Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Defeat or Victory ~ where do you live?…

farmland view for Defeat or Victory blog 4-2020

Photo by John Reed on Unsplash

During this time of quarantine – how many times will I refer to this ‘stay-at-home’ season of 2020, I have no idea. It’s what is occupying everyone’s mind these days, so here we are. What was I saying? Oh yes, during this period, we have a lot of TIME on our hands. Whether you are doing at home what you used to do in your office building, or you are rearranging schedules on the daily with new homeschool duties, there is still time to think. I daresay, there is still available time to think too much.

As I know that the majority of my readers are women, I can confidently say that we are all too familiar with the mental battle we fight each day as to whether we are enough or not. Do we measure up? Are our children thriving enough? The meals we make could probably be healthier? Why can’t our home look like “that one” we always scroll past on Instagram?
And so on.

When our minds begin to wander, where to we let it go? Do you give it free reign? Does the temptation to allow negative thoughts to replay over and over again win out over what we know is the actual truth? Are there moments when you hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you to take those thoughts captive, yet you ignore Him? Thinking those places of defeat will somehow bring you comfort or closure? NO! They never will.

Friends, this is living defeated and it is no way to truly live.

Yet, in the same way that it is dangerous to live in places of defeat, it is much the same to live in places of future imagined victory. We cannot survive in either of these places mentally because it takes our focus off what we should be doing, which is living for Jesus. Living in the present time; in the season that God intends.

And that takes focus.

One of the things that came to mind when I was thinking of ‘defeat and victory’ was of farmers fields.

I visited some Amish farms in Ohio a while back and was fascinated to learn the necessity of allowing planting areas to rest. First of all, the patterns of these fields are mesmerizing; equal parts of growth and bare dirt. I realized the beauty was in the areas of rest and not actually in the rows of corn growing. There was just something about the emptiness that drew me in but in a peaceful way.

As I researched it more, I began to understand that these fields were not dead and bare, they were alive and resting.

Farmers will typically give various plots of their farmland a rest for at least one year so that it can be ready for a new season of planting. No wonder God uses so many farming applications in His word to convey the importance of rest and growth. That bare ground is not striving to be anything but content in its waiting. It has been allowed to regenerate.

I can’t think of anything more beautiful to consider in this quarantine season in our world right now.

Exodus 23:11 says,

“but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.”

There were periods that the Lord instructed His people to let their ground rest, not just for regeneration but allowance for people in need to gather food and nourishment. The land that was left to become fallow still held importance for the community around it.

I believe that this is a truth we can hold onto, that even in those seasons we feel bare, forgotten, and underutilized, we are still important to the people around us. We continue to hold value. We can generate sustainability for the future while we are resting.

This my friends in living from a place of victory!

In Hosea 10:12, God gives direction as to how we are to be proactive in cultivating fallow ground; in cultivating seasons of rest.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

Depending on the kind of crops that are being grown is the deciding factor for how long the ground stays fallow. Isn’t that how it is for us? The Lord knows the seasons that we have come out of, the ones that we are in, and the ones we are headed toward. Which means He knows how long our rest seasons need to be.

And it means that we can trust Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Getting my roots done…

Roots blog - kyle-ellefson-Y6T1a4gU4ss-unsplash

Life is full of maintenance.

Keeping a {basically} clean house, dealing with those pesky piles of paperwork that seem to grow on their own, putting gas in the car before it’s ‘too late’, paying bills, making dinner…you get the idea.

But there is one thing that I don’t skimp on, and that’s getting my hair done. I love my hair stylist as she keeps me looking young{ish} and it’s worth every penny to get my roots done every four weeks. I’m very organized when it’s comes to my hair cut & color appointments and I make sure to set up the next one (or two!) after each appointment ends.

One day I will have beautiful slivery-gray-white hair…but NOT today! Maybe when I hit my 80’s…but for now, cut & color are thankfully an integral part of our monthly budget!! And along with that is of course the ‘color-safe’ shampoo and conditioner, the plant-based mousse and hair spray, and hair masks on occasion.

It takes planning & effort to keep up with my roots looking good!

But what do we do to keep our spiritual roots healthy and vibrant?

Just as solid roots are vital for a healthy tree, and a strong anchor keeps a boat steady, our spiritual roots must be nurtured in order for us to live in such a way that we draw others to the Lord.

This idea about ‘roots’ struck me in a new way when I was reading in James 1 and hit verse 21 “So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls.”

I prefer to use the Amplified Version translation when I’m studying because I love words and the AMP has a LOT of words! In this verse, it so clearly jumped out to me that the Word is implanted into my heart ~ but it is God that does the planting. He is the One who causes the roots of His Word to grow deep. BUT…I have to read the word and be in it in order for the watering to happen that causes those roots to take hold of my whole heart.

One of the best examples of roots, I think anyway, is the palm tree.

When you look at a palm tree spiraling straight up to the sky, it does not make sense that it is standing. They are so tall and slender and frankly, top heavy with all the fronds and such. But then you look at those beauties bending to the will of a torrential storm and it’s crazy that they don’t uproot and blow away. In Southern California, I don’t see that very often, but we do see the palm trees around us bend toward the sun and they still don’t fall over! It’s all because of their roots.

Check out this info from a reference site*:

“Palm tree roots tend to be fairly shallow when compared to the height of the tree. Despite urban legends to the contrary, palm tree roots do not equal the height of the tree. Instead, they grow in a root ball.

Palm tree roots do not widen out as they grow; rather, they tend to grow straight down. As a result, they are unlikely to damage nearby sidewalk or pavement. Palm tree roots regularly regenerate from the root ball. Since they are always regenerating and dying off, they do not grow very long. Palms have no tap root. Instead, their roots jut out from the root ball in all directions, drawing nourishment and water from a wide swath of ground.”

Our ‘root ball’, if you will, is God’s Word. It has all we need to be nourished as it buried just under the surface into our mind. As the roots grow, they go straight down to our heart. Every time we learn something new from God’s Word, it’s a new root taking its form and providing a new stream of nourishment to our soul. And even if we look a bit “crooked” to the world, it’s simply because we are leaning toward the Son!

So, here’s my question to you again ~ how are you keeping your roots healthy?

God uniquely created each and every one of us, so our time with Him is also going to be unique. How beautiful it is that my quiet time and study doesn’t have to look like yours, and vice-versa! God is completely creative and works in our hearts in ways that will truly impact us individually. God’s Word is universal and relatable, yet it is so incredibly personal because it is His Living Word! He activates what we read, worship songs we sing, devotionals we ponder, and He does so in delightful ways to let us know He sees us.

With all my heart, I hope you have experienced times when you are reading something in the Bible that you have read “a thousand times” yet it jumps off the page and ministers to your soul in a brand new way! Friends, that’s the Holy Spirit giving you a big “Hey there! I’m so glad that you are here with me today! I love spending time with you and I have new things to show you!” Seriously…I really think the Holy Spirit is beyond excited when we see the new thing He is revealing to us through scripture!

As we are getting closer and closer to the new year…literally a new decade…let me encourage you to find new ways to ‘get your roots done’. It could be a new devotional, a new journal, new worship music, sitting in a new spot in your house, finding a new coffee shop nearby ~ it could be any number of things. If you’re stuck on what that might look like, pray about it and ask the Lord to give you some new ideas and He absolutely will!

He is a good, good Father and wants to give you strong roots. To give you the opportunity to deepen your relationship with Him in order to be His hands and feet in your community and show them Jesus.

Get rooted in God’s Word ~ be that palm tree ~ go deep, lean in, and stand tall!

Blessings,
René

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

* https://www.reference.com/world-view/deep-roots-palm-trees-2e566c7025f44749

 

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

It’s my Blog-aversery!

Whoa y’all!  Today, August 31, 2019 is my 4th anniversary of writing my blog! To date I’ve written about 165,000 words. That’s a lot of words!

{cue the Confetti!!}

One thing that I love is to celebrate and everything is worth celebrating! My mother-in-law has often told me that she loves how I can make every holiday and any milestone a celebration. I mean, I’m a Type 2 on the enneagram, so go figure! But I just had to look up what the traditional anniversary gift for “year 4” was and amazingly, it kind of sums up what I feel about writing this blog.

So the traditional gifts are fruit, flowers, linen, and silk.

Fruit & Flowers ~ “…flowers represent the growth and blossoming of the relationship, and subsequent ripening as symbolized by fruit. Flowers nurture the soul, and fruit nourishes the body…”  The geranium & hydrangea are flowers associated with year 4…the more positive and meaningful symbols of the geranium are comfort and gentility of a true friend. The hydrangea’s more positive symbols [are] gratefulness, ‘thank you for your understanding’, pride and appreciation.

Linen & Silk ~ “In biblical times, garments crafted from fine linen represented truths from the Divine, given that fine linen worn by holy figures was of the purest white and also lustrous (eg, angels in the bible are described as wearing fine white linen), hence, the symbolism of truth…Silk…is connected with items that are…the comfortable flow and connection between [people]. The saying “as smooth as silk” further represents good times ahead in the relationship.

{https://www.eternityrose.com/4th-wedding-anniversary-gift-ideas}

Through this blog, I have experienced personal and spiritual growth, gained deeper friendships, and become increasingly grateful for this writer’s gift the Lord has given me. I strive to be someone who writes the truth not for self-gratification but for the joy of shining light on the goodness of the Father. I write how I speak. When I sit down, I imagine that you are sitting across from me at a cozy little coffee shop.

My hearts desire is to meet you right where you are at. To encourage you that you can stand when you are feeling fragile; to cry when you are feeling pain; to draw strength from the Lord when you feel discouraged; to firmly believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has a great and mighty plan for you right now!

I can tell you that every single word has been from my heart ~ prompted by a desire from the Lord to share my story with everyone who reads it, in the hope to point you to Jesus! When I am able to sit down at my computer and have a blog ready to publish in about 2 hours, I know that I do not write alone. It’s something that astonishes me every single time. I feel the Holy Spirit lay something on my heart, and my mind begins to swirl. I pray before each blog ~ to hear God’s voice and type it out on the page through my words.

I’ve written on so many topics; it’s hard to pinpoint my “writer’s perspective”. I’ve had people ask me “Well, what is your blog about?” I’m usually a deer in the proverbial headlights for a second and then answer, “Whatever God wants me to write about.” I’m in no way being glib…it’s just the truth.

From marriage, to kids, to empty-nesting, to friendship, to verses in the Bible, mistakes & triumphs, and topical issues ~ it’s all here…all 114 blogs worth.

My biggest encouragers & supporters are my fabulous family! They are so kind when I send out a family text with, “Hey everyone…I just published another blog” and add in the link.

After I had been writing for almost one year, my middle daughter saw me checking my blog stats for the millionth time that month. She quietly asked me, “Why do you check your stats so often? Does it really matter how many people are reading your blog?” Um, well, sure it does. I believed then as I do know that God leads to me write every single one. I rationalized that I was simply seeing how many were reading them since God gave me this gift, He must have huge plans for them! Right?! Even as the words to my daughter tumbled out of my mouth, I felt embarrassed.

Side note…having adult children is a trip!  Let me just tell you to hold on to your seats…it’s a great ride and it’s never dull!

So, my daughter gave me a challenge ~ to not check my stats for a month. I thought it would easier to simply take my app off my phone, but that would be too easy. I left the app there because I still wanted the availability to open it up real quick when inspiration hit. But I did it…I didn’t check the stats for 30 days and it was so liberating. I was able to come back to the place of writing for the audience of One. To write back to the Lord the words He was so graciously putting on my heart to share with you.

I’m so grateful how my oldest daughter sat with me for an hour (granted it was for a school assignment) and led me through a goal-making session. I’d never really done that before and it felt so good to accomplish those goals. I prayed over my accountability team and am humbled to say that all three of my friends are still “in it” with me! I’ve given myself grace when I haven’t kept up with my weekly blog posts…cuz…life. I’ve maintained connection between what I’ve written about and the validity of God’s word and the truth of His Scripture.

I write because I can’t not write.

I share my stories because I’m the only who can.

I become vulnerable with my readers to remind them that they are not alone in this world; they aren’t the “only ones” struggling.

I want to connect with you because we are way more than the house we live in, the car we drive, the schools our kids went to, the job we have or don’t have, the balance in our bank account, the fab Instagram pics on our feed…and so on and so on.

We are together a collection of beautiful creations made in the image of God. 

And seriously, I think sitting at a coffee shop with a friend for hours and hours, is one of love languages ~ so let’s meet up!!

If we were sitting across from each other sharing our hearts, I would tell you how much you are loved by the Lord. I would squeeze your hand and tell you that you are gonna be okay. I would thank you for listening to my words and I would thank you for sharing yours with me.

And huge thanks to my youngest daughter who has patiently taught me the basic nuances of canva and creating better graphics! I’ll be going to her for future graphic design help in the future (stay tuned!)

I can hardly wait to see what is coming next for me in this ministry. Writing, speaking, traveling, and some new things on the horizon ~ God is the great organizer and His timing is always perfect! I’d love for you to continue along for the ride ~ and to ask for your prayers as I navigate into this next year.

Psalm 121:8 declares, The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in [everything that you do] From this time forth and forever.

What is it that you are called to do? Why not start today! You are needed to share with your community and circles of influence. You are the only one who can tell your story, so tell it girl! Let today be your anniversary of saying yes!

Blessings,

René

Blog-aversary #4!
{Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash}

 

 

 

 

{Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash}

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

The Coffee Grinder of Life…

With all three of our children involved in coffee/food services, especially the two that work at coffee shops, we really have become coffee snobs. Only now when we are desperate for a cup of coffee (or receive a gift card) do we even step foot in the land of the little green mermaid…local shops are the place to be and a fresh brewed cup at home is even better! So pretty much every morning, we open our bag of organic, sustainable, fair trade coffee and pour those glorious beans into the coffee grinder for just what we need for the day.

And one day, I felt like I was those beans. I was feeling a bit “ground up” to tell you the truth. I’m thankful it doesn’t happen often, and I’m grateful the Lord helps me to recognize when I’m starting to go to down a particularly dark path in my mind. But that day, I resonated with coffee in a totally different way.

So hang with me here in my little revelation about the similarities between that awesome cup of coffee and the paths of our life…

A loving gardener tills the soil of his farm and prepares a beautiful space for the seeds of a coffee plant to grow. He waters the seeds and the plant begins to burst forth from the ground, first just a little sprout and then into a lovely fruitful plant. The tiny fruit that comes from the plant is what the coffee farmer has been waiting for. At just the right moment, when the coffee berries are ripe, they are plucked off the branches. Even though they are ripe, they must go through an extensive period where they are processed, and then dried. The dull green of the coffee bean is not super appetizing to look at, but it has all it needs to eventually become a fantastic cup of coffee.

Before that can happen though, those beans have to be poured out into a roasting machine. They are in there with a bunch of other beans, being pushed around by a rotating metal arm to make sure that each bean is perfectly roasted without being burned by the heat. They slowly gain a shiny, almost bronze-like, appearance and the aroma is delightful!!

But they still aren’t done! You can’t just pour some coffee beans into your favorite mug, pour hot water over them and expect to have great coffee!

Nope ~ those beautiful beans have to be ground up because that is when their true flavor and vitality can be experienced. Once they are ground up to perfection, they must now endure the slow process of near-boiling water cascading over and through the grounds. Then and only then, will you produce a spectacular nectar of rich, warm, coffee to begin your day with.

Whew! Okay…hang on…I gotta go pour myself another cup of coffee!

Guess what…we are that dull green coffee bean.

Sometimes I think that just because I’ve seen growth in my life that has transformed an area of my life from a seed into a tangible fruit, that should be enough. I don’t want any more transformation. It’s hard to work for an actual seed to push its way through the top soil, just like it’s hard for us to push ourselves towards those new goals God puts in our heart ~ but the growth is not the end. How God uses the fruit that He produces in our life is what our goal needs to be. He is the consummate Gardener of our life ~ He knows us from the inside out!

I know that I’m not the only one who has those days where you feel like you’ve been through an emotional grinder. One minute your shiny and whole, and the next your soul feels crushed to dust. When I’ve been at that point, there is usually always something that the Lord needs to sift me from. It could be forgiving someone, it could be asking forgiveness from someone, it could be repenting from sin that keeps repeating itself, it could be removing yourself from an unhealthy relationship or activity….so many things!

That’s the part I think most resembles the “hot water pour over” if you will. The slow yet intentional working of the Holy Spirit to work through us in order to produce the best parts of us. The fresh new perspective we need to do the work that He has called us to do. The aroma that HE wants us to have that will be pleasing to those in our circles of influence. That “coffee ring mark” that He wants us to leave on the hearts of those we minister to and share the gospel with.

So the next time you have your coffee, maybe you’ll think of what kind of coffee you are…

Are you “instant coffee” out of a jar that has lost its flavor and vitality but still tries to pass itself off as acceptable?

Or are you the shiny little bean that is perfectly ground in order to produce the most genuine and delightful cup of coffee?

You get to pick everyday! So choose well! Now go get a cup of coffee and take Jesus with you!!

Blessings,

René

 

Colossians 1:9-11, For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]; [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy;”

Colossians 1 verse 10