What is Growing in your Garden?

I could not believe how fast they emerged.

Sprouting up out of nowhere, they invaded my flowerbed.   Along with the healthy plants, this rain filled winter in California also brought along some large weeds.

Left unattended, weeds just continue to grow.

Around the side of my house by my trash cans, some of the weeds stood taller than me. I had not even noticed how quickly they appeared. Interestingly, the guest speakers at church this weekend, George and Tondra Gregory, shared about the necessity of weeding and I want to share two important lessons I learned from them.

1. Weeds grow automatically but the good stuff never grows automatically. 

Have you ever thought about this?  Weeds will sprout up anywhere.  I recently found a huge weed in the crack on my driveway.  You don’t have to use miracle grow or give them extra water or sunlight; they just surface consistently.   However, my beautiful roses and flowering plants require much more intention.  They need proper sunlight, enough water and sometimes even then, these plants do not grow and prosper.

This is so true with life.  We desire healthy relationships with our family and friends as well as a deeper relationship with God, but these good things do not come automatically.  They require living a life of purpose. 

  • Turning off the TV to spend intentional time with our kids. 
  • Waking up early before work to read God’s Word and fill our mind with His truth. 
  • Saying no to something good to say Yes to something even better. 

However, if we coast on auto pilot and are not deliberate about what we do, think, or say, sadly, our life will become full of weeds.

2. Cutting the weeds is different than uprooting the weeds.

Once we have identified a weed in our life, it is essential to remove it.  A couple weeks ago, my boys were helping me get rid of these large weeds that had appeared.  It was tempting to take the easier path and just cut them all down and quickly clean up the flower bed.   However, this easier, quicker path would not have solved my weed problem.  In order to ensure that the weeds would not grow back, we removed them by the roots even if it did take longer.

Uprooting the weeds is the only way to guarantee they will not return.

This is the same in life too.  We identify a weed, a struggle or a bad habit that we need to address, and it is tempting to find the easiest path to eliminate its negative effects.  However, true change takes time and hard work. 

Let me share with you a personal example. For years, I struggled with reacting in anger instead of responding calmly.   Through counseling, I learned that anger is a secondary emotion and the primary emotions are hurt, disappointment, or fear.  Digging deeper, I realized that I really felt hurt and disappointment, but instead of sharing these emotions, I would just blast the other person with hurtful words.  In order to remove this weed by the roots, I had to take time and look deep within to see what was fueling this heated response.   

Maybe you have a different weed that needs to be uprooted.  I pray you will dig deep, embrace the hard work and time needed, and with God’s help, eliminate the weeds in your life.  

Friends, what is growing in your garden?  Weeds or Seeds.

If you see weeds, I encourage you to do the hard work to uproot them.  If you see new life growing from your seeds, I encourage you to be purposeful with your time and your relationships, so they continue to grow.  You will never regret living with intentionality.

Love, Jodi    

A Wonderful Surprise!

I could not believe my eyes.  This was a wonderful surprise!

Have you ever been surprised by God?  You were just doing your daily routine, and then God gives you a little nugget of truth or a special gift.  It could be through the words of a friend or the book you are reading.  Or it could be an actual present that just makes you stand there in awe of Him.

This is what happened to me on Saturday morning.  I was garage saling with my sister; one of my favorite things to do.  I was looking for nice pants for my son for our Rwanda trip because they cannot wear jeans.  I remembered a house that sold clothes similar to his size from previous years (yes, I am a devoted garage sale fan!), so I headed to that street. 

As I was walking down the road, this picture caught my eye. 

The lighting in this picture just captivated me.  The dark clouds in the sky revealed the tree did withstand the storm.  Completely encompassing the entire tree is this beautiful light, with the brightest light sparkling through the tree to the world around. 

Wow- I just stood there completely in awe of God.

Trees are significant to me.  As I walked through my own storm, God has used the symbol of a tree to remind me about the importance of DEPTH and growing deep roots in my faith. 

This is why this picture was such a special gift to me that morning and now hangs above my bed as a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in life’s storms. Honestly, this picture could be the cover of my book: Heartbreak to Strength.

The storm has not defeated the tree but instead made it stronger. 

Even when the winds raged and the rain drenched its branches, the tree did not give way.  It just depended on its deep roots to endure the storm.

Friends, just like this tree, I pray we can depend of our deep roots in our faith as we endure our storms.  Trusting that God has a plan even when we cannot see it through the storm clouds.  Knowing that God can use it for good as we seek Him and run to Him.  Believing that our pain can have a greater purpose. 

It is all about perspective. You see, if the whole picture was light and sunny, then the tree would not stand out.  But as the tree shines brightly in the middle of the dark storm, now others take notice of this beautiful sight.

What if our storms and struggles actually help us be a stronger light?

Friends, persevering through a storm is not easy.  I know how real the hurt and pain can be.  Today, I pray you rely on God’s strength and comfort through the storm, so that others can see God’s love and purpose shining through you!

Love, Jodi