Budding: New Growth in Spring and in Life

Have you noticed them yet this season? Budding trees. They whisper promises of things to come, slip us reminders of spring’s unfailing relief from winter’s frigid toll. One day they nudge us and say, “Look at us. New growth! There’s hope after all . . .”, while on another they call out, “Look at us! We’re budding! What will you become?!”

I love how the seasons speak to us on deeper levels and give us encouragement to grow or rest, to persevere or hope. Spring has the privilege of bringing hope to weary souls and inspiring us to branch out or reach for new heights. It works wonders in our world and in our hearts, and each year its work in our lives might be a little different.

The image of growth in spring has influenced how we see so many things. We’ve all heard people say, “He’s a budding artist” or “She’s a budding musician”, and they’re usually referring to children or teens. But I can’t help but notice, in the natural world, that even old trees bud year after year. New growth and the promise of things to come grace them as well.

And to be honest, probably none of us reading this post today are children or teens. We’re all older trees, if you will, though some of us are indeed older than others. The good news is that old trees bud! We’re not only capable of growth, it’s expected.

So what’s budding in our lives as we head into spring this year? What evidence of growth can be seen on our branches? Are we mastering a new skill or using some new technology? Are we displaying strength or peace in the face of adversity? As believers, are we looking more like our Savior each year?

If you don’t feel like you’re growing right now, it’s not too late to start. Get out there and start budding! Rejoice in the promise of things to come!

“In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6 NIV

*Is there something budding in your life right now? If not, what would you like to see bud?

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from March 2011 blesses you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by James BoweCreative Commons License

Time To Hole Up

Holed Up in Winter

Arctic weather isn’t the only reason I hole up when I can in January. After December’s demands and any traveling I do, I often need some catch-up time and a bit of a slower pace. I need to be at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t lounge on the sofa eating bon-bons—though that sounds pretty good. No, I faithfully work on writing projects and take care of the stuff of life that has needed my attention. And I’ve got to admit it’s a welcome change after a season of increased demand.

Do any of you hole up when you get the chance too? I’ve found that whether we’re forced to stay put due to weather or we choose to sequester ourselves for some regrouping or restoration, we usually feel ready to break out after a time and experience life in the greater world again. We get rested, recharged, and . . .  a little stir crazy!

It’s not so different in our spiritual lives. There are times when we need to slow down and catch up a bit. Times when we need to hole up and be “at home” with the Lord. If we’ll take that time, I bet we’ll find ourselves feeling rested, recharged, and . . . yes, ready to break out. Ready to do the work God calls us to do with fresh energy.

So where are you right now? Feeling a little stir crazy or are you needing some time to hole up? Wherever you are, whatever you do, do it with the Lord. He faithfully offers a welcome change!

“he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from January 2010 blessed you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by MuffetCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

If you’re looking for help in your parenting or grandparenting role, you’ve come to the right place today. Last month I started a new blog series—posts on the first Tuesday of each month that will feature sentence prayers inviting God’s power into a variety of important areas of our lives. 

Today we’ll focus on parenting and grandparenting. Chances are a majority of us fall into one or both of those categories. Both roles are awesome privileges and offer untold blessings, but they often hold multiple challenges as well.

The most important thing we can do as we fulfill these important roles is to call on God and invite his power into all of our parenting and grandparenting efforts. Here are 7 sentence prayers that can help you do just that. May they bless you—and your children and grandchildren—today!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

  1. Father, give me the wisdom, the selflessness, and the discipline to be as present as possible in the lives of my kids and grandkids, giving them my undivided attention at the moments they need it. (Romans 12:10)
  2. Lord, since battles are fought and won in prayer, keep me ever on my knees for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of my children and grandchildren. (James 5:16)
  3. Father, help me to faithfully teach my children and grandchildren to love and obey you and your Word so their lives will be built on the solid, unshakable Rock that is you. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Matthew 7:24-25)
  4. Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be, modeling for my children and grandchildren a way to live that glorifies you and loves others. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
  5. Father, when problems with my kids and grandkids come, remind me to immediately turn to you for wisdom and direction and to also seek out wise counsel to find courses of action that have helped others. (Psalm 121:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 13:10)
  6. Lord, help me be a great encourager for my children and grandchildren, helping them reach for their dreams and fulfill God’s plan for their lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Father, at each stage of letting go, give me wisdom and strength to do it with grace, trusting my precious kids and grandkids to your loving and able care. (Psalm 55:22, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 62:8)

May we always look to the Lord as we love and guide the children he has placed in your lives!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

*Which of these prayers do you most need to pray right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by will_i_be, Creative Commons License

Prayer to Pray for Unbelievers and for Those Sharing Christ With Them

The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:14 NIV

We followers of Christ long for those who don’t know him to place their faith in him and let God give them his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. What hope, what joy, what peace we find when we ask God to forgive our sins and be our Lord and Savior. We want all people to experience the same. We want all to come into God’s family. 

One of the most important things we can do to help unbelievers come to faith is to pray for them. And not only them, but also those who are sharing Christ with them. Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, pastors, group leaders, mission team members, and missionaries. The first group needs their hearts prepared to hear the good news, and those sharing with them need the right words to say, sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, and boldness to share as God leads.

As inferred above in the verse from Acts, one way to pray specifically is to ask God to open unbelievers’ hearts to respond to the message of those sharing Christ with them. God is the one who can bring about changes in a person’s heart so we need to pray accordingly. We need to ask him to open hearts.

If we know the names of the ones who are reaching out to them with the good news, we can pray even more specifically. We can mention their names in our prayers and ask God to help the unbelievers respond to their message. For example, “Lord, open Diana’s heart to respond to Phil’s message.”

Such a brief prayer but what a life-changing result it can bring. Let’s be faithful to pray for unbelievers. Let’s ask God to open hearts.

Be joyful in hope . . . faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV

*What are some other ways to pray for unbelievers?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Angela-xujing, Creative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

Are you interested in discovering some sentence prayers that will invite God’s power in your life and the lives of others in a mighty way? If so, the new monthly blog series I’m kicking off today is for you—and it’s for me as well.

I’m excited to share with you some concise and meaningful prayers God has either put on my heart in the past or ones he’s putting on my heart as I write these posts. Each month I’ll share prayers on a different topic or facet of life.

Oh how I pray that the following prayers will bless you—and me—both now and for years to come!

7 Sentence Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

  1. Lord, even as I believe in you, help me overcome the doubts and unbelieving thoughts that Satan tries to use against me. (see Mark 9:24 and Hebrews 11:1)
  2. Bless, O Lord, the reading of your Word and open my eyes and heart to what you have for me today. (See Psalm 119:18)
  3. Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection. (See Psalm 125:2)
  4. This day is yours and so am I; my times, O Lord, are in your hands. (See Psalm 31:14-15)
  5. When times are bad, O Lord, help me lift my face to you and keep on trusting and praising you through my tears. (See Ecclesiastes 7:14 and Habakkuk 3:17-18)
  6. Father, you are my past, my present, my future—my firm foundation forevermore. (See Psalm 139 and 2 Timothy 2:19)
  7. Lord, since you are the one who makes us grow, help me grow in every good way and live a life worthy of you. (See 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 and Colossians 1:10)

May God bless as we incorporate these prayers and scriptural truths into our own prayer lives!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

*Which of these sentence prayers most resonates with your spirit today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by 1991568456rtbp, Creative Commons License