The Fallow

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There is a time and season for everything. Farmers around the globe know that there are times and season in which it is good to plant certain crops. There are also times in which it is necessary to allow their fields to go fallow.

Now I’m no farmer, and I don’t pretend to play one on TV, (mostly because any plant I try to grow usually dies if left in my care). Yet, I’ve always been drawn to agriculture, and fields, and dirt, and rows of crops that I pass. I’m drawn to the rhythms of the seasons in which it takes to grow a fruitful harvest. But because of how far removed I am from actually living and working on a farm, its hard for me to understand the need for soil to have a time of being fallow. Stick with me, we will come back to talk about the fallow-time.

Recently, my family and I have been through some seasons of transition:

Hubby finished school.

Hubby started a new job.

I finished school.

I started a new job.

We sold a house.

We bought a house.

Car broke down.

Bought another car.

Kids finished a school year.

I began summer break with my kiddos…3 weeks into the break, the stores already had school supplies on display (seriously people!?!). Now, adjusting to the rhythms of the last few seasons has come with its fair share of emotions and challenges for me personally, namely, the feeling of lingering silence. Silence in my quiet time, silence in my drive time, and silence in my mind especially as I would try to write. This silent season has felt like reaching for a tall glass of water to drink, only to inhale a pile of dirt and cough up dust. No fun my friend.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like you’ve lost an ability? Have you wrestled through difficult seasons? Seasons that aren’t bad but that feel difficult can sometimes be our times of going fallow. Here’s the exact definition of fallow:

-“Usually cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season” 

Did you catch that friend? It happens during a growing season. Growth requires fallow-time.

God’s Word has a great deal of content with agricultural terms. People in bible-times understood the terms and seasons because they were so deeply connected to the earth and the care of their crops (here are a couple-Leviticus 25:1-7, Psalms 24:1). It was the lifeblood for many families in that time. Today, it is understood by farmers of all ages that sometimes the ground has to go fallow for a time in order to render a better soil for the upcoming planting and harvest times. The fallow ground has to be plowed and worked and left alone in order for the nutrients in the soil to be replenished so the soil can provide the incoming seed with the necessary components for successful and nourishing growth.

You see, fallow time is necessary. All seasons are necessary. Every season needs the one that came before it and the one that will come after it.

Friend, I’m not sure what season you may be walking or trudging through today. Whether you find yourself as one of my fellow fallows, or in the beginning seasons of growth, or if you are experiencing harvest time…no matter the season, you are not alone. These seasons are for our good; they are so necessary in the deep heart work that Our God is trying to do in us. We need the times that feel like we’re being worked on and plowed through and time to be left alone in the silence of God’s presence so we can cry out to Him for instruction and regain nourishment from His Word. That way, when we are given the opportunity again to hold onto all that’s being planted in us for the upcoming seasons of life, we can allow it to take deep root so we can bring a beautiful harvest back to Our God.

Let’s pray together friend:

Dear God, thank you for every season You allow us to walk through. Though some may be more difficult than others, we know that You are doing the necessary work in our hearts and minds to repair and restore the soil of our lives. Help us to trust the work you are doing in the times where we may not be able to physically see progress. Your Word tells us that You will complete the work You have begun (Philippians 1:6) and we will cling to that promise today Lord. We choose to remember that this life comes in seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and we will embrace the season we find ourselves in. You Lord, intercede for us (Romans 8:26) and know the deep work that You are accomplishing. Help us to keep our thoughts focused on You and not on the distractions that would love to derail and destroy our thoughts and dreams. Your Word declares that You have made all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and we will remember that today. Thank you for the Fallow-Time Lord, Amen. 

Friends, let’s get our hands in some dirt today so we can remember this life-lesson. Peace-liz

 

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Chilé Party

I’m convinced…chilé brings people together. The age-old tradition of roasting, peeling, and prepping chilé is a sacred tradition in our family. It’s not the actual food itself that makes the process sacred- it’s the people and the time we share that is so special. 

Every age, every kind of background, every type of creed, every kind of life experience and we can all gather to enjoy time together and share life together. Complete strangers can leave as friends and neighbors can walk right into aromas and conversations that are welcoming and inviting.

There’s just something powerful to me about this experience. I’m so thankful for the chilé that we get to cook and consume at future meals with loved ones, but even more so, I’m thankful for the life that was shared by those who went through the process with us.

Do yourself a favor this weekend, make time to surround yourself with people to truly share life with. Whether you are peeling chilé, playing some music, taking a walk, or whatever you wish- do it. You’ll seriously be glad you did:).

Peace-liz

P.S.- Huge shout-out to our family at Casa Montoya for hosting today! It’s always a blast to hang it with y’all! Much love family!

Count Me In

Grandma Sara Praying

FYI: I’m blown away and thankful for the obedience of Mary- the Mother of Jesus. Young, engaged, highly favored by God, and she was still given an opportunity to choose to obey the Lord by doing what He asked of her: to carry, give birth to, and raise The Son of God.

Check out this part of her story: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”And then the angel left her.(Luke 1:26-38 NLT)

Mary began the scene feeling unsure and disturbed by the angel Gabriel’s appearance to her but she didn’t stay in that mindset. She thoughtfully considered all that the angel had told her, and willingly accepted the role, and said yes to Lord with no delay.

That’s a challenging phrase to say aloud: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”(v.38)

In essence, Mary said, “Ok, whatever this adventure entails – count me in.” By doing so, she became the vessel through which Jesus The Messiah was brought into this world. And He came to seek and save that which was lost, including you and me.

I think many times in our lives we might be presented with an opportunity to serve others or give of ourselves and we end up staying in the initial shock that Mary herself experienced. We might even feel shaken to our core or scared to death of going on the adventures God gives us on our journey of faith. The idea of adventure is appealing but the work, the labor, the pain of it, frightens us away. I was catching up with some friends recently and shared this idea with them too.

When did we loose our sense of adventure?

I think a better question is: When did we stop trusting God?

Now, Mary had no clue the entirety of what God was asking of her. But her heart was so yielded to Him and His plans that her response was “yes” to what had been said to her and about her.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of adventures or season you find yourself in today. I can’t see all the questions about your future that are racing around in your head and possibly overwhelming your heart. But I do know this: we can trust God.

We can place every question and obstacle in His very capable hands and allow Him to give us wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. We can carefully consider all that God may be speaking to our hearts as we run to Him in prayer. We can demonstrate faith in action to those around us (especially to our kids!) by choosing His plans and not our own today, knowing He will be our source and hope as we move toward whatever He is asking of us. Be it a very simple task or an overwhelmingly large request, we can choose to trust Him. We can walk firmly in obedience because of Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

I love how this Proverb commands us to trust. It doesn’t say “Try to trust God”, it begins by saying, “Trust”. God knew our human nature would feel like its impossible or daunting, but this verse speaks to our Spirit, encouraging us to trust God. He is God- he can see right now and 10 years from now. He knows what the journey will require of us and He promised to be with us the whole way. That’s the best company we could ever ask for! He will make our paths straight friend- even if they seem crooked or invisible right now. When we seek Him and place all of our trust in Him, He will make the way clear and straight. The path marked out ahead will not be filled with easy days, but it will be filled with the presence of The Lord and His peace to rest on us as we yield ourselves to Him and say, “Ok Lord, count me in.”

Let’s pray friend: Dear Heavenly Father, I choose today to trust you. I choose to say “Yes” to Your plans for my life. Whatever the task or opportunity that comes my way today, help my heart to be yielded to You. I trust that You will be my strength and You will be with me. I don’t have to be scared or overwhelmed by the adventures You want to take me on. Lord, help my thoughts to line up with the truth of Your Word and help my mind not to be derailed by fear of the unknown. You know and see all things Lord. Help me to make Your love and hope known as I follow Your leading. Thank you for the examples of obedience and faith in action throughout Your Word that inspire and challenge me. God, I place all my gifts and resources in Your mighty hands and remind myself that I am Your servant. Count me in Lord,on whatever Your plans for me. Amen.

Go the extra mile: Check out the new song from Plumb entitled, “God Help Me”! Seriously folks, it sums up the post today!

You, Me & Coffee

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WestSlope Sista & DenverTru

I’m a firm believer that some of the best ideas and connections can be made while sharing a cup of coffee with friends.

This isn’t a shameless plug for me to endorse my favorite spots to meet up, or a commercial for an endorsement (but if a coffee company ever DID want to endorse me, and offered me free coffee for life, I’d be willing to consider). This is my first-hand account of sharing life and precious time with those I genuinely admire, and glean wisdom from.

Whether it is time spent with friends and fellow community members at a well-known coffee hotspot, or even time enjoying a fresh pot with friends and family at our house, it is always time well spent. Ideas are shared, dreams are conceptualized, encouragement can be given, correction can be spoken in love and laughter, prayers can be offered, and progress can be made… together.

Rich

Rich

Coffee

Deep

Deep

Conversation

A meeting can quickly turn into a divine appointment if we allow ourselves to be fully present with those at our table. We may find our biggest cheerleaders and mentors are sitting right across from us, spurring us on to do all that we were created to do.

Who is your favorite coffee-time friend?

Who could benefit today from you sharing some time with them while sipping the day away?

Friends, lets be intentional about making time to pause and reflect with others. Let’s make it a point to put down our devices and stare each other in the eyes while we discover what is brewing in the brains of those we love and care about. I don’t know what you might have planned for today, but my challenge to you is this: Invite, include and incorporate someone into your something.

When we invite others to partner with us, even for a cup of coffee, we include them in the rhythm of our day and incorporate all that they have to share with us. We can learn so much from each other if we simply make time to slow down, sit down, and enjoy ourselves- and our people:).

Peace-liz

Congrats!!!


Congratulations to all who have graduated this year! I wanted to make sure you all knew that you are loved and celebrated for your achievements! Whether you graduated from high school or college, it is a HUGE deal and you should be EXTREMELY proud of all that you’ve accomplished:). 

All of the long nights of study, the endless projects and tests, the classes that seemed to never end…all of it was worth it. To those who had to complete the task while holding down jobs and caring for families- I salute you! To those who now embark on a new adventure- know that your journey matters and I pray that you would experience life changing adventures full of life-giving moments!

Every single one of you graduates are worth so much and your life has become more enriched by all you have learned.

Keep learning, keep working hard, keep pushing yourself towards great things(even if they scare you!). And as you continue on life’s journey, know that you have people (including me) cheering you on from the sidelines! 

Congrats graduating class of 2017!

Peace-liz 

Moving Requires Work

Sometimes life feels completely settled and organized. Other times, our lives can feel like utter chaos:). This photo was take early this morning as I stood (with strong coffee in hand) surrounded by a sea of brown boxes of belongings and packaging tape…chaos. I’m so over packing.

We are in the process of moving this week and I have been blown away by how much stuff we have accumulated over the last several years. Even after cleaning and purging and donating, we still have so many things. 

What struck me most wasn’t just the volume of belongings, but the fact that when every article was in its place, we had room to walk, room to run and move around. But when boxes from each room made its way to our front room, it all looked overwhelming and so out of  place. Ahhh…just like life.

Here’s the lesson I think I am learning today: 

When we allow God to dig into the tough corners of our life, and sort and get rid of things and attitudes and habits that are not of any value to us, we may really feel overwhelmed by all that is unearthed. We may see a mess in the middle and wonder why we hung onto all that weighed us down. We may also wonder “how on earth are all the real things of worth going to get back into a secure place?” and “will we ever have room to breathe and move and grow?”

Moving isn’t an easy process. Neither is the work of The Father. It isn’t easy but, it is so necessary for our life.

Friend, I’m pretty sure your living room does not look like mine today, all filled with clutter and boxes. But if you find yourself reading this, I bet you can understand the work that God does within or hearts.The deep, deep, work. Sometimes it feels relatively easy, other times it can feel like major surgery.

Whether you feel like life is swell and full of wide open spaces for growth and movement, or whether you feel like you are surrounded by mountains of stuff that need to be removed  or relocated from your life…you are not alone.

We can experience so much freedom when we allow Our loving Heavenly Father to just do what He  needs to do in and around us. Removing what is not hurting us and holding us back and replacing it with love, hope, peace, patience, kindness,gentleness, and self control. Placing right attitudes and habits within us,and healthy relationships that we can nurture around us. 

Lots of love to you this morning and as always, peace -liz

Made Beautiful

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10 NLT)

I have always been fascinated by anything creative.

Art.
Music.
Architecture.
Movies.
Books.

And as one of God’s creations, I think it is inherent in all of us to look at His creation and be in wonder.

A sunset,
Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope,
Coming over a hill while you’re driving through Colorado and seeing how beautiful the Rocky Mountains are.

With all of that beauty and splendor, it is surprising to me how easy it is for us to get stuck in the mire of life.

“We are gonna have to make cuts…sorry.”
“I’ve met someone else…”
“Somebody find Charlotte and get her on the phone… hurry, it’s about her son…at the hospital…”
“Come back in a week for the results of the tests…”

We are constantly inundated with the junk that is thrown at us in life. Some of the mess is our own doing and some of the mess is completely outside of our control. It is so easy for us to focus on it.

“Why don’t I have what I need?”
“I deserved that raise!”
“It’s not fair!”

I have found what defines me as a Christian isn’t how I respond to life when things are going well. What defines me as a Christian is how I’m doing when things are sideways. It’s easy to look at every situation and only find the negative…

It is always easier to destroy than create.

Looking at God’s creation, everything has an innate desire to create.

A spider creating a web,
a bird creating a nest,
a beaver creating a dam,
a mother and father creating a child,
a family creating a life together.
All these things point to every single thing having the distinct purpose…
to create something of purpose, somewhere.

So what do we do with all the brokenness, with all of the problems?
I am not trying to minimize what anyone is going through. We have no shortages of terrible things that can happen in this world.
But, where can we turn and see something better?

My cousin Joe, one of my favorite people on this planet, once said,
“When I look at a piece of pottery that fell, or is broken, it becomes more interesting. Those imperfections make it way more interesting than if it had stayed ‘perfect’.”
It has been almost 20 years and his words are still etched in my brain.

This is where we can turn to see something more…something made beautiful.

There is a Japanese art called Kintsugi, where the artisans fix and restore broken pottery with a special lacquer and they put gold, silver, or even platinum dust in it.

It. Looks. Amazing.

When I see the Kintsugi pottery, I can’t help but think that God does exactly the same style of artistry with us- even better. With our brokenness, with our fissures He is filling us with flecks, and facets, and particles of His hope, love, truth, light, and life.

Through whatever you might be experiencing in your life right now:
May you know that you are His masterpiece.
May you see the precious beauty of God’s hope filling your life.
And may you know that God has never abandoned us but has always brought the pieces together to make something vastly more interesting and beautiful in us. So that we, in turn, can see the value in all things and all people around us and create something beautiful with our lives.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10 NLT)

-Josh

Go the extra mile: Check out the song “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong. A perfect reminder of the love and grace that is all around us today and always.