Conversing with God in My Garden

I am harvesting the last of our summer garden on a brisk fall day as I dig our carrots. The azure blue skies and sunshine are deceiving from inside but out here my summer warm weather body is shivering even in my lightweight jacket feeling every bit of that 41 degrees. My dirt clad hands feel stiff and clumsy from the cold as I continue to pull up carrot after carrot.

I pause to watch a chickadee on my bird feeder. He is puffed up capturing air in his feathers to insulate his tiny jubilant body. He flies back and forth between feeder and our golden clad silver maple tree that is beginning to shed it’s leaves.

Photo from e birds

“Thank you, Lord for giving me an oasis in this turbulent world in my own back yard. Thank you I can appreciate nature and the everlasting changing kaleidoscope of our seasons from my little slice of earth. Lord, someday, allow me to have a bucket list experience of feeding a chickadee by hand.”

Returning to pulling up more carrots, I consider how best to save or put them up since so little room in my freezer. I am unable to bring myself to can carrots since I cared for a patient for many months in 1979 as a student nurse who had botulism from her friend’s home canned carrots. Memories of her several month ordeal make me shiver from something other than the cold.

Why do my memories have so much power so many years later? Am I being fearful, cautious or wise? What other memories are shaping my days now? How do I discern which are holding me back or helping me grow? “Lord, show me how to move forward free from hold of memories or anything that keeps me from fully loving and serving, You. Show me where I need to confront fears, practice forgiveness, place boundaries or step out boldly in faith.”

As I begin twisting the feathery greenery off each carrot newly released from the ground, I notice once again the chickadee joined by a friendly sparrow. They both suddenly take off as our gray squirrel commandeers the bird feeder for himself.

My thoughts return to the job at hand and wondering about how the future in our nation will play out. “Lord, I pray you will send much needed revival to our land. May your Holy Spirit pour out on our nation, the whole world and many repent and follow after You. Thwart the plans of the evil and over reaching government leaders. Allow peace and unity to foster, first among your people and then spread as Your salvation spreads. “

2 Chronicles 7:14 springs to mind and I once again fervently pray it.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. 2 Chronicles 7:14

I lug the buckets of carrots into the house where I will wash them and bag them to put in the fridge. But first I will wash my hands in warm water and have soothing, warming cup of hot tea.



PS Do you have a peaceful oasis in your yard, garden or some other slice of nature to soothe your soul? I would love to hear about your spot of solace and contemplation in the comments.

Three Ways I Live with Chronic Illness

I was wondering how faith helps others to deal with chronic disease. My counselor recently shared a letter with me from an older woman who has dealt with health issues all her life. While very encouraging, I realized many of my things that helped me are different than hers. My top three are:

1. Practicing gratitude. Gratitude gets my eyes off me and onto blessings I receive even in the midst of the hardest days. Gratefulness helps me recognize God’s fingerprints in my life and produces joy not based on my circumstances. This blog post below shares how God gave me a vivid real life illustration of the difference of gratitude and joy vs bitterness, resentment and anger.

2. Embrace my chronic illness as ordained by God for both my eternal good and His glory. As I submit to God’s plan in my life, my character and faith have transformed so much since my health tanked. Knowing God allows what makes us grow the most like Christ to conform me to be more and more like him enables me to try to see life from an eternal perspective and see His hand at work rather than be bitter or constantly asking “why me?” (Roman’s 8:28-29) Embracing it as His plan also helps enable me to accept my disease and embrace the new and ever changing normal. When diseases progress or symptoms change causing more loss, I grieve the losses and process it and eventually embrace what God has done. I still have bad days and am constantly trying to balance my doing with the needed rest and lack of energy of my body.

John Piper had an article on this with a quote that so struck a chord with me.

3. Word Saturated and prayer. If I am not regularly in the word and in prayer (communication) with God I will drift in my thinking and attitudes. I need to preach truth to myself constantly. With my past it is easy to go into old thought patterns of how worthless, unlovable and wrong I am and go into fear and/or panic attacks. Counseling has helped me immensely. One thing my counselor told me is my negative thoughts on self and fear and guilt have made big ruts in my thought processes and I need to make new paths of truth thinking. I have verses on spiral bound 3” x 5” cards that tell me who am in Christ (Ephesians 1:4-10, Colossians 3:12 etc) and ones to help me with fear (Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 26;3-4, Philippians 4: 6-8 and more). I have read a few times God knows we struggle with fear and that it is addressed 365 times in the Bible.

Adjusting and living with chronic illness is a daily even moment by moment process. Symptoms change, diseases progress but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I constantly fail but so grateful I can run back to my Daddy God’s arms and He always accepts me, forgives me and loves me.

What has God shown you to help you in your journey with health challenges or trials?

Grateful for His loving grace,