Thursday, November 3, 2011

A lesson in blooming...

A brief trip to the backyard today presented me a lovely suprise. All three of my rose bushes were not only flowering but doing so in abundance. I marveled at the beautiful colors that swayed in the wind and the sight of those colors in the midst of the bright green leaves. I grabbed my pruners to cut some roses and as I did so, I felt so many thoughts welling up inside me. I was pruning those branches and I couldn't help but recall the numerous times I have heard sermons or bible studies talking about how the Lord prunes each of us in our lives. He systematically cuts away the dead or unnecessary branches so that we might become more fruitful for Him. A wonderful analogy and one worth remembering but that wasn't what struck me today.

I thought back over our summer here in Dallas, the intense heat and unrelenting dryness. I didn't pay much attention to those rose bushes in over 100 degree temps and lately we've had lots of wind and rollercoaster temperatures. The conditions may not have been ideal but those roses had the two things they needed, sun and (eventually) rain. God provided for the most basic needs and despite the other harsh conditions, there they were, those beautiful, fragrant blooms.

I couldn't help but wonder if that was the true lesson for me today. God promises to provide for my needs and He does. He doesn't promise that my circumstances will be ideal but I am challenged to find the joy and by faith to proclaim His goodness and mercy in the midst of those struggles. I am supposed to bloom regardless of hardship and, in doing so, point back to the one who sustains me and cares for me. In those moments, God is glorified.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

God is in the details...

We have been trying to teach our boys that God cares about them. Not just whether they follow Him or not but I mean really care. The hairs on their head, whether they are clothed and fed or even if they get something they have been wishing for. It's an abstract thought though scripture is clear about His love and care for us.

We've (Scott and I) been going to the homeschool bookfair in Arlington, TX for about 7 years now. We usually go by ourselves but 2 years ago, we took our boys. My youngest was 6 then and not thrilled about wandering aimlessly around booths filled with curriculum and the latest and greatest in homeschooling. That is, until we found a booth selling wooden swords and daggers. The kind that any little boy would love to have to fight the odd dragon in the backyard. He was smitten. We put him off with promises that next year we would get one. That didn't happen. We attend the bookfair on Sat. but it runs on Friday which is the busiest day and things often sellout. Such as it was for the swords and daggers last year. There were none to be found. So when this year approached, we promised that if we could find one, we would get it for him.

We considered going to the bookfair on Friday just for the purpose of buying the dagger however, it's awfully far and would definitely make a lower priced toy a more hefty purchase. So we waited. Saturday came and we were up and leaving but 30 minutes later than I wished. I was frustrated because we were running late and feeling the push to get there to begin our search. I decided, as I should have earlier, to pray. I know that God cares about us and my son so I took the time to make a request that we find a dagger for our youngest. We arrived at the bookfair and the parking lot was already very full. I'm talking hundreds of people or perhaps more not to mention the thousands that had been there on Friday. We checked in and made our way to the booth we knew would have the goods. As I approached, I saw it. There in the rack, a wooden dagger. I grabbed it instantly, held it close and shared with the booth owner that I was so glad he still had one because our 8 year old had wanted one for a while now and I know how quickly they sell out. I was beyond excited.

The booth owner smiled and told us that he had been very busy and had almost sold out of the swords but he was glad we found what we wanted. He went on to share with us that he had brought lots of swords and shield but had only brought one dagger that year. ONE! That dagger was set aside for us to purchase for our son. In that moment, I felt humbled and thankful and amazed that God saw fit not just for us to be able to get the toy for our son, but that He made it so abundantly clear that He had been in the details.

It was amazing to share that story with our son when we saw him. I gave him the dagger and he immediately began to envision the battles and slaying that would take place. I asked him to stop his battles for a minute and began to share the story. I told him that God had set aside that dagger just for him. He had the man make it just for him. I have never seen such excitement or wonder as he repeated, "he made it just for me?"

Day by day, hour by hour God is present offering His love, encouragment and miracles if we take time to look. God is in the details and He loves you.