Hands and house

Hands and house

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lessons from the rake

       Today we woke up to glorious sunshine....it has been a literal breath of fresh air after months of sogginess (not sure if that is a word but it fits!). We live in a part of the Columbia River Gorge where the cliffs are breathtaking and steep and squeeze what seems to be every drop of rain, fog and mist out of the clouds as they pass from the ocean to the desert. My joke with Doug is that in Stevenson from September to May something is always falling from the sky. So to wake up to sunshine felt like a miracle.
      After a walk, Georgia hopped out of the stroller and wanted to explore the yard. She toddled around in her snowsuit (yep, still barely above freezing here) face planting in the bushes, tiny rump in the air only to get up with a big smile on her face and say, "Cm-on!" As we wandered the "jungle" part of the yard (really the untamed part that we named "the jungle" to make ourselves feel better about it's unruliness), I grabbed the rake. I figured I would clear a bit of the leaves left from the fall. So Georgia tipsied her way through the bushes (yes, forget the path, she just goes over the bushes...she's my kind of girl!) and I raked around her. Every few mintues she would yell out, "I lol you!!!" (I love you!) at the top of her lungs. As she changed direction, so did I. It wasn't too productive but it was fun!
    This time of year our "jungle" get over run with what I call miracle flowers. I have no idea how they got there and despite absolutely the worst soil under huge oak trees, they sprout up first with adorable green leaves and then with bright yellow flowers. The only thing we do for them is rake the leaves so they have room to grow. Well, this year, because our fall was filled with figuring out how to be a family of five and helping Georgia heal from open heart surgery...the leaves got neglected. I noticed that our flower friends were doing their best to pop up even through the copious piles of leaves but today I thought I would give them a little loving help.
       As I was raking the leaves off the plants, I could see the scrawny and weak stems of the ones stuck under the leaves. I could almost feel them breathe "Ahhh" as the dead leaves were pulled off of them. It was during this process that I heard the Lord whisper "what have I been teaching you..." . You see, I have been chewing a lot lately on this from Romans 12:2:

          "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

    And this from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

    "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

    How much is my mind like those little plants trying to shoot forth and blossom? How many times do I let Satan lay the thoughts, the lies really of death ontop on me...into my thoughts? I have been praying and really trying to "take captive every thought" for awhile now and it has been has been astonishing and humbling to realize how many lies I have allowed to stay there. How many times I allow little thoughts to zip right through that cause shame and doubt, that tear down instead of build up. Thoughts of others but even more so  thoughts about myself. How many "truths" (or really un-truths) do we embrace from others? Things that have been said, old "tapes" allowed to run rampant?
    Here's the thing that is so exciting...WE DON'T HAVE TO BE RULED BY THESE THINGS!!! Satan wants to set up strongholds in our minds...desires to bind us up, paralyze us with fear over what others think or how we are not enough etc etc etc... insert your own "tapes" here. But Scripture says that the weapons we have, "they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." How exciting is that?
    So how do we do it? Well, what I have found is as I listen and ask God to show me how to take captive every thought...He takes me up on it. As I notice thoughts that are not honoring I just right out loud (ok...I find a private spot) say, "Satan you cannot use that thought to control me anymore...in the name of Jesus you need to leave. and Lord bring your peace and truth into that spot instead." ...and I am finding peace. I feel like those tiny little sprouts that are starting to breathe and get strong. It is not that more thoughts do not come or that I do not battle with the same ones again and again and again (especially when in a swimsuit :))...but there really, REALLY is power in the name of Jesus...still now, today, for us all. And I am finding that as I do this, there is more space, peace and life in Scripture, more ability to hear the God when He speaks and WAY more joy in each and every day. I wonder, how much that is "dead" does the Lord want to lift from us, what growth would He have for us...what could come into bloom if we truly are able to "take captive every thought"?

    So if you'll excuse me...I need to go and rake some more leaves!!!!


David and Sarah said...

A few weeks ago, I was overcome with a sort of generalized fear. I started thinking things like "There's NO Way that David (dh) should go to Haiti" (he's a carpenter and thinking of going to Haiti when they are ready for help with building), and "We will NEVER adopt again" and "Adam (ds) should NEVER go overseas again because of his peanut allergy."

Woah, all of the sudden, I realized that I was closing all sorts of doors OUT OF FEAR of what could happen. I used to be ruled by this kind of fear, but really hadn't experienced it in a long time. It was a good reminder to me that Satan really does want to rule our hearts and will use anything that he sees as an "in". But, God is truly much much more powerful than that! Thank goodness for His perfect love which casts out all fear!

So, here I am back to scheming (hehehe) how I can take a trip to India (maybe with Adam along with me), how David can go to Haiti and whether or not we can adopt another child. Don't know if God will bring these things to pass, but I do know that I will not let FEAR stand in the way of His good and perfect will!

Many blessings to you,

Gretchen said...

Taking captive our thoughts...

Wow...I think alot during the day. What exactly might that be like if all of the lies, that are SO NOT truth, did not penetrate my thoughts anymore. How invigorating..how powerful! Only God could help be stumble through that. Looks like I have something new to commit to Him. I love building my relationship with my Father. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

Ginny said...

God Word Shannon. Thanks. I love the picture of the flowers coming through the leaves. I can so see that in my mind.

Sometimes my struggle is not just taking captive the thoughts that are there, but also trying to live a life where I actually have other thoughts that are consistent with God working. For example, sometimes I will leave work and then think how I didn't tell one person about Jesus or try and see where God was moving in the room. I didn't open myself up to conversations of eternal significance because I was so distracted by the everyday. Those thoughts I had weren't necessarily "bad" but they weren't His. Sometimes I need to take captive all the distracting thoughts so the Lord has room in my head to move.

Thanks for helping me think on that today.

Love ya Friend

Shannon said...

Thanks for your comments you guys! I am still just learning and fumbling through all of this but it really has been life-changing for me. I think it is also a life-long journey.
Sarah! Yahooo!!!!! Dream big!!!! Take a close look at those doors because Satan was trying to close them for some reason. I am learning that the places where I find more "gunk" is usually where either the Lord is wanting to bring some healing or is leading in some way.

Gretchen! What I am finding is when I let God lead in helping me take my thoughts captive, He is so gentle and loving....the process is exciting and marked with forgiveness and grace. But when i try to do it myself...it gets marked with guilt and shame and becomes just another way for Satan to poke at me.

Ginny! I am with you...this is hard work! But there is so much freedom too. Again, I am finding that Satan can push big guilt buttons and that is NOT from the Lord...although conviction is...hmmm...so much to learn!

A little piece of 7th heaven said...

Did I mention how much I love your blog?..b/c if I didn't....I sure do..just thought you should know..lol...
Your post truly spoke to my heart..thanks!!!

Renee said...

Shannon...you mentioned this post when you commented on my blog, and I must tell you it is GOD SPEAKING TO ME THROUGH YOU when I read it just now. I am really struggling with fear...fear of needing to have a surgical procedure and possible surgery.. This fear of hospitals goes way back to my childhood and my health issues with Lymne Disease now ~ causing reactions to chemicals, which then makes it very difficult to have anything done like this. I had told God earlier this year that I no longer wanted fear to have a stronghold in my life. He is now giving me the opportunities to no longer let Satan use fear to stop me from being all God desires me to be....My thoughts have been filled with fears and my body with anxiety the past few days...and yet I did not see this as Satan's work UNTIL reading this post...I was blaming myself and my inability to remove fear from my life concerning doctors, hospitals, etc. Wow! Now I have insights and another tool to use in this journey. Isn't our Lord amazing??? He loves us so much I am humbled by his goodness....
God is using your writings to help others...and may I say you are a very gifted writer.
God bless


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