Imagine with me…
A beautiful chilled crystal bowl filled with bright red, ice cold, crisp, sweet and succulent watermelon topped with fresh mint and feta cheese!
It’s the perfect solution to soothe the weary body and quench the dry tongue on a sun parched day with a heat index of 107+ degrees late in the day!
Well, I didn’t have to use my imagination because that’s exactly what I ate after an early morning and long stint of mowing my lawn.
After the rains poured for days, my yard was like a lake with my storage building appearing to float like a long barge in the tall blades of a marshy coastline. It had been half a week since I last spoke with my yard guy and I couldn’t wait any longer! I’m amazed at how quickly the undesirable takes over.
Just before noon, I had finished. Ahhh! Everything looked so fresh. So clean. So tidy. I could not say the same about myself. I was covered in dirt and grass flecks held together by pure sweat. Not a very cute look for a southern lady, or any lady at all!
You know, freshness, takes time! I often think of fresh as an immediate thing. But, it took time for that watermelon to grow, ripen and present itself as fresh fruit. It took time for it to sit in the refrigerator to get icy cold. I wait every summer for the Tomato Man to put his “tomatoes for sale” sign in his yard. I can’t wait for the sweet taste of fresh tomatoes. It seems like forever in the waiting.
It takes precious time for freshness to occur. I have watermelon vines, that I planted from seed, growing in small containers on my porch. I think I planted them too late and fruit may never bloom. It’s the same with my own tomato plants…I may have waited too late to cultivate them.
I am learning a spiritual truth here as well as a practical one! Start early. Cultivate well. Have patience. Fruit will come. Enjoy the sweet fresh taste!
These thoughts are very important to me today.
You see, each new year, I choose a word for the year. I would have never imagined the kind of year that we have seen thus far or how my word has so deeply enriched and played a part in my ability to cope. My word was and continues to be, FRESH!
All of the plans, programs, and events I have made for the year have been tossed to the side and new and fresh have overtaken. I have taken advantage of freshly painting the porch, shutters, soffit and facia of my home. I have freshened up filing cabinets, closets, garage and rooms. I knew that the Lord had placed this word on my heart to help me refresh many things in my life. It continues to be a work in progress, and I need to remember that it takes time to make things fresh. In the past, hadn’t allowed myself time to work on such important things as my home, health, husband, and hearing deeply from the Lord. Now is my designated time to deal with these areas.
Earlier this summer, I shared with a group of ladies what God has been showing me and He continues to reveal His heart for me even as I sit and write this blog. Here is what I shared:
I feel like the Lord has gifted me, big time, with time & motivation. I haven’t really needed to rush through much of anything. Sure, I still have a few projects hanging but they are well underway now and soon, I’ll not have the stress of those hovering. And, let me tell you how He has revealed a new sense of tender care for me. He has covered me with His feathers and under His wing, I trust.
My word for the year has been FRESH…in every sense of the word! Refresh. New. Polished. Clean. Tidy. Restore. And here is what God has been revealing in my time with Him.
As I continue to discover lost hidden treasures and say ‘No’ to a few things that hinder God’s best things…for me, I may need some encouragement from you to help me stay on track. This gift of time has allowed me to see many areas with which I need to surrender.
This is why the Scripture verse I’ve been pondering (more now than ever) is so important to me.
17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah)
he is a new creation (a new creature altogether);
the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.
Behold, the fresh and new has come!
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified Version
It is now mid-summer. Another new season is quickly approaching. For me, it’s kinda like another New Year…new goals, new plans, new school year and such. It's also my birthday month, so I'm beginning a new year of life!
Even Kathy and I (my ministry partner) began to map out the calendar with thoughts of the upcoming fall and spring.
Covid-19 still lingers strongly in our state. Plans for schools, churches, and special activities are still uncertain. We need a new sense of fresh! Remember, it takes time for fresh to happen!
A dear friend gently reminded me that it has taken a Pandemic to get me to STOP! In my old way, I have felt the need to plunge in and forge through for way too long, ignoring God’s command to rest. I confess and I repent!
Behold, new and fresh has come! And newness will continue to come along as I focus on what is important to the heart of God for me, at this time…my home, health, husband, and hearing deeply from the Lord. God has placed this desire in my heart. Interestingly, Kathy and I have both expressed to each other that we have neglected many of these areas far too long. It is seeming urgent now. The only way we can better serve you, is to take a little time to serve ourselves and feast from the table He prepares and lays before us. I might also add that Leviticus 25, the passage of letting the land rest, has been heavy on my heart. It is timely for me. It is timely for Restore.
We will be taking a little sabbatical beginning now and through the fall. Our daily ministry to others will continue as we move through December, but we will not have a time of organized meetings or home study this fall. Our blogs will also be put on hold but don’t be surprised if you get a little happy every now and then! We ask that you pray for us as we seek next steps for 2021 both for our personal lives as well as for Restore Ministries. We know that God is not finished with us or Restore. We are awaiting His Spirit to continue to teach us, guide us, and help us better serve and love on you. We are so thankful for you in our lives and for the ministry that God has called us to through Restore Ministries. Know that we pray for you and that we are looking forward to 2021. In the meantime, please go back and scroll through our archives of blogs from 2013-2020 or revisit our teachings.
Here is a little happy I made for you with an excerpt of a song I wrote and some pics: https://youtu.be/k6av6SsiHGA
I’d like to close this blog with a scripture that has filled me with hope and clarity. It also keeps popping up with whatever I listen to or whatever I read!
Romans 8: 27, 28 NASB
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,
because He intercedes for the [j]saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that [k]God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
I have to share with you this version because it speaks so beautifully to me. There IS good in God’s plan and because He is the creator of all things and loves us passionately, we can put our hope and trust in Him.
27 God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings,[z] yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny.
28 So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
The theme verse for Restore Ministries is taken from Psalm 23…He restores my soul. As I re-read the psalm of David again this morning, this is right where I am!
I hope you find yourself here, too!
A Psalm from David
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Finding Refreshment in Him,
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