From A Year's Journey with God...
Moments of Heaven
"God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper." - Numbers 8:24-26
Today I went down the garden with my three-year-old granddaughter Molly to pick the apples from my funny little tree. Its branches are so low she was able to fill a whole basket to take home to her mummy. Then we went into the field beyond my garden gate and sat in the patch of sunshine munching away together happily; the dogs sat down beside us, watching hopefully for our apple cores. We didn't talk; we just sat - it was one of those moments of stillness and pure delight.
Life often makes me feel as if I am a hamster endlessly running inside a wheel, but I'm sure God wants to punctuate each day with these 'moments of delight', times when we just stop for a moment and let something funny, beautiful or unusual seep down deep into our inner being. The more we expect such moments, and look out for them, the more often we experience them. Yet I find it so easy to rush through the day with my head down and my mind too full of earthly concerns to make room for these glimpses of heaven.
I love the thought of you smiling at me, Lord. I know I must make you look sad sometimes, but I love it when the clouds of busyness and earthly concerns are parted and we can share together those rare moments of stillness and beauty.
From Water My Soul...
Soul Gardening - John 15:1-11
Each Spring, anything seems possible again as I wander along the flower-bordered paths where plants are awakening. I dream of perfect gardens with large flowers and abundant fruit, vegetables with no blemishes, and rain when we need it. Even though reality invades the vision eventually, I dream anyway.
Then I think of the things God would like to grow in my heart garden: fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness. Plus faith, humility, and self-control. What blights and droughts and diseases are preventing me from performing to my full potential, and how can I cut them out of my life? Does the Master Gardener ever grow weary of the chastening and pruning I require? And how grateful I should be that He never gives up! For no ground is too hard, dry or stony for God to make beautiful with flowers and fruit.
It doesn't happen overnight, or even in one season. I spend a lot of time walking through the gardens, watching the performance of the plants, studying their progress, deciding what each one needs. What can remain and what must be removed? Some of the plants must be divided so they can continue to grow. Others are dead. My goal for the gardens is always to make them better, and there's always work to do.
Does God work in a similar way in my life? Does He watch over the progress I'm making as I grow as a Christian? Does He send periods of drought to help me sink my roots deeper into the soil of faith and trust? What will He trim from my life because it is not bearing Him fruit? Are the rainy seasons reminders for me to draw closer to the solid Rock that He wants to be in my life?
God is always vigilant when He watches over my life, and He is always working to bring good things out of what were once barren places in my soul. I know He wants to help me grow to be more like Him, and that the pruning He does will eventually shape me more fully into a woman who brings Him glory.
I'm not always fond of His methods as He prunes my soul and discards the parts that hinder my growth and bear no fruit. But even when it seems hard, I still believe it's necessary and that it will allow me to bloom abundantly for Him on some tomorrow.
Prayer: I don't always understand your ways, Lord, but I do believe you are working in my heart to make it better. Let me help and not hinder the progress.Illustrations by Frank Francis from the book Grandmother Lucy in Her Garden by Joyce Woods