An October swim

Today at the count of 3,2,1 from my oldest son I plunged into the cold October waters of Lake Erie.  It was a summer like day and the waters refreshed and invigorated my soul.

I sat there on the shore and watched the children frolic with joy in that chilly water for close to an hour.  I told myself, “Before we go I’m going in”.

At some point, despite the absurdity and coldness and knowing I would have to take a shower for a two second plunge into the water I got up and jumped in.  Because truly how many times can you say you swam in Lake Erie in October?

We each get one glorious life, and I’m weary of living mine boxed in by what I “should” be doing as an adult.

One life, let’s live it.

“Can I?”

The questions never ending
The “Can I’s?” often exhausting
My instinct is “No” “Never”
“Of course not” “You don’t know how”
But instead I back up
compose myself and say,
“Sure, go ahead and try”
As I watch and go about my tasks
I am overwhelmed at the beauty of an
Ordinary moment turned extraordinary-
A daughter learning how to peel carrots
And she did it with nary a scratch

(Blogtober day 5)

I “get to”

I’ve spent the morning cleaning the same things I spent yesterday morning cleaning.  Life is a cycle of cleaning, picking up, cooking and cleaning again and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Often I forget what a privilege it is to live the life I do, and I start to become a complainer.  But when I step back and evaluate the home life we’ve created and I get to tend, I know there’s really nowhere else I would rather be.

I get to watch my kids be best friends, and too often each other’s worse enemies.  I get to hug them when they’re hurt, either physically or emotionally.  We get to talk about what God wants for them and read books and watch shows.  I get to bake with them and get frustrated when they spill milk for the 100th time that day.

Even now in what is supposed to be my quiet time the youngest has escaped and is trying to draw in my journal and climb on my lap as a write.  I will keep going, and gently move her along.  It’s not ideal, but its beautiful.  It’s the life I get to live and it sure is a brilliant one.

In the summer I get to grow beautiful flowers and food and in the winter I have time to bake sourdough and ferment kombucha.  How fun is that?!

I get to teach my kids their letters and the sounds they make.  I get to provide them with the tools to create and invent new things and prod and poke them along when they become discouraged with learning.

It’s not the life I thought I would lead, but it’s all mine and it’s beautiful.  I may not get a lot of time to myself, and I might spend most of my days in sweatpants, but it’s the most beautiful life I could ever ask for.

I often feel pulled between wanting to take more time to work on my own projects and also knowing that this time I get at home with my children is so fleeting.  It’s already over half gone with my oldest.  I know for sure I will have 6 more years of him at home, and I want to provide the best environment I can for him during that time.  Ministry and mission are important, but they cannot be more important than these 5 gifts God has given me.

And, like God told me this summer, I am a missionary of LIFE and this life I’m living deserves my best.

So when I want to do my own stuff, and be known for doing something cool, I have to remember I already am known by the best five pals I could ever ask for, the most wonderful and caring husband, and best of all, the CREATOR of the universe who loves me beyond measure.  I need nothing else but to know that I am stewarding what has been given to me.  And if God asks me to do more, I will absolutely be His yielded vessel for Him to pour into.

(Blogtober Day 4)

October fifth

I sit at the dining room table, strewn with 4 year old’s paintings and schoolbooks and, weirdly enough, an old set of silver flatware that my kids keep looking at.  My husband sits across from me with the baby on his lap zooming with our students.  We have been highly adaptable in the past week, managing the school even amidst sickness.

If it wasn’t already, it’s really clear to us now that the Lord is in charge of this school.  Even when we’re sick and not as available, God is working through these women.  He’s forming and teaching them, and they are already doing the work of a writer, one month in.

I’m amazed at what He is doing.  I’m amazed that even though we’ve been yielded vessels during this time, that this mission is all still wholly dependent upon the Lord.

I would be lying if I said there weren’t nights of despair over the past 3 years, wondering how in the world we’re going to make all the pieces of this mission fit together.  There have been plenty of evenings that we’ve sat and ruminated on how something is going to get done or paid for, and every time the only thing we can come back to is prayer.  We call out to the Lord and He always comes through.

It isn’t always the answer we want, and it isn’t always as easy or clear as we would like, but God has built this school from the ground up.  He has made every piece fit and work just the way it should.  He is already building these amazing women into amazing Kingdom writers, and the fruit of their work is showing us just how important this mission is.

So even amidst the mess and uncertainty life can bring we will plod on joyfully, knowing that God has called us to greatness and is teaching us how to be just the right vessels along the way.

God doesn’t demand perfection but obedience.  I am yours, Lord, use me as you wish.

Blogtober day 3.

Holy Innovation

Recently, God helped me to see two places in my life in which things were not running smoothly and causing more stress than they should.  Both were laundry related, and I continue to be amazed that God cares about all the things in my life, even the amount of smelly laundry we make.

I’ve tried lots of different ways that I’ve seen other moms talk about making laundry easier, but it wasn’t until God creatively revealed what works for me that I saw fruit.

God inspired me with the two simplest solutions.  The first was that I get a different colored towel for each kid (ridiculously simple, right?  It has eliminated so much extra towel laundry because they can keep track of it) and the second is that each kid gets a basket that their clean laundry gets sorted into and they put it away at their convenience (or when I finally have to make them).  Once again, this isn’t rocket science, but they were just the solutions I needed to alleviate stress from the massive amounts of laundry that a 7-person family can accumulate.

God gave me these creative solutions to make my family run better.  He wants us to do all our tasks with excellence.  My work as a wife, mother, and homemaker should always reflect His brilliance.

Creativity is seeing the world with limitless God opportunities.

Imagine what could happen if the body of Christ steps away from thinking creativity means paintbrushes and canvases, and into believing that every single person is called to be creative.  If we are made in the image of the ultimate Creator who made EVERYTHING out of NOTHING, then we certainly can do our daily tasks with holy innovation.

Creativity is looking for divine solutions for the big and little problems of our days.

God desires to inspire each and every person to holy innovation, but often we lack the ability to believe that we are indeed creative and immediately dismiss His wisdom.

Instead of partnering with God, how often do we just bring Him our “buts”?

“But that could never work.”

“But that solution is too easy”

“But that would be too hard”

“But that’s not something I could ever do.”

God doesn’t want your big “buts”, He wants your yes.  He doesn’t reveal these things to you to make your life harder, but easier.

When Mary did was told that she would carry and nurture the Son of God she answered, “May it be to me as you have said.”  She didn’t give God her big list of “buts”, even though she certainly could have been entitled to them!  God asked her to be a part of His creative solution to save the whole entire world.  What if instead of being a yielded vessel, she talked her way out of it because the challenges were too large?  God would have certainly used someone else to bring the Savior into the world, but it wouldn’t have been Mary.  She wouldn’t have received eternal blessing for the great responsibilities and risks she took here on earth.

God’s solutions are divine GIFTS!  How rude we are when we give him our big “Buts” instead.

So let us be the ones willing to surrender to even the crazy ideas of our Lord, to be the ones willing to tell him, “May is be to me as you have said.”

(Post two of Blogtober)

Logic or Jesus?

The funny thing about anxiety is that it evades logic, right?  No matter how many times you go over the rationality of said thing happening (always nill to zero, right?) your brain will still throw you for a loop so hard you have to get up off the couch and run outside until the panic subsides.

I KNOW that it’s silly to worry about this or that.  I can look at the evidence and know that this scenario is extremely unlikely to happen to me, yet at times the anxiety still invades and panic present.

God has been showing me that I can’t just look at the rational side of things to solve my anxiety, but I have to look at the Kingdom side of it.

When I’m spiraling, looking at what Jesus said as truth is the only way to calm my overworked mind.  Once I reflect on the Truth of who He is and the goodness he certainly has for my life, I can begin to finally relax into the trust He wants me to find in Him.

Jesus is my best friend, and the only cure for anxiety.  Only in Him will I find peace and solace for a soul that is weary of the world around it.

(Post one of Blogtober, in which I write a blog every weekday in October.)