God's Beauty, My Walk, Uncategorized

God’s Garden

I view my relationship with God much the way I imagine the relationship between a gardener and their beautiful garden. I say imagine, because honestly most of my life I’ve had a black thumb and couldn’t keep a cactus alive. Recently though, I’ve managed to care for a bamboo plant and an aloe plant. Much to my joy and amazement they’re both thriving. I see these plants as a direct representation of my growth with the LORD. The more I grow and thrive, the more my plants seem to as well.

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Now, I’m assuming any good gardener would know something about pruning their flowers (I haven’t gotten to this stage with my own plants, and I probably should since the Aloe has multiplied and outgrown its home). As a glorious and blooming flower in God’s garden, I’ve been pruned on several occasions. Many of those times I didn’t even realize happened until much later. A few of them, however, were painful.

When I was in high school, I had my whole life planned out to the very last detail. There was no question in my mind about who I was, where I was going, and who I would be in the future.

Do I even need to say that God was in no way involved with these plans? No, I didn’t think so.

I joined the National Guard at seventeen with the intention of the U.S. government paying my way to a degree in Criminal Justice. I was going to be the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles Police Department, and I was going to make a difference in the world.

Fast forward a dozen or so years to this moment, and laugh with me.

Between the year 2000 and 2015 the LORD did some serious pruning to this little flower. Not only did the National Guard and I part ways early on, but so did my plans of being a homicide detective (let alone the youngest one). Not only did God cut away those plans, but he made a few more snips to dreams and experiences that at seventeen I hadn’t even thought of.

When I was in my early twenties my high school sweetheart and I divorced in a less than amicable fashion. Snip. Before I had time to truly come to grips with the knowledge that I had become a statistic, I was devastated by the loss of my son. Snip. This was a turning point in my life. A turning point that at the time looked like it was leading me down a dark and dangerous path. Snip. Snip.

People grieve in different ways. Some turn to God, some turn to counseling, and some turn to other more destructive means.

I was the latter.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:15-18

Looking back at my choices brings me powerful guilt and shame. It makes me wonder how God could ever have forgiven me, or for that matter how those choices shaped me into the person I am today.

The answer is easy to know, but not always easy to accept.

God loves me (and each and every one of you). All those painful moments, those late nights, those heartaches, and bad choices; the destructive actions, the selfishness and bitterness, the hate and anger, and the reveling in sin and discord those were little bits of me that needed to be snipped away so I could grow into a healthy, happy, and God-honoring woman.

“How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you!'” Isaiah 30:19-22

I’m not a homicide detective, the U.S. government didn’t pay for my degree (in fact I’m not quite finished with my Journalism degree yet, and it’s likely I’ll be paying it off until my children graduate college), I don’t live in Los Angeles, nor do I have any desire to EVER live there, unless that is where the LORD sends me; and if I’m making a difference in the world it is through the raising of my children to be good people who love the LORD and help those who need help.

Every day God continues to prune me. Each day I grow a little brighter, a little healthier, and a little stronger, because the LORD is snipping away the old parts to make room for new growth. I am a beautiful flower in the LORD’s garden, and I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

In what ways has God shaped you?

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

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Faith, God's Beauty, Homeschooling, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

The End is the Beginning

My daughter had her last day of school on Tuesday, as did many children. However, for my daughter she wasn’t just saying goodbye for the summer, with the promise of returning to her friends and teachers again in September. She was saying adios for good.

She has been excited for our new adventure, and this day just marked the beginning. Gone are the rushed mornings where there isn’t time for me to enjoy a cup of tea while she tells me about how she dreamed she was Princess Celestia (for those uninitiated readers, she is a My Little Pony–a show my daughter absolutely loves); or to relax for a moment over our morning devotions. Gone will be the need to immediately get dressed, to rush through breakfast, and to separate ourselves from each other for the next six hours.

Will there be a routine and things to get done, yes, but the rush to get out the door every morning will be gone. There will be time for bonding and connection, laughter and smiles, and sometimes, just sometimes, there will be time to make chocolate chip pancakes and sing silly songs before we head to the couch for snuggles and stories.

Tuesday might have been the end of First grade, the end of the official school year, and the end to her PS experience, but it is just the beginning of her chances for learning new and exciting things. For growing together as a family, for growing together with the Lord. It is just the beginning of getting to know each other a little more each day, to playing outside, and exploring the woods. It is just the beginning to field trips and adventures, and a whole world outside of a large building where the student to teacher ratio is too often 30:1.

Is this as exciting for me as it is for her? Definitely. It is also scary, because she has so much FAITH and trust in me, the instant and undying belief that I will educate her and she will learn. This is the same FAITH I’m putting in the LORD, who I believe has placed this intention on my heart. This is the path we are supposed to take, and it is the path we will walk together, each step as a family, with our FAITH and trust in our Heavenly Father. With Him guiding us, we can do anything.

“For we live by FAITH, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

 

 

Faith, My One Word, My Walk

Nehemiah A Heart That Can Break

My church does a Women’s Bible Study every Tuesday morning, and for the last seven weeks we’ve been studying the book of Nehemiah. LifeWay offers the study guide, Nehemiah A Heart That Can Break (Kelly Minter), and it is an amazing book full of insight and humor.

At the beginning of the study we were asked what God had put on our heart, and I really didn’t know,  I wasn’t even sure how to hear God speaking to me. I just kept feeling that children were somehow involved.

Then, the other day as we were finishing up the course, after weeks of praying for a heart of compassion like Nehemiah’s, and asking the LORD to lead me in the direction I needed to go, I finally realized just how much what God had put on my heart had grown and BECOME something.

The LORD answers prayers, and even though he answered mine in a way I had never expected, (I’d been envisioning helping at soup kitchens or in the questionable parts of town where little kids and babies are so often in need), I knew immediately that he had spoken, and I needed to listen and obey.

My life for the foreseeable future is going to be amazing, and scary, and at times I’m sure it will be a battle. I’m also sure I’ll spend a lot of time turning to the LORD in prayer, asking for guidance and help. I’ll also be getting a lot out of my ONE word, FAITH.

So dear readers, keep my family in your prayers as we begin this new adventure with the LORD, and if you’re looking for an interesting and exciting study, check out Nehemiah. You won’t regret it.

Blessing,

Sare

Parenting

Building Character One Tooth at a Time

My son is eight months old, and is cutting teeth. Of course, like with everything my son does, he can’t do it part way. He isn’t interested in cutting just one tooth, but four. He is working on having eight teeth inside his once gummy little mouth. Some times, this isn’t bad, but there are times when those tiny little teeth get the best of him (and me).

This morning, Boy Wonder woke up just shy of the 2 AM mark. A time not meant for anyone to be up. Even after a bottle, diaper change, and snuggles he couldn’t be comforted and would melt down in volcanic proportions. These things always seem to happen when my husband is away from home. He hasn’t ever experienced the all night wake ups with our children. That is an experience they’ve saved just for me.

So, there we were snuggled in my bed, him giggling and kicking his legs at the cat– who was inching her way to the pillows–and me humming (possibly whimpering) softly to him in the hope he would show signs of sleepiness, when it hit me.

I am truly blessed.

Before I started this journey, I wouldn’t have felt this way in the wee hours of the morning. I would have felt irritation, frustration, and sleepiness. Not blessed. It’s amazing how things have changed.

 

Yes, I would have loved to have slept through the entire night like we usually do, but in that moment the only thing important was the tiny little person God had entrusted to my care. This was reiterated this morning when after barely three hours of sleep, my little man once again became inconsolable. With a lack of sleep and a migraine, having already finished my volunteering in my daughter’s classroom, I came home to a little boy who couldn’t understand the pain he was in.

After much snuggling, the demise of my favorite necklace at the hands of an unhappy boy, and many meaningless sounds of comfort, my son once again found his happy. While we were curled together on the futon, the cries turned to giggles and a tiny smile formed. In these moments I knew, without a doubt, this is what life is about. Being with my child while he is miserable, to experience that one moment of joy when the pain lessens and he can once again smile. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleep in the world.

I am blessed, because the LORD sees something in me that I don’t often see in myself. He sees comfort from the pain of teething, and a love that is unconditional.

Blessings,

Sare