Friday, April 09, 2010

God is in the details of life!

The delightful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
This is a post that I originally wrote some time ago, but it is still timely.  In 2010, I share an example that had just happened the night before when  I had just finished the process of selecting our airline tickets for a flight out west later that fall.  Here's what I wrote back then:

"Mr. T and I breathed a sigh of thankfulness and relief that we had that item taken care of.  After receiving our confirmation, I scrolled down through the itinerary one last time.  Oh no!  Our last flight was getting us home several hours later than when I had looked at it earlier.  What a mistake!  It cannot be changed now without an extra charge.  I felt horrible.  My sweet hubby told me not to worry about it, that he was not going to, and that we had plenty of time to adjust our plan for getting to and from the airport.  And then it happened: I clicked on the tab for my blog, where earlier in the day I had been looking through older posts trying to decide what to share today.  What was the first thing that met my eye?  These words:  "God is in the details of life!"  What a reminder for me!  My choice of that itinerary was no mistake.  We have been praying about this trip for months.  Somehow, some way, it will be for the best.  Truly, God is in the details." 

And He was.  He always is.  Now, on to my original post:

In my ladies' Sunday School class right now, we are going through the study Loving God with All Your Mind, by Elizabeth George. I have just finished preparing this week's lesson on Living One Day at a Time. It focuses in on Jesus' command in Matthew 6:34 that we are not to be anxious about tomorrow.

There are lots of concerns in my life right now. As my ladies' class has discussed anxiety, we reached the conclusion that most of us are not anxious, worried people. However, most of us do have what we call "concerns". As I studied the lesson for this week, I found the following quote by Lawrence O. Richards, in his Expository Dictionary of Bible Words:

“Both anxiety and worry spring from natural and legitimate concerns that are part of life in this world. But legitimate concerns are handled wrongly when they do one or more of the following: 1) become dominating concerns in our life and lead to fear; 2) destroy our perspective on life and cause us to forget that God exists and cares; or 3) move us to drift into an attitude of constant worry and concern over a future that we cannot control.”

As I was musing over these things and the necessity of leaving my concerns in the capable hands of a sovereign God, a little incident spoke to my heart.

It's been quite warm here, and my husband took a short-sleeved plaid shirt out of his closet to wear to church on Wednesday night. He quickly chose a different one, as the one he'd picked was missing a button. He set it aside so I could replace the button.

Yesterday I decided to take care of that little chore, and quickly grabbed a needle and thread.

A navy blue shirt button shouldn't be hard to find in one of my tins or jars of buttons.

Was I wrong! I found one in the last jar I looked in, but it wasn't going to be ideal. The shirt is so old that the buttons are badly faded and almost look like a dull purple rather than navy blue. On an impulse I looked again at a magnetic pincushion (the dish-like plastic type) where I often place lost buttons. I had glanced at this earlier but the buttons all seemed to be larger than I needed. I stirred the items around a bit -- buttons, pin, paper clips, etc. -- and there, lo and behold, was the exact button I needed for the shirt. Faded to a dull purple, it was undoubtedly placed there when it fell off the shirt.

What an object lesson for me! Right then and there I told the Lord, "You care about the tiny, insignificant details of my life enough to point me to the exact button I need, and I know I can absolutely trust You with my big concerns. Thank You for being in the details!"

Just a little thing -- a tiny button less than a half-inch in diameter. What volumes it spoke to me! Maybe this little story will encourage someone else today. I pray that it will.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter!

I want to wish each and every one of my readers a very blessed Easter Sunday tomorrow! May you be blessed and encouraged as you once again consider Christ's sacrifice for us and His glorious victory over death.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The return of the periwinkle

For Building our Homes Together today, I thought I would share this post which I wrote several years ago and then updated in 2010.  I originally wrote this post back in May 2007. I want to post it again because ... well, you’ll see. Read on:

I think I’ve mentioned before about the wonderful wildflower garden my daughter planted as a young teen. She did virtually all of the work herself -- clearing the ground, laying out brick paths, and transplanting wildflowers. It was a thing of beauty... and so special because she had done it all herself. Some of the flowers she transplanted were from our woods; others she dug up along the roadside. Family and friends who knew of the project were generous and shared plants with her. Her grandfather, in particular, was thrilled with her interest. He was a lifelong observer of nature who kept a “wildflower list” of plants he saw each year. He often brought her plants he had found in his ramblings through the woods and fields near his home.

One of the plants was called periwinkle. With glossy green leaves and charming purply-blue flowers, it made a lovely addition to the wildflower garden.

“It will spread,” Grandpa promised. I didn’t think too much about it at the time; the garden was new, with lots of empty space, and the idea of a plant that would spread didn’t sound too bad. Then too, I had been given plants in the past by friends who told me the plants would spread, and they hadn’t spread very much. I figured our soil was just too poor and that’s why the plants had not spread.

Well, Grandpa was right about the periwinkle -- and I had sadly misjudged it. It spread... and spread... and spread. At first it was charmingly attractive. When the first leafy tendrils crawled across the brick paths, they looked lovely. Those leaves stayed bright and glossy even in the driest droughts and the coldest temperatures. But before many years had passed, periwinkle was everywhere in that garden. There wasn’t much room for the other plants to breathe. The brick paths were almost obliterated by leafy green vines.

Grandpa is appreciating the beauties of heaven now, and my daughter has long since moved to her own acreage. The garden remains here, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it other than raking off the leaves in the spring and enjoying the flowers that still bloomed here and there.

Last fall I became aware of just how much the periwinkle had taken over the garden. I set about to eradicate it. What a task it was! Those plants trailed hither and yon over the garden, putting down roots as they went. And in many cases the roots were deep! It took days and days of pulling, ripping, and tugging at those plants to get them all out. Even then I couldn’t be sure I had them all. I knew that spring would reveal whether or not I’d actually gotten rid of them.

Sure enough, when I raked the leaves off a few weeks ago, there were still occasional sprigs of the glossy green periwinkle. They were quickly pulled out, however, and I feel optimistic that I can keep them under control now. I tossed the uprooted plants far away, in a completely separate area, over an ugly embankment where we could use some ground cover. That way, if they should happen to take root, they would serve some purpose.

The whole project reminded me so much of how sin takes root in our lives. At first it may look attractive and harmless, even desirable. The first periwinkle plant was so pretty. Even when it began crawling over the bricks, I still liked it. But before I was even aware of how much it was spreading and how it was putting down its roots, it was everywhere, choking the life out of the garden. In the same way, sin will choke out our spiritual life. And it happens so subtly we may not even notice. Then what a task we face when we determine to deal with our sin! We think we have it uprooted in one area, but then it pops up somewhere else. This reminds me of the vital importance of keeping short accounts with God and dealing with our sin each and every day.

... Fast-forward to April 2010. I hadn’t seen any of the periwinkle since I pulled out what I thought were the last sprigs of it in 2007. This year we had a lot of warm weather in March, and the snow left the wildflower garden early. Yesterday I was out there moving some large tree branches which had fallen on the garden over the winter. The weather has been so unseasonably warm that lots of shoots are up -- daffodils, bloodroot, tiger lilies -- and periwinkle!

I thought it was long gone, but I found at least a dozen sprigs of it in different places in the garden. It must have worked its way back up to the surface. That’s the same thing that happens when some deep-rooted sin is covered over rather than being dealt with and uprooted out of our lives. Eventually it pops back up and we have to deal with it all over again. What a great object lesson for me today! I’m uprooting that persistent periwinkle again, and hopefully I’ll dig deep enough this time.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A bit of Easter decorating

Here is just a little bit (because that's all I've done) of Easter decorating.
This is my ribbon board in the front hallway, all dressed up for Easter.

I do have a few special vintage Easter cards and some very old ones with spring themes like crocuses.

I didn't change my hutch a lot for Easter, but did add a few things -- again, because I don't have a lot of Easter items. On the tip-top shelf, you'll see most of an egg-shaped Easter candle I acquired at a yard sale.

On the next shelf down, an antique papier-mache egg.

The middle shelf has my maple sugaring display, but I couldn't resist adding an egg-shaped soap in an old-looking votive holder. I have a spool inside the candle holder to prop the soap up.

On the bottom shelf, another papier-mache egg, plus my Royal Doulton Bunnykins mug and bowl from childhood.

A closer look at the bottom shelf: