Ruth Chou Simons is a friend who gently encourages and reminds me to live with purpose and intention every day. She began sharing her artwork on social media while searching for God’s grace laced throughout her days. With each stroke of the brush, she learned that when you take time to record your grateful thoughts, and when you plan your days with purpose, you sow seeds of life into the very soil of your heart. Her new books GraceLaced Seasons and GraceLaced 17-month Planner help you reap the harvest of your heart as you learn to live with intention in seasons of pause and of plenty. Ruth’s work continually points me to grateful appreciation and deeper understanding of our Creator and the craftsmanship of His hand. It’s a grace to welcome Ruth to the farm’s front porch today…
You are a gardener, you know.
From sunup to sundown, you work to cultivate a thriving garden.
Maybe you have packets of mothering seeds,
some marriage-building seeds,
or even some enterprising seeds.
You have big hopes and dreams, but the soil you have to work with may not be as yielding as you had imagined.
Perhaps the lines in this season for you have not fallen in pleasant places, as the psalmist says for himself:
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6)
But are rather marked by trials and affliction.
You look over the fence and see the array of color and beauty in your neighbor’s garden while your hand is to the plow, working to break through the soil of your own.
Do you remember the story of Joseph in the Old Testament—how he was mistreated, falsely accused, forgotten, and made to wait? Thirteen years wrongly imprisoned and a total of 22 years before he was reconciled with his betraying brothers.
Joseph knew what it felt like to not know resolution, not see justice, not see his life in bloom the way he had envisioned.
I’ve been finding comfort in Joseph’s story lately (if you haven’t read Genesis 42–50 recently, you should!), and it has brought assurance to a season of pain and impossible situations in my own life.
As I read these chapters, it’s easy to assume the climax of Joseph’s story is his brothers seeking forgiveness at the end, because that’s what we long for—glorious blooms.
But that wasn’t the lesson the Lord taught Joseph.
Instead, Joseph focused on the sovereignty of God at work in the midst of his prolonged suffering.
He rested in God’s purposes when he could have been bitter toward his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20 NLT).
Joseph fixed his eyes on the ultimate purpose of his affliction: to know the Lord’s faithfulness to accomplish His will in and through a life dependent on Him.
“For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52 NKJV).
You see, the colorfully dazzling bloom is only one part of anyone’s story.
Blooms are not the only way to see God’s faithfulness.
He is actively growing you, friend, while you sow within the hard soils of affliction.
You don’t have to be blooming to be growing, so don’t give up.
God demonstrating His glory through your dependency is your real story, and He’s writing it day by day through deepening roots and newly formed buds.
Blooms will come because He’s faithful to finish what He begins in us:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring
it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
But even if you don’t see it today, take heart.
Your land of affliction is the very ground the Lord is using for your good and His glory.
Ruth Chou Simons is an artist, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. As author of the bestselling book GraceLaced and creator of the popular GraceLaced online shoppe, blog, and Instagram community, she shares scriptural truths daily through her hand-painted artwork and words. Ruth and her husband, Troy, live on the western slope of Colorado and are grateful parents to six sons—their greatest adventure.
GraceLaced Seasons provides encouraging Scripture and beautiful art to help you delve deeper into the GraceLaced experience. You will find plenty of space to record your sincere thoughts, humble gratitude, and heartfelt prayers. Each guided question is crafted to lead you through Ruth’s stunning bestseller, GraceLaced, to experience how each day becomes a reason to pour praise out to your Creator.
Approach each new day with purpose with the GraceLaced 17-month Planner.
Led by truth from God’s Word, it will help you organize your schedule and embrace the changing seasons of your heart.
With ample space to focus your intentions each week, and room to record your prayers and favorite verses, this carefully crafted planner will help you practice everyday faithfulness as you find God’s grace laced through each day.
[ Our humble thanks to Harvest House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]