Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Living in His Word and Engaging in His Gifts ~ Guest Post by Jemma OIson

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

NOTE:  ALL of the lovely Scripture art in this post was created by Jemma!
Such a wonderful blessing and compliment to her beautiful writing!

Thank you, Cheryl, for this opportunity to share a part of my heart on "Living in His Word."

Cheryl and I are longtime blogging friends. Cheryl’s steadfast testimony and love of the Lord enriches the lives of so many of us. So, when Cheryl invited me to share my personal story on how I am coping with the season of the 2020 pandemic and what it is that is keeping me encouraged, I felt a calling to share my faith with you.

I have good news to share with each one of you today. If you are reading this then we are already brothers and sisters in Christ! So, hello and thank you for taking a moment to read how I fill up my cup through faith.

You see, I have what I call a "tool belt" of faith. It is loaded down with tools of inspiration and tried and true coping skills that I use daily. Today, I am going to share three of my tools with you and how it all began.

It was along the banks of the rushing Snake River where my Mother and Father began their farming journey. Mother and Father were hard working farmers in rural Idaho with tool belts of their own, both figuratively and literally. These two precious souls have always been the early foundation of my faith. They led their lives by example and hard work under the blue skies of the West. Mama and Dad instilled in me that God is present in every plant that grows and every pink sunrise and that the bounty of the harvest was because of Him.  It was this firm foundation, combined with Church service, Sunday School, Youth Group, and Mama’s general daily dose of living in the Word that has lived in my heart for 63 years. My heart overflows with love and gratitude for these two.

We all know that life is never easy, but God is always present. 

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

I have survived cancer, sent my Sister, Dad, and Mom to heaven and navigated through verbal and emotional abuse that ended in divorce.
Through all of these heartbreaks and life lessons, I have never ever gone through life alone. I may have felt lonely, but I was never abandoned. I receive great comfort in knowing that I have my Heavenly Father to walk with.

So as God walks right beside me and teaches me (and I am not an easy gal to teach…I am stubborn!)  I am sharing with you three handy dandy life skills that I tuck in what I call my "tool belt" for life.

1. Living in His Word daily and staying out of the world.

I am going to share one of my Mama’s favorite scriptures today.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15

This is the first tool in my Christian tool belt; stay in the Word daily and out of the world. I was too gullible in my early years and I pretty much believed what everyone told me, I just couldn’t fathom why folks would have an agenda that wasn’t for the betterment of mankind. In our tiny farming family, it was all for one and one for all. We were a small but collective group of farmers who loved Jesus and tended to business. I have since learned that not everyone we meet, not everything we read, not everything we see is for our good. We have one true playbook for life and that is the Bible. By staying in the Word and out of the world, I guard my heart and mind from the evil that lurks around us.

I believe the Bible is as relevant today as at any time throughout history. I believe it was written by divine inspiration and that Jesus is the Messiah. 

When I focus on what I know to be true, humanity cannot permeate the love of Jesus and His perfect plan for each one of us. He really does have us covered!

2. Remain Steadfast in Daily Routines and Prayer
"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life." Psalm 143:8  

Daily routines and spending time with the Lord are essential for me. My mind remains clear and my heart remains open to receive goodness and the truth. Of course, it can vary some each day, depending upon family needs. The good news is that God knows my heart and intentions; He will cut me some slack and values quality over quantity!

So, when the pandemic first began to get really noticed, two of my children and their families and myself had just met for a family ski trip in Vail, Colorado. Needless to say, all routines had gone out the door and my quiet reflective devotionals had, too. We were scrambling to gather everyone up, checking into the resort… then as fast as we arrived, the trip was cut short because the ski resort shut down due to the pandemic scare.  We hurriedly put one family on a plane, loaded up SUV’s, and sent another family back to Texas. I headed back down from the mountains to Colorado Springs.

 Once I arrived home, my husband helped to unload the SUV, and I headed straight for the grocery store…that had been wiped out of nearly everything. I felt I was spinning out of control, and I felt sick at heart.  I reined myself in, purchased what I could, went home, prayed, and began resuming my daily routines. God was waiting for me with His unfailing love!

3. Engaging in His Gifts.

"I Come to The Garden Alone," my favorite hymn and my sweet Mama’s, too.

“I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses, 
And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
 And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; 
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” 
C. Austin Miles 

It is no accident that I not only love to garden, but I also enjoy spending time in the garden. This is one of the gifts that the Lord has placed on my heart and in my soul.

As a nature lover and avid gardener, I see the beauty, power, strength, and love of the Lord in everything He created. 

I see His perfect plan in the mountains, pines, flowers, and birds, and I know in my heart that He truly has the whole world in His hands. This is the gift that our sweet Lord gave to my parents as they worked their wheat fields of gold. Figuratively speaking, this was their garden, and now I have mine. 

There in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus sought much-need comfort and solace with His Father in a time of pain and sadness. Today our world hurts, our fellow citizens are afraid—some lonely, some sick. My prayer today is for full healing for our world and for all of Christ’s people.

Bio:  I'm Jemma, a homemaker and a long time home-style crafter, gardener, cook, wife and Mom.

I blog at At Home with Jemma where you will find a collection of crafts, decorating ideas, recipes, gardening tips, and articles on living with Faith, mindfulness and creativity. 

I share valuable methods for creating the home that you will love. My focus is on incorporating a positive mindset into daily living, combined with a dash of organization and a pinch of humor and of course crafty goodness!

Such beautiful, sweet encouragement for our souls from dear Jemma!  Please visit her beautiful blog and subscribe!  You can also connect with her on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  I was so blessed and encouraged today and by all of the other wonderful posts of encouragment that have been shared.  I want to say another public thank you to ALL of the faithful ones who have encouraged us during this trying time.  God has surely used each and every post to minister healing and solace to our hearts.

How are YOU coping with the pandemic, dear reader?  How is your faith in God sustaining you through it all?  Will you prayerfully consider writing an article of encouragement to share?  We are continuing to open up our platform here to spread more good news and messages of hope and peace!  Please let us hear from you!  Just send your article to  We hope to hear from you soon!

And, now for Jemma's and her Mama's favorite hymn.

In the Garden ~ Alan Jackson

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  1. What words of comfort and inspiration you have shared with us today, Jemma! Thank you so much, and know I'll be checking out your blog.
    Blessings to you and to Cheryl!

    1. Martha,
      I so appreciate these kind and caring words. It was my joy to be able to write straight from my heart.
      Knowing that we are all share in the love of the Lord is such a gift.
      Blessings to you!

    2. Wasn't Jemma's post just wonderful? SO uplifting and encouraging during these uncertain times! She is such a dear blessing to us all. I am so happy you are going to check out her blog. Her posts always lift my spirits and brighten my day! God bless you, Martha!

  2. Thank you for such a beautiful and heartfelt post Jemma. You managed to share two of my favorite verses today. Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 143:8.
    Cheryl, you have such talented and wonderful guest writers who have definitely been given the gift of writing. I wish I were so blessed but alas, I have not. I just knit and crochet. :-)
    Thank you all for sharing with us to encourage us through these strange times we're living in.

    1. Hello Betsy,
      I am delighted that you and I rejoice as sisters in Christ and in the comfort of two favorite scriptures! How blessed we are to know God's deep love for us and that He is always caring for us.
      Thank you for these kind and caring words.

    2. I completely agree with you, Betsy! Such talent has been on display here during this time of guest posting! I want to keep them coming back to post for us! And, I believe you write just fine! Kinitting and crocheting are wonderful gifts, also, and your creations are just beautiful. I am so thankful you are finding encouragement here and trust the Lord will keep you and Dennis and your family safe and healthy continually, in Jesus' name.

  3. Cheryl,
    Thank you so very much for this blessed and wonderful opportunity to share my love of the Lord. I appreciate you, your friendship and also for sharing Mama's and my favorite song here today. What a treat to hear Alan Jackson's melodic voice!
    Blessings to you,

    1. Oh, Jemma! We are SO very blessed that you shared your heart. This post is just so encouraging and I could read it again and again! I so appreciate you and your friendship, too, and am so thankful we can walk this blogging path together. I am so thankful you enoyed Alan's version of you and your Mama's favorite song. Sending much love and gratitude to you for doing this post. I hope you know you always have an open space here to share anything God lays on your heart!

  4. I enjoyed hearing about your "tool belt" Jemma, and as I follow you on IG, you are a dear and precious friend to me, always so full of encouragement and big smiles! I enjoyed hearing about your family living on the Snake River, such a beautiful place. It is amazing how life brings us challenges that we never expected, but His Word is always present to lead and guide us. How thankful I am for his Word! So steadfast and true throughout whatever life brings to us. And having a prayer/devotion routine each day is absolutely the foundation we must have as believers. Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging words! Many blessings to you dear Cheryl, how thankful I am for your friendship, and fellowship in the Lord! Much love to you :) I really enjoyed the music video... I Come to the Garden is one of my favorites :)

    1. Good Morning Marilyn,
      WE are most certainly friends on Instagram! Every photo and story you post on Instagram has the love and blessings of the Lord written on it. I marvel at the positive opportunities of social media and how followers of Christ use technology to spread the word of His glory. Our friend Cheryl, does the same thing right here!
      Thank you for these beautiful words.
      Blessings and love through Christ,

    2. I loved that tool belt analogy, too! Just wonderful. YES, praise God for His Word! Oh, it is a comfort to be able to pick it up and read it whenever we want to. We don't realize how very blessed we are! How grateful I am for you and your friendship, too, sweet Marilyn. I didn't know that song is one of your favorites. See, we learn new things about one another all the time! Sending much love, hugs, and blessings to you today!

  5. I love the creative artwork, too, and enjoyed Jenna's testimony and points of encouragement. I will check out her blog. Thank you, Jenna and thank you, Cheryl.

    1. Good Morning!
      Thank you so very much for your thoughtful visit here and on my blog.
      The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are all over His works.~ Psalm 145:9
      Happy Mother's Day to you too!

    2. Hello, sweet Mary! I am so happy you will check out Jemma's blog. You will love it - and her! She is a gem and such a blessing. God bless you, and happy Mother's day to you, too! Sending love and hugs your way!

  6. I so loved reading about the three favorite “tools” in your belt, Jemma! Your words, pictures and Scripture verses were inspirational and encouraging. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I was happy to meet you and go to your home several years ago, and you were a wonderful hostess for our Texas bloggers group. Happy Mother’s Day to you! ❤️
    Thank you, Cheryl, for posting Jemma’s story and Happy Mother’s Day to you. ❤️

    1. That is SO neat that the two of you met and got to spend time together! I can only imagine what a lovely hostess Jemma is and how welcome you felt in her home. She is a gem, indeed, and so are you! God bless you abundantly and keep you safe and healthy during these difficult times and always!

    2. Happy Mother's Day Kitty!
      Oh we had such a good gathering that day in Texas a few years ago. I miss seeing you all.
      Thank you for taking a moment to stop by today on Home Spun Devotions. It's so good to hear from you!

  7. Thank you so much for this encouraging post. We all need to use the tools the Lord gives us to stay focused on Him and not on our fears or on this world. This pandemic may be swirling around us and bringing confusion and distress, but He never changes. Thank you for your beautiful artwork too.

    1. Deborah,
      Thank you for these beautiful words of encouragement as well. The comfort of knowing that God is always present certainly sustains me too.
      Blessings to you and thank you for taking time to visit and comment too.

    2. So thankful for your sweet visit, Deborah, and I couldn't agree more with your kind comment. May the Lord bless you during this distressing time!

  8. Oh I adore sweet Jemma and this post is surely uplifting in spirit for me today. We may have to live in this world but we sure don't have to be of the world. LOVE THIS post. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Amen, sweet friend! Jemma is a dear blessing to us all! Many hugs and blessings back to you today!

  9. Im sorry I'm very behind in reading commenting etc.

    Beautiful heartfelt post, Jemma, may God richly bless you for sharing your heart.. lived your scripture images too.
    Will try pop over to your blog but going on for midnight here. Must go.
    Sorry for late visit! 😊
    Thanks for sharing, and may God bless and keep you and all whom you love, in these different times.
    Prayer hugs, Shaz in Oz. X

    {Wonderful Words of Life - Shaz in Oz}
    {Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}