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Soil and Roots…

On a recent visit with my in-laws, my mother-in-law was pointing out the great job that her gardener had done on the new landscaping and sprinkler system.  But we noticed that the parkway planter area that held a large beautiful tree, was quite dry.  She told us her gardener assured her, “Even though the soil doesn’t seem like it’s being watered enough from the top, the roots were getting plenty of water from the surrounding soil UNDER the ground.”  He told her what to look out for with the tree to make sure it was growing and not suffering from lack of watering.

I have not been able to get that story out of my head for weeks now.  And here I sit at a new coffee shop and I realize that the mural on the wall in front of me…it’s a painting of roots!  Okay, Lord, I get it!  I’m digging in!!

Jeremiah 17:8 say, “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

This is exactly the verse that came to mind when my mother-in-law was telling us about her tree.

I would not say I have a green thumb…nor a black thumb…just hands that are really good at purchasing new plants when the old ones die.  Why do you think they sell plants at the grocery store?!  But I have managed to keep quite of few philodendrons alive (and mostly well) in my kitchen and living room.  Indulge me a bit while I share my “gardening” observations.

I have six plants in my kitchen and four plants in my living room.

The 6 plants in my kitchen are fabulous!

One of them I received from a friend who was moving out of state and couldn’t take it with her…my “Jenn plant” has managed to stay alive and green for the 5 years since her family moved. I think it thrives because I notice it more and water it more often…it reminds me of my friend and I pray for her and her family every time I see it.

The larger plant on a stand by the window is the one that thrives the most. I believe because it’s closest to the sunlight, it grows the best. It has the benefit of weekly watering and is daily bathed with the rays from the sun. There are two other plants on the little kitchen sink window ledge that live well with partial sun as well.

Now, the two to the left of my kitchen window, that’s another story. They are in smaller pots, which means that there is not a lot of space for their roots to spread out. But the pots are just so cute…and the shelf they sit on doesn’t really have space for a larger vessel. They are little out of my line of sight, so I know I wait too long to water them. They look quite wilted and give me little hope that they will “spring back to life” just because I water them  But every single time I take them down and give them a good watering, a few hours later I look up at them and they’ve been revived!  It’s amazing what a little water can do!

Well, then there’s the plants in the living room.  We don’t really get any sunlight in there, at least where I have the plants. Those pots are regularly the ones I have to repurchase new plants from the store. They start out full and lovely and after time, I’m watering pots of dirt with one stalk of three or four sad leaves on it. And they don’t perk up at all after the watering.

So what kind of plant are you?

Do you put yourself in a place where you are being watered and cared for?  Do you soak in the sunlight when it’s available?

Do you slowly lose your stamina until there’s almost nothing left?

Or are you the tree planted with deep roots?

When we make the decision to stand firm in our relationship with the Lord, and let Him water the roots of our life in Him, we can withstand ANY kind of storm or drought. Even when the topsoil of our life is dry and dusty, we can still grow and bear fruit of who God is in our life. We need not fear anything because we know Who we are rooted in.

Taking time each day to be rooted in God’s Word ~ that is the only way to remain standing and not sway or break with the ever-changing moments life will bring.

Think of a palm tree. I’ve lived in Florida – palm trees galore. I’ve witnessed the strength and remarkable flexibility of these trees during storms. Being born and raised in Southern California, what is more iconic than the palm tree lined streets of the city suburbs and beaches? Here, the greatest characteristic of these trees is that depending on where they are planted, they are either straight and tall, or they seem crazily slanted…but both features are simply because they desire to be in the full gaze of the sun’s light.

Palm trees are amazing to me when you see them bending like crazy-straws during a hurricane but when the storm is over, it regains its composure.  How?  They have an incredibly fibrous root system that goes down into the ground very very deep.  The palm has roots that keep growing, that continue to gain nutrients to sustain their life, and a leaf system that overlaps the branches all coming from one common trunk.

I mean, I am so excited just thinking about the similarities here between my life as a Christian and how God made palm trees.  I mean, besides how cool they are, what a life lesson they are to us ~ and I know that God does not do anything haphazardly.

Do we remain steadfast and let our roots go deep with God? Do we yearn so earnestly to be in the light of the Son, that we may look a little like a “bendy-straw” to those looking at our life? Do we look like we’re going to simply break in half during the storm of life? Do we regain our strength and stand tall when the storm is over? Do we continue to bear fruit in the midst of a drought?

I know these plants.

Sometimes I contently sit in my “little pot” waiting to be watered but slowly dying inside because I don’t go where the sunlight will strengthen me. But I want more of those times when I’m seen, watered, and cared for by Gardener. Unlike a plant in a pot, I have to be an active participant in the watering!

I know this tree.

More and more I am the palm tree. I know the value of sticking close to God’s Word and burrowing deep so that the roots of my heart and soul are planted securely within the truths of the life He has intended for me to live.

I am this tree.

I’ve been the tree in the desert, the tree with the dry topsoil, the tree that still survives because the roots are deep. It doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. I don’t have the market cornered on staying strong in the midst of the storm. I just know that trusting in the One who refreshed me with water from the spring of everlasting Life in Him.

So even when I look a bit slanted, or a bit like a crazy bendy-straw, just know that I’m in the process of reaching out to be as close to the Son as I possibly can! Come join me!

Blessings,

René

Jeremiah 17 verse 8

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

I want to…but I just can’t!

How many times have you said this phrase….”I want to, but I just can’t!”  Whether it was to a friend who wants to meet for coffee, a meeting that you’ve been asked to attend, to keep to your new daily planner schedule, or to exercise and eat more healthy; or just say “no” to an amazing dessert…like big slab of homemade chocolate cake with chocolate orange filling and chocolate hazelnut icing with chopped hazelnuts on top?

** Okay…that last part…seriously was the best piece of cake I think I’ve had in a very long time…and shouldn’t have again for a VERY LONG TIME!! **

But I digress…..

So, what made me think of this title and idea for today’s blog?  It was actually from something I saw in a facebook post by someone on a weight loss journey.  They’ve been plagued by failure for years, losing every weight loss battle because she realized that she had the mindset of “I want to eat that, but I can’t have it.”  She was constantly in a state of negativity.  Then she changed a few words around and now feels like she has a handle on the journey ahead….

“I can have that, I just choose not to.”

What a concept!  I tried finding her posting again to give her credit and alas, I could not…but whoever you are ~ thank you!

Instead of looking at the dessert portion on a menu or the table full of sweets at a party, and saying, “I want that dessert but I just can’t…I’m being good.”  I can say, “I can have that dessert but I am choosing not to so I can be healthy today.” My attitude goes from a place of negativity to a place of positive thinking.  That little shift can make all the difference in how we view ourselves and the world around us.

Honestly, satan wants us to continue coming from a place of negativity so that he can veil our mind and heart away from thinking in a way that is pleasing to the Lord; to keep us from acting in such a way that is honoring to Him and giving God glory.

So how can we live from a place of positivity ~ and not be sucked into what the world calls “positive thinking.”? I think the best way we can do this is learn and know who we are and what we are called to be by the Lord.  We are created in His image, so all that He has for us is good.  He does not guarantee a perfect life and does not expect us to be perfect, but He does require obedience.  There are no tricks we have to resort to in order to follow what the Word says.  And when we don’t know what to do, we can call on the Lord at any moment and ask for His help and guidance.

Psalm 118:5-6 HCSB, “I called to the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and put me in a spacious place. The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I read this list in a book* recently and think it is an absolutely fantastic way to remind our self who we are and Who we belong to.  I’m going to write it below exactly how it is in the book, but I would love to challenge you to do something after you read through it once.  Read it again, out loud, and replace “I” with your name.  Personalize it as much as you can to make an imprint on your heart and mind about who you really are!  Come on…let’s do this!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I am being renewed daily. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I am created to be the reflection of His glory. (Ephesians 1:12)

I am exalted to the right hand of God the Father Almighty, a joint heir to the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17)

I am forgiven. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I am a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I am led by the spirit of God. (Romans 8:14)

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6;10)

I am above only and not beneath. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

I am more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)

I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. (Revelations 12:11)

I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I am casting all my cares upon Jesus. (1 Peter 5:7)

I am blessed coming in and going out. (Deuteronomy 28:6)

I am an overcomer. (1 John 5:4)

I am blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)

I am called by God. (Romans 8:28)

I am provided for all things by God. (Philippians 4:19)

This is not a bunch of magic words to say and then we’ll feel better.  These are promises from God’s Word about who we are.  But He wants us to be actively participating in seeking Him.  We aren’t meant to sit around waiting for things to happen.  If we are truly seeking Him, we will be alert to the subtle ways God tries to get our attention.  Sometimes those ways are pretty straightforward, but our Heavenly Father is not about the business of bopping us on the head.  Even in trials we can find Him and experience peace.

John 14:27“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

As you move forward in your day, be filled with peace, positive that God is for you and not against you.  That He has good plans for your life. Whatever you choose to do, choose it because you want to glorify Him.  Whatever you choose not to do, choose in order to honor the Lord in your actions.  Both of these directions will bring you good and will cause you to grow closer to the Lord in your relationship with Him.  The more intimately you understand what God wants for you, you will in turn want those same things.

You CAN do just about anything ~ but are you doing what the Lord has asked of you?  

You can WANT just about anything ~ but are you wanting what the Lord has for you?

Blessings,

    René

2 Corinthians 5 verse 17

*Seymour, Rick. “Chapter 12.” God In Your Goals: Reconciling Your Spiritual Walk with ‘success’ in the World. San Bernadino: Rick Seymour, 2015. 100-01. Print.