i’m sick of me

I’m so sick of myself!  I say that in the least self-loathing, self-centered, depressed way possible.  But really, I am.  Ever since I became a Christian fourteen years ago, I have heard people say that all you need is a humble spirit and a teachable heart.  You read your Bible, go to Bible studies, say your prayers, love others, serve others.  Eventually you will become more like Him.  I find that defeating.

Think about all the work that list entails.  Overwhelming.  If you get married you are then to be a good and loving spouse.  Serving your spouse when they are undeserving, and being okay with whatever they say and do with no bad attitudes.  Be in the perfect frame of mind.  Live life fully in the Spirit.

Do all this while dancing around with a smiling on your face.  Singing praises to God in all situations.

Now have children.

Multiply the Earth with a quiver full of arrows.

Now, be always giving and loving.  Nurture those babes with the fear of the Lord.  Direct them in the ways they should go all the days of their lives.  Read Proverbs 31 and be that person.  Forever.  Motherhood is always.

Really?  We don’t need to work our way to being a person who reflects the image of God?  We are supposed to help the poor, serve our families, teach our young ones, volunteer at church, keep our houses orderly, cook wonderful healthy meals, all while having a patient attitude even when the kids that are a blessing from God are smearing poop on the bathroom floor.  Even when your spouse who was hand-picked by God hurts your feelings.

Take it Christian women.  You can choose to make the best of all things in your life.

This is all partly true.  The missing piece is this:  “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”

How have we become exactly like the Hebrews and not realized it?  We want Jesus as enough, and we want to be perfect super women also.  If we’re strong in our life who is it that’s weak?  Christ, right?

When we’re weak He is strong.  I seem to forget this all the time.  I know this in my head, but in reality, I fail to remember that Jesus is ALL I need.  He is sufficient always!

Do you need to remember this too?  You cannot do life on your own.  You weren’t meant to. Christ wants your humility, not your strength.

I was recently given a book by my dear and sweet friend.  I read the preface three times before I could read the first chapter.  The book is Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Harnard.

As I read the following bit, I knew that all the head knowledge I’ve gathered up in Bible studies and life and devotional time wasn’t sinking into the reality of my path here and now.

“But the High Places of victory and union with Christ cannot be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin…”

What?  I can’t choose to be dead to my sin?  I don’t have the ability?

“…or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified.”

Reading my Bible everyday and going to church and going to Bible study, and serving and being a patient (yeah right!) mother, and hosting Jesus Birthday parties for all the neighborhood kids, and NOT doing things I shouldn’t doesn’t count?  *MIND BLOWN*

“The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the real conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our own will and acceptance of his as is it presented to us in the form of the people with whom have to live and work, and in the things which happen to us.”

Ummm.  Read that again!

“Every acceptance of his will become an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to his will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which he desires to bring every child of his while they are still living on earth.”

She goes on the explain that the lessons of the book are a journey to accepting grief and pain and triumphing over evil ect.

Seriously.  Do you know what she stated to be true?  In your heart?  In your life?  In the way that you live?  I think I missed something along the way.  I truly believe that God’s Word is true.  I know it’s by His strength, in His Spirit, by His will, for His glory.

What I’m really trying to consider here is that I must accept every thing that happens as an oppurtunity to humble myself, and by God’s grace and mercy accept the fighting kids as tools to sharpen my patience.  I am set on thinking of disorder that drives my recovering OCD mind crazy, as a way for God to instill his order in my heart.

I am forever and always until Jesus comes, going to be struggling.  I am eager for God to work into me a heart and Spirit that shines His light into darkness.

What if my life brought others to knowledge of Him?  That won’t happen if I’m complaining about how someone built an awesome thing inside our house and sanded it inside our house.  It won’t happen if I pretend to be strong when something is hard.  Honest humility.  We are to bear one another’s burdens,  You get the point right?

I have had plenty of opportunities to accept His will in my life recently.  Each time, I’m reminded of this passage.  My only real job as a Christian is to act on those opportunities.  Sometimes that looks like scrubbing my neighbor’s house because that’s how they need to hear the gospel.  Other times it looks like NOT freaking out on kids and being humble and loving.  Choosing to accept the challenges they throw at me as an oppurtunity to teach instead of punish.

It’s not going to be easy, but I am so excited to start letting Him work his will in my life.  I’m also excited to allow his will instead of impose my own.  Are you with?

 

choosing to trust

Yesterday was a rough one.  The three younger children have the chore of putting away the dishes.  They were fighting and arguing constantly.  Each attempt to redirect and reason was met with more arguing and more fighting.  By 9:15 AM I was ready to hid in my room and read with a locked door.  Do you ever have a morning that seems to let you know the rest of your day will be and uphill battle?  I called it yesterday.

I didn’t call it out loud.  I pleaded with God that it wouldn’t be.  I prayed we could turn it around.

That didn’t happen.

It’s hard for me to see the good in times like that.  Suddenly, I’m worn out.  I become very unproductive.  Nick and I had a dinner date that night.  Right up until we left the fighting continued.  I was to meet him after I dropped off the kids.  I was running late because of all the talks and attitudes that resulted.

I felt bad that I was even leaving them with their grandparents.  Naturally, they were no trouble for them at all.  I was relieved, but sheesh!  I would have liked to enjoy a bit of that.

By the middle of dinner I was ready to give up the farm and move to the city.  Won’t it be easier if there’s less work? Wouldn’t it be nicer to be closer to supportive friends.  To say it lightly, yesterday was a bum day.  I real bummer.

This morning; however, I woke at 5:15 (usually I get up at 6:30), and things seemed up.  I read my Bible, had a cup of coffee, and milked the goats before Nick rose.  The kids are still sleeping.  I’ve even thrown in a load of laundry.  Here I sit typing away as if yesterday’s woes never were.

Isn’t that just like us humans?  We are such emotional being.  One day, we’re giving up the dream, and the next we’re enjoying every moment.

I was a bit busted this morning as I did my Bible study in 1 Samuel 8.  How many times am I just like the Israelites.  I praise God and worship him.  I want to follow His will.  The next moment I’m complaining about what he’s given me and rebel against Him.  I don’t want his little “gift” anymore.

Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Psalms 40:4

Today, no matter what those hooligan kids of mine throw at me, I want to choose to trust God.  Since they’re not up yet, I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.  I’m ready though.  I trust Him logically, but not always emotionally.

Friends, are you feeling like you relate?  Is there something or someone(s) you’re letting rule your emotions?  I want you to know you’re not alone.  He is with you.  I don’t want to believe the lies that I can’t do it (life).  I can if I tap into God’s strength.

God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. 2 Samuel 22:33

I pray I’ll be content with whatever great things or whatever struggle comes at me.  I will follow Him.  How about you?  What encourages you when the weight of life is on you?  Do you know He loves you?  He does.  We mamas have so much pull in every direction.  It can be overwhelming!

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

i gave in: homeschool mama confessions, part 2

First, if you haven’t read Part 1, please do so now.  If you have, welcome back and thanks for reading.

So, our summer wasn’t exactly fun.  It was very stressful.  I did what some may call “soul searching” after returning from a two-week stay up North.  I say this lightly, since I know very well my purpose in life.  Seek and serve Jesus.  I really meant, how am I going to turn this grief into good.  Out of this tragedy, what is God telling me?  What is He calling me to?

During the last 5.5 months, I have done so much growing.  I have gotten zealous for the right things, and the wrong things.  I started running to expel those swirling thoughts right out of my head, and to work off some grief.  I even ran my first 5K. I’ve signed up for college, and then dropped out.  My motivation for that was purely fear (what if Nick dies and leaves me destitute?).  I’ve gardened, pulling weeds is SO therapeutic.  I’ve knit, I’ve sewn, I’ve distracted myself, and I’ve faced myself.

The kids went to school.

I read at least 4 books.

I had my gallbladder removed.

While searching for my next book on my recovery bed, a title caught my eye.  Desparate: for the mom who needs to breath.  Okay, I’ll bite.  I’ve heard of this blogger before so I went for it.  I posted about my review of this book here.  That’s what God used to show me clearly, precisely what I was spending so much time and energy looking for.  The end of chapter three was a concrete wall.  I ran straight into it.  Whack!  God spoke to me, “You gave up.”

I really did.

The tears came.

Why was I searching everywhere for my new fresh purpose?  My children are my purpose.  I suppose I became discontent with that being all.  Can I just say right here, discontentment is very dangerous.  It drives people in such an oppostite direction, then where the Lord is leading.  I’m thankful that I listened when God called me back at this point.  Discontentment can go farther.  Much farther.  I’ve seen it myself, with people I love.

Discontentment drives people into depression, into adultress relationships, into a money-focused lifestyle.  It drives people to leave their family, into selfishness, into addiction, into separation with God.  Our hearts are the limit here, and they are a bottomless pit of SELF.

Jerimiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Please pray if you think this is taking root in your life.

For me, it drove me to send my kids away, and made my personal call to homeschool void.  I was driven to self-service.  I was looking out for number one.  You may or may not be called to homeschool, but I am.  I know I am.

After a month or so of praying and talking with Nick, we’re back to square one.  I have come full-circle on homeschooling.   I have given in to the Holy Spirit’s convictions.  This is the best possible being to give in to.  I have realized that I didn’t need to give up in the first place.  I needed to seek support for the hard times.

Titus 2:4  And so train the young women to love their husbands and children…

I needed some encouragement to persevere.  That’s all.  I hope you have someone in your life who speaks truth to you, who encourages you in your walk with Jesus. Someone who is honest in the difficulties that moms of young children face.

It’s not easy!

As humans, can we just admit our reality?  Our one picture of daily greatness on Facebook or Instagram, doesn’t happen every moment of our lives.  We aren’t picture perfect.  We aren’t perfect at all.  Our clean houses, happy husbands, and well-mannered children take LOTS of hard mundane work- everyday!

Can we also admit that our houses aren’t always clean, our husbands aren’t always happy, and our children can act down-right uncivilized too?

Thank you.  Doesn’t that feel better?

We don’t have it all together.  No one is a supermom!  Some are close, but everyone has struggles.  I have many.

We are all works in progress.  We need each other.  We’re meant to encourage each other.

So, the Garcia kids are finishing this last week of public school.  It will be a nice end, with parties and plays.  Then, in January, the real test comes.  Will I drink a full pot of coffee a day again, after weaning myself to 1-2 cups?  We shall see.

What are your mama struggles?  What do you need a fresh perspective on?  Why have you not read this above book yet?

Persevere friends.  You will be glad you did.  Be honest.  Be who God created you to be.  As a mom, person, dog, or whoever you amazing people who read this are.

Let the planning begin!

IMG_1094

when silence is broken

Oh.  My.  To say it’s been a while is an understatement.  The computer is finally fixed!  Now let’s move on.

There is no way I’ll be able to catch you up in a single post.  I will trickle in the info over the next few weeks.  I have thought long and hard about how to approach the following life update.  I’m not sure I’ll even come close to relaying all there is to say.  I will try to do my best to put into words one of the most life-changing things that’s ever happened to me.

I have lost people in my life.  I have lost family and friends.  I have lost them in different ways.  Suddenly, knowingly, harshly, gently.  Until June 30, 2013 I never lost anyone that has effected me so deeply.  I’m speaking of the 19 lives that were lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire.  My cousin was one of them.  Because this event is so well-known, and I do not wish to be the cause of any media hounding any of my family members, I will not say his name.

I will not compromise on this.  If you know me personally, you know.  If you don’t, please don’t pry.

When you hear news like this, it’s never easy.  I think back on that night on the phone with my mom, and I can tell you truthfully, the desperation in the despair is like nothing I’ve experienced.  I never cried so loud, hard, completely in my life.

Looking back I can say that as the weeks following that night crept forward like the longest and fastest days I’ve had, something inside me was changing.  Family I hadn’t seen in years were surrounding each other.  Tension, tears, even laughs exchanged.  We were all like sleep-deprived shells walking about trying to function and comfort each other.  We tried to distract ourselves from the pain, and give-in to it completely.  It’s a process for sure.

Have you ever experienced this sort of grief?  It is so strange.  I expected his wife to be an inconsolable wreck.  I’m sure she (more than any of us) had these moments, but there is a strength that people rouse in grief, right in the middle of completely falling apart.  I never imagined until I saw it, that grief was so vast and complex.  One moment we could all be laughing together, speaking of times past or something totally unrelated, the next someone would just go ghost-like and weep.  With understanding grins we would hug, knowing the pain they felt, but not always joining in the despair.  Next thing you know it’s you.

You try to rationalize it.  You become very logical when you attempt to conjure up the best possible reason that death so tragic happens.  You land on a certain fact, and when you’re nearly convinced, you realize its horrid and nothing you think can make it make sense.

There are no days of the week.  If you thought you knew, it passed yesterday, or isn’t until tomorrow.  Sleep is an abstract thought.  You never feel like eating, and then realize you are starving.

There’s one thing that always stayed steady inside me through ups and downs of the first few weeks.  God’s presence.  I just felt him there.  I saw his mercies through the acts of people in the community.  I heard his calm reassurance in those moments when falling asleep tortured my with memories and thoughts of how each family member would deal with a future without  their husband, father, brother, nephew, grandson, cousin, friend.  God was there.

I knew he always has been, but I felt Him.  He was the only thing that gave me comfort.  Everything else was chaos and heartbreak.  What I felt was hope.  There is always hope when you’re with Jesus.

This is my new life-focus.  share the hope with each member of my family.  In some way or another, I have to.

“You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow”

“Life is so short”

“I never thought anything like this would happen to me”

“Tell the people you love how much they mean to you”

These mean something deeply personal to me now.  Things I’ve heard said, known were true, but never acted on them until now.

I am changing so much through this.  I regret deeply YEARS that I missed in my cousin’s life.  I assumed there would be a next time.  There wasn’t.  I hate that.  I have come to grips with it, but it stops now.  I am trying to live more intentionally.  If I mean to say, do, call, see, I am so going to do all I can to make it happen.

With the shifting of the wind nineteen families changed forever.  Entire families.  Hundreds or people will never be the same again.  That breaks my heart.  Truly broken.  My prayer is that each of them find the hope that is in Jesus alone.  I pray their death has meaning.  A purpose in the pain.  Eternal life in Christ is what I pray for.  Anything less is a waste.  These are strong words, but I believe them with every fiber of my being.

A heavy post for such a long absence.  There was no way around it.  We have a “normal” life again.  We have a daily schedule, chores, work, school, fun family times, animals to tend, and ministry to run, and yes knitting.  The grief remains in all these things.  it has changed how I view them.  As anyone that lives with grief, it doesn’t always consume you.  It appears in unexpected, often inconvenient places.  You truly do live with it.  It’s there even if you don’t always feel it intensely.  It changes often.

In my living I choose to live for Christ.   

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

 

tiny moments

IMG_0016IMG_0018

IMG_0021IMG_0020Here at the farm we have divided up the household and animal responsibilities into age appropriate sections.  I have had very little to to with feeding the animals since the goats have been dried up.  Yesterday was different with illness still lurking about these parts.

I certainly didn’t want to send any sick child into 20 degree weather.

So, I slipped on a few knit layers and rubber boots and went about the morning chores alone.  I forgot how much I truly need to get outside more, even in the cold weather.

I love listening to our winter friends, Sandhill Cranes over head.  I can’t get enough of the affection our sweet does give me and each other.  Are there really so many things more adorable than a fluffy rump chicken running about?

Okay, if you’re about to say kids, I’ll give you that.  But, seriously, I absolutely love our life, how ever trying times can be, no matter the sacrifices of worldly glamour.  Caring for animals may tie us down more, but they are more than pets.  They are our livelihood  our food, our entertainment, our family.

We learn so much, even about our Heavenly Father, as we raise and care for our animals and our farm.

I can’t imagine wanting to go back to our former life.  I know we are always open to whatever path is laid before us, but I do hope it includes livestock and mason jars.  I really love it here.  I am filled with thanksgiving and humility for the life we are living right now.  I am so excited for the future lessons and experiences that only a farmer’s life can offer.

I don’t say this to make you feel as though your life is unimportant.  I have simply come to realize more depth in my own life.  For me, it can be as simple as grasping the meaning of time-honored sayings or, even, spiritual concepts.

The phrase “pigs sty” just doesn’t mean as much unless your eyes have seen and nose has smelled.  Seriously, I would rather starve than eat from a pig’s trough as the “Wayward Son” of the New Testament did.

When I read in the scriptures that the fields are “white for the harvest, but the laborers are few”, I envision our neighbor’s cotton fields-breathtakingly white as far as the eye can see.  What a daunting task to think of harvesting a field like that without enough help.  It would seem downright impossible!

The Bible is filled with farming references and examples.  As I walk about about our humble farm, verses are alive before my eyes.  Much how I would imagine a trip the Israel,  I see and have a greater understanding of the depth, pain, toil behind the stories.  I know for certain I would go leave a flock of sheep “to pursue the one”.  Every animal we have, we love, nurture and enjoy.  How much more does He love me…you?  He pursues us!  Searching, calling…do we listen?

The future is never certain, so all I can be is overjoyed to be placed here, now, and forever in my heart.  I don’t want to forget these tiny moments on the farm, with my Lord talking to me while I go about my chores.

the battles

Around here we are in yet another of those constantly changing phases in child-rearing.  It’s been somewhat of a battle. More and more phrases such as “I want…”, “I can’t…”, “Why do I have to…” are being said.  As we talk and assess the issues, the realizaton that all this is completely my fault starts to come to fruition.

In motherhood, I want what’s best for my children.  I want them to make good, great, even perfect decisions.  I envision a household full of love warmth, attentiveness, cleanliness, order, godliness, encouragement and fun.  I want to create a relationship with my children that is open enough for them to come to me for anything– even admittence of mistakes, yet maintain authority so they don’t become uncivilzed kids (Lord of the Flies).  I am trying to maintain a hope and goal of perfect parenting.

Although I understand this is an impossible, unattainable thought, I can’t help but have it.  What I have been struggling with in this house is loosing battles.  What battles are worth fighting and which are not?  Is making the bed in a timely fashion something to hold them to, or is not important right now?

I realize that I don’t want every part of every day to be about control.  Eat faster, get dressed, do your school work, hurry up, look at your paper, time to eat, hurry up and finish, go potty, get ready for quiet time, pick up your toys, put your clothes away, time for dinner, finish up, do your kitchen chores, get ready for bed, hurry up so we can pray, give me a kiss, go to bed, stay in bed, don’t come out of your room….and around and around we go.

If I were them I’d be fighting against me too.  The constant burgage of requests and duties doesn’t seem fair.  I don’t like hearing myself talk day after day.  However, how do I teach them responsibility if they have no responsibilities?  *head is now spinning out-of-control*

More than making beds, more than doing things faster, more than getting it all done, I want them to love.  I want them to love each other, to love others, and mostly to love Jesus.  That’s what’s important to me.  Nick has been saying to them “I think you need to learn to say these three things more.  ‘Thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘I love you’.”

As a parent we all know that our little ones are repeaters.  They repeat what we say and do.  I guess that means I have to go first. Tomorrow I will lead by example…

Thank you– for being such helpful and fun kids, for teaching me what forgiveness is by forgiving me so wholly.  Thank you for hugging me for no reason, for wanting to spend so much time with me, for flattering me when I wear anything that isn’t pajamas, for missing me when I’m gone for 30 minutes, for telling me you love me at random and unexpected times, for saying I’m the best mom.  Thank you for being truthful about every thought you have.

I’m sorry–  For rushing you through every day, for getting frustrated because you don’t do everything perfectly, for raising my voice and hurting your feelings, for being uptight and no fun most of the day, for not letting you make enough mess, for expecting too much too soon, for failing to teach you by trying to control you, for trying for conform you instead of cultivate you.  I’m sorry for not letting you make mistakes.

I Love you–  so much.  I love you no matter what you do or say, all the time, completely, enough to trust you more, in a way that makes me want to protect you from everything.  I love you, and because I love you I want you to have a long and happy childhood.  I loved you the second I felt your tiny body moving inside me, and I won’t ever stop.  I love you so much it hurts.

I pray these words will be unforgettable to them.  I know they will keep me accountable.  Humility is a learned and honorable possession. I have much to learn.  As always they are continuously teaching me more daily than all the curriculum I can shove into them yearly.  What a blessing and honor to watch a child become a person.  Tomorrow is a new day, and for that I am grateful.

 

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23