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The Unveiling

Today, I uncovered more ground in my backyard. The ivy was thinned and stubborn roots revealed. Thorny and overgrown plants were trimmed back to get closer to the root of the ivy that veils the fence, the tree, the rock wall and so much of the yard.

I disturbed the worm community and felt for them as they seemed stunned by the light. As I was digging, pruning and pulling, I had to be mindful the level of ferocity I employed so that I didn’t go sailing backward once the stronghold gave way.

Each layer removed, was progress; but there was still growth that wanted to entangle my feet and shifting terrain that would have obliged me to take a spill. It was so easy to become distracted from my original goal of saving the tree from death by strangulation as I drifted from the tree to other areas of the slope. Focus! Refocus! I was reminded.

Distraction is a powerful tool! Speaking of tools, I did not have the “right” ones for most of the work I did today. My pruning shears broke at some point after being strained from being used to separate the fused stems of the ivy from the tree trunk. But I had more insight at that moment as at many points in today’s journey. He put in me, what I needed. It just had to be brought out and used.

Don’t get me wrong; at some point, I will buy other tools. I will need them. Today, however, I used my hands and what was in them and on them. My gloves minimized the wear and wounds to my hands as they warred to unveil the trunk. The pruning shears, and yes, even a hammer and flat blade screwdriver were agents of change to the landscape. How interesting it is that we often don’t know what He put into us, until it’s all we have to use while leaning on Him to focus it and effect change.

I find the ivy so pretty; but it’s a killer of trees and intertwines so deftly with all life springing from the ground. Don’t sin and our own fleshly ways seem beautiful and exciting, until, it’s nearly too late and much of the life has been choked out of us? It’s like a tumor that has finger-like shoots, that wrap around every organ of a person’s body until the body can’t fight it off. One of my cousins died of such a disease, rare in the natural realm, but sadly, not in the supernatural.

I leave you with this encouragement for today. Romans 12:1-2 says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (The Message/MSG Bible)

Walk in blessings, My Friends!

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Grace in the Battle

How many of us embrace the opportunity to love our enemies? I mean “love” as a verb, not an emotion. I have walked a long trail that has given me opportunity to learn and live this out. I have not always succeeded. In fact, the first few years were horrible. I dealt with so much anxiety that I was truly tormented. There was troubled and fleeting sleep and perseveration while awake.

One of the things God showed me was that I turned a person and an entire situation into an idol. I always thought of an idol as something or someone with whom or which I was enamored; but that simply wasn’t true in my case. What a mental bombshell that revelation was to me.

I have great, godly love and support from family and the closest of friends; but I wasn’t turning everything, including myself over to God….Huge mistake! God loves in the verb sense and has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11); and He chastens those He loves (Proverbs 3:12) to grow us and ready us to help others. But oh, I had an extremely difficult time surrendering my way and clearing the path of my own methods and thoughts so that He could act.

He was and is graciously kind to remind me to surrender. Along the way, He revealed to me that I’m not in control anyway. The perception that I was in charge, was simply an illusion. I was merely exhausting myself by pursuing something false.

Lord, may I surrender to You daily and watch as Your ways amaze and astound me (Isaiah 55:8-9). Amen.

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A New Journey

Welcome to the Uncovering the Beauty Within (UBW) blog. This is a journey of faith and grace. I invite you to join me and make this an engaging conversation. First, though, let me tell you, in brief, how this developed.

On New Year’s Eve 2017, I was out in my yard clearing out just some of the enormous amount of ivy, as the arborist told me that it will eventually strangle the life out of my trees. I suppose it must be between 12 and 15′ up one of the trees at this time. I really think it looks lovely but of course don’t want my trees to suffer and die. As I was cutting and pulling this plant to allow my gate to swing properly, I had several discoveries. There is lattice that had been completely hidden away at the top of the fencing next to and supporting the gate. The same was true of some gorgeous stepping stones. They were covered by dirt displaced by the ivy. Then there is the amazing rock I knew was covered, but a second one? Yes, a second one had such overgrowth that it’s presence had been unknown to me.

As I pulled section after section out by the roots, I realized that I had to be careful of my footing. I thought it was all solid, albeit, clearly a bit of a slope. Everything in the general appearance led me to that conclusion; but I was very wrong. In fact, the earth underneath the ivy is so malleable that it quickly shifted under my feet. I saw that the ivy had even developed such residence on the tree that its stems now appear as the bark of the tree itself, with the little stickers that allow the clinging still in place. There was an engrafting occurring.

The Lord spoke to me that this is just how insidious sin is in our lives. We think it looks lovely. We think it’s cute, fun, small, nothing to worry about of course. But not only did the Lord show me how sin covers my real beauty and yours; He showed me just how deceptive it is insofar as what a strangle hold it has when we allow it to take root in our lives. Some of the portions of ivy, as I pulled, took me 4 to 5′ away from where I grabbed on to pluck. As I kept picking up more and more in my hands, I found I was not even walking in a straight line. Sin isn’t content to stay in the place we planted it. It’s roots and shoots fan out and having us going here and there, running around everywhere until we get serious about abatement. Some of these seemingly endless roots were even grounded under the rocks. (That’s fodder for another blog.)

We are the Pearl of Great Price the Lord speaks of in Matthew 13:45-46. We shouldn’t be entangled by the sin that is so ready to do just that (Hebrews 12:1).

I am a communicator and believe I’ve been tasked with such in this segment of life. Most importantly, though, I’m a daughter of the King Most High.

Would you join me in this prayer of dedication to Him? Dear Father in Heaven, Lord of All, may You anoint this blog and all conversations borne of it for eternal, kingdom purposes? And if any are still journeying to find You, may they today confess their sin to You in Jesus’ name and ask for Your salvation and for Jesus to rule and reign in their hearts and lives.

Thanks for being a friend and early adopter of this blog’s presence.

I look forward to our conversations on this journey!

Kristiann