Monday, 16 June 2014

an amazing father....

What a great day together yesterday - celebrating YOU!!  Your kids (all kids, actually) and I adore you.  

Yesterday, you took the boys and their buddy out driving.  Of course they loved that!  It's just like you - having fun yourself by making things fun for others.  You are such an incredible person.

Thank you for loving deeply, for being committed and caring, for putting the Lord first and us next (the best order!), and for always living by example.  If our kids follow in your footsteps - I know they will be wonderful human beings. 

You're an AMAZING FATHER!!  XOXOXOXO from us all. even manage to get our girlie-girl in on the car scene!!

and you make a mean pizza!!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

the weeds in me....

My sister is a wonderful gardener, a real gardener, not just a wanna-be like me.  Last spring she gave me a truck load of transplants to kick start my new flower beds and I couldn't wait to put them in. 
But before the planting....before a flower bed can start to take shape, I know I've got my work cut out for me.  The ground is hard and full of weeds.  The soil isn't ready.  

For the record, weeding is hard.  It's tedious and pain-staking.  It's also critical to a beautiful garden.  So....I dig.  I bend and pull.  I turn soil and follow the roots right to their beginning.  I don't let one little weed go, because if I do, I know it will reproduce faster than anything good in that ground.  

That's the way it is with weeds.  If we don't deal with them, they take right over and choke out the beauty. 

Before long, my back aches and everything inside of me screams that there must be an easier way.  But no!!  There is never an easy way to true beauty.  So I keep on going, adding to the weedy pile of ugly but tenacious roots till the soil has all been turned and the weeds are gone.

Then comes the HOPE -- I can finally plant those seedlings of hope that become the BEAUTY I dream of all winter. 

Tender shoots finally have a place to be planted, nurtured and grow.  

But the hard stuff comes first.  That's spring for me -- that season of dealing with the hard stuff, even while glimpsing the gifts of new beginnings around me.  

So...I hope you will permit me a bit of a rant, just in case I'm not the only one who struggles in spring.....

Many people count spring as one of their favourite seasons.  Not me.  I don't mean to be a spring scrooge.  I am grateful for all the precious gifts that come with spring like longer daylight hours, kids playing later in the neighbourhood when I should be sending them to bed,  birdsong through newly opened doors, buds forming on every branch and crocuses scattered along the walking path.  I'll be the first to admit that something magical happens in me when those first shades of green begin spreading like blankets everywhere, and there's no question that the gentle fragrances of rain and apple tree blossoms and lilacs are some of life's most sensual gifts.  But for me, spring can still be hard.

Where I live, a good part of spring is brown and cold.  And, it's the season when all my running and rushing and commitments catch up with me and I feel dog tired.  Instead of spring cleaning and diving eagerly into new projects, I'm often scraping bottom -- dragging to complete what I've already started.

It's the season where all the weeds I've left unattended in my life, begin sprouting up everywhere and I'm forced to take a closer look at those things that need to be pulled up.  I know that I'm going to have to dig deep and feel the pain.

I don't want the beautiful things God is doing in my life to be choked out by deep-rooted weeds of sin.

So, I call out to the Master Creator, the Designer of my life, the Maker of my dreams, the One who calls me His own.  I know it's only His loving hands that can truly tend the garden of my soul.   

I come to the end of myself, to that place where I just can't do any more, that place where I'll just never be able to measure up and fix all the wrongs, that place where no matter how much I try, it's just not enough to pull out of the hole I've dug myself into -- and there I find Jesus.  There I find the One who saves!  

I grew up hearing the phrase "Jesus Saves."  And now I get it -- after all these years.  Yes,  there is One who saves, who rescues, who delights in making right from all the wrong....who heals my brokenness and turns my mourning into dancing, who lovingly breaks up the hard ground and digs deep enough to get the weedy roots while tenderly protecting the beauty He sees (even the stuff that's still to surface.)

When friends used to tell me that my christian faith was just a crutch, I used to disagree.  Not any more.  I've lived enough years now to realize that it doesn't take long to reach the end of myself, the end of my independence, the end of my own strength, the end of my own strivings.  Yes, do I ever need a Savior to lean on!  I really don't want to live any other way.

And so......please try to be patient with me, even as I try to be patient with myself.  No doubt, the weeding process can be a little ugly.  But join me in keeping a look-out for the flowers He's planted-- they'll be in full bloom before you know it.

With love,

words and images © copyright Melody Armstrong 2014