I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word savor. I certainly have done much savoring of wonderful meals over the holidays as my current weight reveals! I looked up the meaning of the word and here’s what I found.
SAVOR means “to enjoy or appreciate ( something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it.
I wanted to savor every moment.....to enjoy food or an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible”
To savor something, whether it is food or an experience, carries the connotation of doing it slowly, wanting to make it last.
When I think about my life last over the last year - except for the birth of our granddaughter, vacation and the holidays, and some very special times with friends, if I’m honest, it seemed more like I was just trying to survive many of the days rather than savoring them. True, it was a year of exceptional challenges and loss, I think. Or is it the exception? Once again, in the last month, I have attended 4 funerals and just yesterday got the news that my friend Tracey went home to be with Jesus after a long battle with ALS. I first met her as the amazing, creative mom of one of my youngest daughters’ school friends.I remember going to her house for the first time for a class party and she had set up tents in the yard with butterfly’s in them! Oh my, this woman knew how to embrace and share the wonder of her Creator! Our relationship grew as she went on to speak into my life many spiritual truths and modeled the selfless life of wife and mother, generously sharing her heart, creativity and love for her Lord. We shared the love of words and the beach.
We never know what the next day will bring, do we?
And so I’m asking the question, “What would it truly mean to savor the moments of my days?” To drink in the blessings of each day, to take it all in with intentional purpose, to slow it down enough to really savor the moments...unwrap the gift of the present, so that when the end of my days comes I don’t have regret at the moments, the people, the experiences I have missed because I was rushing through, just surviving the days instead of savoring them.
And more importantly, I want to be found faithful savoring my relationship with Jesus.
Psalm 34: 8-10
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
We are offered an invitation in Isaiah 55:1,2
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
And so I just began to make a list of all that came to my mind when I think of what it means to
savor the moments of my days……..
….the Savior -It must all begin with Him, for without intimacy in relationship with Jesus, we do not even know how to live the days we have been given.
....the Word - there is banqueting table found in God’s character to be savored when we hunger and thirst for His Word. Here is where I come to see Him, to know Him. Soak in it, meditate on it, delight in it.
....my marriage - to cherish it, invest in it, delight in it, never take for granted the years we've had together, make special memories, light the candles and fix a romantic dinner (what are we saving them for?)
….my family - My great delight and love in life, they are my greatest, most faithful supporters, soak in the moments we have together.
….friendships - Truly couldn't have made it through this last year without the faithful love, support and wisdom from treasured friends, make time...
...the music - It stirs my soul…always has… God wired me that way!
….the time I'm given each day - It flies by and the years and the children are gone. Make the moments count.
... the joy, laughter, the hugs - Life's really hard without these.
….my home - What a blessing! Keep it. Be creative. Make it an oasis where we want to be.
….quiet - My spirit is renewed in the stillness. God has wired me to be still and listen to His voice. I get lost when I don't give myself the gift of quiet.
....the trials - In them I've learned the depth of His love and grace.
....my students- Cherish the privilege of investing in their musical talents and gifts for the future.
….the sunshine, God's beauty in creation - I take it for granted too much and then the dreary cold days remind me… soak in those rays of sunshine when they come, look up at God's canvas in the heavens, smell the flowers
.....rest - God commanded it. I think He knows I need it! When I don't rest, I get really grumpy! Sometimes we let the "to do" list take over and forget that He has given us permission to rest.
….work - God has designed me with certain gifts that I bring that no one else does in exactly the same way. I want to savor the opportunity to fulfill my purpose in the world. Be grateful for the provision of work!
….feasting - This one is not hard. I really love good food!
....the ministry - What a privilege that the Lord would choose to partner with us to bring about His kingdom purposes and help to meet the needs of others. He will provide all that I need.
….my dreams - He has placed them there to spur me on beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary life He has planned.
.....the mentoring - My life has been forever changed by those who have sacrificed to mentor me in the faith. Savor the people and places where I can give back.
….the pictures - They help me remember those savored moments
….my health - Hmm… I really do need to get serious here and take better care of God's temple.
….a good read - Make time for the cultivating of my mind.
I want to live with passion,
to collect the moments - not things.
I want to live a life of gratitude for the amazing blessings the Lord pours into each day He gives me.
They truly are sacred moments.
what your list would look like?
I think at least for my life, there are some practical things that I can do to help savoring the moments of my days become a reality.
Here are some that came to mind:
Open my eyes to see evidences of Your glory in the moments of my days.
Teach me how to live abundantly in the moments, relationships and days I’ve been given.
Help me to savor You, Jesus, above all. To see and seek to know You as You truly are.
May I find my utmost delight in You. May I find my wholeness and completeness in you.
Oh Lord, show me what it truly means to taste and see…
and savor your goodness.
By the power of your Holy Name, Jesus
And so, Lord willing, during the next year I’ll be exploring and seeking to understand more about savoring the moments of my days as found in the list above and beyond I’m sure. Perhaps I’ll write about the things I’m learning. It probably won’t be in the order of the list above, but I’m asking and trusting that He will reveal it to us as we journey together. Years ago some very dear friends and I found ourselves discussing this topic year after year on our beach trips. Those were sweet, fun times where we savored our lifelong friendships and the gifts we shared. We even talked about writing a book together. Maybe this will help us all get started.
What will the story of our lives tell?
Did we learn to savor the moments? Will we choose to unwrap the gifts found in each moment the Lord gives us?
It’s a chilly morning.
I got up early and prayed awhile and spent some time in God’s love letter to me, His Word. I lit the fire in the fireplace, fixed a cup of coffee and lit my candle, turned on the fountain and put on my new furry slippers Ken gave me for Christmas! The fire is crackling and the candle my student gave me has filled the room with a wonderful scent. I’ve savored this moment, at least, of writing the thoughts the Lord has given me to share with you.
And now I must begin to tackle the “to do” list for today.
Lord, please give me grace to savor those moments as well.
Grateful for another day,
Resources - oxforddictionaries.com, Scripture images from Pinterest
We would so love for you to join us! Go here for more details about plans and registration - http://www.restore-ministries.net/retreat-registration.html.
Been There…Done That!
~ S. Barron 12/14
The damp cold of late December and barren trees of old,
cause my heart to stop and reflect, this saying that’s oft retold;
Been there…done that!
Each bud that lies in waiting from dormant stage doth bring,
a little hope of beauty, when longing for the spring.
This tree of fallen leaves, once graced with limbs of life,
seem bare and dead and cold, as if removed by quick blade of knife.
Then as I think on scripture, and stories of ancient time,
This phrase rings even louder, as I play it in my mind,
Been there…done that!
Jonah, David, Moses, Sarah, with mission for to pine,
Two steps forward and another back, it’s the curse of all mankind.
But its roots are placed down deep within the earth to strongly hold,
And the sap that runs to highest limb, gives courage to reach out bold.
I stare at each branch and see myself, and then my lips doth speak;
Been there…done that! It’s a phrase I oft repeat.
Each ring of life protects the core, from weather harsh and cruel.
Fervent bark, wraps ‘round the trunk, its wisdom longs to rule.
That coat I see and oft neglect, bares rugged scars of old,
Its story can relate with mine, it speaks from limbs that told,
Been there…done that…
This coat of bark is essential, to the buds this tree will bring,
Each wave of storm it handles and cause life inside to sing.
The beauty that lies in waiting, will return from dormant fall,
And in due time those buds will burst, with color at its call!
I wrote this poem one morning while sitting on my porch. The fog from my breath warned me that I probably shouldn’t be outside on such a frigid morning, but it was quiet, peaceful, and the world had not yet awakened. I wrapped myself in a warm blankie and sipped my strong coffee while starring at the clear cold sky and the barren trees. Then I noticed the buds at the tips of the branches. I think my tree is confused…it’s not even close to spring! One never knows what to expect with the weather in Louisiana! I closed my eyes and inhaled the brisk air, as if it would purify my soul and my mind; then I asked God to speak to my heart. The holidays had left me empty and remembering a year I’d really like to forget! But through those difficult seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall, God showed up faithful again and again with His Spirit embracing my heart. Just when I thought I was moving in a forward motion, a little slip pushed me in reverse like a game of tug-o-war! It is no surprise to God that His plan for Kathy and me to focus on The Gifts of Abiding in Christ for our retreats, was something that we both needed to learn. John 15:5 became and is now the verse on which I cling ~ “…for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
It has been said that time is a trainer and teaches us to wait upon the Lord, and trust Him in the dark. A simple practice of saying, “Lord I trust you, for apart from you I can do nothing” acknowledges the kind of faith the Lord requires. We should hold fast to His precious and magnificent promises. I love this passage of scripture from 2 Peter 1: 1 - 11.
1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
How many times I have felt like I don’t have it all together?! It’s a new day, month, year, and season…all with expectations of starting over…AGAIN! Am I going to dwell on the many ways that I don’t “measure-up?” Where’s the grace in that?
Did you notice verse 8 and verse 10?
As image bearers and followers of Christ, we are partakers of a divine nature (vs.4) but still must practice these things (vs.10). To practice means: repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. Proficient is not above average or perfect! It simply means to develop a reasonable level of skill. I have to remind myself to “stop beating myself up” because I have to start over and don’t have it all together! And yes, I must confess…There are still Christmas decorations adorning my house, dishes in the sink, and the guest room is a wreck! My schedule is packed… again…thank you notes not written, unscheduled time with friends has passed, lesson plans and music not written or chosen, my waist is no smaller, and the porch beckons me, “come, spend time with the Lord…” Help me, Jesus! I cry! Have you been there, done that? Relax and stop stressing! Add a little grace and simply reset!
Pressing the reset button on our life seems to be an activity that is ancient! It’s really called repentance! And like Jonah, David, Moses and Sarah, we all have to reset our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We can’t do it on our own. Remember,…apart from Me you can do nothing?!
As the bark on the trees protects the life within, God cups his hands around you. He carries you to where He wants, sets you down and releases you to bloom where you’re planted. Sometimes, it requires a little intense fertilization, too!
When I think through the many cycles of life:
What really matters is what you do when you are there and what have you done when you pass through to another cycle. It’s called growth! It’s like the rings on a tree and makes you stronger. And in that growth, He is able to do more than you can ever think or imagine! There is no limit to what God can accomplish. When you feel that you are defeated, abide in Christ. When life’s situation and circumstances seem so extreme, the more likely you are to see God’s power and faithfulness as He works in them and through them. So the phrase, “been there, done that” becomes one that’s not so negative! It becomes a reflection of hope. Of peace. Of strength. Of joy! You begin to recognize that, yes, I’ve been there and done that, but the Holy Spirit has also been there and done…__________________ (you fill in the blank) in my life! And that’s when we overcome and bloom! Even when we have been scarred by the fire as seen in the diagram above. It's what shapes us, makes us strong, and gives us strength to reach upward, like the highest limb!
We need to pry our mind away from the what could have been and redirect our focus on what can become. The buds are peeking through! Soon a burst of color will spring forth declaring the glory of God. Be that bud! The sap river of life runs through you. God’s hands of bark encompass you. Abide. Wait. In due time beauty, fragrance, and purpose bursts open for others to see, partake and enjoy!
Been there, done that!
We would love for you to experience a two day retreat that can help you "reset" your longing to abide and rest in Christ. Remember that it is difficult to help others during their trials when we don't take the time to help and care for ourselves. Perhaps you are going through a rainy season in your life and it is filled with much distress, or perhaps it's the dry season and you feel that God is far away. Maybe you have been through the fire and it has left deep scars of pain. The Holy Spirit is there, waiting for you to pull away so that He can cover you with His healing balm. Retreat and reset with us! Take time for yourself. He longs to meet with you! We have all been there, and done that, so you are not alone. In God's faithfulness, He shows up time and time again embracing us with love, grace, and mercy! Won't you join us?
We put away the Christmas decorations yesterday, which is always the final close of the old year for me, even though we’ve celebrated the coming of the new one a week or two before. In the past, January has always been a difficult month for me. I’m not sure if it is the gloomy weather, the pressure I put on myself to finally get things organized in my life this year, or the sadness that lingers as my children leave after the holiday visits. I sometimes just want to curl up for a long nap under the covers. So that’s what I came to do this afternoon. But, my brain started spinning when I laid down with the question, “What is it that you want for your life this year?” I’ve been challenged to pick a “word” for the new year. It seems we’ve finally come to our senses about the defeat we often feel about the “new years resolutions” that never seem to happen. I imagine a "word" for the year would be a good focus, but I’m not sure I have come up with one yet.
So I just began to write a list of who I would like to become.
My list is not a list of “to do’s”, but more a list of “becoming.” Becoming the woman God created me to be, becoming a woman who looks more and more like Jesus. There’s no deadline of getting it together before 2015 is over. I'm quite certain that I will never “get it together.” There are more desires or "wants" I will add to this list for sure. This journey will never be over until I see the face of Jesus in heaven one day and fall down at His feet in worship. I’m in process and so are you. In order for these “wants” in my life to become reality they must become part of my prayer life. Sometimes our prayer life becomes so full of requests for the needs of others, all of whom need our faithful petitions of prayer. But sadly, we often neglect to bring our own desires, character and faith journey to the Lord in prayer.
None of the desires on my list will be possible unless I choose to live the life of abiding in Christ. I can do nothing apart from Him. My life will not bear His fruit if I do not choose to find my rest in Him.
I don’t need to feel a pressure to finally “get it right” this year because it is really His work within me.
I could print out the list above and put it on my bathroom mirror and I probably will. It will be a good reminder, but Jesus will be the one who accomplishes the work within me that helps me become the woman that He sees and I desire. I must choose to abide in Christ. Choose to let my relationship with Jesus be my entire source of life. Now there's one problem I have and maybe you can relate to it as well. If I'm honest, I sometimes find myself seeking other people or things as my source of life. But, Jesus is always faithful to show me when I've started clinging to other vines as my source of life. That's the pruning part!
It's raining now, and so before I close my eyes for that Sunday afternoon nap, I pull out my teaching notebook for our “Abide in Christ” retreat. Yes, that is a good place to start the New Year. I will revisit those powerful chapters found in John 13-15. The parting words that Christ left His disciples before He went to the cross. They are vital instructions for a life of intimacy with Jesus. A life that bears kingdom fruit.
I hope that you will consider joining us for our Restore Retreat, April 17-19. It will be saturated with the Word, worship, prayer, and sweet fellowship with other women who want to know Christ more deeply. We are seeking the heart of the Father as we prepare our hearts to lead you.
Please consider joining us and register today!
Resting in His grace,
Please visit our website for more details about all that we have planned for this wonderful retreat. Many have already registered so don't wait!
We look forward to the opportunity to minister and serve you.
Kathy and Sherry
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