The Thrill of Surrender

I’m stuck in bed with a fever, and I read The Saving Life of Christ by Major M. Ian Thomas.  I underline in the brightest red these words:

“Relate everything, moment by moment as it arises, to the adequacy of what He is in you, and assume that His adequacy will be operative . . . Expose by faith every situation as it arises to the all-sufficiency of the One who indwells you by His life.  Can any situation possibly arise, in any circumstance, for which He is not adequate?”

Even in sickness.  Even in rejection, loneliness, disappointment, or loss.

I feel this ancient hope rising in my heart.  I feel this current of truth that overtakes my soul.  By the time I get to the part of the book where Thomas writes about the “thrill and adventure of being totally abandoned to the One who will lead you. . .,” I forget my fever.  I forget that I’m sick, and I respond with perhaps the greatest two words I know:  Yes, Lord.

Yes, Lord!
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Have you read Thomas’ book before?  It’s a good one!

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Even If I Win, I Lose

This morning, my husband and I get in an argument over something that I seriously can’t remember.  We’re standing in the kitchen, arguing over lunchboxes or breakfasts or the weather or socks.

I’m making my final excellent point when my husband leaves the room.

My youngest looks up at me and says, “You lost that fight, mom.  Dad won.”

I burst out laughing.”Oh, did he?”  Before I can defend my superior logic and obvious advantage in debate, my husband returns. 

He says, “We both lost.” 

My youngest nods in understanding.  Nobody wins.

We both lose when we get angry with each other.  Something about how both of us lose helps me humble myself when it comes to arguing.  Even if I win, I lose.

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Isn’t it so true?

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Your Chilling Requirement

This morning, we all notice the gorgeous peach tree blossoms set against an ominous morning sky.  

We know what’s coming.  At the end of the summer, we can pick peaches on this walk.  This one little tree produces so many peaches that the owner actually begs us to pick his peaches each year. 

So we do. 

Many folks plant peach trees in Pennsylvania because peach trees, like other fruit trees, have a chilling requirement.  Some peaches require over 1000 hours of below 40 degree days in order to go into the dormancy that allows a new season of peaches.  Without those 1000 hours of rest, the peach tree simply won’t bear fruit. Here, a peach tree gets those crucial chilling hours.

So if it’s bearing great fruit, it means that tree had the right amount of rest. 

I have my own chilling requirement.  For days, months, sometimes years, I go dormant to prepare for the next year’s fruit.  We have to see rest that way.  It’s preparation.  It’s a requirement. 

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Have you had dormant years that were required before a season of fruitfulness? 

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Living Worry Free

This week, I read in Jeremiah 17: “This is what the Lord says, ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.'”

Prosperity would be there, but that person would miss it, unable to perceive it?

That’s been me!   

As I thought about that last phrase, I recalled all the times I could “not see prosperity” even when it was right in front of my face.  These times, not surprisingly, corresponded to how far my heart was from God.  In those times, nothing seems good enough.  I want more, better, new, and different.  Give me a new house, a new wardrobe, a new car, a new life!  Give me more! 

But when I’m trusting in God, suddenly I see all the prosperity about me.  I can get overwhelmed by all the good things in my life. 

And not one circumstance had changed.  

Something about staying connected to Jesus puts a corrective lens over my eyes. 

After these words from the Lord, Jeremiah continues by saying, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

That’s the kind of living I want.  Worry free.  Bearing fruit.  No Fear. 

As if showing me an actual picture of it, I see this tree by the stream today.  This is the kind of living I want.

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Have you been able to see prosperity sometimes, and sometimes do you feel blinded?

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For Cryin’ Out Loud!

My gentle Buddhist neighbor accompanies us on the journey to school this morning.  He walks behind my friend and me and tries to point out all the beautiful budding trees.

But my friend and I stay arm-in-arm, heads buried down, discussing all our parenting woes.  We’re totally engrossed in our own problems.

“For cryin’ out loud!” the gentle Buddhist screams.  “Pay attention!” 

We stop in our tracks and burst out laughing.  He’s pointing up to the tree above us (the one we nearly missed because of our conversation). 

For cryin’ out loud!  There’s a beautiful day out here, and I’m missing it when I’m too absorbed in my problems.

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It felt so nice to have someone remind me to “pay attention” today!  Did you pay attention today?  

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What You Lose in the Getting

I’m standing in front of my beautiful white Weeping Cherry, and I tell my neighbor, “I wish the blooms were pink.”

Pink is so glamorous, so very Spring.  Pink has always symbolized energy, love, zeal, and beauty.  Instead, I have a white Weeping Cherry.  Boring.  Usual.  Pure, but bland. 

“If only it were pink like some of the others!” I shake my head and go inside.  That very night, a storm passes through the valley, and I wake up to a pink Weeping Cherry.

Has some magician come in the night?  Really, the rain and wind turn the blossoms down.  The weight of it transforms this tree from the inside out. The once white blossoms hang low, closed for the season.

Pink signifies the end.  It means the tree submits to the storm.  These blooms will fall by tomorrow. 

I consider what it means to want something.  I wanted pink, but I see now so very clearly the great cost of it.

You lose something in the getting.

God shows me this with every unfulfilled dream.  He sees what I’d lose in the getting.  He sees what would fall.

If I don’t have pink, it’s because of what I’d lose in the getting.  Thank you, Lord, for the bright white blossom.

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Have you found this to be true?

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The Box We Pass Around

This morning, I bring out the box of clothes my sister mailed to me.  She found used clothing for my daughters to wear.  From that box, I keep back a few items that would be perfect for my neighbor’s daughter.

She takes the box, and then returns it an hour later with several items of clothing she thought would be perfect for my daughter. Especially green things since my oldest adores the color green. 

Then I get a text from another neighbor who has cleaned out her closet and has found clothes perfect for my youngest.  I return sandals to her that she once gave my oldest that now fit her youngest.  I pull out her old pants to wear today that no longer fit her but fit me.

And so on and so on.  

The neighborhood recycles clothes and toys and books and tools.  We even pass around the canes of fruit bushes from various gardens.

You just keep sending it all around.  Eventually, we all have what we need.  Living with flair means you pass the box around and share with the neighbors.

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Do you have things to pass around this week?

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Just This

On the walk to school, we notice the tiniest weeping cherry.  Amid the oldest and the tallest, the brightest and the best, this little tree–so humble and no bigger than a chair–makes her contribution. 

In the shadow of the tall oaks on either side of her, she seems so very small.  

Stand tall, Little Tree!  The whole world might not see you, and you don’t stand nearly as tall as the rest, but for this one walk to school, this one street, and this one patch of grass, you bring joy. 

I want to be the kind of woman who brings pleasure and joy, even if I’m not the best or the most important.  Maybe my assignment from God is to bloom small for just one street.  

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Thank you for reading Live with Flair!  It’s the 2 year anniversary today!  

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Weep No More

The Weeping Cherry, so bare and empty all year, blooms in full today.   

I think about this very special week of blooms, and I remember God’s ancient and unchanging ways:  

I remember Psalm 126:  “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

We go out weeping and return with joy.  We’re brought low, spindly and bare as winter branches, only to enter a new season. 

 It will be so.   As Psalm 30 remarks:

 “You turned my wailing into dancing;
   you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
   LORD my God, I will praise you forever.”

As He clothes the Weeping Cherry with this particular splendor, we also receive a splendor that makes the heart sing.

We burst open with it.  We cannot be silent. 

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What’s in full bloom around you (or within you!) today?

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The 3 Most Helpful Changes to Our Diet

For nearly two years, we battled digestion issues and grumpy moods in one daughter.  We fought fatigue, joint pain, and headaches.

After blood tests and x-rays and specialists and stress, the answer came:  change her diet.  My bread and butter and cheese loving child had a new protocol.  It would involve flax seed and fish oil.  

My father-in-law explained to me that flax seed works as a binding agent in the digestive tract, and fish oil reduces inflammation.

“But she won’t eat it!” I cried

Enter Grandma.  Grandma sprinkles the flax seed on my daughter’s food, points to it, and says, “Now eat.”

Nobody says no to Grandma.   

Within a week, the digestion issues healed.  My daughter began to wake up happy.  She ran around the yard in the afternoons instead of lying on the couch.  The dark circles under her eyes cleared.   When people ask what changed, I tell them we add flax seed to everything and she takes a fish oil gummy (from Nordic Naturals) with a fruit smoothie (Greek yogurt, a tablespoon flax seed, milk, fruit!) every morning. 

It’s more expensive than bread and butter.

Changing a child’s diet isn’t easy.  You have to commit.  You have to plan.  You have to save money and budget differently.  Flax seed, fish oil, and fruit.   So far, so good!

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Do you take fish oil?

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