Posts Tagged With: garden

One Seed

Last night I had an opportunity, one I pray no one EVER passes up.

I was going into a public restroom after Anna’s dance recital and saw Mackenzie, the daughter of one of our Tamar Ministries Sisters. So I greeted her warmly and continued ahead into the stall. “Oh, HI Miss Tyra!” she said with a big smile that I could hear through the door. Immediately my Spirit perked up and said “You really need to explain to her about your new name. She’ll understand.” Then I thought about the verse in 1 Corinthians 2 where Paul talks about laying aside the grace in his tongue and knowing nothing but Jesus and Him crucified. Little did I know that that’s precisely what I was about to do! When I came out Mackenzie was still in the restroom drying her hands under the dryers so I said “Hey Mackenzie, can you do me a favor? Can you call me Tamar now? God gave me a new name and it’s Tamar.” Because of the noise of the dryers she kept asking me to repeat myself… over and over. And just as they stopped and I was saying “God gave me a new name” for the umpteenth time, her little friend Dylan walked back into the room because she had forgotten her coat. She looked at me wide-eyed and asked “You believe in God?”

I emphatically answered “Yup! Sure do!”

“Why do you believe in God?” Dylan asked.

“Because I can’t not believe, He loves me too much.” (Now I have to interrupt myself here for a minute to explain to you that NONE of this conversation had been thought out on my part. I can 100% honestly tell you that when I walked into the restroom the Holy Spirit took over the entire thing. Every word from my mouth was completely from Him. My answers to her questions were not my own, there was zero thinking about them involved, they just came out on their own. Straight from Him.)

“Well, we believe in the Big Bang.” said Dylan.

“Oh” I said, as if to mean “OK”.

“Do you know about the Big Bang?” Dylan asked as we started walking out of the restroom and toward the girls’ mothers.

I nodded my head, “Uh huh”

“We believe that the Big Bang created us.”

“Mmmmmm… well we” I put my arm around my friend Mackenzie, “believe that God made the Big Bang.”

At this point the conversation between Dylan and myself ended as I joined the mother’s conversation, but the two girls continued talking between themselves. Now, I have no idea what was said between the two of them but the look on Mackenzie’s face was an interesting one to be sure. Kelly, Mackenzie’s mom, asked her what was wrong and neither girl said anything to her. And then Dylan’s mom started walking toward the door to leave for the night. Kelly turned and looked at me with one eyebrow sky-high, “WHAT was that all about???” Now, I don’t know what my own face looked like at that moment, but it had to have been beaming! I was about to explode with excitement! I’ve never gotten to do that before!

I’ve heard that it takes an average of twenty-five “God-touches” in a person’s life to save them, and I had just gotten to be one of those!!! All because I didn’t question the Spirit when He prompted me to ask Mackenzie to call me Tamar.

What could be really mind-blowing is what the fruit of that one tiny seed may turn out to be! One tiny apple seed, when planted and well-tended, will grow into an apple tree filled with bushels and bushels of apples filled with more seeds of their own!

Lord Jesus, Creator of heaven and earth, gardener extraordinaire, please tend that tiny seed well. I pray that it fell on fertile soil (which judging by the pure curiosity in her eyes it did) and not the rocky path. I pray that You Holy Spirit will guard her heart and her mind in Christ Jesus and keep the weeds from choking the life from it or the birds of the air from snatching it up! Lord, I pray that this little seed grow and take root in her heart that You love HER because You created HER in her mother’s womb. Father, I thank You for providing this opportunity of response ability by giving me the ability to respond when the opportunity arose. And I ask that You will always bless me with an open mouth when it comes to opportunities like these!!! Because I know that we can always choose not to take them, so I pray that I don’t ever  make the choice to pass the opportunity up.


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It’s all About Attitude

As a stay at home mom and nap-time writer (who doesn’t usually get a nap-time to write anymore) you could say I’m a busy gal. There are always dishes to fold and clothes to unload, kids to shuttle from here to there, a husband to tend to, church activities and Bible studies to do and attend, loved ones to care for, friends to love… *wipes the sweat from her brow*… it’s a lot to handle for one girl. I’m positive you can relate! With everything tugging at us from all sides how is a modern mom like me supposed to get everything done without forsaking my relationship with God, my daily quiet time? He is the only way I can get through my day, so how can I fit it all in? I know that I need to build my day around Him and not the other way around. I also know that we all make time for the things we want to do. BUT sometimes the things we feel we have to do start to push everything else off the calendar square. Our priorities start to get skewed.

When doing anything, our heart attitude is what matters most to God, because it is our heart attitude that drives our actions. (Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.) Lets pretend for a moment that we’re planting a garden. Our heart attitude is the seeds that are planted, our actions are the outward appearance of those seeds, and the end results of our actions are the plants that come from the seeds. If I plant a heart attitude, or seed, of “I have to” do this, rather than a seed from the “I want to” do this attitude, then the plants that spring up from those seeds will be completely different. Although the outward appearance of the seeds, or the actions themselves, were the same, the end results are drastically different. From the “I have to” attitude we generally glean very little from our time with God. Usually because we are much less open to receiving a word of insight or comfort or instruction from Him; we are simply going through the motions of religion. However, from the “I want to” attitude we glean much more from our time simply because we are more open to receiving and it has meaning to us from the very beginning.

I feel like I need to add another attitude phrase. The “I have GOT to” do this attitude. Honestly, that’s the attitude I have walked into my quiet spot with today. I spent a good deal of time last night snuggled in bed working on writing a morning prayer for myself based completely on scripture. I ended up with about 10 scriptures, all very long, and the more I read the more of them I wrote down, until I realized “Lord, if I could, I think I would simply pray the WHOLE Bible over myself every morning! They’re ALL good!” And at that point it was 11pm, my husband was climbing into bed with me and I decided I would work on it tomorrow. Famous last words right!?!

So this morning I jumped out of bed and hit the ground running, packing lunches, making breakfast, dressing kids and walking Gabe out to the bus – practicing memory verses because we hadn’t had time to read any because the egg stuck to the pan; I immediately came in and started Anna’s morning movie (the only TV she gets during the day) and then started attacking the disaster in the kitchen from the weekend, then bounced to my computer to look up something they had mentioned on the radio; but then, the phone rings, it’s my prayer partner Tammy to pray, so I get up, grab my Bible and get on the floor to pray; but she can’t pray long because she’s volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center today so I jump back up to finish the dishes I’d started earlier – but at the same time I’m feeling pulled to finish the new page on the website I’d started before the phone call, and well, there’s that morning prayer I said I’d finish today, and, WOW, I haven’t even prayed ANY morning prayer yet today, let alone write one; and then there’s that blog post I’ve got rolling around in my head that I’d like to start writing down, and I haven’t had my snuggle time with Anna yet – she’s a physical touch love language so, I’ve got to get that in there or she’ll be all over me later… AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! GOD HELP ME!!!!!!! I grabbed my Bible, notebook and pen and fled to my bedroom, closed the door, breathing “Lord, protect Anna and keep her out of trouble while I’m in here!” (remembering what happened to the Israelites while Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days; no golden calf messes here please LORD) and flung myself on the floor in front of our mirror with all my prayer notes at the bottom, praying “LORD! HELP ME! WHAT DO I DO FIRST??????”

An “I have GOT to” attitude… you know… those moments when I have GOT to pray or I’ll explode from being pulled in a million different directions at once. The attitude that comes around when you realize, hey, I didn’t have my “preventative” time with God earlier so I’d better do it NOW before things get worse.

So, in light of how the last 5 hours of my life has been, I have concluded that A) my life is a run-on sentence, and B) my morning prayer can still be based on scripture without being the whole scripture! And it was at that moment, like a breath of fresh air sweeping through the room, that God pulled the string to the light bulb over my head and BOOM! There was my scripture-based Busy Mom’s Morning Prayer!

Which I will share with you tomorrow. 🙂

Hmmmm…… maybe my day wouldn’t have felt quite so crazy if I had taken 30 seconds to start my day with prayer instead of jumping straight into the day…. we might just talk about that tomorrow too. 🙂

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In the Garden

040712_1524_IntheGarden1.jpg“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1)

Go with me to the garden for a moment. It’s first thing Sunday morning. The sun has just broken over the eastern horizon, the dew is still on the roses, the birds are singing their morning praise songs and we are crunching along the stone path to Jesus’ grave to anoint His body properly. It was a holiday weekend, the biggest there is, but it certainly didn’t feel like a holiday weekend! None of the food tasted any good; it was filled with tears of mourning. Everything we had ever hoped for, dreamed of, talked about, loved… died on Friday afternoon. We have nothing to celebrate right now. But, as much as we dislike it, life goes on, and there are things to be done; dishes to wash, laundry to fold. But there is one small bright spot to our day this Sunday. We get to go visit Jesus’ body one last time. Touch His hands and His feet – anoint Him. So here we are on the path in the garden on what is by far the most beautiful morning we’ve seen in ages. Everything seems alive and vibrant and fresh today, I wonder why. I turn to you in concern, “Oh no! How are we going to roll that huge stone away from the tomb? There’s no way we’ll be strong enough to do it! Those are next to impossible to move!” But you reply, “God will make a way for us. Have faith.” “Just like Mary,” I think to myself, “always faithful. God bless her, she’s right, God will bless us in our efforts, He will make a way for us to honor His son and anoint Him.” But then we see it! His tomb, it’s already open! “Wow! God REALLY made a way!” But as we approach we start to sense something amiss, where’s Jesus’ body!?! As we become a flurry of confusion and grief and anger and voices, two men with clothes like lightning appear standing next to us, startling us to silence and immediate prostrate positions of humility with our faces to the ground. (It was either that or faint I think!) The angels questioned us, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He’s not here! He is risen!…” As an unexplainable joy floods our souls and brings us back to the living, the angels remind us of Jesus’ words “…crucified and on the third day be raised again.” Oh how could we have forgotten? We run the entire way back to the house where the disciples are, the birds’ songs cheering us on, urging our feet to move faster. When we arrive our excitement streams through our lips as fast as we all can speak, causing dazed, shocked, confused, angry and hopeful looks on everyone’s faces. None of them know what to think, could it really be true? Can our hopes still be alive? What is happening? Was it thievery or a miracle? Can it really be true? Peter, not wanting to be left out of the action I’m sure, returned to the tomb to investigate, running the entire way. Breathing heavily he entered the tomb to find all the wrappings of death discarded carelessly, and the napkin from His head folded carefully, signifying that He was not finished and that he would return. Not quite knowing how to deal with all this extraordinary information Simon Peter went away to think and pray, but you, Mary, you stayed. You couldn’t bear to leave could you? Your grief and confusion is so complete so consuming that you simply couldn’t leave the last known residence of your Lord and love Jesus of Nazareth. He saved you from a horrible life of torment didn’t He? Those demons had plagued you night and day, filled your head with criticisms and self-doubt, fears and pain unimaginable. But then Jesus came along didn’t He? He freed you from all of it! The pain, the shame, the torment, the fear, all gone the instant He touched you. It must have been amazing! Obviously it was because you haven’t left His side since, even in death, you’re still here at His grave – waiting. Crying because you don’t know what’s happening. But more than that, because you don’t know where He is. All you know is that He’s not with you and the pain that that is causing you is worse than anything the demons ever did. Your love for Jesus is so pure that nothing can stop you from wanting Him; His presence in your life, His love in your life, His grace in your life. You miss Him like nothing you’ve ever known. And as you’re standing there wailing beside the tomb, you just have to look upon His last resting place one more time. But this time there are two angels sitting there. And right now you are too grieved to care that there are two supernatural beings speaking to you. “Woman, why are you crying?” they ask. You sob, “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put Him!”

Mary, when everyone else left Him, you stayed. When everyone else pondered, you grieved. Maybe you didn’t understand what was really happening, or maybe you understood better than anyone else. Either way, I can’t imagine what it felt like to be there that morning. In that new day air, your eyes brimming with tears saw a man standing near Jesus’ grave. “Maybe he knows where Jesus is.” Perhaps that’s what you thought when you asked Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him and I will get Him.” Perhaps, at that moment in the garden, Jesus looked so much like His father that that’s why you mistook Him for the gardener. Oh, but no tears or choking sobs of grief could disguise His voice from you could it? No. Just as the sheep know their shepherd’s voice, all it took was for Him to say one precious word, your name. “Mary”. And reality came crashing through your tears. He is HERE! He is ALIVE! He is speaking YOUR name! He knows your grief, He knows your pain and He came to you first to end that anguish in your soul and replace it with joy and hope and fire. All with a single word, your name. Because He knows your name, it’s written on the palm of His hand.

Oh how desperately you wanted to cling to Him, to talk to Him, to hang on His every word and bask in His luminous personality. But alas, just as you could not hang onto your grief this morning because you had work to do, that same is true now. You can not hang onto your joy because there is work to do. OH! But the work that there is to do! It too is joyful. “You Mary”, Jesus explains, “have to tell the others. You must spread the good news! You (a woman, which means they may not believe you) must tell everyone that I am alive, you have seen me, and that I am returning to My Father and your Father, to my God and your God. No Mary, you may not stay longer here with Me, I know you want to, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, people need to know what has happened and what will happen. I will come again, and we will be together, so be patient. Until that time, tell everyone the good things I have done for you for My glory. O blessed one.”

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