Thursday, April 28, 2011

If I Knew I Could, I Would...

The Gypsy Mama challenges us for a five minute writing spree...this is what my fingers came up with...

If I knew I could, I would...
Figure out the middle and end of my novel.  I would keep writing poetry and get my second book done.  I'd design and promote that idea I have.  I would reach out and grab the hand of my angel and test my flight plan.  I would find a way to really make a difference and be the prayerful Mama I wish and pray to be.

I would add more items to my list of 1000 things I'm grateful for...and I'd find a way to press in some yellow flowers from my sweet boy.

If I knew I could, I would...tell those I care about the things that hurt me and ask them without fear to understand why they need to stop gossiping, judging, swearing and hurting.

If I knew I could, I would...move to the ocean or the mountains for a while anyway and if I knew I could, I would catch up on those pages and print those photos and I would laugh a bit more wildly.

If I knew I could, I would...find something to say with only two minutes out of five left that is profound, moving and could make a difference to someone. But with less than a minute left I'm a tired, inspired, creative, loving, praying, ranching Mama and wife...who is thankful for it all to her gracious Savior!

If I knew I could, I would...I would say I know I can and I will...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Can I ask you a question?

God is so amazing!  Our Heavenly Father blesses us with not answering us when we demand it.  He blesses us with making our own discoveries and finding our way to Him.

I never would have noticed this before I became a Mom.  To a son who questions everything and wants to know not just the why but the how and the what if...

He doesn't have the maturity or the experience to really grasp the answers I could give him.  So I give him what I know he can understand to help him grow.  I don't overwhelm him and I try to be loving even when I've got to be strict.

I could answer his every question to my own personal level of knowledge but that would be CRUEL and WRONG.  He is a child.  He cannot grasp the things I can.

Oh how wonderful God is that He doesn't give in to our demanding, endless questions with a overwhelming knowledge.  He gives us what we can handle, when we can handle it.  No more, no less, not too early and never too late.  He knows perfectly what and when we need.

As a Mom I can in a small way appreciate that.  I don't  need to know.  Where is the faith in that? Where is our serving of grace?  Where is the love?  I need to have faith.  I need to have heavenly love.  I need to be given the answers I can handle.

God, knowing our questioning ways and our stubborn natures,reaches us through our need to know.  We are taught to seek Him in His word and find our way to faith through grace.  We are to seek faith, hope and love.  We teach our children the same - what a wonderful example God gives us!

God, your daughter thanks you and as a Mom I thank you for the example and the blessing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tangled Roots

"Kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth. You're closer to God's heart in a garden than any place else on earth." -- Dorothy Frances Gurney

Spring. A time to get in the dirt and get ready for planting!  A time to prepare for blooms and new growth.

Spring. It is a time to clean out the stuff that is in the way of growing.  This Lent I was way out of my comfort zone and doing some serious internal cleaning. God is merciful and has a gentle hand.  My soul's garden was full of grass roots, stinging nettles and weeds which all needed to be pulled so that the flowers and trees and fruits could grow.

There are a few ways to get the tangled roots taken care of.  I'm not a fan of chemicals but for some they blaze away with Round Up or other 'killers'.  Dead zone. Dead zone. But where is the mercy and life in that?

Some take a spade and dig it all up and turn it over.  The grass and roots are no longer seen. The soil seems nice and dark, rich and ready to care for new life.  The old roots and tangles are still there. They are waiting to come up.  Nothing can grow well for long in this garden.

Psalm 104:14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth:

Some pull each weed and grass out one by one. This is hard work, a true labour of love. But if you are only pulling the tops off the roots can still grow another one.  Thistles and grass are like this - one is sharp and spreading, the other spreading with dense roots.  Neither one has much mercy on the tender plants you put there.

There are times to take all your tools - spade, fork, knife, knee pads and gloves and really get into the dirt.  Dig deep, reach in with your hands pull out those tangled roots, those weeds from their bottom side. Shake off the soil, put back the earthworms and you are ready for new growth.  You are ready for the root plants to come back, for new seeds and seedlings to thrive.  It's hard work. Your hands get sore, your knees and back ache.  Done right, however I've learned, it leads to fewer weeds and much less grass to deal with all summer long.

Luke 12:27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Our lives are like flower beds and gardens - they grow the seeds of God's love and of our testimony.  They are the places that can be filled with color, light, love and beauty or they can be weed choked, tangle rooted and filled with stuff other than God's grace and love.

Instead of dreading the weeding take some time to pray as you clean out those flower beds and gardens.  As you are cleaning, it will free up your spirit and mind for God to clean in your soul too!  Who knows what beauty lies beneath your tangled roots.

If you garden, why don't you grow a row for a shelter or food bank in your area, or share flowers and other lovely things as a way to share God's grace with those around you.  Someone might even wish to help in your garden and learn to do their own...just a thought from my May Missions: Bread for the Body, Flowers for the Soul.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Palm Sunday at Home

and yet here it is Tuesday!  Tell me how that happened!

The story of our Palm Sunday Adventures will be on my sister-blog Mystic-Mom for those who wish to tour over there.  This is the story I was starting to write when I realized God had other plans for me than those I had made!

Let me say here, at the outset, that I've learned some things in my life.  One is when you listen God speaks.  The trick is to be quiet enough to hear Him. My road that Sunday morning was paved thick and smooth with good intentions!  Church with friends, early Palm Sunday service.  We had it all planned and we were excited.

Scroll back to Saturday night - little man was up late and then he was up in the night and Mama never the morning person was so tired that she finally awoke to PANIC because no one can get ready and gone in 15 minutes.  And to arrive rushed and out of breath seemed to be wrong on this Palm Sunday.  A quick text and then at least a little smooth path for some devotional time.

No, not a chance, because our neighbor (bless him!) came to help feed the animals.  It was he who found my Lord's reason for keeping me at home.  A newborn calf.  Tiny. Helpless. Cold in the wind and pellets of snow.  Barely seen in the pile of hay.  Alone. No other cows near by.

Thank you, Lord! For keeping us home.  For ensuring that we found this sweet new life.  For I know that she too is precious to Him.Thank you for ensuring I could hear You!

As I was sitting and waiting for my ever patient husband and our cattle dog to bring the cows up I prayed, I thought about Palm Sunday when Jesus was riding on that young donkey.  This is the post I wrote, huddled up next to a calf, behind a bale, in the wind.  The last place I thought I'd be after planning something so different!

Jesus knew what Palm Sunday was all about.  He knew that this was the beginning of the end...for now.  How it must have ached His heart to ride in and be cheered as a King on a colt riding to praise, songs and worship.  He knew that their hopes, their dreams their wishes for Him wouldn't be coming true this Passover.  He knew that their joy would become terror and then horror and dismay before it could be joy again.

He knew the humility of man and He knew the future of the people.  He knew the horror of the cross would take many many years to become a symbol of His peace.  The tiny fish (see my post from last Easter on this here) would be the secret sign for believers to find each other in a blood washed time.  He knew that the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod would all play their part in what they saw as THEIR VICTORY.

The ache of love and the dread of being wholly human to bear our sin must have been a weight on Him. Yet on that Sunday, the songs, the colt, the love in the air must have been both sweet and bitter.  A praise and a dirge.  A bright song before a dark night.  A loving embrace before a tragic parting.  The freedom to move before the weight of the whole word would rest upon a bruised and human body.

Reading a book by Jim Bishop, The Last Day of Christ, really painted a vivid picture for me.  It took me past the loose pieces of Gospel and history and wove me a moving set of images.  How much Jesus loves us that He willingly took on this task.  That He put aside everything for us.

So, there I was, sitting on the cold ground, talking to the cat and the calf, and praying.  Praying about  the wonders of Easter and saying thanks for the blessings in our lives, and thinking about that paving of good intentions.  If they only knew but couldn't.  If he could only make them understand but they wouldn't.  But we can!  We can see what Jesus did for us and we can, wherever we are, remember that Sunday.

We can celebrate it, knowing in truth what we are celebrating, unlike those people so long ago who did not really understand.  How could they?  Sometimes I wonder - how can I?  We celebrate the victory, before the battle, knowing that Jesus wins!  We celebrate the victory.  We remember the price that was paid for victory.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Untangling Meekness

The meek shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

But the meet will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:11

humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness - according to a Google search

Okay...this is one place I struggle mightly!  I am not generally a submissive, cowed or often mild.  I'm wild, passionate and I work really hard to find balance.  Balance is something God and I work on together - lots!

Being thought of as meek has been a less than positive thing in my type A world.  Meek people are losers, they are the ones who get walked on and end up being used.  They are not the take charge type.

This is what I was taught and I have to say I was taught wrong!  When I read in my NIV Study Bible the Biblical meaning for meek I was stunned!  I literally sat back and thought, "Oh Lord! If that is MEEK then please may I be MEEK!?"

"Meek - those who humbly acknowledge their dependence on the goodness and grace of God and betray no arrogance toward their fellow men."  Oh and the reminder that "great peace" can also mean "unmixed blessedness".  Unmixed. Pure. Direct from God blessedness!

How often have you said, or heard, it was a mixed blessing.  Or that someone had to really look for the blessing in the mess.  I've said it.  I used to say it.  Now I understand what great peace can mean.  Now I can understand meekness better.  

I can be meek and it doesn't mean weak.  Nor does it mean easily taken advantage of or even loser.  

It means knowing, acknowledging, where the source of all I am and all I have is.  That source is not me!  That source is God!

I depend upon God for the breath I breathe.
I depend upon God for the goodness I'm blessed with.
I depend upon God to fulfill my function for Him just like a spout depends upon the water, direct from The Source!

How does meek feel?  It doesn't feel weak and it doesn't feel poorly.  It feels abundant.

Whenever I feel arrogant (and trust me I can!) I try to remember what meek really means to God.  

God doesn't want my pride and He doesn't want my arrogance.  No more than he wants me to be cowed or submissive to the world.  He doesn't want my false humbleness or my vain mildness.  He wants it to be genuine, and He knows when it is from me.  He knows when it is from Him.

I am a muddy, shallow puddle.  God is a pure, deep spring.
Unless it comes to be from God then it will be from me.

I've struggled this past couple of months, outside my comfort zone, and this pair of verses along with the wonderful teaching of Biblical meekness has brought me another lesson, in being truly humble in acknowledging the Source of all goodness in my life.  It isn't my work, or my words.  It is God's and His alone.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings in Your Word.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessings in our lives that come from You.
Help us remember, O Lord, when we are busy and stressed.
Help us slow down, O Lord, and refresh and refuel at you, our Source,
so that we may continue to do Your work and honour You.