A Gentle Reminder Part 2

Last week I shared how God used a daffodil to gently remind me how useless it was to worry. But that wasn’t the only lesson He wanted to teach me.

I’ve owned a Christmas cactus for many years. Somehow – even when every other plant I owned died from neglect – this one stayed alive.

My Grandma had a very large and beautiful Christmas cactus. I remember how excited she was when she could get it to bloom! She followed some special instructions that I could never remember – something about putting the plant in a cold dark place for a certain amount of time before bringing it into the warmth.

It was all very confusing to me, so I never worried about it. There were so many other things to think about it – like how to feed and cloth five children who were growing like weeds.

I was just happy that the plant was still alive.

BloomsThen – just the other day – I saw this.

My Christmas cactus had buds!

I had done nothing to encourage it to bloom. I didn’t put it in the dark or cold – and the poor thing was covered in dust!

Most of the time I either forgot to water it and when I did remember – I gave it too much.

I didn’t deserve those blooms. But God gave them to me anyway.

What a beautiful picture of grace.

Blooming Christmas Cactus

An unmerited favor. A blessing.

Those two beautiful blossoms  reminded me once again how very blessed I am.

I  had been spending so much time worrying, complaining and fretting over things that I wanted or situations that I felt needed to change, that I was missing the grace that was all around me.

And God blessed me with two breathtakingly beautiful, quite undeserved flowers to bring things back into perspective.

How about you?

Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”

Can you see them?

 

Speed Bumps

It’s been a week full of speed bumps.

You know  – those little unexpected things that jolt your day and keep things from running smoothly.

It started with two nights of severe storms. I should say two sleepless nights since the weather radio was going off every 15 minutes all night long – both nights. It got so bad that even when the annoying beeping wasn’t going off – I could still hear it ringing in my ears.

It went on to include Driver’s Ed. for Pedro – including a revised driving schedule to work around.

Then there was the last minute 4H meeting to plan our clubs booth for the fair and a 4H photo shot for the special County Fair edition of our local newspaper with the kids holding their 4H projects – which they hadn’t even started yet!

Yes – that’s right – the county fair is only 2 weeks away – and we are really behind – as in – we never left the starting line!

It was slightly overwhelming.

Did I mention that the kids were sick, and that I ended up at the doctor’s office three times – each one an hour and half round trip?!

To top it all off – last night Buddy stepped on a pitchfork and put a tine clear through his foot.  <sigh>

As I got in the van this AM to take him into town for a tetanus shot  – the song “Blessings” by Laura Story came on the radio.

“We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise…”

It struck me once again that God’s blessing don’t always come in the form of sunny days and restful nights, in health and prosperity.

Sometimes God’s richest blessings come in the raindrops and tears of life.

Each day is a blessing from God – no matter what it holds.

An Unexpected Treat

unexpected blessingsI had an unexpected treat in the middle of a work week yesterday.

I had a  date with my honey – all day!

My husband had to drive to the eastern part of the state to pick up some special parts for work – and he asked me to ride along.

Of course I said yes!

And – other than the fact that we had to be up at 4:30 and on the road by 5:30 – it was a wonderful day!

We watched the sun rise in the east as we started off in the morning and set in the west as we headed home  – giving us twelve hours in the car to talk, laugh, remember, and just be together.

It was so relaxing!

I didn’t have laundry to do, children to watch, assignments to grade, or meals to make. The only decision I had to make was where we should eat! 🙂

When we got to our stops – I got to sit in the suburban in the sunshine and read while he took care of the business parts of the trip.

The sweetest part of all was the fact that he got paid to be with me!

The kids stayed home by themselves and did just fine. The laundry was done, bread made, meals eaten, and the house was still standing. I didn’t ask how many hours of TV were watched or computer games played. I really don’t want to know.

I’ll need to scramble a bit today to make up for my mini-vacation yesterday – but it was so worth it.

There’s a smile on my face and a light in my eyes this morning.

I’m feeling pretty blessed.

Blessings

476px-William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Tête_d'Etude_l'Oiseau_(1867)Blessings.

We all want them.

We all pray “Bless me Lord!”

Yet when the blessings come we often complain. Why is that? Maybe it’s because most blessings come with work attached.

Think about it.

My husband’s job is a blessing – in a time when many are without, he has a steady paycheck. Yet this job requires him to work.

We have a large garden and are “blessed” with much produce this year. That produce required our diligence to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, weed and water as needed, and finally –  harvest the vegetables.

My new house is such a blessing, yet I need to continually dust, vacuum and clean to maintain it.

My health is a blessing, but I need to do my part to maintain it by exercising and eating right.

I think we would all agree that children are a blessing, but to bring them into the world requires labor.

I feel sorry for the new mom who wasn’t prepared for the sacrifice and work involved in raising those little ones. Motherhood isn’t all smiles, stroller rides and photo opportunities (although there are plenty of those!) There are a lot of dirty diapers, long days, short nights, and loads of laundry.

Yet they are a blessing.

I think we sometimes live in the “happily ever after” fog believing that we just need the perfect job, the perfect spouse, beautiful children and we will be happy.

But that just isn’t going to happen in this imperfect world in which we live.

But still, we are a blessed people. We live in abundance, surrounded by blessings every day.

Maybe it’s time for us all to stop complaining about the work involved and take to heart the line from the song “Blessed Be Your Name” –

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise…

Treasures

As I was picking grapes this week, I had to laugh at myself. I would have a handful, yet still try to pick just one more. Of course as I did, I would drop some because my hands were already full.

The line of a poem that I had learned at college kept going through my mind, “…into hands already full…”.

I finally found the poem and discovered some interesting insight into its author, Margaret Snell Nicholson.

Ms. Nicholson suffered from four incurable diseases and was an invalid, bound to her bed in pain for more than 35 years. Yet her spirit and her faith were triumphant. She learned many spiritual lessons in the midst of her pain and used those lessons to write some of the most beautiful and deeply moving Christian poetry every written.

Here’s the poem I remembered:

Treasures

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.

And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”

So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.

And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!

-Martha Snell Nicholson