Devotions from My Garden: What Are You Waiting for?

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit (Galatians 6:9 MSG).

We planted in pots and crates on our deck, tiny seedlings of cucumbers, tomatoes in three varieties and jalapeno peppers.

Then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We watered.  We tended.

But mostly we waited.

From one day to the next, the leaves didn’t appear to expand and the stems didn’t seem to reach any higher than the day before or the day before that.

It took standing back and surveying growth over time for us to notice we had plants and not seedlings any longer.  Then there were the first tiny yellow flowers on the cucumber plant.

The day we spotted the tiniest baby tomato, I called all three of my daughters over to see.  There we stood, a mom and three girls gently pushing aside green leaves to marvel at the promise of growth.

And then we waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

For signs of ripeness and readiness for harvest.

Gardening, like life, is so often about waiting.  The difference, though, is that we waited for our first vegetables with anticipation and excitement.  We tracked the progress and closely watched the physical signs of a promising future because we knew the day would come when we sat down to salad and salsa from our garden.

But in life we often wait with a hopeless aggravation and a frustrating impatience.

We wait on God, tapping our foot and glancing often at our wrists with urgency.

Perhaps, though, we should wait for God, watching the signs of growth, rejoicing over every bud and clapping our hands with joy every time we see a reminder that the harvest is coming.

This is how the crowds prepared for Jesus’ arrival:

“Now when Jesus returned, the crowds welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). 

Can you imagine the crowd watching the road for the first glimpse of Jesus’ sandal?  Perhaps kids ran back and forth bringing news of Jesus’ journey.  “He’s coming.  He’s near.  He’s closer.  He’s just around the corner.”

He’s here!

Imagine the hush of the people.  They weren’t whining about the wait or postulating that perhaps Jesus wasn’t coming after all.

No, they were likely listening intently for the first sound of His voice chatting with His followers as He traveled on the road.

This is how we wait for God–we look forward with excited anticipation and uncontainable joy for the moment we see God at work.

And while we wait, we prepare to receive all that He’s bringing our way.

Like the kings who faced the overwhelming enemy might of Moab, we wait for God’s promise.  He said He would “fill the ditches in the dry streambed with water” overnight and without wind or rain.  Yes, He would bring the refreshment and victory they needed (2 Kings 3:16-18).

In the very next chapter, Elisha tells the destitute widow to gather “empty vessels and not too few” and then the Lord filled as many as she gathered with rich oil, saving her from starvation and poverty (2 Kings 4:3).

In two back-to-back passages, God miraculously fills His people up to the brim, giving them all they had prepared to receive.

I feel this now, this urge to prepare, to grab as many jugs and cups and bowls and pots and buckets as I can so I don’t miss out on one drop of God’s provision. 

I stand at the foot of the dry streambed and rather than complaining about my parched throat, I want to dress in my swimsuit, ready to dive into the pools overflowing with His miraculous water-without-rain.

It’s waiting, surely.  I’m not there yet.  But I see the signs.  I see the growth, the buds, the tiniest hint of vegetables to come.  I see God-movement here and there, projecting change and something new.

Part of me is scared.  Waiting is what I know.  Change, even good change, frightens me and stresses me out.

So what’s a girl to do?

See the signs of God on the move, the promises of harvest, and yet refuse to budge?  “No thanks, God, I’ll stick with what I have and what I know because at least I’ve dug into a trench of trusty comfort and reliability.”

Or do I hang my shoulders in defeat and stomp away, not seeing the harvest quickly enough?  Tired of waiting, I dump over the vessels waiting for oil, I walk away from the streambed thirsty for water . . . I turn away from those waiting for the first sight of Jesus and choose instead to complain at home that He didn’t come.

Or I could wait, joyfully and with excitement, nervous perhaps but ready nonetheless.  Jumping up and down trying to see Jesus over the heads of the crowd, I’m waiting for God, not waiting on Him.

This is how we reap the harvest, when “we don’t give up, or quit” (Galatians 6:9).  This is how we don’t miss out on one drop of what God has planned.

More Devotions From My Garden:


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

One Minute Devotional – Devotions From My Garden: Invasion

It’s an invasion and I knew it was coming.

About three weeks ago, one lone pioneer ant bravely marched across my kitchen counter.  I squashed him, even though I knew it wouldn’t do any good.  He was a scout, a forerunner of things to come.  His presence there meant many more ants were on their way . . . soon.

Slowly, they’ve arrived.  An ant on the windowsill.  Another on the computer desk.  My baby giggled and waved at an ant adventuring across the bathroom floor.  Then several more trekked across the kitchen counters.

Last night, the official invasion party arrived.  Now there is a steady stream of ants climbing on, of all things, my beloved books.  They’ve created their own ant superhighway, running up and down my bookshelf in regular battle formation.

As I weeded and turned over rocks in my garden last week, I discovered their mega-city.  It’s located in the entirety of the garden beds around the perimeter of my home and its capital is the dead tree stump in my front yard.  They’ve taken over my gardens completely.

These ants are the pesky annoyances of my every spring and summer.  They make my skin creep and crawl and they are my obsession as I battle over dominion with them year after year.

But, what if my life were invaded in this same way not by a pest or bother, but by God Himself?  What if every rock you overturned in my life revealed God?  What if every room you entered in my heart showed His presence?

When the angel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son, the Savior of the world, he promised: “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35).

In her study Jesus: The One and Only, Beth Moore notes that the translation for “come upon you” is “arrive, invade, rest upon, and operate in a person.”

Oh, if only God would do this in us—arrive in us, invade us, rest upon us and operate in our lives!

The group Watermark sang a song called “Invade” that said:

Come, come in
Invade all You see of us
Any man, who’d walk Your road is welcomed here
And You’re the only one

Jesus, come and walk the halls of this house
Tread this place and turn it inside out
With Your mercy…
Jesus, teach us the prayers that open these doors
Until Your light floods in and illuminates these floors
And let Your truth be on our steps and in these rooms
Jesus invade…

Reach, reach in
With the hand that heals all our suffering
Conquer all that is not of You
Bring Your spirit through
As we fill these walls with Your praise

It’s time to pray for an invasion, asking that the Holy Spirit take over our lives.  Let Him conquer everything that is not of God and fill us completely with God’s presence and all that brings Him praise.

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Devotions From My Garden: Be An Original

 “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t”
(Romans 12:6 MSG)

I am a passionate gardener from about March to June every year.  It feels refreshing, good for the soul, full of life, and peaceful to push my trowel into the dirt in the cool morning air or in the breezy moments before twilight.

During those months, I fancy myself a real gardener as I spread the mulch over the newly weeded flower beds and stand back to survey my plot of earth.

Then it gets hot.  All my gardening ambition dies.  When I weigh weeding in the heat with working in the comfort of air conditioning, my inside work wins every time.  So, my gardens transform into jungles as weeds brazenly shove aside my mounds of mulch.  Massive spiders take up residence in undisturbed webs.

Two years ago, I had an epiphany in July when my gardens were just taking on that forlorn abandoned look.

After a quick trip to the Home Depot for a super sale, I toted home some $2 pots of ground covering.  They started small—these tiny plants of phlox and candytuft, but over time I hoped they’d cover the expanse of the garden.  And if it worked, there’d be less space for weeds. (Crosses fingers and digs into the dirt).

Yesterday, I worked in the flower beds with all my usual spring passion.  I fingered the tiny green sprouts just peeking up from the dirt and tried to remember what perennials should reappear in the next few months.

I yanked the viny weeds away from my radiant tulips with their bold colors. In these early spring months, the tulips are the stars of the garden.  They are fabulous.  They are eye-catching.  They are royal show-offs.

Next to them, though, are the bright and cheerful phlox and candytuft, the simple plants that have now quadrupled in size.  No one has ever told them they are just ground covering and I’m not spilling the secret.

Every glance around my garden testified to God’s creativity.  The beauty of this world is so vast and varied.  And I wondered—is it possible to say that this pure white candytuft, all fluffy and bright, is less beautiful than the deep purple tulip blooming next to it?

They are both unique testaments to God’s design.

So are we.

The flowers aren’t bothered by their variety or the specific beauty God’s given them.  The tulip rises high and blooms bright, giving glory to God by being a tulip—as it was designed.

The candytuft spreads across the ground with simple and sweet blossoms stirred slightly by the breeze, giving glory to God by being candytuft—as it was designed.

We, however, so often stunt our growth and destroy our own service by becoming ministry busybodies and nosy talent scouts.  “She’s better than me.  I’m better than him.  I wish I had her gifting.  I wish I could do that.  I’m great.  I’m nothing.”

It’s spiritual gift envy and it’s destructive and dangerous.  It takes something beautiful—the variety of spiritual gifts God has given—and twists it into ugliness and pettiness.  We might as well trample all over the gardens of faith God has created, stomping on the blooms of others and smashing down their leaves.  Meanwhile, others are ramming their big boots down on our own petals.

Paul wrote in Galatians, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26 ESV).

I love this passage in The Message:

That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life (Galatians 5:26, 6:4-5, MSG).

You are an original.  So is the person next to you in Sunday School.  And the lady who cares for the babies in the nursery, rocking them to sleep.  And the guy on the stage singing.  And the artist arranging the flowers in the church windows.  And the couple who houses missionaries during their visits.  And the man who comes early to unlock doors.  And the servant who gives his time to set up the chairs for covered dish meals.

All of them original, all of them part of God’s amazing design.  We can trample all over each other, vying for personal glory, attention, and the best gifts in God’s bag of talents.

Or we can “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. ”  We can “do the creative best you can with your own life.”

We can also seek out every opportunity of pointing to the beauty of God in others.  Don’t worry if people don’t always see your own beauty.  Whether you feel like groundcover or like a tulip taking center stage in a spring garden, you’re blooming for God’s glory.

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

The Big Anniversary Giveaway!!! and “I Needed That”

Today, is a day of celebration for us!!  It is the one-year anniversary of this devotional blog.  You can even read the original post here, The Reluctant Blogger, written on 02/10/2011.

Can you believe it’s been a year?

An anniversary like that seems like the perfect chance for a giveaway to me!!!  It’s also a great time to say, “Thank you!”  Thank you for the many, many emails and notes and even gifts you’ve given me this past year to encourage me to keep this blog going and not give up.  I’ve gotten special surprise hugs in stores and beautiful emails in my inbox on some tough days.

You bless me all the time.  Thank you!

My friend, Rita Taylor, has made this fabulous necklace and bracelet set for the giveaway. Isn’t she incredible?!  If you’re interested in seeing more of her creations, check out her Etsy page here: http://www.etsy.com/people/bigmomma4542

A huge thanks also to Ana Isabel for the photos showcasing Rita’s jewelry designs!

Also, to celebrate the new series of Devotions from My Garden, I’m going to give away a gardening gift basket with some spring-time goodies for you!

So, that’s two great gifts up for grabs!!

Here’s how it works.  Every time you do one of these things, you are entered to win one of the two prizes:

  • Comment on any page in the blog or on the Facebook post from now until next Friday at noon.
  • Become a follower of the blog (Go to the Homepage and enter your email address in the box to the right).
  • Share this page on Facebook and then leave me a comment on this page telling me you did.

Easy peasy!  I’ll pick a winner in one week—on Friday, 02/17, at noon and then post the winner announcements to the blog that day.

Now, onto today’s devotional!

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My middle daughter had the middle child blues.

Over Christmas break, my older girls and I discovered a new-to-us series of books by Daisy Meadows about fairies.  There was a fairy named after every girl on basically the whole planet and a book about any possible interest or hobby she may have.

Poppy the Piano Fairy
Samantha the Swimming Fairy
Cara the Camp Fairy
Ally the Dolphin Fairy
Heather the Violet Fairy
Stacey the Soccer Fairy

We practically did a jig in the middle of the library when we discovered a book named after my oldest daughter, Victoria the Violin Fairy.

And then we scanned the shelves for a book for my middle daughter.  Lauren the Lollipop Fairy?  Lauren the Lilac Fairy?  Lauren the Crazy Fairy with a Wacky Sense of Humor and a Love of Stories?

Nothing.

Mia, Juliet, Holly, Kate, Helena.  A hundred girls’ names on that shelf and yet no Lauren.

It was the total middle-child disaster.  How come Victoria has a book named after her, but I don’t have one named after me?

She cried.  I tried to console and comfort.  I searched Google and Amazon for any book named after a girl named Lauren and failed.

Then I gave up and hoped her five-year-old heart wouldn’t suffer permanent damage landing her in a pyschiatrist’s office some day.

Almost two months later, I was driving in my car and praying for a gift of grace.

My husband and I were preparing for some upcoming medical testing for him.  Finally, after wrestling with God and throwing a few “righteous” tantrums, I prayed with submission.  “Thy will be done” and “thank You for the assurance that You’ll be with us in all things.”

The day before the testing, I drove around town, running errands with my two-year-old strapped into her car seat behind me.  I was praying and trying not to cry so I wouldn’t walk into stores and the library with red eyes and streaking mascara.

Dear Lord, we’ve submitted to Your will in this.  We’ve asked You to be glorified.  I’m not fighting You or Your plan for us, even if it’s hard and even if I don’t like it. But I’m asking for some extravagant grace and mercy today.

Then I made a request—that God would protect the hearts of my children.  They are so blessed by their Daddy.  By his faith and example of Godliness.  By his Christian leadership in our home and church.  By his firm, but loving discipline.  By his prayers for them every night and the crazy rides to bed he gives them—on his head, on his back, carrying them upside down, flying them through the air.

Lord, please take care of my daughters if their Daddy is sick.

The library was my next stop.  I checked my face in the mirror to examine it for signs of red, splotchy tears.  It wasn’t great, but oh well.  Who needs to look like a super model at the public library?  (Not that I ever look like a super model!)

We had participated in a book exchange program at the start of the year, bringing in books we no longer wanted and then picking out new ones in February.  Today was the big day we could choose new books, so splotchy face or not, we were going in.

My two-year-old and I jumped right into the goodies.  I glanced at the stacks on the tables and in the piles.  Then, in a box on the floor I glimpsed the wings of a fairy on a book cover and picked it up.

I expected a fairy named Abigail or Ava or Gabriella.

Instead, I held in my hands Lauren the Puppy Fairy.

I did another little jig in the library.  They must be quite accustomed to my praise dancing by now!

I rejoiced, not just because I found a book named after my middle daughter that I didn’t think existed on this earth.

I rejoiced because God gave me the grace I needed at the exact moment of my need.  It was a reminder to me that my daughters’ hearts are in His hands.  He cares about them enough to let me find a second-hand book with one of their names on it at a library exchange program.

Surely He will care for their every need, walk them through every hurt, and show them the fullness of God’s great love and compassion for them.

The day before I had copied this verse into my journal:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Do you realize what a promise is in this verse?

It means God invites us into His presence. We aren’t unwelcome intruders there.

We don’t have to crawl in with our face to the ground either, waiting for condemnation or banishment.  He says we can come “boldly to the throne of grace,” knowing that we will be received.

Then, God promises to extend to us the very mercy and grace we desperately need exactly when we need it.

I didn’t find Lauren the Puppy Fairy a month ago or a week ago.  If I had, it would have been fun, but it wouldn’t have shown me God’s incredible grace.

No, within moments of my prayer for my daughters, I reached into a box and found a sign of God’s grace and mercy for me and my family.

That’s the promise for you, as well: He will give you the grace you need when you need it most.  Don’t be afraid to ask Him for it.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King