Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God in the Garden...

I recently started a small garden.  I wanted to be able to save money and feed my family some good healthy veggies.  I wanted to start from seed so I would know exactly what I was getting.  I wanted to start from seed as a challenge.  What I did not expect to experience so deeply and profoundly was a new sense of wonder for my God.  I did not expect that starting a garden would make me fall more deeply in love with my Creator.  I did not know that starting a garden would bring me closer to the God of the Universe. 

We are a now generation... We want everything right now with little or no effort.  We go to the grocery store and buy our produce completely disconnected from the process of where it came from and how it grew.   Even when we plant gardens we go to Walmart, Home Depot or the local nursery and pick up plants that are already growing and transplant it in the ground.  We see plants and trees all the time.  Not very often do you stop and think about where they came from or stand and look at the amazing wonder of God's creation, but we should. 

Starting anything from seed is the most amazing experience.  To see something so small and unassuming bring forth life makes you really start to think.  Seeing all the different seeds that I planted and then watching them sprout, little leaves coming through the dirt was such a high.  Then as they began to grow it was amazing to watch them produce after their own kind.  All the plants look completely different.  I was fascinated by the differences and impressed with my ability to recognize which plants were what. 

My plants are still very small and not producing fruit yet, but it's a joyful and relaxing experience to go out and look at them, water them, and meet with God in the garden and worship him for being so intelligent and creative.   Tonight I went to my Dad's house.  His garden is bigger and is producing veggies from planting much earlier than myself.  We walked through the garden together as he showed me all of his onions, garlic, 4 different types of lettuce, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.  The kids helped me pick lettuce and onions and garlic and in my Dad's garden I saw the hand of the God who gives abundantly.  My Dad said they couldn't pick the lettuce fast enough.  That brought me to a new place of worship.

This God who made us loves you and me so much that he provides for us abundantly even in this little garden.  This amazing Creator who put the stars in motion and knows each one of their names gave us little seeds to plant and grow food and then produce more seed to do it again and again.   We have lost so much of the intimacy with this God because we no longer grow our own food.  We need to go back to walking in the garden with God in the cool of the day and experiencing his awesome nature.  Seeing his provision in such an intimate way is beyond anything I have experienced so far.  God reveals so much to us through his creation, but we no longer stop to gaze at his creation anymore.  Our lives are full of other things, but He is there waiting for us to return to the garden and behold his Glory!!! 

The fruit of your labor...

In the past 4 years since we have passed the standard 2 child family we have heard a lot of different things about deciding to have more children.  One of the most common statements I hear from woman is "I could never do that." or "I don't have enough patience for more children."  Understandably most the time this comes from a woman that has 2 very small children and she is overwhelmed.   I have also heard from woman who have a genuine desire for more children, but they are terrified and just don't know if they could handle it.   The one thing that I always say is most of the time children are going to come one at a time AND they get older and more mature...  You will not have 4 two year olds at one time.   Our oldest is about to be 8...  in other cultures that is a grown woman (tongue in cheek), but for real 8 years olds are very helpful.   Honestly I wouldn't want to go back to having 2 littles with no bigs to help out. 

This morning is a perfect example of the amazing gift my older children are and the help that they provide to bear some of Mom's burden.  Jordan got up with her little brothers this morning and put on a show for them, fed them and even cleaned up after breakfast.  What was I doing???  Don't judge, but I was still laying in the bed.   Last night she set out clothes for Caleb to wear for today and she got his PJ's for me after bath time.    She is always coming to me in the kitchen asking if she can help with cooking, and she is actually very good.  She has been watching intently for 7+ years everything I do and now she goes and does what needs to be done.  While she is taking care of one thing I can take care of something else.  She even cares for Andrew when I'm not here because he doesn't like to stay with anyone else.  She feeds him and rocks him to sleep.  We call her "little momma".    But all of that is because she's a girl right?!

Wrong.  Isaiah who is 6 years old helps Dad in the yard (real help).  He helped me when I was filling in the soil for the garden boxes.  This morning he made is own scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito...  without me having to do a thing.  He changes diapers and helps with bath time.  He sits with Andrew and reads to him or plays games that babies like to play.   He has a very Fatherly way about him.  He also has been watching intently through the years and now he is putting all that knowledge in to practice.

Is this to say it's not hard?  NO!  And lest your think I'm tooting my own horn I really believe that every child watches their parents and yearns to show responsibility.  I believe that chores build self-esteem and that every child benefits from learning how to serve others.   The amazing thing is that alot of the stuff they do is because they see that it needs to be done, so they do it.   

I always like to say that if I can do this... anybody can.   I love that God takes the "foolish things of the world to confound the wise".  I love that God chooses the weak things of the world to display his strength.  I was least likely to succeed.  I did not grow up in a big family and no one taught me how to be a Mother.   I know where I come from and I know that the only boast I can make is in Jesus...   Any knowledge, patience, or ability is something He has given along the way.  The thing is just trusting that where God guides He will provide.  Don't be afraid of the future...  He is already there.  He  knows the beginning from the end.  You may not be able to handle more children right now,  but you don't have them yet.  He gives patience, grace and wisdom when you NEED it.  Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Grief...

One minute I'm tying my babies shoes getting them ready to go to the grandparents and the next I'm overcome by sadness and tears.  Normally this would be a very joyous moment for me (a few hours with the husband by ourselves), but here I am crying my eyes out.  What in the world just happened.  GRIEF...  

My mom passed away two months ago.   I kinda of know what to expect from grief because right after she died I had no feelings at all, so I looked up the stages of grief and there I was right there at the beginning in shock.  A state that I would describe more as numb, emotionless.  At the funeral I was even happy, not that she had left us, but we are followers of Christ so for us death is the beginning of a new life with Christ...  without sickness, pain, and suffering.   I could rationalize everything through that knowledge.   That's not the end of grief though...  Grief is a process that takes time.  Grief is something you have to experience to bring healing. 

I don't know all the stages it's been awhile and I'm not an expert, but I remember that there is denial, anger, and at some point acceptance...  In there somewhere and at the most random times are episodes of the most intense pain and longing that I have ever felt.  Breakdowns to say the least.  Times when you just have to feel...  you can't rationalize the pain away...  you just have to feel it.   As humans this is where a problem can really occur though...  we are a society who does not like to FEEL pain.  We run from it to drugs, alcohol, food, and many other things to escape the pain.  Then we have a bigger problem. 

So, yesterday I just let the wave of grief wash over me and beat against my soul.  I made a conscious decision to feel the pain for the first time fully and completely.  I decided to not be ashamed of what other people saw or that they might be uncomfortable.  I was thankful that my children were leaving and I accepted the comfort and support of my husband.  I took his hand and hug when it was offered.  I didn't brush off the comfort,  but I really accepted it.  Then I called my brother on the phone, and talked to the one person who could relate completely with what I was going through.  He was having a good day, but he had just recently had a day like this, and he knew exactly what I was feeling and thinking...  Then I talked to a friend and shared my heart with her. 

I decided that it's okay to have those moments and I had one.  I decided that I miss her like CRAZY and I want her back and that that's ok too.  I decided that I didn't know what other people were going through and I thought that "Time healed all things", but that's a LIE.  I've heard people who have lost parents and children say you never get over it, you eventually accept a NEW NORMAL. 

So, I'm on this journey...  and I pray that the Lord will help me deal with this Grief in a good way!!! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On my mind today...

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  I go through times like that.  Not that I don't have something to say (anyone who knows me knows I ALWAYS have something to say).   It's just been busy around here and I haven't felt inspired to share.  Most the time this blog is really just a journal for my random thoughts and today that is definitely the truth.  I have thoughts floating around in my head that I want to get out...  I guess for me it's therapeutic!  So here it goes...  the things that I'm thinking about today.

1.  I got up this morning and the first thing I always do is go to the fridge to get a glass of water.  When my mom passed away I put a collage of pictures up so I could see her face all the time.  This morning I looked at those pictures and I was filled with longing to see that smile in person, to feel her arms around me, to see that knowing look on her face.  There once was a time when I thought "Lord, let me live a good long life before you take me to heaven", but I don't think that anymore.  There are some faces there that I long to see... hers being the main one.   I miss her today. 

2.  For Christmas we bought our kids 2 puppies.  They are adorable, but they are a lot of work.  So, I began to pray for the Lord to deliver me from this extra burden.  I prayed for a good family that didn't have as much going on so the pups would get the attention they deserve.  Someone who NEEDED them.  One of the pups is very active and needed a lot of attention...  With 4 kids and homeschooling this wasn't gonna happen around here.  So, one day last week I posted them on Craigslist.  I got an email from a lady who loved Jack (the hyper ones) face and she wanted to come see him.  When she got here we talked and she was looking for a pup who wanted to love and cuddle and needed attention.  She wasn't working right now and she has a 9yr old son.  A perfect description of my prayer.  We were able to keep the other pup because he is more like a cat in that he wants to be left alone most the time.  He has the cutest face and a sweet personality.  He also has been training very well which has made it alot more peaceful for me.  I feel like a huge burden has been lifted.  I know it's a really small thing, and that there are a lot bigger prayer request than that.  I'm just thankful for a God who listens to our little and big prayers...  I'm thankful for a God who cares about a stressed out mom of 4 who doesn't have time to worry about another thing.  This morning Jack's new owner emailed me with an update and a picture.  He's doing great and he's a perfect fit for their family.  What a relief.

3.  We have gone to church in another town for years...  It was about a 30min drive.  Not that that matters if that's where God wants you to be, but a while ago God began to move in our hearts to get closer to home.  Join a local church and really get involved in our community.   When people in our neighborhood asked where we went to church when they found out it was 30min away that would be the end of the conversation.  We started to see that this was a big deal.  So, we prayed and God finally gave us clearance and direction.   It's funny to me that I personally have made a full circle.  God led us back to the church where I gave my life to Christ.  The church that I have always felt was home.  My husband had never gone there, but this is where I was "born and raised" in the faith.  The awesome thing is IT STILL FEELS LIKE HOME!!!  I'm excited about what God is doing here and what He is going to do in our community. 

4.  I read a book about 6 months ago called Large Family Logistics.  Written by a Home-schooling mom of 9, it is filled with good advice and practical tips to help your large family (or any family) run smoothly.  For a while I put the tips in practice and it worked and life was less stressful, but as humans do I started slipping until eventually things around here got out of control with no order, schedule, or routine.  Chaos ensued and I have been stressed.  Thanks be to God that he reminded me of those things that worked AFTER I called out to him.   So, I have gotten back to things like: getting up early, staying home, sticking to a schedule, cleaning up kitchen immediately after each meal...  One of the key things for me is having the kitchen cleaned at night so when I get up in the morning I don't already feel like I'm running behind.   There are a few other things that make a huge difference for me...  One is eating right, drinking water, and taking vitamins when I do these things I don't feel tired and overwhelmed.   Another thing is I have been praying for wisdom with discipline.  He began to show me that I am a reactor...  I am not a trainer.  So, I have to learn to TRAIN my children in the way they should go.  I cannot expect my children to make right decisions if they have never been trained to do that.   A very big part of training my children is being at home and concentrating on behavior.  The last thing that helps me so much is scheduling my life (which is not my strong point), but it's necessary for our success!!!

Well, thanks for stopping by to find out what is on my mind.  Let me know if you relate or have any good tips.  Hope you have a great day!!!