Carrots!

Carrots!

Inspiration

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~Matthew 13:23

A long time ago, I saw a cute quote and wrote it in the cover of my bible.  I didn’t really think too much about it beyond that it was cute… I’ve grown a lot since then. And I’ve grown a lot of vegetables since then*.

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I recently headed out to our garden (which could more accurately be called a glorified weed patch) and picked a carrot! Yes, you read that right: I grew a carrot!! You can’t even begin to understand my shock, joy, and childlike glee at picking a carrot! We have tried growing carrots for years. Our carrot success rate was… well, nothing edible. Carrots are apparently hard to grow. I could have done research, I suppose. But that stubborn gene in me, just kept insisting that I could put that tiny little seed in the ground and out would pop a carrot. This is not a highly successful gardening method. Well, new home, new soil, same seeds… and TA-DA! A Carrot!

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And I just held that carrot and stared at it (seriously, our neighbors are probably very concerned about me). Because FINALLY a carrot grew! And that Browning quote popped back into my mind. And then the idea of good soil, and Matthew 13 popped into mind. I remembered that tiny little seed, and looked at that fat carrot and was astounded. The glory of God really does fill the earth, it’s just we’re so busy we miss it! Daily we miss it! We go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of already washed and cut carrots, not knowing that they were tiny seeds at one point. Not seeing how they grow underground, hidden from view. This quote, or this idea, would probably mean nothing to me- except that I did grow the carrot. I did have failures, and I did try and try again. And then when it finally worked- it was ridiculous how exciting it was. It really was laughable how excited I was. But God is not calling us to be excited about just the really really big stuff, but to rejoice in the small, the everyday, the mundane.

The full quote is actually:

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

And of course the bigger connection here is the seeds we sew with our words and deeds. We were commissioned to go to the ends of the earth and tell the Good News. That is NOT an easy job, not by a long shot. And just like the parable of the sower**** in Matthew 13, some people are not ready for the Good News. But some people are so thirsty for Jesus, that it is worth the risk (I’m talking mostly to myself here).

And the excitement is contagious. So contagious that as I was rejoicing over my carrot, a little someone came behind me and started plucking carrots and beets- regardless of size- but even more excited than his mother. Because we want to be a part of that excitement, we want to share in the glory and awe, we want to see it and touch it. So I thought I would share my carrot enthusiasm with everyone and took some pictures of the little stubby carrots my kids** enthusiastically picked while I wasn’t looking- all in the hopes that it might encourage someone today.

Lord, you are truly awesome. Your creation is full of the truth about who you are. Help us to see you in our daily lives, to rejoice in who you are, and to share that excitement with others. I pray that you would prepare the hearts around us to receive you truth and love, and that you would embolden us to speak your truth and love. And thank you for carrots! Amen!

~Lindsay

*And I’ve grown even more weeds.

**And FYI- how do you type a blog with 2 children who want to spend time with you? You let them do your hair, of course. I think I have about 50+ bows on my head right now. Also, I got my hair brushed. Pretty sure I might be bald now. So no, you aren’t getting any pictures of that. Sorry. Use your imagination.***

***and as I typed that I heard a little snip. Yep. The little one found a pair of scissors. So this is really the end now.

****I had to come back and edit the post, because my hubby was kind enough to tell me I’d written “the parable of the sewer” instead of the “sower.” Feeling all kinds of embarrassment here.

cabbage is so monstrously big, and somehow beautiful! (Even when the tomato plants fall over on it)
cabbage is so monstrously big, and somehow beautiful! (Even when the tomato plants fall over on it)
Rabbit’s Foot

Rabbit’s Foot

Encouragement From the Authors

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
     because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
   and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

You want to talk about walking up a mountain the hard way...
You want to talk about walking up a mountain the hard way…

Here is something I have found to be true about God- He does not leave us alone. He will not leave us alone. He cannot seem to help reaching out to us. This might sound delightful, to have a God who cares so much about us that He will not leave us alone. If being alone is lonely and not fun, then having God in your corner is great! You’ve always got a friend! And it is great. God loves you, God wants to be with you- hallelujah!

The flip side of all this is… He is also a parent. And just like I can’t leave my children alone to try and discover the rights and wrongs of their actions, neither can God the Father leave me alone.

I heard this somewhere, and often repeat it:

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

Today I am talking about the fact that this can’t-leave-you-alone-God keeps working on me. I had some definite plans on what the next few years of my life would look like. They seemed sensical to me. And possibly they were on the easy-to-achieve side of things. But I really saw the future ahead all lined up nice and neat… but God, He had a different plan. You can find lots of “but God”s in the Bible. Lots. And if you think back, I’m sure you can find plenty in your life.

So I am (once again) thrust out of my comfort zone and into new and uncharted territory. I think of it as growing-pains. I worry that maybe I have a bit too much on my plate this time. I begin to think I might not have what it takes. But (even though it’s hard to really grasp that I am an adult*) I have some years behind me now. And when I look back at those years, time and time again I see that God really does bring the best out of every situation. Even when I’ve thought “WHAT IS GOD THINKING!!” When I trust in Him, and lean on His mercy and grace- that’s when I see really amazing fruit in my life. In my own strength I often stumble and fall, but His grace is unending and unfailing. All too often I treat God like a lucky charm- like those rabbit’s foots that were so popular back in elementary school. I keep thinking that if I pray just the right prayer, then everything will go my way. But that’s not what is best for me. God is not content with just the good, He wants the best for us. Our good plans (even our best plans) are peanuts compared to the awesome future God is planning for us.

We live in a forested area of snow and ice. So when you take a trip to the desert and go on a hike... the last thing you expect to find is beauty in God's creation. The desert is supposed to be dead, hot, and not fun to walk in. But in the dead of winter it's breathtaking and amazing. Proof that God is soooooo much more creative and brilliant than yours truly.
We live in a forested area of snow and ice. So when you take a trip to the desert and go on a hike… the last thing you expect to find is beauty in God’s creation. The desert is supposed to be dead, hot, and not fun to walk in. But in the dead of winter it’s breathtaking and amazing. Proof that God is soooooo much more creative and brilliant than yours truly.

If you are standing in one of those situations where everything seems upside down and backwards of what you were expecting. If you are (like me) waving a despondent goodbye to your plans for the future, I have good news for you! You can trust in Him who made you. Not to make light of the horrific things that can happen in life, but just to know- you have a God who cannot leave you alone. He will come after you again and again, He will bring fruit out of misery. Beauty out of ashes. Joy for mourning, and praise out of your despair. Somehow. Somehow He does that. It’s what makes him good, awesome, amazing. It’s what makes him God! You might not see that fruit for years, and if that’s the case I’m truly sorry. But maybe you can take a step back right now and begin to realize, “Oh… I see. He has a better plan. It’s better than my plan. This might be hard, but in the long run, I can see- this could be the making of me.”

So thank you, Lord! You do not leave us. You are working in our lives. You have plans we can’t even fathom. Plans to build us into the people you created us to be. Plans to bring Your Kingdom here to earth. Plans for good. Plans for hope. Plans for love! We are sorry that we cannot always trust in Your Plans. We are so sorry that we often fall to anxiety and fear. Renew our hearts to trust in You and to chase after You. In these times of confusion, sorrow, fear, and anxiety- help us to turn our faces fully towards You. I ask for friends and other believers who will come along side us and confirm the work that You are doing in us. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

~Lindsay

*I tend to think of adults as my parents’ generation. I forget to categorize myself in the adult group… just from time to time.

three saguaro cactuses?
three saguaro cactuses?
It’s All God’s Anyways

It’s All God’s Anyways

From the Authors Our Story

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

Can't you see him asking, "Seriously, Mom? Those curtains right behind me? Those are the curtains you can't live without?"
Can’t you see him asking, “Seriously, Mom? Those curtains right behind me? Those are the curtains you can’t live without?”

We recently moved, which involved selling our house. When we read the offer for the house, it stated that they wanted to keep all of the curtains. I sat up a bit at that, and may have thrown a small scale tantrum. “Those are my curtains!” I obstinately told my husband. And it was true. I’d sewn most of the curtains in that house (or found them clearanced and had a coupon…). My husband gave me a look, and then patiently asked me if I wanted to keep the curtains. And I thought about that. “Well… no, not really. But they are my curtains!” And then he patiently informed me that we could ask to keep the curtains, to which I scoffed, “What would we even do with those curtains? They’re not even that nice.”  I was already thinking of how they weren’t that great of quality (homemade, in my case, sometimes translates to thrown-together-as-quickly-as-possible while using the cheapest fabric I could find). Then I was thinking that we don’t even know where we will end up, and what kind of curtains we will need. And then I remembered something my husband always says, but had (wisely) not said yet.

“It’s all God’s anyways.”

It’s funny how those words change the attitude of my heart so quickly. Sometimes I forget that God is the one who owns everything. Even us. And when I say, “Well, it’s your house God, so I guess you better find someone to buy it so we can move.” Then I can also say, “Well, those are your curtains, and I guess I don’t really need them.” My selfishness sort of slowly fizzles when I stand before God openhanded and say, “All that I have, it’s not really mine, it’s Yours. All that I am, it’s not mine to boast in. It is Yours.”

So we (me, Mom, Uncle Bob, Cousin Adam) are prepping to get our first (of several) children’s books published. And it’s intimidating in it’s own way. We are standing open handed before our Lord, our God, our Savior, our Friend.

It’s all Yours anyways.

My favorite part of the Lord’s prayer is, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Not the easiest part, not by a long shot. But my favorite part, because I trust that His ways are infinitely better than mine.

And my husband and I now laugh at my moment of curtain-insanity. And it amazes me that I was so adamant about keeping ugly curtains!* But we live, we learn, and hopefully we can always find ways to laugh at ourselves.

May the Lord, protect you and keep you. May He make his face to shine on you, and fill you with peace. And may you stand before your Father in Heaven with hands opened toward him, freely giving and freely receiving. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*I also have a new way of sewing curtains that is infinitely cuter… and I may have learned my lesson about just buying the cheapest fabric. Not very fun to look at everyday.

 

Perspective

Perspective

Children From the Authors

saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:2 (MEV)

We are moving.

We are moving, with three small children, in the middle of winter, with snow on the ground, in the middle of the holiday season.

We have had better ideas.

But through it all I keep hearing murmurs of ‘change your perspective.’

A movie with the kids tells them to look at their problem from a different angle. A friend who moved tells me to look at moving like an adventure. My husband reminds me to choose my attitude. A song, a book, a devotional, a whisper…

And it’s not always easy to look at things in a different light; to change. But it can be beautiful.

My older son recently received two gifts, and my daughter only one. He was feeling pretty good. Until another gift appeared for my daughter. And this gift contained three small gifts. Suddenly my daughter had twice as many gifts as my son. Any parent can tell you what followed. He was pretty stuck in the circle of but-it’s-not-fair, until I said, “What if I took your presents and gave them to a little boy who hasn’t gotten any gifts yet this Christmas? I bet he would be very happy to receive two gifts.” And I was so thankful and amazed as I watched something new dawn on his little face. Something that has more to do with time, and experience than any parenting tricks. And suddenly the two gifts were ok, because they were better than none.

A new perspective.

And so as we box up our entire house and experience a Christmas season without lights or trees, no prettily wrapped packages, no manger scenes, no cookie baking (ok… limited cookie baking), and on and on. I am looking at Christmas in a new light. How do I make Christmas special for my kids (and myself) without all the bells and whistles?

A new perspective.

It’s beautiful really. When you strip away all the stuff, and there is just new fallen snow on the ground, lights in the distance, carols on the radio, you are able to focus on the warmth in your home and your heart.

I have a devotional.
It helps me remember,
I am seeking Him who set the world in to motion.
And really that’s all I need for Christmas; for every day.

wise-men-still-seek-him2

Wise men sought him 2000 years ago.

Wise men still seek him today.

May the all powerful Lord, who came as a baby in the lowest of circumstances, open your eyes to new things. To new ways of seeing others, of seeing yourself. May He bless you this Christmas season, and always! In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs.
Talk about changing your perspective about Christmas!
The song is by Jason Gray, and his son sings the song.
The song is titled “Christmas for Jesus”