About Me

Name: Linda

Location: Texas

I am a wife, mom and grandma. I am doing what I've wanted to do all my life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Living Water

My husband bought me a bird bath for my birthday several years ago.

To read the "rest of the story" please go here today (wednesday Aug.1). Thank you so much.

  posted at 9:04 PM

Saturday, July 28, 2007
Bestowing Crowns

A little while ago Alycia bestowed the Princess award on me. I can easily think of Alycia as a princess. She is a beautiful young woman both inside and out. I am honored that she thinks of me as one too. As she said, we are all princesses because we are daughters of the King, but I am to single out three special princesses to give this award to.

Ann of Holy Experiences has the heart of a true Princess. She writes about her life as the wife of a farmer in Canada. They have a house full of precious children whom she home schools. I can only imagine how busy her life is, yet she finds the time to write the most beautifully eloquent posts I have ever read. I can rarely get through them without having my eyes brim with tears. Her words flow out of a humble heart that seeks only to live for Jesus. I print out many of her posts so I can share them with my husband. After reading them we just look at one another in amazement. She is truly gifted – in so many ways.

My sweet friend Kelli never fails to lift my spirits and encourage my heart. As you read through her posts, filled with humor and love, you would never imagine all the health problems she is experiencing. I have never read a word of complaint. She is the first one there to encourage and help others who are going through difficult times. She reminds me to cherish the days we have. She deserves a very special crown – filled with precious stones.

Diane is an inspiration to me. The Lord has taken her on a difficult journey with her “Prodigal.” Her faith and her love have never wavered. In recent days she has written beautifully of her love and commitment to this precious son. She shares her heart in an open, loving way and reaches out to others who are experiencing difficult circumstances. In spite of the difficult times there is always an underlying joy – a joy that comes from knowing and loving the Lord with all her heart.

These three women are a blessing. They are representative of so many others who faithfully honor the Lord with their lives. They live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways, and God uses that to encourage the hearts of those whose lives they touch. Each one is a Princess in His eyes.

  posted at 1:38 PM

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Thankful Thursday and a Prayer Request

edited to add an update: My Mom called a little while ago, and I could hear the relief in her voice. They had a really positive experience at their local er (which we have heard some not very encouraging things about from other people - making me nervous about them going there). They were seen immediately. Everyone was very kind and attentive, and they had a wonderful doctor who gave my Dad a real thorough going over - even taking another chest xray. His conclusion is that it was originally bronchitis which has just lingered for a long time causing bacteria to form inside him.(for those of you with a medical background I apologize - this sounds so simplified). He perscribed four different medications. So they were on their way to get those filled. I think the relief of having a diagnosis is medicine in itself. Thank you, thank you so much for your prayers. I just know the Lord heard and went before them into that er preparing the way. You are the best!!

I look forward to Thursday’s and am so thankful that Iris hosts Thankful Thursday. It is a blessing to be able to give thanks for the things God has done for us in this way and to read about what He is doing in the lives of others.

We wake every morning in recent days to dire weather forecasts – flood warnings and reports of road closures – all sorts of difficult circumstances due to the record breaking rains we’ve been having. Through all of this the Lord has kept us all safe. No accidents while driving, no flooding at our son’s home (and that is only the hand of God because with these rains it is nothing short of a miracle that they haven’t flooded). I am so thankful for answered prayer.

I’m thankful that my little Granddaughter H. is doing so much better. She had what the doctor diagnosed as a virus last weekend. However the fever seemed to come and go. She would be fine during the day and then feverish again in the evening. On Monday she woke up from her nap complaining that her chest hurt. My DIL took her to the doctor right away, and they found she has pneumonia!! He gave her a very strong antibiotic and said if she wasn’t feeling better in twenty-four hours they would have to hospitalize her. Thankfully she is doing much better. I talked to her last night on the phone, and she sounds like her usual sweet little perky self. Thank You Lord.

I’m thankful that our daughter has gotten more work. She is trying to start her own business and was getting a bit discouraged because some of the people weren’t paying her in a timely manner. She was thinking, for the first time, of just giving up and going back to a full-time job. She called so excited the other day to tell us she had gotten a lot of new work. She said, “That is such an answer to prayer.” Yes it is. Thank You Father.

I am thankful for my family – for the love and support there is for each other – for the amazing blessing of having them all part of God’s family. When one of us is in need, the others are there to pray and encourage and help in any way they can. I know this is a post about answered prayer, but I do have one request. If you think of him, would you pray for my Dad? He has had a chronic cough for weeks now. The doctor has tried several different antibiotics – none of which helped. He sent him to an allergist, and he isn’t allergic to anything. That doctor thought it might be reflux and prescribed a medication for that – no relief. He doesn’t cough much during the day, but once the evening rolls around he begins. My Mom said he coughed from four o’clock in the afternoon until two o’clock in the morning. Needless to say neither one of them is getting much sleep. His doctor is now recommending they see a pulmonary specialist. They called and can’t get an appointment for another two weeks. I just got off the phone with my Mom, and she has agreed to just take him in to the emergency room. Someone will have to see him there. He is eighty-seven years old and has been in very good health up until now. Please pray that they will find out what is causing this cough and that it will be something easily treatable. Thank you so very much. I am so thankful for all of you because I know you will pray for him. You’re just that way – loving, caring and so very special.

  posted at 10:05 AM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Daddy's Hand

We have been doing a lot of bike riding these days. My husband and I have switched from walking to riding our bikes up and down our hilly neighborhood. We bought a rack for the car so that we can take our bikes with us when we visit the kids, take a trip or just want to ride some place different. My husband even found a couple of used bikes and fixed them up for our son and his wife.

So when we went to visit the kids and grandkids last weekend we took our bikes. On Saturday morning we set out for a long ride with our son S., daughter-in-love S., and the two boys (the girls elected to stay home with little G.).

The beginning of the ride was fairly level, and we all stayed together. Eventually we came to a gentle incline. The guys took off a faster pace, and we girls fell a bit behind. Our younger grandson is only six, and he was making a valiant effort to keep up with the others. His bike is small, and his little legs were pumping like crazy. He is one of those little boys who always go full steam ahead. We all try to stay out of his way, because he tends to leave a bit of damage in his wake. He plunges headlong into whatever activity is going on – heedless of danger. Needless to say he is usually sporting any number of bruises and black-and-blue marks. He is a cheerful little guy and bounces back quickly. We sometimes just close our eyes and pray for the best!!

So, needless to say, he wasn’t happy about being left behind with Grandma and Mommy. His little face was getting beet red, and he was breathing hard. He just looked at me and said, “I wish I had stayed home.” We all made encouraging noises and urged him to just take his time. He still was not happy.

About this time his Daddy turned around and saw little J. struggling. He came back and began to ride beside his little boy. Then when we came to the next hill, he reached over and placed his hand on J’s back. Without even having to move his legs J. was suddenly riding up the hill with the rest of the guys. His Daddy was doing the work, and he was just resting. For the remainder of the ride they stayed together with Daddy helping his little boy up the difficult hills.

I have thought about that precious picture since then. It is just that way with the Lord and I. When I am struggling, He is there to place His strong hand on my back and push me along when I cannot make it on my own. I have only to rest in Him, and He will take me the rest of the way. He is never far off, and He never really takes His eyes off me. When He sees I am in trouble, or He hears my cry for help – He is there.

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

  posted at 11:45 AM

Sunday, July 22, 2007
No Longer Linda
It is just a lazy Sunday at our house. We got home late last night and are just “vegging out” today. My husband is watching the British Open, the washing machine is humming (because there were some articles of clothing which, due to the 175% humidity in Magnolia, were just too disgusting to let sit for another day in the dirty clothes basket), and I am going to try to catch up with all of you. I had a frightening moment when I checked my bloglines and it showed over 500 posts to read!!! I thought you had had some sort of writing marathon while I wasn’t looking. As it turns out my bloglines is showing everything for the past month or more. Whew!!!

The first thing I absolutely must do is testify to God’s faithfulness and goodness to us. Our younger son and his family weren’t able to go to Magnolia with us. The night before we were to leave, little H. started to run a fever. They took her to the local med. Clinic where she was diagnosed with a virus. So they decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to spread the “joy” to everyone else, and they stayed home – lots of disappointment all around. We went on because we had a bike we were delivering – and we didn’t want to disappoint the kids and grandkids altogether.

It was a gloomy day, and we drove through rain showers on the way. It wasn’t raining when we got there, so we rode bikes for a while. It was about mid-afternoon when we got the call from our son T. They had had five inches of rain since about ten in the morning, and it was still just pouring buckets. He asked us to pray that it would stop because the water was coming up in their backyard and beginning to make its way up their street (with the poor drainage that the city STILL hasn’t fixed). We began to pray hard.

A couple of hours later we called them, and it was still raining hard. They were beginning to put all the furniture up on cement blocks. Our son said if it didn’t stop very soon they would definitely have water in the house. It had risen to within about three inches of their neighbor’s house which sits just a bit lower than theirs. We felt so bad that we were too far away to be of any help.

I prayed fervently. It was hard to concentrate on anything else. Then around five o’clock I just felt a peace steal into my heart, and I knew they were going to be all right. We tried calling them, but there was no answer. We left a message and waited. T. called later in the evening and said the rain had stopped, and they were safe.

Thank You Lord!!! What an answer to prayer. They got over seven inches of rain (and it has been raining nearly every day here for the past several weeks so the ground is absolutely saturated), but it stopped short of flooding their home and their neighbor’s home. I pray that their neighbor’s will see God’s hand of protection in this.

I’m sorry to talk so much about our son’s flooding problems, but it is God’s grace and mercy I want to emphasize. There were people in other places whose streets have drainage problems, and they all flooded. Some of these poor folks have had their homes flood half a dozen times!! We are more grateful than we can possibly say. God is so very good.
My husband and I had a good time (once we knew all was well at T’s) with the kids and grandkids. We rode bikes, played games, and went to a huge place called Itz where they have a huge pizza buffet and all sorts of rides and games for the kids. The noise level is unbelievable – but they had lots of fun. We just enjoyed watching them have lots of fun.

One more thing to share in this rather long epistle before I say good-by. My youngest granddaughter is three. We were all sitting at the breakfast table when she heard my husband call me by my name – Linda. She giggled and said, “She’s not Linda. She’s Grandma.” We all took turns explaining to her that while I am her Grandma, my name is Linda. She couldn’t be convinced. My DIL very patiently tried one more time, “Grandma is your grandma, but her name is Linda.” I very helpfully added, “Yes; my name is Linda”. She turned and looked at me with a look that said are you out of your mind and declared “IT IS NOT!” It was the look that got me. There was just no way on earth she was going to believe such an outrageous lie.

Thank you all for your prayers for us. God truly, truly does hear and answer prayer.

  posted at 11:33 AM

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Away For a Couple of Days
We are heading east again to visit our kids and grandkids. This time our younger son and his wife and two little precious girls are going with us. We are determined to have a great time despite all this rainy weather!!! We're praying the house here stays safe and dry and for safe travels.

Y'all have a great weekend!! See you sunday.

  posted at 7:27 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Not a "Copper Girl"

You will find my post here today. Please come visit.

  posted at 10:35 PM

Wordless Wednesday - Time to Saddle Up and Move 'Em Out !

For more Wordless Wednesday posts go here.

  posted at 12:46 PM

Monday, July 16, 2007
Questions Meme
My precious, young friend Cyndi has tagged me for a meme. In this one, she makes up five questions, and I answer them. So here we go:

1.When is a time you felt especially close to God?
Truthfully it was during one of those very difficult times. My husband had just lost his job and at the same time began having severe complications from diabetes. We thought at one point that he was going to lose his vision completely. I prayed like I had never prayed before. There were times when I could almost feel God's hands close around mine. It was a very precious time.

2.If you could learn another language (easily) what would it be?
I was going to say French, but then I thought about how wonderful it would be to go to Italy and find some of my family there. Being able to speak Italian would really come in handy!

3.What house chore is your least favorite and why.
I'm almost ashamed to admit it's cooking. I honestly don't know why, but I would gladly do the cleanup if someone would come and cook all the meals. I would also appreciate it if she'd bring some new recipes along with her. Since I don't enjoy it, I don't spend the time looking for recipes that I should. Shame on me!!

4. If you could have any animal (tamed) as a pet what would it be?
This is an easy one - a German Shepherd puppy. My husband isn't crazy about dogs, so we don't have one. However, we had a German Shepherd mix when I was a little girl and I absolutley loved that dog. If I could have another Shep, I would love it.

5. What's one thing about your life now that would have surprised the "teenager you" to know.
There are several things, but I think the biggest thing would be that I still feel like the same "me" at sixty. Back when I was a teenager, sixty just seemed so ancient to me. It is surprising how youthful I still feel and how quickly those years sped by.

I don't know anyone who hasn't done this meme - so I won't tag anyone else. Thanks Cyndi. It was fun to be tagged, and I enjoyed the questions.

  posted at 7:27 PM

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Looking to Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

"Oh soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."

Helen Howarth Lemmel

I have a scar that runs the length of my back. I had major back surgery to correct a very bad spinal curvature nine years ago. The scar is a reminder of a time when I felt like I just didn't want to face another day. I was flat on my back for weeks, in too much pain to be able to sit up for any length of time. The only rehab was walking. My sweet husband would get me up every day to take me for a walk. At first all I could manage was a walk around the rooms of our home. Then gradually the walks lengthened, and we went for short walks outside.

I remember one afternoon as we were slowly making our way around the cul-de-sac in our neighborhood, I asked the Lord to give me something to hold onto. The words of that old hymn began to flow through my mind. As I thought about truly looking into the face of Jesus I felt a peace and a comfort and a "knowing" that all would be well.

I read these words in my devotional book this morning: "We can trust Him as we walk down this dark hall because He is good. Not only is He good, but He also does good!"
(Darien Cooper)
"The goodness of God endureth continually" (Ps.52:1b)
"Thou art good, and doest good." (Ps.119:68a)

There are so many overwhelming needs in our circle of blogging friends. Overwhelming to us - but not to Him. As I thought about all of those needs today the words of that old hymn came to mind once again, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus." He "is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think..." (Eph.3:20)

  posted at 12:29 PM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thankful Thursday

“I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;
I will tell of all Thy wonders.
I will be glad and exult in Thee;
I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”
Psalm 9: 1, 2

I am thankful for the sweet surprises the Lord tucks into my life. This past weekend my niece, whom we haven’t seen in over twenty years, visited us with her little eight year old daughter. She is moving to our area from New York City. She has spent most of the past fifteen years living and working in Europe. It was such a delight to reconnect with her. Our family is so spread out across the States we don’t often get to see one another. I am thankful she will now be a part of our lives.

I am thankful for the sunshine and for answered prayer. With all that record-breaking rain and the great potential for flooding at my son’s house – the water never got high enough to flood their home. Whenever there was enough rain to begin filling their back and front yards with water, it would stop before it could get any higher. God was very obviously protecting them in answer to all of our, and your, prayers. Their next door neighbors, whose house sits a bit lower than theirs and has already flooded twice, didn’t know what to make of it. She isn’t a Christian and couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. With the amount of rain that fell, they most certainly expected to be flooded once again. What they didn’t know is they were covered with prayer. It was a great opportunity for my DIL to share the Lord with her.

I am thankful for words – for the amazing power in the written and spoken word. We have such potential for good if we use our words wisely and such potential for harm if we don’t. Within this circle of bloggers, it is our words that bind us together. We share joy and sorrow, we encourage and offer up prayer, we put our hearts into words and get to know one another. We must be careful to do it wisely.

I am thankful for the Living Word of God – that it has the power to transform lives. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword….”
Heb. 4:12

Above all I am thankful for the Word made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

Have a blessed day and be encouraged as you read more Thankful Thursday posts at Sting My Heart.
  posted at 2:31 PM

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Wordless Wednesday - It's a Whopper!

For more WW go here.

  posted at 9:26 PM

Monday, July 09, 2007
In Other Words

The quote Iris has chosen this week is from C. S. Lewis:

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing yet had been done.”

The Lord has taken me on a difficult journey in recent years. He has asked me to walk without knowing where I am going, to take one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow, to stop looking anxiously around and look to Him for help. In return He has promised to hold me tightly with His strong right hand, to be with me every second of every day, and to take me to a place of blessing.

I find that I cannot do this at one moment in time and have it last for as long as I live. I have to do it daily. Sometimes I have to do it moment by moment. There are times when my faith turns to fear and doubt, times when I want answers to my “whys”, times when it feels like God isn’t really there at all. That is when I have to begin all over again.

There was a day, many years ago, when I was facing circumstances that seemed overwhelming. I cried out to God over and over again for help and for an explanation as to why nothing seemed to be changing. I clearly “heard” Him whisper to my heart, “Do you love Me enough to trust Me?”

That is the journey – the journey of trust. Do I love Him enough to trust Him? The answer has to be yes, because apart from Him there is no hope. With Him there is everything – life, hope, joy, blessing, peace, comfort, a future. He gives me grace and strength for every day, but I must come to Him daily to receive it.

Each new day comes with its unique circumstances. I have the choice of trying to live it in my own strength and wisdom or relying on God. I cannot know what the day will bring, but I can know that when I give it to Him He will give me the grace and strength I need for that day.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5,6


  posted at 10:14 PM

Getting Out the Wrinkles

Please join me at Laced With Grace Today.

  posted at 1:40 PM

Friday, July 06, 2007
Pride Goeth Before.....well you know
It's funny the way pride can sneak up on you (or I should in all honesty say me). Just when I think I'm clicking along pretty well, feeling rather good about myself, whistling a happy tune and being generally - well - proud, the inevitable happens. I experienced just one of those "inevitables" the other day.

I should preface this by saying I find physical humor very funny - actually I find it pretty hysterical. As long as the person isn't seriously hurt, I am the one laughing until my sides hurt and tears are pouring out of my eyes when the pompous news anchor misses his or her chair and disappears from sight landing on the floor in a rather undignified heap; or someone is walking along admiring themselves in the store front window and walks into a light pole. You get the idea. I'm sure this reveals a rather sadistic bent to my personality - much to the amazement of the few of you who harbored illusions of my sterling character.

So.....we were at our local V.A. hospital for my husband's eye exam. Periodically I collect all of our old magazines, cut off our address label and bring them with us to leave in the waiting room so others can enjoy them. Most of them are Christian magazines, so we leave them with a little prayer that the message they contain might touch someone's life. I had a good sized stack and left my husband at his appointment to take them to the second floor waiting room. When I arrived, I handed them to the nurse who was really grateful to get them. Good deed done, I headed back down the long hospital corridor.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. What a lovely thing I had done. Just think of all the blessings I was leaving in my wake. There were three people approaching me from the opposite direction of the usually deserted corridor and a young woman walking behind me. I was sailing confidently along when the toe of my shoe caught in the raised "thingy" that joins one portion of the floor to the next. In one horrifying moment of time I was flailing around desperately trying to keep my balance. I don't know how I managed to not actually land in a heap, but the recovery wasn't pretty. My arms were flying wildly around looking for help and my legs were desperately looking for firm footing. Not a picture of grace and dignity.

By now the three people were pretty close. I could see very little sympathy on their faces. In fact, they look suspiciously like they were trying desperatley not to laugh!!! I pause here to say that I even find physical humor funny when I'm the one providing the entertainment. I've been know to laugh hysterically at myself when there isn't even anyone else around. I looked at all three of them and said, "There is hardly ever anyone in this hallway!!" With that we all burst out laughing. The sweet girl behind me still looked like she was feeling rather sorry for me. We turned the corner together and headed for the stairway (neither of us opting to wait for the elevator). I looked at her and said, "If you hear a loud noise, it's just me falling down the stairs." She finally laughed. I felt much better. You could hurt yourself trying to keep all that hysteria inside.

As I carefully walked the rest of the way to meet my husband (having safely negotiated the stairs) that verse in Proverbs came to mind, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling." Proverbs 16:18 I think I just had a little lesson in humility. It proves true in my life all the time, the moment I think I have it all together, the Lord gently reminds me of just who I really am. I am working on having the kind of humility that is pleasing to Him. I don't want to have to keep stumbling.

  posted at 12:03 PM

Thursday, July 05, 2007
Thankful Thursday

My heart is filled with Thanksgiving. It is a special week - and an ordinary week. I am thankful that God is in the "every day" things as well as the big things.

I am thankful for the freedom that I enjoy. I know how blessed I am to live in this country - to be able to worship the Lord freely; to have access to the Bible (in abundance); to be able to hear the truth preached in churches and via the media any time of the day or night. I am thankful beyond words for the freedom I have in Jesus. I am free from the guilt of my sin, free from the fear of the future, free from the chains that had me spiritually bound. I am free indeed.

I am thankful for my son - whose birthday we're going to celebrate today. I am thankful for the joy that comes from spending time with family and friends. Thankful that my husband and my son are on the golf course right now (and it isn't raining!!) getting to spend time together.

I am thankful for the good report from my husband's eye exam. With only one eye (and that one not 100 percent) we always whisper a prayer of thanks when the doctor says everything looks fine.

I am thankful for laughter. Something warm stirs in my heart when my husband and I share laughter. There were days I thought there couldn't possibly ever be joy or laughter in this home again, but God.....

I am thankful for good movies. We saw "Evan Almighty" this week and enjoyed just being in a movie theater and not feeling uncomfortable about what we were watching. We also rented "Facing the Giants" and were totally blessed.

I am thankful for answered prayer and for the miraculous privilege of talking to the Living God. It takes my breath away to realize that a Holy God would incline His ear to listen to my prayer - and to answer.

There are many other thankful hearts at Iris' blog - Sting My Heart. Thank you Iris, for faithfully providing this special place.

  posted at 8:56 AM

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Throughout history, men and women have yearned for freedom
- to worship
- to speak
- to live a life of their own choosing.

Many have sacrificed much in the cause of freedom
- home and family
- fortune
- their very lives.

We are blessed to live in freedom purchased at such great cost
- free from oppression
- free from fear of unjust imprisonment
- free from slavery.

In spite of that so many are not free at all. They are
- bound by addictions
- imprisoned by fear
- burdened by guilt and oppressed by an enemy they cannot see.

True freedom came in the form of a baby over 2000 years ago. He
- left His home in glory
- gave up the riches of heaven
- gave His life for us.

When we come, by faith, to the cross we are set free. He
- breaks the chains that bind us
- takes away all fear
- cleanses us from sin and gives us victory over the enemy.

JOHN 8:36

Have a blessed Fourth of July everyone!!
  posted at 7:30 PM

Sunday, July 01, 2007
Just Call me Sophora secundiflora

I am here to confess that a feel just a tad unworthy (perhaps more than a tad). I think that the "Reflection of Him" award is one of the most meaningful awards I've seen. I found it so difficult to pick five to give it to. Every time I would go to visit one of my dear blogger friends I wanted to add them to the five I had already picked. Truly - every single one of them blesses me in a special way. They are all deserving of this unique award.

It's me I'm not so sure about. I want to be sure that I am being "real" in everything I write on my blog. I don't want to come across as something or someone that I am not (and this is absolutely not a backhanded way of getting everyone to tell me how wonderful I am). I want you to know the real me - warts and all. Don't be alarmed. This is not a "tell-all" post. I have made some horrendous blunders in my sixty years, but they are - thankfully - under the blood of Jesus and mostly just between me and the Lord. Instead I thought I might try to use an analogy.

I have a little bush growing in our side yard. That's it in the above picture. It is a Sophora secundiflora - better known as a Texas Mountain Laurel. It blooms in the spring with those lovely blossoms you see pictured. Some Mountain Laurels grow into tall trees just filled with purple flowers and smelling heavenly (some remain more like a shrub). That was my plan when we bought it. I thought I would lovingly place it in the ground and in a few years have a beautiful tree.

It was just about a foot tall when I brought it home. I cared for it, providing all it needed for good healthy growth, and waited for my tree to appear. What I didn't know was Mountain Laurels are very slow growing - very slow. In the past ten or so years that is as big as it has gotten. The first few years there were no flowers at all. Then a few years ago it got buds all over its little branches. I got so excited. I couldn't wait to see and smell those flowers. Imagine my horror when I walked out one day to discover it had been descimated by caterpillers. No flowers that year. Another year it just didn't get any buds at all. Last year, however, it was filled with the beautiful purple flowers I had been longing to see. I was so proud, I took its picture.

This year I was looking forward to an even better show of flowers. We had good rains, and it had filled out and grown taller. I knew this was going to be a banner year. It is growing on the side of our house that doesn't have any windows, so I can't watch it all the time. I have to make a deliberate trip outdoors to check on its progress. One morning I walked cheerfully across the front porch and turned the corner to admire my lovely plant. I couldn't believe my eyes. The poor thing had been stripped naked by the deer (they had never bothered it in all the years I had it). There were only a few sad little leaves they had either not seen or gotten too full to eat. Another setback. There are leaves growing on the forlorn little branches again, but there will be no fragrant, purple blooms this year.

How very like my Christian walk. I was lovingly planted in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at a very young age. I had a wonderful beginning - receiving everything I needed to grow and be fruitful. However, like my little Mountain Laurel plant, I was a very slow grower - very slow. Oh - I knew all the right answers and could compete in a "Sword Drill" with the best of them, but I wasn't bearing fruit. There were periods in my life where I was descimated by things of the world - things I allowed into my life. Then there would be periods of new growth, new commitment, and I would flourish. But only for a time. There was no consistency. My walk with the Lord was the proverbial one step forward, two steps back.

Our Pastor has often asked the question, "How many of you commited your worst sins when you were a Christian?" My hand is always raised. It has taken me far too long to make the little bit of progress that I have made. I have kept the Lord at arms-length when He longed to draw me close. I have been deliberatley disobedient and downright rebellious. I have allowed selfishness to rule my heart.

It is only in recent years that I have finally surrendered, finally forgiven myself for the things in my life that make me so ashamed. The Lord has faithfully loved me through all of my missteps. I am putting our new growth just like my little plant. I want very much to grow strong, to produce beautiful blooms and to give off the sweet fragrance of the Spirit. It has taken me far too long to grow this much.

I have learned that nothing can separate me from God's love; that He is faithful; that without Him there is nothing - no joy, no peace, no hope, no life. His grace, His mercy, and His unconditional love overwhelm my heart. I am always drawn to old things that are flawed in some way - a chipped cup, a cracked dish, a stained quilt. They remind me that He can use me in spite of my flaws. He can mend the broken pieces and make me whole. He can make me new.

I just wanted you to know.
  posted at 12:16 PM