Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whose Idea Was This Anyway?

Picture this.  We're young and probably immature.  It's a family member's birthday and he's just ever so slightly older than us.  There's not a history of exchanging gifts, but we do seek the perfect card.

The one.  Simple.  A line drawing - almost a sketch - with just the minimal water coloring to fill it in.

Is there such a thing as the perfect hybrid of wonky and geeky?  That's what this youngish looking line drawn man looks like.  The text balloon above his head says, "Remember when you were 14 and you couldn't wait  to grow up?"

Inside - "Who's good idea was that? Happy Birthday anyway..."

Ha. Ha.  It was funny back then since we had just entered into the realm of grown up, newly married, finishing up school, managing finances, and excitedly living the adult experience.

Fast forward.  May 2012.  Being a grown up is tough. Although many are in bloom, things just aren't coming up all roses around here.  And being "grown up" is a good idea.

We've encountered unprecedented challenges in parenting.  The mini farm we're gratefully developing taxes all our limits.  Finances are strained.   No kidding, our cows ran away and took a three day mini vacation in the 100+ acres of woods, swamp, and neighbors fields - unbelievable stress and exertion tracking them, understanding their away from home habits, and eventually just waiting for them to come home.  (Do you want to hear more on this has the potential to be a pretty entertaining post?)

And here's the biggie.  Unemployment.  Ugh.  That's a weighty one to type.  After many years of commitment,  sacrifice, and personal investment, Weekend Farmer Husband's company has severed ties and he's out of a job.

So, how could this possibly be a good thing?  A good idea?

Although the stress and discomfort produces a constant ache in my chest, there's a deeper knowing even more central.  This is the process of maturing.  The coming to contentment in plenty or in want.  Personally experiencing weakness, completely coming to the end of ourselves, and resulting in the increased understanding that when we are poor He is rich.  It's the feeling like you're at the edge of an endless abyss and circumstances beyond your control shove you in.

And it feels like a bad thing, this free fall.

But, God's ideas for how we grow are far beyond ours.  And He is always good.

So, for those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and live to glorify God our Father, this is a good idea. It necessarily and logically follows.

Because this free fall doesn't require or even offer a safety net - no matter how much we want or think we need it.

Unconcerned with how fast, how far, how sloppily we fall we can only end up in one place.

We fall into the infinite character of God who never changes and who's promises hold fast.

And when all else seems to be coming undone it comes to me as more than a good idea.  It is my only comfort in life that I belong body and soul to the One who holds all things together for His glory and my good.


  • In uncertainty and want, the Holy Spirit tenderly leads through scripture, songs, and worship to minister to my fearful heart.
  • Friends rally.
  • Holiday weekend takes the edge off no office hours required.
  • Plenty of deferred work getting done in barns, around the property, and the messy stashes of a busy life.
  • Cows quietly enjoying their green pastures while the electric fence (newly reinforced) hums all around them.
  • Strangers providing for needs we didn't even know we had.
  • Friends just showing up and praying.
  • Seeds going into earth promising a harvest and providing metaphors for hope in this gritty personal growing season.
  • Mercy poured out and lavish forgiveness for the guilt I bear from selfish sin.
  • Excellent hospitality in recent weeks growing relationship in our community of faith.
  • Enough for now.  Isn't that always enough?
  • White Horses  stampede and threaten to sweep away, but this repost reminds me it's all good.
  • Grace aplenty.

Monday, May 14, 2012

At the End, Glory.

First of all, I need to say that I've missed being here.  In this glorious gift of  being sanctified in marriage, mothering, home educating, redeeming an old farm, and venturing into new opportunities, I'm discovering that spring is this breathtaking dance of hope and hard labor that doesn't lend itself to recreation and or writing.

You also need to know that if you keep reading past this point there are no photographs, and the only thing that will compel you toward that final punctuation mark is possibly a divine appointment.   Apparently I need 1200 words to finish my thoughts. Sheesh.

That being said, I would like to give a little nod to the butterflies in my middle that make it hard to be here, because I'm working on some big (to me) thoughts, and I'd like to share them with you, but the keyboard and the words feel rusty.  Will I really be able to concisely, comprehensively, and carefully communicate what's at work within me? It feels too much.

But, I'd like to try.  I've enjoyed and appreciated the idea that some bloggers tenure which allows me to preach to myself in a sense, and in community pray that you will be blessed, with the fondest hope of glorifying God with each fearsome word.

So, here it is.  I had a difficult and disappointing experience with Mothers Day.  With the exceptions of a sweet brief message initiated by a far away sister and my favorite mother in law preparing gifts and a feast for her daughter, me, and our families, Mother's Day was entirely forgotten and possibly ignored by Weekend Farmer Husband and our children.

And I was miffed.  Am still -  a little.

I know, I've told you and myself that I live a life of contentment.  And I do.  So what got me so bent about  Mother's Day?

I don't rightly know.  But, I have chewed on it hard and have been undeservedly blessed in what I've found so far.

First, I've been properly reminded that this unmeasurable mothering gift is above all and only designed to glorify God, raise up Godly offspring, and in so doing make me more holy that I might know Him with greater sweetness and bring honor to His name.

Somehow I get pretty mixed up and want the day (Mother's Day and *wince* every day...) to bring honor to me.

I increase in my desire for Weekend Farmer Husband to esteem me for my virtue and value, to yield to loving me with languages that I speak, to make me queen of his heart and home on Mother's Day - and for that matter we might as well lump our anniversary and my birthday in there too.

If what I've said above about mothering is true at all, then how much more so is this abundance of marriage, this secret and supernatural union that gives me glory glimpses into how the Father relates to Himself in eternity past, present, and future as three in one a landscape that gives sweeping views of "thy will be done" instead of "my wife reigns supreme"?

So, with a contrite heart, a meek spirit, and watery eyes I come to this for now.

First, Father, forgive me for making it all about me and being willing to substitute your mission for my mothering for some commemorative (thoughtfully chosen) trinket from the dollar store.  I'm mindful of C.S. Lewis who aptly penned that even when offered infinite joy we are much more inclined to behave like a child who in a slum keeps making mud pies for want of imagination about what is offered to him on holiday at the sea shore. (definitely a paraphrase...I'm sure to step on somebody's toes for not getting it right nor properly citing a source...grace? ) 
Secondly, shame on me for displacing all the primary and right things Weekend Farmer Husband and our image bearing offspring do day in and day out to love.  At least twice yesterday I heard myself say, "The best thing a mother can know on Mother's Day is the love of a faithful husband, children who know the Lord, and who bless one another by being in right relationship with their Savior and one another."  I mean every word. And, should you spend any time with us you'd find evidence that given those criteria, I might just be the most enviable woman in the world.

But, still, by bedtime I had to keep my mouth shut and head turned away on the pillow because I'd allowed my flesh to be weakened by disappointment.  No cards.  No gifts.  No recognition.

Ah - there it is.  I've known it since my mid teens.  I'm a recognition junkie.  I'll do just about the meanest job you ask me to if you'll recognize my effort.  I'll work crazy long hours if you mention me in your company newsletter.  I'll work tirelessly on a project if you tell me you're really pleased with my results and you'll mention it to...?

I'm an idolizer.  Not one of my moments, gifts, skills, insights, abilities, or capacities is of my own making yet I unceasingly strive to make much of myself.  Oh, I need thee every hour most precious Lord.  Wasn't it less than a month ago that I wrote that I'd found myself in a "less of me" spot?  Oh the groaning of my soul when I find myself at the bottom of this slippery slope I didn't even recognize I was careening down.

And, for now, the last thing, is that I must confess that none of the above is new to me.  I've been round this mountain before.  And in the days before yesterday I observed all the signs - the secret expectations building up in the background of my mind, the lack of planning and attention from my immediate family, and the busy demands of life right now should have moved me to action.

I didn't open my mouth.  And in silence I bear (in my mind) almost all of the responsibility for the flop.  What if I had with a quiet spirit and humility asked Weekend Farmer Husband to find a way to make the day special?  As as faithful friend and all around good guy I have to believe he would have more than met my expectations.

I'll read these words at the dinner table tonight.  I think Weekend Farmer Husband and the kids have figured out this misaligned mama and I know for a fact that they're working hard to have a Monday after redo.  I'll try to bless them with words of thanksgiving for how grateful I am that they are in my life and how I treasure each day as the jewel that it is.  They are all more than enough without cards, gifts, trappings, and most importantly - recognition.

And, I'll find my place at the foot of the cross where Jesus made himself nothing, yielded himself completely to the will of the Father, and obeyed even unto death that I might know a life where He again and again makes all things new.  Because of him I'll get a do over too.


Really, really, really tried to get the button code to work...
Linking to Ann and plentiful others who chronicle gifts and give thanks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Would you Rather...

Several Christmas's ago, our older sons gave our family a game called, "Would you Rather?".  It's a fun family/party game that presents different options or scenarios and in turn you are called upon to answer based upon your preference.  Lots of laughing is involved, lots of "ewwwww", or "I would never...", maybe a "That would be cool...."

So, honestly, I would rather answer the siren call of this:

And bask in the revealed glory of this:

Than have the record of our evening display this:

Well, you got me, that's not me.
(Weekend Farmer Husband pausing briefly with that wry resigned grin of his when he knows he's in my camera sights)
And, frankly, I play much more of a supporting role than a lot of the actual hands on dirty work - even though I would be willing, I'm much more effective and helpful managing little people, and sourcing the necessary elements for the job, as well as directing clean up in the aftermath.

I think I've got a whole 'nother post rolling around in the grey matter ready to take on the important topic of work.  It's a necessary and valuable part of a farm and no other lifestyle is entirely exempt.  We all do it.  We all have a love hate relationship with it.  I don't know about you, but I often find other work more engaging and worthy than my know how it is, organizing somebody else's closet is much more attractive than dealing with your own.  Maybe it's because at the end of the project you can truly just walk away, you don't have any lingering responsibility.  Whereas your own work is wherever you are regardless of age, profession, socio economic status...excepting for brief sabbaticals, work is ever present in our day to day.

It frequently occurs to me that I offer only the smallest peeks into the labor and effort of restoring and redeeming this farm and life of ours.

(And, especially for my friends whose reformed theology carefully distinguishes between a faith based and works based sanctification, I want to assure you that I in no way believe that our family can redeem it's own life - {gentle smile})

I simply want to disclose that this adventure is work.  And lots of it.  And it occurs any time of day or night.  A farm is no respecter of the clock.  And it's often stinky, gross, heartbreaking, conflict generating, and downright difficult.

But, this Green Acres is as idyllic as you or I see it.  Notably, it is multifaceted, demanding, comprehensive in it's draw on our resources, and profoundly difficult as well as rewarding.

Many of you dream of living as we do.  You share fond hopes that someday you'll leave your city lot behind, or your suburb, or your village and secure your own piece of green.  Oh, how I long for your dream to be the reality and for the blessing of this life for you and your loved ones.

And soon, I will write more about work.

For now, I will conclude with a picture that displays the nitty grity of what it sometimes takes to live this happy dream.  And, I'll be humbled by servant's hands and love that labors to meet all our needs.

P.S. Thanks for your concern... we all do have and wear gloves.  Some jobs require hands on and gloves off...We're still figuring out how to heal our hands.