Spread Life

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     What a joy to observe the reproduction of plant life, every plant and tree has been created to seed – including weeds, much to my chagrin. In order to enjoy the beauty of many, we have resorted to planting them in pots, and I have a plethora of pots, loaded with beauty. But, no matter how you care for them, within three to five years the result is the same – unproductive and dying. However, upon inspection of these unproductive and seemingly dying specimens you will find a simple fact, they are root-bound. Once removed from their confinement and re-positioned into a fertile expansive bed they will flourish as they were created to.

     I think you can imagine where my thoughts went as I have watched this phenomena play out this season. I transplanted eight previously unproductive and dying pots this spring and – “presto, chango” – they have now become spots of happy growing plants covered with flowers.

     This is a true spiritual phenomenon as well. We are created to create – to produce! Often, due to many circumstances we become unproductive and look as if we are dying – we too, become root-bound. The simple fix is no different then my pots – lift and cultivate (wake-up) the root-bound entity, place it in a fertile environment with ample space to move and grow. Step back and watch as HIS new life, joy and creativity begin to bloom in and all around you. You are meant to create, to produce, to re-produce and spread – in fact His ultimate purpose for your life is just that; to spread His life, love and joy to those around you.

     If you find yourself in a root-bound place in life, decide to do some cultivating. Willingly chose to lift your eyes back to the face of Jesus – here you will find that HE will do the lifting as you allow the transplant to occur. He will re-assign you exactly where you will find new life and joy. This new fertile ground will probably be where you would never have imagined or chosen but it will always be the very best – because He always chooses the very best for His kids.

     Nestle into His chosen spot – and enjoy the journey as you grow into the beauty He has created you to be – and spread, spread, spread. Become His life, love and joy everywhere you go.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you my abound in hope.

I Corinthians 3:8-9 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

 

Freedom in Your “hodgepodge”!

Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

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We hear about “style” in all areas of our lives – clothing, decorating and even in cooking but what does that mean? There is no right or wrong, (REALLY – though some will disagree) it’s just different. It comes down to what you prefer – what makes you happy – what looks good to your eye – what brings life and freedom to your life.

In the midst of this style conscious world I have observed and questioned my oddity. But, I have a wonderful friend who’s decorating style is “minimalist” – I go into her home and it has a peaceful flow, clean and open. I love it! But, it’s not me. I’m not country, or contemporary, and surely not modern, so – maybe I don’t have one, and my hodgepodge style struggled on.

For years I have contemplated the word “hodgepodge” – a word my mom would use – sounding like a swear word. I have carried that “hodgepodge” like shame over my head – but it’s not wrong – it’s just different. I enjoy multiple types of wood furniture in the same room, different art pieces of every style and “clutter” treasures tucked here and there. It is funny, how a name changes everything! One day I found the word “eclectic” attached to a home decorating magazine and my heart skipped a beat – that’s me – I have a “named” style – I am eclectic! Wow – freedom!

Now I can enjoy, embrace and walk in my “style” freedom; finding freedom in who I am – in my hodgepodge. And now a recent example of this presented it’s self in my beautiful courtyard. Within our back yard, I have a secluded little courtyard – my secret garden, and I have it filled with pots and plants. As I originally designed it, I worked hard to keep the ceramic pots color coordinated, the plants all in shades of purples and blues with a touch of pink and white. It was nice, but now as those pots are overgrown they are ready to be re-done. Pondering this job, a freedom emerged and I am embracing my “eclectic” style and began choosing just what I like – I now will have reds, yellows, and oranges right there next to the blues, pinks and purples and I even added different colored pots.

Spiritually speaking – BE who you are – find true freedom in who HE has created you to be! Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

I Corinthians 7:17a Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. (NASB)

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (ESV)

Extravagant Shopping – Just Ask

HE wants to extravagantly pour out over your life – JUST ASK!

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I am not a shopper – sorry ladies – I just am not. I have my list, go in, get it and out the door – I am a single-focused shopper. BUT there is one place that overwhelms me – and here, the dormant “shopper” gene erupts. There is a heavenly plant nursery near-by that is -that place – for me. When I arrive there, I walk in to this amazing paradise and every sense and desire stirs, and brings euphoric joy within me.

Over the years I have been lovingly forbidden to enter this paradise, unless finances are lucrative, since I never leave without “shopping” well. I have learned to wait, watch and ask for my desires – then my extravagant “shopping” happens.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (NASB)

 I know you are asking – what does “shopping” have to do with that scripture?

Just like the eventual extravagant “shopping” happens for me; our prayers – our desires and needs are extravagantly provided for because HE is able.

     HIM WHO IS ABLE – is my provider.

     HE does far more, abundantly beyond – that’s WAY more then I can ever ask for.

Often our thinking says that what we desire or need is just to small to ask God for or that we don’t matter enough – He won’t answer it; so we have not because we ask not. BUT that’s not who HE is – HE IS ABLE and HE loves you.

   HE wants to extravagantly pour out over your life – JUST ASK!

Your Spring Will Come

Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming

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Walking past barren, deciduous trees in early spring, a reminder of the past harsh winter is visible all around; however, an interesting event occurs as day after day you make the same passing. One day they are barren and suddenly, the next day they have burst forth in color. Hidden for those fleeting months life was sleeping deep inside; it  was producing energy to bring forth buds and conserving power to erupt with new life.

We too, live through times that are harsh, barren, and cold. Life circumstances seem to swirl around us and strip us from all hope, joy and motivation; emptying our leaves and leaving us standing just like those barren deciduous trees.

When our lives are dry, barren and broken we must look to the spring. Our spring waits for the warm touch of our Lord. He knows what is hidden inside of each of us, what is ready to flourish, what is ready to show forth His glory. His timing and our humility will change our mourning into dancing and produce what He has ordained from the beginning of time. Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming, rejoice in the hidden buds being created, and at the right time move in faith into a new flourishing display of His glory.

Psalm 30:11-12. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – I Don’t Know This Person at all!

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away.

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I recently was given a birthday gift that shocked me to my core; a simple blank black notebook. It had been lovingly filled with comments from people who know me – those from high school, those from different states and different churches, those I have worked with as well as family, friends, kids and grand-kids. It was a very special gift. The next morning I picked it up with tea in hand and proceeded to enjoy this gift. Not expecting the impact it would have, I sat down to read this little book.

For the next hour I sat with Kleenex in hand as tears seeped down my checks, a few smiles and chuckles erupted and one or two outright sobs escaped my heart. I was confused – these descriptions didn’t match whom I see. It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the reflection looking back.

I set the book down – contemplating, meditating and asking God’s explanation of this dichotomy placed before me. Soon this question was stated as I prayed – “Ok, God what are you showing me?” “I don’t know this person at all, is this who I really am?”

I soon realized that this little book was a gift that was a glimpse of me through the eyes of Jesus. The person I have seen is so different. I have been looking at me with an out-dated blocked lens. Who I have become is no longer me, but Jesus in and through me.

As a Christian we always hope our light will shine and that the love of Jesus will permeate our lives but my thinking has been “it’s just me”, “it’s just who I am”.

“How do I see this person when I don’t know her”, I asked? His quiet loving response resounded in my heart like an explosion, as He whispered, “It’s just me – it isn’t you. It is my transformation as you have yielded time after time to my love”

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me.  As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away. Over years of life, this faith has created and transformed me into who I never really saw. The emerging transformed person is no longer “just Judy” – but has begun to shine out as “just JESUS”.

Do I shine out Jesus every day? Nope – I have to lay my human thoughts, words, desires, and actions down every day. But I believe He has shown me a glimpse of me through an unexpected mirror held up in the hands of those in my life, and I am humbled by that possibility.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV))

“You Better Soak That”

As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

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Today words that I have spoken probably a hundred times in my lifetime – “You better soak that” – jumped out at me as a source of pondering.

To soak something means that it becomes saturated for a purpose. We soak a grim covered pan, a stained piece of cloth, and even a dried up pot of soil. The purpose is to change it – remove the grim, the stain or, in the case of soil to till it – prepare it for something new to take root.

In the Christian church culture the word “soak” has run its course of the “in thing” – but in reality it is where we are changed. As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

Our busy lives find it difficult to slow down and take that time to be still but if we don’t, we live in a constant spin of chaos. Peace comes from that quiet place of trusting our Jesus.   It is during these times that we allow our grim and stains to be removed and our dried up soil to be saturated and tilled; then we are ready to receive something new that will take root and bloom in our lives.

Take time to “soak” – sit, be still, listen and receive – you will be amazed how his presence will refresh you, give you strength for the day ahead, and transform all areas of your life.

Ps. 46:10a “ Be still, and know that I am God.” (ESV)
Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Two Faithful Caterpillars

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The unexpected loss of two friends yesterday stirred an emotional fitful sleep but as I finally rested in the peace of Christ, I dreamed,  and from that dream I found comfort in it’s analogy. So here I share it with you my friends,  as you too, walk the path set before you – it’s joys and it’s tears.  

    I dreamed last night of two beautiful fuzzy caterpillars. I watched them faithfully plod along the path set before them. They traversed the wet thick grass and the stony hot ground; they climbed straight up the slippery leaves, and triumphantly crawled over barriers of debris. Always moving up and over the most difficult of terrain, always moving forward – side by side, without hesitation on this journey of life. Then, as the sun rose on one “set apart” morning they woke to a “suddenly” in their short lives.

     Today there would be no pushing forward.   Today the journey had changed. The sun’s warmth, shining upon them, stirred something within as they rose slowly on the gentle breathe of a breeze. Together, they looked below at the path they had traveled. It looked so different from above. That journey – that yesterday life, had been so full of wonder as they had fully lived each new day,  but in an instant it was new. They now had been transformed – from a caterpillar to a butterfly. A transformation that now allowed them to rise high above; to walk into a new eternal home where the caterpillar journey of short duration would now be used for an eternal purpose as a butterfly.

     We too, will someday be transformed from this life to a more glorious eternal one. We know not when or how that will come to pass, but in faith, we daily walk out our journey – plodding along the path set before us, traversing the thick, hot, slippery terrain we call life. We live each new day fully, and in faith we slowly, faithfully move forward toward the ultimate prize – our own “suddenly” where in that one moment the sun will warm us and we will rise on the breeze – to look below at what no longer will matter. For in that instant, our eternal journey will have begun.