Crazy Summer Recap

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on here. It’s been a summer for the books! I think I just needed to process all the things and couldn’t quite put them into words.

First, we decided to start a CSA. Well, to be honest God decided we should. And that came with a while host of troubles. We had to prepare the area by ruling and discing, which a farmer friend was so kind to do for us. Then we had to lay cardboard with mulch and paper with soil. We spent days and days on it. And then we still had to plant! Meanwhile we got hit by a nasty storm that we think included a tornado. So our house needed new siding and roofing. And, we decided since we were doing all that we might as well replace windows. And since larger windows were going in the two living rooms, we decided to gut those two rooms and remodel them the way we have always wanted to. Sounds like if you give a mouse a cookie, right?

That wasn’t all for the spring. One of our oldest was getting married in May so there was wedding prep happening too. And our other oldest was preparing to leave for the Marines. Just a few things going on.

One thing that just takes the cake in the midst of all this, was the fact that the day of the rehearsal for the wedding, a local Ag sprayed the field adjacent to our property. It was an extremely windy day and the wind was blowing right at us. Everything on our property got hit by Round Up and another weed killer called Vector. We didn’t know it that morning but the days later when the weeds in the field were turning brown, everything on our farm was turning brown and crispy. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Our orchard, the CSA garden, our herb garden, my flowers by the house, my elderberry bushes on the opposite side of the property, my raspberries behind the garage, everything. It was devastating and I spent a lot of time and money starting things over in the garden and praying over the rest of the property. Things have slowly recovered but we don’t have apples or pears this year because of it. And someone who runs an orchard said it could be the years before our trees fully recover. It still hasn’t been resolved by the Ag, so pray they make it right.

So, now, suddenly the summer has flown by. I’ve spent countless hours in the garden tending to everything. We’ve had squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, grasshoppers, cabbage worms, blossom end rot, powdery mildew, fungus, lack of water, flooding… you name it. Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to walk to the garden and see what’s happening next!

And, the garden is now going crazy! It can take us two to three hours as a family to harvest everything. And then we have to separate and get things ready for pick up evenings. It’s more than a full time job! And I’m still bringing plenty in the house to can and freeze so we have good food all winter. There’s always a bin of veggies sitting in the kitchen waiting to be processed.

And, let’s not forget that the house needed to be fixed. So, we’ve been siding and installing new windows for the last month and aren’t even half way! You never really know how huge your house is until you have to side every square inch of it. The last few days the roofers have been here. They are hard workers and I’m thankful they are doing it and not us! That roof is a long way up there and it’s steep!

While all the tasks are happening, there’s relationships to be worked on, so to be planned for, and food to make (these people in my house eat A LOT).

Let’s add that my grandma passed away recently and we’ve been getting ready to celebrate her life. Have you ever had to decide whether to tell your son his great grandma died and deciding it’s best to wait until he’s done with boot camp? There’s other things too, I can’t even list them all.

At this point, I’m exhausted just listing all these things. I have no idea why God has handed us this cup this year.

But I do know He can be trusted. I do know He is good. I do know He is faithful and will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.

Often, we simply can’t understand what’s happening, even when we sit and analyze it. Even when we ask God why? In those moments we have a choice. We can be frustrated, complain, and grow bitter. We can choose to get angry at God or the situation around us.

Or we can choose faith. Isn’t that what faith is? Trusting our good and loving Father even when we don’t understand? It isn’t easy, but we can make the choice.

A friend of mine said to me recently, “you’re handling all this really well”. It got me thinking as to why? I think it’s this very thing. I’m making choices daily to be thankful and focus on the good. Because there has been so much good this summer too!

God moved in some mysterious ways this summer and yet when I look at it I can see His abundant grace and blessings in it! For instance, before it all went down, a dear friend called and said, “so I think the Lord is telling me to move in with you for June and July. Can I?” It’s now mid August and the Lord hasn’t told her to move so she’s still blessing us. I didn’t know I’d need her, she didn’t know she’d need us, but here we are thoroughly enjoying each other’s company and working alongside each other!

Pulling siding off, we found plenty of rot and windows installed incorrectly so water was just leaking behind them for 30 years! Thank the Lord we had to do this project and could find those issues before they became really huge problems! Even the roof had gaps and holes so they redecked the whole thing. By the time we’re done, we’re going to have what feels like a very snug new house!

Even though it’s been hard to process two kids growing up and launching, it’s been such a blessing to watch them find their path in life and really walk with the Lord in the way He wants them to. I can see His grace and mercy on their lives over and over and it’s heart warming.

We watched prayer heal our property too! We had so many people praying and plants we thought were completely dead are flourishing and producing! Many have said none of those plants should have survived and yet they are doing great!

So, in the midst of trials I’ll choose praise…

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
Isaiah 25:1

In the midst of uncertainty I’ll choose trust…

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Dream God’s Dreams

My “bud” left this week. It’s been a hard couple of weeks. Leading up to him leaving, I kept thinking how it couldn’t be possible that it was approaching so fast. Then, all of a sudden, it was Monday and we had to say goodbye!

Part of me thinks, how silly that I’m sad! It’s only 13 weeks and he’ll be back. Yet, it’s so much more than just the 13 weeks. He’s not just on a trip or off to college where he could still text me and call me. He gets zero access to phones or computers the entire time, unless he earns a phone call.

The other part of it is that it’s something so huge and so hard! He’s going to what they say is the second most difficult boot camp behind Navy SEAL training. He’s going to be pushed beyond his limits daily in so many capacities. In fact, one of the ways he can earn a phone call is if he knocks another person out in one of the challenges!

I’ve been pondering all week what to say about all this. It’s been on my mind a lot, of course. And I vacillate between being so proud of and excited for him and being so sad he’s gone.

So here’s where my thoughts have landed this week.

First, we raise our kids to leave the nest. All the time, energy, tears, laughter, yelling (cuz let’s be real – there’s yelling), praying…it’s all so they can be amazing adults who can stand on their own in this crazy world! While my heart has been heavy this week, I’ve also felt such peace because this is exactly what I’ve wanted for him all along. He’s doing it! He’s adulting!

Second, Isaiah has inspired me. From the time he was little he’s told me, I’m going to travel the world and probably be in the army. Well, it’s close to true. He’s decided Marines and he’ll have to opportunity to travel all over. He’s been actively pursuing this specific dream for 2 years and what else would I want for him than to go for it! He’s inspiring me to pick up my dreams and pursue them. Push for what God is calling you to!

Third, I couldn’t be more proud of both my boys! They have both pursued God’s calling in their lives this summer. Those callings look so different and yet are both so good. Encourage your kids to follow what God has for them, whether it’s near or far. I don’t ever want to hinder my kids by telling them they have to stay close by or can only pursue certain things. I tell them to seek God and His plan and then go for it!

Lastly, while my mama heart grieves, I’m surrounding myself with people who are supportive and caring. I’ve allowed myself to cry and sleep in a bit and have the iced coffee drink. We aren’t losing it if we cry. We aren’t a mess if we’re sad. It’s ok to have those emotions too and while it’s not comfortable, I’ve given myself the space and opportunity to feel those things.

I told Isaiah on Monday, “Go! Have your adventure! Just don’t forget God!”

“Thanks, Mom. It’s gonna be ok.” He replied. Then I hugged him until he was annoyed, then hugged him one more time and made it to the car before I sobbed. I’ve got the countdown on the wall and have already written a letter to him (even though I don’t have the address yet). At the same time I’m so excited for him and so thankful he is pursuing God’s dream for his life!

Garden and Trust

The last month has been one of the most taxing and one of the most rewarding all at the same time. I’ve pushed myself harder physically, emotionally, and mentally than I have in a long time. And it feels good! It also hurts…a lot!

Our pasture, before

Last summer, God gave Andrew a vision to start a CSA garden on our property. When he came home and told me about it, I was skeptical to say the least. He was so excited and all I could think was, I didn’t hear that from the Lord! But over the next three weeks God clearly confirmed it to me and I caught the excitement.

Over the years of our marriage we’ve learned the hard way that if God speaks and we don’t listen there are consequences. Sometimes those consequences are really hard to take and make for very difficult times in our lives, sometimes it’s simply a removal of blessing. Either way, we’ve come to discover that it’s a whole lot better when we obey. It may not be an easy road, but there are abundant blessings on it!

So we chose to obey. We’ve been at work all winter researching and learning. We chose a no till, no dig gardening method to transform our pasture into a workable plot. The reason we chose that is because the grass is so think in the pasture that we knew we’d be fighting a losing battle all summer if we didn’t do something at the outset to combat the grass. And we definitely didn’t want to spray harsh chemicals.

One thing we’ve learned over the last few months is there is so much we can’t control. We can’t make spring come faster, no matter how much we want it to, we can’t make the rain hold off until we’re done setting all our plots, we can’t make the sun stay up longer, we can’t force our bodies beyond a certain point, we don’t even have control over when the seeds sprout.

Grow little plants!

I don’t think we could have imagined how difficult this process was going to be! And I’m thankful God didn’t reveal that part to us! He has been so faithful to give us strength and stamina for the day and has helped us to not worry about tomorrow.

He also provided in a big and unexpected way, like He’s so good to do! A month ago, a good friend called and asked if she could move in with us for a couple months. “You’ve got a bedroom free, I hear.”

Our bonus adult, Steph. We love you!

We’ve lovingly dubbed her our “bonus adult” and I’m telling you, if you have a large family and God gives you a big vision, you just plain and simply need a bonus adult. God is doing a big work in her life this year and I hope and pray we can support and encourage her while she’s with us. And I’m so thankful she’s willing to jump in on our crazy adventures.

Our pasture, in progress
2 lines of rows done, 50 planting rows

I knew this was going to be hard, especially on my out of shape body! But I had no idea how difficult it would be spiritually. There are so many things you can’t control when it comes to gardening! And I’m seeing how little trust I have in God. I’ve had to come face to face with my lack of trust, repent and all the Lord’s help over and over. I’ve had to walk myself through past experiences where the Lord has proven faithful and remind my heart and mind that He is still faithful. He has been growing my faith so much in the midst of this!

I’ve also been surprised at who is for us and who is against us. We’ve had so many amazing people support us and pray for us and walk with us. We’ve had people come and spend a day here working with us to help us accomplish this vision. And we’ve had those who tell us to quit and that is never going to work. Even in that we just have to keep going back to God and confirming that He wants us on this path. And He’s so good to do that every time!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Finished product photos to come!

Compliments

“You’re beautiful!”

“You are so smart!”

“I love that idea.”

“You do a great job!”

What are these? Compliments, obviously, right? When we hear a genuine compliment we smile, we feel good, we appreciate it. Compliments that are genuine and true build us up and encourage us. They cast away doubts and fill us with hope. A simple but genuine compliment can go a long way.

Recently I was in Aldi, where I seem to find myself a lot, and I walked down an aisle where another lady was shopping. She had on a pretty summer dress so I said, “I like your dress. You look great.” I’ll never forget the look on her face. She was surprised at first and then smiled brightly. It was simple, quick, and took nothing from me, yet it brightened her day.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’ve heard a few criticisms disguised as compliments lately and I think it needs to be pointed out. Here are a few I’ve heard lately…

“I’m in awe of you. I just don’t know how you do it. You do so many things and are always running. I’d just be exhausted and not able to keep up. I definitely couldn’t do it.”

At first it seems like a compliment. But, it left me feeling knocked down. Part of it was the tone, almost a bit of scoff in the midst of it. Part of it is the way the person tuned it back to all about herself. The underlying message here is I don’t really approve of how busy you are and the decisions you’ve made for your family.

If you find yourself, like I did after this comment, feeling like you need to defend whatever it is they commented on, it wasn’t a compliment.

“I can’t believe you drive your kids into town daily for band. You sure run a lot. That’s nice of you. I’d never want to be trapped in that.”

Again, not a compliment. It’s really a criticism of one person’s choices and a belief that there’s a better choice to make. I felt the need to defend my choice once again and was left wondering if I had made a bad decision.

Words matter. They touch someone deeply, whether in a good or bad way. Your passive-aggressive comments hurt people. Plain and simple.

The old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” holds some truth. Sometimes we do have to speak truth and that can be painful in the moment but helpful in the long run. But hurtful or underhanded comments are never necessary!

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Look at how powerful words are! You can cheer up someone anxious, you can be sweet as honey to someone’s soul, you can heal! With words!

I challenge you today and this whole week, to give genuine compliments. Really and truly speak encouragement and life to others’ souls. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel too!

Precious Time

Three weeks. My son gets married the weeks from today.

That really hit me yesterday. Hard.

I’ve been blessed to have him in my house for almost 21 years and watched him grow into an amazing man with a compassionate heart, gentle spirit, and sweet disposition. He has a great sense of humor and is so smart, especially when it comes to tearing things apart and fixing them.

He’s a man of few words, especially when there’s a crowd. But early in the morning, when the sun is just peeking through my kitchen window and the house is quiet, he talks. Usually it’s just he and I in the kitchen getting ready for the day. I’ll ask him what he has going on at school or what plans are taking shape for the wedding. It doesn’t matter so much what we talk about, just that we connect.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to talk to anyone or really see anyone early in the morning. I actually like that my hubby is gone early because he loves to talk right away! I like my quiet in the mornings. I know what’s coming… noise, questions, screaming from the the year old, chores, meals, running errands. It’s all good and I love my life, but being an introvert in a house of 13 people, I need a little quiet in my day.

But these mornings with just Samuel have become so precious to me. Maybe because I know they are limited and then his sweet bride gets these mornings. I’m more than happy to give him up to her; she’s amazing. It’s just a huge change and it’s hard.

But I think an even greater reason I’ve been cherubim these mornings, is that I am learning slowly but surely that my relationship with my kids is paramount. It’s more important than anything else I work on with my kids.

When Samuel and Isaiah were little my relationship with them wasn’t foremost for me. My to-do list was. Getting school checked off was. Making sure they obeyed was. And I hurt our relationship because of that.

Thanks be to God that He worked on my heart and restored our relationship despite my best efforts to damage it! I haven’t arrived yet but I’m learning and eager to do better with my younger kids.

I always tell Samuel and Isaiah that I messed up more with them than I ever will with the subsequent kids. We laugh about it but it’s probably true and I’ve asked their forgiveness for many things. But I can look back and see that it’s ok that I messed up because God is bigger than all my mess ups! He has taught and led Samuel all these years to right here.

I’m so proud of him and so thankful for his wonderful bride. I’m praising God in the midst of all the swirl of emotions that they have each other and that Samuel is the amazing man God wants him to be. I’ll cherish my last few precious mornings.

Yesterday morning I told Samuel with tears, “I’m going to miss these mornings with you.”

“I’m still going to be around, mom,” was his reply.

“I know, but it won’t be the same.”

“Yeah, I know, but I’m not going very far.”

Three weeks.

Spring has sprung??

I’ve been just itching to get in the garden for about a month. I know, I know, I shouldn’t live in Minnesota if I want to garden that early! But here we are anyway. I’m wishing and hoping and watching snow fall and rain pour, and tornadoes whiz by.

Today was the first nice day in a long time and I decided that even though I can’t garden yet, there’s plenty to do outside! I never did get to my orchard in March when I wanted to, so I started pruning today. Boy, am I out of shape! Somebody please be my work out buddy next winter so I don’t hurt so bad in the spring!!

They aren’t finished yet, because, well, I’m out of shape. But it’s a good start! Do I know how to prune? Hmm, no idea. I’ve watched videos and read articles and watched more videos. Then I just started trying things out. So far my trees haven’t died on me so I think I’m doing ok!

If I’m honest, I remind myself of my Opa. He’s was my mom’s dad and lived in Germany. He’s been gone for 14 years now, but right up until he died he was learning. If he was interested in something he got books about it and tried it out. He was a prisoner of war in Texas during WWII and became fascinated with learning to speak English and America. His whole life after that he was reading books in English, listening to American news, and visiting the US. He loved to learn. I’ve discovered that love in myself since homeschooling my kids. I probably love it more than they do!

Someone else discovered a new love! Dottie found a puddle and hesitating tested it with a foot, found it splashed, and ended up sitting in it splashing and laughing. Needless to say, she needed a bath!

I decided to try something new today too. Last summer my beloved tart cherry tree tumbled in a storm. It grew new shoots and I kept one out there hoping it will grow and be a cherry tree. I took some cutting and am attempting to root them with rooting compound. We’ll see what happens, but why not try! If I end up with THREE cherry trees I’ll be thrilled. My kids may leave me though as they have to pit all those tiny cherries!

Tomorrow looks rainy and windy again so I’ll be inside wishing I could be in the garden again! I told Andrew today I think Minnesota forgot to take her Prozac! It’ll come, it always does, but it always feels like it takes forever to get here! Come on, true spring!!

Like A Seed

Every time I look at these tiny seeds I am in awe! This teeny tiny thing has everything inside it to become the exact plant it was created to be. These happen to be broccoli seeds and the ones we planted are already coming up!

Aren’t they adorable?

Maybe I’m weird, but when I see seed packet displays in the stores with all their beautiful colors and bright photos of vegetables I get giddy! I’ve always thought of summer as my favorite season, but I think it’s actually spring. There’s so much hope, anticipation, and potential future in spring.

Everything starts to wake up, including me, after a long winter! If you don’t live in the northern states, you’re missing out! I despise winter, especially the frigid, blustery winter in Minnesota, but I think if I didn’t have to go through it I wouldn’t appreciate and love spring like I do!

Plus, Andrew just informed me of a new spider the size of a man’s hand that’s invaded the southern states, so moving is out. Guess I’ll just have to suck it up and endure winter here.

Back to those seeds. Just think about it. That broccoli seed is a little bigger than a pin head and all we did was drop it in some soil, watered it, and put some lights on. Then the miracle happened! It sprouted!

Every time I start my own seeds, I go anxiously every morning to water them, fretting over whether they’ll actually sprout! I can guarantee my fretting doesn’t help them grow. I pray over them and talk to them while I water. And they just do what they’re supposed to do! And guess what? Every time I plant a broccoli seed, a broccoli plant comes up. And every time I plant a tomato seed, a tomato plant comes up.

Maybe I’m the only one. But seriously, every spring I feel this elation! Color is returning, smells are returning, I can feel the sun again!

When I think of those seeds and how they have everything inside them to become a beautiful, perfect plant that gives us vegetables, I think of how our society tells us,

“You have everything inside you to become whatever you want”

“you have what it takes”

“you’ve got the strength inside you to overcome”.

Unlike those seeds, we don’t have what we need inside of us to become who we want. You’ve heard the phrase “follow your heart” but that’s the biggest lie of the age. We have a deceitful heart above all else.

And what does it mean to be deceived? It means we’re being lied to and have no idea because the lies look so good and true and shiny and attractive, when in reality they are hollow, dreary, lonely dead ends.

So, how do we become who we were meant to be? A little water, soil, and light? Well, maybe.

Water for plants causes growth. We can grow from the living water of Jesus. The water from His well that causes us to never thirst again. We can be watered by reading his Word daily and hiding it away in that deceitful heart to flush out all the lies.

Soil for plants gives nourishment. We can be nourished by being planted firmly in a body of believers, praying, worshiping, eating, and studying together. Being in a solid body of believers causes us to examine and see our deceitful heart for what it is and sand away those rough spots.

Light for plants gives energy. We get our energy and motivation from the Holy Spirit. You’ll never feel more energized than when you are in line with the Holy Spirit and surrendering your life to Jesus.

While it might be easier for those teeny tiny seeds to become what they were created to be, we can do it too! If we’ve accepted what Jesus has done on the cross for us and asked him to come into our lives and we are truly willing to surrender all, we can grow into exactly what we were created to be!

Worry Into Prayer

As we’ve been dreaming and scheming over this winter, I’ve felt more anxiety than ever in my life. There are so many unknowns and I love to know. There are so many what ifs and I don’t like to play those out in my mind. There are so many new experiences and my mind has tried to process it all. There’s so much new knowledge and as my sister told me, “only so many plates can fit on the table before they start falling off the edge”.

Through it all God has been so faithful. There have been quite a few moments where Andrew and I have looked at each other and said, “Should we just quit? What in the world are we doing? This is too much. I don’t think it’s going to work.”

But God.

Every time we find ourselves at that breaking point, God steps in. His words are life-giving and He shows up in big ways. And I’m always humbled and always awed. At this point in my life I probably shouldn’t be. I mean, he’s come through for the last 42 years. Why do I think He won’t this time?

And, yet, I keep finding myself worrying and fretting. I keep getting to the point of giving up. Someday I’ll learn… maybe.

This latest habitual cycle surrounded newspaper, cardboard, and compost. Sounds ridiculous when I write it out, but there you have it. Who knew you could have anxiety over finding enough trash and poop, but turns out you can!

But God.

I was chatting with my milk guy about starting a CSA and he got so excited. He was thrilled and wanted to tell all the other families that get milk from him. As I drove away from his house, I was feeling so anxious. I should feel excited when people want to sign up but I wasn’t feeling it that day. So I prayed as I drove. I asked God to provide the compost and newspaper we needed.

It was a 30 minute drive to where I was headed. When I got there I checked my phone and I had a couple texts from my milk guy. One said, “hey, you can use my tractor anytime you want and I have a huge pile of compost and a couple farmers I know have compost too.” The next said, “my wife can get pallets and pallets of old newspaper if you need it.”

I mean, could God be any more visible than that?? Here I am worrying and God has it all lined up already. I even told God one day, “if you really want us to do this, then you have to provide what we need.”

God’s like, yeah, I know. I already have it sorted out.

I’m not usually a worrier. But this has often seemed huge to me. I’m guessing you have something in your life that seems huge too. Maybe you’re trying to launch a business, maybe you’re facing some serious difficulties with your spouse or with a child. I don’t know how this is going to all turn out, for you or me, but I do know God is here, ever present and ready to hear our prayers and answer them.

I remember a pastor once tell a story. A man came to him and said, “I don’t know how to meditate. You say meditate on the Word but I don’t know how. What does that look like?” The pastor replied, “everyone knows how to meditate. Do you worry?” The man answered, “yes, sometimes.” The pastor asked, “what does it look like when you worry?” “Well,” the man replied, “I usually can’t stop thinking about whatever it is that’s worrying me. I go over and over it in my mind, thinking through all the possible outcomes.”

“Then you know how to meditate”, the pastor told him.

Did you know you get to choose what you spend your time thinking about and worrying about? You really do. It may seem impossible but you can take captive every thought. I’m not saying it’s easy but it is possible.

And when I find myself worrying, mulling something over and over in my mind, I know it’s time to pray. I can turn those worries into prayers pretty easily by focusing them upward instead of in a speak in my mind. I’m not perfect at it, but I sure have had a lot of practice this winter!

Guaranteed I’ll have more opportunities to practice this. But I’m not going to worry about that! (See what I did there?;))

Wait

Can you feel that antsy discontent in your soul? Do you feel like there’s so much to do in the next couple months? Are you itching to feel the warmth of the sun?

Over the past year the Lord has been teaching me to wait. It’s been an interesting journey. Not bad, not too painful (yet). I would say over all it’s been good. Each of us has different things at different times that we need to learn from the Lord. Yours may not be waiting, but there’s some recurring lesson that keeps cropping up in your life that God wants you to learn.

I know I am! Every year around this time I get so antsy. I just can’t wait to dig in the ground, feel a warm breeze, and hear birds singing again. And I’m not good at waiting!

What is it? Have you stopped a moment and thought about that. As spring approaches and we get extra busy with school winding down but not finished and garden ramping up, it’s a good time to take a moment and pause. Ask God what He wants to teach you.

Do you frequently wish you had something new or updated? Are you never quite happy with what you have? Do you get something new to be happy for a moment but then find yourself wanting the next new thing? Maybe God wants you to learn contentment.

Do you find yourself arguing with those around you? Do you like to push others buttons and rile up a debate? Maybe God wants you to learn gentleness and humility.

Maybe you are swayed by every situation and circumstance in your life, feeling good because something happened, feeling awful the next day because a new situation arose. Feelings aren’t bad, but dwelling in them can be and being ruled by them certainly is. Maybe God wants you to learn joy in Him.

I can’t tell you what you need to learn. I can tell you I’ve been trying to be obedient to God by listening to his prompting to wait. And He has to tell me often! I love to plan and dig through the details of what’s coming next. I like to look ahead and fill in the days on my calendar. And that’s ok to an extent. God put that within me. And there’s a lot that wouldn’t get done in our household if I didn’t plan! But, if I take it too far I rush ahead of God and His plans and then I mess things up!

I’m learning to hear him say… wait. And not just hear it, obey it.

For example, we are changing our schooling for next year. I’m excited about it and want to figure it all out! But God won’t let me. Not yet anyway. Every time I want to sit down and hash it out, He reminds me that He told me to wait back in January and He’ll let me know when it’s time.

I’ve been watering this dirt for eight days now. And every morning I expect little seedlings to have cropped up. Today I was legitimately worried that nothing would grow! But God.

Can you spot the tiny onions?

He reminded me to wait. Even the seeds wait until the right time. The birds don’t come back to Minnesota until the right time. The ground doesn’t thaw until just the right time. God’s timing is better than mine.

Not just better. Perfect!

Catch In Your Spirit

After my last blog post, a friend asked, “how did you get from there to here?” Meaning, how do you go from getting frustrated and angry quickly with what your little ones are doing to being patient and gentle with them.

Well, first, I definitely haven’t arrived! I’m entangled somewhere along the bumpy, winding, overgrown path from there to here. I take a lot of wrong turns and make U turns frequently! I’ll get there by heaven!

I’ll be honest. I’m a yeller. I could blame it on my aggressive, battle-ready German blood, or on the fact that my parents yelled, or on some circumstance in my life, but it really just comes down to my own sinful heart. Don’t we all want what we want right now? I’m impatient and when I don’t have control I yell.

But every once in a while, on this messy path, I catch a glimpse of sonlight. It peeks through the anger, frustration, yelling, and imperfection and shines brightly in my face. It’s that still, small voice that whispers in my heart, reminding me to pause, to think before I act, to not just react.

That sonlight and still small voice belong to the one and only Holy Spirit. If you know Jesus, you have his Spirit within you desiring to be your guide along this tangled mess of a journey. As I’ve been thinking about my friend’s question He has come to mind as the most influential person in my mothering.

Let me draw a picture for you. You are sitting in your living room, in your favorite spot, cozied up with a blanket and a cup of your favorite hot drink. You have a book on your lap opened and you’re engrossed in the story. The house is quiet because the little ones are napping and the bigger kids are watching a movie. You flip page after page as you eagerly anticipate what’s going to happen in the book. Suddenly, you find yourself not being able to concentrate on the words on the page, but find your mind wandering to all you should be doing. You get a little butterfly like twinge in your gut, maybe a quickening of breath, and you feel fidgety. No longer can you relax and engage in the book, because you just know your responsibilities are rising to the surface and you need to get off the couch and start the dryer and get supper in the oven or the rest of the evening will go downhill quickly.

That’s what it feels like when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. That’s the best I can describe it anyway. You’re in the midst of your frustration and anger with your child, and, if you’re willing to be aware of it, the Holy Spirit is causing your mind to think of something else, something better. Maybe He’s just saying, “pause, breathe” or maybe, “there’s a better way” or “will this develop the fruit you want in your child”. If you are in God’s Word regularly, guaranteed the Holy Spirit will use those Words you’ve read to help you and guide you in those moments.

Have you ever felt that twinge in your gut? I call it a “catch in your spirit”. It’s like there’s this little invisible tug, as if the cord that attaches my spirit to the Holy Spirit is being tugged on.

In that moment, when I feel that tug, I have a choice. I can stop and listen and breathe. I can choose to take a moment and consider how big of a deal it actually is. I can decide what’s best for my relationship with my child and what will actually bring about a heart change.

Or…I can choose to plow ahead on my own, giving in to my fleshly desires and sinful heart. I can choose to react harshly and push my child away. I can choose to forget about their heart and the consequences of my actions.

Sounds so easy in writing. Yet it’s so hard on real life. Why?

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19 ESV
We all have a war that wages within us between our flesh and the Spirit. And we all are imperfect. And we all want to hang on to our sinful ways because they appear to give us the results we want. But in reality, they are fake results without eternal change.

for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 ESV

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7‭-‬8 ESV

We will reap what we sow. What do I want to sow into my kids’ hearts and my heart?