The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

 

This is the 3rd book in the Ada House Series.   I have read the first one but have not read the 2nd one.   At the beginning of the book it had a short synopsis of the first two books.   It was perfect and just right to let give me an idea about what happened in the 2nd book without giving too much information!  I really appreciated the author including this.  I didn’t’ feel left out at all!  I can also go back and read the second book and not feel I did so out of line.

Sylvia Fischer isn’t the norm for a housekeeping, sewing, cooking Amish woman. She shows great skill in helping her father manage the family dairy. She is content to care for the cattle and be with her beloved family.  The surprising unfaithfulness of her beau and her continued attraction to him drives her away from her family.  She does the unusual for a young Amish woman and finds a job many miles away from her home helping an elderly couple revive their failing dairy farm.   Her new life seems perfect until their prodigal son returns home from an alcohol rehab with plans to sale the farm and move his parents to town with him.   

Aaron Blank’s homecoming stirs many conflicts for the family and Sylvia. There were points in the story where it appeared there could be no resolution to the problems.  Ms. Woodsmall beautifully illustrates it is always darkest before the dawn and that with God, all things are possible. Sometimes I saw myself in Sylvia and Aaron  when in periods of my life I became so focused on my plans that I had no room for God’s.  I felt their feeling of hopelessness and frustration that resisting God brings.  I was also reminded of how God’s plans are always better than the best plans we can imagine for ourselves. I found myself gripping the book tightly in suspense as it looked like all the progress the characters had made would be lost. 

This is a beautiful story of how God can work to soften the hardest hearts and right the worst misunderstandings with His grace and forgiveness.

Another outstanding book by Cindy Woodsmall!  This is a wonderful series and I hope there are more!

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

 

 

BLOOMING LATE! by Narita Roady

With spring coming, our thoughts are toward the beauty of blooming flowers and budding plants.  Depending on the weather, some things may bloom late.  Sometimes people are late bloomers.  What does the phrase, “late bloomer” mean to you?  For some folks it refers to a new lease on health and vitality.  For others it could mean an heretofore unused, unknown skill or talent.  It might even refer to fulfilling a dream later in life such as an education or a new interest. Yes, something somewhere within, that was previously undiscovered or experienced, springs forth with renewed strength and life . .  . alas, not so for me. (*Sigh*) Yes, there was an area in my life where I was a late bloomer, but it wasn’t impressive, exciting, nor did it reek with accomplishment.  For me, being a late bloomer meant . . .  a wart.  (*Sigh*)Yes, at the mature (?) age of 37, I acquired my very first wart!
This is an experience most have put behind them in grade school!  At the age of 39 I still had my first wart!
My mother quit documenting outstanding accomplishments in by baby book when I was about 8 years old, so this earth shattering event was not recorded.  I spent close to $50 on liquids and pads to remove my little companion. (This was to save $25 in the doctor’s office.) Yet all was at loss. . .my little wart stayed with me.  I was amazed at the great persistence it had shown in remaining.
I began to think, what if I had shown the same persistence as my wart in my prayer life over a period of 2 years?  What many wonders would God have wrought in my life and the lives of those around me?      If I had applied the perseverance of my tiny pal to my Bible reading for an interval of 2 years, I would have gleaned such knowledge and wisdom that my life would have been transformed!
If two years of the same dogged determination as my little buddy had been applied to being a wife and mother pleasing to God, my marriage and family would have shown major fruit!  Two years of my small comrade’s diligence applied to any area of my Christian life, would have cultivated awesome changes!
Sad to say, one of the areas I lacked the persistence I needed was in applying the medication to remove the wart!  In the beginning not even Custard attacked the Indians with the zeal that I attacked this pesky little fiend!!  It would seem to weaken and wane, but it’s persistence was greater than mine.  Back and forth we fought, each, I’m sure, thinking from time to time to have won the victory.  However, due to my lack of consistency AND persistence, my first wart remained with me for 2 years!  It was bad enough to be a late bloomer, but to be outsmarted by a wart!  That was a low blow!  I finally surrendered and went to the doctor to end our “partnership”.     Not all was lost (except about $100), I did learn a valuable lesson – PERSISTENCE PAYS!  When you feel weak, defeated, and almost extinct, CONTINUE ON and you will win! Whether your battle is with bad habits, spiritual warfare, discouragement, whatever it is, NEVER GIVE UP!  Your diligence will keep you in the battle!  As long as you’re in the battle, you have a chance to win!  If a common wart with no brain can endure, can’t I?  Can’t you?  I decided, after all, a late bloomer like me doesn’t have to be a slow learner too!
“For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
“For light our affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-17
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galations 6;9
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1998

GIVE UNTO OTHERS by Narita Roady

Once a very rich merchant passed away and left his estate to a group of friends.  The instructions in his will, however, directed them to give to his only son that which they wished.  They took it to mean that the son should get only what they decided to give him.  The estate was worth $300,000.  They met and discussed the matter.  It was decided that they would give the son $10,000.  When their decision was made known, the lawyer in charge of the will replied, “Dear sirs, I am afraid that you have misunderstood.”  He went on to explain that they had obviously felt it was their decision to give the son whatever they decided.  In reality, the will stated that whatever they wished for, the son would get.  They wished for themselves, $290,000 and therefore, that is what the son got– what they wished for themselves!

Their selfishness had boomeranged on them!    How often do we act like the friends, in selfishness? It is a sad case that many Christians today have become a member of the, me first, generation.  They want the best for themselves, especially in the way others treat them, but they never think of how they treat others.  Churches, families, business’s and friendships are hurt by their greed to be treated the best and have the best.  Scripture tells us the solution to this problem:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselvesPhilippians 2:3

Let us examine ourselves to see if we are desiring the best for ourselves, and giving the worst to others.  Do we want others to forgive us when we fail, but we hold grudges and grow bitter against even the lesser failures of others?

Do we expect others to be tolerant of us in spite of our faults and failures, but we are harsh and critical, quick to point out their weaknesses and shortcomings? . . .Thou shalt love  thy neighbor as thyselfGalations 5:14

Do we demand that others be kind in their words and actions to us, but we think nothing of being hateful and sarcastic to them?  How often do we expect others to help us in our time of need and care, but we are too busy to do the same for them when trials come in  their life?

Do we expect others to speak well of us at all times, yet we think nothing of criticizing and speaking ill of them?    When we feel others are not treating us as they should, maybe we have chosen this by giving others less than we should. When in reality, we are getting what we wished for them!

This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:12-13

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1997