Starting My Garden With a Little Faith -Romans 12:3

I got a late start on my garden this year. You might say five years late. That’s about how long it has been since I gave up working hard because of my bad back. But there are new things happening now, after years of different therapies and such that I’ve tried.

And today, after bit by bit removing weeds and preparing a small space for the off chance I might be able to maintain a few plants, there are beans and tomatoes and dahlias growing in my flower beds.

Which has helped me get a little stronger. And increased strength has motivated me to tackle the entire flower bed, which has also encouraged me to adopt more plants and tubers to stretch myself even further.

Today’s photo is of a sprig from my bean plant reaching for the sun.

Here’s a closer shot. See it there, crawling up the wire? In today’s Verse of the Day, which I receive in my email, we are admonished to assess ourselves reasonably. The little bean seed wasn’t likely aware that the result of its growing and struggling and reaching would have an impact on feeding a couple of hungry humans. It’s just doing what God assigned it to do. And what I’m trying to help it accomplish.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Romans 12:3 ESV

And also today, I realize that what started with what I thought might be my last solo date to the dahlia farm last Fall (driving was excruciating) and potentially wasting money ordering five lovely tubers that I might not be able to maintain, is an expression of my faith. In taking that step, I expressed hope that months later I might reach a new level of strength and productivity, and have beautiful flowers to bring into my home.

It’s okay to reach, to struggle, to try. And then rest and reach again. If you’re worried you might think of yourself “more highly” than you ought, I suggest you visit the Scriptures. That’s what helps me see everything, including myself, in true perspective.

This month my goal is publishing a blog post every weekday from the Verse of the Day. Think I’ll succeed? I’m flexing my muscles and getting ready. May we both be blessed by God’s words.

Here’s where you can sign up to receive the Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway .

Running a Better Race – Hebrews 12:1-3

There is no shame in starting something and not being able to finish it. That’s what I told myself when I decided to learn how to write for publication at what I thought was an advanced age. I didn’t know what my writing path would look like – I just knew I wanted to approach it with gusto.

It’s been a wonderful journey. The writing and publishing professionals I’ve worked with have enriched my life in many ways, and I thank God that he has made himself known through our efforts.

Recently, however, my trail took a turn that had made it clear that in order to proceed I needed to put some of my projects aside.

As I mentioned on the Story Night podcast which is linked in an earlier post, I have a book nearing completion. It brought me finalist status in the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade contest. Editors from three different publishing houses asked to see it when finished.

But now the book is on the shelf, and it may never be finished.

One of my favorite photos of Colby, my sister-in-law, shows her perched on a narrow mountain path overlooking a deep canyon. The trail demands climbers stay focused as they move along single file. When one wants to pass another, both parties keep a grip on the chain with one hand at all times.

Colby said she trained for months before making the climb, knowing that accomplishing it would be worth the effort.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

At this time I don’t feel I’m targeted by hostile forces, as the verses in Hebrews 12 mention. My struggle is with chronic pain associated with joint issues in multiple sites. In order to run my life race on the course marked out for me, I must lighten my load.

And like my sister-in-law was thankful for the chain anchored on the side of the mountain, I appreciate the limitations that inform me of where my boundaries are. I just pray I remain faithful, and not become weary or fainthearted, that I might continue to work with what God gives me.

While reading Paul’s letters to the believers at Philippi and Colossae this week, I came to the realization that the apostle suffered difficulties in his life’s work, too. Being chained in prison surely wasn’t part of his ideal plan. He planned to take more trips to strengthen the believers in the churches he oversaw, but he was detained.

And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received from the Lord.” I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Colossians 4:16-18 ESV

Perhaps, if Paul hadn’t been restrained in prison, he wouldn’t have written the letters that teach and encourage believers even today. His limitations helped build my faith.

Let’s also remember each other’s chains, and pray for each other. And may we not release our grip unless it’s to help us run a better race, or until we’re secure on the other side.


To help with your study of the Bible, here’s a link to Biblegateway.com’s Bible reading plans.

When the Holiday Season is Hard – Proverbs 3:5-8

The transition from fall to winter is a gloomy time for some. In addition to the pressure of navigating the holidays, seasonal weather patterns also can make life challenging, especially for those who miss the sunshine.

For me, gray, overcast days don’t have a negative effect. I’ve loved clouds since I was a little girl, even to the point of getting excited during thunderstorms. What does mess with my emotions, though, is preparing for family events. That can make me a wreck!

Why do we repeat the cycles of past holidays when we make plans, raise expectations, anticipate joy, dread discomfort, and crash when it’s all over?

I have other struggles during this season when I find it easier to feel down. Pain that limits what I can do. The struggle for sleep – only four hours then I’m awake. Why? And a course change, once again, with my writing work.

My mother died the day after Christmas in 2019. Both blessing and hurt roll over me when I think about her passing. Family members came from miles away to comfort and support each other – I miss that. And Mom, my dearest friend, is out of reach.

There’s a lot I don’t like about this season of my life, but here’s the truth. I will trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

As I do any other time of the year, I put (notice the next word) all my trust in God. This requires some serious self talk on my part, rehearsing the truth of how big he is, how thoroughly he has proved his love, and how devoted he is to saving all of us.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God . . .

Psalm 42:5-6 ESV

And in all (there’s that word again) the steps I take, I acknowledge him. I do this because, more than anything, I want to always (in all my ways) be aware that he is with me.

Then, instead of staying in the hurt, I think of my mother as she delivered what was probably her final joke.  We were gathered around her deathbed when someone mentioned Christmas gifts. In her sweet, understated way she offered,

“Well, you don’t have to get me anything.”

During my mother’s last days with us, as far as I could tell, she didn’t become stressed out about anything. She had long practiced putting her trust in God, and that was enough.

This post is to be published on New Year’s Day 2022, so instead of wishing you a happy new year (because happiness may take its time coming around), I ask God to bless you with the healing and refreshment mentioned in Proverbs 3 as you trust him in the days ahead.

Kathy Sheldon Davis