It’s impossible to not be thankful for the beauty all around us. The moisture, yes, sometimes downpour, has created a green world. I love to sit outside and soak it all in. I am so thankful for these beautiful days, for summertime, but sometimes the season brings lots of activity and stress. We long to enjoy the long days, the sunshine, the outdoors. We can fill every moment of daylight with activities. There are picnics, family times, weddings, camping, rodeos, county fairs, hiking paths to conquer, gardening and yard work to do, animals to take of, baby chicks, BBQ’s and then sometimes weariness when we go too much.
Our summer is full of many of the above events and activities. I love it all and look forward to each opportunity to enjoy summer. Yet, with all the fun stuff life is still happening and there are still many, many cares of this world that seek to overwhelm us. For me, the last couple of weeks have been like a roller coaster with ups and downs, sharp turns, unexpected drops. We had a full rodeo week that was lots of fun with many activities, lunches and dinners. At the same time our 19-year-old granddaughter was in a car accident that could have easily killed her. She went off a steep embankment on a country road in Tennessee and her car caught fire. We praise Jesus she was not knocked unconscious when the car hit a tree, or she would not be with us today. It happened on the 2-year anniversary of her brother’s, our grandson, memorial service. Her lung was deflated, and she spent 4 days in the hospital. It was so emotional for me. To see her car and know the Lord was with her brings overwhelming joy to my heart that is at the same time still hurting from the loss of Caleb. Sometimes I don’t know how to explain the emotions that get going inside me, but I know I must stay surrendered to Him to keep them from getting out of control.
This week Josh went in for his heart flutter repair. Emotional? Definitely and I did not do too well at times that day. I tried to stay busy with gardening and outside work as I prayed, cried and sang to the Lord. I was probably too emotional as I was in peace that he was okay, but I just let circumstances overwhelm my weary soul. That weary soul came from being so busy that I didn’t spend the time I usually do with the Lord. There were too many early morning commitments the last few weeks. I ended up impatient with Mom and Ed, then condemning myself for my actions and words and just struggling. As I finally took a bit more time to talk to the Lord, He told me that I had let the cares of the world creep in. The “cares of the world” are distractions that shift our focus from the things of God and get us worrying about all the stuff around us. The cares cause us to skip or shorten our time with Him because our minds are somewhere else and the cares and lies the enemy is trying to slip in.
Life gets so consuming at times that we really don’t know if we are coming or going. This isn’t how it is supposed to be. When so many things are coming at us we should be taking extra time with Him, but for me lately I know the answer and continue to let myself be distracted by stuff and I let my responsibilities here at home wear me down. Do we all know what’s best? If we have Jesus in our hearts, yes, we do. Do we heed His Word in these times? For me, not until I came to the place of losing my cool and acting in ways that I know are not Him. I’m sure we all get to this point once in a while when the situations hit our lives just right but I sure don’t like it myself. These are the verses He put on my heart this week that helped me keep back in focus.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26
“The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”” Mark 4:18-20 NLT
I know the “soil” of my heart is not full of thorns but with the attitudes I was having I was letting the thorns, the lies of the enemy, start to grow instead of getting them by the root and burning them. I was being consumed with selfish thoughts and weariness that wanted get me down and discouraged. It can sometimes happen pretty fast when circumstances and cares of life hit just at the time when your soul - your mind, will and emotions – gets distracted or out of focus of who I am in Christ and Who He is in me.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
This is a powerful verse in my life. How easy it is for me to lean on my own understanding. This week I was talking to my brother, and he gave me a strong word. We are in the process of selling my mom’s place and the renters were giving us a bit of a hassle. They don’t want to move out. They are my mom’s friends, so we are trying to be considerate without being taken advantage of also. I got into a bunch of concerns☹. Since the house still has most of mom’s stuff in it I didn’t want them to take things or destroy her things out of revenge. I wanted to go be there when they move to protect it all. There isn’t time in my life for going there and it is another distraction but it distracted me for a few days. My brother said we are going to have to trust the Lord with mom’s stuff. Dah! I was leaving Him out of that part of the equation. I trusted Him to help the friends find a new place, an even better place (and we got word the other day that He did!), but trust Him to care for mom’s stuff without my help? That’s part of my issues sometimes. I take on responsibilities that are not mine but His. I have that tendency as a caregiver for Mom. I take it so seriously that I am sometimes trying to do for her what only He can do. She is His and I am caring for His child for a season. I must keep that in perspective, which is very hard at times. When I don’t I end up walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit and the fruit is not as pleasant.
Our culture is only getting more and more consumed with offense, hate, evil, selfishness. It is all around us. I know from experience, if I give an inch the enemy is going to try to take over. I MUST keep my focus on Him and His Word. I cannot allow a single day to go by without spending intimate time with Him and getting into His Word and promises. I can’t let the cares of this world, the finances, the situations, the aches and pains, the offenses, the confusion, the unknown, the lack in many areas overtake my heart. The devil will try with all of us but we must submit to God and resist the devil. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Now for the praises of this week, I am so thankful for His grace. He loves me and is guiding me through all this and not condemning me for my lack of love, joy, peace, longsuffering and patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. They’re in me but I didn’t walk in the Spirit a couple times this week. Then Josh wasn’t doing too well and had to go back to the hospital and is better now. I had 2 wonderful friends that helped me by being with Mom 3 different times this week so I could go minister. What a wonderful blessing that was. Thank you.
Then to top it off, yesterday our 2nd great granddaughter was born😊. She was 4 weeks early but everything went well and she and mommy are doing well. The enemy is not going to win over this Mom, grandma and great grandma’s family. That is off limits to the enemy! I’m so thankful for all the Lord has done. Just know, we will have trials, temptations and tribulations but He has overcome the world. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 What a beautiful promise to each of us!