reNEWed

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We love New.  New beginnings.  Fresh starts.

Clean slates.

We like January Firsts, Mondays, New fiscal quarters; to flip the page to a new month or week in our calendar.

DSC04887We like new ledgers, balanced books and untainted goals.

We like Resolutions. Solutions. Resolve – unmarred by failed attempts.  The hope in them still bright.

Hope is empowering!  It reminds us our dreams can still come true, our destiny actualized.

One month into 2013 you may have already found yourself falling short in your new years resolutions.  Maybe you set financial or exercise goals, perhaps you made a plan to read more or serve more, be angry less or forgive quickly.  Perhaps you are not seeing the progress you envisioned. Whatever you resolved to do, don’t dismay!

I have some encouragement for you!

The mercy, grace, empowerment and hope of God is available in every breathe.  Mistakes covered, shortcomings made up for, debt paid.  We need only to turn to what He provides.  We do not have to flip the calendar to a new year, month or week.  We don’t need to wait until the new fiscal quarter.

Every. Day. Is. A. Fresh. Start.

His mercies are NEW every morning.”

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

You can start over right now.  Now is your fresh start.  Now is your new beginning.

Now is your NEW.

In Him you have ALL that you need.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”.  2 Peter 1:3

2012 in review

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I want to say a big “Thank You” to everyone who viewed, read or commented on my blog this year.  I truly loved writing and sharing with you.  Although I didn’t reach my goal of posting every week, I gained much.  WordPress has put together a little blog summary for me.  Check it out – and maybe scroll back through some of the posts you loved or missed.  See what post was most popular or got the most comments – (it’s not too late to leave one)!

Here’s to 2013 – and the great writing to come!

Thank you – I wouldn’t consider writing if it weren’t for you!

May God bless you and meet you in a fresh way in 2013.

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

There’s a Giant in My Promised Land!?

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My husband and I have a custom at the beginning of each year.  We ask God to reveal a theme for the coming 365 days.  This year my husband heard that this was the year of our Supernatural Family.  Sounds exciting!  Like something you’d put on a banner:

2012 The Year of our Supernatural Family!

But what does that mean anyway?  We’re not fully sure.  But we received it with hope and anticipation of an amazing year of life – better than just normal natural!

Then came the word that he was to spend a year away in another country.  We asked, “How do we have a year of a supernatural family if our family is not together?”  Someone said to us, “Maybe this is why you’ll need to be a supernatural family.”  Perhaps they were right.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, our eyes are constantly searching around every twist and turn this year has brought for God to reveal the supernatural family He promised.

So many challenges have stood in front of me that seem to contradict the great promise of this year.

Separation challenges,

                   parenting challenges,

                                 gardening challenges,

                                            relationship challenges,

                                                          logistic challenges,

                                                                         physical challenges.

loneliness…insecurity…rebellion…frustration…disappointment…pressure…injury…

At every turn it seemed like one more giant was standing in the middle of my promised land, taunting me to believe that this promised land was his.

Why does God allow giants to stand in the way of our destiny?

Why does God tell Joshua (and Moses) to go possess the land He promised the people when He knew full well that Jericho was there to oppose them?

We oftentimes ask this “WHY” question when it seems that, if God were really God, He would have beaten the giant, removed the giant from our midst or not allowed him there in the first place. We doubt His goodness or His strength to act on our behalf.

But the REAL question is why do FEAR the giant.  Why do we hesitate or shrink back when we see him blocking our way?  Is that what we should do? Turn back, take a less resisted path, believe the lies that we are LESS THAN, UNDESERVING, PRESUMPTUOUS, or IN DENIAL of reality??  Why not rather believe that we were designed to fight our opposing giants and WIN,

like David who, against all odds, beheaded the great giant Goliath.

In the first movie of The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan reminds Peter he is to be king by showing him the castle where his throne sits.  Peter looks down as Aslan suggests that Peter doubts the prophesy.  Peter says, “That’s just it…I am not who you all think I am.”

And that is indeed THE PROBLEM.

We don’t battle the giants in our land to prove that God is real and good.  We don’t fight the giants for vanity or to impress the crowd.

We fight to prove to OURSELVES that we are indeed WHO God says WE ARE.  However the giant got there, I think we NEED to fight the giant to cure our doubt, to convince US that we are more than conquerers.  That we are who HE says we are.

Mighty Warrior

In another scene of Narnia, Peter rushes to the aide of his sisters who are being attacked by wolves.  Aslan and his army arrive as Peter is in the thick of the fight.  A soldier is about to jump in to fight the wolf who appears to be overtaking Peter.  But Aslan stops him declaring, “This is Peter’s fight.”

He new Peter had it in him to win.  And he knew Peter needed to BELIEVE that he had it in him too!

We are nearly one fourth of the way done with Jonathan’s tour.  But we are also nearly three fourths done with 2012.  It’s true there have been surprising and admittedly daunting twists and turns that I’d rather have not dealt with this year.  But at every turn, opposing giant starring me down, my doting Father has been here.  Encouraging me, teaching me, strengthening me.  Giving me hope and affirming His promise.  I see our family becoming more supernatural with every beheaded giant!

Do you have a giant in your path, taunting you?  Blocking you from your GOD given destiny?  God has strength for you.  He has grace for you.  He has ideas for you.  He created you and believes in what he made you to be.  Perhaps conquering that giant is the very thing that will unveil more of who you were made to be!  Like Narnia’s Peter, who, through battle, finally realized he was a KING.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

Corpus Christi

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The day after I sent my husband on his great journey, my mother came to spend the week with us.  I am so grateful to have her here to help me during this transition.  She insists she hasn’t done a thing to help me and can’t imagine why I love having her around.  She’s crazy!  I haven’t loaded or unloaded my dishwasher or folded a stitch of laundry since she arrived.  That alone is worth big money to a mother of three under four!  But as I told her, even if she hadn’t done chores it is wonderful to have her company.  Chatting, cooking, reading or just watching the news together…it’s been great to visit and have another adult in the house.

As Sunday approached, my mother considered attending church with my neighbor who is Episcopalian.  I told her I would just attend the Episcopal church with her.  My mother paused a few moments and then taught me that this week in the liturgical calendar is the celebration of Corpus Christi, The Body of Christ.  It is the week the Church celebrates being part of God’s family through the blood of Jesus.  Because of this she thought it would be better if I worshipped with my church family that I have come to love so much.

I gave that some thought and considered what she taught me about Corpus Christi in the calendar and quickly received a plan.

Yesterday my Catholic mother, along with my little family, attended an Episcopal Service (the closest thing to Catholic near my house.)

Afterward we drove to my church that I will describe as a revival-focused, charismatic church.  We arrived late but were still able to enjoy the sermon and healing service while my children attended their class.  

 

Prophetic Art displayed during service.

It was a busy morning but it didn’t take long for me to appreciate that despite all of the MANY theological and practical differences between churches and denominations that WE are the BODY of CHRIST, the Corpus Christi.

I was brought up Catholic.

Saved in the Church of Christ.

Received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Assemblies of God.

Licensed by the Evangelical Church Alliance.

Married into a Presbyterian family.

And currently attend a non denominational church.

There is no one church with the “corner market” on Rightness.  It’s our loving deeds overflowing from a heart transformed by Jesus that identifies us as Christians.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

Tilling the Soil of My Heart

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Today while my children and soon-to-depart husband napped, I spent time weeding an old flower bed in my yard.  Two years ago we planted this bed full of tulip bulbs to bloom about the time our daughter would be born.

Anna’s Tulips

Once those beautiful and memorial blooms faded and died this bed became home to overgrown weeds and bugs.  The following year only 5 or 6 of 60 untended tulips pressed up through the earth.  With my new found success in the pot garden, I got inspired to tackle this weed filled beast and plant food producing plants.  Cantaloupes (and maybe another zucchini) are in our future!

Weeding in Progress!
In Progress

As I turned the soil, removed the weeds and discovered what insects were living there I was reminded of a passage.  In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower in which the heart of man is illustrated as soil.  In the parable some of the soil was beaten down, some was shallow, some was riddled with thorns and some was good – ready to receive seed and be fruitful.

I learned from my father who has gardened his whole life that even good soil needs to be turned and crops rotated in order to remain fruitful.  For example, you wouldn’t want to plant tomatoes year after year in the same spot, in the same soil.  The nutrients of the soil would eventually be depleted and the crop would dwindle or worse.  Also time, water and pressure makes the ground hard and difficult for roots to grow in.  Therefore, each season the soil needs to be turned up or tilled.

There are times in our life where the soil of our heart needs to be examined and turned over.

“How do you till the soil of the heart?”  I asked as my spade dug a clod of dirt and clay.  I clenched it with my gloved hand and crushed it.  It fell to pieces. The roots of weeds were exposed and easily removed.

…Brokenness…

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  A broken and repentant heart you will not reject, O God.”  Psalm 51:7 NLT

Tomorrow my husband will board a plane for a job in a foreign land.  It will keep him away for a year.  I am taking time at the dawn of this season to till my heart.  Brokenness is easily found on the the horizon as I grieve his leaving.  Taking the interpretation of repentance referring to direction rather than a word for apology, I pause to re-focus on the truths that hold my course on this journey. (Blog tip: Each highlighted line is a link to a related article.)

God is still God – And always is no matter what happens.

God is Trustworthy

He created and knows EVERYTHING and still knows me, loves me and wants me.

He has great plans!  I need not worry or fear.

And He’s here for me.

Worshipping this morning I listened to this song.  It would be the link to the one point above that doesn’t have one. “You Know Me” Bethel Music with Steffany Frizzell

I embark on this new season, to be honest, with a little anxiety…but a lot of hope too.  Much is unknown and unfamiliar but I have anticipation for great surprises and a fulfilling adventure!  If you think of it – please keep my family in prayer.

Ready!

Blessings!

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

The Greenhouse Effect

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Growing up my dad always had a garden.  I had no interest in vegetables in those days but, since, have grown a deep appreciation.  I have never been good at keeping plants alive.  Give me a houseplant and within months it will have drowned or died of dehydration.  But my father and brother have inspired me!

Last Fall I spent 6 weeks in California on my family’s property.  My dad was recovering from surgery and my husband was working in Europe so I went to enjoy the company and support of family as well as assist, in anyway I could, with my dad.

He has a large garden he plants each season.

My mom and dad behind the artichoke section of his garden. Asparagus going to seed on the right.

This past year my brother planted his own garden so that he wouldn’t have to walk so far from the kitchen (he lives next door to my dad) to get fresh picks.  While there I was spoiled with organic tomatoes.  I couldn’t believe how red they were and how much flavor they had.

The start of my brother’s summer garden.

Once home, eating the cardboard-tasting store bought tomatoes, I dreamed of planting my own garden.  I got excited about picking and eating from a plant outside my kitchen door.  I couldn’t wait for warm Spring weather.  As soon as plants were for sale in the stores I planted these lovelies.

Tomatoes, red peppers and sweet basil.  Later, I would add a zucchini plant.

After a few short weeks I had to go back to the nursery to get something and saw a hanging basket of tomatoes.  I was amazed how many little yellow blossoms it had.  In fact, it already had small fruit growing! I thought my plants were doing great!  I was so proud of my ONE yellow blossom.  I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing wrong.  How could this basket have so many flowers and be the same age as my little plant?!

The woman who tends the plants at the nursery was walking by and I asked her.  She said, “Greenhouse,” and pointed up with a smile, “Tomatoes don’t like the cold.”   The warmth and protection of the greenhouse, along with the care of the gardner, allowed the tomato plant to flourish, full of fruitful growth. Sometimes we take something like growing a plant, that grows naturally, and think,  “It’s easy – it just grows.  That’s what it’s designed to do.”  And yet things don’t happen quite as we think they should.

As another one of God’s creations, you might think that we just grow up into what we are to become – naturally, with little attention or guidance.  Like the tomatoes, how well we grow and how fruitful we are is determined by many factors.  But, one thing is for sure, growing up and being fruitful doesn’t “just happen.”

…like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:8

My hope is to be like that tree.  I want to create a greenhouse for my spirit, providing an environment that causes me to flourish in all I am designed to be and do.  I know it won’t just happen.  Like my paint bucket garden, I must protect and tend to it, making sure it gets all it needs.  I’m hoping for a great harvest!

Jesus often taught his followers about the Kingdom of Heaven using the example of agriculture. Like in Matthew 13:24.  As I watch my plants grow I am constantly reminded of His truths.  I look forward to sharing them as I continue to tend my little garden and apply its lessons to my life.

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

Why Love?

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Love is what I do, not because it makes me feel good –

Love is what I do because it is for your good.

Love… is not self-seeking…” I Corinthians 13:5