Garden

I have a confession to make…I kill plants.  I LOVE plants, but for the life of me I cannot keep a plant alive.  I am not lying.  Every single plant I have tried to take care of, I kill it.  When we moved into our house 11 years ago my heart broke for the rose bushes the previous owner left behind because I knew if I tried to take care of them they would die.   The only thing I do is throw away any branches that dry up and fall off. So I have left them alone.  Fully expecting them to die away.  Yet, every spring I watch as they bloom.  Big, beautiful, and bright.  I always joke that the reason they grow is because I do NOT touch them.  Today I went outside to take a look at them.  My husband had sent me a picture yesterday of the roses saying I needed to check them out and see how beautiful they are.  So today I went…. I stood there and stared at them.  They are beautiful.

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Now I need to tell you what I did this weekend.

I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted a job for a sound board tech for a women’s conference that a church in a neighboring town was having.  It was a God orchestrated appointment.  You know the kind He sneaks up on you and you’re going, “What in the world are you thinking, Lord!”  Long story short… a friend that was a friend of someone at this church recommended me when they announced they were looking for a sound-woman.  Small world, BIG God!  Now I have done sound at my church for almost 10-years, but I am in no way a pro.  I have done sound for two other women’s conferences in this neighboring town for a group of women who are my friends and every single time I am so nervous my hands are shaking.  But not this weekend.  From the moment I typed out the words, “Message me with information if you’re still looking for someone…”, there was a peace so overwhelming that I might as well have just said yes to hanging out with friends for the weekend.  Now there’s a lot I know about the sound board and twice as much that I still don’t know.  But I did have the knowledge this particular job needed.  So I stepped out of my comfort zone in a weird sense of peace, that could have only come from God, and accepted the offer.

As the weekend unfolded I met new people who spoke life into me and I let God use me to speak life into some of their lives.  Prophetic words were spoken over me and I spoke prophetic words over others.  It was amazing.  There wasn’t any anxiety at all the whole time, which is what usually happens when I step out of my comfort zone.  Now at one point one of the speakers used a garden as an example for our relationship with God.  She wanted us to picture our garden (us as in your spirit) and to began to cultivate it alongside God.  All I could think about was how I KILL EVERY PLANT I HAVE EVER OWNED!  If I imagined my garden it would be full of dead flowers, plants– you name it–  even the weeds would be dead.  All you have to do is pass by my house and see my yard to see that the woman who lives in that house surely does not have a a green thumb!  So I just shook my head and said well I can’t relate to that analogy.  But God has a funny way about using the things in our lives that we think have no significance.  So back to the beginning of my post…

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I’m staring at these big, beautiful, bright roses and God begins to speak to my heart.  Now remember I have made a deliberate decision all these years to not water, not feed, not tend to these roses because I kill plants.  The only thing I do is throw away any branches that dry up and fall off.  These roses do not rely on me for what they need to grow.  They only rely on what He provides for them.  And He wrecked my heart with that one realization.  I have only grown in Him not because of anything I have done, but because all He has done and continues to do for me.  He has changed and cultivated me.  He is my sustenance.   And He began to show me, just like another speaker said this weekend, that He is my vine dresser.  He delights in me.  He knows what my garden looks like and He sustains it and He cultivates it.  All I have to do is let Him.  All I have to do is give Him reign over me and He does the rest.  I am a new creation only because of what He has done for me.  And He will continue to do it.   All I have to do is open myself to Him and He does the rest.  All I need is to be willing and Papa will take care of the rest.  All I have to say is here I am, Lord, use me.  Grow me.  Send me where you want.  Not my will, but thy will, Lord.  Break my heart for what breaks yours.  Create in me a heart of flesh.  Cut out what is not good.  Grow in me what is good.

“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit].  You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you].  Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you.  Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me.  I am the Vine; you are the branches.  The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.  I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you].   If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.  I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”

John 15: 1-11 AMP

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Waiting

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     I am in a season of waiting.  Waiting for things to fall into place.  Waiting for things to change.  Waiting for God to move.  Waiting to see where He wants me to move.  I have been in this place of waiting for about three years now.  It has not been easy, but all the while God has been here along side me teaching me how to wait on Him.  It has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Trying not rush his plan.  Trying not to take a step without his direction and counsel.  Trying not to want to fix everything myself because, of course, if I could just fix it and He could just bless it—that would be great.

     I have learned a lot about the character of God in the past three years.  I have learned that He wants what is best for us and if we lean into Him He will show us what that best is.  I have learned that I can’t worry about everything.  I have to give everything to Him.  Not a little bit.  Not half of it.  But all of it to Him.  I have had to learn to rest in Him for all things.  He is our provider in all things.  I have learned to rely only on my Heavenly Father for all my needs.  No matter what tried to knock me down He was there to shield me, lift me, or walk me through it.

     Though I can see the light at the end of this season I know I’m not quite done waiting.  And that is okay.  Because I know that whatever God has in store for me can only be good.  I now can fully and utterly say that I trust wholeheartedly in Him no matter what I may be seeing.  I can now say I seek Him first in all things I do.  I may be in a season of waiting, but God is helping me learn how to wait in motion.

 

Who God Says I Am

Many times we put ourselves down.  We think we can’t accomplish, succeed, or go after our goals.  We think we aren’t good enough, smart enough, tough enough, or <fill in the blank>  enough.  We let the voices tell us that … Continue reading

Diligence

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So for the past few months God has been working on something in my life.  He has been working on my diligence.  Luke 16:10 tells us, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”  This verse has not gotten out of my head for weeks!  It’s like a song playing on repeat.  If I want God to bring new opportunities into my life I have to work to show Him that I can do it.  I have to show Him that I can be faithful in the little things.

Those little things, no matter how insignificant they seem to be, show Him I am capable of being diligent over anything.  No matter how mundane you think a task is in your everyday life do it with enthusiasm.  Romans 12:11 (NLT) says, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”.  In the God’s Word Translation this verse reads, “Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord.”.  See?  When you are diligent with the little, you are showing your devotion to God; and there is not a devotion too small that doesn’t please Him.

If I make this a habit in my everyday life with my everyday little things  then when the large ones come my way I will already have the tools I need to be faithful in the large ones.  Luke 16:10 goes on to say, “But if you are dishonest in the little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”.  How can I know how to react or have a good attitude or be diligent toward a huge responsibility if I never knew how to react or how to have a good attitude or how to be diligent with a small responsibility.

Here’s an example.  I have been teaching my kids to keep their rooms clean.  I didn’t start off by saying, “Here’s the furniture polish and vacuum.  Now go clean your room.”  Those little eyes would have looked up at me in disbelief.  Even if they had tried their best the rooms would not have been done correctly.  I can just see it now…toys under or on top of the bed or perhaps just thrown into the closest.  Furniture soaked in polish.  Maybe even soaked into the carpet.  Toys in the vacuum.  Maybe even a broken vacuum because they ate something with it they shouldn’t have.  Complete chaos.  I have to teach them how to clean their rooms little by little.  This has not been something that I have been trying to teach them for just the past couple of days or weeks.  I have been teaching them since they were toddlers.  This is on going.  When they were small I taught them how to put their toys back into the bucket when they were done playing.  I taught them to look around to make sure nothing was left behind.  As they got bigger I taught them where the bucket went when they were done putting the toys in.  As they got older I showed them how to make their bed.  Then how to straighten out their closet.  How to throw their dirty clothes in the hamper.  How to hang up their clothes or put them away in drawers.  Then how to clean the furniture.  Now we are working on how to vacuum their rooms.  Am I teaching them this so I can have a clean house?  Of course!  That’s looking at in the short term.  In the long term I want them to know how to keep their room clean in college and how to keep a clean house/apartment when the time comes.  I am teaching them something they will need to know when they get older.  Along the way they are learning how to be “faithful in the little” so that one day they will be “faithful in large ones.”  How can your Heavenly Father trust you with the large responsibilities when you don’t do your best or you don’t know how to do the small ones first?  Talk about feeling convicted when the Lord showed me that!

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.”,  Hebrews 6:11 (NIV).  God wants us to fulfill the calling He has placed on our lives.  He has shown me I need to be diligent in the small everyday tasks He has assigned for me.  Only then will bigger and better assignments come along.  How can I expect Him to make my dreams and desires a reality if He can’t trust me with them?