How God Created Hope Through A Gift Made of Wood

canstockphoto5566143It wasn’t the first time God has used a piece of wood to speak to me. Years ago, it was the story of His Son hanging on a tree, taking on all my sin, that gave me true hope for the first time in my life, resulting in eternal life. And an abundant one, too.

Part of the abundant life, I’m learning, is celebrating the small but creative ways God personally makes Himself known to us.

By now you know the unfolding story of our upcoming move, Lord willing, to the country. We believe He is leading us to a spacious {not in terms of square footage, but opportunities} place for His purposes and plans. For months, I’ve held fast to this⎯ to the point of purchasing rubber boots covered in chickens. Yes, chickens.

blogrobynBut we’re not the only couple on the move. About a month ago, Robyn, a sweet friend of mine, posted a picture of her holding a wooden cutout of our state on Facebook, revealing an upcoming move in their near future. I was encouraged by the picture. Thomas and Robyn’s smiling faces reflected their excitement and some of that enthusiasm naturally spilled over onto our story. I daydreamed about hanging our own SC cutout on a future wall, except our arrows would point upwards, towards the foothills of SC.

The following weekend was an especially discouraging one as the to-do’s seemed endless in this hundred-year-old house. For the first time, my steadfast chicken-clad boots slipped, and I felt despair trying its best to settle in and make itself at home.

Before daybreak on Monday, I asked God if He was still leading this move⎯that I was struggling to stay encouraged⎯almost to the point of questioning everything about it. Quite frankly, I asked Him to let me know in some way if we were still on the right track. {I have no problem asking my earthly dad if I need something so why would I hesitate to ask my heavenly Father, owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and keeper of every bird in the forest?} That quiet moment before daybreak wasn’t anything spiritually dynamic. It was simply a daughter asking her Daddy for an acknowledgment of His leading.

On Tuesday, the following day, Allison Martin, her two children, and sweet mom, Jane Green, drove over from Hickory NC for lunch. I’d not seen them since they attended our writer’s group years ago, or since Allison’s novel Finding Grace debuted in February. As soon as they pulled up in the nearby parking lot I walked over to greet them. We exchanged hugs while Allison continued pulling kiddo things out of the back of her vehicle. As she reached up to close the door she leaned over for one last thing. “Oh!” she said. “My husband handed this to me as we were leaving. He said to give it to my friend in SC.”  With that, she pulled out the loveliest handcrafted piece of art I’d ever seen. Her husband, Ryan, had used various colors and lengths of wood to piece together the shape of my state, South Carolina.

handcrafted SC wooden displayI was stunned, not remembering if I’d mentioned my desire to have one on Facebook after seeing Robyn’s picture. I asked Allison if she knew the story behind my wanting a SC cutout but neither she nor Jane knew what I was talking about. I could only smile.

At that moment I recognized the wooden gift exactly for what it was⎯a quiet, but creative, confidence booster from my Father. From His heart, through Ryan’s gifted hands and Allison’s willingness to deliver it, God spoke fresh hope into my heart with this gift made of wood, much like he did in 1989.

I’m not sure where you find yourself today but I want to encourage you by reminding us both that the ultimate source of all hope is found in the person of Jesus alone. And through Jesus, and His sacrifice, we have access to the Creator. Not a pie-in-the-sky kind of Creator but One who knows and meets our deepest needs, as well as our smallest ones.

Is there some way I can pray for you, or someone you know, who is in need of hope today? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section, or if it’s something you’d prefer not to post, that’s fine too. Simply fill out your contact information above under the tab “Contact”.

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. Psalm 50:10,11



If you want to check out my chicken boots from Tractor Supply {thanks for the heads up, Melody Crawford!}…








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Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Moonlit Sunroof

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 10 }

Our conversation lingered as stone gray clouds shuffled by in a show-like manner. The moon was full and bright, no doubt the star of the show. 

The discussion, while weighty, was uplifting as my sweet friend pointed me to the One we’d just studied in the company of other God-seekers. 

Pulling out of her driveway, I hit the magic button allowing the sunroof to open, inviting warm Fallish breezes and moonlight to accompany me on my ride home. Suddenly, going from point A to point B became an exhilarating connection to God’s creation, reminding me that the same God who set the universe in motion is the same God who cares about me, about you, and every detail in between. 

by Ainsley Allmark @DolphinDancer

Staying in Step with the Spirit: Connecting with God often happens in the most unexpected places. Let’s open our eyes to ordinary times and places, asking God to ignite our senses. Soak them in, see God’s goodness, and delight in the One we call Father. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for making the ordinary extraordinary.

I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the
stars, which You have ordained; – See more at:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…  Psalm 8:3

#Write31Days past posts:

{ Day 1 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Our Senses
{ Day 2 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Less Clutter 
{ Day 3 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Healthy Relationships 
{ Day 4 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via God’s Creation
{ Sunday }
{ Day 6 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Specific Prayer 
{ Day 7 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Soul Search

Three Tangible Ways To Encourage Someone Today

Perhaps you remember my post When Wonder Taps on Your Window from last summer?

In it, I shared how an older woman tapped on my car window at the least expectant moment. I’d not seen her in years but she quickly filled the gap with questions. It went something like this: Cathy,
do you remember the basket you made for me and Keith? (Her husband
was terminally ill at the time.) You had little gifts in it and each one
had a Scripture verse that matched the gift. Some women in my church
would like to start making the same baskets for hurting people in our
church. Could you write those down for me?

Below are a few of the gifts that were tucked in Keith’s basket that day. Each includes a suggested tag along with a Scripture verse.

  • A pocket-pack of
    Kleenex (Pier One has colorful options for less than a dollar.) Taped to the pack, a tag read: Not one of your tears has gone unnoticed by
    your heavenly Father. He cares…and so do I. You have kept count of my wanderings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
  • Mini-loaf of bread.
    Tied with a pretty ribbon, the tag read: Jesus, the bread of
    Life, is the source for all your needs — emotionally, physically, and
    spiritually. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
  • Votive candle. I dropped the votive in a small
    clear bag and tied the top with a simple cord or ribbon, with a tag that read: You’re not alone during this difficult time. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Know someone in need of a little encouragement this week? The gifts above are practical and inexpensive but they point to an extravagant Love. 

If you have an idea to add to the list, I’d love to hear more. To God be the glory!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father
of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Tiny House on the Hill

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