Monday, November 2, 2009

The beauty of the old hymns...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Autumn...and the power of resurrection

Autumn is a gratifying season...when the gardens are tidied, fall flowers and shrubs are planted, jack-o-laterns carved, and the house is warmed with the colorful bounty of the fall harvest. The flower beds bloom one last time before another year comes to a close.

Virtually anything gathered from the yard, gardens or the woods seems to naturally work together for decorations...such as a scattering of beautiful colored leaves, apples, pine cones, and acorns.

Autumn is also the time when spring and summer blooming perennials are lifted and divided to propagate the plants and ensure their good health. Seed heads from the dying annuals are saved and placed in paper bags for drying, then stored in glass jars till time to plant and bear fruit in spring. The seed has to die before it can bring forth new life. The beautifully colored autumn leaves are actually dying. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves and as the green disappears we begin to see the lovely colors of yellow, orange and red. After they fall to the ground, they are naturally broken down by microorganisms and earthworms, providing essential nutrients for the roots. I use straw in my gardens because of how quickly it breaks down and makes the garden soil so rich and healthy.

Jesus spoke foundational truths, about the nature of life and hope and faith in a way that brought sense into a senseless, random world. He said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24) Grains of wheat must die to what they are if they are not to remain alone and fruitless. His message was not a superficial one. Jesus was not promising those who believed in his message that life would be a bed of roses, that all would be peaceful, painless, and prosperous. His "realness" made his message so powerful. Through his death (the victory over death) we have the promise of eternal life. His death brought mankind within reach of God. Life came forth from death and nothing is more beautiful and glorious than that! There is a redemptive power that comes from the cross....death, pain and suffering can bring forth redemption, purpose and new life and it sets a high example for us to follow. The daily dying of that we can be more like him. We have to die... so that we can live!

"The repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore."
G.K. Chesterton
I See You (Rich Mullins)
Lord You're leading me
With a cloud by day
And then in the night
The glow of a burning flame
And everywhere I go I see You...
The eagle flies, and the rivers run
I look thru the night
And I can see the rising sun
And everywhere I go I see You...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Strength to the weary....

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29

Isn't she sweet? My wonderful husband bought her
for me last fall. He named her Herbie (??? yes... I know). She is due for some touchups...looking pretty weathered and worn these days. Pretty much like my gardens....they too are ready for cooler temperatures and are thirsty for the sweet rains of autumn.
This spring, when we first moved into our new house, there were blooms everywhere.... azaleas, daffodils, bugleweed, various blooming trees and shrubs... however it was hard to find anything pretty in my yard during July and August. The poor gardens were so tired and dry.
Been there...several times. I'm talking about the dry and weary times of the soul. The long nights where it feels like morning will never come. Battle weary...and it can become a long and sometimes dangerously low point. You know what I am talking about...character developing seasons.
I am so thankful for a family that prays. Really prays. So when we are honest enough to share with each other the times we are fighting our way upstream... we know that we are going to be lifted up in prayer. Maybe that is how "He gives strength to the weary...." We need each other during storms and dry spells. He wants us to share our vulnerabilities with each other because not only does it give others a chance to grow in their faith, it provides an intimate connection which cannot be built during our "spring" seasons. It is okay to let others see our absolute realness.

I love the lyrics to this song that I learned when I was in my teens and have used it as a lullaby for my children and now for my grandchildren (cannot remember who actually sang it or all the lyrics)...
"If He knows when a robin falls from its nest
And He grieve when He sees it die
If He kisses a rose with a morning mist
How much more does He love you and I....
How much more than a fragrant rose
That He gives life in the spring
For does He love me less than the bird in his nest
That never souls yet sours on the wing

(here is my favorite part)
He can speak just one word and calm the angry wind
And peace be still calms the rolling sea
He can speak peace be still to the storm that's within
That's how much that He really loves you and me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Stand in the garden and sniff the air; you can smell autumn coming in like the tide drawing across summer's beach...A bit of mist and a touch of mellow fruitfulness and it must be autumn again..."

I am thankful tonight... thankful for the beauty of creation... It is in my garden that I find refuge as well as renewal. Where I can pour out my heart in tears and joy. It is where I will raise my Ebenezer Stone which is symbolic for restoration...

Ebenezer Stone -
It is a story you will find in I Samuel:
"After a long period of sadness and trouble, a consequence of Israel's disobedience, Israel repented under the leadership of a new priest and judge, Samuel. God restored their political security, and the people, for their part, re-committed their hearts and minds to their Lord. Samuel placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. He publicly dedicated it as a monument to God's help, God's faithfulness, God's eternal covenant. And as the people go on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration. The Ebenezer stone represented a fresh beginning, a reversal of course for God's people. It also said something important about God: His mercies are everlasting; His covenant is forever.

It is a priority on my gardening list... raising an Ebenezer Stone... a symbol of a fresh beginning... of restoration. That is what this blog represents for me. A record of my walk and a reminder of His faithfulness.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. Phiillippians 3:13b,14