Hast Thou No Wound, No Scar

Hast Thou No Scar 

by Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

A Word on Thinning

I love the idea of a garden. I get excited about watching plants grow, finding new blooms and picking fresh vegetables. I am so thankful that my father-in-law helped us move into our new home here in Del Rio, TX. He is a master gardener in my opinion. He has a huge, ambitious garden at home and when he saw what we had to work with here there was no stopping him (thank goodness!). Thanks to his efforts, we have tomatoes, onions, green peppers, squash, 2 kinds of cucumbers, green beans and even cantaloupe all starting to grow. We also have sunflowers, zinnias, some mint and basil (though the parsley, thyme and chives that I planted after he left didn’t sprout, we will try again this week).

It’s amazing! The kids are so excited to help. They like to water and John is starting to notice the differences in the different plants. I love how our homeschool “classroom” has just gained a whole new learning environment right in our own backyard.

There is a part of gardening I’m not a huge fan of. Thinning. Thinning is the process where you select the best plants and pull the rest so that those chosen few have the opportunity to flourish to the best of their ability. I look down at our little row of green pepper plants, 15 at least, so full of promise and have to choose at most probably 4 plants that will make it to maturity.

Sometimes the choice is a little easier. This one is smaller than the others, or this one’s leaves are yellowing. But what do you do when you have two or three plants all clustered together and still growing fine. You know that if left alone, eventually the group as a whole will stunt because there isn’t enough space or nutrients to sustain them all. But how do you choose which one to keep!?! It’s a bit silly, I know. Getting all emotionally worked up over a couple plants.

It’s a little like life. At a certain point we need to make choices, we have to thin our lives, so that 1. we don’t go insane, but also 2. so that we can allow ourselves to flourish. When I first started this post I was thinking specifically about our kids and recognizing the fact that though I would love for them to do everything, I also don’t want them to be overwhelmed and overcommitted. Scouts, baseball, piano, swim lessons, gymnastics, dance, soccer, playgroups, storytime, not to mention homeschool. So many wonderful things! We have to make choices, for our sanity and happiness and most especially for theirs.

I am finding that I also need to make some choices, do some thinning as it were, in my own life. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Reading, writing, trying to become a better seamstress, cross stitch, baking, crochet, a new desire to learn embroidery, cooking, researching, knitting, and oh wait, I have a husband and 4 children and a home to maintain. So many wonderful things! I can’t do them all at once, I have to make choices.

I think I’ve come up with a system. Recently I shared about how maintaining a planner has greatly improved my organization, both for our family and maintaining our home. It’s going really really well by the way. I’ll have to do a follow-up post sometime in the near future. I think I’m going to put it to work in this area as well. First, I am going to choose three things that are priorities, things that I want to be doing and thinking about all the time.

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Researching (I have this crazy notion I’m supposed to be working on a book/study/something longer than a series of blog posts. Topic TBD almost, it’s narrowed down to a few ideas, I’ll keep you posted)

Then, on a rotating basis of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly I haven’t decided yet, I will rotate my crafting. I’m leaning towards bi-weekly. Long enough to get some good work done but not so long that it will be hard to pull away to transition to something else. This is usually how I work anyway. I obsess over one thing for a while, then get tired and move on to something else. Now I’m going to harness that tendency and focus it instead of just flitting from one thing to another like I used to do.

Here’s to hoping, organizing and thinning!

As we enter Holy Week this week, this seems an appropriate topic. What in our life is taking too much of our time? What are we spending too much time thinking about or worrying about? What needs reordering, what should we be prioritizing?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Lent is hard!

It’s a funny thing, Lent. We all know we are supposed to give something up, do something good, pray more, give more, and fast. Some of these things might come easily to us. Others, not so much. One that is personally hard for me is fasting. In previous years I would be excited if I was pregnant or nursing – no fasting, got around that one again! This year I do have a nursing baby, but I chose to fast anyway because of a conversation I had regarding its practice.

It was right before Ash Wednesday when I was speaking with this person. We were talking about Lenten activities and they mentioned that they don’t fast because “Well it’s hard and when I fast I get cranky and irritated at people more quickly, so I just don’t do it.” Given my attitude toward fasting, I was surprised that my initial reaction was to disagree: “That’s why we do it. It’s HARD! And denying ourselves helps us to recognize our dependence on God rather than the material world.” At which point I was rather ashamed at my behavior the past few years.

The Truth About Lent

Is that it’s not supposed to be easy. So much of what our culture tells us today is that if it feels good, do it. If it tastes good, eat it. If it makes you happy, regardless of expense or consequence, do it. Fasting and self-denial aren’t easy. There is a reason why Jesus has to explain to his followers how to fast well:

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting….But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. (Matthew 6:16-18)

This can be applied to whatever we are giving up for Lent. I went through a phase where it was easier to do something rather than give them up. I tried to convince myself that doing something positive was somehow better than not doing something else. I know that there are many people who use Lent as an opportunity to increase their spiritual practices and works of mercy. This wonderful and I do not mean to discourage it. However, I don’t think it should replace the practice of self-denial.

Nothing can replace the action of saying No to yourself. I think that is the biggest lesson I have learned. Self-denial is not inaction, it is not passive. Acts of fasting and self-denial mean choosing the harder path for yourself and no one can do it for you.

So if you are feeling discouraged in your Lenten practice, take heart! If it’s hard, it probably means it’s good for you and is helping you to grow in your relationship with God, even if you can’t see how just yet.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com