Shortly before Mark and I left on our trip across America, I was taking a morning walk through my neighborhood. The night before a big wind storm had roared through our area, and as I walked I noticed little branches from the trees scattered across the street and lawns.

I realized it was deadwood, branches that have died and are contributing nothing to the life of a tree. The wind made short work of them.

What Deadwood Is God Knocking Out of Your Life?

The storms in our life can serve the same purpose. There are things I am dragging around with me that are weighing me down while contributing nothing to my overall health and life. I’ve noticed that when I’m going through a hard time, God usually prunes the deadwood from my life.

It could be a bad habit I need to be rid of, a relationship that is toxic, a commitment that is no longer God’s will, a job that is passed its prime, or something else. During this process it may feel to me that my life is littered with the remnants of things I once (or still do) value. But if I cooperate with God, I’ll soon feel lighter, more energetic, and ready for something new to replace the deadwood.

Don’t despair! Make room for what is next.


From Withered to Revived

I winced as I looked at my six-pack of wilted impatiens. Leftover from my butterfly garden, they had sat under the tree for two weeks waiting for me to find a garden bed to squeeze them into. Originally bursting impatienswith color, the now shriveled, drooping blossoms showed little signs of life. I picked them up to toss them into the trash.

“There’s no way they’ll ever recover from this,” I thought. As I opened the trash can, something made me stop. What could it hurt to plant them in the bed out front? It took only minutes to plant the bedraggled plants and water them.

A few hours later I opened the front door to walk out to the mailbox. A flash of pink caught my eye and I stopped astounded. The withered flowers were completely revived, their leaves and blossoms plumped out nicely, the picture of health. I couldn’t believe it. I had been certain they were beyond hope. All they needed was good soil, a thorough watering, and some time to revive.

“It’s the same for people too,” the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. I mulled that thought over and let its truth sink in.

There was a time in my life when I’ve felt like those flowers. For months after my infant daughter died, I was depleted, devoid of energy, joy … life. I wasn’t sure I would ever recover from the blow of losing her. I barely went through the motions of life. My friends and family stuck by me and kept praying. Several months after she died, I joined a Bible Study Fellowship group and God started slowly putting me back together. Over the course of the next year, I was planted in the fertile soil of my group and watered by God’s word and the testimony and encouragement of wise women. At the end of that year, I had revived.

Maybe you’re there today. Perhaps you think life is over for you. Too much heartache, too many mistakes. Your blooming days are behind you. I’m here to tell you that if you plant yourself in the fertile soil of a healthy church or Christ-based group and water yourself with His word, you will recover. Expose your wounds/sin to the healing light of God’s truth and love and give yourself time to heal and hope.

Get ready to bloom again. God is going to do a mighty work in your life!Sacred and Everyday thumbnail

Pray on!


Puffball Seeds of Prayer

DandelionYou never know when God will intersect your everyday with something sacred.

Even something as simple as a dandelion.

The other day I was walking out to the mailbox and glanced down. Lying at my feet was a perfect puffball of a dandelion gone to seed. Detached from its root, it was resting on my blacktop driveway ready to send it seeds up and away at the first breath of wind.

I want to be like that dandelion …

with a perfect puffball of seed-prayers ready to send aloft at a moment’s notice — no matter where I am — because I’ve found that sometimes the wind of the Spirit puts me in places where it wouldn’t be my first response to pray. Will I listen or wait for a more “fitting” place?

Over the last year, God has prompted me to waft a few seeds of prayer while –

  • in the middle of a facial at a spa. I stop and pray with my esthetician as needs bubble to the surface. Off blows a seed of prayer.
  • on the phone with a new friend worried about her aging father. Another seed wafts away on the breeze.
  • at a meeting where a person suffers a breakdown. Three of us pray as emergency workers attend to her needs. Seeds floating all around us.
  •  in the median of a busy road with a desperate young woman on a cold, miserable night. Winter winds carry this seed up to heaven.

Praying in church is intuitive. But it’s in the middle of living our lives that God sends opportunities for prayer that may be a bit risky as we open ourselves to ridicule or rejection. Yet being willing to gently blow our seeds of prayer for others makes a pathway for the work of God in their Dandelion seedslives.

When I met the young woman on the median,  disbelief, tears, and relief played across her face as we hugged. And prayed. In the midst of cars whizzing by us on a freezing night, a puff of the Holy Spirit dispersed love, comfort, and hope right there on the “blacktop driveway.”

We can’t afford to wait for perfect timing and comfortable circumstances. We always carry the seeds of prayer within us, and when the Spirit prompts, it’s time to take a deep breath, catch the wind of the Spirit, and let them fly.

What about you? How is God using you in His kingdom work? Leave a comment to let me know.Sacred and Everyday thumbnail

Pray on!

Blooming in the Cracks of Life: Sacred Everyday

Mark and I turned the corner in downtown Westfield on our way to a restaurant when it caught my eye. In IMG_0850 a skinny crack of the sidewalk amidst a sea of concrete bloomed a velvety fuchsia petunia. Beauty stood out in the midst of the sparse environment.

Now I love flowers. Whether it’s a beautifully tended garden, a colorful display of potted flowers, vining plants creeping up a trellis, or a wild riot of wildflowers, I’m always looking, smelling, touching, admiring. But I didn’t expect to see one here.

And I realized that’s what life should be like.

We spend too much time waiting for the perfect setting before we bloom. We think when I have….when I get…then I’ll really do what I’m supposed to do. I’m always waiting for something to happen before I take action.

  • An updated house worthy of HGTV before I invite the neighbors over.
  • A promotion at my job before I start giving to charity.
  • A visible position at church before I start volunteering.
  • A perfect family before I let anyone get close.

We’ve got it all wrong.

Sacred and Everyday thumbnailWhen we live in the cracks and broken places of life and bloom there for Jesus, our fragrance of him beautifies and permeates the neighborhood.

We are where we are for a reason. It’s time that we become like the fuchsia petunia and bloom right in the midst of the cracks of our lives. It’s then that we’ll see our true beauty, our true purpose emerge, as Jesus transforms us and those around us.

Are you putting off blooming today because you’re waiting for the next best thing to happen? Take your struggle to Jesus and ask Him to help you start living now.

Ready to Burst!

Pedaling down the Monon Trail, I breathed in the fresh air. Soft rays of shine danced on my head, dappled by the many trees around me. The lower edge of the forest was reawakening into a soft, fuzzy Mag tree FB size copygreen, but above the bare trees danced in the wind, most still waiting for their spring clothing.

Finally, a day worthy of being called spring. My sister and I flew along the path but quickly braked when a splash of pink caught my eye: a magnolia tree just about to burst into full bloom! Already a few anxious blossoms were opening to the sun.

I just can’t wait for the flowering trees to bloom I thought. I’m ready to be done with the color gray. My impatience for color, warmth, sun, flowers, and life was growing.

 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

The words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 nudged into my mind. God was reminding me that you can’t rush the seasons; you can’t rush Him. Trees and flowers need nutrients and the time it takes to absorb warmth to bloom.

“And so do you,” the Spirit whispered to my soul.

I pondered that timely thought. The last few months of my life have been busy with a new venture. I am getting impatient to get past the preparations into the launch. He was reminding me to not rush ahead, to absorb the “nutrients” I need for a full bloom.

Maybe you’re there too. There’s something you’ve been looking forward to, working toward, and it’s just about there. You’re ready to burst. It’s tempting to just jump in, but taking the time to grow a healthy blossom is important. Otherwise, this new thing may turn out like flowers lured into opening prematurely by the excitement of early warm weather  — with their frozen blossoms stricken on the vine.

Full Bloom MagnoliaMake sure that the bud of your idea is bursting with nutrients. Pray, study, work, save, read, consult, talk — do all the things necessary so that God can coax you into full bloom in His time.

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Safe in the Tunnel

Mark and I were cycling recently on a muggy, Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t wait to enter the shade of a tunnel just ahead of us. We tunnel 14548586351rode into the cool, dim passageway, and I could barely see a little boy of about 6 racing toward us on his bike from the other end, his dad just a little behind him.

“Daddy, I love youuuuuuuu!” he yelled, delighting in the echo his voice made as it bounced off the walls.
“And I love you, bud!” his dad yelled back.
“You’re the best dad EVERRRR!” the boy shouted as he zoomed by us, his face lit with a huge grin.
“You’re the best son ever,” his dad yelled back.

I smiled as their voices and love danced through the tunnel washing over us, thankful that God made us privy to their joy. As that little scene replayed itself in my head, the Holy Spirit whispered to me that it is a perfect example of God’s love for us. Sometimes we hit tunnels in our lives where we can’t quite see what’s ahead of us. But we can do just what that little boy did. We can lift our voices in praise to God.

“God I love you! You’re the Only God ever!” we can yell, letting our voices echo over any fear and uncertainty.
And God yells back to us, “You’re the best kid ever, and I love you too!”

Even when we can’t see our way clear, we can listen for His voice, His encouragement, His comfort, secure in His love in the darkness. Where do you need to hear Him today?

photo credit: mripp via photopin cc

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