The Banyan is near the top of my list of “favorites” when it comes to trees. Unlike any other tree I know of, it has the capability of growing far and wide. In fact, the largest Banyan tree in the US covers more than an acre of land! You might think that is impossible until you get a look at these trees. As they grow out, in order to hold the weight of new growth, they send limbs downward, securing and stabilizing the tree in the soil below. It creates a network of mini trunks, so to speak, which is not only visually amazing but growth-promoting.
Summer brings many memories to the forefront of my mind and some of my favorite pastimes involved water. Whether a pool, lake or the beach…these places all brought refreshment and fun on those hot, lazy days. There were times of diving right in or assuming the cannonball position that soaked everyone standing around, but I’d usually start in the shallow end or the shore…getting my feet wet and my body adjusted to the coolness of the water compared to the sun on my back. Then slowly I’d head in farther, until I took that final plunge, submerging every bit of me and finding refreshment and relief from the heat of the day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m amazed how quickly my calendar fills up. As I look at the days and weeks ahead of me, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, to wish for some extra free time and to want what isn’t. Discontentment can creep in so quickly and frustration can build. In times like these, I know that my thinking needs to change if my attitude is going to change, and Paul’s words in Acts 20:24 are a great place to begin to renew my mind:
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
I’ve come to realize that I don’t do “process” well. I’m an “event” kind of gal. I like to plan, execute and then check it off my list. Done. I have always seen this as just the reality of being a bit of a “Type A” or a “go get ’em” personality. I didn’t see it as necessarily a weakness, and I certainly didn’t see how it could negatively effect my parenting…but now I know that it can, and in all transparency, it does.
“Surely I spoke about things I don’t understand, things too wonderful for me to know…therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them.” Job 42:3b, 6
In the final chapters of the book of Job, he openly spoke about his innocence, and because of that, he couldn’t make sense of what God was doing in his life. His confusion gave way to a level of accusation against God for what his life had become. In chapters 38-41, God responds to Job by proclaiming in detail His sovereignty and absolute control and care of everything He has made…from hailstones and lightening to deer and donkeys. When God gets done talking, Job is completely humbled. Part of his response is the verses above.
"I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream." Amos 5:21-24
Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday, it is an expression of gratitude. It’s not just something we do, it’s who we are. It is a word that shapes character, reveals the heart and colors our every word and action. In all our conduct, we either display a spirit of joyful thanksgiving or discontented grumbling.
"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25
As a book lover, this verse always puts a smile on my face. It shows the mind-blowing depth of the riches that are found in our Lord and is a sweet reminder to my own heart that there will never be a day that I can’t keep learning about the greatness, the majesty and the glory of Jesus Christ….both now and forevermore!
I was interviewed on a podcast in July, and at the end I was asked if I had any book recommendations for women. I think I could have spent another podcast just sharing a variety of books, how they have encouraged my heart, and why I would love to see other women pick them up and read. In many ways, though these authors do not know me, they have taught me, discipled me, counseled me and caused me to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:18).
Dependent Discipline…these two words often come to mind and, for me, are extra helpful to think on as we all begin to approach another school year. They remind me of Colossians 1:29 “For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works in me.” Within that verse hangs the balance of the Christian life…living a life of discipline while living it completely dependent on the Lord. As Paul says in Acts 17:28 “In Him we live and move and have our being” and Jesus says in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing”.