Thursday, November 11, 2021

Jesus..Where Are You?

With December creeping up on us all so quickly, we ordered Chace a new toy. A simple Nativity Set. He is an extremely curious two year old boy. Like all two year olds, he listens and learns something every day. This little Nativity is sure to be a treasured piece. We learned the Christmas Story faster than I could hope. Chace played and role played..the angel..the shepherds..and certainly, the baby Jesus! One moment particularly caught my attention. He kept saying, "Baby Jesus, where are you?" 

I quickly we become absorbed in all the beauty, busy and to do lists of the most wonderful time of the year, and before we know it, we misplace Jesus. He never moves... yet, in our hustle, we rush right over Him. 

Before the Christmas season moves into full swing, may we pause to ask, "Jesus, where are you, in the midst of all our planning?" And may we keep Him..front and center. 


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Life Lessons From Mom's Flower Garden, Chapter 2

 One day, after a visit at Mom's house, I flowers were fading quickly. Just a few weeks prior, I had "post worthy" pics of some of these same plants. They were stunning and vibrant. It was hard to even fathom these colorless blooms belonged to the same plants from a few weeks ago. "What in the world am I doing wrong?" I gasped on the phone to Mom. I went through the long list of everything I was doing. Feeling very much like a defense attorney pleading my case! Mom agreed I was doing most everything correctly, but I failed to do one of the most important steps to a thriving garden...

Lesson 2: You must pinch off and remove the dead blooms to make room for new growth.

Mom patiently explained... removing the old, dead blooms was essential to maintaining brilliant color all season long. Without this step, beauty would only last for a short moment. 

This was time consuming and a little painful with each nick from the rose bush thorns. However, after a few short weeks, the bright colors of healthy plants again brought color to the green backdrop. 

As I pinched off each dead blooms and anticipated the new that would soon replace it, I heard God speaking clearly. "Danita, if you are going to truly bloom where you are planted, you must allow me to remove the dead, lifeless things you are holding in your heart. You must give me space for new growth, new relationships, new ministry and new beginnings." You see, I struggle with holding on to the past. I have also struggled with holding on to seasons of hurt. But by keeping the dead things in place, I was certainly not thriving or reflecting God's brilliant color in my world.

Isaiah 43:19a says it so beautifully, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? "

What new thing is God leading you to do, but you are holding tight to dead things? God created each one of us to add our own unique splashes of color in this world, but we cannot bloom vibrantly holding on to the past. Hand your Heavenly Father the shears, and allow Him to prune away harmful, dead, old blooms. My heart understands how this step is sometimes painful. There are harmful relationships and thought patterns that are well embedded in our hearts.  Maybe at one time they brought beauty, but maybe God is calling you into a new season. Trust the Master Gardner to create a life so full of beauty, you have yet to imagine it.

 Every day brings new opportunity. Seize this day with freedom, and bloom beautifully again, my friend. πŸ’❤️

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Life Lessons Learned from Mom's Flower Garden-Chapter 1

 In the fall of this past year, my family and I moved across state lines. Leaving a blessed, full life in Texas to embrace a new journey. Family health struggles brought us back home to Arkansas. Literally. To the hills I grew up running, trail-riding and loving. My parents downsized, and my husband and I along with our three children still at home and a puppy moved into what I consider my home place. Life took a much slower pace, as we began settling in on what we call The Haven. A little over 72 acres. We exchanged a suburban home on a small lot with a pool for lots of vast space, quiet hills, our pet chickens and serenity. These hills have always served as a place of healing for me. One particular spot at the top of our hill has been my place to go, when life became too much, and I needed to feel and seek God's faithful presence like never before. It never ceases to amaze me how God plants us right where we should be. And then, provides the provision for rest and renewal through the most unexpected ways. Like Elijah and the broom tree. God provides shade and lessons through his creation. This is what led me to take particular notice of a few simple, yet profound lessons found in the strangest places. You see, by moving into my parent's home, I inherited my Mother's flower garden. Mom's yard was far more than a beautiful landscape. It was and is her masterpiece. Anything her hands plant or touch grows into something extraordinary. Often through the years, her yard has been described as magazine worthy. Suddenly, my not so green thumbs were given the task of trying to maintain the masterpiece. So, I literally spent hours watering, nurturing and even toiling over theses plants that have been planted and transplanted from generations! I began noticing and journaling over special lessons that seemed to come to my heart while spending time in Mom's flower gardens. This is the first of many sweet lessons...

Do not water too fast...take it slow. Let the water seep in slowly. Slow. Down.

One day, after much frustration, I called Mom. "My plants looked terrible!" I gasped on the phone. I explained to her I was faithfully watering, but my plants were dying! She asked how I was watering. I went on to say, "I turn the hose on high and try to make the most out of the little time I have to water." She smiled through the phone. "Sis, you have to turn the hose on low and just let the water slowly absorb...You are not giving it time." Lesson learned. I needed to slow down. Let the water soak in..or else, nourishment would not come.

How many times in life have I tried taking the quick route..rushing..drowning..trying to pour as much in as quickly as possible...only leaving my soul parched. I did not allow time for Jesus, my living water, to sink in. Absorb. Nourish my heart and soul. I read a host of verses so quickly, only to check it off my list. I rush through ministry, trying to fill far too many shoes, not giving my full attention to anything or anyone. my soul relates to this lesson.

Turn the water on low. Take time. Let it sink in today. The miracle is, just like my plants, you will slowly begin thriving again. ❤️

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Blooming Again 🌼

"To Everything there is a season. And a time to every purpose under Heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

A walk this morning revealed the most beautiful picture. Trees beginning to bud and show signs of new life. The most stunning discovery came in the form of beautiful, fresh blooms directly over the little cross we placed at the entrance to our prayer walk. Signs of hope and new beginnings. My mind immediately went to our soon approaching Easter Sunday. This picture perfectly illustrates the gift Easter is to me. The evidence of God's power over death and pain. The proof that resurrection life belongs to each of us as believers. It also symbolizes the truth, Jesus brings beautiful life again..even following hard, wintery seasons. 

This morning, I sat and listened to a complete stranger share her story with me. A story of addiction, the loss of a child, a life left for a hopeless end. But. God. Changed. Everything. She has only been a believer for 4 months now. She has been clean and sober for 4 months. We celebrated this together. She beamed with a freshly blooming heart as she shared, "God is AMAZING!" She and I teared up as she told me how she wished she had come to know Him sooner. I reminded her..we cannot change the past, but we most definitely have the opportunity to place our lives as a pen in God's hands as He writes beauty again into our story. 

My morning conversation with this new, sweet sister shifted my mind back to my morning walk. 

Jesus alone has the power to make our hearts bloom again. πŸŒΌπŸ’›


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Loved Beyond Measure

Loved. Accepted. Cherished. Pursued. Treasured. Enough.

For some, those words bring warmth and smiles. For some, they serve as a reminder of something lacking.  I listened quietly yesterday as a few dear friends oohed and ahhed (not sure how to articulate this adequately into correctly spelled words) over roses delivered. I smiled as some discussed their "knights in shining armor" who taxied them to work under seemingly treacherous road conditions. While others...shared they only wish they had such a knight. Shades of red, boxes of chocolates and balloons were in most every corner. Now, I do not downplay these gifts. I dearly love a timely, special gift. My red arrived in the form of a new beautiful casserole dish, which I might add, is the key to my heart. Dishes and books..two of my most favorite things. I love this time of the year. I always have. But..I am also most sensitive to sweet women of all ages who, through hurting hearts avoid every color of red or pink. You see, sometimes the heart is broken or maybe just covered by layers of protection to avoid any feeling or the vulnerability of putting it on the line to be bruised or wounded again. 

This morning, I carefully retreated to my little haven. My place tucked inside our shop to just "be" with Jesus. I listed to a few podcasts, played a few songs on my newly unpacked, keyboard. Combed through years of Bible Studies, books and notes. I am reminded of the steady love of my Heavenly Father. I am reminded again, I am Him. You, sweet friend are enough. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His. His love never fades in time. It never wavers based on circumstances or performance. He is indeed enthralled with your beauty. After all He created you. Just as you are. He planted dreams and desires deep in your soul..on purpose. He knows what makes you smile. He knows what makes you cry. He knows how to delight you to a point of uncontrolled, hands in the air worship. He holds your hands and your delicate heart. He chases after you. And He never stops chasing until the day you meet Him face to face. You do not need to shield your heart from Him. He wants to fill every longing and empty place with His love and His spirit.... To give sparkle to your eyes and a glow to your face that out performs any beauty cream on the market! Enjoy a piece of chocolate today and spend a moment savoring in your Father's Love. ❤️πŸ’Œ

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." -Jeremiah 31:3