Sow & Gather

Vacations/Reunions

Peaceful Families

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment
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“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 ESV 

Why does it seem that it’s easier to live at peace with friends than with your own family?  Family relationships seem fraught with tension, stress, and conflict.  My family got together this summer for a family reunion.  We rented a 6 bedroom home to share.  Three sisters, three husbands, four children, ages 3-7, and a grandmother.  It sounds blissful, right?  Or does it sound like a nightmare?  It all depends on your family dynamic. 

Our family comes with its fair share of baggage.  My dad passed away 7 years ago and my mother fell into a deep depression that never lifted. She also has early onset dementia.  It’s hard not to resent her for her illness and to mourn the mother/grandmother she should be.  I’ve struggled greatly with anger and disappointment on past family trips.  It’s hard to explain mental illness to your young children and to not blame the person suffering with it.  I spent time praying before the trip and intentionally sought harmony with her. 

That mindset of wanting to live peaceably made all the difference.  Instead of reacting with anger and frustration, I found myself responding with love and understanding that clearly had its root in God’s love and not my own selfish human love.   

Whatever tension and stress comes over you during a family reunion or trip, I encourage you to go to the Great Physician and ask for healing of the relationship and the ability to live peaceably with your family.  I’ve heard it said that your family is the best at pushing your buttons because they helped install them.  With God’s help, you can rise above the squabbles and annoyances and truly enjoy the family that God has placed you in. 

Dig Deeper |

Romans 12:16-18Matthew 5:21-24  

Action Item |

Spend time thinking about your family relationships and seek the Lord to know what actions you can take to live more peacefully with them. 

Prayer |

Heavenly father, help me to live at peace with my family. Help me to take responsibility for the tension that I may cause.  Help me let go of past hurts.

Join Us |

Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post. 

Is It Time To Throw Your Baggage Overboard?

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment
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Cutting Loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. Acts 27:40 NIV

Do you have a family vacation tradition? Maybe you had a favorite vacation spot as a child where your family would go every year and it became known as your family vacation spot. Every year my family goes to a small town on the Eastern Shore. It’s a sleepy town that was once a bustling port for ships traveling up and down the East Coast. It’s so small it doesn’t even have a stop light. It’s a calm relaxing town that harkens back to the days before technology and the hustle and bustle of urban life. I love it because it’s a great place to lie on the beach and watch the ships go by and do absolutely nothing!

This year in particular my family needed a break. We were spinning out of control with school schedules, sports activities, work commitments, travel, aging parents; just to name a few. Stressed out, run down and ragged is how I would describe our family life at the time just before our breaking point. Paul in Acts 27 describes an account of an actual voyage he took where things didn’t turn out as he thought, but by the grace of God he was saved.

Paul was a prisoner on a ship that had set sail towards Rome on what should have been a quiet and peaceful journey. Instead, it turned into a fight for their lives. Paul warned the crew that the voyage would be a disaster. The crew ignored the warning and when the storms came, the crew fought to keep their course but was driven back. They went so far as to tie ropes around the bottom of the ship to keep it from bulging. They threw important goods and merchandise overboard to lighten their load. Finally, in verse 40 they decided their only hope for survival was to head for shore.

My family was in the middle of a storm. We were trying to hold everything together but life kept pushing us back bombarding us with activities, meetings and commitments. Soon we were so over committed and stressed out that we began to neglect the important things like family time, sleep, and, let’s be honest, God. Summer vacation was like a shining beacon and we couldn’t wait for it to arrive. From the moment we set off on our trip towards relaxation, the stress and all of the baggage we had been carrying was tossed overboard. It was as if the seas of life had finally stopped rocking our boat and we were able to steady our course and set sail for a calmer way of life. Finally, I could sit on the beach,  gaze out on the horizon, and watch the calmness of the waves as they lapped against the shore.

Is your life in the middle of a storm? Do you feel the weight of the world crashing down on you? You may not be able to take a vacation but you can ask God for a break. Don’t be surprised if He suddenly throws what you’ve been holding onto overboard. Just relax knowing that he is in control and you are not. He may even tell you to drop anchor and rest. If he does, stop trying to steer your ship into the headwinds of life and let God guide you instead.

Key Verses |

Acts 27 & 28

Action Item |

If you are in the middle of a storm, ask God to take over your course. 

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for summer, thank you for vacations, and most importantly thank you for reminding us of our “real” priorities. Help us as we navigate life’s course and help keep us anchored in your word. AMEN.

Join Us |

Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post.

What I've Learned This Summer

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 

Learning doesn't just happen between Labor Day and Memorial Day each year. While those of us with kids adjust to the rhythm of the school year, I find the months of summer often yield the greatest growth. 

It feels like our child matures overnight during the summer. Each May I think he'll never grow up. By August, I'm asking myself what happened to my baby.  

God can use these warm (hot) months, where things move a little slower, as teachable moments. I've tried for this season of summer to focus and be present every day and not just slog through. In doing this, I've asked God to teach me these last few months. 

Here are a few things I've learned: 

If I don't Rest, God Will Force Me

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 27:2 

The hamster wheel of life spins faster and faster. If I don't take intentional actions to slow down and enjoy this life, God will slow me down. My body will give in to the overload of stress – the laboring in vain. I'm constantly working for things that are good, but not of God. In those times of rest, I have to remember to seek God's will and prioritize my actions. 

I'm fortunate that during the summer months my business slows down. In the past, I've not accepted this as an offering of rest from God, but rather worried about the financial consequences. This year, I've gotten better about accepting the rest and knowing that God always provides. 

Eating Good Fat Makes Me Full Longer 

Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Romans 14:3

Name the diet and I've been on it . . . several times. I try and remind myself daily that as a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within me. My body is God's temple. Why do I act in such a way to destroy the value of the temple?  

Every day I make choices that are hard for me regarding food, exercise, and rest. Even when God shows me the path He wants me to follow, I still want to take a trail to the right or the left. This issue doesn’t just come up with food, but in all kinds of matters where clear direction is received, but I don't like what God is telling me to do. Even when I feel like I am not maintaining the temple, I know that God's mercies are new each morning. God allows me to begin again. 

Garbage In Equals Garbage Out

Ears to hear and eyes to see--both are gifts from the Lord. Proverbs 20:12 

No longer is summertime TV viewing limited to re-runs. Many programs actually run a short summer season of new episodes. I love TV and I love books. Both are amazing modes of transportation for me to pursue a grand adventure in far-off lands. Well-done media tugs on my emotions. I find when I'm not resting and I'm not eating healthy, I tend to binge on TV and books.  

I have to back up and ask myself, why do I feel the need to binge watch or binge read? Is there something that is stressing or frustrating me that I need to take to God in prayer? Am I avoiding something? 

Then I have to assess the impact of what I'm doing. Am I consuming media that does not align with my values? Writing that sentence challenges me. Where are my eyes and ears focused? How am I using the good gifts that God has given me? 

As I'm writing this, summer is not over yet. I've still got about four weeks to enjoy before the grind of the next school year is in full swing. God has challenged me to grow in trusting Him with three areas of my life. Growth can be uncomfortable, but I'm ready to embrace the change. 

Dig Deeper |

James 1:1-18 

Action Item |

Ask God to show you what He's been teaching you over the last few months. Jot those items down and find scripture to support your journey. 

Prayer|

Dear God, You are the giver of good gifts, the provider of warm summer evenings and refreshing rain showers. Help us to see the lessons You have for us in the everyday things we do. Guide our choices and help us to honor You with our lives. Amen. 

Join Us |  

Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post. 

Watch for the Rock

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 NIV 

Summer is my favorite season! It is the season to enjoy the outdoors, wear summer dresses, hang out with your kids and go on vacation!! Every year my family attempts to travel to a new destination and last year we had the privilege of visiting Yosemite National Park. The mountains, waterfalls, trees and rock formations were amazing. And as you can imagine, we saw several signs along the park roads which stated, " Watch for Rocks." Yes, in this park, rocks, big and small, are everywhere including on the road. 

Actually, these signs began to make me think about “the Rock”. (No, not Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Yikes!!) but the true Rock, Jesus. Yes, Jesus is truly the Rock. I know because he has been with me throughout my life. When I have struggled in life’s lowest moments like the death of family members, loneliness, and failures, the Rock has been my refuge and fortress. I have depended on Him and He has never let me down. And, even in the highest moments like my marriage, a new home, children and just going on vacation, I know the Rock is there providing strength and stability. 

He is strong, solid, and dependable. The LORD is waiting to be our refuge, fortress, shield and especially deliverer. 

So, start today and watch for “the Rock.” 

Digging Deeper |

Psalm 18

Action Item |

Search for rocks in your yard or park and meditate on Jesus. 

Prayer |

Jesus, Thank you for being the rock. Thank you for abiding with me during the lowest and highest moments in my life. Help me to always seek your strength. I love you. Amen. 

Join Us | 

Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post.