Tag Archives: Scripture

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!)

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

Fall Frame of Mind

22 Sep Fall at Highbridge in KY

It’s official!  Fall is here!  According to the calendar it is the first day of Fall, and my heart is so happy.

A gorgeous Fall picture I snapped a few years back while living in KY.

Of course, I am ready for Fall to arrive as soon as September begins.  I want to break out the pumpkins, hang the Autumn wreaths, snuggle up with some cider and watch the leaves change and flit from the trees.  However, all good things take time, and Fall is certainly taking its sweet time appearing lately.

Fall temperatures should never reach into the 90’s and God forbid, triple digits, yet I’m afraid those days are not totally over.  Despite the drought this year, the recent rains have allowed trees and grass to green up once again, and there is hope for beautiful Fall foliage.  This time last year most trees had already turned brown and were losing dead leaves.  I’m ecstatic at the thought of driving down the highway and actually seeing the color-changing leaves in all their Autumn splendor.

There is just something about this time of year that speaks to my soul.  The air is crisp and cool, the scent of pumpkins and apples mixed with spices swirl in the air, and it’s time to break out hoodies and cozy blankets and snuggle up at football games.  Perhaps it is Autumn that pumps in my veins as an October baby, and fills my harvest heart with joy.  Fall causes me to slow down, reflect on life, and just breathe it all in.

I was reflecting on the beauty of Fall yesterday and all it causes me to think and feel, and I realized that my view on life seems to shift when Fall arrives.  Just as the trees, flowers, and animals begin to prepare for winter during the Fall by slowing growth, storing food, and shedding the old, I too find myself sifting through the chaos the year has stored up.

I find myself in a Fall frame of mind.  I rediscover the beauty within myself and the grace from above as they swirl together, changing the color of my soul.  I find refreshment and renewal.  I find the joy in life again. 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

 

To C-Section or not to C-Section, Is that the Only Question?

4 May

Yesterday, I reached my 35th week of my pregnancy, and I was expected to have a decision ready for my doctor.  We were supposed to decide if we would schedule a repeat C-Section for Kasen’s birth, or if I will attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean) through a trial of labor.  Despite already knowing most of the information concerning either route, in the two weeks I had between appointments, I devoured all the resources available from my “What to Expect” book, the web, and friends and family.  As my appointment drew nearer I wavered back and forth.  I just didn’t feel settled.  No sense of peace could be found about a decision.

During my first OB appointment this was one of the topics we discussed, and my doctor’s answer at the time was that we had time to make a final decision, but he was willing to let me try a VBAC.  Since that first appointment, way back in October 2011, I have been pretty set on going the VBAC route for a number of reasons. Continue reading

Enough for Today

1 May

It’s May 1.  When I found out I was pregnant, Aaron and sat down and looked at all we would have going on near our due date.  It was a lot.  Our church’s 10-yr celebration weekend, including an open house, birthdays, our 7th anniversary, Mother’s Day, and our denomination’s annual conference, on top of all the daily work and tasks.  Not only were all these things on the horizon, there was a lot of preparation we had to do in order for these things to happen.  We decided that we needed to set a goal to have as much as possible prepared for Kasen’s arrival by the beginning of May, so that when the busyness really hit, we wouldn’t be in anxiety overdrive.

Guess what?

Didn’t happen.  Guess who is in anxiety overdrive?  This girl, and I know Aaron is just as overwhelmed by the church and also wanting to give his best at home. I know neither of us was planning on me being sick for much of the pregnancy, and it just has not helped.

I was up late last night for multiple reasons, like heartburn, uncomfortableness, and also I could not shut my mind down with all the things we still need to do to prepare for Kasen, get the house ready, and again, just stay on top on everyday tasks.

I’m still dealing with this sinus infection which has sidelined me for the past few days, and this morning was not looking bright.  The anxiety had not diminished overnight, so as I sat down to do my devotion, I simply prayed that God would give me a few moment’s peace.  He did that and more.  Ask and you shall receive, right?

Here are a few of the things God led me to either during my devotion or right after that have helped carry me through the day so far.  I turned on the satellite Christian station to let God sing over me, calm my soul, as I surfed the web of His grace.  It is truly enough for today.

 

From my devotion at Girlfriends in God by Sharon Jayne: “Her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18 NIV). Continue reading

Tent Grumbling

24 Apr

I have not been sleeping well.  Between the heartburn and not being able to get comfortable, despite being surrounded by tons of pillows, I am feeling the effects of lousy sleep.  I feel that dark cloud creeping overhead.  The anxiety of all that I still need to get done around the house and to prepare for Kasen’s arrival is crowding out happy thoughts.  I am becoming Mrs. Grumble. (Anyone else read these books as a kid?  I loved Miss Sunshine!)

As I was forcing myself (yes, I grumbled), into reading my devotion this morning, I felt like God was on vacation.  “Hello?  Are You taking an extended Spring Break?  Did you forget about little me?  Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.”

This was the scripture I read on Girlfriends in God:

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.”

Psalm 106: 13-14, 24-25

And there it was; God’s not so subtle response to my grumbling.  I was sitting there, grumbling in my tent, and God was more than happy to point that out.  I have been grumbling because I’m tired, stressed, and a bit overwhelmed.

Who isn’t? Continue reading

Taxes and Paying it Forward

16 Apr

“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

Romans 13: 6-8

It may be April 16th, but it is TAX DAY!  Yay? Sorry to those who thought they could escape it since the 15th fell on a Sunday this year.  I’m sure most didn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past some individuals.

I thought I’d share some scripture pertaining to the wonderful world of taxes.  Yep.  Even way back in biblical times (and before) people paid their dues and hated it just as much as we do.  What I enjoy about this particular scripture passage is that the focus is not just on giving taxes.  Yes, we are to respect the governing authorities and pay our dues, but we also are to give to others what is due them.

What does that mean? Should we only respect and honor those in position over us or only those we think deserve it?  What about only those who first respect and honor us?  Is this a good way to live with others? Continue reading

He is Risen! Day 40

8 Apr

5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28: 5-7

Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

We no longer wait in anticipation, but we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The cross is empty.

The grave could not contain him.

He is risen, and because of His grace we are restored!

His free gift of grace, bought and paid by his own blood, is for all.

Celebrate the risen Christ and accept the gift of life.

Alleluia!

I want to share the words from one of the great Christian hymns,

Continue reading