Next Steps

My boys are starting 1st grade today.  One day last week, we had been talking about school starting back and they had gotten excited about it.  However, later that evening, Joshua called me into his room.  Through tears, he said, “Mom I’m not ready for 1st grade.”  I assured him he was more than ready.  I began to encourage him by recalling all the things he had learned in kindergarten and how he had passed with very good grades.  I also reminded him he was my brave little boy and he could do anything with Jesus by his side.

After a bit, it seemed to make him feel better and he stopped crying.  In my mind, I tried to figure out what had brought that on.  Then I attempted to see this big transition through his little eyes.  God reminded me of times when He had asked me to move up to a different level, make a change that took me out of my comfort zone, or take a step of faith out into the unknown.  During many of those transitions, I realized I had been that scared little child crying and saying, “I’m not ready for this.”  However, my loving Father would not have instructed me to do any of these things if He had not first prepared me for the next leg of the journey. 

stepsSometimes it’s hard for us to see what big plans God has in store for us using our small vision.  There will be times when the direction may not even make sense in our minds.  However, it should be comforting to know our Heavenly Father has gone before us and made a way.  He knows what lies ahead even when we can’t see it.  He cares for us and would never send us into something without preparing us beforehand.  I am thankful for the times I stepped out in faith, even when I had to do it afraid.  I can look back now and see how far God has brought me, and I realize His mercy and grace carried me when I couldn’t see the next step. 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.  Psalm 37:23 (NIV)

I would like to encourage you to hold on to this promise for yourself and your children.  Teach them about how God orders our steps but more importantly teach them how to delight in Him.  Help them to always remember He provides the strength we need to continue our journey.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Be a Sunflower

There is a family farm in town called Batey Farms (BateyFarms.com).  They also offer a beautiful venue nearby called The Grove (@Williamsongrove), where there are two fields of sunflowers.  Last week, those sunflowers were in full bloom and the fields were open to the public.  Everyone was invited to come and admire them, take pictures, and even pick a bouquet. 

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My family along with some good friends of ours decided to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  We walked through the fields enjoying all the beautiful sunflowers and took lots of great pictures.  The boys and I also picked three gorgeous sunflowers to take home and enjoy.  Once we got them home, we trimmed the ends and placed them in a vase of water on the kitchen table.  They lasted for a few days but then began to lose their petals and droop.

I so enjoyed having them on our table and really hated to see them fade away.  Not knowing much about sunflowers, except for their beauty, I decided to do a little research on them.  I found out some very interesting facts that I’d like to share with you:

  • When the sunflowers are growing, the flower buds and young blossoms will face east in the morning and follow the sun as the earth moves during the day. This is a behavior called heliotropism.  Essentially, they turn their face to the sun in order to grow to their full potential.
  • A sunflower head is made up of 1000 to 2000 individual flowers which are joined at the base. A single sunflower can have up to 2000 seeds.
  • Sunflowers can remove toxins such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soil. They are a natural decontaminator of soils, and have been used to clean up soil at some of the world’s biggest environmental disasters including Chernobyl and Fukushima.

This really got me to thinking, and I realized as Christians we can be a lot like sunflowers.  To grow strong, we must look to the Son, Jesus Christ.  To mature and reach our full potential, we must follow Him wherever He moves.  Even one person can have multiple seeds of greatness inside them.  As we grow and mature, we can plant those seeds  producing an exceptional harvest for the Kingdom of God.  Through Christ, we have the potential to bring life and healing to others who have been contaminated by the sin of this world.

So, go out and be a sunflower!  Seek the Son and keep your eyes on Jesus.  Allow the seeds of greatness God has placed inside you to grow and spread to countless others who need His touch.  Show love, mercy, and grace to those who have been poisoned by the lies of the enemy.  And finally, let us teach our children to do the same.