forever young

Recently, I was reminded that “youth” is all about perspective…

With teenage daughters, it’s easy for me to feel old and out of touch with the youth culture.  I often have to ask them what slang words and current sayings mean.

But as I walked through the grocery store the other day, I caught the twinkling blue eyes of a gray haired lady, leaning heavily on her shopping cart- squinting to make out my face.

“Are you Amy?” she called out to me.  She looked at me like she was trying to remember who I was.  I didn’t recall ever seeing her before.

“No, I’m sorry.  My name’s Julie.”

She said she thought she knew me from somewhere. Then, she began to tell me how she missed being able to do all the simple things I take for granted- like grocery shopping without getting out of breath,  standing up straight and walking without leaning on a cart, being able to see without straining…

She smiled as she began to move her cart past me and said this-

“You better enjoy your youth while you have it!”

A brief, but meaningful conversation- and a great reminder for me to appreciate all the little things I am able to effortlessly do at my youthful age of 42 🙂

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A gray head is a crown of glory.  

It is found in the way of righteousness- Proverbs 16:21

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In one ac”cord”

Image 2

Not quickly broken, 

a cord of three…

eldest, youngest daughter

and me.

My oldest daughter received the nickname “Sweet Treat” from a special lady several years ago.  I must say that she lives up to this lovely nickname in many ways.  Earlier this week, as I tucked her into bed, she said, “Momma, I have something for you!”  With her crystal blue eyes shining bright, she flashed me a smile as she hid her hands behind her back.  

“What is it?” I curiously asked her.  

“I made you something special!”  She then held out a colorful, tightly braided bracelet.  

“This is for you, Momma.  Don’t EVER take it off!”  

“Ok, I won’t!” I tied it to my wrist as securely as I could. All week I have pondered this verse from Ecclesiastes-

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 Ecclesiastes 4:12

Each time I look down at my wrist and see the braid, I am struck that these strands alone are simply just pieces of string… and even two of them would unravel if I tried to twist them into a bracelet.  But three…. they weave over and under into the perfect chevron pattern- not quickly broken!  Much like the relationship between my daughters and I.  Not quickly broken.  Because we love each other.  Because iron sharpens iron.  As I do my best to follow Proverbs 22 and train my girls in the way they should go, God also uses them in the most miraculous ways to teach me. I hold them accountable- and they also keep me accountable.  You know kids- they are the first to point out something you should (or should not!) be doing!  

Image 3And as I sit at the piano, with my cord of three strands around my wrist, I play a simple chord… three notes in perfect harmony.  One note alone is hollow sounding, simple, lonely.  Two are better than one, but still sounds empty… but the third note makes the chord!  Turning something simple into something magnificent!  Major to minor, adding color and emotion with a simple note.  All equal parts.  On their own they are ordinary- but together, they are extraordinary!

The keys of the chord are the keys to our cord-  we need harmony in our relationships!  What beautiful things we make when we weave our love for one another together!  When we encourage one another, and allow our best qualities to ring loud and clear.  My girls are as different as night and day,  but together- our family creates  beautiful harmony. When we work together to accomplish a goal, we are unstoppable!   Relationships are hard work, but when we are like-minded,  it is truly magnificent! And when the love of Christ flows freely through us, our cord is not quickly broken.  We are stronger together than we could ever be apart.  

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Philippians 2:2

 Lord, thank you for using my daughter’s simple gift to remind me of the special bond we have!  May you weave us together in perfect harmony!  Help me embrace our differences so that we might create a symphony for You!

 

 

What happens when we neglect our weeds…

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Hard at work
we made it look
as if that’s all 
it really took
One day of labor
one day of sweat
and oh how quickly
we forget
these little things 
that creep and grow
up through our mulch 
did we not know-
that when we do not 
tend our weeds
and when His word 
we do not heed
how much harder 
must we work
to clear up all these 
weeds that took
and what else might
we see is found 
as we pull roots
below the ground?
 
So, we didn’t really keep up the layer of chocolate mulch in our backyard… completely shocking, I know…   We were so proud, thinking we had finally taken responsibility for something long overlooked.  And then it seemed like overnight, the little green patches of pesky weeds started creeping in…
I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34
Which leads me to take stock in other “weeds” that have not been tended to… what else is being neglected and allowed to fester in my life?  One day of neglect, then two… it is so easy to get out of a routine of doing our chores, and when I do, it makes me feel out of control.  When my house is a mess, I feel like I am a mess, too… but what about other important things in life- like our relationships with our spouses, our friends… what about making time for prayer, and reading the Word?
Nothing in life is easy… it takes work!  Hard work!  And consistency.  The same is true with our relationship with Christ.  He is the one who shows me what needs tending in my “garden” and gives me instruction on how to prune it.  The more time I spend with Him, the easier it is to notice the weeds that are cropping up.  Jealousy, envy, pride, bitterness… these are just a few things that can grow deep roots quickly.    Lord knows, I sure don’t want my heart to look like our poor back yard!
Speaking of the backyard–  Babe (what I affectionately call my hubby)– we got some work to do!!!
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10
Lord, help me to clear the weeds so that I can clearly see the path.  
Help me to hear Your voice, heed Your Word, and help me to rely on You- my Master Gardener-
every moment of every day.