In His time

Our one flower this summer

Our one flower this summer

Just recently, our first potted flower bloomed.

For almost three months, we had been waiting. Every day, we inspected each pot for signs of color and growth.

Blooms take awhile.

This spring we planted four different flower pots. Within a week, little green shoots broke through the dirt to meet the sun, and we cheered! We wanted as many flowers as possible to brighten our walkway.

We waited, and waited and waited.

Growth was painfully slow. The plants in three of the pots had steady progress and leaves began to form. One pot had a few clover-like pokes, but never flourished. The flowers never showed.

My son took ownership of watering the plants and feeding the dog this summer, and one morning he raced into the house yelling for us all to come outside because something amazing had happened. We threw on our flip flops and followed him out to be greeted by one tiny, beautiful purple flower.

Whenever we invest ourselves in a project, or ministry, or person, we almost always have expectations. We want the reward of seeing success, that there was a reason we gave our time and energy. We often serve with strings attached. It’s frustrating when we give, and give, and give, and nothing happens. No change takes place. We don’t see what’s below the surface. We wait. And when the results never turn up or languish in the hot sun, we become disappointed and even disillusioned. We wonder why we even wasted our time.

As we have been waiting on the flowers to show up, God has also been giving me opportunities to wait on Him for growth. He is bringing me through circumstances where I am frustrated and tempted to bail. There are moments when I don’t like to exercise patience and frankly don’t want to learn the greater lesson. Yet, obedience is always more important than results. Because the results aren’t up to me anyway. God always has a purpose. He WILL make a way (even if it’s not my way).

So, I wait. I trust. I must let go of me in order to become more like Christ.

Whatever Jesus plants will always grow. And He has planted His seed of salvation in my heart. I am His. God promised me that He would finish what He started.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.
– Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

One day, the flowers will bloom, if not in the pots in my yard, in the soil of my heart.

Journey to the Manger: Joseph

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Today we met Joseph on our Journey to the Manger.

Joseph adopted Jesus as his son before Jesus was born. Joseph was a righteous man who deeply loved God. When God appeared to Joseph in a dream to reassure him to take Mary as his wife even though she was pregnant with a child who was not his biologically, Joseph obeyed God even though that meant his reputation would not be the same in his community. Following God was more important to Joseph than other people’s opinions. Joseph brought Mary with him when he had to register in the census, and was with her when she gave birth. He watched over his young family in the stable when the shepherds came, and later as the wise men worshiped. Joseph again obeyed God immediately when he was told in a dream to leave and go to Egypt, saving Jesus from being murdered by Herod. Later when they returned, Joseph taught Jesus the family trade of carpentry.

Joseph

Joseph

Joseph not only worked hard to provide for Jesus’s needs, he gave his son a spiritual heritage passed down from the generations before him. Joseph was in the line of the kings, a son of David, fulfilling Messianic prophecy. We looked at Jesus’ family tree through Joseph tonight, tracing back through the kings, to David, to Jacob, Abraham, Noah and Adam. (Find resources for this Jesse tree project here.) God had been planning this family line since before the first man was created, lovingly laying the framework to introduce His Son Jesus to the world He came to save.

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

– Matthew 1:20-21

Regardless if Joseph felt up to the task, he took it on anyway because God asked him to take care of His Son. God gives us similar responsibility when He places our children in our arms. We are to protect, guide, nurture, instill, teach, provide and point them back to God. Even if we feel unqualified, at times a failure, and overwhelmed with the task, we must continue on, trusting that God will give us wisdom and strength for the journey.

God gave Joseph the insight and ability to raise Jesus. He will do the same for us as we raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.