Layers

Oh, how I love Jesus … because He first loved me!

Hi friend, it’s that time of year when we celebrate our loved ones.  As we do so, I’m reminded of our Savior and His love for me.  As we get ready for our big Valentines dinner celebration next week, let us also remember first and foremost that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us unconditionally.  Let us devote time to love Him in return, by sharing and singing praise to Him for all He’s done for us.

I am going to share a story that has been weighing so heavily on my heart the past few weeks.  I volunteered for a domestic violence task force, and had the opportunity to meet some incredible people.  Women, in fact, that see the results of violence regularly, legal professionals that see it in the court systems, as well as the battered lives that are trying to heal.  It’s been an eye opening experience, and one particular story that touched my heart in a huge way follows:

I sat in a room in with about 10 other women, each coming for different reasons.  Some to offer help, some as abused victims, some to share knowledge of how to help others.  On this particular day, there was a guest speaker and she came with a bundle of black fabric.  There were separate pieces of fabric, all the same size and color, but many individual pieces.  She went around the room and stopped at each person to begin layering their shoulders with pieces of the fabric. Each layer would represent an incident, something that happened that caused hurt, stress, and additional burdens.  She continued, once piece at a time, until the weight of the fabric became heavy.  As she was doing this, she described the life a young girl who was molested at a very young age.  It was the start of a burden that she would carry forever, in fact, the abuse would become a way of life for her.  She learned to live with secrets, trying to block out the continual abuse and the threats.  However, during each trial, another ‘layer of hurt’ is added.  The cycle is vicious and continues until the weight of it all begins to really wear on the soul.

When she came to me, and began layering my shoulders with one piece of fabric at a time, she would speak a story that represented another layer.  It continued until I honestly felt weighed down and deeply saddened!

It was heartbreaking, and I share this to story for a couple reasons:

We never know what someone else is going through.  Be kind and extend a hand; you never know how a simple act of kindness might impact someone.  It could be the very act that leads someone to a lighter load.

The layers in this story could represent many different things, but as a Christian, I think of sin.  The more we try to hide from God, and do things we know are wrong, the more we add to our load.  If we confess our sins and live for Christ, the weight of the past is lifted.  We certainly still experience trials, but with Jesus, we always have hope and knowledge that we can conquer anything because He lives in our hearts.

Is there something you might do to help a friend in need?  Is there something nagging at you that is making you feel compelled to reach out to someone?   There’s no time like now: share a smile, share hope.  Share what the love of Jesus has meant in your life! Go the extra steps to lighten the load and show someone hurting how Jesus has touched your life.

Remember: Jesus loves us ALL!  Let’s lighten the load and give it all to Him, and spread His love to others along the way!

Love in Christ,  Amy

 

Dedicated to Linda and Brenda-

Your passion for helping others is awesome and was clearly displayed the first time I met you. I pray God continues to bless you both along your journey, and I pray for the many lives you have touched and will touch in the days ahead!

 

This is God’s Country …

this is god's country ...

A beautiful spring Saturday spent with Bill and Davaney – one that just took us around a big loop! It was truly ‘living in the moment’. We left home that morning, just the two of us, with a plan to visit the local farmers market. After a phone call to Amber, our plans quickly changed. We decided to invite Davaney to join us, which landed us at their home. We were able to see (hold) sweet Madeline Faith and steal some kisses, then we grabbed Davaney’s overnight bag, and our journey began.

What an incredible day! We shopped for some edible plants to add to our property (kiwi and grapes); we enjoyed buying fresh produce from the farmers market; we enjoyed traveling across the mountain and sharing stories with Davaney; we had lunch at a local eatery, then we ended up at the local strawberry patch.

So what’s so special, you may ask – I think it was the idea of climbing back in the truck and thinking “ok, what next? What can we do? Where will we stop?” It was the spontaneity of it all; it was seeing Davaney’s excitement about our next stop. The very special moment for me, and one that prompted my urge to write was a statement by a complete stranger: “this is God’s country”!

We were busy picking strawberries, and admiring the absolutely breathtaking views. We saw many different folks along the rows of berries, and one couple commented on the beauty of the area. As it turned it, they had relocated to Virginia from Texas, and she expressed her unhappiness about their relocation. When I heard her say “this is God’s country”, I couldn’t help but ask where they lived in Virginia. It turned out they resided in the city. Surely their views and surroundings were quite different from the mountains we are blessed to see daily, but what I later considered was simple: God’s country is everywhere. He surrounds us. The issue is whether we live in His country – and if we allow Him to live in ours!

IMG_1972

So yeah, I will admit: I’m partial to my surroundings. I absolutely LOVE the mountains; I love the fresh air; I love living on my great-grandparents farm. All these things remind me of God’s presence, but I’ve been in cities and other places and He’s always there beside me! He surrounds me … but I had to ask Him first to be part of my life. I have to remain in tune with my surroundings to ensure He’s always there. I’ve learned that even in what seems to be my darkest time, He is by my side.

With the recent trials my family has experienced, I consider these reminders from Him. God speaks and directs my path; He reminds me when things seem tough. I need only focus on the moment, living out the adventure of the present time and consciously acknowledging the blessings of that time. It is days like this that just touch me in a way that only comes from Him.

Thank you Lord for many blessings … my family; my home; the mountains that surround me; the freedom to get up and drive out and witness your beauty!