Maple Alps

Faith

On Adding Value

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

The other night, my husband turned to me and said the sweetest thing:

“You add value to my life.”

It really got me thinking. I’m always trying to be intentional about what I add to my life, but am I intentional about what I add to the lives of those around me?

I’d like to think that that I always try to be considerate and intentional with my interactions, but sometimes it’s easy to let our words or behaviour slip through the cracks. Today, I want to explore a few broad guidelines to keep in mind when interacting with others intentionally that will help you add value to their lives.

On Adding Value to Others | www.maplealps.com

Consider Your Words

This may be obvious, but being careful of the words we choose is important. Do we inspire and encourage, or do we mock and tear down? Are our words too few or too many? Are we too quick to speak or accuse?

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19, ESV)

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 17:5, ESV)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

(1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.(Proverbs 17:28, ESV)

 

Consider Your Actions

Think about your actions and interactions. What we DO is louder than what we SAY. How do we treat others and how might they perceive our actions? How do we act even when we don't think others are watching (by the way, someone is always watching). Do our actions stem from our hearts - or do we just "act good" without having our heart in it?

Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5, ESV)

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25, ESV)

 

Consider Service

What do we do for others that can add value to their lives? It could be as simple as a smile, a hug, a cup of tea. Maybe some time together sharing that cup of tea. Do we meet greater needs too? Do we have an ear that listens, an eye that pays attention to basic needs that need to be met...simple consideration for others? We may tell someone that Jesus loves them, but do we show them Jesus' love?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, ESV)

 

Consider Everything

What you put into your life, you’ll get [and give] out. I think I'll just let Paul finish off this one:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

 

How do others add value to your life? How do you try adding value to others?


 

Finding God In Your Every Season

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)

 

I have had many seasons in my life. My guess is, so have you. I’m not talking Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall - though we’ve likely all experienced our share of these. My favourite thing about God is that everything He does has a purpose - down to the times of the year. We see object lessons if we look, and amazing truths can be discovered. The same could be said in each season we find ourselves in.

In the last 4 years alone, I’ve found myself in so many different ones: as unemployed, as a graduate student in a city where I knew no one, as a newlywed pastor’s wife and homemaker, as a part-time teacher’s aide, and now as a full-time teacher juggling many responsibilities. This one is extremely busy. Each season has been trying in their own way and some were even satisfying and fulfilling, but in every one of them, I’ve come to learn that true contentment that comes only from the Lord. I have also learned that even though it is difficult at times to see, God is in every season.

Each differs and some seasons last longer than others, but one thing remains constant; the love of God and the fact that we need Him. How amazing that God wants to be near us in everything we go through!

Finding God In Your Every Season | www.maplealps.com

In seasons of closeness with God, delight in Him and savour His presence (see Psalm 37:4).

In seasons of doubt and drought, remember the delight you found in God’s presence, and cling to Him (see Psalm 77:11).

In seasons of busy-ness, find quiet times to be restored. Remember that your life exists not without the Creator (see Isaiah 40:28).

In seasons of God-gifted love, remember that God is Love, and we can only love the way He loves when we love Him with our whole heart (see 1 John 4:8).

In seasons of hunger, remember that Jesus is the bread of life (see John 6:35).

In seasons of disappointment, rely not on your feelings. The heart is deceptive...who can know it (see Jeremiah 17:9)? Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

In seasons of uncertainty, hold fast to the promise that God is the same yesterday, today and forever (see Hebrews 13:8).

In seasons of searching, seek for the Lord (see Deuteronomy 4:29)!

In seasons of longing, remember that God is the strength of your heart (see Psalm 73:26).

In seasons of shame, remember that Christ restores (see Psalm 51).

In seasons of contentment, thank God for His many blessings, and share them with others (see Psalm 9:1)!

In seasons of discontent, remember that God will never leave you and is all that you need (See Hebrews 13:5).

In seasons of discouragement, remember that God’s grace is sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

In seasons of confusion, remember the truth will set you free (see John 8:32).

In seasons of anxiety, remember that God has everything under control (see Matthew 6:25-34).

In seasons of joy, rejoice! This is the day the Lord has made! (see Psalm 118:24).


 

What seasons are you experiencing in your life right now?


 

Blessings to Ponder in the Springtime

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

One of my favourite things about nature is that the lessons it teaches us about God are literally endless. I’ve heard nature being called God’s second book, and I can truly see why - the more I learn about the things of nature, the more I see God’s creative hand in it, and the more I see how intentional He truly is. What an amazing Creator.

In just the Spring alone, for example, so many beautiful Bible promises come to life every day just walking outside.

Blessings to Ponder in the Springtime | www.maplealps.com



When I smell the rain, I think of the blessings God wants to pour down.


Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;

   his going out is sure as the dawn;

he will come to us as the showers,

   as the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3, ESV)



For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

   and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,

   and my blessing on your descendants. (Isaiah 44:3, ESV)



When I smell flowers, I think of how God takes care of me.



And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin (Matthew 6:28, ESV)



When I hear the birds singing, I want to sing praises to the Creator.


Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! (Luke 12:28, ESV)


“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32, ESV)


When I see the trees growing back their leaves, I think of the blessings I am continually receiving.

And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Genesis 9:3b, ESV)

…Let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy (Psalm 96:12)

When I hear the water rushing again after being frozen, I think of God’s provision for us.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

   they flow between the hills;

they give drink to every beast of the field;

   the wild donkeys quench their thirst. (Psalm 104 10, 11, ESV)



they shall not hunger or thirst,

   neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,

for he who has pity on them will lead them,

   and by springs of water will guide them. (Isaiah 49:10, ESV)



And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17b, ESV)


When I see blue skies above or the twinkling skies in the clear nights, I can’t help but praise the Lord!


The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1, ESV)



When I see and smell the new buds springing, I think of the newness that God wants to bring to my life too!

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19, ESV)

maple alps
 

What blessings do you ponder in the Springtime?


 

Will I Be Still?

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

We live in a noisy world.

A few months ago, as I sat at my desk to work, I became aware of the theme from Family Feud playing. I knew that it was Family Feud because I used to watch it with my siblings growing up (an unimportant detail). I realized it couldn’t be coming from our little apartment, since we owned no TV or loudspeakers, and I was home alone. The floor started vibrating from the intense frequencies, and it clicked that it was our downstairs neighbors, who often had the TV volume turned all the way up (or at least it sounded that way).

I relocated to my husband’s empty office, and not seconds after getting myself comfortable in his cushy swivel chair, a car alarm sounded—ringing through the air for a good amount of time before being shut off. A truck then sped out of the neighboring community. I hope whoever it was wasn’t trying to be stealthy because the whole block heard them.

I thought that just maybe, it was now my turn. My turn to have silence. However, people across the way started shouting, and a convenience store truck (I didn’t even know those existed) started driving around wailing, “The Entertainer” out of its built-in speakers. The downstairs neighbors started wrestling elephants, and an exceptionally long train drove by. Judging from the duration of the tones, I’m guessing that every train car had its own horn to toot.

We live in a noisy world - or at least I do.

 

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Worried Sapling

Faith, Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple Alps8 Comments

Today we continue with Intentionality Spotlight! Similar to Women of Intention, different bloggers will be featured in an interview style. Unlike Women of Intention, the focus will be more on their blogs themselves, as well as an area of intentionality in their life.

I am excited to invite Callie of Worried Sapling to talk with us today.

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Worried Sapling | www.maplealps.com

 

First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, passions, and interests?

I’m Callie, an English teacher, graduate student, rambler, jogger, and reader. I’m passionate about all things English-related (including English Language Learner education!), learning to be passionate about healthful living, and uh…an overly detailed long list of over things. I’m intensely interested in blessing others in tangible ways, too. I think Jesus has given me gifts in writing, speaking, and teaching, so I try to use those often!

 

I'm so glad you started a blog so I can enjoy your writing regularly! How did you come to begin Worried Sapling, and what is your goal for it as a blog? Did you always intend this to be your blog’s focus?

Well, thanks! I have General Anxiety Disorder with Panic, and I could never find balanced resources on it—I either needed to meditate and take lots of medication, or I just needed to “pray it away.” Though all three of those options can be part of the answer, I don’t feel like it answers it completely. I believe the Bible holds the answers to many anxieties because I’ve found much of my anxiety is rooted in unhealthy thinking patterns.

People with mental illnesses are largely overlooked and marginalized within the Christian context, and I think this has a lot to do with ignorance and fear. In Worried Sapling, I try to show the vulnerable side of anxiety while also explaining my experience so people can grasp it. There are a lot of devotionals, too, and principles of healthy relationships; relationships are a huge source of anxiety for me, so it goes along with the overall theme.

 
Worried Sapling | www.maplealps.com
 

I wanted to write a book before a blog occurred to me (still working on that book…). I was actually going to make a teacher blog; but once I started framing my content, I realized it was overwhelmingly anxiety and mental health related. After my initial launch, I was overwhelmed with the positive response I received by both people with anxiety and those without it! I was not expecting that. I thought only my mom would read it (haha!). I’m just thankful that my ramblings have blessed people.

 

 
Worried Sapling | www.maplealps.com
 

I love how you write so passionately and intentionally about your faith and the lessons you learn from everyday life. How do you draw parallels from your life into spiritual lessons? Does this come easily to you, or did it/does it take practice?

Honestly, it comes pretty easy to me. I see life through a filter of patterns and principles, and the blog posts generally reflect that. I’m a sucker for object lessons, parables, parallels, and “moral of the story.” It’s definitely become easier with practice, though, and I notice that I start to lose the filter when I’m not writing as regularly. But in general, I just live life, talk to Jesus about the life, and principles and patterns emerge through prayerful reflection. The hardest part is writing it down. Anxiety makes it hard to be productive (actually working on a blog post about that right now!)

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Worried Sapling | www.maplealps.com
 

What is one specific area in your life you find that intentionality is critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

HEALTH. Mental, physical, spiritual, social, emotional…all of it. I exercise intentionality, especially in physical and mental health. When I’m not physically healthy—regularly exercising, eating balanced meals, sleeping 8 hours, and drinking mucha agua—my mental health deteriorates, and then everything is thrown. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. I also need intentional mental space for myself: silent, alone time, time to read, time to write, time to breathe. Without these two, I can get nothing done. Having GAD, I still have anxiety attacks sometimes, but they are largely managed by self-care and prayer.

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Worried Sapling | www.maplealps.com


 

If you could give one piece of advice about this to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

"The reason you feel so awful is because you need to fuel and move your body." I laugh at myself thinking of how terribly I was treating my body and yet wondering why I felt tired, irritable, and just…awful. Oh, man. Praise God for healthy living. But this affected my anxiety so much, too! Everyone’s anxiety is different and requires different solutions, but mine is deeply rooted in intentionally taking care of myself.

 

Find Callie at her website, Worried Sapling and on Instagram