Weeding My Garden

This has been a hard, long, week. Filled with lots of emotional highs and lows. The biggest low being the loss of my husband’s grandfather.

I didn’t know him as long as others were blessed to, but I got the chance to experience a grandfather as an adult and that in itself was a special gift from God.

He wasn’t just my husband’s grandfather. He was my Grandpa Sterling.

Those who really know me know that my grandmothers meant the world to me. My dad’s mom passed away when I was in grade school. My mom’s mom passed when I was in undergrad (a year before I graduated).

Having a grandfather was a foreign experience for me. My dad’s dad passed away not long after I was born.  I’m told I was the last grand-baby he held. I was named after he and my dad. (Francinia is my mom’s nod to Frank).

All my life, my dad told me how much his dad loved me. My dad frequently tells the story of how his dad held me for the first time and looked at me and told him and my mom that, “This ‘red baby’ is going to be something else.”

Among many things, that was always a driver for me and it pushed me to keep going because I knew my Grandpa believed in me and my strong-willed self from day one.

In the brief time that I knew my husband’s grandfather, I felt that same love and encouragement and support from him. That’s the thing about love and true relationships and bonds. They BUILD you up. They help you to GROW beyond what you can comprehend. Even when there are rough patches, the LOVE ENDURES.

Here lately, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve spent entirely too much time dealing with and allowing my emotions to be occupied with those who do not love or even care about me. Their words show it. Their actions (or lack thereof) show it.

Then, I was forced to ask myself. Why have I not weeded this out already?

I thought a bit further and realized, it’s not always about physically weeding out the negative people in our lives. It’s actually more important to weed out the impact of their negative actions (i.e, our reactions, our reactive thoughts, our reactive comments, etc.– especially when those reactions are negative).

I am doing this activity in the spiritual as well as in the natural. As a gardener, I know I need to select a good tool when it comes to weeding and pruning my garden beds. This week, I’ll be reviewing my new Titanium Pruning Shears By Haus & Garten which inspired this post.

 

I also know that I have to turn over my garden beds and do a continuous “refresh and reset” or the weeds and overgrowth will drown out all the new blooms and, instead of having something beautiful to look at, I will end up dealing with a disorganized mess.

The same can be said for our spiritual selves.

We have to push the rest button whenever negative thoughts start to cloud our mind. They’re like the weeds and overgrown shrubs in a garden that keep fresh, new flowers from growing.

Take time to renew your mind, DAILY. Take other extended periods where you refresh and/or intentionally release things for a few months or weeks at a time.  I do this every year (several times a year) and it NEVER fails me.

My garden beds aren’t as beautiful as they once were, but I am committed to doing the work to getting them back into shape– and keeping them there. My peace isn’t where it once was, but I know God is doing a greater work and I’m committed to the process. #iPress

Understand that the “weeds” will always try to grow.  It’s a natural part of the garden of life. The impact of allowing them to grow is that they will choke out the beautiful flowers and greenery that God wants to bloom in your life. Cutting out the weeds will take work– and it won’t be a one time work– but it is worth it.

My rose garden has the same potential today that it had before. I know something beautiful can bloom. The weeds are only temporary. Let’s get to work!

Close up of Henry Rose

Philippians 4:8  (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Matthew 12:33-37 (NIV) “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.  You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

www.FixItWithFran.com
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Who’s There to Save the Hero?

I know everyone is still occupied by “Formation,” but “Save The Hero” will FOREVER be one of my top two Beyoncé songs (The other being, “I Was Here”).

I don’t look to any celebrity as my standard of living, nor do I fault myself for any music I listen to (when I catch myself feeling myself too much, I check it QUICKLY). I have a faith that I’m growing in day by day and God prunes those habits REGULARLY. In the meantime, I take any revelations God gives me via any medium– which is often music (and not just Christian or Gospel genres).

All that being said, this particular song came to mind as I considered my topics for my next Podcast recording. It’s pretty much where I’m at right now.

I didn’t sleep at all last night. Not because I was stressed or anxious or upset or worried. But because I needed that time alone with God.

The first time I heard this song in 2008, I felt like it described my life:

“…I’m left with no shoulder, but everybody wants to lean on me.

I guess I’m their soldier.

Well who’s gonna be mine?

Who’s there to save the hero?

When she’s left all alone and she’s crying out for help.

Who’s there to save the hero?

Who’s there to save the girl… after she’s saves the world?”

I feel that way, OFTEN.  And, like any other time I find myself pondering lyrics during my quiet time, I heard God answer me.

His response was, “I AM.

I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today if I didn’t continue to remember these truths:

“Strong people” struggle too. The world looks at you as if you are some superhero, but you know all too well that you are STILL human.

People may overlook you, try to use you and manipulate your genuine heart to serve their own needs —  But God —

God is the one true, constant confidant that you have in the midst of all of life’s challenges.  He WILL NOT fail you and you CANNOT allow others to change who you are or stop the purposes and desires He has placed in your heart.

Take some time away with God and allow him to strengthen your heart.

 

I pray that my transparency helps someone else today.  It’s pressing on my heart to share so I’m sure there’s some person who needs these words at this very moment.

Scriptures to Meditate On:

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 New Living Translation (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

Psalm 91 New Living Translation (NLT)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

 

John 16:33 New Living Translation (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

Brace Yourself

I’m in the middle of several transitions right now, but one thing I am reminded of in this season is just how much God CAN and WILL provide! {Luke 12:24}

I am also learning how just how necessary it is for me to brace myself– both physically and spiritually.

In the physical sense, I still have some days when my lower back is in a bit of pain. I spent the past couple of days cleaning and organizing our home office and combined that activity with an event at church where we made vision boards with our Girls’ and Women’s ministries so I’ve been giving my back and lower body a good workout. Thankfully, I’d received this #freebelt to review and its lower lumbar support and heat are EVERYTHING right now!

What I most like about this belt are the built in stones and magnets inside the belt that transmit heat to your muscles and offer immediate relief by reducing any swelling and helping your muscles return to their normal state.
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This lumbar belt is also designed to support and strengthen your lower back muscles, while aligning your posture and reducing muscle inflammation and pain. You can even wear it during your workout. I’ve yet to test out this option, but I may do so when I go back to the gym tomorrow.
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In the spiritual sense, as I continue to go through experiences of trying, testing, and pressing I have to brace myself.  Before worry, anxiety or stress set in it’s of the utmost importance that I pause and pray and recenter myself.

I’m in a season that requires great faith.  And a key part of that faith is to remember just how faithful God has always been.  If I don’t brace myself daily and moment by moment, the temporary challenges and unknown future can overwhelm me.  But God has been so faithful and he has not changed.  He is the stability I can hold on to each and every time I find it necessary to take a moment to pause and brace myself.

You may find yourself in a situation somewhat similar to mine today.  If so, I’m saying a special prayer for you right along with myself.

Here are a few passages of scripture that I am holding near and dear to my heart at the moment:

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Luke 12:22-32 Do Not Be Anxious  And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Hebrews 6:19-20 The Certainty of God’s Promise   We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.