Tag Archives: Hope

Heart Pruning

24 Jan

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” ~ John 15:1-2

My devotional this morning reflected on the above passage of scripture.  My thoughts during my prayer time began to run over my own gardening skills, of both flowers and the heart.

I am not a very accomplished gardener.  Oh, how I wish I was.

I keep thinking one day I will wake up and realize that my Mima’s green-thumb genes have finally made their way down to me.  I am still waiting.  For now I accept the fact that my skills are limited and I rejoice in the knowledge that my succulents survived all summer and will hopefully make it back after a long winter’s nap.

Pruning the Vine

As I thought about my garden, or lack there-of, I was drawn to the image I snapped of the “dead” hydrangea bush in the backyard awhile back.  I remember thinking when I took the picture, “This is how I feel.”

Dried up. Forgotten. Something once beautiful dying inside.

I snapped the picture thinking that I could look back at it one day and hopefully be in a better place spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Thankfully I am able to look back today and realize that I am better.

I’m not where I want to be, and I have a long road ahead of me, but today, for now, I am able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

But it took hard work.

It took a lot of pruning.

And there is work yet to do.

Just like the hydrangea bushes in my yard need to be pruned, the dead flowers and branches cut off so new beautiful ones can bloom in Spring, I too need my life pruned of the dead things that weigh me down and keep me from blooming.

In the midst of preparing for Spring cleaning I need to take an inventory of my life and figure out what heart pruning needs to happen.

What is preventing me from becoming the person God has created me to be?  What is holding me back?  What is making me heart-sick?

Maybe it is too much of something, like too much tv, or even social media.  Maybe it is not enough of something, like time with God or time with the Hubs.

Whatever is causing me to wither needs to be cut away, and whatever needs to take root needs to be watered and nourished so that I can bear the fruit that God intends for my life.

It will take more hard work.

It will take an honest and deep look into the dark, dusty corners of my heart.

It will take time and attention to what is really important.

But I know that I am not alone as I prune my heart, and neither are you.

If you continue to read the passage of scripture in John 15, Jesus reminds us to remain in Him and He will help us to bear much fruit.  He also points out that He doesn’t talk about the hard work of pruning to be cruel, but does so out of love and for our good, so that we can be complete.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ~John 15:11

Heart pruning isn’t easy or quick work, just like gardening.

Your hands will get dirty.

You will get tired.

Your knees might ache, because the best place to begin pruning is in prayer.

What heart pruning does your life need?

What is keeping you from picking up those “pruners?”  Fear? Doubt? Pride? Pain?

I have let all of those things and more keep me from the business of pruning sometimes.  Sometimes it is hard to know what to do.

Let the Master Gardener help!  God is more than willing and able to give you gardening tips!

So, let’s create some splendid heart gardens that bloom with love, hope, and grace, making the world a much more beautiful place to live.

Gracefully~~Heather

(P.S. For those readers that have stuck around, thank you!  I have been on hiatus in the midst of some major heart pruning, which has included this blog.  I have been allowing God to guide me as I figure out where my desires and His meet for my life.  I know writing is a major part of that but it is going to take a little different path.  I will be starting a new blog soon called Soul Beautiful.  SO stay tuned!  I hope you follow me over there and continue to let God bless you as He speaks through my words. Thanks!)

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 14 & 15} Motivation and My Journey to Being Soul Beautiful

15 Nov

If you are on Pinterest and have any kind of fitness board, you have probably seen this picture (and pinned it.)

I am on week 12!  I can attest to these statements above as pretty accurate.  I noticed some results around 4 weeks and friends and family are already saying they can see a difference since I started working out consistently.

When I began to work-out, after my second C-section in June, I was at 275.  Not quite the heaviest I had been, but close.  I was sick of not being able to do things I wanted to do, wear what I wanted, and feeling awful. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  Even though I have been struggling with my weight since my knee surgery 10 years ago, I still don’t associate myself with the fat person I see in the mirror, because I know I am not that person.  I’ve been pretty and in amazing shape and I want that person back, inside and out.

I am not comfortable in my own skin.  But sitting around feeling mad or sorry for myself wasn’t going to help.  Only I could make changes to be healthier and happier. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 13} Poetry and Prose

13 Nov

My poetry is not something I have shared as much on this blog.  I have used Allpoetry.com as the outlet for those words.

But I love poetry, prose, limericks, and the like.

Raw emotions harnessed within the lines of meter and sometimes rhyme; poetry is the world’s window to the soul.

I am grateful that God has gifted me in sharing written words, whether as story or metaphor, imagery or fact.

I pour my soul from pen to paper as if my blood is the very ink with which I write.  I convey that which I cannot speak.  I create from hope, tears, love, pain, and grace.

My life lines the paper and I am laid bare.

This was a poem I wrote for Allpoetry Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 11} How to Choose

12 Nov Abundant Life

I have a gratitude problem.

However, it is not because I don’t appreciate the people and things I have in my life.

My problem is I have so much that I am grateful for that it is making it difficult to choose what to post about each day.

I know, first world problems.

When I decided to do this Thankful Heart series I wasn’t sure how it would play out.  Would I plan it all ahead or would I decide what I was grateful for each day and be inspired?

Being the emotional being I am, Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 8} Breath

8 Nov

Well, Day 8 and the bad/sad news is I did not get the job.

Not going to lie; I cried some.

Sounds silly, but I really wanted the position.  We really need me to get a job and I was hoping it would be one I was excited and passionate about, not just something to bring home a check.

I’m trying to focus on the fact that this was obviously not God’s will for me.  He must have something better in store.  I’m hoping.

Still pretty bummed right now.  I felt so good about my chance to work at the crisis center; I know I would have rocked it!

Oh well.  Time to hit the classifieds again.

So for now I am grateful to just keep breathing, even in the midst of disappointment and discouragement.

God is in control, not me, and that makes all the difference.

BTW, if anyone knows of a great non-profit social services job, or you want to hire me, drop me a line!

Gracefully~~Heather

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 2} Good Grace

2 Nov When all else is gone, your grace remains.
Photo courtesy of Kaci Sappington

My Facebook newsfeed is full of my friends and family updating statuses with what they are thankful for.  I noticed that many people were catching up on Day 2 and listing the two things they are grateful for. Most listed God, faith, or the like as the first thing they are thankful for.

Guilt creeped in.

What kind of a pastor’s wife am I?  I was grateful for happiness and health before being grateful for God?!

Alert social medias.

I suppose what happened was simply that I was editing the pictures of the boys and that was what struck me as needing to express my gratitude for.  I also suppose that my gratefulness for God in my life is so interwoven into the fabric of all I do and am that it sometimes goes unspoken or unwritten.

So, God, have no worries, You are who I am most grateful for.

I know You were wondering. (Sarcasm people.) Continue reading

Straw Survival

4 Oct

Each day is exhausting and I’m drowning.   I feel like I am bailing myself out with a straw.

Okay, so a straw and Diet Cherry Dr.Pepper are helping with survival

I don’t have any money to make an adorable fall wreath or even the energy to arrange my fall décor.  And it makes me feel like a failure.  My house is beginning to feel like it’s aiming for a spot on hoarders (ok not even close), but the bathrooms are dirty, clothes are piled up, and crumbs were being carried off by ants (literally), until the bug guy came out.  If we get the dishes cleaned, and the toys somewhat contained, we consider it a victory.  It all feels like too much and I’m not enough.   My worry over not enough of this and too much of that is consuming my joy day to day.  I am finding it hard to focus on all the good amidst the clutter of my heart.

I’m clinging to a few things right now.  I have started working out with a great group of girls every weekday morning.  We meet from 5:30-6:15 (Yep, A.M!) and are led by a few girls who completed GFit.  We have jokingly nicknamed it Equate GFit since it is sort of a generic form of the popular workout.  We don’t pay in $, but believe me, we pay in sweat.  I’m so grateful that I asked to join the group and convinced my friend to join me.  I am even more grateful that I have gotten up to attend, although I am somewhat less than grateful when every movement causes me to grunt in pain.

My boys are another source of hope, love, and grace for me. Even when Micah has tested every boundary possible and Kasen refuses to stay asleep longer than 30 minutes, I am grateful to have two precious boys to love.  I’m not a perfect mom by any means, and most days feel like the furthest thing from it, but I am trying.  The other boy I couldn’t make it without is my husband.  Aaron loves me enough to stick by me.  He helps out so much with the boys and the day to day operations.  When he sees me at my limit, he is quick to step in and give me a little while to regroup.  He is truly my prince and my other half.

The other source of strength right now is the daily devotional I have been reading.  It is much easier to find the time for this when my day begins at 5am!  I have been devouring the words that the ladies over at Girlfriends in God share and it never fails to speak directly to my heart.  I have the GIG app on my phone so I have access to devotions wherever I am.

Today’s scripture particularly spoke light and truth in the darkness of my heart. Continue reading

10 Scriptures to Soothe Mommy’s Soul

24 Sep Harried Heather at the end of my rope

(Fair Warning: This is a lengthy post.  My lack of posts has built up and is now overflowing.  Read it through…it’s worth it.  I’m also biased!)

Yesterday (Sunday) is often considered to be a day of rest.  Sabbath.

Not so in my world.

We are a ministry family.  My husband is the senior pastor of our church and that means Sunday is a work day, and not just for him.  I’m currently the children’s ministry director and even when I am not teaching on a Sunday, I am checking in with leaders, counting little heads, hands, and hearts, and collecting the change in our Children’s Change Jar.  By the time the service is over and we have fellowshipped with as many congregants as possible, chased our almost 3-yr old son  all over the sanctuary (altar rails, chairs, stage…), and consoled our now cranky almost 4-month old, we are wiped out.

But the day isn’t even over!

If it’s a good day, I will have a delicious crockpot meal simmering in the slow-cooker.  The scent will tantalize our tastebuds as we drag in through the front door.  We can sit and eat in relative relaxation for a little bit, but let’s be honest; we haven’t had a relaxing meal on a regular basis in almost 3 years.  Hmmm, why is that?

If it’s a fantastic day we will splurge and endure the craziness of eating out with two children under the age of 3 and indulge in Mexican food.  Pass the salsa and chips please!

Yesterday was a good day.

I had dinner on low and slow in the crockpot so we had gourmet turkey sandwiches for lunch.  Micah (the 3 yr. old) wanted PB crackers and squeeze fruit.  He ate the fruit and pushed the crackers around his plate.  He was hungry later.  Not surprised.  All was normal and even calm in the Tiger house.

Then it was time for naps.

It needs to be said that Sunday afternoon naps are a sacred and time-honored tradition that Aaron and I treasure and have made a priority in our relationship for the past ten years.  Come hell, high water, or a second kid, we will have our Sunday nap.

Unless there is a football game on.  Or a ministry meeting.  Or a family function.  Or a preschooler with a stubborn streak a mile long.

You get the picture though.  We don’t just like our rest.  We NEED our Sunday refueling nap to sustain us through small groups, meetings, and any other church event that might be scheduled.

Aaron took Micah back to his room to settle down for naptime.  I was nursing Kasen, ready to swaddle that little bug and get him drifting off ASAP so Mommy could settle in for a long Sunday snooze.

Both boys had other intentions.

Micah dug in his tenacious little heels and refused to settle, sleep, or even stay still.  I was tagged in to take over for Aaron.  Kasen was handed off smoothly with no fumble.  Micah cared for the change in coaches about as much as the NFL is loving the fill-in refs.  He yelled, he screamed, he kicked, and he flopped.  If the Emmy’s handed out an award for Best Dramatic Tantrum, he would have it in the bag.

We ignored him.  We talked calmly and soothingly to him.  We carried him back to his room and shut the door (that does not have a lock?!) I held him tightly in a loving hold to stop the flailing. We gave him options.  We attempted to reason, reward, cajole, and bribe the child to stop throwing the fit.  We FAILED!!!

I even attempted singing a new temper song we had learned just that morning watching PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, even though I knew I was messing the words up.  “I’m so mad I could roar, but instead I’ll count to four.  One. Two. Three. Four.”  Something like that.  It even seemed like that was working.  Until it wasn’t.  The fit resumed in full force after a few calmer, shuddering breaths.  I should have sung the song to myself a few times.  After a slap in the face (my face), elbow to the stomach (yep, mine), and a scream in the ear (mine too), I lost all my patience and my mind for a moment.

Savage Mommy Tiger roared.  Right in the face of her little tiger cub.  Continue reading

From Storms to Smooth Sailing

7 Aug

Hello sweets!  I know that it has been an extended absence on my end, and while I apologize for no new posts, I desperately need some grace.  I’m struggling to find my place, rhythm, and routine since Kasen’s joyous arrival into our lives, and this blog has been a casualty of that wandering war.  When I have found moments where I might put my “pen to paper,” I find myself utterly lacking in inspiration, leaving my blog stagnant but my draft box burgeoning.

Even in the midst of the struggle there are great rays of light and I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace the content life, but in this I am not my usual fast learning self.  I have found a friend!  Yay!  I will fill in those details later.  She has been a true blessing and I am enjoying the moments of growing together.  We walk early in the morning 4-5 x’s a week and it is not only good for my body, it is water for a parched soul, just getting to spend that hour communing.

But there is still longing; still fixing, healing, restoring that needs to happen.  There is the discontent that I am trying to stare down.

Facing the storms of life head on

As I was making my way through my incredibly long list of blogs I read, I stopped by the ever-gifted Leanne Penny at leannepenny.com and was once again blown away at her words and the way she always seems to reach right in to my heart and pour in hope and grace.  She was writing today about connection of the husband and wife variety; the very kind I have been missing so much.  She threw down a connecting gauntlet and idea sharing challenge.  Read about that here and contribute your own connecting tips and insights.

This was my response…. Continue reading

The Final Countdown

31 May

It really is the final countdown.  The last day.  Things will never be the same after tomorrow.  Any way I choose to see or say it, life changes tomorrow.

Kasen Cross Tiger will arrive via C-Section sometime between 9 & 10am Friday, June 1, 2012.  My heart is all aflutter as my arms eagerly await the new bundle of joy to love on.

Kasen Cross at 38 wks. He is sucking on his hand, and is all scrunched up.

Still, I know today will either fly by or creep along.  I will feel like I didn’t get everything done, and I’m pretty certain that not much rest will be had tonight.  So imagine my delight when I read my devotion earlier:

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:5-8

Even though my C-Section is scheduled, I believe it is the best option for my and Kasen’s safety, and I have full confidence in my doctor’s ability to deliver Kasen successfully, there is still anxiety clinging to my thoughts.  The what if’s and uncertainties are not easy to shake off.  How glad I am that when I am weak, He is strong.  I will need that strength not only tomorrow, but most surely in the days, weeks, and months ahead as I adjust to life as a mother of two darling boys.

So I will pour out my heart, I will pour out my soul, trusting in God’s grace and provision.  I will seek rest in Him instead of relying on my comfy fort of pillows that have been my bed fellows for the past 9 months.  I will rejoice in the great gift God has given when we hold our sweet new baby boy and know that God will continue to guide our journey, one step at a time.

Gracefully~~Heather