Protecting the Fruit
A good life is a fruit bearing tree… Proverbs 11:30 (MSG)
It’s May! And that means there is a cherry tree in my front yard with bright red cherries! Oh, they are tart! But my boys, especially my youngest, cannot stay away from the tree! He loves cherries and doesn’t seem to notice the sour taste!
This tree has been in my husband’s family for a while. His grandparents lived in the house we live in and his grandma used to make many a cherry pie from the very same tree.
Because the birds also enjoy eating the cherries right off the tree, someone gave me a helpful tip Grandma Long used to do to protect the fruit. She would place aluminum pie pans in the cherry tree to ward off the birds. The noisy pans in the breeze combined with the reflection from the sun keep the birds away from the beloved tree until the cherries are all picked.
Of course the birds still manage to steal a few cherries, but at least it helps protect the majority of the crop.
As I placed the pans on the tree this week, I thought about my own fruit in my life that I hope to be harvested one day. At this season of my life, raising godly children is at the top of my list.
One of the verses I have been drawn to recently is Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
It doesn’t take a Mama Einstein to know that raising great Christian kids is tough work in the culture we live in. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing enough.
Those cherry feasting birds remind me of the parable that Jesus taught in Luke 4 about sowing seed. “…some fell along the path and the birds ate it up…” Jesus explained that this portion of the parable, “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”
In one ear and out the other…
The evil one attempts to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) our teaching and our good efforts. As moms we have our work cut out for us.
Just like shielding my cherry tree with aluminum pie pans, the power of prayer is essential in protecting my fruit – my children.
The same is true for you, my friend. What “fruit” in your life do you need to protect with prayer?
What work has God given you to do that will eventually reap a harvest if you do not give up?
Is the enemy stripping you of your future crop with self-doubt, exhaustion, helplessness?
Those feelings creep in from time to time and Satan loves it when we allow him to “pick” at our tree and steal some of our joy.
Take a little time to read Ephesians 6:10-20 – The Armor of God passage, taking note to stand firm, and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests and to be alert!
Let the Son shine brightly on your armor by staying in His presence. Entrust your crop to the One who is able to grow it and protect it.
And never, ever give up on the work God has placed on your heart to complete!
The fruit will be sweet at the harvest!
For His Glory,
© Christy Long 2011. All rights reserved.
Fill in the Blank: I want to be _____kind of mom.
We had Muffins for Mom at my four-year-old son’s preschool this week in honor of Mother’s Day. Bryson had filled in the blanks to answer some important questions about his mom and gave them to me during our special time. The results are priceless!
According to Bryson, his mom is 40 years old (correct) and weighs 40 lbs. – okay, pretty sure I can’t survive with that weight, but at least he didn’t say 400 lbs! She is also 40 feet tall! Wow!
She has Bo’s hair (that’s our dog- a Shih Tzu!) and blue eyes (correct).
Her favorite food is salad. (Not sure why he picked that one! Except when we go out to lunch at Firebirds after church on Sundays, I always order the Grilled Shrimp & Strawberry Salad. Yummy!)
Her favorite restaurant is Kerley’s (a local barbecue joint we frequent almost every Friday night!). Funny, that happens to be B’s favorite restaurant! He always orders 2 hotdogs (no bun), fries, and sweet tea! Then he races to the cash register before we can even push our chairs in to pick out his favorite Dum Dum lollipop! To be honest, I could use a little more variety, but Bryson and his dad are creatures of habit and their worlds are gently rocked when we miss a Friday night!
He thinks his mom looks funny when she is being chased by his cross bow. Oh my! When did that happen? What an imagination!
We have fun together when we go to Lake Thom-A-Lex. Yes we do! It’s a nice little park with a huge playground beside a lake where you can picnic, fish, and feed the geese. Now I know I need to plan a special time to take him back. It has been almost a year since we’ve been and he still remembers!
His mom is special because she fixes corn on the cob.
He would not trade his mom for a flower!
Isn’t that precious?
Sometimes life is just about the simple things. My baby will start kindergarten in the fall and I am going to miss him more than I can bear to think about!
This is just a sweet reminder to me that life is about taking time to spend with the people we love. I need to set aside a little quality time to go to the park before it gets so hot around here.
It is also a reminder to serve my family. My child obviously feels loved when I make his favorite food (right now it’s corn on the cob, but that is subject to change).
This weekend, I think I’ll take a few minutes to really soak in the Proverbs 31 passage about a woman of noble character. I already know I have a few hundred traits to work on. In fact, just reading about this woman is exhausting!
But if I may dare to sum up the entire passage in 2 points:
1) She loves and fears the Lord.
2) She loves and serves her family.
That’s the kind of woman I am striving to be! What about you?
Lord, Help me to be the wife and mother You desire for me to be. Thank You for seeing past my many flaws and continue to mold me into the kind of mother that pleases and honors You. Give me strength and wisdom for each day! Amen.
PS – If you have kids, a great resource that I should probably re-read is The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.
PSS – Before I could finish writing this post, I had to stop and make my boy some more corn on the cob! :)
© Christy & Bryson Long 2011. All Rights Reserved.
His Burden Is Light
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30
As a recovering people pleaser, I sometimes struggle with the guilt of not doing more. I will admit that my priorities sometimes get out of whack because of taking on too many things.
When I was first able to stay-at-home with my three children after the birth of the youngest, I fell into the trap of signing up for things that I thought I should be doing or that I had always wanted to participate in, but couldn’t because I worked.
It didn’t take long to become overwhelmed. I had to be reminded of why I was at home with my children – they were my first ministry.
I remember being asked several years ago about Comfort to Comfort, “What’s your vision for your ministry?”
First of all, I don’t feel like it is “my ministry.”
But secondly, to answer the question, it was simply an avenue to give others hope and encouragement, by sharing my story when given the opportunity, and perhaps even spreading the message of the comfort of Jesus through my blog by living out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Why then, did I feel like I should be doing more? Perhaps I was putting too much dependence on what others believed, or even what I thought they believed.
In my Jesus Calling devotional this morning, Sarah Young writes, “If pleasing people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them.”
Thinking back to several months ago, as I listened to an expert writer/blogger speak at a conference, I learned that if one could not write on one’s blog at least 3-5 times a week, one should not have a blog. My immediate reaction was, “Oh dear, I don’t write that many times a week. I do well to post once a week!”
And I began to feel enslaved to my blog. I felt discouraged even to the point of giving it up. Then I realized that writing 3-5 times a week is not a practical goal for me. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t use my writing.
Yes, we are to serve God, but our load is not meant to be burdensome and heavy.
And our load will not be the same as someone else’s.
Even today, I still struggle with the desire to do more, knowing which things I need to focus on, and which ones to cross off the list.
I have discovered that when I take deep sighs as I rush throughout my day, or stare at my pocket calendar and wonder how I can possibly fit one more thing into that box, that this not how my Jesus wants me to live.
He wants me to do the obvious work He has entrusted me to do, but He does not want me to put unreasonable expectations on myself or feel guilty about not doing enough.
He just wants me.
He wants an intimate relationship with me. He wants me to come to Him and spend some time reading His word, studying His word. He wants me to stop and share my heart with Him through prayer. And He wants to answer me if I will only be still and listen.
That has given me such freedom! Life does not have to be so hard. Sometimes when it is, we only have ourselves to blame.
Let’s not weigh ourselves down with people pleasing, comparing ourselves to others, and guilt from not serving more. For that yoke is not from Him. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and rest in Him.
For His burden is light!
I would love your comments. What has God shown you about priorities and becoming overwhelmed?
© Christy Long 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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