We have a huge flower bed on the side of our yard. (We live on a corner lot and this flower bed runs alongside one of the streets we sit on.) My hubby and I planted lots of nice flowers and plants so that we, and our neighbors, can enjoy them. The problem with having a flower bed as big as ours, is that it requires a lot of upkeep. We created it initially thinking that it would be less grass for us to cut, and thus less work. Boy, were we wrong! We should have just put sod there. Oh well, live and learn.
This flower bed is so big that we must have a truckload of mulch brought in to cover it all. (Otherwise, it would take us 50 trips to Home Depot and back to get enough bags to fill it in.) And, buying mulch by the truckload is not cheap. And, next we spend most of the day spreading said mulch.
Then, there is the chore of keeping out the grass and weeds. We have Bermuda grass, which I really like because it is nice and soft and green most of the year. But, man, does it spread! If you don’t stay on top of it, it can quickly take over and get into places where you do not want it.
Well, I have been remiss in keeping out that Bermuda grass this year. I have been watching it spread through our flower bed for a while now. I kept telling myself that I would get up early, when it was nice and cool out, and then I would pull up the grass and weeds. But, weekend after weekend passed and I didn’t do it.
Finally, this past weekend, I decided to get out there and do some work before I really regretted it. So, I got up and got out there while it was still cool and I got to work. I worked for a good while. I got a lot done and felt good about what I did, but I still have a good bit left to do. (Le sigh…)
So, while I was in my flower bed cleaning out the encroaching grass, I got some quality time in with the Lord as well. The Holy Spirit shared some good insight with me.
As I was pulling up that grass, I couldn’t help but think about how our lives are a lot like gardens. Having a fruitful garden and a fruitful life is a lot of hard work. Pulling up grass and weeds can be tough. If we want to have a garden full of beautiful flowers and plants, we must be diligent about keeping the grass and weeds at bay. Likewise, to have a happy and healthy life, we must keep all the bad thoughts and negativity at bay. It is something that I often find myself struggling with, as I am sure you do too at times.
With each clump of Bermuda I plucked from our flower bed, I kept thinking about how I also needed to be plucking out every negative thought as soon as it popped into my head. Wouldn’t it be so much better for us to rid ourselves of anything ugly immediately, rather than letting it linger and take root in our hearts and minds? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to do this as they pop up, rather than just waiting and trying to get rid of a ton of them later? I think so! Because, just like that Bermuda grass, negative thoughts spread quickly and before you know it, they have taken over.
Cleaning out of the bad and negative thoughts in our minds will allow us to focus on the good and positive thoughts. And, those will grow and thrive. This will bring us peace and contentment. Keeping the unwanted grass and weeds from our flower beds allows the flowers and plants to grow and thrive. This will bring about the beautiful flowers and good fruit that we seek.
In life, I think it is nice to have things to look forward to. Don’t you? As I am sitting here thinking about it, I would go so far as to say that having something to look forward to is an important part of life. Of course, what we look forward to will change as we grow and change. But, I think it is just a normal, healthy part of life.
When I was a kid I looked forward to summer break, Christmas, and my birthday. How about you? I bet you were the same. Summer break was my favorite because I could play all day and watch cartoons. The things that made me happy were simple things. Oh, how I wish I could go back to being that carefree.
How about as an adult? What do you look forward to now? As someone who works full time, I look forward to weekends, vacations, and any opportunity I can get to spend time with my family and friends. I look forward to retirement and not having to work anymore. I look forward to being outside in nature. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to just sit outside and read a good book. (I also enjoy lazy afternoons where I can take naps!)
How about as a Christian? Is there anything you look forward to as a Christian? One of things I look forward to most is being reunited with family members that have gone on before me. As Iris Dement penned in her wonderful hymn, That Glad Reunion Day, “There will be a happy meeting in Heaven, I know. When we see the many loved ones we’ve known here below. Gathered on that blessed hilltop with hearts all aglow. That will be a glad reunion day.”
It is such a comfort and blessing to know that we will be with our loved ones again one day. How do I know that this will indeed happen? The Bible tells me so. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 2 Samuel 12:23, and Luke 9:28-36.)
But, as a Christian, what I am really, truly looking forward to is seeing Jesus face to face and getting to spend all of eternity in His presence. I just can’t wait to run into His loving arms and get a hug for Him. Oh, what a hug that will be! I can’t even begin to imagine how glorious that will be. My gut reaction, just as I am thinking about this and typing it out, is to start crying. Crying because I am not worthy. Crying because it will be so amazing and wonderful. Crying because of the pure joy and contentment. It is funny, as I try to picture myself in heaven, this is how I see myself—all crying and emotional for a huge variety of reasons. I guess because that is how I am here on earth—crying easily and emotional for a huge variety of reasons.
Death can be such a scary thing. And, while I don’t want to die any time soon, just knowing that I will be in heaven one day with Jesus, well, that makes death a lot less scary. Actually, knowing and trusting in God makes death not scary at all. Yes, going to heaven, being with my loved-ones again, and spending eternity with Jesus, now that is something to look forward to!
A topic has been popping up in various places in my life the last few months and it is one that I have been contemplating writing about for a while now. And, I am feeling a strong pull to make it this week’s blog post. So, today I want to talk about, and explore, being a part of “God’s Family.”
Once we accept God into our hearts, truly believing in Him, trusting in Him, and repenting of our sins, we become saved--we become a Child of God. God is often referred to in the Bible as Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 states, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Through the creation of this world, God, who is our creator, is also our Father. God is responsible for everything that exists. It just makes sense that we would refer to Him as our Father. After all, He is the one who gave us life.
As I have been growing spiritually, I have noticed that many believers refer to each other as brother and sister. At first I was a little taken-aback by this. But, now, seeing as God is our Father, I understand this reference a lot better. If God is our Father, and all of us are His children, then it is an obvious leap that we would call each other brothers and sisters in Christ. And, the more I think about it, the more I really like that thought. This means that we have all kinds of brothers and sisters all over the world! Our brothers and sisters in Christ are of all different backgrounds, races, and nationalities. Wow, even think of this—they are from different time periods as well! While we will never to get meet to most of our brothers and sisters in person, one day we will get to meet them all in heaven. I think that is pretty cool!
All of us who love God are a part of one big, giant family. We have a common Father who binds us together as family. We are God’s family. We have a loving Father who walks with us, talks to us, guides us, and corrects us when we need it. He wants us to seek Him and have a good relationship with Him. Once we do these things, i.e. seek Him and enter a real relationship with Him, our world will start to change for the better. That is what a good Father does, He changes you and your life for the better. And, if you will let Him be a part of your everyday life, you will see what a truly good Father He is!
If you are not yet a part of our family--God’s family--I would love for you to join us. This is your open invitation. Come on in. There is plenty of room at our dining table. Pull up a chair, we have a seat saved especially for you. If you don’t yet understand how to became a child of God, please allow me to help you. Click this link to go to Joyce Meyer Ministries. There you will find a guide that is simple and easy to follow that teaches you “How to Know Jesus.” I pray that I can soon add you to the list of my brothers and sisters. Allow me to be the first to say, “Welcome to the family!”
Do you ever feel like a small fish in a big pond? Swimming around unnoticed? Maybe you feel almost invisible; like what you are doing in life is not important? (The theatre nerd in me is now singing “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago. Lol)
I know I have often felt this way in my life. And, I have a feeling you have too. Why? Because, I have come to realize that that is just a part of being human. I feel especially paltry when I am outside at night, looking up at all the stars. There are a gazillion stars out there. And, they are beautiful and wondrous to behold. But, looking up at all those stars can really make you feel very, well, insignificant. And, I also automatically start singing “It’s A Great Big Universe” from Animaniacs. (I told you, I am definitely a nerd. Also, if you have never watched Animaniacs, do yourself a favor and check it out. You will be so glad you did! But, I digress…)
So, my point is that sometimes we all feel small. Or undervalued. Or unimportant. And, I am here to tell you that you are NOT small, or undervalued, or unimportant! Why? Because while we may feel miniscule in the grand scheme of things, in God’s eyes we each play a critical role in this world. And, that is a big deal! WE are a BIG deal to God. So, you see, small is BIG!
After all, God created each of us to be uniquely us, and we are His children. You are uniquely you and I am uniquely me. And, He loves each and every one of us. And, we each have a significant role to play while we are here on earth. How do I know these things, you ask? Because the Bible tells us so! (See 1 Peter 5:7, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 139:13-16, 1 Corinthians 12:25-28, and 1 Peter 4:10-11.)
Being the music lover that I am, I like to think that this world is like one, great, big, giant symphony. We each play a different instrument in the orchestra of life and God is our conductor. Some people play the flutes, some play the violins, some play the trumpets, some play the piano. There are even some of us who do things like make the instruments, clean the theatre, or design and print the programs. It takes a lot of work to put a symphony together.
Then, when our symphony plays, and we each perform our part, it is a magnanimously glorious thing. All of us do our parts, we each execute our role, and the result is stunning. It is truly stunning. And, we could not pull this off without each other. Could you imagine how lackluster a symphony would be it there were only a few people playing the drums and the oboe? That would be horrible.
The magic happens when we all come together and do our parts.
So, while you may feel small, unseen, or imperceptible in your life, you are NOT small. The part you play in this life is NOT small. You are a vital part of this symphony of life. To God you play a very big, very important role. What may seem like a mundane job to you, means a lot to God. Maybe you wash dishes, maybe you teach, maybe you are a mom raising kids, maybe you are truck driver, maybe you are a dentist, maybe you are a structural engineer. Whatever “title” you have, it doesn’t matter.
What does matter, is that you embrace the role God gave you to play. If you embrace it, you are embracing God’s work for you. If you do your work as if you are doing it for God, you will gain much more satisfaction from it. Colossians 3:23 tells us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." That is a huge and dazzling thing!
(Also, I feel like I would be remiss if I did not mention that your role can and will change during your life. We will each go through different seasons in life. That is just how it works. One season you may playing the harp and a few years from now you may be playing the triangle!)
So, I urge you to grasp hold of your “small” part and perform it with gusto! As Stanislavski, the famous Russian theatre practitioner once remarked, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” And, again, being a theatre nerd, I heard this quote a thousand times. And, while I never really believed it when I worked in theatre, I can tell you that I honestly do believe it now. If we do our work for the Lord, there are no small parts. That is what spiritual growth is all about!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.