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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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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

At 1:49 PM, Blogger PEA said...

Dear Linda,

You are certainly not alone in feeling like this..I don't think any one of us can say that we didn't do something that was not very Christian like in our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes we need to learn the hard way but as long as we find our way back and learn a lesson from it, then it means we're moving a step forward. xoxo

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Scratchin' the Surface said...

I loved this post - so real, straight from the heart, and encouraging. Much food for thought here. xoxoxo

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Linds said...

Me too. I have been a Christian for most of my life, Linda. I raise my hand too. It is only in the past year that I have totally surrendered control. And then I have also had to deal with the moments of anguish when the thought crosses my mind.... did G have to die for me to learn how to surrender? All I can say is that I keep trying. You are SO normal.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger eph2810 said...

Linda, to me you are a fragrant flower of His Spirit. I can smell you all the way from TX to AZ.
You know what, when we are weak, His strength will be always evident in our life. How many times have I stumbled, even fallen flat on my face. But His love for me will not grow cold. He will pick me up, dust me off and set me back on the path He has set before me.
You know, there are certain areas in my life that I struggle with every single day. I have to ask for His strength to get me over the hump....
Or even think about the apostles? Think about Peter--He denied the Lord, he questioned our Lord. Think of Paul. Do you think that Paul never struggled in His walk? Maybe he didn't, but then again, he was flesh, just like you and me...
Thank you so much for sharing from your heart and being so open about your struggles.
And yes - you totally and utterly deserve this award!!!!!

Much love...Iris

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I love your honesty! You know we have all made blunders in our lives, and done things we are not proud of, or made mistakes, or this that or the other. But that is what God is there for, forgiveness.

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Diane J. said...

I could have almost written this post, Linda. With the exception of a few fine details this could be my testimony.

I was saved at the tender age of 9 years old and I can honestly say, most of my worst sin and disobedience to God has been after I was saved.

This just reinforces the reasons I gave you the Blogger Reflection award. :-)

Love and hugs,


At 11:53 PM, Blogger Susie said...

Very touching post Linda. You are as real as real gets and that is what draws me back again and again. I'm not saying that to pat you on the back. I'm saying it because I truly believe it..
You truly deserve the award.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Alycia said...

Dear Linda, This was a most beautiful post. I love your honesty and it is this very thing, that blesses so many who visit your blog. I think you are most deserving of the Reflection Award and I am so thankful to have met you. For me, surrendering control is almost a daily thing. Just when I think I have layed everything down at the throne of our God...something pops up and I see evidence of wanting to take the control back. But, it is only when I continually surrender that I am able to feel the peace of God. It is a beautiful thing...

Have a wonderful day today Linda :)

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Cyndi said...

Oh, I'm right there with you Sophora. I was saved at a young age and have done ALL my foolishness as a child of God. The enemy loves to remind me of it, too. I loved your analogy with your plant. And what a picture of God's grace. We all need it, no matter how slow our growth. It's glory unto glory, new mercies day-by-day. Thanks so much for sharing this!

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I'm another one of those very young starters who struggles with the same things! You have hit the nail on the head, once again. That is what we all love about you!

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

I was so touched by this post- you seem to speak so many times from my heart, Linda!

At 8:07 PM, Blogger SharonB said...

Linda - Thank you! I struggle so often with feeling that I am growing oh so slow! I am forty something and am sure I should be further along than I am! I should be producing more fruit than I am! So thank you for sharing your heart. You have been a true ecouragement to me today! God Bless you dear sister.

At 11:33 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

He sure can!! And obviously is already at work and guess what - He promises to finish the GOOD work He has begun in you...and He saw it and said that it was GOOD - Holy and Blameless to be exact - not to mention precious, treasured, and much beloved.

Totally loved this post...as always.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Linda...that was beautiful. I saw me in that stripped bare plant...Now is the time to "prune it back". It will help it in the long run...just baby it, fertilize it....may want to even put something (a hedge of protection) around it until it gets going (actually sprinkling black pepper may work)...your thoughts from your heart were awesome! I've been there....thanks for sharing all :)


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