Guest post: A Lesson In Spiritual Sewing

Today, I am honored to introduce my very first guest author ever! Her name is Margaret and she just so happens to be my mother. :) Since she’s such an important part of “being Fae”, I find it rather fitting that she gets to be the first guest writer for my blog — and, as you’ll see in her piece, it was not specifically arranged to be that way! But before we get to that bit, I would like to properly introduce her.

My mother grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) and she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior around 4 or 5 years old. She tells me that she has had an awareness of His involvement in her life since she was little. Her heart’s desire is always to honor and glorify Him, and I think she is quite diligent about ascribing glory and honor to Him, whether via text message replies or posts on Facebook or in the middle of conversation. A lot of my own heart for God has been influenced by her beautiful example.

My mom loves bike riding, (especially tandem with my dad), reading, crochet, volleyball and being outside; she has four kids, (of which I am the oldest), and she tells me that each of our unique abilities and hearts for God bring her much joy.

She writes…

“Lesson I learned today: If you don’t want to take the time to baste stitch, you WILL take the time to seam-rip!”

After writing that as my status on Facebook the other night, my daughter commented that there was some spiritual application in that statement and she asked me if I would like to guest post for her blog. I gave it some thought and prayer, but nothing specific was coming to me. I thought of all kinds of applications like: If you don’t do your laundry, you will be wearing dirty clothes. If you don’t spend time with your kids, they will do time when they are older. But nothing seemed to give me that ah-ha feeling. So I commented that it was likely hers to write about as nothing was coming to me, but I would love to guest blog another time. Then I went out on a quick trip to Wal-Mart. While I was in the car, Chip Ingram’s message came on — it was the second time that day that I got to hear this particular message, entitled “Sexual Purity in a Sex-Saturated World” (I listen to him and James MacDonald every morning as I get ready for the day). But this time while listening to him, when he said he was “ruthless” about what he fed his mind through his ears and eyes because he knew how “weak” he was, I started bawling because it resonated with me big time. Many might look at me and think I am a strong Christian. But I am not. I’m actually quite weak! And it is because of my weaknesses that I am diligent…ruthless…about what I feed myself spiritually speaking.

When it is in my control, I try to diet solely on Christian music because it has been my experience that when I deviate into the secular realm, it is the first baby step towards broken fellowship with God. It gets me thinking things I shouldn’t think or dwelling on “the good ol’ days” and getting into pity parties. It even does a number on my pride…making me feel “cool”.

My reading preferences exclude secular romance and the latest best-sellers that could promote thinking on things that are not true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, have virtue or are praiseworthy. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Something else I have to guard, but have the hardest time regulating, is my TV viewing. I love reality TV — shows that show people interacting with each other. I find that stuff fascinating. It is better for me to be ruthless and not turn the TV on at all than to think that I won’t get sucked in to watching something that is not edifying.

I am ruthless about certain practices, too. For example, bouncing my eyes off of men I find attractive, whether it is a magazine picture or on TV or in real life.

One thing Chip Ingram brought out in his message was something like this: “If King David, who was “a man after God’s own heart”, who experienced God in many amazing ways and who knew true communion with God, could fall away into adultery and then try to cover it up with murder, surely *I* am capable of the same or worse!” 

I agree completely!!!

A good seamstress will take the time to baste-stitch in order to prevent time spent with a seam-ripper. I spend time with godly influences in order to prevent time spent in broken fellowship, breaking the heart of God, and having to do the work of repentance. I don’t do it because I am a good Christian, though. I do it because I know my weaknesses.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12

Just A Closer Walk With Thee
1. I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

[Refrain: ]
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, ’tis my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

2. Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
3. When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

___
The message mentioned in this post can be found at http://livingontheedge.org/broadcasts by scrolling to the dates August 29 and August 30.

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GOD MADE MY PLANT GROW!!!

“When I was done, I had a good-sized pile of dirt, roots, and broken stems. My original plan was to put all of it in the trash. But the process of sifting had revealed that there were a lot of root systems still capable of producing sprouts. I couldn’t bear to throw them in the garbage, but there was no room in the pots. So I went outside and found a nice patch of grass out of the way of mowing paths and spread it all out, hopeful that it would sprout in warmer weather. It reminds me of something my aunt told me once, during a particularly rough time in my life: “God wastes nothing.” Not the extra soil, not the myriad roots, not the broken stems. He uses all of it somewhere, often out of my sight and unbeknownst to me, always to His glory and for our good.” (from this post.)

two months later, i see this:

image

my jaw dropped! oh me of little faith! it’d been two months and nothing had ever shown up! but suddenly nothing turned into something. ^_^

that’s my favorite thing about God: He can make Something out of anything.

i am reminded once again, not to give up hope just because He’s taking longer than i expected. ♥

How To Save A Life

I had to re-pot a plant for my mom today. It was very root-bound, producing far more plant than the poor pot could handle. I ended up with two plants, instead of one. It made me think of people, and how often we over-cram our lives full of things that are inherently good and beneficial but end up stifling our growth. How much plant can one pot hold? It can hold a lot, actually, but it shouldn’t, because it’s not good for the plant. How many commitments can one life hold? I certainly know from experience that a life can hold quite a few commitments — but I also know how destructive it can be when there’s too much going on. Too many people, too many hobbies, too many obligations, too many distractions. Too many roots, not enough soil. Something is going to die. What’s dying in your life because you have too much going on? Are there things you can delegate to a new pot?

While I was sifting the dirt for roots and laying aside the ones that could be re-planted, my four-year-old daughter took note of what I was doing. She was horrified. “Mommy! Why are you ruining Gramma’s plant??” I couldn’t help but smile. It really did look like I was ruining Gramma’s plant. How often has it looked like God is ruining my life? But is that in keeping with what I know His character to be? If my daughter had taken the time to reason it out, even at age four, she probably could have figured out that it was out of character for me to ruin something that belonged to someone else. In reality, I was doing the exact opposite; I was bringing freedom to the healthy parts of the plant and sifting the dead parts out. Sometimes it feels like God is ruining my life when really, He’s just freeing me up. Taking out the dead stuff and leaving the healthy stuff behind to grow and spread out a little bit. Fresh air, spacious soil. It’s a painful process but a soul feels so much better — freer — when it’s over.

I was tempted to rush, because I wanted to see the finished product. Not surprisingly, I often try to rush God, too. “Let’s go! I want to be finished already! Process is boring, hard, tedious, painful, TOO LONG.” I’m thankful that God isn’t manipulated by my foolish desires and fleshly impatience. He takes exactly the amount of time that’s needed to properly sift, patiently dig, productively plant.

When I was done, I had a good-sized pile of dirt, roots, and broken stems. My original plan was to put all of it in the trash. But the process of sifting had revealed that there were a lot of root systems still capable of producing sprouts. I couldn’t bear to throw them in the garbage, but there was no room in the pots. So I went outside and found a nice patch of grass out of the way of mowing paths and spread it all out, hopeful that it would sprout in warmer weather. It reminds me of something my aunt told me once, during a particularly rough time in my life: “God wastes nothing.” Not the extra soil, not the myriad roots, not the broken stems. He uses all of it somewhere, often out of my sight and unbeknownst to me, always to His glory and for our good.

Today, I discovered another way that I take after my Father — I like to garden! He’s profoundly better at it, but that’s a good thing. It provides just the motivation that this stubborn and rebellious child needs to ask God to kneel in the dirt with her. Of course He’s delighted to, on one condition — do I trust Him enough to do what He says, even if it doesn’t make sense? Today…I do.

And so the digging begins.

When God Closes the Door on His Presence

I went down to the garage today to get something out of the downstairs fridge for my mom. My son followed me in, but when I went through the door to go back into the house, he stayed in the garage. I stood in the doorway calling, “Come on! Come with Mommy.” But he just stood there. I could have gone over to him and picked him up to carry him in, but I didn’t. Instead, I shut the door, leaving him on one side and me on the other. I didn’t go anywhere; I just stood there to listen. Sure enough, he started to fuss, no doubt coming to the conclusion that the garage wasn’t nearly as interesting when his mother was ‘gone’. I opened the door and didn’t even have to tell him to come; he immediately started toddling toward me, anxious for my presence.

It struck me, immediately in the moment that he started toddling toward me, that God has done the same thing in my life on occasion: He has shut the door on His presence so I would start seeking after Him.

It’s easy to get caught up in the frills and luxuries of this life; and, as I’m learning in Andy Stanley’s The Grace of God, it’s RIGHT to enjoy the frills and luxuries of this life because it’s all a gift from God. Problems arise when we *forget* where all the good things have come from; but God is good ALL the time and so, sometimes, He shuts the door to His presence. He doesn’t go anywhere — after all, He promised He would never leave us or forsake us.

No, He stands on the other side of that door and He waits until we start ‘fussing’ for His presence. And then He opens the door again and we go running — to HIM, the Author of our lives, the Giver of all things good and the *only* reason we are even capable of enjoying anything good in the first place. ❤

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)