Stumped

We live in a neighborhood of houses surrounded by towering trees.  This is our first fall here and my husband is already disenchanted with the task of raking and bagging leaves.  A few days ago, I looked out the back door and noticed a huge stump by the steps.  It was partially covered in leaves and I immediately considered how dangerous it could have been if I’d stepped off the step in the dark.  When I got back inside, the image of the partially obscured stump stayed in my mind.  The stump is in an odd place so I figure maybe the tree was too close to the house to be safe.  From the looks of it, it was no sappling.  The stump is wide and the roots run under our house.  Getting rid of that thing will be no easy task.  Is life like that?  I think so.  My experience has proven that it’s easier to chop down the tree and leave the root.  Problems arise, situations face me, issues confound me and it can be easy to just take care of the obvious.  If I’m not being conscientious, then I will just do what makes the landscape look clear.  It helps me see, and it even takes care of the imminent danger, but it leaves a potentially dangerous stump with very deep roots.

It’s better to do the work all at once when possible.  It’s wise to deal completely with issues when the opportunity is there.  Until last week, I had a niece who I hadn’t spoken to in many years.  I had done my work to get over my hurt and anger over the situation that had caused the rift in our relationship and for a while I’ve really wanted to reach out to her.  After talking to her, I found that she’d done the same. So both of us had taken down our tree.  At the same time, neither of us had reached out.  We’d forgiven each other, our landscape was clear, but neither of us had taken care of the stump.  So, in our conversation we dealt with the generational curses that bring confusion and seperation to our family.  I am so glad to say our conversation destroyed the stump and the roots connected to it.

With the New Year approaching I’m determined to check out the landscape of my life.  I want to see clearly and I’m checking for potential hazards.  The stump at our back step is going to be ground to wood chips this spring.  We’ve decided that our planned backyard oasis requires it.  I’ve decided that the stumps in my life are coming out too.  I have 35 days until the New Year and I’m breaking out the heavy machinery.  I encourage you to do the same.  I refuse to be stumped!

Dear God,

It’s time to clear the landscape of my life.  Thank you for getting me where I am today.  Thank you for where you are taking me in the coming year.  God I want to clear out everything that is blocking my view.  I’m determined not to leave behind the root of bitterness, hate, self pity, division or anything else that hinders my relationship with you and those you have placed in my life.  I love you and I want to have the life you have for me.  In Jesus name.

Amen

Be encouraged,

Tanisha

T.

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Check your neck

Today I was reading Exodus 7-14. I read and thought about Pharaoh in a new way. So, there were ten plagues visited on Egypt because Pharaoh’s heart was hardened each time Moses came to ask for the Israelites freedom. Blood, frogs, lice, flies, disease, boils, hail, locusts, and death came to the captors of God’s people. Are you kidding me? Everything imaginable, even the animals firstborn, were killed or destroyed.

Eventually though, the Israelites were freed. They crossed the Red Sea on dry land. They were on the run because even after all the destruction, Pharaoh’s mind was so confounded that, he pursued them. This, despite the fact that he recognized everything was attributed to God’s judgement. Pharaoh was doomed.

Imagine what it was like in Egypt after Pharaoh and his army drowned. The crops were destroyed, no vegetation of any kind was left, there were human and animals dead in unimaginable numbers, and the warriors and their leader were dead. Widows, orphans, elders, and the weakest men of the land were left behind. There had to be chaos and misery beyond our wildest imagination.

Lord, how often have I been stiff-necked and stubborn enough to disregard the suffering I’ve caused through my decisions? How blind have I been to the destruction?

It led me to think how mindful we must be that our decisions bring repercussions. God means what He says. There are no benefits to being stiff-necked. If our homes, families, communities, and lives are in disarray then we are out of order. Tragedy happens, there’s no doubt about it. But, when our lives become a wasteland we need to check our neck.

Be encouraged,

T.

Still standing

In this walk with Christ I have lost a home, nearly divorced, been surrounded by and succumbed to sickness. I’ve lost loved ones to war and to cancer. I’ve been heartbroken, heartsick, disgruntled, disappointed, and disheveled. I’ve been broke, busted and disgusted but I’ve always known one thing..none of these things could kill me.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 KJV)

What a wonderful question. When I’ve found myself with my back against the wall this has been one of my “go to” scriptures. No matter how high the mountain or how deep the valley in front of you…no one and no thing can stand against you.

Be encouraged,

T.