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Weed Management

I’m not a professional gardener, but I absolutely love having flowers, plants and herbs growing in my yard. I enjoy going out each day to water, clip and prune as necessary. Lately, however, it seems the thing I spend most of my time doing is weeding. There is a weed that is growing in my front flower bed that has a long vine, so when I go to pull it up I get a foot of vine and roots. If I’m not home to weed for a couple of days that weed goes crazy and pops its little head up everywhere!

This morning as I was reading Proverbs 24 I thought of my garden when I read verses 30 and 31 – “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall there was broken down.” I wonder if this man’s weed was what’s growing in my yard? It has the same ability – it could completely cover up everything in a matter of time, and break down a stone wall. But why was it allowed? The beginning of the verse tells us the reason – the gardener was lazy. I wonder where he was and what he was doing all the while the weeds were taking over his beautiful garden with the stone wall? I also have to ask myself why do things get put off in my world? Why are things left undone? Oh, I could come up with all kinds of good excuses:

  • There’s so much to do in a day
  • There simply aren’t enough hours to accomplish everything
  • Everyone needs me
  • I have to have a little down time too, you know!
  • I don’t get enough help from others

As I continue to read this passage it seems that the writer of this chapter was also wondering as he passed by this forsaken garden how this could have happened. It says in verse 32 – “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” The destruction didn’t happen overnight. It happened slowly, just like when a person travels on foot makes slow progress. This lazy person prefers sleep. He wakes up, then rolls back over for another little nap. Instead of working he indulges himself in snoozing.

Laziness isn’t just seen in our gardens. It can be seen by neglect of meal preparation – waiting until everyone is starved to begin trying to find something to eat. It sprouts up in the piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or ironed. The mounds of junk mail stacked on the counter or desk that need attention point to laziness. The lesson waiting to be studied reveals sluggishness. The children in need of love, attention and teaching are loud voices of our drowsiness. The stacked up dishes, splattered mirrors, dusty furniture, cluttered closets, and unorganized cabinets are all like the broken down wall in the garden as they tell all that pass by that we are apathetic.

In trying to control my weed problem out front I did some research and read this statement:”Weeds are simply plants that are growing in the wrong place.” When we neglect the things we should be busy about doing each day we’re growing in the wrong place too. Some of those “wrong places” could be – spending too much time at the computer (it’s sure easy to do!), running around town more than necessary, being away too often just for the sake of going to have fun, or too much time on the phone. While we’re doing those things the weeds are taking over. The article I read went on to say, Weeding is a very ‘low-tech’ job, the only tools required are a hand fork, a garden fork for larger specimens, and a bucket to collect the debris. Luxury extras are a kneeling pad and a pair of gloves. The tools we need to reign in laziness are also simple – godly discipline and elbow grease!

One prayer I pray often is, “Lord, establish the work of my hands today.” (Psalm 90:17) I need the Lord to help me keep focused and use my time wisely. I could easily waste away a day on unnecessary things, things that would let the weeds grow like crazy while I was completely oblivious. What are some things that you know the Lord would pleased you accomplish today? Don’t let the weeds take over and break down your walls!

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Father’s Day Blessings

This weekend was special because of getting to celebrate the two greatest men in my life – my husband and my dad.

How blessed I am to have had a father that loved me with God’s love. Because of his example I learned of my heavenly Father’s love for me. I learned that I could trust God. I knew that He wanted the best for my life. I knew that He was for me…and I learned these things at my father’s knee. I had high expectations in my husband because of what I saw in my dad. He loved my mom with tenderness, kindness and sweet expressions displayed in everyday life. My dad is one of the most unselfish people I know – always looking to do something for someone else, and desiring never to be a burden to others.

One example of his unselfish spirit was displayed so sweetly this weekend. I got a Father’s Day card in the mail from him! It was a card wishing me all the adventures and happiness I long for. Inside the card was a letter to me from my dad. It was a letter expressing his pride in me as his daughter. It was also a letter of encouragement for a thing he’d like to see me do and expressing his love for me. I cried. What dad would think to send his daughter a letter on Father’s Day? One like my dad. Instead of sitting in his recliner waiting to be served, he got up and served me. That is so like him, and one of many reasons that I love him dearly.

Then the Lord blessed me with a husband that has been an incredible father to our daughters. How many times I’ve seen him cuddle our girls – from the time they were infants and fit into the palm of his hand. Even today when he leaves them it’s with hugs and butterfly kisses. When they were little he’d lie down next to them at bedtime and read to them, often falling asleep before they did. He prays for our girls. How it touches my heart to see him sitting out on the deck in the early morning hours, facing an empty chair in which he sees Christ sitting in front of him. I see his lips moving, I see the tears stream from his eyes as he prays. It’s there that he presents to the Lord his wife and his daughters each day. What more could a wife or daughter want from the head of their home? Absolutely nothing, though I could tell you much more.

I praise the Lord for these men – my father and my husband, and know that I am so very blessed. I pray for men like these for my daughters, and I know that “God is able to do to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20

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Mature Love

What a special weekend this has been. On Saturday my husband and I celebrated our 28th anniversary and on Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day. Those are two very special days in my book, celebrating two of the greatest men I have ever known.

Last week my sister told me she’d written in her praise journal that she was thankful for:

  • Young love
  • Mature love
  • Everlasting love

I couldn’t agree more. When my relationship with my husband was new, it was all squishy, full of sighs and emotions. As the years have passed that love has become steady and strong. No longer is it the uphill climb and full of wondering that a new relationship holds. It’s solid. It’s sure. It’s based on God’s everlasting love. Don’t get me wrong – my hubby can make my heart flip in a minute with one of his looks. Emotions are still involved – they’re just not up and down!

I love that now as an “old married couple” we can finish one another’s sentences, or tell what the other is thinking by the look on their face. I love that we can enjoy doing simple things together. On Saturday we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a muffin while listening to some of our favorite songs. That was as much fun (maybe more) than going out. There’s something really special about mature love that we didn’t know existed in our early days, and we realize that if the Lord allows, we will come to understand that in a greater way in the years ahead. When difficulties arise (and they come for every couple), it is so worth it to hang in there, running to the Lord for His help to work through it, rather than bailing out.

Ministry couples don’t have an automatic guarantee on their marriage. We have to work at it just as hard as any other couple. The busyness of ministry can crowd out a close relationship. Children are always a demand on a marriage. Life pushes its way into our schedule and our sinful flesh rises up against us. There has to be a cry to the Lord each day to stay true and faithful, making the relationship strong enough to last the long haul.

It’s also very obvious to me that marriage has to be worked on all through the years. It doesn’t just become set for life after ten years or so. Changes that come cause the need for adjustments to be made. The empty nest adds a new dimension, and adjustment is necessary in order to sail through this phase more in love. I’ve watched couples and I’ve seen that just the natural aging process can put a strain on a marriage. The inability to hear creates a frustration. The fact that after retirement the husband is now home in the middle of what his wife has been doing alone all those years can add some tension. Failing health and the presence of medical bills can add financial strain after living comfortably on their retirement.

What’s the answer? I believe it’s thinking biblically – Philippians 4:8 thinking. “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” It’s so easy to think on things that don’t fit into this category, get ourselves worked up over it, then respond with the wrong attitude. “He always…” Always? Really? “I wish my husband was like her husband!” We don’t have a clue what people are like in their private lives, and is it pure thinking to wish our husband was like someone else? We have to line up our thinking with the Truth. I haven’t always done that, and have gotten myself in a tizzy in the process! How much sweeter it is to look at our marriage through the lens of Philippians 4:8!

Twenty-eight years really isn’t that long a time to be married – we’re just getting started. I pray the years ahead will be filled with simple things, mature love, and right thinking ’til death parts us on this world.

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Wise or Foolish Tongue

I fight a battle every day. It is a battle with my tongue. How easy it is for me to spill everything I am thinking, tell everything I know, give my insight to the situations around me, or share my feelings about any and everything. Often it’s only after I’ve talked that I remember the wisdom in Proverbs on the tongue.

One passage I’m memorizing and trying to apply is Proverbs 17:27, 28 – “He that hath wisdom spareth his words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirt. Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” My interpretation of this passage is, if you want people to think your wise, be quiet! Another quote that had to be taken from this passage is, “It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!”

Wisdom is not talking often. Being quiet, as I Thessalonians 4:11 – “And that you study to be quiet…” – it is a learned thing; it doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Too often I spew off – sharing my thoughts, my disgust, my frustration, my opinion. That kind of temperament is not demonstrating an “excellent spirit” (good character). Even when I feel someone is wrong about something, it is my responsibility to pray for them. If they need to be set straight, God can reveal that to them far better than I can!

So today as I fight the battle with my tongue I pray I’ll do it with my lips closed more than open – revealing wisdom instead of foolishness!
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Bible Study Announcement

Do you know anyone that acts foolishly? They may be a family member, co-worker, or neighbor. How is a person to respond to foolish actions? Is it possible to live with someone who has this kind of character? The ladies of Boones Creek Bible Church are invited to join a Bible story about Abigail and Nabal that will be beginning in July. From this story we will learn:

  • how to distinguish the characteristics of a fool,
  • how to avoid having those attributes in our own life
  • how to deal with those in our lives that act foolishly.

Our first study will be on Wednesday, July 1st. Be sure to sign up on the sheet that is posted on the bulletin board so I’ll have enough books for everyone to use. This is such a practical study, and one I think that will be a great help to us all. I’ll hope to see you then!

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A Roller Coaster Weekend

This was a memory making weekend. On Friday our younger daughter, Allison officially graduated from the Academy of Home Education at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. For me it was emotional – happy over our completion of school, sad at that close of this phase of our lives. Happy over this phase of our lives, sad at the changes that are pressing in on us. It was a roller coaster! But we all pay to ride them, and this was a good one.

The picture above is of the two sisters together the morning of graduation. They’re thicker than molasses and closer than I could’ve hoped for with seven years between them. Big sister Whitney was always the mother hen watching out for Allison, bossing her around, and busting out laughing at all Allison’s antics. Time has changed that a bit – now they tell each other how to dress, who to hang with, or how to handle a situation. They respect one another enough to heed the counsel that’s given.

This picture is a bit blurry, but it was taken over the Internet by my sister. The ceremony was posted over the web site of the university, so my family who were unable to attend were able to watch and participate with us! Each graduate and their family was asked to stand while they were introduced to the crowd. A paragraph describing each student was read while they stood.

Allison also had the privilege of playing the piano during the ceremony. She played, “All Glory Laud and Honor”, a fitting piece for a home school graduation. All glory goes to the Lord for helping us to reach this momentous occasion. He kept us going, kept me encouraged, and provided for the books and materials each year.

The parents – do we look stressed? Remember the roller coaster analogy! No, really this wasn’t a stressful day, it was a day for celebrating and that we did!

If I’d had a hat I would’ve thrown it too! Woo-hoo! We did it…we’re finished!
No more lesson plans, grade books, teacher’s curriculum, text books, or standard achievement tests! I won’t let myself go to the sad note of all the other things that I’ll miss next fall when Allison’s gone. Just as God’s grace has been sufficient for these last 13 years of her schooling, it will be sufficient for the empty nest. My husband’s calling it, “The Love Nest” – now that sounds pretty good! Praise the Lord for a loving husband who has understood my roller coaster moods and has soothed and comforted me. I am blessed.
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Always An Answer

When was the last time you called your doctor’s office, insurance agent, computer tech, customer service department, bank, or even your sister and actually got to talk to a real, live person? Most times a message line picks up the call and you listen to a set of instructions that leaves your head spinning so badly you can’t remember your own telephone number so you can leave a message. One message that tickles me is, “When you have finished you may hang up…” Oh, thank you! I can hang up! Otherwise I may have sat here with the phone in my hand all afternoon waiting for the next set of instructions. It can be very frustrating, can’t it, when you just want to ask a simple question and all you get is a machine?

In light of this, how sweet Jeremiah 33:3 is – Call unto me and I will answer thee... The God of heaven, our Creator is not too big to answer our call! Can you imagine calling the computer tech and having Bill Gates pick up on the first ring to help you with your request? No way! How about calling your doctor’s office and hearing his voice greet you? Don’t think so! But when I call out to my Father in heaven, He not only hears me but He answers. That is amazing. That is wondrous love. That is our God!

The next time you make a call and you hear a recording instead of the person’s voice you wanted to talk to, remind yourself of the sweet blessing of God answering you each time you call Him. Maybe you won’t find yourself quite as frustrated when you hang up the phone.

You can click out of this blog now. Sorry! Couldn’t resist! =)