Lessons from the garden

To this day, I still hear the story from the time I was a little girl and despised one of my chores – weeding the garden.

My mom tells of how she would ask me to please weed between the corn rows of our sizeable garden. I found the request difficult to digest. It was a gorgeous summer day – perfect for playing volleyball or running through the sprinkler. And I had to weed the garden?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind helping my parents and doing chores. But weeding?

An hour after I was assigned the task, my mom came outside to find me just how she had left me. “PENNY ANN!” she said sternly, causing me to jump. I had been sitting there, my little blond head tilted back and my face turned heavenward. My legs were crossed and I lounged between the tall corn rows while daydreaming about stories I would write.

My mom was further disturbed when she realized I’d not pulled a single weed. I have to admit this was neither the first nor the last time this happened.

Fast forward and today one of my most favorite pastimes is gardening. Being outside in God’s creation and admiring His handiwork brings joy to my soul and makes any day happier. I take pride in keeping my flowerbeds weed free (or almost!) I also harbor an addiction to trees.

My mom still laughs at the 180-degree change in me.

And in all these years of enjoying gardening, I have learned the following lessons from one of my favorite past-times:

1. The change in me from the days of daydreaming amongst the corn rows rather than weeding to now tackling the obnoxious weeds with zest reminds me of the change that comes over us when we become a child of God. That gift of salvation, that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that passion to live for Him. He changes us from the inside out, making us more like Him, as we surrender our lives, our hearts, and our minds to Him.

2. Being without Him is much like a weed growing aimlessly for no real purpose. Growing in Him is much like the tall proud corn stalks with their faces lifted toward heaven.

3. Our eyes can barely behold the beauty, at times, of God’s creation. Whether it be the finely formed hands and feet of a newborn baby, the vibrant smiles of those we love most, the delicate petals of our favorite flower, the rugged mountain peaks, or the vast ocean, God is a master artist. He tells us in Romans 1:20 that we are without excuse when it comes to believing in God based on what we see around us.

The squeal of a toddler, the soft wings of a butterfly, the shimmering leaves on a tree, and the fierce sound of thunder do not come by accident. There is a Hand that creates all of those things and more. Just being present in nature is enough proof of His skilled hand.

4. There will always be weeds. And there will always be “weedy” people. You know the type: difficult to get along with, harsh, unkind, selfish. The best remedy for dealing with the “weedy” people is praying for them. Tough, but it’s the best solution, not only because the Bible commands us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but also because it’s difficult to be angry with someone when we’re actively praying for them.

Today, as I spend time tending to my flowers and trees, I’m reminded of those lessons. Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to You. May we always continue to grow in You and impact others for Your glory.


Thank you for stopping by! Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of new beginnings

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

thankful for the small things

surviving shingles, part 1

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Movie Monday: Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story (movie review)

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider

Lessons from the garden

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

To this day, I still hear the story from the time I was a little girl and despised one of my chores – weeding the garden.

My mom tells of how she would ask me to please weed between the cornrows of our sizeable garden. I found the request difficult to digest. It was a gorgeous summer day – perfect for playing volleyball or running through the sprinkler. And I had to weed?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind helping my parents and doing chores. But weeding?

An hour after I was assigned the task, my mom came outside to find me just how she had left me. “PENNY ANN!” she said sternly, causing me to jump. I had been sitting there, my little blond head tilted back and my face turned heavenward. My legs were crossed and I lounged between the tall cornrows while daydreaming about stories I would write.

My mom was further disturbed when she realized I’d not pulled a single weed. I have to admit this wasn’t the last time this happened.

Today one of my most favorite pastimes is gardening. Being outside in God’s creation and admiring His handiwork brings joy to my soul and makes any day happier. I take pride in keeping my garden and flowerbeds weed free (or almost!) I also harbor an addiction to trees. My mom still laughs at the 180-degree change in me.

Such a change reminds me of the change that comes over us when we become a child of God. That gift of salvation, that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that passion to live for Him. Being without Him is much like a weed growing aimlessly and for no real purpose. Growing in Him is much like the tall proud corn stalks with their faces lifted toward heaven.

Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to You. May we always continue to grow in You and impact others for Your glory.

Training for God

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

I am thrilled to have guest blogger, Kerry Johnson, on my blog today. Kerry is a wife, mother, and writer and her insightful blog posts can regularly be seen at www.candidkerry.wordpress.com

And now, without further ado, here is Kerry’s awesome post…

 Training for God

Why does the Bible say we have to number our days?” Cole looked straight through me with his guileless blue eyes.

I shot a nervous glance at the kitchen clock. 7:40. Why now?

Though I love when our boys ask Biblical questions, time was short. It was a hectic Monday morning and my hubby was heading out the door with Cole. I hugged them both goodbye and told my thoughtful first-grader, “Since we’re only on earth a short time God wants us to spend those days wisely for Him. We need to be…”

An unexpected thought crossed my groggy mind. “We need to be responsible, reliable, and really useful with our time.”

A distant choo-choo echoed through my imagination like an outspoken, long-lost friend. Thomas the Train?!

As Trevor and Cole loaded into the car, memories flooded back. From 16 months to a few months before his third birthday, Cole lived and breathed trains. He carried them around, lined them up, raced and crashed them. We watched Thomas the Train DVDs until I choo-chooed in my sleep.

“Thomas and the Magic Railroad” was one of the first movies Cole watched as a toddler, and I remember hearing “Mr. Conductor,” played by Alec Baldwin, repeating the three R’s of Railroading: “engines must be responsible, reliable, and really useful.”

I realized it tied neatly into what our six-year-old was asking.

Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” How can we number our days for God? By being responsible with how we live, reliable with how we love, and really useful for our Savior – all for God’s glory.

Being responsible with how we live means being accountable to our Savior for our actions and decisions. We’re each created for God’s good works – to fulfill a purpose for His glory. Paul’s words in Acts 20:24 create a framework for living responsibly for Him. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” We each have a life race to run for Christ, and we’re purposed by the abilities He gave us. 

The variance of God’s gifts and calling is a marvelous rainbow of God-infused human talent: a few will be pastors and theologians; many will scrub floors and change diapers while quietly raising a new generation of believers; some will walk the slums of cities ministering light into darkness; a few will write stories magnifying God’s love; still others serve Christ with their lives while protecting widows and children in civil war-torn Sudan. 

What matters most is that we’re responsible within our specific calling from Christ.

When someone is reliable, they’re known to be trusty, authentic and consistent. I pray as our sons grow and mature they’ll be reliable with how they love. I pray they’ll choose to love people in their lives not because it feels good (and it will – at times) but because they were loved first – unconditionally – by their Savior.

Jesus’ love is the most reliable – trusty, authentic, consistent – love we’ll ever experience.

When Jesus commanded, “love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:12 & 13), our Savior didn’t mean we’re to love when we feel like it or when it’s convenient. After all, feelings are consistent only in their inconsistency; choosing to love others selflessly is aiming for our Savior’s heart.

When we seek our Savior’s heart and our love is shaped by His love and His Truth (God’s Word), we’ll be reliable in how we love.

The most effective way to be really useful for God is by living according to His Word. The Bible provides perfect guidance for how we’re to number our days for Christ. Paul’s words to the Colossian church detail how our lives can be really useful for God. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (3:12-14). 

Verse 14 is a wonderful physical representation that we’re to “put on love,” or wear it over ourselves.

When God’s love covers everything we do (living responsibly) and our love for others (loving reliably) then we’ll be really useful for Him – all for His glory.

Bio: Kerry Johnson grew up exploring the woods in Connecticut and reading any book she could get her hands on, sometimes at the same time. Now transplanted to sunny Florida, she still loves to read and write, which come third only to her love for her Savior and to her loud and very ticklish family. Patient hubby Trevor keeps her feet on earth and their two bouncing big boys, Cole and Chase, give the best hugs ever. She has her Bachelor of Science in English Education and is blessed to come from a wonderful family who believed in her writing before she did. Kerry finally worked up her courage to join the blogosphere at www.candidkerry.wordpress.com where she writes about God’s world, His word, and His work in and throughout her life.

Mamma, I Need My Pants!

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today awesome blogger, Theresa Horton Miller, is stopping by with her delightful post “Mamma, I Need My Pants!”  Enjoy!

Mamma, I Need My Pants!

It doesn’t matter how many times I offer my two-year-old daughter a solution, she has to try to figure it out all by herself before coming to the conclusion she needs help!  With a little patience on my part, it’s just a matter of time before she asks for the help I am so eager to give her.  It’s that innate will to assert her independence.  Fortunately, she will grow out of this stage as we all do…or do we?  Often, I see my own independent reflection in my two-year-old daughter, Alexa.

Alexa, at one point this morning, took off her pants because they “got sticky” and then remained in only a diaper, a shirt, and socks. When it was time to pick her older brother, Robby, up from school I told her we needed to put her pants back on. She replied, “I don’t need my pants.” I proceeded to try and convince her. “Let’s put your pants on first, then we’ll put your pretty shoes on.” “Oh! My shoes!!” she replied enthusiastically as she darted up the stairs to retrieve her “pretty shoes.”  She bounced back down and proceeded to wiggle her little toes into the opening of her first shoe.  I, once again, encouraged her to let me put her pants on first, then her shoes. “I don’t need my pants,” she declared as she pressed her heal down into the shoe. She successfully weaseled both feet into her shoes.  They were on the right feet and they matched her shirt beautifully, just no pants.

Now I’m a believer in natural consequences so, I decided this was not a battle I was going to pick.

“Okay, Alexa, let’s put your coat on then.”

“I don’t need my pants or my coat.”

“Okay, let’s go.” We proceeded out the door.

In a high-pitched shrill, Alexa cried, “It’s windy.”

“Do you need your pants?”

“I need my coat.”

We put the coat on.  “How about your pants?”

“I don’t need my pants.”

We proceeded outside again. She made it all the way to the car, stopped and cried in her high-pitched shrill, “It’s windy!”

“Do you need your pants?”

“I need my hat.”

I went and fetched her hat and put it on her.  “How about your pants?”

“I don’t need my pants.”

She was happy.

Imagine my daughter in 26 degree weather in a coat, hat, socks,shoes, and a diaper.  Half-way down the road I hear from behind me, in that high-pitched, drama-girl, shrill…

“Maaaamaa…I need my pants!”

Oh, the lessons I learn from my two-year-old daughter!  Like Alexa I, too, can be as stubborn with my Heavenly Father as to say, “No thanks, Lord, I have what I need.”  I persist determined to try to figure it out all by myself.  Then when a circumstance overwhelms me I, too, cry out in a panic, “Looooord…I need you!”  Or maybe just some pants…at any rate, I realize that what I need so desperately in a moments time is something that, just maybe, he’s been offering me all along.  Oh, the love and patience of my Heavenly Father when I realize—my way has, once again, fallen short of my needs.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 4:19

Theresa is a wife and mother of four from Wyoming. Her passions are primarily with her family and in writing – both of which reflect Jesus Christ, the author of and reason for each of these gifts. Theresa has coordinated her local MOPS group and started a second group in her community last year, which she currently coordinates.  Theresa has written articles for her local MOPS newsletter, for church newsletters and has published in an on-line devotional magazine, Internet Café Devotions.  Theresa authors Heavenly Glimpses blog, where she captures the heart of Christ through glimpses into the life of her children, her marriage, and a humbly inspired heart.  Be sure to visit Theresa’s blog at www.heavenlyglimpses.blogspot.com.