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DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: What’s been neglected?

I noticed some guys working at a neighbor’s house the other day. They had come by to put out pine needles around his flowerbeds. I talked with them and asked if they sold pine needles, and the next day they brought me 10 bales. That was the motivation I needed to get to work on some much-neglected flowerbeds of my own.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

My wife and I love to grow things. Through the years we have put in a number of flower beds around our house. If I am completely honest with you, they get ahead of us. We spend time pulling weeds every year, but the weeds keep coming back.

With 10 bales of pine needles, I began working on the much-neglected flowerbeds. I started with a couple of the easy beds. Mom always taught me to tackle the hardest ones first, but I need a little success to push me forward. Once I saw how nice a couple of weed-free beds with their new pine needles looked, I was motivated to continue working on the harder ones.

Slowly, but surely, the neglected beds began to show their beauty once again. I did find some poison ivy, but worked around it and came back later to spray it. I finished the 10 bales and think I might order more. I want to keep pushing until all the beds are beautiful.

I believe that the flowerbeds can be symbolic of other things in all our lives that have been neglected. The first thing that pops in my mind is relationships.

I am trying to check in on some folks a little more often. Maybe Covid-19 has made all of us a little more aware of the preciousness of life. For some families, all the togetherness has been a bit of a struggle. But I really think it has helped some families reconnect in ways they may have never imagined.

I love hearing the stories of how neighbors are checking on neighbors. I grew up in a home where we always checked on our neighbors. If there was a storm or someone was in the hospital, we went to check on them. If someone passed, we made some food and went over to be with them. Covid-19 is bringing out some really great neighborly qualities in people.

The one relationship that is easy to neglect is the one with our Father in Heaven. Parents aren’t used to working from home and having the children go to school online. There are so many more distractions in our homes. We are watching more TV with our family. We are calling to check on our families. We are checking on our neighbors. Where do we fit time in with God?

One might imagine the opposite would be true. We aren’t fighting the commute to work. We don’t have to wrestle the kids out of bed to go to school. We’re home. There should be way more time to spend with God.

We are taking care of our physical needs and watching out for our emotions. But we are neglecting our spirits. We aren’t getting our spiritual shots in the arm from going to church on Sunday and Wednesday.

What do we do?

God loves you. He knows that life has been turned upside down. He knows that you are facing new stresses and distractions. God loves you. He doesn’t want to be that one more thing on your list to do before you go to bed. He doesn’t want you to feel guilty or ashamed. God loves you. God wants permission to come in and help you where you are right now.

As your Father, He wants to connect with you. In love, He wants to help you order your day and help take the stress away. His word will nourish your spirit and refresh your mind. He wants to help you navigate through this crazy time. He wants to draw you close. Just a few minutes with Him will change your perspective on your day, your situation and your life. He has the answers you need, if you will open your hearts to Him.

I want to encourage you to open your hearts and connect again to your Father in Heaven. He is on your side. He loves you more than you can imagine. He has the answers you need. He has the wisdom to deal with whatever you are facing.

He will comfort you and guide you through these turbulent times. He is the Prince of Peace, and I pray that you will open your hearts to His love, peace and comfort.

Contact Doug Creamer at doug@dougcreamer.com.