Sow in Tears, Reap with Joy

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” Psalm 126:5-6 NIV

What does it mean to sow in tears? I’m sure there’s more than one way to interpret these verses, but one thing I think of as I read them is prayer.

We sow seed as we pray for those who have never come to faith in Christ. We sow as we pray for those who have drifted away from God and as we pray for the needs of our churches. But how earnestly do we intercede for these deep needs?

When was the last time our tears flowed or we experienced internal anguish as we prayed for a family member, a friend, or someone else’s loved one to give his or her heart to the Lord? Or to come back to him? When was the last time we wept over a people group deluded by a false religion? When was the last time we sowed in tears? I admit these questions convict me, and I wonder if they do you as well.

If we’re not careful, our prayers can be half-hearted or superficial. To sow in tears we must take time to care. We must open our hearts and love people. If we do this, their separation from God will surely drive us to our knees—and to tears.

So yes, when we care, we will feel sorrow, but the Word tells us we will also “reap with songs of joy.” And when it comes to the salvation or restoration of a soul, one song of joy will be worth a thousand tears.

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people . . .” Romans 9:2-3 NIV

*When have you reaped with songs of joy after sowing in tears for someone?

*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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 MarLeah JoyCreative Commons License

Renewed Treasure in the Word of God

One Christmas several years ago, I made shopping easy for my husband. My Bible at that time was fifteen years old and sporting loose pages in the front and back. It was time to part with it and break in a new one before I started leaving the Word of God trailing behind me—though that’s not such a bad idea, is it?

I searched the internet, found the Bible I wanted, ordered it, and then informed Don that it would be his Christmas gift to me. We both won, right? In reality, though, I was the bigger winner. His satisfaction in getting out of Christmas shopping lasted only a short time. The satisfaction I found in the gift—the Word of God—bloomed each day.

Since I’m an underliner, you can imagine what my old Bible looked like after fifteen years. Getting a new one with no markings felt a little scary. I thought I would miss my notes and underlines and feel rather lost without them. On the contrary, something entirely different happened.

I discovered that each passage seemed fresh, almost new. I felt excited as I read. Verses well-known to me and loved dearly took on an aura of renewed treasure, as if I were reading them for the first time. These words, untouched by my handy pen, became words I considered once more as I underlined yet again.

I pray I will always continue to look at the Word of God with fresh eyes. I pray I will come to it excited about what I may discover, expectant over what the Lord might reveal to me. I pray that the satisfaction I find in the Word of God will continue to bloom within me each day.

Is it time for you to take a fresh look at some familiar passages? I guarantee you will find renewed treasure. And with it will come great satisfaction.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

*Have you discovered anything new in a familiar passage of scripture recently? I’d love to hear about it!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Flickr photo by Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

5 Things Every Bride-To-Be Needs to Hear from Her Mother

*I won’t be posting next week during Thanksgiving but will be back on Nov. 27. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mother of the Bride, as your daughter prepares to marry, she’s navigating a season like no other—as are you.

Not only are you both planning the biggest events you’ve probably ever planned, but you are both experiencing the shifting sands of changing family dynamics. She is shifting her primary loyalty to her husband-to-be and also developing relationships with his family while you are preparing for the final letting go as well as welcoming another family member into your family’s fold.

Since like any good mother, you’ll want to make her wedding planning experience and her family transition as easy as possible, here are 5 things she needs to hear from you right now. I pray that they will help both of you navigate the emotional mother-daughter waters you find yourselves in. May your season of planning and change go as smoothly as possible—and even hold unexpected blessings.

5 Things Your Bride-to-Be Daughter Needs to Hear from You

  1. This is your wedding, not mine, and you and your groom’s desires are the ones that matter the most. It’s okay, MOB, to share some of your most deeply held desires concerning the wedding—after all, it will be a highlight of your life and her dad’s life as well—but when it comes down to final decisions, those should reflect the couple’s desires.
  2. We welcome the love of your life into our family with open arms and will love him like a son. This will be a process of course as you may need time, MOB, to get to know him better, but just hearing your assurances of your welcoming love for him will mean the world to her.
  3. Even though you’re starting a new family, you’ll always be my dearly loved daughter who can count on me in good times and bad. At this critical time of family transition, MOB, your sweet girl needs to know that you’ll always love her and you’ll always be there for her. And as you assure her of your unchanging love, this will give her an opportunity as well to reassure you of your place in her heart.
  4. I’m sorry—I didn’t handle that very well. There may be (will be!) times during the wedding planning process, MOB, that you will say or do something that you wish you hadn’t. Tensions can run high at times and in those moments it’s so easy to act or speak in haste. When you’ve done something that hurts feelings or offends, apologize as quickly as possible. Keeping loving and peaceful relationships is the way to go.
  5. How can I help you? Whether with wedding details, relationship issues with any of her friends and family, or other day-to-day life stresses that can be compounded by the pressures she’s feeling as wedding day approaches, your girl needs you, MOB. Find out how you can best help her with whatever she’s going through. She will be forever grateful.

Good luck, MOB, as you and your precious daughter navigate the days ahead. May these pointers help along the way!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the BridePre-Ceremony Wedding Day Prayer Idea: The Mother of the Bride Prays for the BrideA Prayer for the Newlyweds, and A Message for the Newlyweds.

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

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Nov. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. 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.)

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Free Fly Like Autumn Leaves

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who cheers us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

*How have you been free flying lately?

*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 _hq_, Creative Commons License

Getting Ready for a New Challenge or Adventure

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Spring Break so will see you back here Tuesday Mar. 27. Blessings to all!

“‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan River and take the land the Lord your God is giving you.”” Joshua 1:11 NCV

The Bible is filled with accounts of ordinary people faced with new challenges or adventures. Men, women, teens, children, senior citizens, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, married, single—you name it and we can find an example of such a person who had to move into unchartered territory, step out of their comfort zone, or simply take on a new task in one of their areas of expertise.

God tasked Joshua with leading an entire nation of people—the Israelites—into the land he had promised them. After God spoke with Joshua—instructing, encouraging, and preparing him for the task—Joshua set about preparing the people for the challenge and adventure ahead. He sent officers through the camp with instructions.

Joshua’s order rang out—“Get your supplies ready.” They had three days before they would take possession of the land God was giving them. They needed to get ready for the conquest, they needed to get ready to move. Among other things, they had to prepare and pack their food as well as gather and secure their belongings.

Is God leading any of us to a new land? A new physical location or a new circumstance? Is he calling us to some sort of unchartered territory, asking us to step out of our comfort zone, or perhaps giving us a new task in one our areas of expertise?

Like Joshua and the people of Israel, what do we need to do to get ready for the task before us? The answer will be different for all of us, depending on the specifics of the  challenge. Let’s spend a few minutes considering what we should do then let’s begin preparations. Let’s get our supplies ready.

“‘Get ready; be prepared . . .’” Ezekiel 38:7 NIV

*How have you prepared in the past for a new challenge?

*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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by jev55, Creative Commons License