Memorial Day

Photo by Robert Lindner on Unsplash

Today is Memorial Day. For many families it is just a weekend to mark the start of summer–a time for fun, picnics, parades, and more. While many of us celebrate with family and friends, families of those who have lost their lives in service to our country are still grieving and missing the ones they loved.

One of the sons of my long-time friends was stationed in Afghanistan several years ago. He loved being a Marine and he was Special Ops, not a position to be taken lightly! While in the middle of a mission his truck hit an IED. He was the lone survivor. His friends lost their lives that day, and he has been haunted by the survivor’s guilt and memories ever since. A severe concussion, sensitivity to light, balance issues, PTSD; all of it combined to render him unable to do his job any longer. With a medical discharge, he is permanently disabled, but you would never know it if you just sat down and had a conversation.

But he would tell you that today is not about him. It is about the men who were serving with him who paid the ultimate price for helping provide freedom from tyranny.

My brother-in-law, who was a medic in Vietnam (he was nicknamed “Doc”), would also tell you that today is about the many whose lives were lost during that conflict.

Yes, we honor our veterans. And Veterans Day is a wonderful opportunity to do that. But today, we stand and salute the ones who lost their lives during WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. May God bless the families who are haunted with the memories of a child, a husband, a wife, a brother or a sister who did not come home.

Memorial Day – a day to honor those who have given their lives for our freedom. We remember and honor them today.

What I Wish I Knew when I Graduated

I was privileged to attend my oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation this past week. There were so many things I would love to tell her about the times to come, but some of them she will just need to learn on her own. That is how wisdom is gained. However, I decided to write a letter here with the top ten things I want her to know about life.

To My Dear Granddaughter,

I have watched as you have grown from an imaginative and spunky little girl, into a kind, thoughtful, and beautiful young woman. You make people feel good just by being around you. I love that about you. Your life is just beginning and you will have many opportunities to choose the path you will follow. Choose wisely.

When I look back to my time in college and afterwards, there are many things that I wish I had known. I think sometimes I just had to learn the hard way, but I hope that you are wise enough to listen to the lessons others can give you. So here are some things I think may be helpful on your life journey.

  1. Always keep God first. There will be many times in your life that you will be tempted to forget all about God. There will also be times that you look at organized religions and are disappointed at the disparities your see. Instead look at the life of Christ. See his actions and listen to his words. Because they will give you a life worth living. Jesus cared about truth and justice. He cared about the poor and disenfranchised. His ministry broke racial (the Samaritan woman) and gender boundaries (Mary Magdalene was one of the disciples that traveled with their group). Love God. Love your neighbor.
  2. Establish boundaries in your life and learn to graciously say no. Decide what and who is important to you. But even those you love sometimes need boundaries. I recommend the book by Lysa Terkeurst, Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are. Sometimes it is hard to set boundaries and say no, but for your peace of mind there will be times it is necessary in your life.
  3. Always keep a sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself. Laugh with others (not at them) and remember that joy is a gift from God. It is well-known that laughter really is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
  4. Choose your friends wisely. I still have good friends that I made in college. It is important when you are choosing the people you are hanging out with, that you are sure they are the kind of people you need in your life. Good friends build you up, they don’t tear you down. Good friends are encouraging, they are not negative all the time. Good friends can tell you the truth in a loving and kind way. Good friends don’t gossip and backstab. Good friends share your laughter, you tears, your joys and your sorrows. Choose wisely.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I always tended to let the “what ifs” discourage me from trying something new. Yet, I found that it is sometimes better to try and fail, than to not try at all. And when you try and soar, it is all worth it.
  6. Choose a vision statement. Think about what you want out of life. Write it down. Figure out what you need to get there. Then go for it. Through different stages of your life, that vision may change, but always keep a vision of where you want to go written down where you will see it frequently.
  7. Don’t let failure define you. Everybody fails at something. I could make a whole list of people who have failed at something– people like Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. Every time you fail, look at it as an opportunity to learn.
  8. Become a well-rounded person. Read books. Watch documentaries. Learn a foreign language. Take piano lessons or cooking lessons or Taekwondo or a painting class (you get the picture). Learning new skills is good for the soul.
  9. Develop the art of listening. Listening to someone’s story gives you great insight into their personality. Sometimes even the person who drives you crazy has a story that leads you to greater understanding of why they are the way they are. Everyone wants and needs someone to listen to them. (Granted there are some people who you really want to turn the stop button on.) But listening will help you become a better friend, mentor, and teacher for others.
  10. Love yourself. Second to loving God, I think the most important thing I can tell you is to LOVE YOURSELF. It is so easy in this media saturated world to make comparisons. You are unique and there is only one you. We can always stretch and grow, but learn to love yourself the way you love others. Stop the negative self-talk and instead give yourself some positive self-talk: I am kind. I am a good friend. I am empathetic. You are worthy of being loved.

There are so many things learned in life. Some of them are painful, like a first heartbreak. But some of them are wonderful opportunities that enhance your life. Just remember that you are surrounded by people who love you and care about you. When life gets overwhelming sometimes, just pick up the phone and talk (I know you prefer texting). I promise, I will listen.

You have had a piece of my heart since the first time I held you in my arms. I wish only the best for you as you journey through this thing we call life. I love you, Nana

When the News Is Good or Bad

Yesterday was an emotionally challenging day for me. As I woke up anxiety surrounded me. My heart beat faster, my thoughts raced, and even though I kept telling myself, “God has you in his hands” my anxiety level soared.

Then I got on Facebook. And guess what? God even uses Facebook posts to send me reassurance that he loves me and cares about my challenges. First, I read some scripture someone posted about God’s presence. Then a friend of mine posted a skit. The skit was about the very issue I was facing and even more amazing, one of the key players, Mrs. Linda, shared my name.

Then one of my friends posted a podcast where her husband was the keynote speaker for a fundraising event at a hospital. He related his journey and how God put him in the path of people who were just what he needed. He shared how God was with him every step of the way.

After hearing his story, I bowed my head and prayed, as tears rolled down my cheeks. I asked God to reassure me that no matter what the outcome of this visit, I would use it to glorify him and share his blessings with others. I surrendered my heart (which I seem to find myself needing to do on a frequent basis) and my health to God during that conversation. I had a sense of peace and knew that God’s presence was surrounding me. My anxious heart was beating normally and my thoughts focused more on God, who knows my every need and loves me with a great depth of love. God got my attention and reassured me that all my cares could be cast on him.

My daughter picked me up and as we drove to the doctor’s office, I sensed God’s presence with me even as we discussed the possible scenarios that may be before me. As I talked with her, I replayed in my mind the months that had led up to this day, including the hospitalization that resulted in a CT scan of the abdomen, which surprisingly showed a spot on the left lower lobe in my lung. This was followed by a regular CT scan a couple of weeks later, and then a wait of a month just in case it was an infection that needed to clear up. Then another CT scan with contrast followed. Then came the recommended PET scan. The PET scan came back with some red highlights.

By this time, a lot of options had been discussed and my doctor felt strongly that I needed a biopsy done. As he discussed the one-inch mass with irregular borders, I followed along in my mind. I knew he was convinced it was the dreaded word–CANCER. By this time it was a primary concern for me also. Because of the location, my only option was to have needle biopsy. The radiologist, too, felt we were dealing with possible cancer. Lung cancer. I never smoked. How could this be happening?

As the day of the biopsy came, my sister (who is a nurse) accompanied me to the hospital. I survived the procedure despite my rising anxiety levels, and then the waiting began. In the scheme of things, five days is not long. But when you are waiting for what could be life-changing news, it seems like forever.

As my daughter and I waited for the doctor to enter the room, I actually felt much calmer than I thought I would be. It helped that my 3-month-old grandson was with us and we watched as he cooed and smiled. The doctor greeted us and then sat down at his desk. He pulled up my files and reassured me that he just wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing anything as he reviewed the results.

Then I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “It’s not cancer.” I could have danced around the desk and hugged him, but I managed to restrain myself. Even though I had given it to God and asked him to use me no matter what, I really was relieved that the “what” wasn’t cancer.

The doctor told me that he had been certain it was cancer and he was relieved to tell me it wasn’t. What I do have is treatable and in actuality, I had the same thing in 2015 (only then I was very sick with it). So I am extremely grateful that I have been down this road before and know how we need to proceed.

But I got to thinking about this. Would I still have praised God if it had been cancer? Would I still have had peace and put it all in his hands. I like to think I would. God is good (and he would have remained good even if it was cancer). He answered a lot of prayers that have been going up on my behalf. He led me on a journey that deepened my trust in him and made me treasure life even more.

I know there are some of you reading this who did not get the good news that it wasn’t cancer. You may be on a journey that is difficult and long. But in the midst of it all, God is there. He knows your burdens and trusting in him makes all the difference in the world. As my friend, Don Sigler, said when he had cancer, “I am in a win/win situation. I win if I overcome cancer, and I win if I die, because I will be with the Lord.” His win was to be with the Lord and cancer free forever.

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” I pray that I will always know the joy of the Lord, even if it is in difficult circumstances because I am in a win/win situation.

Embracing the Pause

Lately I have been thinking a lot about “the pause.” Our church has been doing a series on the elimination of hurry in our lives and it is a big challenge in our society to even take time to rest or pause in our lives.

In music the pause is the place where there is a brief rest, a place to savor what is happening in the music before rushing in to the next notes. When you are in an argument the pause may be where the people arguing realize they need to take a break and calm down before continuing. The pause can give you time to think about what is happening and where you need to go. Sometimes the pause is when you are lost and do not know the correct direction to go in now. The pause helps you with a roadmap or recalibration on Google maps to find the correct next steps.

Sometimes the pause is actually something like menopause. As a woman, I can attest to the fact that this is a significant pause. It indicates the end of one era of life and the beginning of another (while dealing with the side effects and hot flashes that accompany it!).

Sometimes the pause is voluntary, such as a retirement or a change in your job. But sometimes it is involuntary; maybe it is an illness or a layoff. But the fact is that when “the pause” happens, it usually happens for a reason.

In 2009 I was laid off from a job I enjoyed and this put my life on pause while I tried to figure out where I was going next. A few months after the layoff, my husband passed away. As I look back on that period of time, I realize that God’s hands were all over my circumstances. I would never have been able to spend as much quality time with my spouse before his death if I had been working. And while his death caught us all by surprise, I don’t think it caught God by surprise. In his graciousness I was able to savor the last few months I had with my husband because I was in the pause.

Most of us find times in our lives where we either have a voluntary pause or we have an enforced pause. We were not created to hurry through this life with the mentality of more, more, more. Instead, we should look at the life of Jesus. What he accomplished in the last three years of his life is absolutely amazing (and we were allowed only a glimpse of it–the rest of it would have filled books). But even Jesus Christ took time to pause. Many times he would go out early in the morning and pray. Sometimes he would go in a boat (and even sleep through a storm) to obtain his pause. Frequently he talked about pausing and spending time with the Father.

In John 4 we see Jesus pause for a rest. “So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from his journey, sat down at the well. It was about noon” (John 4:5-6). Jesus paused. Sometimes the pause allows something to follow that can be life-changing, as it was in the case of the woman at the well.

In John 11 we see that Jesus paused before going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He delayed going to Lazarus when he was told he was ill. When he finally left and went to Jericho, Lazarus was already dead. But we find that it is in the pause that faith happens. And when that pause ends, frequently miracles happen. We see that when Lazarus was raised.

Photo by Priscilla Du Prez on Unsplash

So I would encourage you to savor the pause when it occurs in your life–whether voluntary or enforced. Occasionally we need to make room for the pause by eliminating something from our to-do list. Because it is in the pause that Christ can do some powerful work. It is in the pause that we can slow down enough to spend more time with our heavenly Father. It is through the pause that we can hear God’s voice more clearly.

It is interesting that just today I read about Elijah, who was feeling like he was the only one left to stand up for God (1 Kings 19). His life had been threatened and he was on the run from Jezebel. God appeared to him. But it wasn’t through the winds, the earthquakes, or the fires that he appeared. It was through a quiet whisper. How can we hear God when we are in the midst of busyness and chaos? It is through the quiet that we can hear his whisper the most. So embrace the pause and take the opportunity to hear God’s whisper to you.

Spewing Is a Nasty Thing

When my oldest son was about three-months-old, we decided to go on a three hour trip to my brother’s house. We were only about thirty minutes into the trip when I heard my son throwing up. I am going to be graphic here for a reason. By throwing up, I mean literal projectile vomit spewing from his mouth hard enough to hit the seat he was facing. Needless to say, it was horrifying to watch my little baby throw up in such a way. I knew something had to be drastically wrong. (It turns out that he experienced motion sickness, which explained why I never could rock him to sleep without him crying harder!)

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Today I experienced something just as horrifying as watching my little boy spewing vomit. I opened up my Twitter. As I read I was appalled at all of the hate and vitriol literally spewing out of the mouths of most of the people on there. The right wing, the left wing, the LGBTQ, the anti-LGBTQ, the politics, the hate for Trump, the hate for Biden. I was sick to my stomach and closed my phone after 10 minutes of reading. All I really wanted to do was look up the people I follow, and yet I was caught up in reading comments I never should have started reading.

I understand that in America we have some significant divides and ideologies. I worry for the state of America and my heart is saddened for the people who continue to propagate all the hatred. I fear for where America is headed.

However, as a Christian, I need to realize that no matter what happens here on earth, God is ultimately the one we will answer to for our behavior. What he has asked of me is that I love the Lord, my God, with all of my heart. Then he has asked that I love my neighbor. He did not say, “Love your neighbor if he thinks the same way you think.” He did not say, “Love your neighbor unless he is a sinner.” (We all are.) He did not say, “Love your neighbor only under certain circumstances.”

He said, “Love. Your. Neighbor.” I know it is easier said than done. Loving someone does not mean condoning their lifestyle and choices. It does mean showing them kindness, goodness, and the light that Christ brings in your life. It means trying to develop a relationship of respect so that you open the doors to have candid conversations. It means listening to them and understanding what has shaped their lives. It sometimes means inconvenience and messiness and hurt.

Frankly, there will be times you will need to walk away. But walk away with dignity instead of hurtful words, slurs, and hatred in your heart. Those things will never lead someone to the Lord. But your gracious words, your humble heart, and your prayers for someone will yield far more positive results than vindictive and hateful words and actions.

Spewing. It is distasteful, no matter where it is coming from. It is time to start loving God and then loving your neighbor in such a way that you are a light to the world around you–no matter how dark it seems.

© 2023

The “MONSTER” (The Perversion of Forgiveness)

I have been working on my book and am deep in the midst of my main character’s struggle. This article speaks to me. Forgiveness is often for the sake of the victim’s peace of mind, but it is never so that the perpetrator can escape the consequences of the harm he has done. The church needs to start helping victims to recover from their trauma. Let the healing begin and then eventually, forgiveness may come.

Anabaptist Revival

All things God creates and institutes are beautiful – human sexuality and marriage, the Church and brotherhood, forgiveness, and redemption. These and more are tokens of His love to His creatures. Yet such very blessings are what Satan perverts, and with mankind’s permission, he turns them into curses. It is urgent that we focus on one of these diabolic deviations and the terrible damage that it is inflicting.

Forgiveness and redemption and how they were accomplished are the ultimate expression of God’s love for us. Likewise, only as we forgive one another as Christ forgave us can we live together in joy and harmony. However, I am discovering that the principle of forgiveness has been so distorted that it has become a frightful monster, wreaking havoc and destruction in the church.

The perversion of forgiveness prevents the wounded from healing. It makes the brotherhood an unsafe place for the vulnerable…

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Gloomy weather

Photo by Callum Blacoe on Unsplash

I enjoy springtime in Missouri. But more times than not, that means gloomy, cloudy, windy days versus sunny days. I would assume most of us prefer sunshine and warmth, versus cloudy and chilly. While I occasionally enjoy curling up with a book and reading during a thunderstorm, I would not choose that on a daily basis. I would choose sunshine. But the fact is we need the rain on a regular basis. If not for the rain, our world would be in dire need.; a desert wasteland, with the lack of water causing drought everywhere.

Isn’t it a little like that in our lives? None of us would choose the bad days and would much prefer the good days. The difficult days are the ones that challenge our patience and even our faith. They bring bad news, health challenges, job issues, and more. And yet, without those we would not have an appreciation for the good days.

The fact is our challenges and trials make us into wiser, more mature individuals. In fact, Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)

We become people of character and hope when we encounter the trials and difficulties of this life, if we rely on Christ and stay strong in our faith. The bad days will undoubtedly come occasionally to all of us and, indeed, some of my friends seem to get more of them than others, But those times of testing and trials serve to help us develop character and wisdom. They also gives us hope for the future of heaven, where all of those trials and tribulations will be gone. The tears will be wiped away, and we will be living in the presence of a holy God. That makes the gloomy weather worth while in the end.

Loving My Neighbor

When I sold my old house the one thing I missed was my old neighborhood. I knew every family on my block and we frequently would have impromptu potlucks in the cul-de-sac at the end of the street. One person would send out the call, and we would all show up with whatever we had decided to fix for dinner that evening. Two of the families would pull out tables and chairs between their houses. Sometimes the grills would be fired up and we would gather around. There was always a good assortment of foods. We had a variety of ethnicities on the street and one of them made the best potstickers I have ever had. One of the neighbors was a food critic (he has articles published routinely in the St. Louis Magazine) and you never knew what he was going to cook. One time it was fish with the head on. In some cultures eating the head is common and considered a delicacy. My husband was game to try anything, but I think he may have been the only one to eat it!!

It has been slower to get to know my neighbors in my new subdivision. It is mostly older adults. I have gotten to know the neighbors on both sides of my villa and there are four of us who routinely get together in the warm weather, sit on our decks, and have snacks and beverages. I live in an attached villa, where I have a neighbor on the east side of my house. She is delightful and I have gotten to know her well. She just lost her husband a few months ago, and it has been a difficult adjustment for her. I was glad that I could share with her my experiences of losing a spouse and some of the resources that are available to her.

The things is, loving your neighbor is easy when your neighbor is a delightful widow. It is more difficult when your neighbor is belligerent, plays loud music into the wee hours of the morning, or just downright rude. But this is the thing about neighbors–Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Wow. That is a a direct command coming right after “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.”

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

A young man who graduated from the same college I did, decided he was going to take the task of loving his neighbor to heart. He and his wife and children moved to one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of St. Louis. Their children go to the public schools. They have made a point of getting to know everyone in their block. They have hosted block parties, babysat, and helped their neighbors. It has made an impact on their street. Suddenly, people were taking more pride in their properties. Programs were started to help young men and women learn skills, and educational tutoring was provided. The resulting ministry called “Love the Lou” has made an impact in the community and they have received publicity for the difference they are making in an area many people have written off..

But the young man would tell you out of all the lives changed, his has changed the most. The world looks different to him now and he recognizes that by loving his neighbors, his life has been enriched. It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, but the lessons he has learned about loving others with God’s eyes has been invaluable.

What about you? Have you learned to love your neighbor in such as way as to enrich the lives of the people around you? If you are like me, getting out of my comfort zone is difficult, and yet my life becomes blessed when I take God’s words to heart. Think about ways you can show love to your neighbors today. You will be glad you did.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

Confessions of the Weak

In June of 2011, I wrote the following blog post. I cannot help but look back and see how faithful God has been in my life—time and time again. Not only did he enable me to find a job and sell my money pit of a house, but through my mom, a way was provided to build a villa that more than meets my needs. I did, indeed, need to use some of my IRA to live off of for the three years it took me to find a full-time job after my husband died. But I truly can look back to this difficult time and know that God was present every step of the way.

I am still weak in many ways. But it is in that weakness that God does his best work. It is in that weakness that I see God the most as he works in my life. So if you are struggling, keep holding on tight to God, because he can do his best work when you are at your weakest.

June 2011

Last night I poured out my woes to my sister and a friend, giving in to the discouragement that hit me squarely in the heart last evening. As I looked at the fact that I didn’t have a full-time job since June of 2009, lost my husband in October of 2009, have a house that needs some major repairs, and have expenses that far exceed my small income, I gave in to my woes and worry.  Until this point in the journey, I have stayed fairly upbeat and positive, relying on God to see me through.  I confess, I am weak.

Do you ever have times in your life when you wonder if you can just go on?  Is it hard to get up and face the day with a positive attitude?  Do you think . . . if I just had more time, or more money, or more of whatever it is that you need?  It is easy to give in to doubt and discouragement.  And I confess, I am weak.

As I got online and looked at the zero balance in my checking account, I felt myself doubting.  Will God really see me through?  What will happen to me if I don’t find a full-time job soon?  How will I keep paying the bills that exceed my income? How will I keep a roof over our heads?  Will I need to cash my IRA and take a chance on not having retirement income?  All these thoughts and more ran through my head and I became disheartened. I confess, I am weak.

And as always, and just when I need, God showed up in a marvelous way.  I am studying the book of Hebrews and today, I came to chapter 11–just what I needed to hear.  This is the famous faith chapter in Hebrews, outlining those of the faith who have gone before. As I read this chapter I was once again reminded of the value of a faith in a God who delivers time and again.  Whether it is from oppression (as with the Israelites leaving the nation of Egypt), or from sin (as in delivering the prostitute Rahab from death because she welcomed the spies), or from persecution, God has a reward for those who remain faithful to Him.  It may not be seen while in this journey here on earth, but it will be in his glorious presence someday.

And so, my encouraging word for today is found in Hebrews 12:1-3, ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with the perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. “

I confess I am weak– and weary and have lost heart, but God, through His Word, has encouraged me and reminded me to remain faithful.  I don’t know where my next dollar will come from or how my next bill will be paid, but when I look back on this journey so far, God has been faithful and met all my needs.  I just needed to be reminded of that.

I don’t know where God is leading and what he has in store for me.  I confess. I am weak. But I know in my weakness, he shows HIS strength and I will take joy and comfort in that thought today.

Building Roots for the Future

I remember when I was little and wanted to be big enough to go to school with my sisters.  When I was 12, I longed to be 13 so I could be a teen. When I was 15, I yearned to be 16 so I could drive, and when I was 17, wanted to be 18 so I could be in college.  So my life went, always wanting to rush the future to get to the next step in my life. Now I look back and wish I could slow life down a little!

Years ago I read a post on Jon Gordon’s weekly blog that was based on his book The Seed and one of his points really struck home for me.

He notes, “Don’t rush the future. There is a process that seeds must go through in order to become all they are destined to become, and you must go through this same process to become the person you are meant to be and do the work you are meant to do. You may want things to happen NOW but more than likely if you got what you wanted NOW you wouldn’t be ready for it. The purpose process prepares you, strengthens you, shapes you and grows you to be successful, not in your time, but in the right time.”

The point Jon Gordon was making is we are like a seed that won’t grow unless it has the right environment–the right soil, water, sunshine, and time.  A seed has to go through a metamorphosis to become a plant that serves a purpose. It doesn’t happen instantaneously and is a process that takes an environment conducive to growth.

I think about my spiritual journey and how that applies.  I will never become a mature Christian unless I experience things that encourage my growth.

Credit to David Brooke-Martin- from-unsplash.jpg

Just as a seed dies and takes on a new nature, I die to my old self and become my new self in the Lord.  I must experience the elements in the world around me.  As a tender young shoot I need the nurture and care of someone older and wiser.  As I grow and develop I need pruning to make me strong and purposeful; as a mature person I need to develop and grow fruit to serve my purpose.  As I am exposed the elements over the years I need to grow deep roots to stay strong and gather nourishment.  And when the winds howl and buffet around me, I need to be flexible enough to bend so that I don’t break in the storm.

Thanks, Jon, for the reminder that in order to fulfill our purpose in life, we need to be like a seed, ready for planting, for dying, for changing, for growing, for bearing fruit, and starting the process all over again with new seeds.

And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done. Colossians 2:6-7

To check out Jon’s website go to: