbors as you love yourself. Matthew 12:30

What’s Your Sign?

hawkFor several years now I’ve had a theory and I am not at all interested in having anyone debunk it. In the past I had heard of people noticing something unusual, and attributing it to God; a certain song is played, lights come on for no reason, a certain animal is seen….that kind of thing. Some people believe when they witness one of these events, it’s a sign or a message from God. For the longest time I didn’t have anything like that, but about ten years ago I started noticing hawks. At first it was a novelty, really surprising each time one appeared, but then I started looking for them and was amazed at how often I would spy one nearby.

There are two main times when I tend to see a hawk: when I am questioning God and when I am fearful. I often pray out loud when I’m driving and I ask God a lot of questions, many times starting with the word ‘why’. I don’t often get an audible answer but I will invariably see a hawk within a couple of minutes of asking. I credit this to God, and view it as reassurance that He has it covered or confirmation that I am on the right path. There have been times when I have been very afraid – on the way to a doctors’ appointment or driving in an unknown place that feels unsafe and a hawk will appear, reassuring me that God sees me and knows how I feel, and again, He’s got it covered.

It may sound ridiculous, but I really don’t care. I’m not looking for validation because I truly feel like this is my own special signal to help me stay balanced when I’m likely to lose it. My question to you is this: what is your sign? What outward indicator do you have that reminds you that there is more at work than just what we can see, and that God is experiencing this life right along with you?

All Day

pray

I was settling in to bed last night, thinking through my last 15 hours and was convicted that I needed to pray for several people who had specifically asked for it, and for many others who hadn’t, and for situations that are occurring and others that possibly could. I was talking to God about talking to God, telling Him how much more I needed to be praying and wondering how to cover it all.

And then I was gently reminded; yes, this is a time when we need to be praying non-stop for our families and communities and states and countries just like so many points in history and like always, this can be done all day everyday. God walks alongside and is accessible all the time. Yes child, pray but do it constantly and for every thing.

It’s not just my right but my responsibility.

Growing Up

Image I grew up with the notion that God was distant and omnipotent, loving His people, but ready to punish and discipline as needed. I don’t fault my Sunday School teachers and their felt boards and characters, but the stories of Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale and even Daniel in the Lion’s Den didn’t do much to encourage a close, personal relationship with the All-Powerful. I was taught to pray before mealtime, at bedtime and at church. For years those prayers were rote words, recited out of fear and awe.

I am certain that the story of Jesus was taught at this time in my life, but beyond the basic message of salvation and the story of Zaccheus up in the tree, it’s all cloudy from the early years. Perhaps I was too young to understand grace and mercy, and only really heard about Jesus when I decided to listen, as a young adult. It was at this point that I understood the need for grace all too well. I began to pray my own words and my own heart for the first time, but because of all the mistakes and poor choices I had made, I spent years feeling unworthy of this gift of grace and relationship, rarely going beyond falling on my face with gratefulness.

I am so thankful that God has been patient with me, allowing me years to become comfortable enough to have an ongoing conversation with Him. It’s not that I now believe I’m worthy of this relationship, it’s more that I trust that He is good enough to make up for all that I lack. These days my prayers look very different; I see God as a constant presence in my day, going wherever I go and witnessing all that I say and do. This way of thinking helps me to stay in relationship with Him, and reminds me that what I am doing with my time matters. I try to let God guide my day, but I can still be pretty selfish and try to make my own way. I’m banking on His continual patience and steadfast love to grow me up into the person He wants me to be.

 

 

Chaos and Noise

map

I was running one day last week, more like fast walking if compared to my kids who run every stinking day, and using an app on my phone that maps the route, distance and time. My favorite feature about this app is that each time you tick a mile, a female voice announces your progress and the time that you have covered this new distance. It’s not much, but it works for me because I can track my rate and compare my time against a previous run.

I was running in a quiet neighborhood and knew that I should be hearing that wonderful declaration again at any moment, but all I got was two lawnmowers going at full tilt on the yards I was passing. I held my phone to my ear, waiting to hear the voice. The mowers seemed to be getting louder as I progressed, then I turned a corner and passed some trees and the world was quiet again. Missed it. I had to run another whole mile just to hear her again.

While waiting for the next marker I was thinking about how difficult it was to hear when the noise was right up on me, but all I needed to do was turn a corner and go a tad further for it all to die down again. My mind jumped to my relationship with Christ and the practical application was obvious. So often I say that I am waiting to hear his voice/answer/plan on an issue but then allow myself to stay surrounded by chaos and noise. I have the ability to keep myself distracted for days, even weeks, at a time if need be. Perhaps it is as simple as turning the corner and going a tad further to get back to the peace and quiet so I can hear His voice to help guide me home.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Get Behind Me, Satan

photo (16)  Catalog and direct sales companies send them out for a reason. If she just opens it once, she will see what her life could be…..

This is the lie that can grab hold and make you wonder if life wouldn’t be better if only…..

Not really all that different from a certain snake in a certain garden all those years ago…..

You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

 

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