Dusting Off Faith

Gratitude Day 324

Thurs., Sept. 12, 2019

2 Thessalonians 1:3:  We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

Sometimes, it takes time to fully appreciate something. A little maturity can go a long way.

Several winters ago, Hubby Rick built the crème del-la crème of playhouses for three of our grandchildren. Basically, he built a miniature version of Waylan, Ellie and Dylan’s real house for the kids to play in. This wasn’t just any old playhouse. It has a loft, furniture, curtains and even electricity. Shutters on the outside, a chimney and a front porch make the house seem very real. The gate doors on one side of the house make it practical. Rick spared no amount of energy or effort in making this the playhouse one any kid would want in their back yard. For the full story, take a few minutes and read this.

Fast forward several years. A couple weeks ago, granddaughter Ellie asked if I would help clean-out the playhouse. Over time, things have accumulated in the playhouse. There’s sand and dried play dough and leftover bottles and food wrappers inside. The chickens used it for awhile as well as some hornets. While well-loved, the cleaning lady needed to pay it a visit.

After school, Ellie and I went to work to restore the beauty of the playhouse as much as we could. We ran into a few challenges. The sliding windows are broken. Rick put indoor/outdoor material in the loft which was now covered with a layer of sand.  While I was prepared for cleaning, the cleaning lady didn’t bring any tools along to fix a few missing screws. Those fixes will wait for another day.

We hauled everything out of the playhouse and cleaned it all up. Ellie chose what she wanted back inside, which we neatly arranged after a good cleaning. We put in a rug in the center, one I had at home. It used to be at Rick’s mom’s house. As Ellie and I laid it down, I mentioned how she had a little piece of her great-grandmother’s house now in her playhouse.

After we were done, we closed up the doors and reopened them like a reveal. It was so fun to see the expression on Ellie’s face as she saw the playhouse through new eyes and with a bit of maturity. While I know this playhouse has been used extensively, it just needed a little elbow grease to bring it back to a place where books will be read, pretend meals fixed and games played. She laid on grandma-great’s rug and let out a big sigh. It was like she felt home all over again.

Faith is maybe a bit like the playhouse. When faith first becomes personal, we are excited and can’t wait to share our experience with someone else. Initially, faith often feels easy and simple. Over time, faith can begin to feel a little more challenging. It gets bogged down by real life and complications and others who want to root in and take up residence. Faith usually doesn’t disappear. It just gets covered up with a layer of sand or mud or dirt.

When we are able to dust off faith and clean up some of our habits in which we become a bit lazy in practicing our faith, slowly, we begin to feel more optimistic about faith. With just a little work, maybe faith won’t look so difficult or hard and actually will inherit a whole new feeling. Faith never left us or disappeared. It just simply was covered up by other things. With a little effort, cleaning and going through, faith looks refreshed, remade and ready for another whirl.

When Ellie’s dad got home, she quickly asked him to go see the cleaned-up playhouse. Her one caveat? He had to take off his boots before he could enter. She wants her cleaned-up playhouse to stay this way. A little older Ellie longs for it to be used again; this time, with a little more care and attention.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Unfortunately, we didn’t take any before photos. And my helped snapped the photos included with this post.

For the opportunity for faith to grow and mature, I am grateful. 

Holy God – sometimes, we feel like faith isn’t worth the effort. We put our energy into other things or decide that something else is a higher priority. God – forgive us for the times when this happens. And when we’re ready to dust off our faith and explore it again, thanks for always being ready to be a part of this. Help us mature in our faith and find it anew as often as we need to. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Promise I Plan to Keep

Gratitude Day 267

Thurs., May 9, 2019

1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

It’s a promise that I know I can uphold. Easily. A no-brainer.

And I’m ready to make sure I do.

Our neighbor Nancy called last weekend. She and her husband Terry have a beautiful yard. You know, one of those yards that could be on the front of a Scott’s fertilizer bag? (No yard envy here … just saying.)

Hubby Rick and I have been working to improve our yard and landscaping. Last summer, we changed some of the landscaping around our house. Nancy helped by providing some hostas. There were some more hostas I wanted … but it was now July. Hot. Dry. Not the best time to move them. So, we decided to wait until this spring.

The hostas that I wanted were now sprouting in Nancy’s yard. She’s ready to have them thinned. Nancy wants to get rid of plants; I want the plants. It’s really quite a good win-win situation.

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Sunday afternoon, I brought up the wheelbarrow from the basement. Yes, spring has been so slow coming this year, we hadn’t even gotten it out of the basement yet. I found a shovel and wheeled myself, the shovel and the wheelbarrow right over to Nancy’s yard. After showing me the plants she wanted thinned, I went to work digging out some of these plants. Nancy informed me that I had picked the perfect time because, within the hour, it was supposed to start raining. (Truth be known, I had no clue. I simply had waited for Rick to go to work.)

Once I had the plants loaded up into the wheelbarrow, I prepared to head back to our yard. Before leaving, I said to Nancy, “What do I owe you for the plants.”

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She turned to me and said, “Absolutely nothing. Just be eternally grateful for the plants.”

Now this is the promise I can keep.

I’m not sure Nancy knows that I look for ways to find gratitude in my daily life. It’s not important whether she does or not. What is noteworthy? The most important way that I can repay her for the plants is for me to appreciate, love them and be grateful for them.

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With her words, Nancy is speaking my love language. Gratitude is right up my alley. I consider it one of my core values. It’s one of those things that I CHOOSE to find in my daily life.

And Nancy is just giving me another reason to choose gratitude.

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As I was digging out dirt to make spots for the hostas in my flowerbeds, darker clouds were getting closer to our house. Soon, big drops of rain started to fall from the sky. It didn’t take long for me to discover another reason to be grateful. With rain coming, I would not have to water the plants once they were in the ground. Mother Nature would take care of this.

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The plants are taking off beautifully. In fact, after some rain and a bit of sunshine, the sprouts are beginning to turn into gorgeous shades of green leaves. This picture was taken just a couple days after they were transplanted. See how much bigger they are already!

While I planted the hostas and Mother Nature watered them, it’s the Lord God that is making these lovely plants grow. Faith needs this same development process. A little seed of faith gets planted into our hearts and mind; worship, reading God’s Word and prayer water this faith; but ultimately, we need the Lord God to assist in bringing the right people and opportunities for our faith grow. Our little seeds of faith can’t grow alone. They need nurturing, love and encouragement from our Heavenly Father. When this happens, it’s a beautiful thing. Something, I’m eternally grateful for. Something, I feel very fortunate that has happened in my life.

All summer as I watch these plants develop, get bigger and make the space next to our carriage house look beautiful, I’ll remember Nancy’s words. “Just be eternally grateful for the plants.”

It’s a done deal. A promise I know that I can keep.

For Nancy’s generosity and the opportunity to be grateful for her gift to me, I am grateful.

Lord God – how special for Nancy to share the most important way for me to appreciate her gift is by showing gratitude. Thank you for speaking to me through her. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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