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    True Growth

    And so continues the emotional rollercoaster saga that is my yucca tree. Can you have too many blog posts about gardening? Maybe. But I’m willing to push the limits. An interesting thing has happened. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. The growth that I was searching for, the growth that YouTube promised, is here (insert trumpets and fanfare). But it DOES NOT look the way I thought it should. And I’m having a hard time accepting that. My tree was supposed to shoot beautiful new growth from the top of its barren trunk. I was ready for lush green leaves, the perfect height to sit under…

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    Yes, No, Maybe So

    The last place I expected to learn a spiritual truth about myself was in a book about criminal behavior. But truth is truth whether it’s in a church, a university, or a library. And this one hit me hard. Reading through a chapter on predatory behavior, I came across this sentence. “No, is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.” Now—everything we could say about children’s manipulative ways aside—I immediately heard, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” Obviously not in a criminal way (at least you…

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    Potential. Not Past.

    Jesus treats me as he knows I can be, not as I’ve proven to be in the past. He doesn’t operate under fear that I’ll let him down…again.   He says he doesn’t even remember what happened last time I hurt him. He sees my potential. Not my past. It’s a real innocent until proven guilty attitude. Only I know I’ll never be proven guilty. He already stepped in and covered me while my verdict was read. What could be more freeing? So why is it so hard to take that freedom and release it outwards? Why is it a struggle to adopt Jesus’ attitude and focus on people’s potential—not…

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    Inner Submission

    Rip Van Winkle, Ethan Frome, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. These are some of my favorite stories. Because I hate nagging. I’m terrified of it. I’ve never had a ‘honey-do’ list, I think up creative ways to remind my kids to do things, and if I ask a friend for a favor and they forget…well, I just count it as a loss. I’m sure a counselor would have fun with that. But as I caught myself internally complaining (a.k.a. internally nagging), I had an epiphany. God hears my thoughts, and God is as concerned with inner growth as outward behavior. Yes, I can leash my tongue and zip my…

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    Pruning

    I sawed the top off my favorite living room plant. As I painted tree-wound tar on the open end, I hoped and prayed it would grow again. This wasn’t totally crazy. The tree’s growth had been slowing for a year. Each new growth weaker and sicker than the last. The lush green of its first growth just a memory. YouTube promised if I pruned the tree back, it would grow again. And everything on YouTube is true. So as I sat there, nursing the laceration on my knuckle sustained from trying to put a saw away in the pitch dark, my anxiety grew. Because now the tree is ugly. And…