Broken Fences

b099e3ee-a45d-4f37-90c8-d3cf83e07397The far back corner of our property has some of the worst fences we own. It’s wooded and overgrown with raspberry thickets and multi-flora roses.

The barbed wire is old and weak. The woven wire is saggy.

We patch and we fix, knowing that what we really need to do is rip the whole thing out and put in new. But it just never makes it to the top of the to-do list.

It’s the weak spot in our defenses.

A few weeks ago a neighbor got a new bull – a noisy, take-charge type – that has let the entire countryside know of his arrival. His arrogant bellowing was a challenge to our cows.

It didn’t take them long to find the weak spot and push their way through. Twice.

A cow round-up gives one ample time to think, and I pondered the profound as I drove the 4 wheel drive through the neighbor’s rainy pasture.

I have personal weak spots.

There are areas in my life where my defenses are low, and I am the most vulnerable.

And it’s at those weak spots that the bellowing of the world will be heard the loudest; that the siren call to see what was on the other side will be the most alluring.

It’s in those vulnerable areas, that I will be tempted to push my way through and wander in areas that I don’t belong, away from the protected pastures that God has prepared for me.

There is no way that I can silence the neighbor’s arrogant bull, and there is no way to silence the call of the world around me.

But I can identify those weak spots.

Use scriptures like barbed wire to protect myself.

And fix that fence.

The Big Picture

My quilt project this year is rather unique.

Normally when I make a quilt block you can see the quilt’s design – Ohio star, log cabin, 9 patch.

But these quilt blocks look odd – almost like a mistake.

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It’s only when you put them together that you see the pattern.

Each individual quilt block becomes a part of the bigger picture.

Stars are formed.

Random squares are joined to make paths and outline.

Each individual block makes sense when it becomes a part of the whole.

IMG_3279So often there are seasons in life that are just like my quilt blocks – on their own they don’t make sense.

They look odd and out of context.

They seem to be a mistake.

We wish we could design them differently – rearrange the situations, change the outcomes, make each one pretty in it’s own way.

But God – the master Designer – saw the big picture.

He knew how the individual parts would come together.

He would make the shadows into stars.

And define them with light.

A perfect plan.

 

Let There Be Light

800px-Raggio_di_luce_(478959076)My husband recently purchased several LED light bulbs. I didn’t really pay any attention until he replaced the burned out bathroom bulb with one of the new LED ones.

I was surprised by how bright it was!

So bright that the bathroom that I thought was clean now looked dingy and dirty.

It’s amazing what light reveals.

Last fall I spent several days washing all 50 windows in our old farmhouse. It was late afternoon when I finally finished the ten windows in the sun room.

The next morning as I stepped into the room to admire my hard work, I looked to the east and was shocked to see that one of the windows was absolutely filthy.

Then I remembered a phone call that had interrupted my work the day before. In the distraction, I must have forgotten to finish that window.

What was unnoticed in the dusk, was painful highlighted in the full sun of the morning.

It’s amazing what light reveals.

Have you ever lost something in the cavernous depths of the closet?

Stubbed your toe on the bed while answering a child’s cry at midnight, then fumbled finding the door knob in the blackness?

It’s amazing what light reveals.

It both illuminates and exposes.

It can drive away the scary monsters in a toddler’s room at night.

It allows a plant to feed itself with photosynthesis and grow.

It guides ships safely into harbor.

Just a few weeks ago we sat in a dark church on Christmas Eve holding candles and reflecting on the birth of the baby in the manger.

The Light of the World.

“I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Why are we stumbling around in the darkness of unbelief?

Why are we being tossed around by the angry seas of circumstances?

Why are we allowing the monsters of fear, uncertainty, discouragement, and worry scare us?

We have the Light of the World!

Away with the darkness, enough of the night!

Let there be Light!

Photo credit: Raggio di luce

Nothing Planted, Nothing Gained

SeedThere were no “ideal conditions” to garden in this year.

Our plan of action was to keep throwing seeds in the ground in hopes that something would grow.

So I sowed abundantly – despite the mud and the weeds and the nasty weather.

If I had veggies for every seed I put in the ground this year I could have started my own farmer’s market.

But many didn’t germinate.

And some of the ones that did were drowned out or overtaken by weeds.

But at least they had a chance to grow.

Unlike the many seeds still in packets that never even got planted, like the herb garden that never got expanded and the new flower bed that didn’t get dug up.

I had every intention of planting them.

But those seeds are still sitting here – at the end of July – with no chance of growing because they were never sown.

This week, as I worked my way through the forest of grass that is my garden, I thought of all the other “seeds” that I have not sown.

The note of encouragement that never got written.

The get well gift that never got delivered.

The offer of help that was never extended.

The word of counsel that wasn’t given.

The time in prayer that wasn’t taken.

The invitation that was never extended.

All those seeds that will never have a chance to produce fruit, because they were never sown.

Good intentions.

Noble thoughts.

Seeds of kindness and love and faith.

All waiting for ideal conditions that never came.

There can be no harvest when the seeds are never planted.

So I ask you – what seeds do you need to sow today?

Tender Transplants

I’ve spent a great deal of time digging in the dirt in the last few weeks.

I’ve divided African violets, re-potted house plants, and transplanted tender seedlings into larger containers.

Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, eggplants, cauliflower.

eggplant seedlingsIt’s a slow, meticulous and rather messy job,  but it does give one a great deal of time to think.

While my hands were covered in potting soil and I carefully moved the tender root systems from one container to a larger one, it suddenly came to me that I am in a transplanting season in life.

My kids are growing up fast and and leaving. They are being transplanting from our home to homes and apartments of their own.

They’ve outgrown their old lives just as my seedlings have outgrown their pots.

They need more room.

But, unlike my plants, I will not be the one to transplant my children. It’s time for them  to do it for themselves.

New jobs, new classes, new friends.

New problems, new responsibilities, new decisions.

On their own.

As I looked down at the tomato seedling in my hand and saw it’s fragile roots, I realized how vital a strong root system is to a plant.

How much more so for my children!

tomato seedlingsAnd my momma heart prayed, “Take care of the roots, children!”

Those precious roots that your dad and I have tried to build into your lives.

Roots that will anchor you in the bedrock of strong faith.

Roots that will help you stay strong when the world is storming around you.

Watch those roots!

Tend them carefully.

Water them.

Give them good soil.

Let them grow deep and strong.

Please children, hear your momma’s heart.

Take care of the roots.