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

IMG_0064.JPG

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

 

I Am Peter

img_0001

Throughout the Bible, we encounter many instances of human weakness. I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful that God in His mercy can use my mistakes, my past for His glory – the same as He used the men and women in the Bible (failings and all). I see great leaders who also had great sin problems. I am not alone in my humanness. Lately the great man of God, Peter, has been my focus of study. Peter denies Jesus 3 times, Peter doubts Jesus’ words, Peter speaks before he thinks, Peter angers quickly, Peter whom Jesus called Satan…

BUT yet, Christ loved him. In spite of Peter, Jesus still died for him. In Peter’s weakness – Christ was made strong. When Peter realized he’d broken his vow to never deny his Lord, the moment that rooster crowed, Peter was reminded of Jesus’ words foretelling his betrayal and he wept bitterly. Now I have no record of those three days from Christ’s death to resurrection about where Peter was or what he was doing, but I can imagine he was miserable. Condemnation, failure, depression, remorse, anger, regret, bitterness….you get the picture.

Peter, while wrestling with his emotions and I’m sure feeling like a hopeless failure, was still on the mind of his Savior. Upon arrival at the tomb of Jesus, the three ladies bringing spices to anoint Jesus were alarmed by a young man clothed in a white robe who said to them that the Jesus who was crucified had risen! And then comes the beautiful restorative words (Mark 16;7), “But go, tell his disciples — and Peter — that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” The ladies find the disciples and share the story and Peter takes off running for the tomb to see for himself (Luke 24:12) (John 20:2-9).

My favorite part about redemption, the moment when you realize all is well, your sins are forgiven, you’ve been restored. Oh the peace that floods your soul. Peter’s moment came in John 21 along with the foretelling of the suffering that was to come for him. Peter chose to follow Jesus, even to death. Through his willingness to choose ¬†Christ and be used as His vessel, lives were changed and the good news reached many hopeless souls. Christ fully forgave Peter and although Peter may have never forgotten his betrayal, Jesus did – Peter was cleansed from all unrighteousness.

As I’ve read and studied, I’ve come to the realization that I am Peter. I’ve failed more times than I can count. I’ve denied Jesus at the moments I should have chosen Him, but instead followed my own selfish desires. I’ve doubted Jesus’ words and in doing so questioned His very sovereignty. I’ve spoken many times before thinking and angered over little petty things that have no eternal value. I am sinful, weak, and prideful. I am Peter.

Like Peter, I need the Savior! Through Jesus and truly being sorry for my sins, I am forgiven (1 John 1:9). I am loved! I am His! I am redeemed! My prayer is that you would know how deep the love of the Father is for you; that you would know there is hope when you have failed, Christ loves you unconditionally. Choose Him!

Your friend,

~Alisha~