Nope, not bad words, but you read that that right! I absolutely love to play with words and today’s topic will hit all these areas! While I finished sweeping today’s lunch droppings, I found myself standing next to my finicky ficus tree. I felt a rush of emotions, thoughts, memories and the simple reminder that it needed water. I grabbed a few cups full of water and proceeded to give it some care. Today I am writing about this Finicky Ficus, Figs and Fruit…grab a coffee, or drink of choice, a tissue and enjoy!
The finicky ficus came into my life during the toughest decisive moment a wife will ever have to make, planning my late husbands funeral. Sigh. I recall reviewing the various flower and plant based catalogs at the funeral home. I paged through them one at a time asking Father God to show me what to pick to honor Bill. In all honesty, I was completely dumbfounded that this was the process…seriously, flowers, at this time?!? However, I pressed forward. I had an overwhelming sense that it was not to be bouquets of flowers, rather two very large plants. One was a peace lily (seriously the biggest one I’ve ever seen) and the other was my ficus tree. Unfortunately, the peace lily did not make it through several moves and replanting. However, finicky ficus has remained.
As I reflect on this past week, besides our roller coaster of kid sickies, I have had background noise.
My heart, head and soul are keenly aware that Bill’s birthday would have been Wednesday 2/7. One of our favorite things to do was celebrate birthdays, Valentines Day and our anniversary…two of which are in February. Then you add Connor’s birthday in just a few weeks and WHAM… February is a big month! The first few years after Bill’s passing I could barely breath. Each day came and went…so very aware that the next day was either closer or further away from the next big date. However, as our lives have transformed over the past few years, breath has come back into my lungs. But this finicky ficus…
Do you have a ficus tree? If you do or have had one, you know that it is sensitive!
If you turn it, it weeps.
If you move it’s location, it weeps.
If you replant it, it weeps.
When I was doing some research I realized that it is commonly known as the weeping fig. Some of the other descriptions I noted were this:
The leaves are very sensitive to small changes in light. When it is turned around or re-located it reacts by dropping many of its leaves and replacing them with new leaves adapted to the new light intensity.
The plant is sensitive to cold and should be protected from strong drafts
The fruit is edible, but the plant is not usually grown for its fruit.
Sometimes this weeping turns to full on shedding of it’s leaves. BUT it is resilient. If handled with care and caution it will revive. It needs water, the right amount of sun and possibly some fresh soil. Huh…if you are thinking how I think, there is certainly something spiritual here.
Do you see what I see? It is not usually grown for its fruit?!? How interesting is this! I can’t help but think about Jesus and the parable about the fig tree.
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
I never thought of it this way until now…he saw the fig tree because of its leaves, but it had no fruit. Jesus and his disciples moved onto Jerusalem… then this…
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Maybe I should have titled this…The Finicky Ficus Teaches Us About Faith and Fruit …nah…a bit long. But seriously a whole other blog about this! But coming full circle…
So this finicky ficus tree and its parallel to me…
Which each turn, I’ve wept.
With each literal move, I’ve wept.
With my replanting and new marriage covenant, I’ve wept.
I’ve never forgotten, I never will.
I will always take a moment to shed a figurative leaf.
I am strong and resilient.
I will not allow the pain of the past, prevent my future healing and growth.
To this I say – February is restored. I can breath. I can take joy in knowing my late husband’s life here on Earth was exactly what it was supposed to be. I can celebrate the newness of love-sick in love with my husband, Tim. And of course…I will be over zealous to continue Connor’s birthday celebration…the big 13 this year!!!
Do you relate to the finicky ficus? If so, how? Do you wonder if those slight moves, changes, etc. were exactly what you needed for the shedding to happen?
Let me pray with you my friend… Dear Heavenly Father I thank you for speaking to us in the small and simple things. Father, I ask for your restorative love to water our hearts and souls. You alone bring healing, hope and grace. Even as the ficus tree has endured sensitivity to it’s outside conditions, I thank you that you bring us back to our roots and truth in You for our full restoration. Amen
As always, with much love, Heida
The word Hope…tumbling and swirling in my spirit. This morning and all through the day I have been hearing the word Hope. As I sat down to my computer, sipping my lovely homemade latte, I asked God to show me exactly what words to pen about Hope. See I started this blog two weeks ago. At that time and yet again as I start to write my heart speeds up and my mind begins to doubt…’what do I have to say about hope?!?’ And then I hear the Holy Spirit whisper ‘Much…’
Often times the words Faith and Hope go hand in hand and even used as a synonym of each other. Much agreement from me here, however I personally feel a different application when I utilize hope. I tend to feel a deeper personal connection and emotion attached. A quick Bible reference that I found interesting. Utilizing the NIV version, the word hope is found in the Bible 180 times and as suspected the majority of references are in the Book of Job and Psalm.
If you know me somewhat well, you would know that I have the word ‘Hope’ tattooed on my back surrounded by angel wings and Psalm 91. Yup, I am that crazy Jesus girl who has tattoos. I went through a season of life, between spouses, where it was tattoo after tattoo. But even prior to this season the word hope was a drawing inspiration. My very good friend Laurel once told me this and it has stayed in my spirit since. She said while telling me about a prayer experience “When I asked God whom I was praying for He said ‘Hope’…I immediately knew it was you – Heida…He was calling you Hope!”.
I will date this conversation back to approximately 2009 or 2010, several years prior to Bill’s passing. I was just being educated by the Holy Spirit on the various names God has for us with Peace being one of them and now to add Hope? Honestly I received the word, loved it, but did not have the fullness of it.
So back to today. I am engulfed with the thought of ‘Holding on to Hope’. There are multiple references of putting our hope in the Lord or in His word.
My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
If we are instructed to put our hope in the Lord, then obviously there is a reason. As the mirror hits my face, I realize that often times I find myself putting my hope in the wrong people, places or things. Next thing I know disappointment, hurt and frustration come walking in like best friends. Then I look back and say ‘Hey, who invited you?!?’. Then I crumble realizing it was me…yet again, placing my hope in the unfulfilling place of whatever…not in the Lord.
My recent disappointment comes from my book proposal. Short and sweet story…the literary agent I was working with is not currently taking on new projects due to family obligations. Honestly, I am very happy she let me know and will get the time with her family that she should have!
On the flip side, this is a disappointment I must process with the Lord. We’ve been ‘processing’ this for about a month now. All puns intended here. I’ve not done much processing because I wanted to bury it. I want to bury the pain. I want to hypothetically bury the book. I have allowed doubt to creep in like a dense fog. Yup, honest truth, not pretty folks. So this week I’ve allowed the process to begin. I’ve allowed God to whisper to me again…encouraging my next step. At 4:44am on Sunday morning He showed me a rabbit trail that led to a publisher link. My husband has been gently nudging me to get back on the horse, so to speak. He sent me a link last week, at first glance it was a no go. But awakened by the Holy Spirit that morning opened my eyes to information I had not seen.
God will work out the details of publishers and proposals. Today, I am simply basking in the word Hope, yet again. I am creating intentional ‘white space’ on my calendar to complete the work He put in me. And I am writing this blog to say Thank You to my audience, my readers, my friends. You all are amazing and I appreciate your encouraging words more than you know.
I pray that the word Hope inspires you today. What area of your spirit does this apply to the most? What have you lost hope in? What dreams have you laid down that should be picked back up?
Friends I pray with you today that you are energized by Hope and let’s keep clinging on to the Rock that is Higher than all!
In Love, Heida (aka Hope)
Photo by Justin Ried
Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Talking To Jesus: A Fresh Perspective On Prayer by Jeannie Blacker. I joined the venture of this book with my best friend, soul sister and prayer partner Mary. When I agreed to the adventure of this particular book review, I was asked to ponder some questions such as How does walking next to someone similar to you help you understand God’s love more? Do you feel less alone? More encouraged? Today as I review this book I will also shed light on how invaluable our praying friendship is to me and our families while simultaneously answering these questions. And stay tuned to the end for a chance to win a copy of Talking To Jesus for yourself or as a gift!
As I began my head over heels Jesus girl journey about 10 years ago, I began to see the precious value in Christian friends that shared not only the same beliefs but the same bumps in the road. My husband Tim always says
A burden shared is half a burden
He took heart to this saying several years ago from a friend and he reminds me of it often. I see my sisterly friendships in the same light…sharing each others burdens. I believe this is a spin off of Galatians 6:2 AMP
2 Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].
We tend to shy away from the word burden because often times it alone carries a heavy weight. It feels burdensome to think about carrying my own let alone someone else’s. But wow, is there power in agreement.
My friend Mary and I met about 8 years ago at our church. Her and her family had just moved back from Ohio and were looking for a home church. We quickly ran into each other as we both have children of similar ages. It took us some time to get to know each other and both our personalities together, because we are so similar, didn’t lend to immediate connection. However, one night during a women’s retreat we roomed together. We stayed up all night laughing, crying and getting to the bottom of why we were so deeply connected. See, our pasts had a similar trail that are not often disclosed except under certain allowances by the Holy Spirit. Immediately our bond grew and grew and grew.
On November 5, 2012 Mary was one of the first people by my side to walk me through the tragedy of losing my late husband. She was the one who selflessly held Connor through the night so that he could sleep. She was the one, day by day with me, as other tragedies hit. Many others, many many others were as well, but today I focus on her. Often times I have felt like how could I ever repay her (or others) for how she helped me? I realize now that our relationship does not require repayment rather – just keep doing life together.
We sat down this past week to discuss the book and how it has impacted us. Several stories stuck out including The Paralytic and His Friends and The Ruler. Both stories hit the nail on the head individually. The Paralytic and His Friends reminded us about the importance of our friends faith! Because Jesus saw the faith of the man’s friends, he was moved with compassion to heal the man.
2 They brought to Him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a stretcher. Seeing their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], Jesus said to the paralytic, “Do not be afraid, son; your sins are forgiven [the penalty is paid, the guilt removed, and you are declared to be in right standing with God]. Matthew 9:2 AMP
And for The Ruler this story reminds us of the great compassion Jesus has for our children and the deep need for us as parents to move, pray, intercede on their behalf.
18 While He was saying these things to them, a ruler (synagogue official) entered [the house] and kneeled down and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just now died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and began to accompany the ruler, with His disciples. Matthew 9:18-19 AMP
Talking To Jesus is certainly an easy read and wonderful to pick up in the morning with a cup of coffee. You choose to go deep with her thought provoking questions or keep it light an swiftly move through the pages. I really enjoy the newness that is brought to the stories of Jesus and the perspective shift. This book makes for a great individual or group Bible study. If you don’t win the free copy, but are interested in purchasing the book, it is available on Amazon!
Mary and I will keep pushing along in the journey of life. Having a best friend and prayer partner to share with has certainly lifted the load. A perfectly timed text message or phone call can sometimes feel like the lifesaver I need. We both look to the Holy Trinity for our answers and are grateful to seek Him together. Soul Sister, hearts tethered together. I pray Jesus already has or will bring that type of friend into your life as well!
If you would like to enter the giveaway please follow these steps:
- Like the post on Facebook
- Share post on Facebook
- Subscribe to my website
I will draw a winner on Friday 12/8/2017 and announce it on Facebook!
Lastly, thanks again to The Blythe Daniel Agency for this amazing opportunity!
Black Friday… Cyber Monday….Deal after Deal….Crazy whirlwind of spending frenzy…Today I feel compelled to express my heart on the gift of gift giving. With the Christmas season upon us, the concept of gift giving has a special light shone upon it. There are spoken and unspoken expectations from every direction. From a Jesus Girl perspective, I see this light as Jesus, He was The Light born on Christmas for our salvation, but for some this area my feel like a prickly pear. I want to spend just a moment today expressing my heart and possibly giving you an idea as you walk out this glorious season!
Gift giving has been ‘my thing’ since I was little. I not only loved the special surprises on my birthday and under the Christmas tree as a young girl, but I remember the pure excitement I had to give gifts. As I got old enough to earn money, I recall how I could set aside money to shop for my family members. I was not portioning from a $20 bill, it may have been $5 or $10, but by golly I was going to squeeze every little dollar type store gift out of it that I could.
Fast forward to my adult years up to now. Obviously earning a paycheck and/or a spouse that completed gift purchases with me always adds a new dynamic. As I was growing in my faith several years ago, I was challenged on several occasions to be obedient. I was hearing God tell me to bless others in various ways, but I was not honoring God. I was scared, what would the person think, and a lot nervous, what if they didn’t like xyz. However, as I started being obedient to Father God, I realized the blessing was in the giving. I was honoring Him, growing my faith and realizing this gift He gave me was for me!
So for these past few months or so I have been pressing into this question…
Why has God created me to be a Gift Giver and not necessarily others?
Asking this question out loud may seem prideful or like I’m in comparison to others or better than others, but if you know me and my heart, that is not true. I am simply pondering with God. So let me turn the thought upside down.
If we believe God has entrusted us each with different gifts as Romans 12:6-8 describes…
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with yourfaith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Then can we shift this thinking over into actual gift giving? Point being, if God gave you the gift of hospitality, generally you are the person who hosts and loves to have people gather at your home. Or what about the gift of being awesome at mechanics, generally you are the person fixing cars. And on and on.
Spiritual gifting come in similar ways and I like how 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 states it…
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
My faith tells me that the Holy Spirit gave me the gift of gift giving. Possibly when I was young, possibly when I was older, that is not of concern to me. However, if the Holy Spirit gives gifts (read more concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit), then through Him, the Holy Trinity, we shall freely give.
With all that put out there, here is my Heida lesson.
- Why do I give? Because He tells me to.
- Who do I bless? Who He tells me to.
- When do I bless them? When He tells me to.
- What do I bless them with? What He shows me.
When you operate out of your gifting, what you offer may look completely different than what the person next to you does. See, God created us uniquely…equally yet uniquely. It goes back to my initial pondering question to God and it is answered, we are all different. Different with a unique, God given gift inside each of us to express. I might add, I am not perfect! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not listened or been to tired to fulfill what has been asked of me, but God is loving and forgiving every time.
If you are curious about blessing others through gifts or food, but feel thwarted for some reason, here is my challenge for you today during a few minutes of prayer time or even while cooking dinner.
- First, ask God to reveal someone in need. Maybe this is someone you work with or someone in your family…possibly a friend or neighbor.
- Once you have this name, pray for them. Ask God to reveal the ‘why’. Now just know He may not tell you any or all of ‘why’ but you possibly have an idea or a nudge in your gut.
- Next, ask God how you can bless this person. Is it a meal? Is it coffee time to talk? Is it watching their kiddos? Is it an actual gift?
- Possibly you don’t get a specific of what to do, so reach out to the person and give them options; let them help you in deciding if this makes sense.
- Lastly, be respectful. The Holy Spirit Himself is respectful and loving. Sometimes we are so compelled to give, we forget there is a person on the other end. They maybe hurting physically or emotionally; take time to really hear what will bless them while being respectful of their space and needs.
- Then don’t delay, make whatever it is happen AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
There you go! My processing steps when I know I’m to utilize my gift of gift giving! Let me end today with a prayer…
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for today. I thank you for creating us uniquely with gifts to use that will lift up others around us. I pray that as those who read this become compelled to give out of their hearts first. I ask that they are equally blessed as they give and know you are the Ultimate Creator. Thank you God for sending your Son to Earth. I pray that as we walk through this Christmas season our hearts will become full of your love and we become vessels of love to be poured out on others. Amen
Many Blessings, Heida
Photo Credit to my amazing husband and artist, Tim Hill
During today’s blog I will take the time to review a book titled Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell.
**Stay tuned to the details at the end as I will be giving away a new copy of this book to one lucky winner!**
Brave Beauty – Finding the Fearless You, published by HarperCollins – ZonderKidz, is such an awesome way to start younger girls off on the right foot with a daily devotional. The book is geared for young girls ages 8-12 years old. The author, Lynn Cowell is a known author for speaking to women of all ages and is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. The book is full of 100 impactful mini chapters which are broken into three sections – I Am Loved, I Am Brave, and I Am Confident. The theme of the book is taking a younger girl through the process of Finding the Fearless You. Each section and chapter are a journey to unravel the various parts of girlhood and stepping into their identity as a daughter of Father God.
I love how each mini chapter starts off with a relational story to engage the reader. Lynn does an amazing job at connecting with the reader; she shares stories from her childhood through adulthood. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 16: I Am His
Coming back from lunch break, you sit down at your desk , holding back the well of tears threatening to spill from your eyes. Why would she say that about me? you can’t help but wonder. You keep thinking back over the conversation you heard between the girls at the table next to yours.
Before going any further, as an adult woman, I can immediately relate to the feelings expressed here. As a young girl I certainly struggled with my own identity and would have loved to have a book such as this to walk me through my awkward feelings. After each initial excerpt, she then dives into those feelings, reveals the truth of what God would say, and then lays out various Bible verses to support the conversation. The mini chapter is then brought to a close with either a Becoming Brave section or Getting To Know You then followed with a Courageous Call. For the end of my excerpt Chapter 16, here are her words of encouragement:
When mean words come your way, chances are you are not going to be near your Bible or this book to help remind you of what God has said about you. That’s why I put God’s truth everywhere, where I can read it over and over again. When we feel rejected, God’s words remind us that we are accepted. But not just accepted – we are the ‘apple of His eye.’ (Zechariah 2:8)
She then prompts the reader to memorize one of the Bible verses and ends with a prayer (Courageous Call). How powerful! Chapter by chapter filled with these rich truths!
I am blessed to have several young girls in my life! Being a mom of three wonderful boys, I definitely enjoy having girls to shop for on special occasion. My heart is that of a giver, I love to give gifts to show my love. Since I knew this book was geared toward a younger girl, I gifted it to my best friends daughter, Madison. Madison is in 6th grade and is 11 years old. Wow…Middle School is tough. My son is in 7th grade, so without diving into specific issues, boy or girl, we know that our kids need encouragement to get through those self discovery years.
Sweet Madison wrote me a special letter to express her thoughts on Brave Beauty. So straight from her heart, here are some thoughts!
I have enjoyed Brave Beauty so much! I love how the author introduced herself, and how she uses her personal experiences. When I read it, it feels like I’m reading a letter from a friend.
When asked about the ease of reading and length of the devotions Madison states:
I love how she (the author) does little sections, and does lots of them. That way I can read them before bed, and it doesn’t take a long time.
Regarding the content, Madison states:
I really enjoyed how she (the author) had a special prayer for each different section. It’s also good because the prayers go along with the section. Another thing I love is how the author asks questions and has places to answer.
Such powerful words from a Brave Beauty herself! Here is a picture of Madison during her Brave Beauty devotional time!
So there you have it, Brave Beauty. A wonderful collection of devotionals for young girls to find the fearless in them. I highly recommend this book and will be looking to bless others as the gift giving season approaches!
With that said, I am giving away a FREE copy of Brave Beauty to ONE lucky subscriber! Be sure to subscribe to my blog with your email address so I can pick a random winner! I will have one of my little guys help draw a name on 10/16/17 so be sure to get subscribed! I will post results on my blog and FaceBook page!
And special thanks to The Blythe Daniel Agency for the book review opportunity!