What’s Your Choice?

basketball

This past weekend my youngest daughters started playing basketball with a local Christian program.  It’s such fun to see them playing.  They’ve never played before and at times it looked like a cross between football, soccer, rugby, and wrestling.  I was laughing a lot.  But another feeling crept in as I sat in that gymnasium. I was overcome with feelings of sorrow for what I have lost…what my children have lost.

Families came in together.  Fathers and mothers with little lines of children walked through the doors one after the other. I saw interaction I’ve missed.  I saw affection, unity, and love between parents.  I saw married couples coaching together and parents parenting together.

It brought back feelings of disbelief again.

How in the world did my life happen?

I never imagined when I walked down the aisle to my husband that life would be anything but love for a lifetime, raising our children to love the Lord, and serving Him together.  Together.

Sitting together watching the rugby match…I mean basketball practice…enjoying our children’s activities together.

How is our family not together?

There are still days when I can’t believe this is the life my God has allowed for my children.  When those thoughts land heavily on my mind and heart, I, over and over again, endeavor to take them captive.  (I wish I could think of a good basketball analogy for this…but alas, I cannot…just…too…tired…)

Today I’m working on it.  I’m taking them captive again…and again and again.

God brought me to Psalm 145 and showed me some things:

  • I will not get the answers here…at least not all of them, but my God is greater than the answers I seek and I know I can trust Him.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.  (v. 3)

  • There are always wonderful things about God’s faithfulness I can share with my children and others (like you!).  I’m paying attention to the blessings.

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. (v. 4-5)

  •  This verse seems rather self-explanatory

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  The LORD is good to all and his mercy is over all that he has made. (vs. 8-9)

  • My Lord is faithful.

The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. (v.13b)

  • My Father will hold me through this trial.

The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (v. 14)

  • My God will provide all I need.

You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (v.16)

  • My Lord is with me and He is good!

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:17-18

  • My Savior will do this life with me…there is togetherness with God.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (v. 18)

  • My Lord will save and preserve me.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (vs. 19-20)

Throughout my life, I’ve had to continually remind myself of my God and His great love for me.

Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by this world…it is NOT my home.  (Thankfully!!!!)

So much is not how I imagined it would be when I was little and looking forward to being a wife and mother.  It’s not how I imagined it would be when I said “yes” to my kneeling husband.  It’s not how I imagined it would be when I held each of my dear children for the 1st time.  At no point did I imagine this life for me or my children…or my ex-husband for that matter.

This life is just unimaginable.

But it is my life…so I don’t have to imagine it anyway.  I just have to live it.  Just get on the court and play ball.  (There it is…I knew I had one basketball reference in me!)

How do I do that?

How do I live this life in a way that doesn’t ache constantly?  I haven’t quite figured that out yet.  God is showing me.

I will say that when I’m in the Word and praying…the ache is barely noticeable.

It’s the same lesson I learn over and over and over and over (how many overs can I write to convey how often I “learn” this lesson…oh that I would actually learn it).

That lesson…focus on Christ not my circumstances.

Choose to be overwhelmed by life or by Christ.

Well…today right now…I’m making a choice.  Things might still hurt at times.  Sorrow might surprise me with a visit at the most inopportune times.  Disappointment might descend when I’m trying to find the good in this life.  Challenges might chase me down each and every day…BUT…

Today…today…I’m choosing Christ.

flowers and sky

No Pretty Little Bow

I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to start this post. I just can’t think of one. So I guess I’ll just share stuff with you and hope that God uses my fuzzy thinking to bless! He’s good that way.
Yesterday my Dad went to be with the Lord.  I was blessed to spend his last hours with him and my Mom.  It was more difficult than I can adequately express in mere words.  I wanted nothing more than to comfort my father as he struggled and yet I was terrified to watch him die.  I wanted to be there for my Mom, but I didn’t really know what to do.  I felt lost in wanting to be both caregiver and cared for.  But in the midst of it all, God was so clearly there.  I felt His presence…His assurance in my confusion and fear.  I felt His peace even as I struggled to maintain composure…which I did not do well at all in the end. 

Today I opened up my email to see that a post I had written for MomLifeToday was up.  I’ve attached it because this one probably isn’t gonna be so great and maybe that one will bless more 🙂  I often have to reread what I write because I can’t remember it well…honestly, I can’t remember much well at this point…my family has been laughing at me for the past couple of days because I’m such a goof.  Anyway, I digress.  I reread what I had written in my post “No Pretty Little Bow” and God so sweetly reminded me through my own words that He can be trusted. 

See there are a lot of things I wish I could have done differently this past week.  There are a lot of things I don’t understand.  And sometimes I can be a self-beater-upper.  But if I truly believe that I can trust God with everything, why do I have to play Monday morning quarterback with everything?  I can second-guess with the best of them…my friend says I need to stop “shoulding” all over myself…ain’t that the truth. 

Today I’m reminding myself that God can be trusted.  God does love me.  There is nothing more I can do because He has done it all.  I need only rest in the knowledge that my life is in His hands…my father’s life was in His hands…my children’s lives are in His hands. 

He will guide my footsteps.  Sometimes we will go places I’d rather not, but if I keep my focus on Him it’ll all turn out just fine in the end.  It has to…that’s His plan and His plan is always perfect.

The Most Important

trampoline picAs I’ve been preparing for my talk at the MomLife Bootcamp this weekend, I was once again reminded that my life is not conducive to completing projects in a timely and organized manner.

I used to be an organized person…or at least I used to be able to appear like an organized person.

In my pre-mommy life I was a conference planner, but that was before 5 other people could mess with my schedule, my to-do list, and my sanity.

I really am a planner at heart. I really want to be that organized, put together, getterdone, check things off my list kinda gal. But I always seem to be waylaid.

I’d like to be able to accomplish SOMETHING! Anything!!!

There is always something that sneaks up and changes the dynamics of my day. I’ve said before that I feel like I’m always flying by the seat of my pants because my best-laid plans are for naught most days.

Spontaneity is great for a night out but not as a way of life.

I’m wondering if maybe putting a little bit less on my to-do list would be helpful…then maybe I could end the day without feeling disappointed.
I have a friend who says, “Do a little, do it well.” I think I’m more “Do a lot, do it okay.” Or “Try to do a lot. Find you can’t. Then beat yourself up about it.”

Yeah that’s me.

My kids want me…just me. Not me and a perfect house…you can’t have any fun in a perfect house anyway.

There are a lot of sayings about a messy house being a happy home. I get the idea to a point but a little order is good…right? I think the key is finding balance, understanding my priorities, relaxing.

Maybe relaxing some of our expectations…the reasonable ones and the unreasonable ones.

Honestly, we all probably need to relax in general. I know…show me how, when and where and I’m there.

As much as I wish relaxing was a glass of sweet tea, a good book and a hammock…mine is more sitting on the grass watching my son’s soccer game, putting aside my work to enjoy my daughters riding bikes in the culdesac, or sharing the sofa with 3 or more children to watch a movie.

In some ways maybe it’s an attitude.

Choosing not to stress about the stuff we can’t fix and maybe even the stuff we can.

Now that’s a God-sized task to be sure! But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13) There is also this lovely verse, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

I think it’s okay to be still and quiet and rest.

Okay, so how are we gonna do this rest thing?

I’ve been trying to figure it out for days, months…years.

When was the last time I felt rested, calm, and strong? Actually I do remember a time.

It was right after my husband announced he wanted to leave. Those months of anguish were also months of profound peace and calm. I believe it was solely because I was saturated with Scripture. I also had a clarity about what was important. And it wasn’t accomplishing great things nor was it a clean house or work completed. It was and always will be my children.

Tonight my children asked if they could all go jump on the trampoline. It was close to bedtime, but I wanted to work a little bit longer on my talk, so I said, “Ok, just 10 minutes.” As I sat near the window listening to my children laughing and playing, I couldn’t stop thinking that I wanted to be out there with them. I just had to put my stuff aside.

When I walked out barefoot ready to jump, my kids all asked, rather incredulously, “Momma, are you going to jump with us?” I cannot tell you how thankful I was that God had prompted me to put aside the important for the most important.

I guess it’s rather simple, isn’t it? Soaking up the scripture and pouring into our children. That’s not too much to organize! I might be able to do that!
I know that there is much more to it than that…living this single parent life is so difficult and overwhelming at times. But maybe we need to take our eyes off of all the craziness and focus on Christ and put aside the to-do list and focus on the people in our lives. Maybe we can stop trying so hard to do so much and we can just be for a bit.

Be in prayer. Be in the Word. Be with our people.

God’s got this. He’s got our. He’s got us.

He’s even got this silly talk I can’t seem to get my head around. I’m so thankful.

Still not organized…but thankful.

Colorful Aspen Pines Against Deep Blue SkyStruggle

I think I use that word too much.  I think I should use a different word more often. Maybe…conquering.

 Don’t feel much like a conqueror.

 And yet, God tells me I am.

 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Romans 9:37

 More?  More than conquerors?  Mind-boggling. 

 Sometimes I feel like all I do is struggle.  Struggle with fear.  Struggle with worry.  Struggle with anger.  Struggle with frustration.  Struggle with weariness.  Struggle with being overwhelmed.  Struggle with feeling like a failure or that failure is imminent. Struggle with not being the godly woman I desperately want to be. 

Lately I’ve felt like I just have got to get this struggle thing under control.  I just have to…I keep struggling with the same blasted things over and over again.  My sins are so annoying.

Things I thought I’d dealt with…I’d determined to overcome…have snuck up on me again.   How is that possible?  I honestly don’t understand how I can be so convicted and seek forgiveness and restoration and then slide right back into them.  Really?  Am I serious??

Last night I prayed and wept to God again at my continual slipping and sliding in my relationship with Him.  I love Him so much.  I want my life to honor Him…I mean really honor Him.  Not just a little bit…not just when I sing at church or write an article full of Scriptural references, but when life is challenging and overwhelming and frightening and just not what I planned, I want it to glorify Him.

Today was a no school day. Also known as a “no-get-anything-done” day. 

So I got nothing done. 

Well, I mean nothing I planned on doing.  And on top of that, it was a lovely day, and did I take my kids outside to play?  Nope.  I fussed at them for making messes inside and spent the day cleaning up after them without offering a better alternative.  Poor planning.  Poor attitude.  Poor children.  Instead of facing an unplanned day with a smile and some spontaneity, I tried to do it all and pleased no one!  I wish I’d taken advantage of the day with my kids – done something together…something fun.  Ugh.  Fail.

Lest, I sound like I’m hopeless.  Let me share what God is showing me.  Let me show you the sweetness of my Savior.  O How He loves me!

It might be a familiar verse but how sweet it is to my ears and my heart:

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who did not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Its so easy for me to focus on my mistakes and failures…there are enough of them!  But God does not desire that I live in defeat.  He does not condemn me…I keep being drawn back to 1 John 3:1,16, 18-24

See what kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God; and so we are…. By this we know love that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers…Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.  And this is his commandment that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.  And by this we know that he abides in us, but the Spirit whom he has given us.

If God knows everything about me and yet does not condemn me, I don’t think I should do it either!

I believe my desire to live my life in a manner worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4:1) pleases God.  I believe that my sins are forgiven and thrown as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) – that’s pretty far away.  I believe that God calls me to live a life of victory – “But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) I believe God is making me into the woman He designed me to be…despite me. 

May we rest in the knowledge that

God is a “God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Nehemiah 9:17b)

Jesus knows.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus helps.

 “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

 Jesus does not leave us…ever.

 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who drawn near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”  Hebrews 7:25

 Live by confident and courageous faith.

 “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”  Hebrews 10:35-39

There is hope and a future for us.

 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-15

 Thanking God that even the struggle reminds me of how loving and faithful my God is to me.

 GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!

ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!

 

 

All You Need to Do is Just…

Recently one of my dearest friends called to tell me she had my next blog topic.  She’d been at a women’s Bible study where they were discussing their crazy busy lives.  After the moms in the group had lamented their situations, one of the ladies shared her “simple” solution which began with the phrase,

“All you need to do is just…”

In this case, the solution was prepare freezer meals.  My friend is practically a gourmet cook and couldn’t think of how that would be an appropriate solution for her problem.  She is one of the most accomplished women I know – a very successful attorney with her own practice and also the mother of a toddler and an infant.  She also finds time to minister to others at her church, help people organize their houses and lives, as well as just simply be a good friend and encourager.  I’m sure there are thousands of other things she does…oh and she and her husband built a 2nd story addition on their home…themselves…while she was pregnant with number 2.  So, yeah…I don’t know if freezer meals are the answer to her already busy life.  The amazing thing about this friend is that she is more than able to handle all that she has allowed to be placed on her plate…if she doesn’t shower daily.  I’m kidding…sorta.

She and I talked about how women really do expect that we can do it all.  I am here to tell you in big bold faced letter

I CAN’T DO IT ALL…

IN FACT, I CAN’T DO MOST OF IT.

There I said it.

Even this exceedingly amazing friend of mine admits she can’t.  Oh, we can give it a try, but really it isn’t very pretty most, if not all, of the time.

I’m sure the lady that suggested freezer meals had the best of intentions.  We all do, don’t we?  We all want to help each other to discover the next best thing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put my hope in some product or idea or chart or book that was going to finally make me organized, patient, or thin.

I’m always exceedingly disappointed, because the answer doesn’t lie in my doing something differently, more efficiently, or even better…although all those things would be phenomenal!  I believe as the saying goes it is more about being than doing.

What if when we were all sitting around the coffee table sharing our struggles, frustrations and fears, we offered each other the hope of the gospel?  What if we listened, comforted and empathized, but didn’t try and provide yet another thing to add to our ridiculous to do lists…the ones written down with all the phone calls, emails, chores, and projects we need to accomplish or the ones we keep in our heads that include all our hopes as well as all our failings…you know the lists I’m referring to right?

What if we simply loved one another?  What if we shared our struggles but also the hope we found in Scripture.  Maybe it would look like this,

Me.        “I’m so overwhelmed.  I feel like I simply can’t keep one thing moving in the right direction.  I read books about parenting that convict me and condemn me all at the same time.  I feel hopeless.  I don’t think I’ll ever truly be the mom I’m supposed to be for these children.  How can I expect them to be kind, patient, loving and slow to anger when half the time I’m frustrated, impatient, unkind and angry?  I know I need more sleep…but how?  I know I need to exercise…but what do I stop doing?  I know I need to get my home in order…but these little people keep messing it up behind me.  I know I need to prepare healthy food and snacks…but how do I do that with the schedule we are keeping?  What do I give up?  Who do I say no to?  If I could I would…I’m down to bare minimum involvement in church, school and activities and still I’m crushed by our schedule.  There is no way around it with 1 parent and 5 children.”

A Friend.  “I can’t imagine what you are feeling.  I know it must be so difficult.  Please know that God gave you those sweet children because He knew you were the woman for the job.  God wanted you, with your personality, struggles and situation, to be their Momma.  You and those 5 children is not a mistake.  And God has a plan in the midst of this.  Remember that verse you love, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”  (Isaiah 54:13) God is the Father your children really need…and He is the husband you need.  He will help you, friend.  He won’t leave you or forsake you.  He’s got your back.  Lean on Him.  I will pray that the Holy Spirit will help you see Christ more clearly and that your circumstances will dim in comparison.  That you will find that peace which passes all understanding to guard your heart and your mind in Him.  That your heart will overflow with gratefulness for the children you have been entrusted with.  That you will know how very much you are loved by me and by Him.  Can I pray for you right now?”

That’s just an idea.  I mean sometimes it might be that you just say, “I’m so sorry.  I’ll pray for you.”  I always find it such a blessing when friends say what they are going to pray for me or even pray for me right then and there.  I love it!

I was talking with a friend at church recently about all the unsolicited advice she gets.  I believe we single moms get A LOT of advice we don’t ask for…or want.  It’s not always easy to receive it gracefully.  I told this friend that I think I’d like to get a t-shirt made up that says, “Just Shut Up and Pray for Me!”

I confess I can’t because my family is anti-shut-up, although you wouldn’t necessarily know that since we all say it and then instantly someone says, “Hey, you can’t say shut up!”  It’s a struggle.  I’m trying to decide if it is a hill I want to “die on.”  But that’s a conversation for another blog.

My point…after all this blathering…is that I want to encourage us all to offer each other some grace…or a lot of grace.  Let’s give each other the freedom to share without condemnation or recommendations.  Let’s extend encouragement and understanding instead of instructions and ideas.

Let’s be honest – most of us know exactly what we need to do practically in order to get our lives in order.  We just find it hard to do it.  Life is difficult.  Growth is a process.  Grace is continual.

What I’d like to add at the end of that phrase is this…  “All you need to do is just…

know you are loved unconditionally

regardless of what you accomplish in a day

regardless of the words that fall out of your mouth on a bad day

regardless of the state of your home

regardless of the behavior of your children

regardless of the comments of others

you are loved unconditionally.

 

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 

2 Thessalonians 3:5

 

 

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:14-19

Single Parenting by THE BOOK

Recently a sweet friend gave me a parenting book.  Thankfully I’m at a good place to receive it…I know I’m in over my head!  Single parenting five children is daunting, difficult, and downright exhausting.   There was a time when I’d have been appalled that someone thought I might need any professional assistance with my parenting.  Not anymore.

Help!!

It’s a good book – well-written, thoughtful, and scripturally based.  I’m sure it will inspire me, and hopefully help me become a better mom…I could sure use some inspiration and help.  The bigger issue might be finding time to read it.  There are, after all, a pile of books beside my bed waiting to be read.  Books on grace, books on prayer, books on everything from A to Z that might possibly help me live this life better.  Unfortunately every night I’m completely exhausted and unable to read more than a page without my eyes crossing.

The other day as I climbed into bed with my new parenting book, I happened to look over at my bookcase.  There, stacked nicely all together, were all my previously read parenting books.  I climbed out of bed, walked over and knelt down beside my bookcase.   I counted 10 books on parenting.  Ten!  Apparently I’ve been looking for help for quite a while!  Or else someone’s sneaking them onto my bookshelf in hopes that I’ll pick them up and read them and possibly apply what I learn effectively.

There was a time when I decided that parenting books were all well and good, but I was determined to simply study the Bible and pray diligently. I don’t think that was necessarily bad.  I’m sitting here remembering back to my first two years after my husband left.  There was absolutely never time to read a parenting book, any “free” time I had I tried to devote to Bible study and prayer.  I knew where my help and comfort was coming from – my help came from the Lord!!

Life was stressful.  Days were full and overwhelming.  My children ranged in ages from toddler to teen.  And there was only one parent to figure everything out.  I’m remembering how faithful God was to lead me.  How gracious He was to guide my parenting, to aid my decision-making, and to refresh me each morning.

I had forgotten. I remember how difficult it was, but I tend to forget how precious so much of that time was.  My kids and I were closer than ever, our conversations sweeter, our time spent more wisely, our issues less pronounced.  I believe that it was because I was praying fervently every night.  I was passionate in my approach to staying within God’s will.  I have lost that passion recently.  I don’t think I’m terribly passionate about anything anymore…just tired.

I think I will indeed finish the book my friend gave me, and I will apply any good principles, or at least try to.  But I think I most definitely will try to get back to my time with the Lord and my passion for Him more.  I think I will not just think about praying, I actually will.  I know it isn’t going to be easy…but now that I remember what it was like to do this life with my focus on Christ, I really want that again.  It was a blessed time.

Maybe someday I can write the parenting book on how to parent without a book.  Well, actually how to parent with THE BOOK.

Pulling Weeds

I’ve been pulling weeds a lot lately…so much so that I have dreams about pulling large weeds out of my lawn.  I kid you not.  I see their long tentacles grasping the life out of my sweet little grass and I must pull!  Apparently it is a cathartic exercise for me because I can really get carried away with my war against weeds.  It’s a war I’m loosing by the way.  My poor, poor sweet grass has been choked out of existence by those nasty things.

I was thinking about how much I like pulling up those weeds when I realized that there really is some serious spiritual application to the removal of weeds.  Jesus spoke about it in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.  Jesus refers to thorns which choke the grain and it yields no fruit.  I, thankfully, am not pulling up thorns because that would make my impromptu weed yanking forays very painful!  But I believe that the idea of the thorns choking the grain is worth a second look.

It is easy in this single parent life to let the cares of this world creep in and steal our joy, our peace, and our hope.  There are more than enough cares to go around.  There are more than enough joy stealers and peace thieves in a day. And hope is hard to come by when each day begins and ends with challenges.

That grain being choked by thorns, sounds a lot like me being overwhelmed by life.  I can almost feel myself gasping for breath in a mad struggle to free myself from things I can’t seem to overcome.  They hurt and chaff and scrape and stab and all the while I’m straining, pulling, pushing, and crying out for help.  It truly is a devastating picture of a life lived without the hope and peace of Christ.

All the while I”m struggling, my Master Gardener is there waiting patiently for me to rest for a bit and allow Him to do His work.  I can do nothing but strain and occasionally yank off a leaf or tangled stem, while He can pull the weeds up by the roots – eliminating their strangle hold on me.  I even hold tightly to some in hopes that I might master them, but God says, “Let me have them all – even the ones that might hurt you to remove.”  Pruning is never easy.

As I have looked at my lawn – with dismay I might add – I see so many different kinds of weeds.  There are giant ones which multiply by the minute and tangle their stems in amongst my grass, killing it and anything else in its wake.  Those are the worst.  I think those are things like fear and bitterness and anger which can penetrate every area of our lives and destroy.  They are like poison to our souls.  Those need to be yanked up by the root – the big root and all the little ones that have taken place as a result of the tentacles that reach out from the weed.  Isn’t it the truth that once you have allowed anger to take root, it shows itself in every aspect of your life?  Setting up camp in areas you never thought you would struggle?  It makes sense for the betrayal you have suffered to affect some relationships, but does it have to impact all issues of trust in your life?  No, but if it isn’t dealt with at the root, it most likely will.

Then there are those blasted prickly weeds. Those need some protection like a nice pretty pair of gardening gloves to be yanked.  I believe that might be things we struggle with in which the protection of a good friend would be helpful.  My prayer/accountability partner has been invaluable in helping me face those thorny weeds in my life.  With God’s help, she has willingly donned her protective gear and helped me extricate myself from some thorny life circumstances and situations.

There are some weeds that are beautiful to look at but their end result is just the same as all the ugly invasive ones. Pretty and invasive kills the grass just as effective as ugly and invasive.  I have heard often that saying, “good is the enemy of best.”  Might that not be these weeds?  Although you know I have debated the clover – it’s green, it covers the ground nicely, and it has pretty flowers a couple of times a year.  I think in my life clover might be those things that take time away from the really important things – those weeds of activity and work which keep me distracted from the most imperative calling of my life – motherhood.  I’ve been struck like a weed whacker with how abysmal my efforts to talk about the Lord with my children have been.  I mean, they know what I believe and my desire to live a godly life…but I don’t really share all the wonderful things God reveals to me, or bring them to scripture as often as I should.  I’m so busy being busy, I forget.  Actually it’s worse than forgetting, I just don’t do it.  God says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)  I am not discouraged by that command…it looks to me like God just wants us to live out our faith in word and action before our kids.  I can do that.  I might have to think a bit more about it, get in the habit of it, but I can do that!  I just need to do it. Maybe I could consider not stressing so much about the house in favor of some time with my children?  Definitely need some assistance from God on that good idea!

I began this post sitting in my yard – just me and the weeds – and the temptation to put this computer down and begin my tugging mission again was strong.  Then I looked at my finger nails, or what’s left of them, and I think that there might be a better way.  Although I do love to yank those things!

When it comes to the weeds in my life, I know that God is going to have to deal with them in order for me to overcome them.  It is going to be a bit painful I’m sure — I’ll be stretched and pulled and maybe I’ll lose a leaf or stalk along the way, but in the hands of the Master Gardener I am not afraid.  He is good at what He does.

There are some pretty little dandelions which want me to dig them up so I must be going.