I WILL NOT RUN!

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

For this entry, I have chosen to be very open and honest with all of you. I have chosen to make myself vulnerable in an effort to help someone “out there” who is journeying through a difficult time and their trust in God may be wavering. I have chosen to be real.

As I pen this entry, I am but three hours from some medical tests to determine the outcome of some health challenges I have been facing. This is actually my second set of medical tests since January of this year! This does not include further tests I endured in the fall of last year. All of which have had the possibility of dire outcomes.

Along with the above medical challenges, this past year has been one of incredible change in my career. Exactly one year ago I moved from a family support role at one agency, a role I thoroughly enjoyed, to a role in executive management at another. It was a role I was not looking for, but one that found me by divine intervention. A role that demanded my obedience to God’s call. A role I would not choose for myself at this stage in my life. A role I did not want, but one I could not ignore. A role that has proven more challenging than anything I have ever faced in my professional life.

Further, as a ministry couple, my husband and I find ourselves in a season of transition. One in which we are in a supportive pastoral role as opposed to a position in active pastoral leadership. One that has taken us far beyond our comfort zone and caused us to wait for our time to step back in to full time ministry. In sports terms, it is our turn to be “benched” and wait for the “coach” to put us back in the game.

Sprinkle all of this with life’s wonderful surprises and curveballs along the way and it has been ONE INTENSE YEAR! A year that has challenged me. A year that has frustrated me. A year that has exhausted me. A year that has angered me. A year that has scared me. A year that has depressed me. A year that has simply stretched me to my uttermost limits! A year in which I have cried an ocean of tears! A year that has often caused me to want to run far, far away from all that is chasing me in an effort to find normalcy!

Then…I read this excerpt from my daily devotional by Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling.” It is an incredible devotional based on Sarah’s daily moments of solitude with Jesus. A time where she simply came to his feet, ceased all thoughts and just listened to what Jesus was saying to her. The words she pens are the words she heard from her Saviour.

“Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth. Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.
When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me. Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us…Thank Me for the difficulties in your life since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance.”

So today, daughters, as I am only hours away from a medical test with the potential for life changing outcomes, and in an effort to be an example to you, I WILL NOT RUN! I will face today holding firmly to the hand of my Saviour, thanking Him for the opportunity to grow closer to Him, trusting Him to bring about good from my current situation and denying my bent for self-reliance. Will you join me today and take His hand in whatever you are about to face? Let’s do this, together shall we?

Life on Purpose: Compassion

Written by: Emily Pelley

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of compassion. What is it that moves us beyond feeling to action? We see so much heartache through our news channels, on social media, and right here in our own neighborhoods. The overwhelming deluge of pain often leaves you feeling stunned. And so we are often left in paralyzed apathy, never thinking we can actually do something to make a difference.

I know I have been guilty of this- of turning my gaze away from what I thought was an indistinguishable haze of pain. That was someone else’s problem, someone else’s mistakes, someone else’s misfortune. Yet in my bible I read that it is to “the least of these” (Matt 25:40) that I am called to show love and compassion. Because the spirit of God in me actually has the power to set people free. Because, after all…that’s what He did for me.

The purpose of God’s presence with us is not for us to be some silent, passive observer. I do not believe that Jesus came to earth to die just so that we could have something to do on a Sunday morning. Jesus came to earth to change EVERYTHING.

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matt 20:34

If we are to live our lives on purpose, we do need to be people of compassion. Let compassion grow in your heart. Allow yourself to be affected by the needs around you, and ask God to show you what you can do to make a difference. Though we have missed the point if we think it is not “big” or “important” enough to bother doing. There is something we all can contribute to our world. Let’s be compassionate people not just in word but in deed.

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish.” Henri Nouwen

No Word From God Void of Power

Written by: Christianne Williams

My son loves a good deal. He decides that he needs something and then he religiously searches Kijiji ads and local buy and sell sites looking for whatever it is at a good price. His persistence has paid off for him as he’s been able to acquire two guitars, an amp, iPhones, and most recently a Go-Pro, so he can capture the moment he flies off of his BMX. During these transactions, he’s also learned some good life lessons, like people aren’t always honest about the condition of what they’re selling. These finds usually require me to taxi him wherever he needs to go, and I really don’t mind as it gives me the opportunity to spend time with him.

Today we left early to go get the go-pro camera in a city an hour away, armed with a link that was sent to us that gave us to the door directions to the meeting spot. There was an area I specifically requested we meet, on the outskirts of the city, because being new to the area, I’m not familiar with the inner-city area. I was a bit upset when we received the link to the map because the place the seller wanted to meet was actually further for us to drive, almost to the city center, with all of the traffic. I put on a new perspective and looked at it as an opportunity to improve my driving skills and face my fears, and also to prove to everyone I could do it.

We arrived safely, about five minutes early, which was good because my son forgot his money and had to find an ATM to get some. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, we received a text asking us where we were. I was puzzled. We were right where we were supposed to be, parked in front of a Safeway in an unfamiliar city, waiting for a stranger to show up with a Go-Pro. The seller was getting pretty angry with us because he had things to do on this bright and sunny Saturday and one of them was not waiting for us to find out where we actually were supposed to be. He had decided to change the meeting spot and didn’t think it was necessary to inform of that.

After an hour, the Go-Pro arrived, and I choked back my anger while my son happily made his purchase, and then we were on our way home. Today was yet another life lesson for he and I. We received a “word” from the seller via text message and did just what he told us to do! But despite following his directions, we ended up in the wrong place leaving us waiting and confused, wondering why they didn’t stick to the original plan.

My husband set me wise to something a retired professor of systematic theology wrote concerning what the angel told Mary in Luke 1 were verse 37 reads, “For nothing is impossible with God!” (NIV) How often have we quoted that Scripture to emphasize God’s ability to do anything? The impossible! But the original Greek is less about God’s ability to do the impossible and the reliability of God’s spoken word! The ASV is closer to the original: “For no word from God shall be void of power”! The point: what God says (directly to our hearts or minds), God shall do!

Unlike our adventure today, God’s word never fails! He never speaks something only to change His mind. His written word tells us that he’s not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he would change his mind. So, when God tells you something, He won’t give you directions somewhere and then decide that He wants you to meet Him somewhere else. He doesn’t desire to lead you astray, or leave you feeling lost and alone in a place that’s foreign to you. He gives you directions and they won’t fail to lead you where He wants you to go! What He says He will do!

Direction

Written by: Conny Varga

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” (Zig Ziglar)

That quote got me thinking. If you are anything like me, you will often feel overwhelmed with all that piles up in a day and is screaming for our attention. We fall into bed exhausted, hoping that maybe tomorrow we will be able to catch up with the ever-growing to-do list.

Then I thought of Jesus. He was never rushing, never overwhelmed, never distracted by anything. How did He do that? Jesus understood the reason and purpose for His life here. He knew he only had a few short years to accomplish it all, and that kept Him focused. He repeatedly stated that He only did what His Father wanted Him to do, and that He didn’t do anything of Himself. Did you catch that? He ONLY DID what His Father wanted Him to do. No extra junk, no added burdens, no self-imposed to-do list. Reputation didn’t matter to Him, neither did other people’s expectations of Him. Keeping up with the Jones’s, or living up to the accepted social standard – not an issue!

If we look at our lives and the things that rob us of our time, energy, and joy, they are often the things that we feel pressured to do, often subconsciously, simply because “everyone else is doing it”, “that’s the world we live in”, or “that’s what others expect of me”. We take on burdens we were never meant to carry. Jesus is offering us freedom and rest today: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:28-29). What is His burden, and what is His yoke? If you have ever seen a yoke for a team of oxen, you know that two animals are meant to carry it. They must work together, going in the same direction, pulling at the same speed or else things might get ugly. Jesus is waiting for us to stop putting on our own yokes, walking around in circles, pulling things we are not meant to pull, and He is offering us His light yoke that He wants to pull with us. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me, especially since He does all the heavy lifting and pulling. Which direction will that take us?

First off, our vision will align with His. We will finally see clearly the things that really matter to Him. Here is Christ’s own mission statement, which He announced in Luke chapter 4 at the beginning of His ministry on earth:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

This is the direction Jesus is pulling in, and if we want to be His disciple, we will by default go with Him. We will live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission because that’s what Christ did. We will care for the vulnerable, outcast, orphan, and widow, because He cares. We will share the good news of Jesus with others because He is the only Saviour of humanity. Our lives will revolve around Him and His plan.

At the end of your life, Jesus will not reward you for having the cleanest house, children who know how to play tennis and piano, wearing the latest style of clothes and hair, or even your being busy in religious activities. He will not care whether you mastered the latest steak recipe on Pinterest, or even whether people liked you on facebook. So, take a deep breath, and then look at your time and your direction. Let Jesus set the direction for your life!

Are You A Yes Gal?

Written by: Megan Kincheloe

Many times throughout my life I have been asked to fill out various inventories which asked me to choose my top three personality traits. I am sure you all have been there. These always stress me out because what I think may be my top three traits may be different than what someone else who knows me may think. I will stare at the list and analyze it TO DEATH ya’ll. But that is not the only reason they are difficult for me. You see, there is always something on that list that glares at me and reminds me who I want to be and which areas I still have not mastered or…frankly…which ones I have not even resembled. The first circle I make is typically very easy for me and even sometimes the second. If ‘loving’ and ‘compassionate’ are on the list, I quickly let out a sigh of relief. Yet there is always that one word. That one that taunts me. That one I always want to circle but in good conscience…I just will not allow myself to.

Reliable. Sigh. There…I said it. I wish I could tell you how many times over the years I have said, “I have good intentions but my follow through stinks.” The truth is, my intentions are good. And I do, ‘mean well.’ But what that leads to is over-commitment which then leads to me failing to see my tasks and obligations through to completion. Even worse…my ‘good intentions’ most likely leave someone with an unmet need. But you see…that is where pride comes in. God doesn’t ask me or you to meet the needs of everyone around us. In fact, His Word very clearly says:

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Anyone else out there a ‘yes’ gal? The person everyone calls when they need a volunteer for something because you are sure to say, “yes?” I recently called someone and asked her to do something for me and she said, “I would like to think about it and pray about it over the weekend.

Can I get back with you on Monday?” Wow…what a novel approach. In doing this, she is making sure she is giving me her best ‘yes’ and that what I am asking her to do is in line with God’s purpose for her.

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV)

Will you be just a ‘yes’ gal or a reliable ‘yes’ gal?

No More Empty Promises

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Have you ever been chatting with someone who says “Would you mind praying about [this] for me?!” Being in ministry or not, the opportunity and privilege to pray for someone is always available in our messed-up world.

Recently, the Lord has been convicting my heart about my response to this type of request. It is so very easy for me to respond with “Absolutely, I will pray!”, “Praying for you!”, or something like that. The Lord has challenged me however to notice how often I say these things and more so, to examine how often I actually follow through with these promises to pray.

I recall back to a few years ago when I needed surgery to fix up some issues I had been experiencing since having our son Gray. There were moments when the pain I experienced was more intense than others and in those moments I called on my husband to pray. Each time my husband would come into our bedroom, hold my hand and call on our children to join him in praying for their Mommy. Their prayers presented beautiful opportunities for me to catch a glimpse of their heart- they wanted to see their Mommy better- and they genuinely believed in the God they were calling on to fix her. They also did not hesitate to pray in that very moment; no empty promises to pray at a later time.

My intentions are always good when I agree to bring a request to The Lord in prayer; but I would be dishonest to say I ALWAYS follow through. I began to ask The Lord how I can change this forgetfulness and He spoke to me through the willingness of my beautiful prayer-ready children.

To confirm His speaking to me, a good friend texted me recently and asked “How are you doing, my friend?” I shared with her a specific request. Within a few minutes she texted me back a beautifully written prayer. I can’t tell you how encouraged I was by her willingness to pause and pray for me.

To help with my prayer endeavours I have also been using an app for my iPhone called “Echo Prayer”. This app allows me to add prayer requests, set timers and there is even a section where I am able to journal about answers to specific prayer requests! Now, in addition to me praying the moment I am asked, I am also able to genuinely agree to pray continually as time goes on.

Will you take up the challenge with me? When someone asks you to pray, will you pause and offer a prayer on their behalf in that very moment, however that may look (laying a hand on their shoulder and praying for them in person, texting/Facebook/emailing them a prayer, or praying over the phone) and then be prepared to pray for their request continually thereafter? I believe if we all agreed to do this, not only would we all grow closer to The Lord, but those asking us to pray would feel encouraged and blessed by our willingness to pause and intercede on their behalf.

Will you join me?

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

Jesus, thank You for the privilege to pray for others as they request. I pray for confidence and growth in this area of my life and for more opportunities to bless others by praying for their needs and requests. In Your name, Amen.

Decisions, Decisions!

Written by: Margaret Connolly

My 4 year old daughter has been described as ‘strong willed’, ‘determined’, ‘stubborn’, and ‘a real firecracker’! And those are just the phrases that have come out of my mouth about her, nevermind all the other people she has made an impression on in her 4 short years! The truth includes the fact that she is a little sweetheart; she loves to help in the kitchen, play with her sisters and read her books. She is carefree and silly and quite amenable in most situations … but when it comes to what she’s going to wear in a given day – a different version of my daughter often comes out! Out of all three of my girls, she is by far the most determined to engage in battle about her clothing choices. The funny thing is, and what she doesn’t yet know is that I can ‘out-stubborn’ her anyday. I make no apologies for not allowing her to wear a ballerina tutu dress to school to be torn to shreds in the playground. In light of this fun element of having a four year old, we usually choose her outfits the night before, and we talk about how in the morning she’s not going to throw a fit and give Mommy any trouble. When we do this she is typically happy to dress in her outfit of choice the next day. I am more than willing to sit and talk her through outfit negotiations when they arise, though rarely do I give in because the odd time that I have, she has not forgotten it!

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. When Daddy is on the scene in the morning, there is no careful discussion to guide her through her little meltdown about whichever outfit she is refusing to wear that day. It’s a simple ‘this is what you’re wearing, now please get dressed’ and away he walks leaving Avery in a puddle of tears and despair on the floor.

Typically my Mommy heart softens when Daddy is the one shattering her dreams regarding outfit selection. When I am not the one involved in the confrontation it is much easier for me to feel sad that she has gotten so upset and I am not there to comfort her and talk her through it. But, on certain days, I just cannot do it one more time. I can’t have this conversation one more time. I can’t deal with the proverbial tug of war one more time. I just need to not be the one dealing with it that day. In those moments I am thankful for a thoughtful, caring husband who is more than willing to step in when he knows that I’ve just had enough.

Can I be honest though? I hate those moments. I beat myself up in those moments and feel discouraged with myself. Why don’t I have the energy to deal with another meltdown? Why can’t I muster up the strength to control my temper when the kids won’t do as I’ve told them? Why do I come to the end of some days and feel like I’ve failed those precious girls?

The reason is because I am just one human Mom trying to be everything I can be for my daughters. And, without God I cannot do it. My husband & I cannot do it. We need the wisdom and guidance of our ever-loving Father. We need strength and forgiveness and grace that abounds only when we seek Him and entrust our children to Him.

I’m just 9 years into this parenting thing … I try now to remember that guilt will get me nowhere, but prayer will get me everywhere. At the end of those rough days … you know the ones, seek Him first. He will be great at reminding you that you are doing a fantastic job and that He’s got it all under control. Once you’ve done that, take a deep breath and go take a bubble bath!

I Need Solitude

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Four and a half years ago, my husband and I had the privilege of taking a Sabbatical Retreat for Lead Pastors and their spouses. Five other ministry couples seeking sanctuary joined us, along with two lead couples facilitating the event from Broom Tree Ministries.

The backdrop for this experience was a log cabin resort situated in the woods, on a lake, just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was October and the leaves were many brilliant colours. There was a refreshing crispness in the air and the smell of bonfires filled each evening. We heard the sound of animals preparing their winter lodgings as we walked the nature paths. The sun bounced off the lake with its last rays of warmth and the odd snowflake fluttered in the breeze. The whole atmosphere was revitalizing.

The entire purpose of the retreat was to simply unplug and seek solitude with God. There were no flashy worship services or high profile speakers. There were no workshops or prayer meetings. There was simply solitude; an opportunity to be very quiet, to catch up on rest, to reconnect as a couple, to just sit in the presence of God.

The lead couples provided study tools to use throughout this four-day rest. They were available for prayer and guidance if needed. At suppertime, we all came together to eat, share and pray with one another. But, for the most part we were left to rediscover God and rest in His presence at our own pace. It was absolutely refreshing!

Recently, I was revisiting some of the things I read and wrote down in my retreat workbook and the following quote struck me. It pertains to all of us.

“Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.
We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside time to be with God and listen to Him.”
-Henri Nouwen

This is easy to do on a Sabbatical Retreat, but what about every day? Sure, I spend time with God daily, but often I am rushed because life gets in the way? Or do I allow life to get in the way? Am I intentional in setting apart time in my calendar to seek true solitude with Him and listen to His voice? Or do I come to Him dominating the conversation with my prayers, cramming His word into my thoughts and moving on to what I am interested in? Hmmm.

One of the exercises in response to this quote asked us to, “Stop all that you are doing. Find a quiet spot and just stop thinking about or hearing anything, except what God is speaking at this moment. Do this for 60 seconds.” This proved to be a very difficult task, being that I am a woman and women can think about 75, 000 different things all at once…Daughters, you know what I mean!

So, I encourage you to do what I did. I closed my eyes and sat very still. I visualized in my mind a large square with a fence around it. Inside were my many thoughts. I mentally took each thought and moved it out beyond the fence until the square was empty. When I did this, one word remained. I could not move it. That word was “God.” I focussed on His name, allowing my thoughts to dwell there. I could still see all the thoughts outside the fence. When one would creep in I simply picked it up, put it beyond the fence and focussed on God. I felt His presence so strong and when I was done I was surprised that 20 minutes had passed! I had far exceeded the 60 seconds requested in the workbook. I had reached a place of solitude with Him!

I need to get back to that place each day intentionality. I need to carve out time daily to simply sit in His presence, purging my mind of everything but Him, and wait for His presence to wash over me. I need solitude!

Late for Church!

Written by: Nathan Hill

My wife’s family has a tradition of showing up on time everywhere they go. I soon discovered, however, that their definition of on time and my definition of on time included slight discrepancies—about 30 minutes to be exact☺. My wife’s family considers themselves late if they have not arrived at least 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment or start time. Prior to marrying into this family, I would define on time as showing up at some point near the scheduled time, and fashionably late was just fine as well. Late, however, is a four-letter word in my wife’s family that is right up there with…well, the editorial team will not allow those other four-letter words to be published here.

So, accommodating to this new standard of time keeping has been somewhat of a challenge for me. Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where my wife and I are flying somewhere and the flight leaves at 10AM. As a 10AM flight is certainly not red eye, I would assume that we could sleep in and arrive at the airport at a civilized hour. Wrong. Let’s do the math backwards together. We must arrive at the airport two hours early, which means that we should aim to be there around 7:45AM. Therefore, accounting for traffic, weather, and the potential for terrorism we should leave home around 6:45AM. This also means that we should be loading the cars by 6:30AM, which means that breakfast is scheduled for 5:30AM and the bathroom schedule begins at 4:30AM with a 15-minute rotation. Next time we’ll take the evening flight so that we can at least sleep in until 8AM or so.

Now, in all seriousness, there are some great lessons that one can learn from this principle of always being on time—or always being 15 minutes ahead of schedule—and despite how it has cut into my sleep habits I am grateful that after 13 years I am finally catching on. This principle of always being 15 minutes early proves quite a practical thing when it come to the way that we interact with our local church. I have a unique perspective of time at my local church because I am on the platform twice each month leading the worship gathering. Therefore, I get to see who is early at church, who is there at start time, and who arrives near the end of the music. Arriving at the start time or even into the worship gathering means that you have missed potentially encouraging and vital interactions with the church family. The unfortunate habit of being last in and first out means that you do not get to know others, and they do not get to know you either. This is a loss for both you and the church.

Imagine you were invited out to someone’s home for dinner and they said the food would be served at 5PM but you can arrive early to visit. What time would you arrive at their house? 5:15PM? (I apologize if I have ever done that before!) It would be much better to arrive at 4PM so that you can visit and enjoy each other’s company. So, lets try to apply this principle to our church attendance. Try arriving at your local church at least 15 minutes before the start time each Sunday this summer and experience what it is like to know others and to be known. I trust that this will be a beneficial experience for you.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

The Great Gardener

Written by: Christianne Williams

John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I have decided that this year, I’m going to be a gardener. I went to the store, I bought many different kind of seeds, a garden hose because my last attempt at gardening ended dismally with plants that died of heatstroke, and a few other things that will give my venture a fighting chance. So far, in my 38 years, the only thing I’ve managed to keep alive are children, which is a win in my books, so I guess I understand why my mother laughed uncontrollably when she heard that her daughter was going to grow vegetable, from scratch.

As a trial run, I purchased some ready-for-the-ground flowers, and this seemed like the perfect day to put them in. My daughter and I got out our tiny spade, a little claw like thingy (not entirely sure what the actual name is), and headed out to make the front yard beautiful. We loosened the soil, took out the weeds, and dug holes, my daughter using her hands until she met with a worm. It was fun to work together and then step back to see what a difference our efforts had made.

I’m positive that the work in the backyard won’t be nearly as immediately gratifying. There will be need for bigger garden tools, more planting, more weeding, more watering, more row marking, and a much longer waiting period for results. I’m prepared for the harvest but I know it won’t happen until later in the summer and, for some things, early fall. It will be a lot of work, time consuming, and perhaps disheartening if some things don’t grow as I’d hoped, but in the end, it will be worth it.

The same can be said for our Christian walk, it has a lot of similarities to gardening. Seasons of planting, weeding, pruning, and harvest. Times when we see beautiful growth almost immediately and times when it seems the fruit are a long time coming. Days when we feel the discomfort of pruning and weeding. I know, I’ve been there, many times. In order to have growth, we must submit to the hands of the gardener. He knows just what to do to yield a beautiful harvest, in His perfect time. He knows when it’s time to cut back a branch or two, to pull up some shallow weeds or perhaps some deeply rooted ones that are choking out the long awaited new growth. He skillfully and lovingly tends to His garden, ensuring its beauty in the right season.

Sometimes we get side tracked by what’s coming up in someone else’s garden when in fact, they have an early summer harvest but what God’s producing in ours is a late fall crop. Only He knows what our lives are perfect soil for and He will cultivate good things in proper season! He wants us to bear much fruit, that’s His desire for us, so we must remain close to Him. Time spent with Holy Spirit and reading His Word will draw us in and out of the different seasons of growth and help us to flourish in the process.