Bloom & Grow

Bloom & Grow

One of my girls thrives on verbal affirmation while the other seeks out lots of snuggles.

It is my absolute favorite to see a smile climb up the cheeks of my older child. She is much less likely to outwardly reveal when something touches her inwardly, so when I see the evidence, I soak it up and store it in my heart. This usually happens at bedtime, when I whisper words of life over her and she thinks it is too dark for me to see her delight.

A few nights ago, I read the girls a library book about the process of planting flowers, watching them grow, and seeing them spread their seeds for new flowers to have a chance to bloom. I turned off the lights and whispered to my word-loving daughter, “You are a beautiful flower. As you blossom and bloom, you spread your seeds so that other flowers have the chance to do the same.”

My favorite smile spread slowly across her face and I knew she would drift to sleep that night feeling loved and having purpose.

I turned to my snuggler to say the same thing, but her response was to giggle, “Mommy! I’m not a flower!” Perhaps she isn’t old enough for metaphors just yet. I made sure to squeeze her tight so that she too would feel affirmed and loved.

I’ve since been thinking quite a bit about flowers and their seeds.

Notice the seed. Before a flower can bloom, its seed must succumb to the process of transformation. When a seed is planted, it goes into the soil never to look the same again. 

It’s not an easy process. The germination (sprouting) of the seed requires the nutrients of the soil, the moisture of water, and just the right amount of sunlight. Each seed has its own needs for life to form.

The hard shell of the seed melts away as the greenery of the plant reaches through the dirt and stretches to find light. In the right environment, the plant will begin to flower and feed the life around it.

New flowers will have the opportunity to bloom and grow as fresh seeds are scattered to the ground.

Did you know that your life resembles that of this flower?

For us to bloom into our greatest beauty, we must die to ourselves. We must succumb to the process of transformation so that our hard shells can melt away. It isn’t easy, is it? Sometimes we feel pressure, maybe a bit of loneliness. It may feel like we are drowning, that we are too hot, or too cold. But when we allow ourselves to submit to the process, we realize that our Gardner knows just what it is that will bring blossoming flowers in our lives.

There will be seasons when we feel the ache of our growth, and also seasons of rest as we wait for the sunshine to warm us again. But the result of these seasons of growth and rest, is the season of beauty. At our peak, we are beautiful flowers offering nourishment to those who come near. Our scent is alluring and our seeds spread with the promise of new life to come.

Whatever season you are currently in, do not forget this truth, my friend:

“You are a beautiful flower. As you blossom and bloom, you spread your seeds so that other flowers have the chance to do the same.”

Stay close to your Gardener. He will give you what you need, when you need it. Remember that the difficult moments will not last forever. New growth is coming.

“…When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.” 1 Corinthians 15:36-38

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Waking Up

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“You don’t know you’ve been asleep until you are awake.” These were words spoken to us by Pastor Allen of Daystar Church on January 1st. We were beginning a series called “Awaken” where our pastor was sounding a spiritual alarm to encourage us to wake up if we had been sleeping.

I had been asleep.

You probably wouldn’t have noticed. Perhaps the absence of blog posts the last few months would be a clue, but there is more to it than that, and I’d like to fill you in. Okay, well, maybe I don’t actually want to post these things over the internet for the world to read, but I’m going to do so for two main purposes.

My own personal growth and healing.

Do you know where the enemy is most successful? In the darkness. He loves to separate us from all that is good and lead us away from the Light because it is in the dark that we are most likely to believe his lies. Often, when we hide our struggles and try to brush them under a rug, we have a hard time of escaping them. I’ve made a lot of progress over this past year in several areas, so the last thing I want is for that progress to be lost or to be caught in a downward spiral again. By bringing my issues into the light, it gives me an opportunity to process what I’ve learned and it allows others to call me out if they sense anything going awry. It also gives me a chance to acknowledge my weaknesses to the Lord and allow Him to work in my life.

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Encouragement for others.

I can’t say this enough. I’m a pastor’s wife and I am not perfect. Not even close. I struggle just like everyone else, and I think there is something very human about that struggle. We are in the fight together and we need each other. It is my hope that in sharing these details, someone else who has been in the muck will find these words and be encouraged. The details might be different, but the theme is the same. We are in a battle, but friends, we are not alone. Let’s light each other on fire as we see all that God can do. All hope is not lost. Do not despair. He is here and He is working and He is GOOD.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What can you expect from me?

It’s too much for one post, so I’m going to break it up a bit. I’m going to share with you about my emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles. Everything all ties in together, so it may sound a little redundant. I plan to be vulnerable with you, sharing things that I have only on occasion shared with others, and even then only if it so happened to come up in conversation. As I share these struggles, I will also share how God is working in them and through them. He is teaching me much about Himself and who I am in this process. It’s a messy work, but it is worth it.

I had been sleeping, but now? I’m waking up.

“I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.” Psalm 111:2-3

I Resolve…

I Resolve..

It’s that time again. The time to decide on our resolutions as we begin a new year.

I’ve never been much good at the whole idea of making a list of resolutions. After all, if I don’t have a list, I don’t have a way to fail. Right? I’m not particularly a fan of failure, so my strategy to overcome this disdain for failure is to avoid the possibility of it altogether.

Alas, there is always a flip side. If I “fail” to make a list, I’m also keeping myself from the opportunity to grow and improve. The most successful people actually use their failures as learning experiences and do better next time. I get it. I just often wish I could bypass the failure process as a whole and get it right the first time, every time.

So it seems, this post is really just me trying to convince myself to write out that not-so-silly little list and then DO IT.

Without further ado (though with much hesitation), here are my resolutions for the year 2016:

Health & Fitness

This year, I resolve to lose, and keep off, 5 pounds of stomach fluff. This may require that I turn down a cookie here and there. Or actually participate in some sort of physical activity. These are both things that I dread with a passion. Every time I think I’m ready to accept the new, fluffier me, I begin to think about how I really would rather have a happy medium between the old and new versions of my body. I’m not even going for pre-baby. Just a little less fluff in the ol’ midsection.

Blogging

Basically, I want to keep it up. My most realistic expectation is to post every other Friday. I’d like to throw in some extras here and there, but instead of focusing on quantity I want to make sure I’m posting quality. My primary goal is to create a space that encourages women. I want it to be a visually beautiful space that acts as a reflection of what God sees in the hearts of His daughters. While my math brain wants a numeric goal to work toward, I’m not going to set one. Whether 15 or 1000 people read a single post isn’t actually the point. The point is whether I’ve allowed God to use me as an avenue to spread the life we can find in Him. He can get it to the right person.

Spirituality

Priority and consistency are the terms I think of here. I want God to be my first each and every day. Certain little girls in my life make this difficult, and sometimes impossible. My plan of action is to set my alarm and get out of bed. I would like to work through a study – whether on my own, with friends, or small group. My most productive quiet times seem to be when I am writing things down. The practice of writing helps me to remember what I’ve read and what I’ve learned; making it easier for me to recall truths when things start to get a little dicy during my day.

Mindset

I tend to be a slightly emotional person. Often, I lean on the side of positivity, but I can just as easily slip into a state of negativity and complaint. It is my goal, during this year, to have at least one moment each day where I call out my own negative behavior or attitude and reverse it. My hope is that by the end of the year I will be a pleasanter person via facial expressions, posture, thoughts, words, and actions. No huffing and puffing to do something just because I’m trying to be nice, but actually finding joy in doing the nice thing. I want to give credit to my hubby for this idea. I’d encourage you to listen to this message  as it explains the concept to a much greater degree.

What are some of your resolutions for this year? What goals do you want to accomplish in 2016? Let’s encourage each other to keep it up and make this our best year yet!