Shoes & Seeds

Last September we did something we had never done before as a family.  We went into a shoe store and all walked out with new shoes.  We have mostly bought secondhand for the kids shoes in the past because there have been plenty of really good gently used shoes available.  Now, we have walked into a new season when finding those good used shoes have been more difficult.  So, we did what we had to, and bought new.  My daughter had been wearing these bright pink running shoes everyday for what felt like a year.  Even in the summer I tried to persuade her to wear her sandals.  Nope, it was those pink shoes everyday.  Or bare feet.  Those pink shoes were size 8.  What size boots did we walk out of the store with?  Size 11!  My son was the same way.  He never wore a size 12 but went right from 11 to 13.  Today, as I was thinking about buying some shoes for spring, I checked their toes in those not even five month shoes, and yes, my daughters toes were right to the edge!  My children are really growing and they are really changing.

I see it in the too tight shoes and the pants that are all of a sudden two inches too short.

I see it in understanding they did not have before.

I see it in their questions or comments as we go about our day.

I see it in how they can talk to adults when before they would cling to my side.

As mamas we observe time not in minutes or hours, although we of course take note of those, but in the changes in our children.  In the first steps, the first word, and then in the first time they write their name.  We witness these firsts, these tiny miracles to parents, and then notice other changes in them, and these mark the passing of time.  Was it not just yesterday we were doing everything for them?

My first born will be seven tomorrow!  His birthday is first and then his sister’s will be in a few months.  It is in these months I notice how much they have grown more than any other time.  I of course get all sappy and sentimental.  My husband and I get older and I barely feel like I have turned thirty or that time has really passed.  This week in my children, I see change physically, socially and mentally.  I layed in bed during our rest time last week and recalled a conversation from a year ago. A lady was telling me how there are bigger princess dresses for five year old girls.  My daughter was three at the time, so five felt far away.  After all, her brother was five!  Addie will now be five in May.

Times passes.  As we go from day to day, we can think that not much is changing.  We can question if our children are really listening to us?  Are they learning anything?  Then, you see a picture or watch a old video from years ago (Yes, I have done that.  Nothing beats my daughter’s slow walking chubby legs. ) and then you look at your right now child and the change is so obvious.

Our kids are really gaining understanding.

 

Our kids are really listening to us…sometimes.

 

Our child will move past that really annoying character trait or learn how to have more self-control.

They will grow up.

It will happen. We can really rest in today, the present and enjoy our children as they are.  I pray for great grace for all who read this to do just that.  As we plant seeds daily, that we don’t see right then, we can know they will flourish.

And that goes for us too.

when i am weak.

When I feel weak,

I come to

your arms,

And lean in,

To your strength.

In that place,

With your arms around me,

I am safe,

Forever.

I am loved

Forever.

Open.

As I walk out our side door this afternoon with my kids, I breathe in the fresh air as an elixir.  As one who has been stuck in the house for a week with what we can only guess as the flu, the blue sky, the trees and the grass feel like an open expanse of freedom to me.  I look into the sky and feel like I could get lost in it, in a good way.

I have never had a “word for the year” before but this year I decided to try it.  I decided if one came easily I would try it, but if none came, I wouldn’t force it.  So, on my couch one afternoon, vulnerable came to mind.  I have desired in this season to be vulnerable, something that is so not always easy, right?  But vulnerable felt like kind of a complex word to focus on so I looked up vulnerable in Webster.  One of the synonyms for vulnerable was the word open.  This was much more simple and easier to focus my mind on.  So, OPEN, it was.  Being open feels scary in a way but then it is also very much like the blue sky that I stared into this afternoon.  It is freedom.  This is what I want, freedom.

May I…

Be open to days looking different or seasons not meeting my expectations.  For that matter,may I be open to let go of expectations when I realize I even have them.  This is what I realized I needed to do this very morning.

Be open to lingering longer with a kid at bedtime, does rushing make it really go any faster?  Yes, I want my own time.  Perhaps being open is really saying yes.  Saying yes to what is important.  In this case, its saying yes to the sacred moments before bed with my child.  My own time is important too, but I do see when I don’t try to rush, it goes pretty much at the same speed but my soul is in a better place!

Be open to go slower when I want to go fast and go fast when I want to go slow.

Be open to the different, CHANGE, the uncomfortable, the good,and the truth.

Be open to love and the Word and looking in the eye when I want to look away.

Be open to imperfection, and the rest and beauty it will bring.  Perfection is not all what it is cracked up to be.

Be open to think new thoughts.

Be open to be gentle with myself when I want to be my own harsh critic.  Can I not choose to be my own cheerleader already?!

Be open for things to be better and more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

Anna McParlan of @alonginlandsea on Instagram said this, “We grow most in the seasons of surrender-when we release our clenched fists and let God plant exactly what He wants in our open hands.  It will bloom in its time.  It always does.”.

Yes to that.  So, here I am, with my open hands, my open heart and my open mind.    Here I am, open.

 

Right Now.

Upon reading over my January entries in my journal today, I came to this quote, “Give your ENTIRE attention to what God is doing RIGHT NOW (all emphasis is mine), and don’t get worked up about what MAY or MAY NOT happen TOMORROW.”  I read through my past month as I move into the new month.  It honestly helps me to remember what stood out as important or what impressed itself on my soul, because I often forget quicker than I would imagine.

 

Give your ENTIRE attention to what God is doing RIGHT NOW.  Entire is a lot.  It means to have no element or part left out according to Webster.  In other words, it means WHOLE.  Give your WHOLE attention to what God is doing.  Do not have even one iota of your attention on any other thought,or any other pursuit but have every part of your mind on what God is doing.  Whoa.  

 

So, focusing my attention on what God is doing is evidently important, right?  I can hear the next question you have, because it was mine too, so what is God doing right now?  How can I know what God is doing right now?

 

There are times when I know, I just know without a shadow of a doubt that God is speaking.  This usually happens when I am taking a walk or doing some task, not expecting anything and suddenly I sense it, a phrase or an assurance of an idea that feels like it pops into my brain.  There is a yes in my mind that agrees with what I “hear”.  When I am hoping for an answer, often anxious about it, I don’t feel like I hear anything to be honest.  Mostly, I sense to trust God.

 

In this example, I actually had written this verse Matthew 6:34 from the Message not on only one page, but I had written it twice!  I had not remembered the second time that I had written it.  I also had written a box around it as a way of highlighting it BOTH times.  When I see something repeated, usually it is a theme that is repeated, not actually the same verse, I know that it is something to pay attention to.  In this case, it actually repeated to pay attention to what God is doing right now!  What He is doing is giving me this verse from Matthew 6:34 right now.  Oh, and not to forget the second half of the verse, because that is included in the repetition, He says, “and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  I so often have a script playing out in my mind if something would happen or trying to prepare myself for something that may or may not happen.  This part of the verse speaks to my overactive mind and imagination, that I have a permission slip to not get overworked or should I say, over fixated on it?

 

This gets even better!  A week or so after I wrote the verse for the second time, I go to church.  Guess what my pastor said right at the beginning of his sermon?  He said, “God is at work in your life RIGHT NOW (Yes, I had those last two words in all caps in my journal, just like the verse was written both times in my journal.)  It’s almost like God would know (He does know us.)  I would question if he was really working in my life right now.  Can you really pay attention to something you are not sure that He is doing?  No.  So, in that case, He makes it clear to me that He is indeed speaking.  Perhaps He is getting my attention so that when He does speak, I am ready.  I am not sure what He wants me to focus on, but after writing this, I am even more ready to know!  

 

I do not share this to say this is how it will work in your life when God speaks.  I am not giving you a five step formula but rather an example of how it could actually play out in your real life.  I wouldn’t have remembered any of this if I hadn’t journaled and if I hadn’t gone back to read my journal.  So, it may be a shameless plug for writing things down.  

 

Know that God is indeed working in your life, despite all the circumstances that are playing out in your life right now.  He wants you to know to put your whole mind on what he is doing right now and not on what may or may not happen tomorrow.