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Filtering by Tag: planted

Bittersweet Changes

Meg Chaney

My word of the year, PLANTED from Psalm 1:3, never seems to escape me. The image of a tree being deeply rooted, supported and held upright by God alone is so encouraging in a season of change.

 This month is a big month for our family. We have a PCS coming up soon. Whenever we move, I feel a certain sense of excitement, but also sadness, for what we're leaving behind. Once again, we're leaving behind a church family, a house that we've made into a home, and countless memories. Once again we've run out of time to do all the things we planned to do. Once again, we're packing up our house, taking down pictures, sorting through what we need or don't need, stuffing others things away to sort through at a later date. I'm spending extra moments cleaning baseboard, putting some shine back on the kitchen cabinets, starting a pile of things we want to pack in our cars. Overall, our kids seem really excited about this move. It's mostly me that feels the sadness over a season that's about to close. 

But haven't we all felt that sadness at times? Graduating college, saying goodbye to friends, finishing up a job, realizing your little one can no longer be classified as "baby." There's a certain joy over what lies ahead, while at the same time, an ache deep in your chest remains.

Changes are so bittersweet.

Yesterday I opened my Bible to Psalm 139. I've always loved this Psalm. It's a beautiful Psalm about our Creator God and His wondrous plan for all of our lives. I've poured over these words many times, but, yesterday, a few of the verses struck a different cord:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
— Psalm 139:7-10, ESV

These precious words were such a sweet reminder of God's guiding hand. Friends, we can't move anywhere in this world without Him by our side. Even the ends of the earth are within His grasp. We can't escape Him (not that I want to). He will always be there, holding on to us ever step of the way. Some days in the military feel like a wondrous adventure, others are downright hard. But He's got us. Each and everyone of us. Any change you may be facing in this world, any bittersweet ending, any scary new beginning, God is there, holding on fast. He's not letting go, which is so wondrous, so precious. And He's with my loved one as well. The people I'm sad to leave behind with each move, the sweet people who have forever changed my heart, He's got them to.

And so, although my heart squeezes painfully at times, I praise my Savior for the road He's taken me on so far, and praise Him for what lies up ahead. Oh the blessings I've experienced, and oh the exciting new adventure that's about to begin!

Drawing Near

Meg Chaney

I've been preparing my talk for a Ladies Tea this weekend. As I read through my notes, the words struck my heart. They were such sweet encouragement to my own ears. Do you have do that? Do words you wrote in a blog, wrote in a journal, come back to encourage you on a different day? 

Psalm 1:3 has been the sweet verse of my heart this year. I'll be sharing some of those thoughts with my friends on Saturday. In my notes, I wrote about God's steadfast love for each of us. How a life firmly planted in Him doesn't fade with time, but only grows stronger. 

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long
— Psalm 25:4-5, ESV

Growing can be such a painful thing. A friend pointed this out to me in Bible study last night. As we grow closer to God, we see the painful reality of how we don't measure up. Sins that God may have not pointed out when we were a new Christian, now come to light. But it's so important that we have a teachable spirit. While it is painful to ask, to draw closer to God, we have to go through the painful process of pruning, getting rid of what shouldn't be. It's hard to be honest with ourselves sometimes. It's hard to admit that we have an area that needs work. (Even more so for a perfectionist like me!). But, in growing closer to God, we have to do the hard work. The Holy Spirit's influence on our lives prods and pushes us to bring those things out in the open, to admit that we have faults, have things that need to be worked on, and to truly get rid of those yucky things, so that we can draw closer to God. 

The dead things have to be cleared away, so that lasting fruit can even begin to grow in it's place.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you
— James 4:8-10, ESV

This verse may seem like a bit of a downer, but I love it. Draw near to God, and yes, He probably will point out some areas of your life that need work, some areas that need cleaned up, cleansed of the bad so that He can replace it with something good. Draw near, bringing your messiness, and He will draw near to you. It's a promise of His presence. It's an admittance that, yes, we all have yucky in our lives. We all have messy moments, things we do, or say that we quickly regret. But bring them before God. Ask Him to draw near to you and change those things, and replace them with something new. With lasting fruit that only He can provide. Draw close and He will show up. 

For the Transient

Meg Chaney

My husband has said that one of the hardest things about military life is the feeling of being transient. We move every few years, setting down roots only to pick them up again. We form friendships, find a church family, build memories in a town that we will, only temporarily, call home. We've lived in rental house after rental house, building such sweet memories, only to have to leave it behind.

It's hard living without that permanency. To always sense another move up ahead. Often, we've wished we could make big changes to our house, tearing down wall paper, remolding a kitchen, wishing the place actually belonged to us, but we couldn't. We were transient. 

We didn't belong.

That feeling, of not truly belonging, really isn't a strange one. The Old Testament Patriarchs were often nomads, traveling from place to place (check out the story of Abraham starting in Genesis 12). Even in the New Testament, Peter & Paul refer to Christians as being aliens in this world. As not really belonging ( 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 2:11). We're reminded that our citizenship isn't here on earth but in heaven up above (Philippians 3:20). Such a great reminder for all of us! Yes, things change. Lives are ever changing. We're meant with circumstances that we never thought we'd have to face. The unpredictable, the unsettling. the larger than life. But this I find confidence in: when other things in my life change, He is never changing. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
— Hebrews 13:8, ESV

Yes, I may often feel like I don't belong. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to feeling like the new girl in town again! I get anxiety just thinking about the awkward situations. But I do know this. God will come along with me each step of the way. It's amazing to think that He's been preparing the perfect school for my children, a great church for us to be a part of it, and friends for us to meet. He's been preparing all of the details since before time began. He knows the full breadth of our stories (see one of my favorites, Psalm 139!). He's got all the answers, we just have to walk along, experiencing the next chapter of our story. When I think about it that way, it's really not so bad. When I focus on Him, His truth, His promises, I feel a lot more settled. Because I know that my identity is set in Him. He is my foundation. He is the one whose planted me (Psalm 1:3). 

In that confidence, I do put down roots. I strive to make each  house that we live in a home. I seek out a church family, look for new friendships, love on others. And I fill our house with familiar things, memories, decor, things that come with us each an every move. The familiar.  I make the best of this life God has given me here and now. I've truly been blessed, and so I want to live each day to the fullest. 

The truth is this: circumstances may change, but our hearts remain planted in Christ. 

And isn't that what really matters?



Steadfast Love

Meg Chaney

I've mentioned it before, but I love The Influence Network! From the monthly classes, to the small groups, to the book clubs, to the conferences and meet-ups, I love all the opportunities to learn and grow as a Christian woman, and the encouragement to live out my life of influence. We're just about ready to start our Spring Book Club, Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler. 

It's probably because of the book club that the phrase "Steadfast Love" has been jumping off the pages of my Bible lately. It's a glorious phrase. A reminder of how deeply God loves us, of how firm His grip is on each of our lives.

And I think it's a phrase that rings so true for the image of the tree in Psalm 1. In a sense, isn't it what the Psalm is all about? Psalm 1 compares us to a tree, a tree that is planted firmly and deeply, who is nourished and deeply rooted. Who doesn't wither with the passing of time, but instead, grows lasting fruit. It is a tree that is there because of God's steadfast love.

Truthfully, we wouldn't be here without His love. He is our creator and sustainer. He is the one that prunes off the bad in each of our lives, and grows beautiful, lasting fruit. It is because of His unending love that we have lasting roots, that we even have the ability to grow in His knowledge and truth. That we even have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. 

Steadfast can be defined as: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.


Isn't that great?

It is because of His unwavering love that we are here to today. It's because of His unwavering love that Jesus came, died, and rose again. 

It's all because of His steadfast love. We, ourselves, are humans who love imperfectly. We make mistakes, unintentionally hurt those we love, fall and fail, but He, He's perfect. His love never fails. 

And for that, I'm so thankful. 

His love is steadfast.

In what ever you are facing today, rest in that truth my friends. 




Sustaining Leaves

Meg Chaney

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
— Psalm 1:3

Let's be realistic here: leaves wither. It's part of the natural process. The changing of seasons. One of my favorite times of year is Spring, watching new life begin, watching the beautiful trees bloom out in frothy whiteness, watching bright new green leaves being formed. But those leaves are only formed because the leaves of the last season withered up and died. That process is beautiful. The transformation each year is beautiful. I've heard sermons comparing the changes of live to the changing seasons. But Psalm 1 is striking a different note. In this case, as believers, we will never wither. We'll never fade away. We will remain vibrant and strong, not of our own accord, but because God is the one reinforcing us, God is the one reinforcing our roots, nourishing us, sustaining us through good time and bad. 

In Hebrew, the word wither is nabel. Nabel means to sink or drop down, to wither and fall, to droop, to fade. 

There are certainly times in this life, seasons that feel like we're withering away. Seasons where we wonder about joy, about peace. 

But my friends, can I whisper to your heart, and mine, today?

This verse has nothing to do with outward peace, outward happiness. This world, the things of this world, the people of this world, will never fulfill us. There will always be things that come up short, sadness, hurt, grief, loneliness will always find us. No, this verse doesn't have anything to do with the outer-world, and everything to do with our hearts.

Because here, in this verse, God has promised to keep us. 

He's promised to hold our hearts close to Him.

He's promised to be our refuge in all things.

He's promised that, even though this outer world may get messy, our hearts will always be sustained by Him.

No, this verse doesn't promise that we won't ever come head to head with the messiness of this life. 

This verse promises that He will keep our hearts. 

Psalm 90:14-15 has been on my heart a lot lately. I've been longing to be satisfied by Him alone. To seek out joy that only comes from Him, even when the rest of life swirls in chaos around me. I've been wondering what that looks like. What that feels like to live in His joy and peace. In His promise that He has me secure in His arms. That my leaves won't wither. That true satisfaction and joy can only be found in Him. This is, truly, a beautiful prayer to repeat as you start each morning:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
— Psalm 90:14-15, ESV

Satisfy us, dear Lord. Sustain us. Remind us that we are nothing without you. Because of you, we have the promise that our leaves won't wither. Because of you, we have eternity. It's so easy to get stuck on what I do or don't have in this world, on how my life may or may not measure up at the moment. Help me to focus on you instead. To focus on the very life you've given me for this specific time and season. And Lord Jesus, please fill it with abundant joy today. Because on my own, I like to see the cynical, the things that don't measure up. Help me to see with your eyes instead. Help me to show love and patiences where needed. Help me to find true satisfaction and joy that can only be found in you. 

I'll leave you all with one more portion of scripture today. It came to mind as I was writing out these verses above. This world, and everything in is, is truly withering away. It's our inner self that's eternal: 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
— 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV


Meg Chaney

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.
— Psalm 1:3, ESV

This tree that we're compared to in Psalm 1:3, it's not just any old tree. No, it's a tree created and nourished by God! It's a tree, not planted in a desert, but right next to a stream of water. Water that, day in and day out, gives nutrients to the roots, keeps it healthy and growing strong.

God is the one who nourishes and strengthens us. God is the one who always has and always will provide for us. I look at some loved ones in my life, and I honestly don't see the answer. To them, there walk with God may seem really dry at the moment. They don't see the water. They don't see the needed answers. To them, the prayers continue to go unanswered, prayers that they've uttered year, after year, after year. Even I, at times, am tempted to stop praying, just because I haven't seen any results. Or at least haven't seen the results yet.

In the Old Testament God is referred to as Jehovah-Jireh. (see Genesis 22:14)

God our provider.

He provides. He gives us what we need for each day. He pushes the water into our system, and answers each request in His perfect timing. It's not an easy thing to understand. It's not an easy thing to trust.

Water is needed so that fruit can grow, not just temporary fruit, as in a normal tree, but lasting fruit. Psalm 1:3 says that this tree "yields its fruit in its season." The fruit looks so different for each an everyone one of us. We all have unanswered prayers, dreams, things we would like to come to pass. It's frustrating when those dreams don't come to fruition, even though we prayed and felt confident that the answer was a yes. It's frustrating when we find ourselves in a long season of waiting. Somethings are an easy yes or no, we complete a season, close a door, and walk into the next. But sometimes, we pray year after year and the answer doesn't come. We wait, oh so slowly for the lasting fruit to form. But still it doesn't come, or it comes quite different than we expected it to. I feel it in my own life. I see it in the lives of those I love. I don't have the answers. 

And so I continue to pray. Beseech. Thank the Lord that He is Jehovah-Jireh.  Our Provider. As the song goes, "Jehovah-Jireh, Our Provider, His Grace Is Sufficient For Me." I pray for my dear ones, that they would be encouraged and strengthened through the hard times. I pray that God would be alive in their lives, and that they would see Him move in amazing ways. I pray, and say with confidence that He will provide!

His grace is sufficient.

Yes, it is.

Today, and everyday. 



Deep Roots

Meg Chaney

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers
— Psalm 1:3, ESV

Last week I shared that my word of the year is PLANTED. We were studying Psalm 1 in our Ladies Bible Study at church, and the beautiful promise of verse 3, in particular, stuck with me. In a season of a lot of change, it's so comforting to be reminded that Jesus will always be there, through each move, each life-change. He stays the same, even when everything else change. Why? Because I'm firmly planted with Him as the foundation. Much like the tree, my roots run deep. It's, honestly, a continual process. It's learning, growing, changing, becoming more like Jesus each and every day. But it's so nice being reminded that, even when our earthly address changes, Jesus remains the same! He will follow us wherever we go. He knows the past, the present, and the future. He already has all the pieces of the puzzle figured out. 

In Psalm 1, we're compared a tree, planted by streams of water. This tree is alive, bearing fruit, being fed by the nearby stream. It doesn't die, but instead thrives! Its roots run deep, hold it in place, bring life giving nutrients up inside of it.

So what do deep roots look like in my own life?

I see myself as a tree that's still slowly growing. Still slowly learning how to dig my roots down deeper. Still learning to fill my life with good, life-giving things.

Such as?

Fellowship: spending time with my church family, being in Bible study with other ladies that can encourage me, lift me up in prayer, love on my children, live life with me.

Devotional Life: reading God's word, writing in the margins of my Bible, look up the meaning of words, taking what I read to heart.

Worship: singing praise song's as I go about my day, using them as a way to pray aloud to my Savior, asking Him to meet me in whatever mood I'm in, whatever struggles I may be facing that day. 

Prayer: Worship time is also prayer time for me. I've also been encouraged to spend more intentional time praying. Praying for my own needs, for the needs of others, even praying through the scriptures I read in my morning quiet time. This is definitely still an area that needs much growth in in my life. But I want to grow! I want be more intentional in this. 

All of these areas are slowly building roots in my life, slowly growing my faith in Jesus. It's a continual process, isn't it? It's often a check and balance, seeing an area that needs to be worked on, pruning off what doesn't belong, and growing good roots even deeper, even farther into the foundation, Jesus. 

The tree, it's a fascinating image. There's still so much more to be gleaned by it.

What comes to mind when you think of the image of the tree in Psalm 1:3? What do you think it means to be planted? 


Hello 2016!

Meg Chaney

I love the idea of picking a word for the year. Last year, I had two words. PEACE & BRAVE. Peace in my family, in the way we interacted, in whatever we might face during that year. And Brave. Brave in my writing, as I branched out and shared some very personal stories with the world. Brave as I tried new things. The word Brave was in a frame on my wall as a constant reminder to expand, try new things. And PEACE, the word peace came back around this past November and December. I wrote about it often and prayed that God's peace would be present during a really hard season in our lives. And it was. It's amazing how a word comes back around like that. PEACE began the year, and PEACE ended that same year. The PEACE at the beginning of the year had more to do with my relationship with my daughter. At four, we were having a rough time. She has blossomed and changed so much since then. Or maybe it's I who have grown and changed in the way I relate to her. Either way, I've seen such beauty this past year. At the end of the year, we faced health issues with a family member. Our world was stressful (honestly, still is), Christmas was wrought with hospital visits, financial decisions, and long, sleepless nights. But even there, peace resided. And now, we're starting to see some answers. Starting to see some glimmers of hope.

And so the question still remains, what is my 2016 word?

As I look ahead at this year, I know that there will be a lot of change. Just as things are getting easier with my daughter, my son is coming to an age where he's fighting back, asserting his independence, getting into his share of mischief and trouble. Those 2s, 3s,4s are upon us once again! 

This will be a year of moving. Once again we're pick up roots and plant ourselves in the next place the Air Force calls us to. I'm excited about this move. It will take us closer to family, and give us amazing new experiences as a family. I'm also sad, because I've loved our time here, the friends we've made here, and our church family most of all. This move will also be hard on my kiddos. My daughter doesn't really remember our last move. But this one, she will. I'm sure they'll both miss their friends. It will be exciting, yes, but also hard.

FRIENDSHIP GOALS: As I look toward our big move this year, I'm already praying for friendships. Friendships for my children, but also friendships for my husband and I. Kindred spirits. People to share life with, have over for game nights, trade babysitting for date nights. The Lord has always provided just the right friends for us in each place we've lived. These friendships often took different forms than I expected, but they filled a gap, a much needed place. And I know He will continue to do so. And so, I pray over the relationships up ahead. Because He already has the people in mind, even though we haven't even met yet. A pretty cool thought, isn't it?

WRITING GOALS: I'd really like to write more consistently. I'm always a mommy first, which greatly inhibits the amount of time I can pour into this. But I also don't want to be held back by fear. The lies that my brain has been telling me about not being enough, not even bothering because I don't have much time to devote to it. I'd love to keep pursuing new avenues. New directions for my writing. I started working on a fiction story last year, it's something I'd like to keep working on this year. Also, studying up on travel writing. And still spending time with, my heart, devotional writing. My heart will always be sharing my own brokenness, and how God works through the pieces. My goal in my writing this year would be clarity and focus. I honestly don't feel like I have the focus that I used to. I've grown accustomed to jumping around, doing a million things at once as a wife and mommy. I need to work on the art of focusing. Of creating a space where I can think, pray, and write.

READING GOALS: I read quite a bit last year, which was so nice! The kids and I are at the library almost weekly now. I love encouraging them in this, and I also love the relaxation that reading brings in my own life. It's wonderful. I participated in Modern Mrs. Darcy's Reading Challenge last year. I finished it in just over 6 months.  I also starting listening to audio books through I plan on keeping up with both this year! And continuing to review books on this blog :) More info on both will follow in future blog posts :) 

QUIET TIME GOALS:  I'm almost through with my 2015 Bible in a Year plan. I'm finishing up a few loose ends (Nehemiah, Esther & Acts). At the same time, I'm starting my first journaling Bible, I'm mostly just writing notes in it at this point, but some ladies out there are doing some pretty amazing things with their journaling Bibles (check out Shanna Noel: illustratedfaith. I really wanted to journal more this past year during that time, and didn't, so I'm thinking this new journaling Bible will help! I'd like to stay consistent in my devotional life this year, keep up the journaling, and spend more time in prayer. 

And now it's time for my word of the year!


One Word 2016 PLANTED(1).jpg
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
— Psalm 1:3, HCSB

PLANTED. The very opposite of how I feel. This military life leaves my family feeling so transient, so temporary. I see it even in the words I wrote above. This year will have so much change for our family. Another big move. New friendships, new schools, new church, new house. It will also be a big year of change for our extended family. We're still neck high in medical issues, and everything that entails. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the future. We just don't know. Life holds so much uncertainty. Only God knows the true number of our days.

That's why it's so important to remember that we're planted. We're planted firmly in His kingdom. He knows the root system. He's giving us the nutrients we need for each day. He is our true provider. We can't move anywhere or do anything that He doesn't already know about. 

Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
— Psalm 139:7-10, HCSB

He will follow us as we PCS and start over in a new place. In fact, He's already gone before us. Every day for our family has already been written out to completion. We are firmly planted, firmly rooted in Him, so really really have nothing to fear. There's so much else to take from this word, PLANTED. So much more for me to think about, pray about, write about on here. I hope you'll join me this year as I explore all the possibilities, meet all the challenges, see what God has to teach me through it all. 

What word for this year does God have on your heart?