The Actual Power of Prayer

I haven’t written a lot about my health struggles although many know of my death allergies and a handful know of other physical issues I have had to face throughout my life. Part of the reason I have not written much on it is because I do not want that to define me. I don’t want people to know me for my bizarre health struggles. Having stated that, I need to share some of my story because I want to give God praise for what he has done in protecting and out right healing me multiple times. Also, He saved me yet again last night, and as Matthew 10:27 says, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight. What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops.”
Many times in my life, God has miraculously saved me. I have died, and nearly died so many times that trusting God with life and death is part of my DNA. One of my doctors asked me, “how have you survived this far?” I said, “by the grace of God go I.” Pastor Merv Peterson once spoke of me to his congregation, stating that he marveled at my bravery in facing death every day. What? I thought as I heard him say those words. I had never thought about myself as a person who faces death every day, but he was right. I do.

I was born with severe allergies to a handful of foods. By the time I was fifteen, those allergies grew life threatening, and while shopping in the mall at Christmas time with my sisters, I died because of accidentally eating something with egg in it. God saved me that day in an unbelievable way (if I hadn’t been the one it happened to), and he has never stopped saving me from that moment on.
There are dozens of stories I could share about all he has done in protecting my life from my own accidental ingestions of foods I am allergic too, as well as my own stupidity in eating when I wasn’t sure of what was actually in the food. There have even been times when no foods I am allergic to were listed, yet I had to go to the ER due to anaphylaxis.

Unfortunately, going to the ER and using multiple Epi-Pens is part of my life. I don’t usually get down about it, nor do I ever want it to define who I am. It is a fact of my life, and I do what I have to do to try and survive each day. Fortunately, when my efforts fail, God never does.

The night before last, I started to have severe chest pain that radiated through my torso. The pain woke me, and I prayed through it. I didn’t want to disturb my husband’s rest because he gets up so early to go to work, and if I am completely honest, I was afraid he would take me to the ER, and I just didn’t want to go. After a long while, the pain subsided enough that I could fall back to sleep.

Last night, I was woken up again with the same severe pain, but this time, it was much more intense. I prayed and suffered for maybe a half an hour before I realized I had to wake Sam up. I told him what was happening, and I asked him to pray for me, which he did. He was wide awake now, probably not sure of what he should do next. He knows my dislike of going to the ER.
The pain was so excruciating, I had to get up and walk around, clutching my chest as I did. I took a baby aspirin just in case it was my heart. The pain was truly the most intense pain I have ever felt (which is saying a whole lot). It felt as if my heart or my chest cavity would actually explode. It sent searing pain through my body to my back directly behind my heart and began to radiate down to the rest of my organs. I walked in a near delirious state around our kitchen, begging God to save me and stop the pain. My mind darted between just wanting relief to should I actually ask Sam to take me to the ER.

I don’t know how long the time was that I suffered; it felt like an eternity. Sam gave me a pepsid, not knowing if it could be related to indigestion (it did not feel like any indigestion I had experienced before). Finally, I placed my head over our sink and clutched the counter, feeling I would either vomit from the pain or pass out.

In my stubbornness, I ignored for sometime the “still small voice” telling me to ask Sam to pray over me. While I gripped the counter, I gasped out the words, “I need you to pray over me.” Sam placed his hand on the spot on my back that felt on fire and began to pray. Almost immediately, I could feel the fire in that spot begin to slowly subside. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid if I did, the relief would disappear.
He continued to pray for my life, for the relief of pain, and for God’s guidance. The feeling of relief radiated through my body just as the pain had, from my back to my chest and then to the rest of my organs. After several minutes of experiencing the miracle of relief, I told Sam I felt better. I stood and embraced him, thanking Jesus over and over again for healing me and loving me. Sam walked me back to our bed. I climbed in, afraid to move that the pain would return. I allowed the comfort of the bed to embrace me, and I began to trust God in this healing of my body. I fell asleep with the continual cadence of, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord” on my lips.

I’m sure I will analyze this experience, asking God to teach me all I am to learn from this moment in my life. Part of the lesson for me is to not be so slow to ask for help, especially when the Holy Spirit is urging me. My stubbornness in not asking for help is a theme of my life, so I know this will be part of the answer upon my introspection as well.

Why did this happen to me? Was it an attack from the enemy of my soul? Is there a serious underlying problem I need to face? All of these questions are valid. The answer I have is whatever Satan plans for evil, God turns to good. Not only does last night’s incident support that, my whole life experience does as well.

God is good. He is still in control. And yes, he does, indeed, answer the cries of those who love him.

“In my anguish, I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5

Blessings ~ Heidi Jo

IMG_0039The Gift of Communication an article ~
When my husband I were on our first cruise, going through the Panama Canal, I had an interesting encounter which lead me to this life lesson.

One morning while getting coffee, a nice looking Latin gentleman stood behind me. We greeted each other in our own languages. While waiting, I noted he was wearing a long sleeve shirt and slacks. I was already hot, and I was wearing shorts and a tank top. I turned to him and said in English, “You must be used to the heat.”

Blank Stare.
At that moment, I realized my minuscule closet of Spanish completely locked closed. For the life of me, I could not remember the Spanish word for “hot”. I could remember Frio — cold…hot — no. I tried my best with charades to have him understand, to no avail.

Then, grasping to communicate, I tried German. No German. I so wanted to communicate with this gentleman. I’m positive he had a vast arsenal of knowledge to share, but our languages were not able to connect us.

Then, later, as I sat listening to Christian music and drinking my coffee, I realized that is how it can feel in our dark times of life. We are speaking to God, but it is as if we don’t know his language, so our ability to build relationship is greatly hindered by our inability to communicate with him.

In the last handful of years, I have broken into that seemingly fleeting language barrier between God and myself. Up to that moment, he had allowed me to believe all the things I had been taught by humans, regarding our relationship to God — the rules of what has become the Christian Religion — the concepts and actions that teach us we must “prove” our love to God, to, in some way, to become in better standing with him.

Although, many of those actions can sometimes keep us in good standing with people, that language is foreign to God. It is actually an affront to who he is and what he has done for us.

Here is the example God gave me to see this concept clearly.

I recently did something out of complete kindness to help a couple. In the families gratitude, they wanted to bless me with a gift of thanks. It seemed too big of a gift — I had done what I did because God had placed it on my heart. I ended up trading something I had for what they were wanting to “give” me. I felt better—

Then, God, in his gentle teaching way, impressed upon my heart, that although I had felt better, I had actually stolen the family’s blessing because I was unable to freely receive the gift that was given. I, somehow, wanted to earn it.

This insight was huge. I love to bless people, and yet, my choice to trade for their “gift” was actually a complete refusal of that gift. It was in that moment of realization, I saw how our relationships are often with God. In our actions of trying to earn his “gifts," we shut down all communication with him — because no one can earn a gift.

God gives salvation, love, mercy, and grace freely. When we waste years trying to “earn” it, we are actually dishonoring the incredible gifts he has given to us. In away, it is offensive to him. It’s at those moments we (God and us) realize we don’t speak the same language — all that is left is polite nodding and smiling.
Both parties are aching to communicate and build relationship. For a time, God let’s us go down our ignorant paths full of religious concepts and actions — Then, one day, he breaks the communication barrier by wooing us to him. As he draws us, we fight through our chains of misinformation and legalistic trappings to learn one sentence of his language.

Light breaks through to our souls, and we become undeniably desperate to know his language as if we were born to it. As we grow in communication with him, we want to leave the things of old behind us because this mind blowing, God language is truly the Bread of Life and drinkable Living Water.
Learning to Live
I have had my own website for nearly 14 years. It all started when I published my first novel in 2004. That seems like a life time ago, and in so many ways, it truly is. In that time, I have lived the beginning of a dream (publishing my books), felt like I lost it, lived a whole lot of loss, discovered the powerful love of God and just how long his hands can reach to catch us, and I have been given the opportunity for full redemption. Although it often sounds like a cliche, compassion and love does grow through the hardships of life.

In the middle of my hard times, I have not always been excited about the learning moment I have been given. The feeling of despair has often filled my heart in those dark times, yet I can honestly say, I still could feel the love of God, even if it seemed far away. My greatest epiphanies have always come in the dawning moments of my painful times. It was in those deep questioning times with God that he quietly answered me. Now that I stand on the other side of some of my greatest crevasses, I am truly grateful for God allowing my times of sifting. More will surely come, but now I face those times wiser and more confident in the purpose of them, holding fast to God's promises.

As you begin to browse through my website, I hope you will feel uplifted, learn some helpful things you didn't know, feel you can take those nuggets and share them with others, and will also come back often to learn, laugh, and once again glean gifts you can give away. Blessings for your day.
~ Heidi Jo
On the Farm
Mid December marks the beginning of my full time farming life. I have wanted it for a number of years now. Actually, I’m pretty sure I was born a farmer. Since a young girl, I have had a menagerie of animals, from a duck to a horse trough full of fish, anything my mom would let me have. At a very young age, I would walk down to the end of our road, carefully cross the main road, go through an apple orchard, and then timidly approach the Cochran Farm. Dick Cochran was our mailman and neighbor (in the country neighbors are usually never next door). They had a huge garden, chickens, ducks, and other animals. But, for some reason, I was fascinated by those little quackers the most.

So, of course, after visiting multiple times to hold any baby animal Dick would let me, he sent me home with a little tiny duck. I’m not sure if he called ahead and asked my mom first, but my memory has it as a total surprise to her. When she saw me with that duck, I could instantly see she was not going to let me have her. But, and this is a huge BUT, my mom has a very big weakness for animals, baby animals in particular. The key is to get her to hold it.

Even at that young age, probably around 6, I knew if I could just get her to hold that baby duck, I would be able to keep her. My mom protested for a descent amount of time until finally she gave in and held the adorable bundle of fun. I knew the moment little Peep (my duck’s name) began to lightly nibble on her cheek, I had become the proud owner of my very first farm animal!
Peep was not the first farm animal we, as a family had had. My parents had a mini ranch with cows and horses. When my parents divorced, my mom moved us to the beautiful Lake Chelan Valley, and although we only had a borrowed tent at the time, our two horses, one pony, three dogs, a cat, and some gold fish came with us. Yes, just let that image sink in. I was only two at the time, and my sisters were seven and six. There were many who thought our mother insane, but actually, she is the bravest person I have ever known. In the midst of having her whole world turned upside down, she chose to live an adventure. And through that new life, her heart began to heal (there is much more to that story).

So, although there were always animals around me, the thought of having my very own baby duck to care for was like giving me the world. Quickly, my mom realized she had opened a farming Pandora’s Box for me. Later, came rabbits, a donkey, my own horse (when I was 13), a miniature goat for a whole day (there's a funny story), and lots of cats and dogs.
At the age of seventeen, I decided I couldn’t keep any more farm animals if I couldn’t spend any time with them. I was working lots of hours through summer to pay for all the hay for my horse, and I felt so guilty driving down our driveway with Cowgirl looking at me with “please, come ride me,” eyes that I had to find a new home for her and get ready to go to college the following year.
From seventeen to forty, I had kept my animal farming desires at bay (except for the year I had a pet pig at college). So, when my husband and I built our new house after our boys were grown, I think he realized he couldn’t hold off my desire for farm animals much longer. I would like to mention that my adult opener of Pandora’s Farming Box were chickens...yes, they can definitely be called the gateway animal to farming. Once you start with them, you first want a bunch more (hence our two very big coops), then the other animals just seemed to make there way onto the property...that I secretly had been calling a farm from the beginning, as if I was willing it into being.

Only five short years after picking up my first 15 baby chicks at the post office (mail order chicks was brand new to me), I now am home farming! The best part, my husband wants me home farming. He is all for us making our sustainable farm work. There is so much more to it than this beginning, but if you continue to follow my posts, you will most certainly learn more about us than you may have bargained for.

Welcome to the Happy Pig Farm! I hope you enjoy the articles, recipes, medicinal information, and anything else I feel like putting on this site.
Blessings ~ Heidi Jo Lopez

Simplicity of His Intricacy
I am often in awe of God's incredibly simple love of me and all of his creation. The more I read the Bible through Jesus' eyes and understanding and willingly loving him more intimately, I discover the truth of his simple love...simply, he just loves me.
Reading the Bible through Jesus' eyes takes my careful study of him, who he was when he walked this earth and then asking the hard questions of him to gain understanding. To start, I had to allow God to strip away all of my preconceived ideas, thoughts, and understandings of him. No longer did I struggle with concepts placed upon me from someone else, feeling a knot in my stomach which formed in me by the feeling that what was told to me was wrong yet feeling inadequate in my own knowledge of God to refute it. Now, I just read the words on the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (first four books of the New Testament in the Bible) as I once had as a child, taking them as fresh and new to me. Thinking about Jesus' actions, words, and heart as I read what he did, I discover the simplicity of his love of me in a whole new way. Even though he simply loves me, his love of me is completely intricate.
He first knew me long before I was born or even conceived. Ephesians 1:4-10 reads as a beautiful love letter written to his creation, us who he calls to his perfect salvation, his perfect love. v. 4-5 "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." Do you know what I see in the first is not up to me to make myself holy or blameless; it is up to him. He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. It isn't about me or what I can and cannot do; it is all about him. He determined to love and choose us before he even created the world.
He knew Satan would tempt Eve in the garden, and in so doing, cause Adam to sin and bring condemnation into this world for the entire creation. He knew it all would happen, but true to who he is, he purposed a plan of his great love that would wipe out any plan of Satan.
Multiple times, I heard people want to blame God for not controlling evil in this world, or railing at him for horrible acts of some people; yet, we are also the same people who abhor being controlled, confined, and told what to do. Our desire to seek freedom and rebel against constraint is actually God given in us. So, how can we condemn God for not "controlling" every evil that shows itself on this earth, yet hate religion when it wants to constrain, control, and stifle us? That makes no sense.
God's perfect, free, and intricately thought out simple love of us gives us choice. He set freedom of choice in motion from the beginning of time. If he hadn't, there would have been no rebellion of Satan, no sin that entered the garden, and a lovely, stale creation of robots for him to manipulate at will. Yet, God is a god of passion and heart. He feels deeply, and he is a being who desires love just as much as he desires to give it.
We may think it would be nice to have forced love and obedience of family and friends around us, yet we would eventually grow tired of that kind of devotion because love without freedom is no love at all. And is not God's wisdom and understanding so much greater than our own? If so, would we expect him to be content with false, controlled devotion. No, if we, his creation, want to be loved for who we are as individuals, quirks and all, of course, the God of the universe and all creation would want us to fall in love with him in the same way. As Genesis 1:27 states, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." We are created in his likeness, and with his passions and purposes. Evil tainted that beauty of perfection, but Jesus' pure and simple love (death and resurrection) removed and destroyed all sin and condemnation in us and the world. And God has left us with the free will choice of choosing him purely or denying him. Loving him is our choice. His love for us is never wavering and never ending. He knows that true love loves freely, and if love is given apart from freedom, it is not love.
To give love without constraint, rules, or conditions is often foreign to those of us on this earth. We have been conditioned to believe that God loves us with conditions, all the while having been told that He loves us unconditionally. What?
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned... John 3:17-18 That is not a condition...that is a spiritual law set in motion from the beginning of time. Many of us have no issue with the law of gravity; what goes up, must come down. We don't get up in arms with the law of gravity and tell it, it is being conditional. We don't create religions or belief systems to come against the law of gravity; we accept it as it is, mostly because we have seen it in action with our own eyes. If I throw a bottle into the air, it will come down...and hit me in the head if I don't get out of the way.
Most of the time, we read the Bible as if it is full of conditions and rules. Yet, what if we changed the way we approached it and read it the way it is presented to us from God himself, who created all of the laws of science and math, including all of the spiritual laws (which is why so many of the first scientist and mathematicians were devout followers of Christ...that is another article for another day).
If we have the gift of free will (which according to the Bible all creation has), then when Satan rebelled against God, deceived Adam and Eve, and sin entered the world, it isn't God's fault for allowing it; it is a spiritual law in motion, much like other natural laws - for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction...hmmm. What? You mean in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, he also set all natural and
spiritual laws in motion, so it is not a punishment or a condition we experience when we find ourselves up against a natural or spiritual is what it is? I truly believe so.
If I am not going to get ferociously angry at a natural law and start picketing and rioting my disgust about it (which I believe most of society would find utterly ridiculous), then why would I get angry over a spiritual law? It is food for thought.
The same God who
simply loves me also loves me intricately. He gives us words in the Bible, not to control us but to warn us about the spiritual laws that were set in motion at the same time as natural laws. It is only through the eyes of freedom that all of those things make complete sense. If we look at spiritual laws through the veiled eyes of legalism and religion, we will see those laws as constraints and conditions, BUT, if we look at them as God intended, we will see them as loving warnings from a Loving God.
The Knowing
When we begin to understand The Knowing, we must first start with our central focus, God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). I think too often we have a hard time knowing what God's will is because we don't truly know who He is, His character. Many of us may know multiple scriptures that tell us completely who God is, but for some reason or another, we have a hard time embracing them fully as our bedrock foundation. It could be our past experience with life, other religions, religious Christianity, or our poor image of ourselves that keeps us from truly understanding, knowing, and believing God's character.
Character is who we are, who we were born to be. Yes, we can grow it or develop it, but it is something God planted in us when He first knit us together in our mother's wombs. Some of our character qualities can parallel or be what we know as the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (love in all it's forms), but for the most part, we develop that Fruit trait and its characteristics as we enter into the beautiful place of Knowing God (Holy Spirit) intimately.
Character of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit):
Truth, Love, Grace, Peace, Wisdom, Comfort, Joy, Patient, Enduring, Provider, Mercy, Justice, Promise, Passion, Purpose, and Rest...just to name a few. (Dig into the Bible to get to know Him by example, and talk to Him to get to know Him personally)
These characteristics of God are complete and never ending. To enter into a place of Knowing with Him, where we can experience His perfect peace and rest even in the midst of chaos, we must believe Him when He says this is who He is.
I think just as all relationship has levels, I believe our relationship with God (The Knowing) has levels as well. We don't usually get to experience a relationship with a feeling of instantly knowing everything about the person; it takes time, study, and a desire to know that person and be known by that person. Some of us get the privilege of an explosive introduction to Jesus relationship, like Paul, or even myself, yet growing in relationship with Him, which includes full disclosure...meaning trust, still grows over time.
There is no formula to follow to gain access to the heart of God, the place of Knowing Him. We do have a beginning, a starting point though, calling out to Jesus as the beautiful gateway to the Godhead, then He just says, seek Me. "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 29:13-14) Jesus did the work, destroying the sting of sin (death) on the cross and through the resurrection. There is nothing that separates us from God; sin has been atoned for. The only thing that stops us from entering into a place of Knowing Him is us. Jesus handled the hardest part, opening the gate to the Godhead for all time, now, we just have to step through and get to know Him. It all starts with belief...
Ending thought..."For God so LOVED the world that he gave his ONE and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal LIFE. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned." (John 3:16-18) [Emphasis mine]
Jesus did not come to establish religion; it had existed for thousands of years before his earthly birth. He came to establish the true heart of the Godhead...relationship...The Knowing.
Oh the Joy
Sun, sun, glorious sun! Here, in my little portion of the Pacific Northwest, we have had the oddest winter of my whole life. As the East Coast was inundated with mounds and mounds of record breaking snow falls in many northern (and a few southern) places, we had almost none. Normally, we have a few lovely feet of snow that I happily enjoy shoveling, snow-blowing, walking in, etc. But, this winter was hard, not because we had an over abundance of snow, but because we didn't really have any at all. On top of that, we had more grey days than ever (as per mentioned in the February issue of this newsletter). And, not just grey days, mind you, but socked in days, days where seeing the edge of my deck was considered "visibility". Now, I am naturally a sun girl. I thrive in the light (on so many levels). So, being socked in weighs on me emotionally.
Last issue, I said that I was going to choose joy in the midst of the thick fog, and low and behold, I did. Right away (because I made a vow to do so, and all of you, my readers, were witnesses), I chose to thank God for the grey days, to rejoice in the beauty of a thick fog, to not pine for the sun, but to enjoy the moment I had been given in the fog.
That's how life is really. Many of us find ourselves in a proverbial fog (real and tangible or in the middle of life experiences). When we are in the fog (not knowing where to go because we can barely see the path ahead of us), we have to learn how to hold even more securely to God's hand (harder to do if we don't have a relationship with Him). Through my battle with sickness and a lot of pain over these last two years, I have had to learn to choose joy in the midst of it, to hold fast to the hand of God even in my confusion over my circumstances, to choose to focus on what I can accomplish in the moment I am in, and to not think of where I would like to be. That, in itself, has been truly liberating for me, inside and out.
And, so like God, He chose to bless me for my decision to choose joy in the midst of the fog (naturally and figuratively). As I remained obedient to continue in sharing what I have learned day in and day out by writing this newsletter, he has opened up new doors for me to step through (with my writing). And as I have become very proactive in wanting to understand how to help my body to recover, God has given me wisdom and direction to study medicinal herbs (something I would have never tried a few years ago). I am becoming passionate about taking what He has already provided for us naturally (the Bible does tell us He is our provider), and learning what those herbs do, how they help us, and how to make medicines and teas that naturally heal the body. And...stop the has been working for me! In this last month, I have had a lot less pain; I'm able to be so much more mobile; I haven't had any bouts with the horrible waves of fatigue, and because of all of that, great amounts of joy inspired by incredible thankfulness to God for His wisdom and love of me has overwhelmed my heart. And of course, because I am a person who can't help but teach what I have learned, I am excited to share with you my blessing.
So, OH, THE JOY! Sometimes, it takes the deepest, darkest fogs in life to help us to learn (for the first time or once again) how to appreciate the beautiful intricacies of God's glorious creation, and to be able to see, even in the midst of heavy trial, He always is and forever will be our provider. Sometimes, we have to learn to step back from our circumstances to see more clearly, or like I have had to do, say, "I don't care if I have the answer to why, Lord. Just help me, please." For those of you who do not know me personally, for me to say I don't need the answer is hugemongous! I am a serious studier (love it!), and I am wired to want to know and understand, mostly because God designed me to teach. And, as a teacher, if I don't understand it, it is impossible for me to explain it to others. I may never have the answers to why my health tanked, but I do have answers to many things God taught me during the trial. And faithful to one of my life scriptures (a portion of the Bible), "As surely as the Lord lives, what God says, that I will speak" (2 Chronicles 18:13). I pray my words and life lessons help blow the fog out of your lives or at least help you to hold faster to God's hand and not care about the fog anymore. Here is to rediscovering Joy.


Spring, Glorious Spring

Spring is my very favorite season (with Fall being a close second). On so many levels, Spring is wonderful. I love the birth of new things, be it plants or animals (I just got baby goats!!). And, a huge part of the glory of Spring is...wait for it...the SUN! "Oh, hello, sun. I have missed seeing you for the months of January and February...although it has been awhile, I held out hope that you would show back up again...and you did!" Spring has always filled me with new life. It seems to add a bit more bounce to my step, and makes my smile even bigger, and I have a greater desire to get out and encourage and share Jesus' love with all I come in contact with. Spring literally fills my joy container to full and even overflowing. Like a bear, I shake off my months of hibernation (and oh, I do love a good time of hibernation, except I eat during mine :D), shedding the tiredness of Winter, and smile at the glorious wonder of Spring.
I love the intricacies of God! I love how He is so big picture, but He is also into every tiny detail. As an English teacher, I could explain the "metaphor" of the seasons explaining life, but as a follower of Jesus, I see the seasons as so much more than just a lesson on metaphor. Seasons are part of God's big picture. In everything He does and has created, He gives us the opportunity to see how much He loves us, and how He has truly planned for all of our needs. I am enamored with the brilliance of Jesus' death and resurrection having happened right at the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. How amazing is God and His timing? I love that our lives are a series of deaths and rebirths. Trials take us through the growing times of Summer (sometimes, the heat of the sun feels too much), but like a master gardener, God allows us to have just enough, sometimes taking us to the point of burning but never too far (although it may feel like it at times). We finish out the hard labor of Summer and enter the most beautiful part of growth...the harvest. And as we walk through that season of life in our garden of lessons, we can glean and enjoy all that we have learned, the fruits of our heavy labor. Then, just as we need it, because we are truly exhausted from all the hard work, God gives us Winter, a time of rest and recuperation. I think where many of us go wrong is not receiving the blessing of rest and carrying it out to its fullest measure. God designed us to experience all seasons of life and nature. If we embrace the rest of "Winter", we will be oh so rejuvenated for the glories of Spring, where we get to start all over again.
I have learned (over many life lessons) to embrace each season. Learning to embrace Winter has been my hardest season lesson. As any child will protest, "I'm not tired! I don't want to go to bed!" Yet, as a good parent or grandparent, we know better than our children and grandchildren, and we put them to bed anyway. And within minutes or seconds, they are fast asleep. I am so thankful to God that He knows I need rest. I want to be better at embracing the rest times of my life; because, if I do, my Springs (rebirths/new beginnings) will become even sweeter and more glorious.
Wasn't it always easier on our kids if they just trusted us in our parental wisdom (if you are an aunt or uncle or friend, I'm sure you still have that wisdom as well). If we would begin to trust God that He really does have our best interest at heart, we would fight Him a lot less, and our eyes would be open to see how the seasons of life are full of tangible and intangible joys we didn't know were there. Be encouraged and blessed!