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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The December Garden

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
Jeremiah 32: 27 NIV

It is important to remember that if you are entering the garden in December you will not experience the delicate blossoms of spring time, or the deep intense colors that grace the flowers of summer. You will not see the warm hues of autumn, and if you live in the south you most likely will not delight in the beauty of evergreens and dark tree bark contrasting against the freshly fallen, pure white snow of winter.

No, sadly to say, the December garden treasures are few and far between! At first glance the garden may seem unattractive and like a place that you would not want to go or spend much time. But what a perfect reminder of hope we find in the December garden. Even though the December garden is bleak and unproductive, we can still find hopeful joy in the red Holly berries and the clusters of rich orange berries that hang off of the Heavenly Bamboo bushes. As I focus on this touch of elegant color I am thankful for this small amount of December beauty and I remain sure that spring will follow winter.

Just like the December garden, at times my life can seem to be bleak and unproductive. I can become frustrated and restless. During the winters months I can experience a seasonal depression. My cure for the winter blahs is to seek God and allow him to align his spirit to mine. I also plan projects and busy myself with things that I do not have time for during the beautiful spring, summer and fall months.

In our humanness, we long for perfection and peace, yet often it is elusive. At times our frustration gives way to discouragement and hopelessness. Our emotions can spike in the glory of a wonderful moment in time and then quickly crash in the reality of life.

I am so glad that I have discovered that the acceptance of a higher power is what gives me strength and hope. I am also learning that practicing daily surrender of myself to God is the pathway to inner peace. Even during the winter months I can find God’s beauty in the garden of my heart.

If you know Jesus Christ personally, the December garden is a beautiful reminder that with God all things are possible and nothing is too hard for the creator of the universe. Over the next few weeks I hope that you will hang in there and continue to read my devotionals each week. It will be amazing to watch the garden of your heart take shape and become a place of breathless beauty.


Do you long for inner peace?

Are you struggling with a difficult circumstance in your life?

Do your problems overwhelm you?

Is there a place in your heart’s garden that is calling you to surrender and trust God for the impossible?


Dear God,

You never promised us that life would be perfect. In fact your Word tells us that in this life we will experience trouble. Thank you Father that you offer to us wisdom, love, peace, hope and joy in the midst of every difficulty. Help me to seek you in all things. You have promised me that if I will seek you and your ways I will find you. Thank you for this promise.

In Your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spinning Plates

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 NIV

December is a month that takes our multi-tasking skills to a new level. The closer it gets to Christmas the more I feel like a circus performer spinning plates. Even though other family members sometimes pitch in and help with the holiday planning, I still tend to be the circus performer that takes to the center ring.

I own some beautiful holly Christmas dishes that I treasure. I pull these dishes out of storage right after Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy using them the entire month of December. As I begin to prepare for Christmas I visualize myself spinning plates. In my mind each one of my “holly” plates has a holiday task written on it that must be completed before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve.

I see myself spinning these plates on long poles so that my feet can move quickly from chore to chore. The first plate that I begin to spin has the word “decorate” written on it and then I start a second plate spinning and that plate is labeled “shopping.” I now I start the plate that is marked “baking” whirling around and just as I am about to add the “Christmas cards” plate, my first plate labeled “decorate” begins to slow down. I quickly give it another spin as I run out to Target for wrapping paper and ribbon, so that I can start the “wrapping gifts” plate spinning! The next thing I know, the “Christmas cards” plate falls to the ground and breaks, because I was shopping a little too long! I know that I will have to start that plate spinning again in a day or two. Meanwhile, the “decorate the pre-lit tree” plate begins to spin. It is rotating at high speed when I realize that the middle strand of lights on this pre-wired tree, is completely burnt out! Needless to say, that as that plate slows down and I manage to give it a quick spin so I can try to determine what to do about this catastrophe! I am now so exasperated, that I decide to give my “baking” plate another spin as I rush into the kitchen. I pop a pan of cookies into the oven and in exactly twenty-seven minutes the “baking” plate crashes to the ground in a burnt blaze of glory, because I failed to set the kitchen timer for ten minutes. At this point, I collapse into heap on the kitchen floor and wonder who ever thought up Christmas in the first place! One by one, the remainder of my beautiful Christmas “holly” plates crash to the floor breaking into a hundred pieces.

Through my tears I remember who it was that "thought up" Christmas! Yes indeed, it was God! How could I forget that? Today I am remembering how very simple God kept Christmas. God’s first Christmas consisted of two obedient parents, one precious Christ Child, a donkey, a stable, a manger, some cattle, a star, and a handful of lowly shepherds with their sheep. Although, I do have to admit that the heavenly hosts were a bit of a magnificent spectacular touch! I guess God just couldn’t help himself. After all, it was a grand heavenly celebration!

My prayer today is that during this month of Christmas preparation I will not forget the simplicity of that first Christmas. I want to do the things that will bring joy to my family and others and yet manage my time wisely and evaluate my activities as I prepare. Less can be more when we include time with Immanuel. On Christmas day I want to set my table with my beautiful “holly” Christmas plates and as I bow my head in prayer I will thank God for his gift to humanity. Immanuel, God with us.


Do you relate to how hectic Christmas preparation can become?

Do you long to prepare for the holiday with purpose and meaning?

What can you do this year to simplify Christmas?


Dear God,

Please help me to set aside a time of reflection and prayer each day of December, so that I may focus on your son, Jesus Christ, who is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Show me a couple of things that I might change so that I can make my holiday preparations less hectic and more meaningful. I pray that you will remind me to guard my time and simplify my activities

In Your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

About My Blog

Welcome to “The Garden of My Heart,” a weekly blog that will be posted on Sunday evening and remain available for the following week for you to read, study and enjoy.

My themed entries will have a garden analogy. The word “garden” as used here, symbolizes the special place in your mind and heart where you may go as you seek to know God personally. It also symbolizes that place where you must go to develop a relationship with your creator. The “Master Gardner,” is none other than Jesus Christ.

My garden messages will be about “Joyful Times in the Garden,” “Praying in the Garden,” “Lessons Learned in the Garden,” and “Thoughts to Ponder in the Garden.” “Life Outside of the Garden,” will be written about other places outside of the garden setting where God has shared with me his love through nature. During holidays, look for special posts that will bring spiritual focus to your holiday celebrations.

If you are investigating Christianity and who Jesus Christ is, I pray that as you read “The Garden of My Heart” it will become a part of your search. Even if you do not understand everything that is written, please hang in there because the next post may have the very words that will bring the understanding that you are searching for.

Some of you will enjoy reading this blog and use it as a tool to grow in your faith. I hope that you will use the questions and prayer at the end of each post for this purpose.

Many of you will read my words and realize that God has already revealed that same truth to you. I hope that as you read you will be refreshed and the truth that you already know will be reinforced. I pray you will also be thankful for that message and that it will once again bless your heart.

I honestly don’t think that I have much to say, but I do know that God has been extremely faithful to me by putting numerous people in my life to teach me about him and his ways. They have passed on their faith to me and now God is asking me to pass my faith to you. Through my writings I simply want to tell my story of faith and how Jesus has always been there for me in every area of my life. I pray that God will prepare your heart and mind to receive His Words through mine.

If you enjoy this blog please share it with your friends and family.