A missionary of LIFE.

The Lord urged me to take an extended social media break in the month leading up to my birthday.  It was a wonderful time off and I’m not dipping a toe back in.  The last month I felt clear headed, able to write just for fun and not likes, and found myself having more free time to ponder with God or really listen to my kids.  In this age we are all learning how to live in this technological world, one that we’re not quite made for and is fairly foreign to our DNA.

One evening last week I lit the lights on the deck and sat with the Lord in the fading sun.  He spoke so much as I sat and scrawled it across my notebook.  They are words I treasure, and ones that I will ponder and read over and over again until the content truly seeps into my bloodstream.

For much of this past year I have had this nagging in the back of my mind that I should be, should be, should be doing something more with my time or with social media or with ministry.  Super vague, and kind of maddening, right?  At the heart of it I thought I was making sure that I wasn’t “wasting” anything God gave me, but truly I think I was just longing for greener pastures, one that is a little more glamorous and exciting than my stay-at-home mom life.

On the patio God showed me that I have been looking for a ministry, but I’m already living a mission.  That my whole life is a mission, and my mission is LIFE.  If it looks like I dabble in a million different little projects it’s because that’s reflective of my LIFE with the Lord.  If my writing shifts and there’s more prophecy last year than now, or more photographs this month than last, it’s because life is fluid and balance is a lie.  At the heart of it, God has called me to live my faith and share my life.  It’s impossible to wrap a whole life up in a neat branded and beautiful package in which you can always be sure what you will get.

There’s parenting, homeschooling, running a school, relationships, photography, writing and so much more.  This space will always be a smattering of those things, and I’m sure will change as the years march ahead.

I’m not confident that I’m a missionary of this ONE wild and beautiful life I get to live with our Savior.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Distractions

I sit and write amid trash and crumbs strewn across the table.  One child is sedated by a show, one squirms on my lap and the others are outside, finally making their own fun.  The morning has been full of tempers that have flared.  Tempers that lashed out at each other and the schoolwork that we tried to do.  Forever I will be learning to not lash out at their lashing out because how in the world can I teach them to be calm when so many days I’m like a pressure cooker that’s not properly vented?

For years I’ve been trying to figure out how to do social media well.  Sometimes it’s looked like being off for an extended period of time, others times I’ve felt called to intentionally engage with people instead of just creeping by like a stranger in a white van  (no offense to my friends in white vans, you guys are my favorite).

A friend and I recently spent some time in prayer because we were both felt like we were not giving God our best.  My distraction is social media.  It’s my go to when life feels too consuming (which with five kids feels like most of the time).  I’ve felt this pull, this tension, to draw back knowing that it is taking up too much of my brain space for me to be the kind of mom I want to be, but also the kind of friend I want to be to God.

Naturally, the week after we prayed, I spent much of it scrolling through social media, attempting to engage but doing a whole lot of creeping.  I then felt that guilty pull of knowing that I want things to be different but doing absolutely nothing to change it.  A few nights in this strange anxiety began to hit me, a feeling that I haven’t felt for quite a while and one that tells me to stop and look around at why this old feeling is trying to make a new space.

After a vacation followed by a couple of weeks of sickness I realized my guard was down.  I was tired from mom’ing and from holding things together when Brad and the kids were sick.  The enemy attempted to hit me at a time when I was soothing my soul with social media instead of Jesus, and he almost got me.

Then I heard the Lord tell me to lay low and seek Him until he told me otherwise.  I don’t often hear such direct commands from Him, but I knew this meant to stay off social media until I heard further.

I used to think that being off social media for good would be the answer to all my problems.  If only I could just delete my accounts forever, that would make things better.  Lately, though, since we’ve started the School of Kingdom Writers and I’ve felt a pull to use my personal social media accounts for His good, I’ve realized that I must learn how to do social media God’s way.  I believe that He has this perfect way for us to connect and teach and encourage each other in Christ, and I know that I just need to learn how to do that without being consumed.  It sure seems like I should have that under control before we set out to disciple and teach others.

Last night I began to sense that God was telling me to post online, check and respond and then get back off.  As I began to sense that and wonder if it was really God, I also began to wonder if it could really be that simple?

What if I waited until God told me, posted and checked in, and then signed back off again?  I don’t need to let it consume me, I don’t “owe” anyone a quick response, I don’t need to dull my sense or feelings by looking at what other people are doing.  I can put my content out there, connect with people as I see fit, and then log back off and into my real life where there are real problems that I need to have the courage and fortitude to address.

As my friend Sarah says, it’s so beautiful how God invites us into things with him.  He doesn’t force us to join him, but he will gently remind us that we indeed have a part to play in becoming closer to Him.  The more we seek Him, the more He responds.

It’s really as simple as that.

Instead

The grass is growing again.

Last summer we were over our heads in a drowning restaurant, racing to get an addition built and trying to keep a homestead and family from falling prey to many weeds.

It broke us open.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

 Through our brokenness, God has prevailed and has not left us.  The past year has been one of immense growth and change.  We have found the “insteads”.  

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,

the oil of joy
instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:3

 I walked outside on a warm summer night and noticed we nearly have a lawn again.  I looked at the overhang that is almost finished, the garden that, despite the weeds, is flourishing, the new herb patch that brings me joy and I can see that God brought us out of a spiritual desolation as well as a personal one.  Our life is flourishing again, and we are forever closer to the One who provided it all.

Instead of complaint, He has given me a spirit of thankfulness.  Instead of frustration, a spirit of patience.

Instead of fear, He has given me faith.

Solar Dye

The boys and I have been experimenting with plant dyeing the past couple of weeks.  We left butternut hulls, chestnut hulls and goldenrod in the sun for a couple of days, strained and then left some fabric swatches in the solution for another couple of days and found these gorgeous colors emerge.

I will be doing a big pot of butternut hulls soon because that olive green is amazing.

Theo’s Story

**Theo started building this fort in the spring and worked on it all summer.  He will be taking it down in the next few days so he wrote a story and took some pictures to remember it by.**

 

Theo’s Storrey

I bilte a fort and it wuse garart.
I bilte it bi my slof.
I had deun it garart.
It wouse the beste.
Sind by Theo

 


Theo’s story

I built a fort and it was great.
I built it by myself.
I had done it great.
It was the best.

Signed by Theo