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Live Out Spring



I woke one April morning to the gentle rays of the sun on my face, whispering wordless greetings as only the sun can do. My window was open, and a breeze stirred in the curtains. It was one of the year’s first spring mornings: a quiet glory and deep joy. I whispered back to it as I rolled out of bed. Bless the day. Bless the God who made it.

Winter was cold this year, and dreadfully long. Through the dragging days of January I waited for spring with a yearning I don’t remember feeling before. The change in seasons came slowly, breaking over the land with subtly lengthening days, warm winds, and rainfall. But it came. And as I never quite grow accustomed to spring, I rose every morning of the season with thanks for it.

Spring is an especially holy season, because the goodness of God is manifested in it. "Manifest" is a wonderful old word: it means "to reveal; show; display." In Lystra, the apostle Paul spoke to the Gentiles about the God they thought they didn’t know: "He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17).

Goodness is not always easy to define. What does it mean that God is "good"? Goodness is far more than a lack of evil. It’s creative and powerful. The warmth of the sun is a revelation of God’s goodness. New life, full stomachs, and feelings of well-being and optimism: these manifest the goodness of God. Gentle rains, cool air, delicate flowers: these blessings are not mere scientific phenomena. They are God’s goodness in a form we can all understand. Goodness in a form we can touch, smell, see, and hear.

As a woman, I want to show God’s goodness just as spring does. When the Lord redeemed me and made His child, He also called me to walk out His beauty. I’m not called to do good works because they will earn me favor or make me holy, but because the good things I do may allow others to touch, smell, see, and hear the reality of God.

A Life of Hidden Things

In Scripture, God often compares His people to a vineyard or garden. When I consider how much time the average gardener invests in his garden, I’m honored and awestruck by this comparison. I am a garden which God has purchased with His own blood, and He has never ceased to treasure or invest in me. Every nuance and circumstance of my life has a place in His plans. He is planting hidden things in me so that they may one day bloom.

When we think of doing "good works," we naturally put pressure on ourselves to get out there and make things happen. However, truly good works are not about human actions and efforts. Good works come from God’s planting in us, and they’re designed to reveal His goodness.

Spring is all about revealing hidden things. Throughout the winter, seeds lay dormant. In spring, they answer the call of the sun and burst forth. Animals sleep as though dead; now they awaken to life again. Within days, land that was empty and covered with snow is green and pulsing with life.

My life with God is full of such secrets. Since the day I began to walk with Him, God has been busy planting seeds in my heart. As I read and meditate on His word, its truth sends roots deep into my soul. In circumstances and relationships, the Father tills the soil of my heart and plants His seeds there. Seeds of affection. Seeds of understanding. Seeds of skill, knowledge, and love.

True fruit grows out of a deep-rooted relationship with the Father. In every circumstance, God is actively working the soil of my life. He has His own secrets for me to reveal. Even in the winter days, He is preparing me for spring. When the opportunity comes, the hidden things He has given me may touch someone else, opening their eyes to the truth that God is alive, God is working, and God is good.

A Fruitful Life

Paul once wrote to women not to adorn themselves with flashy clothing that would draw attention to their physical beauty, but to dress themselves every morning in good works (see 1 Tim. 2:9-10). This isn’t for my sake, but for His! My concern shouldn’t be so much with my own glory, but with the glory of the God who made me.

When God urges me to be clothed in good works, He isn’t pointing to an approved list of activities which will make me godly—work at the soup kitchen, read my Bible, lead a prayer group, sing in the choir. Instead, He’s urging me to let the goodness He has shown me flow out to others. He’s telling me to be His spring: to let all the seeds He’s planted in my heart grow and show others how good He is.

This isn’t about programs at all. I can show God’s goodness when I hug a crying child. I can show it by relieving a tired mother. His kindness is made manifest when I listen to an outcast. His wisdom is shown when I share the words of the Bible with someone who needs truth. These works needn’t exhaust me or impress others. They need only show God’s goodness by bringing some warmth, some comfort, and some love into places that have been cold and barren. And I can only give these things because God has first given them to me.

As a woman, I’m especially called to good works that are wrapped up in relationships. In the career world, goals and accomplishments reign supreme. But women weren’t made to collect trophies and garner awards. We’ve been relationally centered right from the beginning. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, but Eve was taken from the body of man. Women were created in the cradle of love and relationship.

That’s a marvelous heritage. I was created to nurture, to love, to support, to help. A woman in right relationship to God and others is a marvelous testimony to the greatness and gentleness of the Lord. She brings glory to God and strength to those around her. I want to live that sort of life: one that is truly green and growing with the hidden things of God made manifest.

Burst Forth Into Spring

God has abundantly blessed my life. I can feel His goodness in the warmth of the sun and see it in the blueness of the sky. It is manifested to me most fully in my salvation, for God’s own Son has given His life to secure mine. I know His goodness in His laws and moral standards, which make life holy, right, and joyous.

As God has done so much for me, I want to live a life full of good works that will show His goodness to others. God has planted specific seeds in my heart. He does not mean them to remain dormant, but to burst forth into spring. Through the fruit I bear, I can show others what has become so real to me: that God is really, truly, deeply good.

This is my calling, and yours also. To show the world who God is through the simplest of good works and words—to live out the goodness of God as spring does.

Rachel Starr Thomson is the author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord’s Prayer, Letters to a Samuel Generation: The Collection, and the fantasy epic Worlds Unseen. She lives with her family of fourteen in southern Ontario where she reads, studies, writes, worships, and drinks tea. Visit her online at

Rachel Starr Thomson is the author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer, Letters to a Samuel Generation: The Collection, and the fantasy epic Worlds Unseen. She lives with her family of fourteen in southern Ontario where she reads, studies, writes, worships, and drinks tea. Visit her online at

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When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.



One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.



“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.



Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Live Out Spring

by Rachel Starr Thomson time to read: 5 min