Life at a Slower Pace

I have lived in Stonetown for twenty-six years and have driven past these mountains almost every day. When I first moved here I really appreciated their beauty, but over time I have taken them for granted. I find the busier I am and the more preoccupied my mind is with many cares and concerns I drive right past them without any notice.

Today I decided to experience the three mountains!

While Dixie and I hiked over the mountains along Stonetown I saw things I have never seen before in my rush to get to where I was going.

While hiking the entire trail for the first time I experienced things I never have while driving past.

Sometimes you need to get out of the car and experience life at a slower pace!

While the car is practical, I miss so much that is worth seeing, smelling, and hearing…

On my hike I saw the beauty of wildflowers blooming, a startled turkey fly up into a nearby tree, and a little fawn jump up from his morning nap.

I smelled the musk of animals, and the rich aroma of moist soil.

I heard the singing of birds, the chatter of squirrels, and the trickling of the stream.

And while driving along Stonetown in the comfort of my car I don’t experience all that the mountains require of me…

Hiking these mountains I needed to pay close attention; rugged climbing, cautious descending, swampy areas, all interspersed with some level grassy paths.

I felt the sweat run down my forehead and the sting of mesquites on my arms.

There is a difference between seeing and experiencing!

I realize my spiritual life can be the same.

I can drive through life just looking at God. I can see His beauty. I can appreciate His greatness. I can tell of His splendor.

But, there is so much more to God than just seeing Him!

I need to know and experience Him!

I need to be known by Him!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’”Matthew 7:21-23

These verses are a sobering reminder of the importance of not just knowing about God…

You must know Him, experience Him, and be known by Him!

Knowing God from the “car” is convenient. It doesn’t require a lot of time. It doesn’t require much attention. But it will rob you of the experiences that will bring you into an intimate relationship with God.

Jesus is calling you to get out of the comfort of your “car”…

to stop living your life driving past God; some days admiring Him, and some days taking Him for granted, because it will only deceive you.

While you say you know God and you appreciate Him, the truth is that you are so busy and preoccupied you rarely notice Him and never experience all the sights, smells, sounds, heights, lows, joys, and sorrows that cause you to have an intimate relationship with Him.

Life is more than just a verse for the day to keep the devil away!

God wants you to be known by Him!

Choose today to get out of the comfort of your “car” and to stop driving past God, and taking Him for granted.

Choose instead to experience God!

Make time to walk and talk with God!

Spend time reading God’s word and allow Him to show you the paths to take.

When you encounter difficulties and become frustrated and sweaty, remember Jesus knows and understands everything you are facing and trust Him to help you through.

When you feel the sting of conviction thank Holy Spirit for showing you your sin, confess it, and receive forgiveness.

By choosing the slower pace of experiencing God, walking and talking with Him, you will discover the beauty of intimacy with God!

This is where God will surprise you with new sights, smells, and sounds that will bring joy to your day!

This is where you will realize the reason you were created…

to be known and loved by God!



In my Daddy’s Footsteps

I was recently reminded of something I did when I was a little girl;

I walked in my Daddy’s footsteps!

It was a hot, dry, summer day and my Dad was watering the plants in our garden. He planted a huge garden every spring that produced such a large harvest we didn’t need to buy most of our vegetables all year long! My Dad believed it was better not to regularly water the garden because if watered just a little the roots would stay close to the surface requiring them to need constant watering. He preferred to allow the rain to water our garden even though the plants would experience some dry times because it was then their roots would grow deeper into the ground producing stronger plants.

But, there were those extra dry times that my Daddy did water his plants. It was that kind of day when I watched him fill his bucket with water and carry it down to the garden to give the plants a much needed drink. The next time he came up to the outside spigot to fill his bucket and turned to walk down to the garden I decided to put my little feet into each of his big footsteps.

I followed my Daddy as he made many trips back and forth to water the plants.

A good harvest requires intentionality!

Dad was intentional about his gardening!

It took a lot of hard work to produce a great harvest. Dad spent a lot of time sowing seeds, pulling weeds, and keeping the critters out.

Dad was intentional about his faith!

Dad lived a life of faith and sowed good seed into my heart;

The seed of loving my mother; committed to the covenant of marriage.

The seed of caring for our family and providing our needs.

The seed of going to church every Sunday.

The seed of daily Bible reading and prayer.

The seed of hard work.

But, as with his garden, there were weeds and critters that came to steal, kill, and destroy.

Weeds of fear of what others would think.

Weeds of stuttering meant to keep him quiet and insecure.

Critters of disability, a tragic accident, and a severe allergic reaction in his children’s lives.

Though these were meant to harm him they weren’t strong enough to keep God’s good from him!

I am thankful for a Dad who led me to God by sowing seeds of faith. And though there were weeds and critters that tried to steal, kill, and destroy what he sowed, nothing was able to separate me from the love of God!

Seeds of faith are stronger than weeds and critters!

The day I followed my Dad; having fun putting my little feet into his big footsteps…

I didn’t realize the effects of following…

I didn’t realize the power in leading…

But as I look back over my life I realize the seasons I followed the seeds of faith my Daddy sowed, the life situations I experienced made me stronger, and they produced good fruit in my life.

The seasons that I allowed the weeds and critters that stole from my Daddy, to affect my responses to life situations, I became damaged and broken, and I produced bad fruit in my life.

A good harvest requires intentionality!

While following in my Daddy’s footsteps was a fun experience, I’ve also learned that no one, not even the best Dad, will ever lead perfectly!

Even the best gardener will have weeds and critters in his garden!

But there is a Father who leads perfectly!

“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6

And a Son who gave us an example of how to walk!

“The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:6

While I was following in my Daddy’s footsteps that day I watched intently to see just where he put his foot so I knew where to put mine. I didn’t look at what was around me. I didn’t even take notice of where I was going. I didn’t worry that I would get lost or bump into something. I knew that if my Daddy put his foot there it would be safe for me to put mine there.

I trusted my Daddy!

I’m glad for this memory I have of following in my Daddy’s footsteps. It is an example of the way in which I am to follow in the path that God calls me to, and to walk as Jesus walked!

Keeping my eyes carefully fixed on the path God has for me.

Focused on where God is leading and not distracted by what is happening around me.

Trusting God knows what is best, with no fears, no worries.

But not only is this memory a good reminder of Who and how I am to follow, it is a reminder that there are little ones following in my footsteps.

How is my leading?

Where am I going?

What am I doing?

What seeds am I sowing?

What weeds and critters am I allowing to cause damage?

A good harvest requires intentionality!





Sowing Seed

Our garden is just about fully planted. We bought some plants and sowed some seeds.

Sowing seeds is always somewhat a mystery to me.

I buy the seed packets with the pictures of the vegetables I want to grow, and in most cases the packet seems empty; the seeds are so small. When I tear open the packet I find dry, brown seeds that don’t seem to have any life in them at all. I then carefully place a single seed into each hole I have made in the soil. Once I’ve filled the holes I smooth over the soil, covering the seeds.

I leave the garden with it looking no different that when I went in. There is no visible evidence that I did anything. I know that I sowed the seeds, but no one else can tell.

Only time will prove whether or not I sowed seed.

Our words are as seeds sown in the hearts of others.

And at the end of most days I don’t really notice any difference from the words I have spoken.

But as time goes on a harvest will come.

“Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you,… that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:1-7

This remains God’s promise to His people today;

God realizes the power of sowing seeds!

God desires a great harvest! Generations of much fruit!

Sowing seeds in the home begins with the fear of the Lord.

It is the profound reverence and awe of who God is, of all His attributes, of His sovereignty, and His never-ending love, that convinces us to commit ourselves to wholeheartedly obey Him, no matter what.

Complete obedience makes the soil of the heart good!

Good soil produces good fruit!

“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17

The fear of the Lord and wholehearted obedience to His word produces a harvest of good fruit that our family will taste and see that God is good!

So, I must ask myself,

“What kind of seeds am I sowing in my home?”

“What kind of fruit is being produced?”

Buying a packet of seeds, putting the seeds into a hole and covering them up seems so easy compared to what God is calling me to in these verses. Yet, there is a simplicity to my analogy that I like.

“Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own.” Mark 4:26-28

Jesus said that a farmer scatters seeds and while he goes about his day he doesn’t understand what is happening to the seeds. They sprout, grow, and produce a harvest on their own.

The simplicity of doing what I’m called to do; to fear God, wholeheartedly obey Him, and talk about Him and repeat His commands throughout my day, and then leave the sprouting, growing, and producing a harvest of the seeds I’ve sown in His hands sounds like a good idea!

Realizing that I’m not responsible for the sprouting of those seeds,

I’m not responsible for the growing of those seeds,

And I’m not responsible for producing a harvest from those seeds,

that sets me free!

When I sow seeds in my garden I don’t go back every day and dig them up to check on them. I don’t worry or cut them open so that they will sprout quicker. I don’t get frustrated and pull on them to get them to grow faster.

But as ridiculous as that may sound I have found myself checking on the seeds I have sown in the hearts of others. I’ve worried about them and tried to convince them to sprout. I’ve become frustrated and angry trying to get them to grow quicker. I have seen the fruit from their lives and have tried to change it by manipulation and control.

Working in our garden has helped me to realize what my part is and what God’s part is.

There is a cycle of life that is found in everything God has created. 

There were seeds of truth sown into my heart. No one caused them to sprout, pulled on them to make them grow, nor manipulated and controlled to produce a harvest.

Those seeds of truth sprouted as the Holy Spirit watered them with conviction and opened my eyes to see my need for a Savior.

Those seeds of truth grew as Jesus shone His light into my heart, trading my shame for His righteousness.

Those seeds of truth produce a harvest because God is for me and His love for me keeps me in abiding in His presence.

This is the cycle of good that God intends for my family as well. And so I am called to sow seeds into the hearts of my family.

And I can have full confidence that the same Holy Spirit, Jesus the Son, and God the Father, will sprout, grow, and produce a great harvest from the seeds I sow!




Purpose of the Critter?

God says its worth the work of tending and guarding the garden of your heart.

God tells you not to give up, no matter how invasive the weeds or how destructive the critters!

God tells you this because He knows…

The condition of your heart determines the fruit of your life.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

And, the condition of your heart affects what you say and do.

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45

God understands gardens and the work they require.

He planted a garden for Adam and Eve, filled it with beautiful plants and trees, and told them to tend it.

But even God had a critter get into His garden!

The critter got in and did a lot of damage by trampling God’s truths with his lies.

This is the same critter that creeps into hearts today with weeds of deception that choke out the abundant life God intends.

It is the same critter that comes in and tramples God’s truth with his lies and destroys us so that we are unable to produce the fruit He created us to bear.

God loved Adam and Eve, He created them to be loved by Him and He enjoyed their friendship; walking and talking with them each day. So when the critter came in and deceived them, breaking their relationship with God, God declared a death sentence over him.

And because God so loves everyone and creates us all to be loved by Him He sent His Son, Jesus, to destroy the damage the critter caused with his deception and lies.

But, even though all power has been removed from him, he still has permission to roam around in hearts to rob, kill, and destroy.

What is the reason God has given him permission?

God is a Good Father, so the reason must be a good one.

What purpose do weeds and critters serve in the good of my garden? How can there be any good found in them?

In my analogy what I find is that those invasive weeds and the cunning critters give me reason to tend and guard my garden regularly. 

I have seen the results of a neglected garden and its not pretty!

So, I have a choice of how I will respond to the weeds and critters that damage and destroy my garden.

And, God has given me a choice of how I will respond to the deception and lies that damage and destroy my heart.

Could God’s reason for allowing the critter to roam around with his deception and lies be so that I will realize how messy, unfruitful, and hopeless my life really is without Him? 

Could it be that the critter’s deception and lies bring me to the end of self so that I cry out to Him for help?

God has given me the freedom to choose.

Who’s voice will I listen to?

Who does my heart belong to?

Choosing to leave the weeds of deception and lies of the critter roaming my heart will not require any guarding or tending, but it will leave my heart messy an unfruitful.

Choosing to listen to the truth of God will require work to guard and tend my heart.

Knowing that the weeds of deception and the lies of the critter have been given a death sentence by Jesus’ death and resurrection…

and knowing the critter has no power, he is just a liar…

I can see them for the good God intends them to be. 

I realize those weeds are the very things that remind me of my need to diligently read God’s word every day. As I read His word the lies are exposed, pulled out, and replaced with God’s truth.

I realize it is the critter that brings me worry and anxiety that causes me to fall to my knees in prayer. It’s there on my knees where worry is turned to praise, anxiety is turned to hope!

Those very things meant for my harm are actually intended for my good!

Even though weeding and critter proofing our garden is a lot of work, there is a joy and satisfaction the comes from the effort. Knowing that my work is protecting the plants from harm and damage so that they can grow and produce good fruit encourages me to push through the digging, pulling, and stiffness I experience.

God’s Garden of Eden was perfect. It was a place where Adam and Eve found satisfaction in the work they were given to do. It was the place where their food grew that satisfied their hunger. And it was the place where they walked and talked with God.


This is the Good that God intends for you as well!

To do the work of tending the garden of your heart. To trust Him to provide for your physical needs. And to have a friendship with Him; to walk and talk to Him every day!





But what about those Critters?

Weeds are one thing. You can see them, pull them, and as long as you kill them off as much as possible, and daily pull any that keep popping up, you can keep your garden free of weeds.

But what about those critters?

I went into my garden the other day and found my perfectly smoothed garden beds full of holes.

I’ve heard that deer love freshly dug soil and that is what I think was the cause of the damage done to my garden beds.

So, I realized that the things we have put into place to keep critters out, the fencing Mark buried under the ground and the six-foot fence, just aren’t enough to do the trick.

So, again with my analogies…

As long as there were weeds growing in the garden beds I couldn’t tell if deer were jumping into my garden or not. As long as I wasn’t working in the garden I saw no evidence of their presence. But as soon as I began to pull the weeds, smooth the soil, and plant seeds; it was then I became aware.

That is just like your heart. When you aren’t tending your heart and are living in ways that seem right to you the weeds of neglect are creeping in, making a mess, and are feeding critters you aren’t even aware of.

It’s when you begin to get serious about the condition of your heart that you become more aware of all that your heart needs guarding from.

When you begin to read God’s word with full intention, not just out of duty…

When you allow God’s words to sink deep into your heart, instead of just reading words on a page…

When you decide to do God’s words, not just hear them…

That’s when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see where you have been wrong, you become convicted of sin, and you begin to pull out the weeds as you confess your sin.

That’s when the soil of your heart gets cleared, turned over, and smoothed out.

When you get serious about your faith and do the work of guarding your heart, you begin to live a life that produces a great harvest for the kingdom of God!

But, you also become a threat to the enemy and he increases his efforts to steal, kill, and destroy!

The damage the deer did to the soil of my garden was very discouraging. When I saw the holes their hoofs made and the tiny plants they trampled I wondered whether it was even worth all the effort. It caused me to question whether or not I wanted to keep working in my garden.

How important is a good harvest?

Is it worth more work?

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

God says it is!