April showers bring May flowers…

…don’t worry, just look at the flowers…

Most recently, we’ve been having a lot of rain… I’ve heard that it’s pretty common, pretty much everywhere, to get a lot of rain in the springtime… Though of course I’d hoped that by coming to Utah, I’d see much less of it than I did in Washington…

Yesterday, I was introduced to one of the local pastors as being from Washington… He was like, “So you must be used to all this rain we’ve been having lately, huh??” It was kinda funny… Whenever I mention Seattle, jokes and thoughts of rain always follow…

After one of the torrential rain storms, I noticed our beautiful tulips… They continued to stand tall in the planters lining our front steps despite such a strong downpour… The only evidence of the storm were beads of rain drops settled on their petals. It was simply beautiful! So, quick as I could, I got my phone and took some pics to capture their beauty…

At this, I was reminded of Jesus’ words regarding worry, using flowers as an example…

 

“…See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”*

 

He is right… Flowers are simply beautiful! And yet, their beauty was endowed on them by their creator. Nothing they could do would make them more beautiful… I mean, think about it…

Flowers are stuck in the ground, in one spot… They don’t get to choose to relocate to another plot of sod if the sun gets too hot or they’re near an aphid nest…

Flowers literally DO nothing… They just sit there, looking pretty…! They soak up all the sunrays that beam down on them and all the rain that falls from the clouds…

Flowers are vulnerable to all kinds of things… Strong gusts of wind… An early or late snowfall… Flooding… An ant infestation… And yet, perennials return year after year after year…

During this new “risk” of following God’s leading to Utah, I’ve had my share of doubts and uncertainties… Yet, God has taken this perceived risk and only blessed it… Over the last 3 weeks besides getting connected to the local community, I’ve had several job offers… Yesterday, I had several that I had to give an answer on… In usual Sarah fashion, I wavered, agonized, waffled between one option and another… Today it all came together… God provided the opportunity to work for a great company, in an exciting position, with great benefits… Only a week prior, I’d thought I’d bombed the interview and lost the chance for this exact position! God is so good…!

And so, when you think of what worries you, consider the flowers in your garden… And if you don’t have a garden, this even applies to dandelions… I mean, even though their weeds, they still have a pretty yellow shade, right?! If that is how God will clothe the flowers, and weeds, will He not much more clothe you? So, don’t worry, friend… God’s got beautiful plans for you, if you just release yourself from the stress of worrying about it…

*Matthew 6:28b-30

pc: Sarah Coffey

Run…

…none of us signed up for all life brings our way, but we keep on running…

…we run so we don’t get forgotten amidst the dust… we run to keep up… we run because the trail goes on… where will it lead?

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It was never my intention to be a runner. As a kid, I wouldn’t have been pegged as having any real athletic ability. Overweight, shy, and sedentary… Cute kid, but not an athlete…

Still, I yearned to fit in… In the sixth grade, some new friends decided to join the track team. Not wanting to be a stick in the mud or left out of conversations, I added my name to the sign-up sheet.

When the first day of practice came, I found myself alone in the registration line… My friends had decided they were no longer interested in track… They hadn’t even seen the team or the track on which we would run…!

Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of commitment… When you tell someone you’re going to do something, you need to do it…! Keeping your promises is key. And so, I went to practice… That’s where it all began!

I came to practice, not really knowing what I’d gotten myself in to, but trusting that the advice my parents gave me was best. For the first month or so, I was one of the slowest on the team. At every meet, I came in dead last. I know from later conversations with my dad, when he watched me rounding the curves, still at the back of the pack, he felt some shame… When he was my age, he ran track and was one of the fastest on the course… Even qualifying for the junior Olympics! Boy, he could run! But then you had me… Giving it my all, but clearly not the star runner…

Well, I kept up with it and followed my dad’s coaching tips… I’d go to practice, come home and have run some more… by the end of that first season, I’d shed 20 pounds and moved up the line… crossing the finish line somewhere in the middle of the pack rather than the end… I’d improved!

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None of us really sign up for all that life brings our way, but one way or another, we find that the road just keeps on going and our feet keep moving forward… So, in essence, we are all runners… Running to keep up with our daily tasks… Running to see where the trail goes… Running to make our own trail…!

…but running takes effort… it takes strength… it takes motivation… it takes energy… it takes encouragement from others…

As you run, know that you are not alone… Each of us runs through our own dark valleys and up the jagged trail to reach the other side of our circumstances. Don’t give up because in the end, it will all be worth it!