Longing to Hear God’s Voice – But Wait He Has ALREADY Spoken

I often take new relationships for granted. I will often forget the imagery I have about how God connects different paths throughout our lives. My own thought is that God is making a beautiful quilt, and each of us have a place in the smaller patches. And within those patches are the things God is doing in each of us, our communities, etc. The patches all come together to make one glorious piece of art that God has been patching together. Now, His plan is even greater than this, but when I begin to take for granted, all the relationships that I am blessed with, I am able to envision this imagery that God has a purpose for each one and for His greater glory. And for that, I am grateful.

One particular relationship is that with one of my very best friends, Brooke Plummer. It’s really neat, because Brooke and I have been in the same “patch” for many years, however we didn’t draw close until it was in God’s timing! And now I see that we are part of a beautiful patch together, and God is working in us and through us to piece together the bigger “quilt” that He is making.

Over the last few years I’ve been blessed to witness God really work in Brooke’s life. I’ve been honored to pray alongside her, cry with her, celebrate with her, and even as God, “why” with her. But the most magnificent moment of them all is seeing God reveal Himself so boldly to her! It’s my honor to share her journey in Faith and God’s Faithfulness, with you, for His glory!

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Longing to Hear God’s Voice – But Wait He Has ALREADY Spoken

By Brooke Plummer

“I sit here contemplating where to begin with this story, my story,

God’s story.

This is my first blog post I’ve ever written, or considered writing, but I felt compelled to share this.

A little bit of background…since the time my husband and I married we have always had a desire to relocate to North Carolina. Although there were many appealing things about NC, I never really understood how that specific location and mutual desire came about.

We talked many times of relocating but once the beautiful gifts of children came along we wanted to be close to family and to have my Mom care for them while I worked. We set the desire of relocating aside and went ahead and built our dream home. We worked hard, saved our money, and put much love into that home. We loved entertaining and hosting family gatherings there. Our favorite place in the entire house was our outdoor fireplace on the veranda.

We had so many good times with people we love cuddled around this source of warmth.

But quickly some things changed. The neighborhood we built our dream home in changed causing my husband to take on additional responsibility to help protect our investment into this dream. This became a source of much stress and many sleepless nights. As our surroundings changed our desire for this to be our forever home changed too.

We started having conversations again about moving to North Carolina. We eventually started taking trips out to investigate areas and on one trip found some land we wanted to purchase. Wow!

This was getting real. We purchased the land with the goal of moving in 3 years. Two years into that timeline we started to put the plan into action. In May of 2016 we put the FOR-SALE sign in the yard. That was an emotional day, but we thought we probably had a year before we would actually be leaving our family and friends and the state of Indiana which we had lived our entire lives in.

Well… there was a different plan.

The next day I received a call from my boss and very good friend that my company was doing a reduction in force and my position was being eliminated.

WHAT??? My position was the one job we knew we could take with us and rely on in North Carolina because I worked remotely and traveled when needed so it didn’t matter where I was located.

The crazy thing is, I felt this overwhelming peace that this is what God wanted and that instead of waiting a year to move, we should move NOW.

God made that happen.

Within 3 weeks, we had our house sold. Which was a “miracle” in itself as there were more than a handful of houses for sale in our neighborhood at the time. We quickly found the perfect rental in NC and relocated so we could come to NC and build our new dream home on that property we purchased.

We started down a similar path… we started dreaming. What did we want in this new house? We worked with a wonderful designer and drafted a beautiful home. Then comes time to see what this dream home will cost. More than we imagined, but within our ability to afford. Since it was more than we wanted we spent several weeks making changes to bring the cost down some.

All the while, I was struggling.

Okay the cost is coming down, but do we really want to invest this much money into a house? Something was urging me to reconsider, but we continued on.

Once you throw something out to the universe, something you want to accomplish, it’s easy to feel inclined that we must follow through. But do dreams and goals change?

That’s when God began to intervene. Well, I should say that’s when I started to recognize a little bit more (wasn’t He there all along?).

Take into your heart all My words which I will speak to you and listen closely.

Ezekiel 3:10

I was part of a women’s Bible study at church and we were studying Ecclesiastes, Wisdom for Living Well. In Ecclesiastes, it is emphasized OVER and OVER that we are

Chasing After the Wind.

In society, we always want more, want better and aren’t afraid to work and work and work for it. But it caused me to think more about what we are sacrificing in order to have those things we chase.

Are those things we are chasing really what makes us happy?

In the same time frame, we were doing a study at church titled Immeasurably More. There is a need at our church to expand and make room for one more person, well this takes financial power to do this. We heard many great sermons at church about financial responsibility and I felt this tugging on my heart to participate and give. But I knew if we moved forward in building this dream house, it was going to be more challenging to give above and beyond our normal tithe.

My husband and I had many conversations about this and we eventually decided let’s wait.

We started to recognize God telling us to be patient.

So, we set down the path of looking for an interim home to buy. Something to hold us over for 2-4 years while we figured things out. This past Saturday we decided to go look at some homes. We went in 3 and I was getting very frustrated; we were not finding anything that fit our needs and wants. We went on to the 4th home…and I had this feeling.

This house was everything we were looking for. It was perfect for us! It has land for the kids to play and a wrap-around porch to entertain on.

Oh, the memories we can create here.

Within 48 hours, pending final paper work and inspection we are able to make that house ours.

So, there are a few details, I purposefully held back. This story is written in the words and ways in which I experienced it. But I was missing the true experience of the Holy Spirit through this story,

GOD’s story.

About a week ago, as I was going through a cabinet, I found a book which I had purchased but not yet read. The book is titled, Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. A few days after finding it I began to dig in.

Wow had I been missing the message.

I sat down to read this book with the hopes of one day recognizing when God is speaking to me. Well what a wake-up call. I’m not sure if you recognized it in this story, or in your story, but when we are saved and receive the Holy Spirit that “gut feeling” we get is no longer just an instinct it is the Holy Spirit guiding us.

That initial desire? GOD

Giving me a different career path and the urge to move NOW? GOD

The tug on our hearts to wait and be patient? GOD

Wise counsel from my best friend and her ongoing prayers? GOD

My best friend’s insight that maybe God led us to purchase the property as a way to get us to North Carolina, but that wasn’t the final plan? GOD

The Bible Study and the message at Church? GOD

Leading us to this new home? GOD

Feeling “compelled” to share this? GOD

I now recognize that HE has ALWAYS been there, but I wasn’t LISTENING!

I cannot wait to see what He has in store for us moving forward. I want to listen and recognize sooner so I can take His guidance and praise Him throughout the days of my life.

Is God speaking to you?

Is He telling you something? Christian brothers and sisters if you have found salvation in Jesus Christ, don’t keep assuming it’s your “gut”,

it’s HIM!

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:13″

Thank you, Brooke for not only seeking Him in all you do, but taking the time to reflect, be still, and share your story. You are an amazing woman and I see God working through you each and every day. You inspire me to be all that God has created me to be, and you will continue to reach others by that same encouragement. I’m so blessed by our friendship, and I’m so glad God has us in the same “patch”! God bless you my dear friend!

 

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But, Mom…Always a Lesson

“But mom, I didn’t know you were still proud of me…”

Ouch. What did he mean still proud of him? Of course I’m proud of him. He’s my son! My precious, stubborn but sweet, gentle but ornery, amazingly created by Christ himself, son!

You see, earlier that same day, we had a moment. You know those moments when your almost five year old doesn’t want to listen? No. Matter. What. Yeah, one of those moments. So I sternly said I was disappointed in his behavior…(other conversation was had, but that’s the main point for this story!)

The day went on and we all went about out business as usual. Bedtime rolled around and after finishing the boys’ prayers, I told them I loved them and was very proud of them. Insert his comment. Insert my aching heart and tear-filled eyes.

“Why wouldn’t I be proud of you, honey? Of course I am!”

“But mom, remember when you said you were disappointed…”

After they were all peacefully sleeping, I got to have some of my favorite time, reflection time. I was actually burdened by the comment. How many times do I say things or maybe fail to say things that make a huge impact? And, so many times without even thinking about it. I’m proud of you. So easy to say, and so sincere, but do I always listen to the prompting to show love and speak kindness? The answer is no. But, why?

Sometimes, I’m just too “busy”. I may get distracted, sure. But the main problem is fear. Fear stops me. Not as much with my children (I praise them all day), but with other relationships. What will they think if I say… I don’t know enough to say anything… Will I upset them…I don’t want to be “that girl”… They know I’m no better…

This week alone has been an emotional roller coaster. Not really in my own personal environment, but in many of my friends and even some acquaintances’ lives. There were moments of pure celebration and moments of extreme brokenness, and honestly everything in between. And you know what? Even with all the emotions, it was an awesome reminder. A reminder that we must show love. We must speak truth. We must encourage when we have the opportunity. We must extend grace. We must listen to the conviction to pray alongside someone, even when it may be uncomfortable.

Will it be perfect? No. Will we always know what to say? No. Will everyone be receptive? Maybe not. Will people think we are strange? Perhaps. Does it matter? NO. Because someone may be feeling just as my middle son was. Listening to the last comment that left them feeling defeated. The last comment that broke them. The last really bad moment with someone they really love.

And perhaps, God is working through us to ignite that Hope.

But mom

I recently went through a major pruning season. I could quite possibly still be in the midst of it! And one thing I’ve really become aware of is that it’s not about me. None of this is about me. And that’s a relief! God has created me in His image and how He wants me. How HE wants me. And I’m good enough. I’m able to do the work He has planned in me and do it well…with Him!

Will it be perfect? No. Will I always know what to say and do? No! Will everyone be receptive? Probably not. Will people think I am strange? Absolutely. Does it matter? NO! Am I ok with that? I’m getting there. Will it all be ok? Yes!

Because God is working in and through me, and I have Hope.

Whatever your gift is, share it. Whatever love is on your heart, give it. Whatever fear is stopping you, crush it. It’s not about you. It’s about what God is doing in and through you. And, that’s pretty exciting.

Now, who can you go out and bless today with love and service? Who is looking for Hope?

Part of the Plan?

Have you ever had one of those days, where you found yourself tense, in tears, wondering “why”, but not even really able to describe what was really wrong?

No? Me neither…ok, actually, today was one of those days.

So, let me take some initial responsibility for this day. If I could pick three of the things I failed to do, that make a huge impact on my day, these would be them.

  1. I didn’t start my day in my usual way; in God’s word
  2. I went to bed entirely too late last night and woke up entirely too early. (Hence why I didn’t begin with my quiet time, because I was tired-bad excuse)
  3. I didn’t take my Vitamin D early enough (seriously though, this is HUGE, especially this time of the year!)

With those out of the way, I now look back on the day and can see lots of areas where I “failed”. I mean, FAILED. I over-planned and under-prepared. I took a tired toddler to too many places for a mom who didn’t start the day right. I made a dentist appointment at noon with three kids. I allowed myself to stay in my rut of “annoyance of the day” by calling my mom to tell her all about it, texted my husband about how short naps were, and called one of my best friends knowing she’d give some wisdom.  I could go on and on. By the end of the day, I even was crying on the kitchen floor because I ran out of rosemary and thyme and wanted to make a nice meal for a friend. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

Child, Be Still. I use all things to shape you, to prepare you. Even moments like this.

Wake up! As I found myself asking why days had to be so challenging sometimes—Why I couldn’t figure out how to “handle” it—Why I get so frustrated when things aren’t perfect—I started to calm down. (I’ll admit, I prayed a ton, I also took a double dose of Stress Relief Complex and my Vitamin D, oh yeah!)

You see, I listened to a sermon this morning about the power of “pre” (If you download the Elevation Church podcast, you’ll see it. Highly recommend it.) While I can’t even try to share all I felt during this sermon, or all that the pastor shared, I will share one thing.

He uses everything right now, for preparation for what is to come.

That is EXACTLY the answer to my entire “why” list of questions. Why is this so hard? Because He is using this hard season for all the great that is to come! The training may not make sense, but I do believe with my heart of hearts that God has a purpose for each and every one of us. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. And while maybe I can’t wrap my head around His greatness; I can wrap my head around the fact that preparation is followed by provision. And I believe in a God who provides! I’m actually quite excited as I reflect on this day, because as I had some toddler tantrums and mommy tantrums, I was also able to apologize to my children for being short-tempered. I was able to stop and pray alongside a friend who was having a very overwhelming day (while you read this, will you say a prayer for her, too?) I was able to pray for each of my family members and friends. I was able to take a meal to a friend. I was able to warm a stranger’s heart at Chipotle and not even know it.

But the most exciting part to all of this…I was able because HE lives in me! Not because of MY strength, but because He uses me to do His work. And He is using each of these moments to grow me and refine me and prepare me for all he has in store. He doesn’t see my weakness as failures, at all! How do I ever forget that?

Hmm, now the day doesn’t seem so bad. (Remind me of that tomorrow.)

But also remind me to…

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 10:27

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The Thrill of Hope

The anticipation of Christmas is flowing through our home. Well, this has been happening for the past month of course. Children wake every morning to see the countdown to Christmas. Eyes brighten, smiles widen, and giggles fill the room.
There is something about experiencing Christmas with and through our children. They have such Hope for what is to come.
One of my dearest friends sent me a surprise gift in the mail a couple of weeks ago. While I love ornaments, I especially love this one. The Thrill of Hope. Stop and just say that a few times to yourself and think about what it means. (Some may even be singing it to the tune, like me.) As I hung this ornament on our tree, I placed it front and center, because I wanted the constant reminder of how I felt when I read those words the day I opened it. The Thrill of Hope.

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I made a personal decision to not allow stress to take over me this holiday season. While I never plan for that to happen anyway, I often start to fret over the gifts, the traveling, getting everything done, keeping the house clean, making it memorable for the kids, doing everything “just right”. WHY? This past year I chose the word Joy as our word of the year. I have kept it my mission and passion to keep Joy as a focus for our family. (Ok, I didn’t do perfectly, but there was some great growth in that area!) Stress is not Joy! So, I was not going to let stress during the most important time of the year, take me down or take away our Joy!
What a game changer. I can honestly say, I haven’t been stressed. Ok, well maybe when my middle son’s Christmas Eve ornament didn’t arrive when I expected, and the tracking said it wouldn’t come until the 26, and so I made a homemade replica hoping he didn’t mind, annnnnd then it came in the mail today! See, no need for stress. It all worked out. But really, I have really changed my perspective in certain situations, and I’m so thankful God has given me the focus and strength to do so! This has been a remarkably Joyful Christmas season! (And a pretty amazing year, too!)
So back to the anticipation of Christmas. Yesterday and today, my kids have been CR-AZY! Crazy excited, crazy sugared up from treats, crazy from being inside so much, crazy, crazy! As I lay them all down for naps today, I had a few moments to collect my thoughts. The smell of Christmas ham was filling our home, sounds of Christmas movies were playing in the background, lights twinkling on the tree, and there, in the center of the tree, was that ornament. The Thrill of Hope. God humbled me in that very moment and my eyes filled with tears. Oh my, there are so many thrills in the Hope of Jesus. JESUS is the real reason for this season, and what a thrill that is! I started having flashbacks of memories from this past year. Some were making me laugh to myself; others gave me such a peaceful feeling. Some even had me feeling a bit angry, and some had my heart hurting for some of my loved ones experiencing heartache. But right there in that instant, Hope filled my heart. To breathe Him in, and feel His presence, gives such Hope. There is a true spirit of Christmas, and that is what is really filling our home this season.
Sure we are so excited for gifts, I mean, I’m seriously stoked to see these boys open some exciting surprises (daddy too!) I am also pretty excited for our next few days with family, and all the excitement with gift giving, celebrating, and memories being made.
All the while, I can’t help but sit back and take moments to reflect on Christ. God loves us so much, that he gave us His son, as this precious baby, to experience life with us, and then eventually die for us, so that we can be forgiven of our own sins, and spend eternity in heaven. I can’t even contain the emotions that I experience when I take these moments to praise God for this gift. The Thrill of Hope. The Hope in Jesus. THE Gift of a Lifetime.
So today I encourage you, take some time to yourself to breathe Him in. Think about the true Hope that we have in Jesus. I tell you, no matter the storm, the Hope is always there.
Merry Christmas, and may you experience the greatest Hope this season!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Beautiful in its Time

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Seasons. Spiritual seasons change just as our earthly seasons change and there is beauty and purpose in each. Some spiritual seasons are beautiful, bright and cheery, and others may appear cold, damp and dreary. There is a time for everything; a time for growth and reflection, time for trials and celebration. One thing remains. God is truth. God is there through each season, using each change for His purpose.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

A few years ago, a friend and I were talking about God’s word, and God’s word being truth. We talked about God’s word being an instruction manual for our daily lives. I started reflecting on how I was/wasn’t utilizing this beautiful guide to live according to my purpose. My spiritual growth journey suddenly had a new meaning to it, and I felt a huge desire to grow my relationship with Christ. See, I have been a Christian since I was ten years old. But this new season of life I was in, prompted me to change the way I approached my purpose driven life, and my relationship with Christ. There was so much more to this relationship than I was experiencing! Seasons can awaken us.

At the time, I was constantly trying to wake up before my young children to have some devotional time and quiet time to read my bible. Anyone with young children knows that anytime you plan to do something before the children wake…that often sets their internal alarm clock to beat you to your buzzer. And that’s what kept happening. I felt so defeated. I felt like I would never grow closer to God! Seasons can stretch us.

So I changed my approach. I began having my devotional time with my children, and really looked at how to make our entire day devotional time. I started posting bible verses around our home for reminders of God’s truth in our purpose driven life. I would pray for areas in my heart that needed changed, and read verses to align with my convictions. The eyes of my heart were being opened to not only my sin, but also God’s beauty. There is always scripture to align with our daily lives, both in struggle and praise. Seasons can strengthen us.

verses-written

Life seemed so full and so encouraging. I was really feeling God’s spirit in me and through me. This relationship was growing! Then, spiritual warfare was in full swing. I felt attacked in so many areas of my life. While not one “thing” was “wrong”, I felt the enemy attacking areas in my life that were important to me. Through the trials, I continued to go to Christ even when I felt total defeat. He continued to strengthen me through His truth. He was always there. He was always stronger than the enemy’s attack. But I didn’t always see it in the moment. Seasons can be discouraging and difficult.

As I fast-forward through time, I take moments to reflect. When I have quiet time, I’m always amazed at the trials that I’ve experienced, yet even more amazed at God’s faithfulness. Each and every season has been used to grow me, to strengthen me, to keep me on the path to live according to His purpose in me. But what is really amazing to me today is how God is showing me that it’s not about me at all. Seasons can humble us.

Just recently, I was walking through our home, reflecting on the scripture posted in various places. I noticed that the scripture had not only been embedded in my heart, but God has used His truth to bring me through the seasons in which I wrote these verses. I almost collapsed in awe at His beauty and His faithfulness. (How do I take these blessings of growth for granted so easily?) When I gave up these burdens to Him, He delivered His Grace and goodness. Seasons can open our eyes in gratitude.

Emotions fill me as I praise Him and His vision becomes clearer to me. You see, these seasons not only grew me, but they are now enabling me to help others grow in Him. Every verse He shows me (starting these few years ago) is applicable to the people He is bringing to my ministry. While in the moments of these seasons, I often asked, “why?” I now see, that again, it wasn’t about me at all. Instead, He wants to use me to encourage and empower others, by His Grace alone. And He continues to show me through my daily walk with Him and His word, that He is always there, and there is purpose in the seasons. Seasons have purpose.

As I continue through seasons of life, I declare that I will reflect and remember, that there is purpose, and His purpose prevails all. While I don’t have everything figured out, I do know there is hope in the trials when we trust Him. How is God growing you through your seasons?

“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.”

Hebrews 6:10

Healing Bone Broth

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions. I do however take the start of a new year as an opportunity to examine our family’s lifestyle and some things I’d like to incorporate throughout the upcoming year. While I partner with others in their journey to better health, I’m always encouraging them to choose 1-2 things they can commit to, to make small changes in their health. I do the same for my family and myself! At the start of 2016, I chose some nutrition changes I’d like to make in our family. One was being more intentional about the colors of foods we were eating at each meal (i.e. fruit and veggie varieties), to ensure a balanced nutritional content and benefit. Another was to start making bone broth and increasing our consumption of this super food.

While I haven’t done either as well as I had intended, I did make our first batch of bone broth in March…and I’m finally writing a blog to share our experience and recipe. (I never said I put a time line on these New Year nutritional changes or in sharing them with others!) I have to say, YUM! It was delicious! I noticed the flavor was richer than the chicken stock/broth I’ve purchased at the store. The kids loved it as well!

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So, why did I want to start making bone broth? I mean, since I’m such a queen in the kitchen, why not, right? Not really! I often feel a bit inadequate when attempting new things. I believe in healthy eating, and we do eat healthy…but we also eat a lot of the same things, hence these two New Year changes. Many will even say how easy bone broth is to make, and while it actually was, I was a bit intimated, for some reason! But, I know the benefits of bone broth, and we use broth frequently, so it makes sense to make it from scratch!

I’ve had several people ask some of the benefits of bone broth. While I’m no expert, there are a lot of studies and experts who provide so much knowledge on this topic! Some that I’m most intrigued with are the benefits of bone broth for infections like colds and flu, digestion, allergies, inflammation and pain, relaxation, bone repair and growth, healthy skin, healthy hair & nails…the list goes on and on.

For me, it was relaxing to spend some time in the kitchen, the aroma of the bone broth for 12 hours was enticing, and the benefits were rewarding. My middle son loved helping me as well, which is encouraging to both him and I!

I saved the frames of our whole chickens (free-range) when we fixed them. Once I had enough (2-3 pounds of bones) I was ready to make our first batch of broth! I purchased some organic carrots, organic celery, organic onion, organic parsley, and organic garlic. I also gathered apple cider vinegar, filtered water with my Shaklee Water Pitcher, and my stainless steel stockpot.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs of bones (we chose free-range chicken bones)
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Instructions (Details found here. I followed a version of what Wellness Mama shared. My version is simplified and basic, check her details out!)

  1. I placed the chicken bones into my large stockpot, and added my filtered water. I then added the apple cider vinegar. I let these 3 ingredients sit in the cool water, while I prepared the veggies.
  2. I washed and chopped the veggies. (will add parsley and garlic later, so set aside)
  3. Add the veggies to the pot and begin to boil.
  4. After combination has begun to boil, reduce to a simmer for the remaining time. I let mine simmer for 10-12 hours. (Some time I will try a crock-pot version!)

We used our first batch up pretty quickly. The boys and I all sipped on a cup of warm broth and it was so soothing. We weren’t even sick! I kept some fresh in the refrigerator for the next couple of days, and froze the rest. I was so glad to have this homemade chicken bone broth for upcoming meals! It not only tastes amazing, but I know I’m providing whole body health for my family. Plus, I enjoy making it!

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Small steps lead to big results! What are you doing TODAY to change your TOMORROW?

An Awakening Harvest

When I started my day yesterday, I had planned to pick tomatoes with my children…I had no idea how big God would show up and fill my heart.

Isn’t it humbling when you are awakened to God’s beauty in your everyday life? Do you know what I mean? Like, a moment where you stop in your tracks, and say, “wow, God, I take this for granted.” This happens to me frequently. Often, it’s when I’m talking with my children, perhaps a close friend who is speaking truth into me or my family, but there are times where it’s just me, my task at hand, and the conviction from the Holy Spirit.

Just yesterday afternoon, my 3 boys and I were harvesting some tomatoes from our garden. We were talking about how each of them looked different; some were split open, some were perfectly round, some were all red, some were mostly green, some were rotten, some were ripe, some were big and some were small…we had a great impromptu home school lesson indeed! As we filled our baskets, I was so thankful for our bountiful harvest.

See, we planted our garden very late this year. We had a home project that prevented early planting of our seeds, and we even contemplated skipping our garden for this year. But, we looked ahead and realized how much we appreciate our vegetables, year round! So we gave it a shot. We had no idea if anything would grow, but why not try and plant the seeds!

My husband worked hard at tilling our garden, we planted the seeds, and we watered, and watered, and watered. Many weeds would grow, and we’d clean them up. Suddenly, we spotted some tomatoes blooming! My husband would say almost daily, “If I could get just one red tomato this year, I’d be happy.”

Fast-forward over many weeks, and we were blessed beyond expectations. We reaped a harvest much larger than we anticipated! And we are grateful!

This brings me back to yesterday afternoon. As I was bringing in baskets of tomatoes to prepare for preserving, I had such a wave of conviction come over me.

“Look at what God does for us. We planted few seeds, had little faith of a harvest, yet He proved to be faithful once again. Look at this harvest.”

I had to stop in my tracks and pause to really take this moment in. It wasn’t just about the bountiful crop of tomatoes, it was about the seed planted! About the harvest!

When I started to observe the tomatoes closer, I went back to the conversations my boys and I had while picking them. No two tomatoes were the same, yet they would both help provide nourishment over the months to come. Some were big, some were small, but all were a blessing! I couldn’t have predicted, to the very tiny detail, about how each and every tomato would look. I had an idea, but not the details. I didn’t predict the feeling of joy that God filled me with when my boys and I spent time picking these tomatoes. I didn’t predict the anticipation of getting that first, ripe tomato and the fun it brought to our family that evening at dinner. I didn’t predict this feeling of total gratefulness of God’s beauty each and every day, while preparing to wash these tomatoes.

Breathtaking. God is breathtaking.

 You see, what this reminded me of, is how God is faithful in His word. This reminded me of how I often take our harvest for granted.

Each and every seed that we plant, will reap a harvest. We can have an idea of the type of harvest (we want and expect), but we may not see the beauty in each and every detail of these blessings.

What kinds of seeds are we planting? Into our family, friends, community, strangers? Are we planting seeds of love, hope, righteousness?

What about planting seeds of peace?

“and those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18

How encouraging is this? Plant peace, reap righteousness. Are we peace-makers? Are we lifting one another up? Are we showing love, mercy, grace? How are we showing Christ to others?

What about planting seeds of tears?

“those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:5

When we are in sorrow, we can plant these seeds of tears, clinging to Christ, laying our burdens before Him, and he can turn our grieving into joy! These are moments of refining, of spiritual growth.

I know there have been times where I don’t even know what seeds I am planting, or where God is guiding me to plant seeds.

“I said, plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts for now is the time to seek the lord that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

By preparing our hearts (just like my husband prepared the land for the garden), asking God to forgive our sins, and asking God to guide us, he promises righteousness upon us. Being broken before our Lord…He provides vision and provision. I know I must continue to plant seeds, nurture them, and rely on God to make them grow.

While I washed and juiced these beautiful tomatoes last evening, I had such an overwhelming feeling of Joy. God was showing me so many blessings that I hadn’t glorified Him for. Tiny seeds that He has guided and strengthened me to plant, have begun to bloom and grow into a bountiful harvest. Some are now blessings I could have predicted, and others, no prediction at all. Some are still being nurtured by Christ, and I have not yet seen a harvest, and don’t know how the harvest will even look!

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

1 Corinthians 3:6

What I do know, is God is faithful. He is guiding me to plant seeds. While I seek Him and long to glorify Him, he provides a harvest that continues to nourish me. He nourishes me in my spiritual walk with Him, and my earthly walk with others. Even when I contemplate skipping out on Him (and sometimes do). Even when I limit His blessing (like saying we’d be happy with just…). Even when I fall short time and time again. He is faithful.

What beauty Gods shows us. What beautiful ways He shows up! When I started my day yesterday, I had planned to pick tomatoes with my children…I had no idea how big God would show up and fill my heart.

tomatoes