Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tied Up with Pantyhose

Tied up with Pantyhose

When the last storm passed through our area, it left behind it broken branches, leaves and nature’s debris all over our yard. It pulled some of our neighbor’s trees right out of the ground; roots and all! Three of our newly planted trees were leaning over precariously. Two of the stakes were broken and the third was pulled half way out of the ground. They were just young baby trees, and my “mother’s heart” knew I had to do something to save them or the next storm would surely do them in.

Apparently the skinny stakes the trees had been planted with weren’t adequate to hold them in the kind of storms that hit our little hillside. So I looked around the property for better stakes. All I could find in our pile of odds and ends at the barn, were T-stakes, so I picked out three and headed for the trees.

I don’t know if you have ever had the privilege of pounding in a T-stake, but if you haven’t, don’t feel bad. The Thing-a-ma-jigger (not sure that’s the right name) used to pound the stakes in is quite heavy. The T-stakes are 7 or 8 feet tall (or looked like it from where I stood) and I am 5’4”. My husband would call this, “An accident waiting to happen.” But I didn’t tell him, so he didn’t say it. I didn’t think about that. A “Mother’s heart” acts before it thinks.

So I got a ladder, which made me much taller, and managed to pound all three stakes into the ground – they didn’t look too bad. I can hardly lift my arms now, but I did it! All I needed now was something to tie the trees to the stakes. What could I use? I searched through the garage, didn’t find a thing. I needed something sturdy yet flexible so the trees could sway a little in the wind but not too much. Then I realized I had just the thing in the house– pantyhose!

After some digging, I pulled the pantyhose out of my top dresser drawer and used them to tie up the trees. It worked perfectly. I’m thinking my husband might question my methods, but hey – it worked! Knowing that there had to be a lesson in all of this that God wanted to teach me (He’s good like that), I asked Him what it was. For a second, I thought I heard Him laugh, but it must have been the wind blowing by.

What do young trees, a mother’s heart, a stake, and pantyhose all have to do with each other?

Hmm. As a mom I can see this could mean that God is that sturdy stake in our children’s lives (the baby trees) and for a time He allows us moms (the pantyhose?) to be the thing that ties the trees to Him while they are young. When the storms of life come and threaten to blow them down, we moms hold on to them and pull them back to God. As they mature, they need the pantyhose less and less as their roots develop and they learn to bend and not break in the wind.

One day the stake will be removed and the pantyhose will no longer hold the trees to it because the stake (God) will then reside within their hearts. It seems a little sad for the mom, but not really. As I look around the yard, I see the other more mature trees. They are tall and beautiful. They are sturdy and strong. They have been through many storms and stood their ground. When our children mature, they take their place next to us but are not held by us, as we grow up in God’s will, side by side.
Well, I guess that is one way to look at it.

(I wrote this before we had the big snow storm that broke a lot of trees on our property. I'm happy to say, the three baby trees held...the pantyhose did their job!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Foggy Lessons

Foggy Lessons

      It seems God's theme in teaching me lately has been a little foggy - literally. Maybe it is because I am afraid of the fog. Many times in my life it has been the very things I fear the most that God uses to reveal his love and presence in my life - perfect love casts out all fear.

Today I opened up a book I've been slowly reading and I read this -

      "No matter what level of spiritual maturity we are on, we need renewed appearances, fresh manifestations, new visitations from on high. While it is right to thank God for the past and look back with joy to His visits to you in your early days as a believer, I encourage you to seek God for special visitations of His presence. I do not mean to minimize our daily walk in the light of His countenance, but consider that though the ocean has its high tides twice every day, yet it also has its spring tides. The sun shines whether we see it or not, even through our winter's fog, and yet it has its summer brightness. If we walk with God constantly, there are special seasons when He opens the very secret of His heart to us and manifests Himself to us - not only as He does not to the world but also as He does not at all times to His own favored ones. Not every day in a palace is a banqueting day, and not all days with God are so clear and glorious as certain special sabbaths of the soul in which the Lord unveils His glory. Happy are we if we have once beheld His face, but happier still if He comes to us again in the fullness of favor."

The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life, by Charles Spurgeon

      Just imagine, "the very secret of His heart" being opened to us. Are we watching for Him, and listening for His voice? Do we see Him through our winter's fog?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Faith Sees Through the Fog

Faith Sees Through the Fog

It’s not often foggy in Placerville. The sign on old town Main Street reads, “Above the Fog, Below the Snow.” But occasionally we wake up to find ourselves covered in one or the other. This morning it was fog.

As I drove my son to his classes – up and down the many hills, we would emerge into sunshine at the tops, and then decline back into the fog. I realized how inconsistent fog was. Its density and level were unpredictable as I drove through it. It wasn’t darkness or light, or even something in between the two. It reminded me of doubt. It is illusive and changes form. You can push through it, but it causes you to question what is up ahead.

When we are faced with doubt, it is our faith that pushes through it. Faith in what we know is on the other side. As Christians, it is faith in the one who is leading us through the fog of doubt, reminding us of what is really there, even if at the present time we cannot see it.

Eventually the light of the sun breaks through the fog and its vapor disappears. Just like God’s presence in our lives, what was there all the time is revealed - in the light of who He is.

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.”

The bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

Is your faith seeing through the fog?

Monday, January 4, 2010

"I Love You" in the Clouds

“I Love You” in the Clouds

It took God all my life to make, the person I am now,
He used each day to mold me, though I can’t imagine how.
Even in the trying times, His fingers pressed down firm,
To hold me there within His will, when I would try to squirm.

Each person, place, and circumstance, so intricately sewn,
Within the fabric of my life – His handiwork now shown.
Along the way I fought Him, I questioned and I fussed,
Not recognizing His soft voice, that whispered then - “You must.”

My days passed by as clouds do now, that drift along the sky,
Some dark and stormy – came with wind, and I would ask Him why.
He’d answer me with skies so blue, they softly answered back.
Those stormy clouds are there to test, and bring the faith you lack.

Then He became my shelter, in His arms where wind can’t blow,
He covered me with mercy, and His goodness there He’d show.
The storms kept coming in my life, to bring me back to Him,
Until His face became so clear, and thunder clouds so dim.

Now it’s hard for me to fathom, a day without a cloud,
For in them I can hear Him speak - “I love you” right out loud!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

More than Faces on the Frig.

      Christmas is over and another year has passed. I have cleaned up my blog and taken off all the decorations, just like I am doing in my home. It seems a bit sad, putting all these special things into boxes and storing them up in the dark attic for another long year. It is so exciting when they are brought down. Everything is carefully set in its place - but putting them away? Well, that is an entirely different matter.

      I passed by my refrigerator while removing Christmas items from the kitchen today, and my eye caught the pictures I had stuck up there with magnets. Photograph cards sent from old friends and extended family, many of whom I only hear from at Christmas. It has become a time to catch up with those I haven't talked to or heard from in the past year.

      As I studied the faces that looked back at me from there, I began to think about this whole concept of keeping in touch with people. Can I have relationships with people I communicate with only once a year? I wondered more about them than their two-line greetings would tell. Are they happy? They look happy. But maybe the person taking their pictures said something funny, and they all smiled in response...you never know.

      All those faces looking back at me from the refrigerator, at one time were much more to me than someone growing older in a Christmas card each year. They were my close friends, kindred spirits. First I moved, then they moved, life got busy, and little by little the phone calls and letters got farther and farther apart...until one day - it was Christmas, and I was putting their pictures on the refrigerator - and every Christmas after.

      I think I will do something a little different this year. Instead of taking the pictures down and waiting until next year to see these special friends again, I'm going to leave them up there. I'm going to look at them every day as I open and shut my refrigerator, pray for them, and thank God for their friendships. Perhaps I'll even write a letter or two and make a few phone calls.

It's the decorations, not the people, that should be stored away each year!