… sweet, glorious reminders

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Friday morning. Warmth of the sun shines through the blinds. Hillsong & Gungor play on repeat.

And, I am overwhelmed.

And, reminded by this garden how sweet our God is.

I honestly forget to water the garden, so when I do I give a double and triple the amount of water I think it needs.

Grated, I have no idea but if I’ve missed a few days and rain has been if-y….. Certainly it needs more right? Hope I’m not drowning them.

And, I’m overwhelmed again. As I type this. I’m overwhelmed.

20130621-101306.jpgFor me, this garden has become the ultimate metaphor for life.

It’s a constant reminder of how just the smallest amount of love and attention, how situations, relationships, & circumstances can change.

A little more attention.
A bit more grace.
A little more forgiveness.
More mercy.
More faith.
A little bit of hope.

Water. Sunshine. The negative removed.

Prayer. Faith. Hope. Love.
The greatest of these is love.

Without it our relationships are ruined. Without it we give less grace & mercy.
Without it we’re less patient. Less forgiving. Less understanding. Less likely to reconcile. Less likely to care. To try. To give. To sacrifice.

Faith keeps us trusting the promises of God.

Hope keeps us motivated enough to go to God. Keeps us humble. Keeps us working towards our desires. It won’t let us quit.

It seems as if every week, I see a difference. A slight change in my flowers.

Flowers that were there but didn’t have what they needed to grow. To become beautiful. To give life & hope to those watching them for encouragement. A small sign that all the watering, pulling of weeds, & effort is doing some good.

They needed consistency. Love. Faith. Hope.

I wonder how drastically our lives would change if we were willing to DO even the smallest amount more than what we say we’re going to do.

If our speech was laced with grace, forgiveness, & understanding.

If we depended on the Holy Spirit to guide our every action.

If God’s character & personality was what we goaled to emulate instead of allowing our egos to drive us.

What if Christ actions were what we so intently watched & His words were ours instead of allowing the culture’s way of life to be our example.

Yes. We would behave differently. Yes, some wouldn’t like us. But, we’d draw more men to Him through our patience, kindness, humility, service, and smiles.

We would be loving people. We would be making a difference.

Those watching us would find hope in our transparency & honesty. They would desire to know what it is that causes us to rejoice in trying times. We would attract people by the light being radiated through us – the light that is our Father.

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Our redeemer. Our salvation. Our companion. The giver of Life. The Bread of Life. The comforter. Our friend. Our protector and provider.

I can’t help but thank God for the desire to tend to that garden out there. What a blessing it has been. I have a real life example of how my Creator makes new & beautiful things. How HE loves His creations.

How there is always something working underneath the surface, things going on that we can’t see & don’t understand. But, as we water, allow light to shine, & remove the negative – how things grow and change. How these baby flowers or leaves or whatever they are are growing. And the little buds we are beginning to see aren’t the end.

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Once we see progress, we still have to weed and water. Its not time to rest & bask in the fact that there is progress. That little plant, the change, has a great life before it and if we continue to do our part, it can become something truly beautiful. The plant, the improvement can wither just as easily if we choose not to work just as hard to keep what we’ve worked for.

“You make me new. You are making me new. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.” – Beautiful Things by Gungor. It’s the song on our Chrome Buffalo video. You can watch that here.

God is working. Always. We just have to act in faith. Trust Him actively. Continue to seek Him – especially in those moments when we feel like we’re drowning.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid because of them. It is God who goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you”

… Here’s to little gardens that glorify our God and tell of His goodness & faithfulness!

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… progress

I just realized that it’s 8:05p. Which wouldn’t typically be a big deal but this is literally the night of the LAST holiday of the school year. We have two and a half  more school days a work day left.

I am beyond overjoyed.

And, as I said a few posts ago…. I’ve thought up an end of the year gift for my students about an hour or so ago. Which is exciting. I think it will be uber cute and the best part about it is that there is no paint or anything else that would qualify “arts/crafts” required to complete this project. Just a scissors. And, not the squiggly ones either. Plain Jane scissors. I’m quite proud of myself. Simplicity at it’s finest. LOL.

The only summer project I’ve assigned to myself was tending to my little backyard/patio garden deal. I still don’t quite know what to call it but I figure that that’s small potatoes. We moved into a little townhome community a few months ago – it’s quiet and cute. I love it. It was still cold. We didn’t go outside to our patio. Ever. We probably stepped outside less than a total of 5 times.

And, because we tend to get some pretty good sunlight from the windows, we’d open our blinds and let the sun flow through. It was great, we loved it.

But, I started to notice that there was a little forest growing outside… through the bricks that made our patio.

Because,well…. plants tend to grow. And, so do weeds.
It was almost like the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are”….. The plants and weeds were getting a bit outta hand.

And, I made it a priority to clean it up!
For a few reasons.
1. It was just ugly
2. It’s summer time and we’d defintely begin to have friends over and I wasn’t allowing anyone on our jungle patio.
3. Our neices would be invading in a bit over a month and they’d need somewhere to play that didn’t require a machete, boots, and a little string attached to the door knob that wrapped around their waists to show them the way home.
Most importantly…
4. My garden, my home, my car, my any and everything has been given to me by God to use for His glory. None of it is mine. It’s borrowed STUFF. This LAND, He’s given to me is also a borrowed something that He’s commanded me to take care of.
So…. hello, conviction. This is what really had my kick myself into high gear and get to it.

The recognition of purpose will have you moving a little bit faster and doing things a bit differently.

Hubs and I went to Home Depot to figure a few things out. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to plant but thought it was most important to get the first steps out of the way – cut down the forest and get some sort of weed killer.
DONE.

So, today, my mom, sister, and stepdad came over so that we could tend to our garden/forest.

This was our backyard/patio situation prior to the “tending” today.
{{And, yes… I’m only slightly ashamed but more on that in a minute…}}
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But, then we bind ourselves to our God and we begin see progress.

All of that junk is being uprooted.
He uses tools. People. Pain. Uncomfortable situations. and, effort to pull all of the things that keep us from Him, the things that cause of shame, the things that keep us searching the world for what He can only give us.

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We begin to believe the promises we read about. The ones telling us to trust in our Father. That He will never leave us nor forsake us. That all things work together for good for those who love the Lord. That the struggles we go through produce character, peseverance, patience, and endurace.

Our faith is increased. Our hope in the Lord increases. Our desire for Him begins to grow.

We trust that God can make something beautiful of it all in His own time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) And, we find joy and hope in that because we know that God’s timing is always perfect.

I’m not compeltely ashamed of my forest of a patio because I know that things happen… No one is perfect. That priorities shift when God is ready for them to.
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I wasn’t into gardening or tending to the Earth before. I didn’t want to pull, plant, or produce anything. People who gardened and were able to keep things alive blew my mind. The fact that someone was able to plant something that successfully grew amazed me.

But, that wasn’t for me.
like adoption, feeding the homeless, forgiving inspite of, giving, serving, listening to a certain kind of music, reading certain kinds of books, or wanting to submit no matter what.
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It’s funny how when we submit ourselves to God’s plans and desires for us, the many things that we felt weren’t for us are the very things we find the most peace, joy, and purpose in.

My little patio/garden isn’t perfect. But, it’s a lot better than it used to be.
No more weeds. Dead, lifeless flowers and plants are gone. Nothing blocking or distracting from the good that is.
after2Even though the patio isn’t lush and full of beautiful plants and flowers just yet…. It’s much more beautiful in its “cleanliness”and “plainness” that it was before.
{{{…. do you hear a little something about modesty…. or, is it just me???}}}
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We have to remember, that sometimes, the lack of ____ in our life is much better than a life full of _____.

… here’s to God’s amazing grace. redemption. forgiveness. grace. love. mercy. endurance. patience. submission. willingness.

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