A Soul In Blossom


Several days ago the lovely roses pictured above were ugly, literally falling apart, and on the verge of death. I have babied these beauties for three years, patiently tending to them and trying my best to help them thrive. I enjoy sitting on my porch watching the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds swarming around them and bringing life to our yard. 

I neglected my job of being a faithful gardener. I had a few busy days and I didn’t pay close attention to their appearance. I wasn’t even watering them and before I knew it , they were being destroyed. Right under my nose the enemy had snuck in. 

This tiny pest, known as the Japanese Beetle, is a silvery shelled bug and by all appearances pretty to the eye. It was no bigger than my pinky fingernail and in my ignorance, I assumed by the look of it, that it was only an innocent little garden bug. That little bug quickly multiplied to many and soon I had a very big problem.

I had to pull out all my tools, research and gather knowledge on the enemy and read wise advice from others who’ve dealt with these little guys. I had to use the garden shears to start cutting away all that was dead to try and save the living root from being choked out. It took a lot of patience. I had to make the time every day to inspect and I had to be vigilant about it. I had to keep my eyes open to look for any signs that the destroyer was trying to sneak back in. 

I realized that this was another of life’s lessons. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Now I realize not every work of the enemy is visible, it’s those small things that sneak in that can destroy us. Bitterness, envy, hatred, unloving attitude , selfishness, etc. Our mind is a battlefield. We must take every thought captive like we’re told in 2 Corinthians 10:5. 

Even things that appear pretty (like the shimmering Japanese Beetle) may not be for our good. If in any way we feel pulled away from the Savior or that something doesn’t line up with the Word of God, then we need to start cutting away that dead bud before it blooms.

Don’t forget that we must show ourselves grace and realize we are a work in progress. Before long we’ll be blossoming again and be the healthy and beautiful souls that God intends us to be. 

“Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom. ” ~ Parables of the Cross, Lilias Trotter

Praying for you!

Your Friend, 

~Alisha

Knowing When To STOP

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My husband and I came upon the above ¬†awkwardness one afternoon while we were out and about. Me, being the weird person that I am, took this picture for a laugh. But as the months have worn on, I keep scrolling back through my photos to look at this particular one. Like the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” this picture has definitely been speaking to me.

Right about now, my life looks like this sign. I’m here, but I’m pulled in so many different directions. In all appearances, I’m still mom, wife, daughter, friend – just as this is still a stop sign – somedays I’m simply just hanging on by a thread. I have meals to cook, a house to clean, bills to pay, fights to break up, endless running for baseball games, grocery shopping, appointments, planning for a new homeschool year, stress over life changes, new relationships to build, the endless thoughts to write down and the list goes on and on and on…..

I find myself so caught up in just living that I no longer enjoy the things that define who I am. So at 2:05 AM, here I am. I’m so thankful that when I’ve got nothing left, the Lord awakens me and speaks life and hope back in to my exhausted being. I’ve come to the place where I need to S.T.O.P.

Stop. Tarry. Observe. Proceed. Just take a moment here to appreciate the acronym. And yes, I truly came up with this myself. ūüôā I actually want to give the Holy Spirit His credit. These words were spoken to my heart and like I said, I share here in case anyone else needs a little encouragement.

STOP.¬†We all need to come to a complete stop, don’t just continue rolling while casually glancing around when you see the signs telling you otherwise. Stop taking on more than you can handle. Stop letting others dictate your life for you. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop being stubborn. Stop holding on. Take a moment to focus. Where am I? What direction do I need to go?

TARRY.¬†Wait. Listen. Linger in expectation.¬† Turn down the distractions. It’s while you’re waiting, watching, and listening that you’re more capable of making the best choices. You’re more conscious of those around you and the consequences of your choices. And good things come to those who wait, right? Don’t make rash decisions, patiently linger.

OBSERVE.¬†Using your past experiences (mirrors, if you will), are you headed to a place you’ve been before or on a road you said you’d never travel? Is this what you want or what God wants for your life?¬†Be aware of any danger ahead or coming at you from behind. Life has a way of running us over. Be on the lookout for pedestrians. God places us where we can be used by Him, to minister to a lost or hurting soul, those places can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but oh so worth it. And sometimes, we are the lost and hurting soul that needs to receive.

PROCEED.¬†(slowly and with caution)…. If you know all is well, continue toward your destination. Live on, but obey the signs – burnout, depression, anxiety, health issues, overwhelming stress, financial difficulties, marital problems, constant chaos – those are all signs to STOP and check your gauges. You’ll go nowhere without gas, water, and/or oil. In other words, we need to take care of ourselves. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, take vitamins, drink water, visit the doctor, ask for help and most importantly and number one on the list make sure you’re getting in time with the Lord -quality time. ¬†And if ¬†at the stopping point you realize your on the wrong road, it’s a perfect place to turn around.

I’m at a STOP right now. I’ve got priorities to rearrange. I’ve been driving way too fast lately, I’ve missed out on my slow, quiet moments. I’ve also been selfishly going on my own. Thankfully, the Lord knows me so well. He uses my struggles to teach me lifes biggest lessons. As I give the wheel (and my will) back to Him, I’m going to focus on the following verses, these are reminders that He knows best.

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know; I will guide them in paths that they do not know. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These things I will do [for them], and I will not leave them abandoned or undone. Isaiah 42:16

Praying for you!

Your friend,

~Alisha

 

Finding THE Way

The Road not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then too the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the on less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

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Matthew 7:13&14 (AMP),¬†“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.”

As a family we take nature walks every Wednesday afternoon. Our kids enjoy the time to explore and observe the beauty of the great outdoors. When we first start out, we always have the end destination in mind. This past week we chose the creek behind our house. To get to this creek we have to follow somewhat of a stony path that has been marked by our four wheeler. The road certainly is not an easy one, the rocks are huge and sometimes hidden among the grass and you always know when you find one because you almost see the ground up close and personal. Walking off the path is to risk being swallowed by tall weeds, attacked by thorn bushes and tripped by the cedar tree stubs.

Daddy and the boys usually lead the way with The Princess and I following as fast as her 4 year old legs can carry her. Most of the weeds growing around the path are taller than her and she is a little fearful of losing sight of our leader. We constantly remind her to just keep following the path and she doesn’t have to be afraid because we are right there with her.

Along the way not only are the weeds grabbing at us, but beautiful butterflies are flying over into the wildflowers and occasionally we may notice a bird or squirrel that is scurrying around off the beaten path, little distractions. Not all of those distractions are necessarily bad, but they can trip us up when we aren’t watching where we step and have our eyes off of the way. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that just a little farther and we will have reached our goal.

Once we get there, then we know the struggle was worth it. We can find rest, enjoy the peaceful sound of the trickling water, walk along the creek bed to find neat little treasures and see some pretty amazing water creatures that all remind us of our thoughtful Creator. We also usually see those same butterflies, squirrels and birds that earlier we had to pass on by.

There are so many lessons that these little excursions have been teaching me. The most important one has been making sure I’ve chosen the right path. I don’t want to discover ages from now that I’ve been going the wrong way, because like the last line of Mr. Frost’s poem, the road we’ve chosen does make all the difference.

Along with the right road, it’s also important to have the right guide. Like Daddy at our house who helps keep the kids on the right way¬†by leading the walk, he also encourages us when we get weary, when we fall he helps us up¬†setting us back on our¬†feet again¬†AND he never, ever leaves us. That is the perfect picture of Jesus!

Deuteronomy 31:6 (AMP) says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”

What about you, dear friend? Maybe you’ve chosen the wrong path. Maybe you’ve taken a detour thinking there’s a shorter, quicker, easier way and you’ve discovered there’s not. Maybe you followed a distraction and now you can’t find your way back to Him. OR maybe you’re no longer walking at all. There is hope! I can’t paint a more beautiful description of Jesus than Him simply standing on the path with both hands extended to help you up and welcome you back on the journey with Him. He’s saying, “Come. Walk with Me.” He’s patiently waiting and calling to you today. All you have to do is take His hand and walk on. He believes in you and so do I.

Praying for you!

Your friend,

~Alisha~