Lesson from an Old Barn

Growing up in Tennessee, I’ve been spoiled rotten by being surrounded by barns.  I absolutely love them.  The more run down that they are…the better!

One day, I finally asked myself why I like run down barns so much.  I wondered whether it was because run-down barns were filled with potential to be made better, but that wasn’t it.  Next I thought that I liked them because were probably filled with critters.  That definitely wasn’t it (unless filled with horses, cats, and dogs, of course.)

But none of those reasons were why I love broken barns.  I still love them today for one reason: they have a story.

I love to look at these barns and imagine who built them.  Who was the proud owner that filled each stall with hay?  What happened to make this barn become deserted?  These are also questions that I ask myself while driving past them.  There’s a longing I feel when I see them–a wishing that I could understand and know its story–but the wheels on my car just keep rolling with the rhythm of the road, and the barn is soon out of my sight.

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“For the Lord sees not as man sees:

man looks on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

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Our Heavenly Father does not cherish us because we look as pristine all the time as a brand new barn that is never used.  After all, what would that barn’s purpose be if it did not house horses and other animals?  How would that barn ever become truly special to its owner if he never touched it?

We were created to live a full life.  That includes all the experiences that we love in addition to those that we dread.  God still loves us, and He created us to live a life touched by Him daily: washing away all our dirt when we ask for forgiveness, rebuilding our hearts as one that replaces boards on a barn.

In this day, see that God looks at your heart and not on your outward appearance.  See that God’s love lays in His involvement in your life and your involvement in the lives of others.

Through the Eyes of a Child

Do you ever see the world around you through the eyes of a child?

My cousin and her family are moving to Nashville!  For the past week, I’ve been spending most of my time with them unpacking boxes, organizing bookcases, cooking, and playing with two of her three sons (the oldest is at summer camp until Sunday).  It has been so much fun playing with these boys, and yesterday especially was the day of our biggest adventure.  We went to Kroger, the local grocery store…

To make any, old trip to the grocery an adventure, there is one thing that you must absolutely have: a cart with a car attached on the front.  The boys had a blast, and I myself had just as much fun acting like a little kid with them.  We made sound effects while going down the aisles.  When we came into the section of the grocery store with all of the flowers, we pretended that we were in the rainforest searching for certain animals.

When we came within view of the lobster tank, Connor jumped out of the car faster that I thought possible…

I wish I had my camera out when he first saw them because his face was PRICELESS!  He was so excited and could not believe that there were live animals, let alone sea creatures, in the middle of the grocery store.  “Sissy!  Looowwwk!”  Connor exclaimed, “Zat iz juzt so coooo-ewl!”  Even Larson and I ooohed and awwwed with Connor as we marveled at the wonder of lobsters in the grocery store.  It was time to move on though, and get the rest of our groceries.

And we were off…..

Throughout all of our days of fun, I’ve come to ask myself, “At what point did I stop seeing the world around me through the eyes of a child?  What made me come to believe that this world was small and mundane enough to deserve only the occasional notice of a sunset or a pretty flower?  Why don’t I gasp when I see lobsters in a grocery store?  Where has my childlike sense of wonder gone?”

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“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Mark 10:14-15

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Maybe it’s time for us to see through the eyes of a child once more….

Sharing the burden

It’s in our nature to want to fix everything.  Whenever something happens or someone has a bad day, we say to ourselves, “What can I do to make it better?  What could I have done to prevent the bad incident in the first place?”

But tonight, I realize that most times, there is absolutely nothing that we can do.  Sometimes, all we can do is just feel someone else’s pain and frustration with them–to acknowledge that he or she is tired or hurting and to carry their burden with them.

I think this is what Jesus was talking about when referring to his yoke being easy and the burden light.  I don’t think that it was the yoke that was actually easy or that the burden that was actually light.  These were easy and light because Jesus took the burden with us.  He calls each one of us to him saying, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

With God’s help, we can also help others around us be easing their burdens and carrying their yokes.  Doing so means that we ourselves will get tired, that’s a guarantee, but remember that Jesus has already carried the burden for us.

Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ that gives us strength.  Christ shares our burden, and He gives us strength through this.  If someone around you seems to forgotten this–or you yourself, of course–take up that person’s burden and share it with Jesus for them.

Sorry if this post is pretty scattered, but it’s time for me to go off and share a burden…

A Green Thumb and Patience in Waiting


I absolutely love gardening and flowers!  The picture above is of some clematis that I planted last year in Nashville.  Here in Starkville, though, I absolutely still have the ability to grow plants–and bring them back to life–in my little, college apartment.  Meet my other roommates since mine have both moved out for June….

The onion plant and the hydrangea that has come back from the dead.

At this point, you may be thinking that I am pitifully alone or something to call these two plants roommates, but whenever someone comes over to my apartment, they always get to meet these two.  I figure that you should have the same pleasure as well!

The onion plant is what is sooo funny to me.  After all, look at it up close!

Now, maybe it’s just me and my weird sense of humor, but this makes me laugh every single time that I see it!  I can’t believe that THAT thing grew out of something that I would normally cut up to make chicken stock.  Anyways, I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away.

The hydrangea used to be as tall as those stakes, but then I didn’t water it at all for about a week and a half, and the plant died.  I trimmed away the dead parts, stuck it outside for a few weeks, and a tiny green stem sprouted!  It’s been 10 months, and here’s what it looks like…

Yay!

Just as in everything with life, though, I think the crucial aspect of this was having patience–persistently and patiently waiting.   It’s amazing what growth–whether physical or spiritual–will take place if we are just willing to wait with patience…