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Currently Browsing: In the Garden
Oct
5

Autumn’s Sweetness

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Elizabeth Marchman Insect #1
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 (nkjv)

Summer has passed away again and Autumn has gracefully and rightfully taken her place.  The trees sway in the breeze and their leaves are turning from emerald to amber and maroon, copper and scarlet.  The sun is peeking through the last of the thick rain clouds leaving shadows at my feet.  The wind’s chill cuts through my sweater and suddenly I feel alone and cold and sad.  All the monarchs and grasshoppers, dragonflies and butterflies, honey bees and bumblebees, are either dying to the cold or moving on to warmer climates.  Winter is coming.


Here in my neck of the woods, the debate rages on:  Will it be the same or worse than last year or will our winter be mild?  Everyone has a different opinion, but only One knows what ultimately will be.  Still, I check the weather everyday and read the Farmers Almanac trying to create a prediction of my own – one that I can tolerate, one that I can accept.

Elizabeth Marchman Clouds#2We live in a world of predictions and uncertainties; a world that shifts beneath our still feet as we look up to the One that can give us guidance.  Yet, I still look to the world(or worse, myself) to fix my problems, many times leaving God as a last resort; the One I will turn to when I have exhausted every other possibility.  I long to be the woman that turns to God immediately; one that never waivers or questions, but trusts in His wisdom and guidance of my steps.  I desire to be blind to all the world offers me, but somehow, in the midst of my self-driven chaos, Jesus gets lost and fades into the background where ultimately I lose sight of Him.  It is then, that I am most aware of my brokenness and it creates a hollowness in my soul that can not be satisfied with the selfish pleasures I evoke.  There are so many counterfeit gods in the world that give instant gratification, that sidetrack me and before I know what has happened a month has passed and I am parched.  I am thirsty for something real and tangible, something true and honest and worthy. 


We both know, I never have to be parched.  We both know that when I shut down and walk away from the daily grind for whatever length of time it takes – that I should be communing with God not excluding Him. For the last month, I should have been running to God and resting in Him.  I should have been still.  I should have listened.  Instead, I ran the other direction as fast and hard as I could.  Why?  Because when I become overwhelmed, it is just what I do.  I drop from sight.  If looking for me, one might find that a sighting of Bigfoot would be more likely.


Elizabeth Marchman Flower #21Only God knows where I am and He speaks to me.  He meets me right where I am. God knows what I need and He gives it to me.  God knows just the right time to call my name and exactly what to say to awaken me from my hibernation.  The days grow short with the tick-tocking of the clock, yet I know that winter is a time of renewal for me. A time of writing and studying and listening to God.  I have struggled for weeks to write on this blog, to find the right words that your e-mails tell me you are eager to read, but with every day that passed, fear invaded my days that I might never have another thing to write to you.  I wanted to write and I prayed everyday that God would give me something.  Anything.  After uttering that prayer, I would walk away from my computer, my Bible, my paper, my pens – and straight to whatever task was at hand.  I don’t remember ever waiting on God to actually answer me.


God has gently reminded me that I must be patient.  I must wait on Him.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are higher than my own.  He can be trusted.




Elizabeth Marchman Moon#1Blue patches of sky can now be seen through the breaking clouds and the weather man reports that tomorrow will be warm and sunny.  A good day for writing under my new tree by my new rock wall.


May we trust we are exactly where God wants us to be, and as my mom likes to say, may we bloom where we are planted.  May you enjoy the days of Autumn and all of God’s painting until the first midnight snowflakes begin to fall.

Aug
27

Football already?

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No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11 (niv)


I love summer vacation and this summer has gone away entirely too quickly.  I feel as if I have floated through the entire summer oblivious to time.  I know that I have been very, very busy and right now I have that little kid feeling that school is just around the corner and I am fighting to savor the last few days of summer vacation before schedules and rituals creep in. 


I am leaving today and heading to Georgia to visit family and friends and I already know that the week will pass too quickly. Suddenly, Labor Day will be upon me: my sign that I must buckle down and stop living a carefree summer existence.  The past few days have felt more like autumn than summer and I have even watched a few pre-season football games (which by the way – I never watch. I mean really – who needs that agony?).  But I feel this longing for September to arrive.  I am actually looking forward to getting back into a routine because deep down I know that I am ever so much more productive when my days are structured.  


Hebrews 12:11 says this: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 


It is so difficult to create any discipline for myself, especially in the summer.  I know for a fact that if I am not careful,  I could find myself wasting uncountable hours. Not necessarily doing nothing at all, but just becoming distracted by all the things that need to be done or gardening or well, just, things.  That is exactly what has happened to me this week.  All of the sudden it is Friday and I find myself wondering again, “What happened to the week?”


I look out the window and the sky is blue and the sun is shining all the warmth of a perfect summer day.  A good day.  A great day. A perfect day to take a road trip with my husband.  A last week of summer vacation for creating perfect memories to treasure through the long winter months that are sure to be here all too soon.  But for now, I will enjoy this last sweet taste of summer before it is time to settle in and watch football and cook chili and pick apples and pumpkins and watch the leaves begin to turn into a beautiful display of red, orange and gold.  For this summer girl, this year autumn can not arrive too soon.  And I know why.  I am ever seeking a harvest of righteousness and peace, but it only comes after discipline has been instilled.  To be disciplined I need structure and my structure always arrives the Tuesday after Labor Day.  I do not know why God built me to need the structure of a school year, but crave the freedoms of summer. Maybe one day He will reveal the mystery to me.


This will be my last post until I return.  May the last week of your summer be the sweetest of your life.  


Peace and Blessings,
Elizabeth

Aug
4

In God’s Presence

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Elizabeth Marchman Flower #29
You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~ Psalms 16:11 nkjv


Today I found God in a dragonfly.



Let me start at the beginning.  Yesterday, my husband was telecommuting because he had a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day.  On his way back into the house from said appointment, he was intercepted by our neighbor.  It seems that in his opinion our yard needed to be cut and apparently there was a weed that needed to be pulled and he was offering his services.  My husband, of course, explained and declined, then felt the need to relay the entire conversation to me as I prepared our lunch.


And that is when the fight began.


All I was supposed to be doing yesterday afternoon was writing.  Not worrying about the length of the grass or weeds in the herb garden.  I wanted to do it all at my pace:  a couple of hours each morning and then inside to write. A speaker at the writing conference this weekend made a brilliant statement and one I whole heartedly believe:  If the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.  Well, yesterday, he made me both.

Elizabeth Marchman Flower #30



Angry words flew from my mouth.  There might have even been some cursing in there too – although I would take the 5th if asked directly.  I was so mad that I would not have been surprised if fire had spewed from within.  I riddled my husband with questions faster than he could respond.  “Did you tell him I was AWAY this weekend?  Did you tell him that LOGAN was SUPPOSED to do it before he left for Colorado?  Did you tell him that I am trying to PRIORITIZE?  Did you tell him that I DO NOT want HIM in MY yard cutting the grass or in MY garden for any reason?”  All of which my poor husband, who unwillingly had been caught in the middle of a battle of wills between my neighbor and myself, replied, “Yes to all of that.  Maybe I should leave and finish my day at the office???” And the only thing I could think of to say was, “maybe” as I stomped out of the room and I can honestly say that the devil made me say it.  Because in this case, he was trying to make me busy, but instead he made me bad.  Randy didn’t leave and later, I slunk upstairs to apologize.  He worked and I wrote and the rest of the day was quite pleasant.  We had a lovely evening.

Elizabeth Marchman Flower #31

This morning, however, as I laid in the bed waiting for the alarm to sound, I began making excuses to God about how I had so much to do and I wasn’t going to write today.  I was trying to prepare Him and I used yesterday as Exhibit A.  In the back of my mind, the devil played his familiar tune reminding me of all the things that I could get done today if I would just get my to-do list out and get busy checking off items.  Then, God asked me the all important question: “Yesterday he made you bad, today are you going to let him make you busy?”


I got up and dressed in my work clothes.  I cut the grass and worked in the lavender bed at the corner of the yard.  Gathering up weeds, satisfied that my work was done in under two hours, the devil began to taunt me.  “Are you stopping now?  There is still work to be done.”  I thought for a moment, almost ready to cave in, but refusing to, knowing that God expected me to be obedient and spend my afternoon writing.  And that is when it happened.

Elizabeth Marchman Dragon Fly #1

A dragonfly flew right into my path.  I waited for a moment.  He landed on a wagon handle.  I watched in amazement as he sat perfectly still.  I wanted so much to run inside and get my camera, but feared that when I returned, he would be gone.  I decided to take the chance.  When I returned, he was still perched there.  I took a few pictures wishing that he had landed a few feet over in the garden and suddenly, up he darted and dropped over onto the rose bush.  Thrilled, I continued to snap away, picture after picture.  It was almost as if he was just sitting there posing for me.  He would flutter his wings and then lift his tail.  He was beautiful.  His tail was periwinkle – my favorite color.  His head was the most gorgeous green, his wings iridescent.  He was the most perfect dragonfly I have ever seen.  I turned around and there were more flying around, but he is the only one that sat still for a picture.
Elizabeth Marchman Dragon Fly #2

It was then that I realized.  I was in the presence of God.  I miss it a lot because my angry tongue gets the best of me.  I miss it a lot as I move from task to task.  This morning, God decided to grace me with His presence when I needed help to edge out the thoughts the devil taunted me with.  I know He is always on my side.  But this morning, He was telling me, “I know you would rather play in the garden all day and be in the summer sun.  But you are choosing to be obedient to what I am calling you to do so I will give you a little gift that I know will thrill you and excite you.”  And He was right.  It did thrill me and excite me. 

Elizabeth Marchman Squirrel

Today I found God in a dragonfly. Today I found fullness of joy in God’s presence.Today I caught a glimpse of the pleasures at His right hand that will be forevermore because He delights in me.  Today I can walk the path of obedience that God lays before me in spite of the devil’s dirty tricks because God’s path is life and beauty and abundance.  By the way, outside my window is another little reminder from God of His ever-presence.  As I type these last words, a squirrel is sitting up on the limb of my apple tree eating an apple.

Jun
3

A Garden of Prayer

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Prayer is like a garden.  Tend it and it will be fruitful. 
Elizabeth Marchman Flower #33
Elf Help Book, Prayer Therapy by Keith McClellan

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. ~ I Chronicles 4:10 nkjv


My prayer life is inconsistent.  I wish it weren’t and deep down I know that I am the only one who can change it.  I know it takes discipline to make time for God everyday.  It is not that I do not want to, I just find it incredibly difficult to drown out the daily noise.  I wish I could blame it on some disorder – not that I want one because I have my share of issues – I just want an explanation.  I need an answer so I can solve the problem.  


Now the Nike commercial is running through my head…Just Do It!  If I could have my own motto every time I get distracted – Just Pray!  I envy the Prayer Warriors who can drop everything, drown out the noise and just pray without distraction.  I know at some point they must have had to develop the discipline to listen to God.  I know it is also a gift bestowed to them by God.  I know it is not my gift.  I am okay with this.  God has given me other gifts.


If only I tended my praying time like I tend my garden, it would be fruitful.  There are things I know about prayer.  I know the prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with (James 5:17).  I know that if I cry to the Lord with my voice, He will hear me from His Holy Hill (Psalm 3:4).  I know to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication to let my requests be made known to God and that His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). I know that the prayer of faith can heal the sick (James 5:15).  I know I am to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17) and that the Spirit will help me in my weakness even though I do not know what to pray, that He will intercede with groans that words can not express (Romans 8:26).


If only my mind wasn’t tempted to wander.  If only my body didn’t follow.  If only it wasn’t distracted by a to do list the moment I awaken.  


If only I prayed to God to help me with my prayer life.  But can I be honest?  I am afraid of what trial might be laid at my feet to get me on my knees and focused in prayer.  I think I am more afraid though of what I might be missing by not asking.  I look at the Prayer of Jabez.  He simply asked to be blessed.  And look what happened to him.  I think sometimes I am asking in prayer for the wrong things.  Maybe I just need to ask God to bless me, bless my writing, bless the words of my blog to reach out into cyberspace and that maybe they will bless someone else because He wants it to.  But there is a voice that rises up and says, “What if that is not what God wants?” and my faith cowers like a scared child in the midnight darkness.


Today my faith is small, smaller than a mustard seed it feels, and my mind is already beginning to wander….

Oct
5

Autumn’s Sweetness

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 (nkjv) Summer has passed away again and Autumn has gracefully and rightfully taken her place.  The trees sway in the breeze and their leaves are turning from emerald to amber and maroon, copper and scarlet.  The sun is peeking through the last of the thick rain clouds leaving shadows at my feet.  The wind’s...
Aug
27

Football already?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11 (niv) I love summer vacation and this summer has gone away entirely too quickly.  I feel as if I have floated through the entire summer oblivious to time.  I know that I have been very, very busy and right now I have that little...
Aug
4

In God’s Presence

You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~ Psalms 16:11 nkjv Today I found God in a dragonfly. Let me start at the beginning.  Yesterday, my husband was telecommuting because he had a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day.  On his way back into the house from said appointment, he was intercepted by our neighbor.  It...
Jun
3

A Garden of Prayer

Prayer is like a garden.  Tend it and it will be fruitful.  ~ Elf Help Book, Prayer Therapy by Keith McClellan And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. ~ I Chronicles 4:10 nkjv My prayer life is...

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