Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

This spring, some good friends offered the Paschalls and us a portion of their yard to plant a garden.  We, of course, took them up on it.  The week before Mother's Day we tilled the soil a bit and worked it into rows and mounds ready for planting.  Then we shopped for seeds and planned it all out, thinking carefully about which plants could be planted near each other without cross contaminating (onion-cantaloupes don't taste very good. Ick!) and also planning our strategy for dealing with the precious deer that inevitably show up and help themselves to our tender vegetables. 

Then, on a beautiful Mother's Day afternoon, we went to plant our seeds. 

Gardening is such a project of faith.  And, even as I read the back of those seed packets, learning how far apart to space them and how long I can expect to wait before I see any fruit, I find myself doubting it all.  When I look at tiny carrot seeds, how in the world can I expect them to become something big enough to eat? How can those tiny seeds in the tomato packet, the ones I see when I cut into a juicy tomato, come alive and produce not just one tomato, but a whole plant full of juicy tomatoes?  It seems impossible.  At the very least, it seems improbable.   And, once they're in the ground and covered up, the garden looks the same as before.  I soak them with water, but it seems hard to believe that anything will come of them...except that I've seen it before.  I know what can happen with time and a little TLC.

Two years ago, we started YoungLives in Canon City.  YoungLives is Young Life's ministry to teen moms.  We knew there was a need for something like this in Canon City, but we had no idea how quickly it would grow.  And now, here we sit, with almost 20 girls coming to club every month, and with 9 girls and 10 babies signed up to go to camp in 3 weeks.  We've been planting seeds all year. We know that our job is to work the soil and to water and to weed out the lies. We know we need to be faithful.  And even as we begin to see some tiny tender buds break through the surface, we know also that this is a project of faith. But it's fueled by the knowledge of what we have seen the Lord do time and time again. He grows the seed in his own time.  Rooting it in love.  Producing a harvest of joy.

And along the way, he increases our faith.  He gives us joy in the work and he uses this to work the soil of our lives and to water and to weed out the lies. Our leaves become healthier and stronger.  Our fruit becomes sweeter and ready to burst with more seed. Our roots sink deeper and become more firmly fixed on Him.  And because he is always faithful, we grow a little more.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

"I planted the seed.  Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.  For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lazy days of summer...

Loren is off at camp this week with 30 of his high school friends.  We had some sad goodbyes, especially from the little one, who apparently just realized on Sunday that her dad was gonna be gone for a week.  But, all in all, we take these trips in stride.  Loren goes every summer to camp and we try to use that time to do some fun little things with just us girls.

And, in years past, I have also taken these opportunities, these quiet evenings at home alone, to do household projects.  That room that needs painting?  Yep...I'm gonna stay up all night after the kids go to bed and get it done.  That wallpaper that needs to come down?  You better believe that'll be gone when he gets back.  That garage that needs cleaning out?  I'm on it.

But here's the truth, folks.  I haven't done any of that crap this week.  And I'm not gonna.

Maybe it's because I'm lazy.  It really could be.  I've worried before that maybe I am.  But I also wonder if maybe it's because there is a bit more life in my days, these days.  My kids aren't napping for three hours in the afternoon anymore.  They aren't eating disposable jars of baby food or filled up by a banana at breakfast. And they certainly aren't sitting in johnny jump ups or saucers bouncing their little hearts out without ever really going anywhere. 

We are on the go! We're at the garden pulling weeds and jumping on the trampoline (A post coming soon on our amazing garden!).  We're swimming next door and trying to keep Ava from skinny dipping. (I swear that girl wants to be naked in the water and I seem to be helpless to stop her!) We are watching friends play baseball, and meeting friends at the park, and having friends sleep over.  We are teaching the kids to cook and to do cartwheels and to ride bikes with no training wheels. And we are spending time with our high school friends and teen moms (more on the teen moms later, too) and with our small group from church.

It's fun and full and at the end of the day, I am spent.  And the thought of starting some project just pales in comparison to the thought of sitting and reading, or crocheting, or sleeping.

My life is spent on the people that I love. And, at the end of the day, I am bone tired.  And I think maybe that's how it should be. I think that might just be what the end of the day is all about.  The end. Done.  Finished.
You know what I think, fellow moms?  I think tired looks an awful lot like lazy.  But I'm pretty sure it's not the same thing.  When did we get convinced that it was?  Well I'm not buying it. So I won't be heading upstairs tonight to reorganize the linen closet, which looks like three little girls have been building and destroying forts in there for most of the spring months.  Cause I've got some sleeping to do instead.  Tomorrow's coming.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I spend a lot of the time telling my children no.  So much so that Bella, my child who always wishes to know the outcome to every question she plans to ask before it is asked, has begun starting off her requests with, “Are you gonna say no?” …before she even asks the question.

My insides cringe a bit when she says that.  And my internal dialogue goes something like this.  “Am I such a meanie that she feels like all I ever say is ‘no’?  I mean, don’t I sometimes say yes?  Am I a fun parent or am I just a parent who tells them no?  Does she believe that I want good things for her?”  And on and on and on.  The crazy, obsessive thoughts are not something I counted on when I planned my delightful foray into motherhood.

And then, today, I had this thought. The fact is, I do tell my children “no” a lot.  But it’s because frankly, sometimes they are ridiculous.  They don’t know what’s best for them.  They are constantly asking for things that aren’t good for them.  Candy (I probably say yes to candy too often), television, to stay up later, to duck out of piano practice, to endless sleepovers and more dessert and snack after snack after snack.  And I am constantly saying no.  If they would only learn to ask for more vegetables, and decent bedtime hours, and for goodness sake would I shut off the television so they can do some more informational reading, I could say yes more often.  But, they’re kids.  And they don’t ask for those things.  And so I say no.  Because I love them so much.

It’s good to say no.  We need no.

Which brings me to my own life.  In light of my tiny understanding of God and his purposes and what is good for me, it’s a wonder he says yes to me as often as he does.  More often, it seems sometimes, the answer is no…if I even bother to ask.  Too often, I rush ahead without asking.  Taking whatever I want, doing whatever I want because it seems good.  My kids do that, too.  (Particularly a certain three year old I know.)  It never turns out very well. For either of us.  

In truth, though, I’m a little more like Bella.  And I generally like to know the answer before I ask the question. Because there is a tiny control freak that lives inside of me.  And so, I often measure my requests.  I don’t ask a lot for what I really want because I’m afraid of no.  Why am I so afraid of that?  Do I think God is such a meanie that all he ever wants to say is no?  Doesn’t he sometimes say yes?  Do I really believe he is good?  And if I do, then can’t I believe that if he says no, it’s because he loves me so much?  What am I missing out on because I am afraid to ask?

So, what I’m asking for now, is that I would feel the freedom to ask for whatever I want.  The freedom to be ridiculous in the face of a God who loves me. The freedom to know that my value in Him isn’t diminished when I ask for something he doesn’t say yes to. The freedom to hear ‘no’ and believe that it’s because he loves me so much.  And I’ll hope and pray that, one day, those requests line up with His  plans and purposes more often than not as I grow and learn to love him more.  Because a girl gets tired of hearing no all the time.  Just ask Bella.

I think that’s a request God can say yes to. Freedom to rest in my love for you?  Yes, Beloved.  And he probably feels the same sense of relief that I do when my kids finally ask for something that’s good for them, something that is easy to say yes to, something that makes me smile and say, “For goodness sakes yes.  Let’s get you that right now.”