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Staying in the word

Daily bread. Living water. What does that even mean? Does it mean food? Does it mean praying every day and going about our lives? It meant these things to me for a long time. Keep in mind I’m not convicting anyone. I’m telling you the ways I’ve been convicted in my life. Ways that I’ve felt pulled to a change in how I approach the word. And many, many ways I’ve failed.

Do you want to know what happens when I step out of the word? What happens when I don’t fill up on my Jesus for the day….yes that is a real thing. I need to hear from Him every day, to refocus my heart and help make my decisions throughout my day. I haven’t read much in the last few days, which inspired this post.

Last week, I reacquainted with a cousin I hadn’t seen in years due to our parents hating strongly disliking each other. It was awesome. We were both so happy to see each other and hang out. I had been running back and forth to VBS in the evenings and hadn’t had a lot of time to clean up, so I’d left some things for the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning. So I ran myself out of time because I had so much to do before we left the house to go to these VBS’s. Well on the last day I started to second guess my reacquaintance with her. She was talking about our grandma, and had mentioned that she had bought her kids several pieces of clothing. In my mind, I interpreted this as, she got me something and not you. This is my effect from not staying in the word.

I suffer from overthinking. Tremendous overthinking. The kind of overthinking that ruins my relationships and keeps me from going and visiting family because in my mind, I assume I already know what they are thinking and saying about me behind my back. (my family does this often, they like to say bad things about each other, I’m sure i’m not the only one)

The only time I can really deal with this is when I stop trying to predict what other people are doing or not doing.  The only way I can do this is when I have a close relationship with Jesus. Why? Because my relationship with him matters more to me than anything on this earth. He calls me to love my neighbor. My very difficult neighbor, my neighbor who sometimes criticizes me without my being present and I find out about it through the family grapevine. Despite this, He tells me that it is to my glory to overlook an offense, and that he will deal with any paybacks that need dealt out. Guess what, if I didn’t read that, and meditate over it day and night (when I needed to stop feeling negative towards someone who hurt me) I would probably stop talking to everyone in my family, and many people in my small town. But can you imagine if everyone did that to each other? No one would talk. No one would be there to comfort you.

God’s wisdom is far greater than we can ever imagine, and in staying in the word, I can live in that spirit. I can make choices that perhaps the only one who knows I struggle is my father in heaven, and that’s ok. because he promises me he sees it. He promises me that he will always be there for me and I will never be alone. He promises me he will be the one to seek justice. I’m on this earth to love my neighbor, not to take vengeance. I was created to do Gods good works, and that’s what I need to do while I’m here.

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Around the farm

Aren’t animals beautiful? I mean, don’t get me wrong, they can be a pain sometimes. We’ve got 3 goats who are escape artists and one dog that upsets the neighbor because he chases away the pretty wild deer, and don’t get me started on the chickens. There’s some days I don’t even know how they’ve survived this long! They can be so….what’s the right word…..NOT SMART about their survival. But all in all, I’m happy to say that we have these animals in our lives. They’ve brought so much joy and responsibility to us.

I think it helps you to care not only for yourself and your family, but to recognize that there are others who depend on you. Today it’s the animals who depend on you. For water, feed, shelter, and even love. But next week it could be the aunt who needs help getting to her doctor appointment, or the cousin who’s wife just passed away. I think caring for animals increase our awareness for helping others.

I’m planning on breeding the goats this January….hopefully. Or as close to January as I can get. In the fall I’m going to send off a blood test on my does to make sure they are disease free. And yes, that is because we are planning on drinking milk from our beautiful does. And making yogurt and cheese….and maybe even some yummy ice cream!!

There are so many things we can be thankful for with our animals. Our eggs, milk, playfulness, companionship, education, accountability, science….(I’m hoping to learn how to do fecal counts for our goats once we get a good microscope). I can see the happiness they bring my children. We can work through sickness and death, so they have a good understanding of why we need to take good care of our animals, and not just go through the motions. And how to be good to them in times when death is unavoidable. We’ve had 2 chickens pass, one was sick for 2 days and we took care of her until she died. I think it’s important for the kids to learn these things. That although death is unavoidable sometimes, there are ways we can help cope with it, and show kindness to those going through it.

I hope to increase the variety of animals on our little farm, and even delve in to processing our own meat animals. I think we’ve gotten pretty far away from our food. And I think the very act of butchering and processing our animals that we’ve taken care of, brings us closer to that sense of appreciation. That sense that we gave our animal a great life and it provided food for us. That we aren’t so distanced from our food that we think of our chicken as a headless white lump in plastic packing in the fridge section. I hope to be able to grow from these experiences with our animals, and I hope for my children to do the same.

Romans 14:1-23 ESV

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …

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Mommin like a Boss

I woke up this morning, had my coffee and my bible out on the front porch with me, and my great big teddy bear Samson lounging at my side, when I heard the kids come outside. samson

Now I knew they hadn’t even come close to finishing their morning chores. And I knew in that moment, I had to make a choice. I could get mad and yell, or I could choose to take the moment, just then, and be kind. See what they wanted and why they hadn’t started on their chores. And I’m glad that this morning, I made the right choice. Benjibear had come out to tell me he loved me. In my past, I ashamedly admit that I would have reacted negatively to the kids not doing what I asked them to. Because I was tired, because I let other things lead my life, because my focus was not on God, but on everything around me. I would have taken that moment to yell at them, not to hear what they wanted to tell me, but to yell and say, “I told you three times already to get this done, get in there and do it.” And then missed the opportunity for my oldest to have a moment of connection with me.

We hear all the time how much our kids love us. So from the outside, this may seem trivial. It may seem like he was only coming to tell me he loved me because he was trying to get out of his chores. But do I truly believe that? No. I believe in his mind, he thought he needed to come tell me right then that he loved me, and that is what I want to foster in my children. Love. Confidence that he could come and tell me he love me without Mom getting mad at him. Joy that he could share his love with me.

Kids are so beautiful. They are so adaptable to their surroundings. They are true survivors. We’ve all had our moments of disappointment in ourselves as parents. We’ve all done those things that we are not proud of and wish we hadn’t done or said.  And I think it goes back to the bible, as in all things. See, what God wanted from his people to begin with, was an obedient loving people. Not people who disobeyed and tried to make up for it. He wanted our hearts. But he will take our repentance. And I think these little moments shape us. Those moments that we get mad and yell shape us. And those moments that we realize we shouldn’t have done what we did shape us, and those moments we choose to STOP and think before we react to our children shape us. For me, it’s been such a long journey. And I have a long way to go. But that’s ok. Because I know that he will finish this great work he started in me. He will give me a clean heart.

But it also made me realize, how much a Mom is like a manager. You can’t get mad and yell at your staff when they don’t listen or misunderstand. Well….I guess you can, and I’m sure some do, but they also loose alot of people that way. I don’t want to lose my kids. I want their hearts. And I have to manage them in a way that directs their paths while building them up instead of tearing them down. This morning, I really looked at being a mother like having a full time managing position. Because we are managing our families. Oftentimes as mothers, we are the ones guiding our children’s behavior. Father’s too. And we want to do so in a way that is encouraging. And I think we have to look past our initial negative knee-jerk reactions at our kids not listening, and instead take a step back. Try to imagine where they are coming from, just like you’d treat someone working for you, just like you’d treat a neighbor in Christ. You wouldn’t yell at a stranger for not doing what you asked them to do, why yell at your kids? And this is something that has truly helped me to stop yelling. Because I did alot of it. I’m not saying that temptation isn’t there, lurking at the corner. But I’m saying that instead, I’m choosing to encourage my children. Stay positive when they don’t listen, because they are not small adults, they are children. They don’t yet have the brain capacity to think like me. And that’s ok.

 

John 13:34-35 New International Version (NIV)

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”