Before Fruitfulness

IMG_0607

Before Fruitfulness-I have sown many things in my life: some wonderful and some not so wonderful.  Interestingly enough, as I turned my heart toward God, he caused a crop failure on the negative things and has begun growing beautiful things in my life. I started my garden a few weeks ago and have sown many seeds in it. (I didn’t realize my paths were in the shape of a cross until I put down my stones!) I am expecting a harvest of tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, garlic, onions, basil and more….but I don’t have my harvest just yet.  Time and process must have it’s full effect for the seeds to bear fruit.  This post is to encourage those who have sought the Lord and have sown prayer, tears, and are waiting for the harvest. Don’t grow weary in the waiting.  Great things are happening in secret places that you can’t see and one day, you will see with your eyes the reward of your faithfulness.  Don’t let fear cause you to uproot what you have planted in His kingdom.  Keep tending and stewarding the garden  that He has given you.  Be faithful in the small things by watering your seeds and pulling up weeds.  He is the master gardener and faithful father.  May His peace fill your life.

God bless!

 

 

Advertisements

Words.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. If this is true, then 1,000 words can paint a picture as well. I’ve always been fascinated by words…..reading and watching with delight as the author paints in shades of deep yellow and joy. Just as the artist sweeps the deep blue of a horizon, the author brings us to the horizon of culture, story, and drama. Descriptions so effortlessly paint the silhouette of story in our imagination.
I don’t feel they are opposed to each other, but I wonder if in our image driven world, we have lost the ability to paint with words or even the ability to imagine the picture being painted.
I wonder if in our image driven society, we have left little to the imagination just as a scantily clad woman brings no mystery of pursuit.
I wonder if the immediate gratification of picture and image has reduced us to picture books with very few words reminiscent of a new reader.
I wonder if the reliance on the image, has left us with an inability to see the various shades and hues of personality and conflict and resolution…especially in others….especially on social media.
Our lack of words and over abundance of images has only created one sided, flat characters who really only know one emotion.
If social media and pictures painted the narratives of our lives, I wonder if the reader could really relate to perfection and smiles only.
I wonder if our lack of words in communication, by solely relying on images, isn’t really painting a skewed view of reality.
I wonder if there are depths of creativity that have been abandoned because it takes more time to mine the fields for treasure than to pluck up a dandelion.
I enjoy flowers and dandelions, but are there treasures under the surface that we are missing?
Are there layers upon layers of depth that we are missing in a selfie?
Are there diamonds being mined in an area that we have walked over in an effort to save time and get more likes?
Are there people that aren’t really fully known, because they fear being vulnerable?
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love social media and connecting with others, but I wonder if we’re really connecting, or are merely exhibits in a museum, flat and one dimensional.
I know that there are depths and layers and treasures in my own heart that I have yet to unearth.
I wonder if I have helped anyone else mine for the treasure and gold placed inside of them by God himself.
I wonder if I have painted 1,000 words yet.

Canaan

2016-10-04-14-28-34

The road from Egypt to Canaan is fraught with distraction and unbelief calling you to turn around.

Where you’re going, you may have to fight to possess the land, but it’s better than when you lived in chains.

You’re going to have to press through fear and worry and discouragement because on the other side is milk and honey….and it will be worth it.

Your attitude will either push you forward, drag you back to Egypt, or leave you wandering in the wilderness…..but you make that choice. YOU decide how much of God you want, not your circumstances.

You decide if you want to go up on the mountain and see Him or hang around in the valley and make golden calves.

Jesus made the way for us to see God.
The power that raised him from the dead lives inside your spirit……if you’re His.

A fire by night and a cloud by day inside of you guiding you from Egypt to Canaan. Just believe, and trust, and stop complaining.

The blood of Jesus protecting you, the love of the Father inside of you, and the Spirit of God directing you will bring you to freedom….stop running from Him and worrying about where you’re going.  Rest and trust in Him.

Applesauce

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Our 2 year old son REALLY loves applesauce.  This morning, he repeatedly asked for some.  In his sweet little voice, he would say, “owlsauce…owlsauce.”

So, I opened the refrigerator door and saw that we were completely out.  My industrious husband decided to make him some.  He cored and peeled an apple, and put it in the blender.  This whole process took some time…a little too much time for a two year old.  He grew impatient because He couldn’t see exactly what his father was doing in the kitchen.  Eventually, the coveted “owlsauce” was made and all was well with the world again.

You know,  sometimes our Father God is working on our behalf, and it may take some time.  Our time table and His aren’t the same.  You may not know exactly what it is that He’s doing, but please don’t lose heart.  Please know that your Father is making something wonderful….just make sure you don’t throw a fit in the process.  You’re Father hasn’t forgotten you and the wait will be worth it.

Christmas wish

image

When I was younger, I remember a Christmas where all that I wanted was a bicycle.  Other gifts would be great too, but I wanted nothing more than a bicycle, so I could cruise around our neighborhood after school.  I remember waking up and running to the living room on Christmas morning looking around for my bike. My eyes were still half-closed with sleep and in my excitement, I even tripped on some presents.  I had gotten it!  My little seven-year old heart was full of joy!

As I grew older, my desires for things shifted into grown up mode.  The American dream tells us that to be happy we need a big house with a white picket fence, a great job, 2.5 kids, and yearly vacations to Disney World.  Now please don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ANY of these things.  However, I have seen some pretty miserable millionaires and some poor people who happen to be content.  Regardless of what side of the fence you rest on, we can’t escape the fact that we all desire SOMETHING. 

Let’s take a look at a story in the Bible about the desire of a man named Solomon:

7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

What?!? Solomon could have asked for ANYTHING, but his greatest desire was to have WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE. He went on to become one of the wealthiest kings in the Bible

Proverbs 8:11 tells me that wisdom is better than rubies and NOTHING that I desire could compare to it.  Wisdom trumps the Corvette.  Wisdom is greater than the big house.  Wisdom is greater than a diamond ring.  Wisdom is greater than___________ (Fill in the blank with your greatest desire). 

The fruit of wisdom is “better than fine gold” (Prov. 8:19).  Proverbs 8:10 tells me to receive instruction rather than silver.  Rubies, gold, and silver….King Solomon, one of the wealthiest kings in history, is telling us to cherish wisdom above treasure. That wisdom is, in fact, the greatest treasure.

How do you get wisdom?  Simply by asking and seeking God for it!

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5 HCSB

God GIVES it freely when we seek Him for it. 

There are many things that I have placed on my Christmas wish list over the years, but I’m pretty sure that wisdom wasn’t one of them.  At first glance, wisdom seems boring and should be something that only older people have.  However, looking back over my life, there are plenty of situations that if the wisdom of the Lord had been prized, I probably wouldn’t have walked through them.  Obviously, as they say “hindsight is 20/20,” but moving forward, I want to embrace the wisdom of God.  I want to receive a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” as Paul refers to it in Ephesians 1:17.

This is my prayer for you too this Christmas season.  May our desires be in line with His as we seek His wisdom

It’s been an honor to spend this time with you.

Thanks.

-Samantha

Deep Roots.

image

http://bible.com/1/col.2.7.KJV

When I lived in Jacksonville, FL, there were some trees near our apartment that were hundreds of feet tall.  Tall and thin, their boughs swayed at the slightest whisper of the wind.  Sometimes in the middle of a storm, I would go out on my porch and watch them dance as the wind whipped them violently to and fro….it was somewhat mesmerizing.

After a bit, I realized that although the storm was intense, the wind served to make the tree’s roots grow deeper.  In that moment, I remember God whispering to me that deeper roots make a stronger and taller tree.   

So many times, I rail against the storms of life and get caught up in trying to just get the wind to stop.  Those storms that threaten from the horizon….those storms that bring freezing rain and make me look for shelter….those storms that make me question the path that I am on.  I want to learn to dance and sway in the middle of those times:

…to move and grow and change as my roots grow down deeper and stronger in Christ

…to let the rhythm of the wind sway me closer to Him

…to laugh at the storm that tries to destroy me knowing that I am capable of not only surviving, but thriving! 

So, in your life, may any looming storm make you smile as you prepare to dance in the wind.  Deep roots make great trees.

It’s been a  honor to spend this time with you.

Thanks and God bless!

Samantha

If King David had a Facebook page

image

If King David had a Facebook page….

Sounds ludicrous right? I can hear all the minds of theologians saying “Are you kidding me?” Just stick with me for a moment and you will see where I am going.

King David, even with all of his foibles and hang ups was STILL chosen by God and anointed and called “a man after His own heart.”

How!?

Acts 13:22 says “And when He had removed him (Saul), He had raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘ I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”

David was authentic and didn’t let the opinion of others or their approval (or lack thereof) keep Him from following God’s plan for his life.  He brought all of His issues to God and leaned on Him even when others didn’t “get” him.  He was David, and when he screwed up, he sought God.  When things were going great, he sought God. David wrote many of the Psalms and what he wrote could possibly be summed up like this:

God this thing stinks and that thing stinks, BUT God I praise you.

God this thing is awesome and that thing is awesome, and I praise you

for it.

Over and over, he praises God, even if he’s in the middle of the struggle….but I find it interesting that his writings in the Psalms are real about the struggle.  That’s what makes his life so powerful to me.

I LOVE Facebook because I LOVE people, but here’s what concerns me….that maybe we (I included) so quickly share our victories but rarely share our struggles.  I know I appreciate it when someone opens up to me and shares how God got them through something. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere….eveyone’s life can’t be as perfect as it seems on Facebook right?

Well, I’m prone the think that they aren’t.  I get it, I really understand.  We want people to see our pretty side and not the ugly things. I get it, I really do….but how is that real?

It takes COURAGE and SECURITY to reveal ourselves.  Sometimes on Facebook, I wonder if I will know literally allllllllllll about someone…what they ate, what they’re doing, etc.  It’s so easy to reveal surface stuff and rarely delve into the nitty gritty of life……which obviously requires wisdom.

Here’s my point:

Revelation 12:11 says “…they overcame him (the Devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their TESTIMONY; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” How can we share Jesus if all we ever share is our tip-toe through the tulips side of our walk with Him?

I have stared Hell in the face many times, been tripped up, messed up, and broken….sometimes to the point that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get up again. I also have overcome many, many battles that I’m pretty sure lots of people don’t know about.  I have also had AMAZING mountain-top moments with God.

When we only share our mountain-top moments though, those hanging out in the valley might wonder if they are disqualified for some reason.

David is a pretty good example in that he was transparent with his struggles, but always brought it back to God.  I think that is where the difference is.  On Facebook, many share their struggles, but rarely point it back to God….OR they just share their mountain-top moments with God.  Jesus is in the middle of ALL of those moments and is with us in the valley and the mountain-top even if we don’t understand and THAT is what makes us relatable and THAT is what brings hope.  We are all in different seasons and places.  Be courageous and don’t be afraid of your struggle and what people will think…God isn’t.

Thanks for that post David.

It’s been an honor to spend this time with you.  Thanks.

-Samantha

Keep Calm

 

“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  Psalm 131:2

Have you ever had to calm an anxious child?  Whether it be your baby who wakes up hungry in the middle of the night, or your son who fell and scraped his knee on the concrete?  There is something to be said for the calming effects of a mother when everything goes topsy-turvy. There’s a reason that the mothers on the bus go “Shh, shh, shh” while the wheels go round and round.

From a kiss on a bo-bo to a pat on the head, a mother’s touch can bring calm, restoration, and peace.  One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was crawl into my mom’s bed and rest while she stroked my hair and we talked.  Was life perfect? No, but in that moment, I was content and peaceful.

It was easy to trust when I was little, but as I grew up, disappointment and cynicism caused me to become suspicious of other peoples’ motives.  Children trust so simply and easily.  Maybe that’s why God calls us to be childlike in our faith and simply just trust Him.

This world seems to shove anxiety and fear in our face constantly.  Fear of the future, the fear of what people think, and the fear of lack or hurt all try to send us cowering in the corner.  What kind of mother would I be if I never tried to calm my child’s anxiety.  My natural inclination as a mom is to “fix it” and make my baby better.  Now, if I, as a mom, can easily and willingly do that for my child, why wouldn’t my God do the same for me?  Has distrust kept me from quieting my soul and resting in His presence?

There are a few things in Psalm 131:2 that seem to hit home with me.  It says “surely, I have calmed and quieted my soul.”  My soul consists of my mind, will, and emotions.  I am a very passionate and analytical person.  All three of these things (my mind, will, and emotions) can be stirred easily.  On one hand, this is a good thing because it helps keep me sensitive to God’s voice.  On the other hand, this sometimes becomes a tactic that the enemy can use to push my buttons and rile me up.  One of Satan’s goals is to get us so pent up with anxiety that we become paralyzed and do nothing, but our God is bigger!  He calls us to calm and quiet our soul, just as a mother who seeks to calm her child.

I remember those moments when I was little (and even now with my children) when it was hard to talk because the crying was so intense.  With my 2 year old, it is difficult to give him direction or help him until he calms down.

I think God calls us to calm and quiet our soul:

our mind and those racing thoughts,

our will and our desire to rebel,

and our emotions that seek to push our buttons.

Psalm 131:2 also uses the metaphor of a weaned child. Why did David use this term?  A weaned child is perfectly content when in his mother’s arms.  He trusts that his next meal is taken care of and he simply rests knowing that his mother will care for him.  I believe that contentment is the catalyst to creativity and life.  Fear paralyzes and stops growth.  God calls us to rest in Him and be assured, content, and confident that He is taking care of us.  Does this require faith? Yes, definitely, but I would rather live my life from a secure place in His presence than in the hurried rat race of this world.

Everyday, we make a choice to trust or not.  God help me to make the choice to calm and quiet my soul in Your presence.  This is my prayer for you too, today….that we would keep calm.

It’s been an honor to spend this time with you.

Thanks,

Samantha Eberly 11.2.15

Mommy Heartmelt – My Closeness Is Their Comfort

free_valentine_bokeh_heart_vector_background_277792“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” 1 John 3:1

Having a newborn has reminded me of just how important my presence is.  My 7 week old daughter and 2 year old son not only need my presence, but my proximity.  It amazes me how pulling my little ones close to my chest will calm every anxious cry.  Their cries for my attention and closeness pluck the strings of my heart and cause me to respond.  You see, before birth, all that my children knew was oneness with me.  During pregnancy, my nourishment was their nourishment and everything I did affected them.  Both of my children have known what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside.

My independent son is content to have me in the room when he plays.  However, if I spend too much time cleaning the kitchen, he will be at the gate seeking my attention and affection.  Also, if at any point he gets hurt, he will quickly find himself in my lap.  I relish the moments when he wants to love on me just because he wants to.  However, playtime soon calls and he runs off with his train.

These dynamics of motherhood have introduced me to a world that I never knew existed.  They have taught me more about God and have helped me understand His heart like never before.  Just as my children need me, I need Him.  Sometimes, like my son, I am content to just be in the same room with Him.  Other times, I have run from Him, thinking that I could find comfort somewhere else while my stubborn heart clung to the toys of this world.  However, every time I would end up empty and run back to Him.  There have been many times when I have craved not just His presence, but His closeness.  Maybe a hurt drove me to his lap or difficulties required His words of direction.

Regardless of the reasoning, as a parent, He delights in us needing and leaning on Him.  Our weakness will drive us to His strength.  I am fairly certain though, that there are times when we melt HIS heart just because we want to BE with Him…still….with no qualification, performance, or agenda needed…when we truly just relax with the Father and rest.

So, as I journey down this road of motherhood, I am sure that little, sticky hands and strewn toys will teach me more about eternity than I thought.  I will learn to see my children the way He sees me, and more about His unconditional love.  As I comfort my little ones, may my heart crave the comfort of His closeness.

It’s been an honor to spend this time with you.

Thanks.

S.Eberly 9.22.15

Whistleblower

Can I blow the whistle for a minute?  Can we stop pretending that we don’t struggle?  Can we stop publishing ONLY our victories while shoving the struggle under the rug?  Can we stop pretending that we don’t wrestle?  I am not sure why, but somewhere there is some unspoken code that a Christian isn’t supposed to struggle with anything….that if you do, then somehow you aren’t a “good Christian.”  So we paint on our smiles and say “doing great” when someone asks us how we are doing.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying that we need to wallow in our struggle and let it define us.  What I AM saying is that the pathway to freedom is through honesty and transparency. To pretend that we don’t struggle in an effort to save face only adds another link to the chain of our own bondage.

Also, how will we lead others to freedom if we aren’t vulnerable with our own issues and how Jesus IS helping us, WILL help us,  or HAS helped us?  I am pretty sure it has to do with fear-“What will people think? I can’t share that!”  God forbid that the fear of man would keep others locked up in their cell.  What if you have the key (in Jesus) to unlock cell doors and break off chains?  Do I have it all figured out?  No.  However, I do know that in my times of struggle, when someone would share with me how Jesus helped them, I was encouraged.  How powerful is it to share with someone who is in their mess:

 “God loves you right now…where you are…in this moment…not when you ‘get it right’ or become perfect…but right now.  Do you want to know how I know?  Because I have been a hot mess before, and every now and then I still wrestle, but my struggles haven’t pushed Him away.  I have looked Hell in the face and fallen flat on my face, but still HE is there.My weakness hasn’t pushed Him away.  In my humanness, I have run away from Him, but He has pursued me still…over and over again.  In every season of life, He has shown Himself strong and brought me to Himself.”

“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So, let’s pull off the masks we wear and just be real.  Be real with the things we wrestle with and just breathe.  God knows us completely and loves us anyway.  Let’s let our guard down, open up, and let HIS light shine through the cracks in our lives.  It will take courage and a confrontation of our own fears…..but it will be worth it.

It’s been an honor to spend this time with you.

Thanks.

-S.Eberly 9.15.15