Tag Archives: takayasu’s arteritus

Half the joy of…

Half the joy of life is in the little things taken on the run. Let us run if we must – even the sands do that – but let us keep our hearts young and our eyes open that nothing worth our while shall escape us. And everything is worth its while if we only grasp it and its significance. ~Victor Cherbuliez

Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. (Psalm 119:18)

This week as you work, cook, clean, drive, dream, cry, laugh, grumble, complain, sit, stand, run…and be still.  Take a moment to breathe it all in and acknowledge God.  Find your stillness amidst the running.

Still Moments – An Unexpected Gift

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“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16)

I read this at Spiritual Inspiration and wanted to share it…

You may not believe in God, but God believes in you.
God sees it all–the good, the bad, the joys, the sins. He wants us to come to Him. There is a reason He saved Noah and His family from the flood, and there is a reason He gave the life of His son, Jesus, so that we could be forgiven. There is nothing you can do that will stop God from loving you!

Isn’t that amazing when you think about it? You can disappoint Him and sadden Him when you turn away or avoid Him, but You cannot stop Him from loving you.

And if you are on the fence yourself right now, wondering how God can believe you have anything left to give, know that God has already chosen you just like the scripture above tells us. There is a huge gift-wrapped box just sitting on your doorstep, but you must open the door and bring it in. Unwrap it, and see what is in store.

A humbling reminder if you have accepted the gift…an invitation if you haven’t.

Take some time to be still, allow the words of Mike Donehey and Tenth Avenue North to wash over you today. Allow their message to penetrate to the hurting, questioning places in your life.  For all of the times in our lives…

 

This too shall pass…

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I have recently found myself pondering some very important questions. For example, is my car invisible? I have really begun to believe this may actually be truth with as many people as have pulled out in front of me, even though there are no cars behind me! This has not been a one time occurrence but instead more like a daily treat! And then as a follow up question. Why, if you are in such a hurry, that you must pull out in front of me, can you not at least do the speed limit? I have also been recently questioning if my speedometer is not set correctly as every car I am behind seems to be doing 15 miles an hour less than the speed limit. I am not a speed demon by any means, and I try to build some flex time into my travel, but not 15 extra minutes of flex time! This is white-knuckle driving, not because of bad road conditions, but because of the death grip I have on the steering wheel in frustration as the minutes tick by and I get later and later for wherever I am on my way to.

Quick, how would you describe your life right now in five words or less?

Me? I would say I am on my way. That’s how I feel like I live. I am always on my way somewhere. On my way to take the kids to school then depending on the day, I could be on my way to work, either on location or at home. Once there I try to cram as much as I can into the hours between 10 and 2 before being on my way back to pick the kids up from school. Then we are on our way to a music lesson or sports practice (or both), or possibly to feed a sports team if it’s an away game day (which often means fitting baking somewhere in between those precious “working” hours.) Then I am on my way to a sporting event, or on my way to the grocery store to pick up a random item that I need (even though I make lists, there is always something missing when I get home!) Many days I can be found at both. Then it’s on my way home to make dinner, probably do a load (or two) of laundry, help with homework (the dreaded math!) tidy up the mess we have all left in our wake throughout the day, then maybe work a little bit more if 10-2 didn’t accomplish everything on the day’s must-do list and then I am on my way to bed. A picture of a fairly typical day, where a lot of hours are spent on my way to somewhere, in my invisible car.

As the saying goes though, this too shall pass. There are plenty days when the last thing I want to do is get back and the car, and be “on my way” but there is going to come a day, in the not so distant future, when I won’t have to, so I am not complaining.

It seems like just yesterday I was tripping over toys strewn across the family room, changing diapers, and buckling kids into car seats. And now, I look at my two quickly growing children, young adults really, and I realize where we are really on our way to. I pray that as we quickly make our way towards the next chapter in our family that we can teach them enough, prepare them enough. I can’t always protect them from the world, although I try. I can’t save them from themselves some days, although I try. Some days I feel like I am literally in a tug of war match with Satan over them. We mess up, we get angry, I am far from a perfect mother, and I do not have perfect children, or a perfect family, but we try. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to be perfect. Perfection is not our standard. We just have to have a little bit of forgiveness (sometimes a little harder to come by than others) and love. Love the Lord our God, love our neighbor, love our children (and our parents), love our enemy. (That last one can be tough, I know, but this isn’t the a la carte menu. We can’t pick and choose, so love your enemy, with some help from God.)

I don’t know how you described you life (or if you even humored me when I asked you to.) I don’t know where you are in life. Today, I share my “spot in time” with you in hopes of encouragement. Know that whatever you are facing today, whatever your description was, good, bad, or filled with a little bit of crazy, I can only tell you this…it will pass. Sometimes that passing is bittersweet, but if you can keep God-centered, you won’t lose your way or your hope.

If you are having a bad day today, you are not alone. God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Heb 13:5) Find rest, refuge, and peace in Jesus. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If you are having a good day, remember the Lord, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1) “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.” (Psalms 103:1-2)

And if you find yourself more like me, with an invisible car, smack dab in the middle of crazy, hold on tight and use the Lord as your balance. Crazy can be wonderful if you don’t let it run you over. Remember, in the midst, God wants to be the center of our day, seek Him first, His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33) In all things (this goes for the good and bad days too) pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17.) Talk to God, share your day with Him. This is real life, and He wants to be a part of yours, no matter what it looks like.

And remember, this too shall pass…

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest… A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecc 3:1-2,4)

Still Moments – Glowsticks

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To build in darkness does require faith. But one day the light returns and you discover you have become a fortress; you may even find yourself, sought by others as a beacon in their dark. ~Olga Rosmanith

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)

Being broken hurts but be encouraged that your pain does have a purpose! You may find yourself shining one day very soon.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10 NIV)

Throwback Thursday – Once Upon A Time There Was a Fair Maiden

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Throwback Thursday – A chance to revisit some favorite posts and meaningful lessons. Originally published on September 6, 2013.

Let me share with you a love story. A tale where my Savior has poured out His very lifeblood for me in love. I have spent some of my life running from that love. Other days I have taken it for granted. More recently, I have been soaking it in, relishing it, and relying on it.
This love story starts out simply enough, I was given the benefit of a strong Christian upbringing, a sturdy foundation upon which to build the days of my life. At that time, it was something I had to do. Church was something I did out of obligation, because Mom and Dad said so. Those days were spent chasing things I wanted, the things that made me happy. I pushed my own agenda. I made a plan, called it God’s and forged ahead. Then the unthinkable happened, on a beautiful October day, we buried our still-born son. The life I was forging ahead with was decimated. I was in agony and left with unanswerable questions. I didn’t know what else to do but cling to Jesus. My foundational training had kicked in . Everyone said I was so strong but that is a lie! I was weak. I was destroyed. But no one saw that, all they saw was God’s love because I was hiding in it, relying on it to get me through. In those dark days, God provided comfort and hope and He healed my heart but not because I was strong. It was because I was weak. I had gotten a first-hand glimpse of what God’s love can do, how it can change a person.

Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to years, and I moved forward. I was able to move beyond the death of our son, although it was still painful, and I was slipping back to doing things on my own again. This time I was a little more dependent on God, especially when I needed something, or to say thanks when something good came about. I really thought I had this all figured out. We were in church (almost) every Sunday, we were raising our children in a home with morals and values. We were trying to put God was at the center of our lives but we didn’t really understand the depth that it requires, what that truly means. And then, once again, WHAM! Natalie Grant sings a song, “Our Hope Endures,” that says this. “You would think only so much can only go wrong, calamity only strikes once. And you would assume that this one has suffered her share. So life will be kinder from here.” Well you know what they say about assumptions, and God doesn’t promise an easy road. Disease reared its ugly head when I was diagnosed with the rare auto-immune disease, Takayasu’s arteritus. Bathed in silent symptoms and a lack of medical research and answers, this disease continues to affect me on a daily basis to an extent I am not sure I am even aware of. I was gripped tightly in the hand of fear. But through sickness I have been forced to quit wiggling and squirming and doing things on my own. I have been forced to be still and examine what a true love story with the Lord is supposed to look like. This is more than surface deep! My independent tendencies have been tempered back and I find myself sharing daily life with Him because I want to. Not because I need something, or want something, but because I love Him and that is what love does. God went from being a figurehead to a friend. I won’t tell you I don’t still struggle because that would be a lie. But I will tell you that no matter how many times I have turned from God, no matter how many times I have tried to do life on my own and failed, He has always been there waiting for me with forgiveness and unfathomable, unconditional love. Stop for a moment today, and think about your love story. Maybe it’s only just a story right now and you need God to pour His love into it. He will, you know. It doesn’t matter how ugly the beginning is, He loves you just the same. I am here to tell you that some of the ugliest stories can become beautiful when you give God the opportunity to pour His love into them. It is only through the grace and love of God that I write to you today, not bitter and angry about the hand life has dealt, but thankful that through all of it I have been drawn closer to a God who wants nothing more than to be my happily ever after.

Today, if you want to turn your story into a love story ask God for His help. He doesn’t expect perfection, that is why he offers forgiveness. He sent His son to remove the unachievable obstacle of perfection for us. My son died. I know the agony in that. But here is our God, who in sending His Son to our world, sentenced Him to die for people who aren’t perfect. People who are flawed, and broken, and continually turn away from His love. But He did it all the same. I can’t imagine the pain in that, but He did it out of love, love for you and for me. Is there any greater love?

Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for being there with forgiveness when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for having limitless patience for me as I try to figure this life out. And thank you for sending Your Son to die in my place. I am not worthy of that gift but I accept it all the same. You did it to spend eternity with me, not because of anything I have done, but simply because you love me. Soften my heart to accept that love and recognize, on the days that I try to do this on my own, that I need you. With you there is a promise of happily ever after…Amen

Love Is In The Air

ImageValentine’s Day is almost here and love is in the air.  In addition to hearts, flowers and of course, chocolate.  The three things necessary to proclaim your undying love and affection.  If you aren’t walking hand in hand down the beach with your soul mate, and guys, if you didn’t “go to Jared,”  I am sorry to inform you, you’re a failure in love.  Or so retailers would have you believe.

This is not love.  Love can look like that and some days it does.  Some days however, love is messier, it hurts, a lot.  The people who love us will fail us.  But there is another source of love, one that will never run dry, never change its mind.  A love that is unconditional and undeserved.  A love that stands by our side through thick and thin, always and forever, into eternity.  Every one of us wants to be loved that way.

Today if you have blacklisted Valentine’s Day, if your heart is breaking, if you feel like you don’t deserve love, you can’t find it, or you’re tired of searching for it only to have it let you down, there is hope.  If your fairytale has turned into a nightmare, let me encourage you that all is not lost, and you are not alone.

Jesus Loves Me, an excerpt  from Run and Be Still

We have sung the song since we were little kids: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The Bible is full of verses about God’s love for us. Perhaps the most often-quoted verse of the Bible is this one: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT). Watch any major sporting event on TV and someone will be holding up a poster with John 3:16 on it; players wear it on their eye blacks. But because it’s everywhere and we memorize it as small children, I think it sometimes loses its effect on us. It becomes just a few words strung together without meaning.

Before we can go any further, we have to fully understand the most basic principle that all of the others will be built off of. Love. Not love as you and I know it, but God’s love. This love is unfathomable; it extends beyond the bounds of our finite comprehension. My prayer is the same for you as Paul’s, written to the church at Ephesus. That you become empowered with inner strength, that your roots will grow down into God’s love and that you will understand how wide, long, high, and deep God’s love is for you. If we are unable to understand this, if we are unable to accept this, then we can go no further in our journey toward glory because everything else that I will share with you is based off this one truth. This is the firm foundation that everything else is built upon.

When you are tempted to doubt the overwhelming love that God pours out to you, when you find yourself thinking, “God loves everyone, but I am just one of billions, and by the time God’s love reaches me it has to be spread pretty thin” or “There are much bigger problems in the world; why would God want to focus His affection on me?” remember these verses:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrownot even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth belowindeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:3839 NLT)

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make God love you less. Love is not something God does. It is who He is.

Since my diagnosis, I have felt God’s love overwhelmingly. Does that mean that it wasn’t there before? No. God had been waiting to shower me with love, but I was too busy to take the time to accept it. Crazy, but oh so true. Life has a tendency to get in the way, but God has the capability to slam on the brakes and make you take a pit stop and take notice of Him.

God’s love came into focus very clearly for me on Easter Sunday three months after having been diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritis, as we stood in church singing “I Stand Amazed.” Written in 1905 by Charles Gabriel, it is a timeless hymn, as true today as the day it was written. As we got to the second verse, the tears started rolling down my cheeks uncontrollably and continue to do so to this day every time I hear this song. Why? Because I finally had an idea of how much God loved me. I finally got it, in the true sense of God’s love.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore my burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.
How marvelous, how wonderful
And my song shall ever be.
How marvelous, how wonderful
Is my Savior’s love for me.

On the cross Jesus took not only our sins but our sorrows and our hurts and made them His own! Why? Because He is a masochist? No! Because He loved us, even before we ever were and before we ever loved Him. Even before our hurts, suffering, and pain ever came to be. Knowing that we would turn away, knowing that we would hurt Him, knowing that some of us would never come to know Him at all. He still took all of them. And not only that, but He did it all alone! He was separated from God, abandoned by His friends. In order to offer us forgiveness and salvation, Jesus took our eternal punishment. The ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. He took our heavy baggage onto Himself and suffered and died alone. It absolutely broke my heart. So how can we not sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know”? How marvelous, how wonderful!

So be honest, do you believe that? Do you believe that God loves you? Acknowledge that you have ignored His love. Tell Him that you are trusting in what Christ did on your behalf. Won’t you accept His love and His forgiveness of your sins? Won’t you rely on Him instead of on yourself? I would encourage you to take a moment right now if you can’t bring yourself to accept this gift of love and read Ephesians 3:16–19. Then close your eyes and ask the Lord to speak His love into your heart.

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. (Eph. 3:1619 NLT)

Today, no matter what day it is, celebrate Valentine’s Day, let God love you.

To read more,  Run and Be Still is available at Amazon.com, or for the month of February get 14% off on an author signed copy at www.acministries.com  (Coupon Code LOVE)

God works at Target

You don’t have to try to force things to happen. Stay faithful and you will walk into God’s blessings for your life. ~Spiritual Inspiration
I love a good story. I love a good God story even more and the one I got to be a part of today will, I am sure, continue to unfold. You could call it a series of random events or view it through the lens of being orchestrated by God’s almighty hand. I prefer the latter. I have already told this so many times today and hope that in writing it down it doesn’t betray the magic of the story.

The morning started typically enough with a two hour delay for school. (With the weather we are having that has become the norm.) I also had to have my monthly blood test today and had an afternoon appointment for work. The facility where I get my blood tested is very close to a Target and it’s become my reward after being jabbed to wander the isles of Target looking for clearance deals.

Today, as I was near the front of the store, I glanced over at the ATM and saw money sticking out of it. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing and looked around for the person that it belonged to. No one was anywhere even close! I walked down the isle and pulled the stack of bills out of the machine and continued to look for the person who frantically must be missing what I determined to be $200!

After 10 minutes of wandering and waiting, I had to leave. I didn’t turn the money in. The cynic in me was afraid once I turned it in it would disappear. As I left, I kept looking over my shoulder for a camera and waiting for the “What would you do?” host to pop up and ask why I didn’t turn the money in. I also felt a little like a thief, while wondering at the same time if it was my lucky day. My plan was to call Target after my appointment and ask if someone had reported any money missing. Then let them tell me how much and where. Almost three hours after I left, I called the store and was transferred around a few times. Finally I was connected with a manager who said indeed $200 had been lost near the ATM today and, in fact, the woman who lost it was standing in front of him right then. How is that for timing?!

She asked to speak to me, thanked me profusely, and proceeded to tell me a little about her week. She had been diagnosed with cancer on her face yesterday and then lost $200 today. She also told me that the whole way back to the store she was praying that someone would be honest and turn the money in. She was so overwhelmed and upset and completely blown away that I was calling to return the money, especially while she was standing right there. Random? Good luck? I tend to believe it is something a bit bigger. So we set a time up for me to drive back the 45 min to the store. As I was retelling the story for the first time, I was urged to give her one of my books, Run and Be Still. After giving it some thought, it seemed after the week she was having it might provide some comfort and encouragement, so why not?

She was waiting at the door when my daughter and I walked in. She hugged me as if I was a long lost friend and thanked me at least a dozen times for returning her money. We signed the proper forms that the store required through their lost and found and continued to talk and share. I did give her my book and she teared up while the store manager looked on and didn’t quite know what to make of us. She entertained me by telling me about how she had the other store employees looking through her purse for her and patting her pockets down to make sure she didn’t put the money somewhere and just couldn’t find it. She said she felt like she was losing her mind and didn’t trust herself to have not overlooked it. I have had days like that too! (I have been known to look for things that I am holding in my hand…I am not proud.)

I had to ask her the burning question that I had and that was of course, “How do you walk away from your money in the ATM?” She laughed and told me it never came out while she was standing there. She waited and waited, got her receipt, figured it wasn’t working and walked away. It must have been on some kind of delay. At this point, I began to sense even deeper that our meeting wasn’t just happenstance. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. She walked out the door and I had a couple of things to pick up. I grabbed snacks for the kids, checked out, and got in line at Starbucks for what I deemed was a necessary afternoon treat.

I glanced over at customer service and saw my new friend looking through her purse and my immediate thought was “Poor woman. Did she lose her car keys now?” The employee she was talking to pointed her in my direction and she came over with my book in her hand, obviously in disbelief and said, “You wrote this? You really wrote this?” I assured her I did and she wanted to know how long it had been out and then she asked for my phone number. She said she was going to read the book tonight and wanted a way to be in contact. As best I can figure, she went to her car, read the book jacket, and had come back in to try to find me or a way to get ahold of me. It seems that the book struck a chord with her. I guess this story is to be continued but God has orchestrated an amazing beginning.

You know, I could have just claimed finders keepers. I could have said, “Thanks God for the sudden cash flow.” I could have tried to convince myself that it was ok. That it was all right. But I didn’t and the story I have tonight is such an amazing beginning. So much cooler, and immensely more gratifying than $200 could ever be.

God knew exactly what I needed today. I needed to see Him. I have been working on living, as one dear friend has said, within the confines of today, and looking for Him in today, in the big and the small. This is sometimes so frustrating because on the mundane, typical day in the life of Ashley Cunningham, I don’t feel like I can always find Him. On the house-bound-snow-days when I am drowning in laundry and dirty dishes, I don’t feel the sparkly freshness of God moments. That’s not to say He isn’t there. I know He is and I know life is sometimes mundane and typical. But God also knows that I am struggling with a need to continue to share my story. A need to understand the plans He has for my book. Ten years in the making, a surprise publisher that came looking for me, a speedy publication process, and now a beautiful finished product that I hold in my hands and wonder, “What now?” How do I get God’s message of hope, peace, and comfort from my hands into the hearts of those who need it most? This question has been so heavy on my mind and heart and then God shows up at Target with $200 that needs to be returned to a woman who needs more than just the money. She needs Him!

Isn’t it awesome when God injects some amazing into the middle of the typical just when we need it most? Feeling truly blessed tonight…

To be continued.

One small step for man…

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A great question posed by Francis Chan in “Crazy Love” made me stop and think, “What are you doing right now that requires faith?”

As I was taking a personal inventory in an attempt to answer that question I was tempted to be discouraged but instead God brought me to a realization.  Not every faithful act has to be earth shattering.  This is where we, or at least I, tend to get hung up.  I feel like stepping out in faith needs to be a major act, an all or nothing, jump out of the boat kind of leap.  I am a fan of the huge gesture and have always in my own mind paralleled big steps with faith.  Neil Armstrong’s famous moon walking words came to mind as I was mulling all of this over.  “One small step for man.  One giant leap for mankind.”  There are definitely seasons in our life when we are called to actions that we feel are great steps of faith.  Today though, I want to encourage you, that even those small steps, prayers poured when you feel like you are stuck in place,  beseeching and waiting on God’s direction, are indeed faith steps.  Inaction is more difficult for me than action.  Sitting still when I would rather be running out into the future instead of waiting for God to work it out and bring it to me goes against every fiber of my being and requires every bit as much (I might even say more) faith as jumping out of the boat.  Listening instead of talking, sitting instead of running.   Doing nothing takes courage; waiting takes faith.

Today I would challenge you to answer the question, “What are you doing right now that requires faith?” And realize that your small steps can be turned into a giant leaps when made in faith.

Chin Up Buttercup

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In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:10 NLT)

Having a rough day? A rough week? This verse holds an infinite amount of comfort and promise within its words. May you believe it and claim it, as I have, and know, if you open yourself up to it, help is on the way! Be encouraged, strengthened, and restored!

Rise Up A Tree

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I was reading through some old journal entries and came across the following that I had written in 2012 just before the new year. In light of the last few days it buoyed my spirit. I guess I need to take my own advice and encouragement. Maybe you can find some truth in it as well…

As I look towards a new year I find it amazing how much can be accomplished and changed within the scope of 365 short days. (Although some don’t feel so short at the time.) The small steps that we take every day will eventually add up into something bigger. My steps have definitely added up as I reached a personal milestone yesterday – mile 500! I would have never thought that possible except that all of those steps, sometimes painful, tired, and monotonous, did add up into something bigger and to look back and see it in its entirety up gives me a rush of excitement, and accomplishment, that is unparalleled! But that comes in part because of what my runs signify. A healthier me, mentally, physically and spiritually. When I was running yesterday, I heard for the first time, I Am A Seed by David Crowder Band (they are one of my favorites for running) and I couldn’t help but identify with the seed…

Oh I’ve been pushed down into the ground
Oh how I’ve been trampled down
So many feet on top of me
I can’t help but sink, sink, sink

Oh I’ve been pushed down into the ground
Oh how I have been trampled down
Lord I put my trust in thee
You won’t turn your back on me

Oh I am a seed, Oh I am a seed
I’ve been pushed down into the ground
But I will rise up a tree

There have been many times that I have felt trampled down, none of us are exempt from that. But this song shifted my thinking and the thought of this tree, stately and strong and beautiful, bursting forth from a seed trampled into the ground, gave me a wonderful feeling. It was such a powerful image. I stopped and thought about that process for a second. A seed is tiny and appears so inconsequential. It represents the beginning or starting point of all living things but inside of the seed is all that is needed to grow into something magnificent. And the most amazing part is that, given the proper conditions for growth, one tiny seed will produce so much more than itself. I also thought of Matthew 17:20, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Oh to have the faith to suspend all that we know and understand as reality and embrace the impossible…

How much more could God do with us if by His grace He can move mountains with mustard seed faith and He causes great oak trees to spring forth from tiny acorns? This next year, stop wondering “What if?” and induce your faith, let God take the reins, and continue putting one foot in front of the other even when you are weary, and I promise you, if you do, you will see that mountains were moved when you look back over 2014. Let this be God’s year and you will be able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

As I look back I have realized we don’t always see the mountains moving in front of us, sometimes
it’s a slow process and it’s only as we look in the rearview mirror that we are able to appreciate how far they have moved and how far we have come. I find myself continually amazed at God’s goodness and provision, in sickness, fear, and grief for certain, but also on the good days. He is right in our midst, everyday, if we open our eyes and ears, and soften our hearts to His presence.
My challenge for you this year, Be A Seed!

What can God accomplish through you this year?

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more that we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20, emphasis mine)

I will rise up a tree!

If you want to check out the song, I can’t promise it won’t get stuck in your head.