The place of safety

Some day, I will stand bare before you.

Tender. Vulnerable. Exposed.

And I will be safe.

Accepted. Cherished. Loved.

Not because you have created a safe place for me,

But because I have.

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Breaking

I’ve read the pages of your story.  I’ve studied the words, the inflections, the pauses and silences.  I’ve made my life a study of yours.  I’ve poured myself into a mold I thought would please you.  And I find I no longer fit.  I swell and spill over the edge.  I’m surprised to find I cannot be contained.  I’m surprised to find I don’t want to be.  Not anymore.

A lifetime of making myself small, seeking approval, conforming to other people’s standards wars against me.  Fear of the unknown, fear of losing those I love, fear of disapproval threatens to overtake me.  But I’ve made a commitment to myself.  I will see myself.  I will see and learn to love the woman God has created me to be.

Unconditionally.

Unapologetically.

I move, one tentative step after another, toward freedom.

 

 

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Love covers a multitude of weeds

001 20160801-DSC_2829

Recently, I had an exchange with someone who suggested (by means of loving, constructive criticism, I hope) that I remove the blog post about our messy house and the photo of our cow standing in a weedy field, as it reflected badly on our farm.  She’s probably right.  After all, we’re trying to sell the produce of our farm and the fact that our house is often messy and our fields weedy probably doesn’t reflect well on our operation.  But as I found my fingers hovering over the “delete” button, the thought occurred to me:

This is truth.

God hasn’t called me to make thousands of dollars on the sale of our farm produce.  He hasn’t called me to create a successful marketing campaign or start a commercial milking operation.  He’s called me to love.  And one way I can express that love is through transparency: laying it all down and inviting people in to see the mess.

It occurs to me that I could defend myself in a hundred different ways and delete every post I think might reflect badly on our little farm, but in the end it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that everything I do – my strengths and my weaknesses, my victories and my many, many shortcomings, are all a part of this lumpy, bumpy mound of clay that God is fashioning according to His plans and purposes.

Some people will resonate with that.  Others will be appalled.  And both responses are okay.  I’m not called to please everyone, I’m only called to love and serve my Lord to the best of my ability.

So that’s what we’ll do.  Me and my [messy] house will serve the Lord.  And God will bring imperfect friends into our lives and we’ll all fellowship together over big glasses of [weedy] milk.

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Ragamuffin

In the 33 years since I was first ambushed by Jesus, in the literally thousands of hours of prayer and meditation, silence and solitude in those years, I am now utterly convinced that on judgement day the Lord Jesus will ask one question and only one question:

“Did you believe that I loved you?  That I desired you?  That I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice?”

The real believers will respond and say “I believed in your love.  And I tried to shape my life as a response to it.”  But may of us who are so faithful in our ministry and our practice and churchgoing are going to answer: “Well, frankly, no sir.  I never really believed it.”

And there is the difference between the real believers and the nominal Christians that abound in our churches across the land.  No one can measure like a believer the depth and intensity of God’s love.  But then again, no one can measure like a believer the effectiveness of our gloom, our pessimism, our low self esteem, our self hatred and despair that block God’s way to us.  Do you see now why it’s so important to lay hold of this basic truth of our faith?  Because you’re only going to be as big as your own concept of God.  We make God in our own image and he winds up being as fussy and as rude, as narrow minded, judgemental and legalistic and unloving and unforgiving as we are.  I’ve been in churches [all over the United States] and honest to God so many Christian’s [God] is too small for me.  Because He is NOT the God of the word, he is NOT the God who is revealed in and by Jesus Christ, who at this moment comes to your seat and says “I have a word for you.  I know your whole life’s story.  I know every skeleton in your closet.  I know every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that’s darkened your past.  Right now I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and my word to you is this:

I dare you to trust that I love you.  Just as you are.  Not as you should be.” 

Because none of us are as we should be.

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– Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin

 

 

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7 Quick Takes – 8/2016

When you’re a homeschool mom with lots of kids, people tend to think you must be some kind of Mommy Superhero.  “I don’t know how you do it all” is a phrase I hear frequently.  As much as I hate to disillusion anyone who thinks so highly of me, here are a few fun facebook shares and happenings from August (and the beginning of September) that should serve to knock me off any and every pedestal….

(1)

I got lost on my way to church last week.  Nevermind the fact that I’ve been to this church numerous times and there are only TWO (well, maybe three, I obviously can’t remember) turns to get there, I still somehow managed to get lost and spent 30 minutes driving around town in my efforts to find it.  When I got home, I created this handy flowchart for anyone thinking of inviting me for a visit or event.  Save this in your files and if you’d like my company on any given day, just take a peek to see whether I’ll make it on time (or at all) and plan accordingly:

083 Find itA few more I couldn’t figure out how to fit into the flowchart:

Have I called Husband to ask him where I am?
N – I can’t find it.
Y – Can he identify my location based on arbitrary and unhelpful information provided by me?
N – I can’t find it.
Y – Can he give me directions to tell me where to go from here?
N – I can’t find it
Y – I still can’t find it

(2)

My children apparently take after me in the kitchen.  They recently got together to make a cheesecake for Daddy’s birthday.  I’ve heard of sugar free cheesecake and I’ve heard of crustless cheesecake, but I’ve never – UNTIL NOW! – heard of cheeseless cheesecake.  I present to you….

083 Cheesecake
This, ladies and gentleman, is what I’m certain must be the first ever Cheeseless Cheesecake.  Served with cream cheese on the side, as recommended by Grandma, FOR THE WIN!

(3)

Real life conversation with my daughter this afternoon:

Bundle (to me): “The google logo is really cool today!  It’s got pictures of people making things and building things.”
Me: (in my head): I wonder why google is featuring people working?  I wonder if some big building is going up or some big project is happening that I don’t know about?
Bundle (to her sister): “It’s really cool, come see it!  They changed it for labor day!”

My child is officially more intelligent than I am.

(4)

Lessons in innovation:

When you need to know how much your goat weighs, but you don’t have a scale, you use your livestock measuring tape (which shows weight instead of inches.)
When you can’t find your livestock tape, you pull up a chart to show the conversion from inches and use flexible sewing tape.
When you can’t find your sewing tape, you use rope to take the measurement and hold it against a carpenters measuring tape.
When you can’t find a piece of rope, you use baling twine.
When you can’t find your measuring tape, you go get Daddy’s.
In our house, innovation doesn’t need to be taught, it’s the air we breathe due to our frequent habit of leaving things where we last used them and lack of organizational skills. I’ve decided this is a good thing and am embracing it as part of our homeschooling milieu.

(5)

While helping me find my shoes for the 1,385th time, I overheard my son say to my husband: “We need a body camera for Momma. Then we could watch it to see where she puts everything.”

(6)

This is the reason I can’t remember anything.  My brain has been turned to mush….

Conversations at my house…

Child 1: “Are we going somewhere?”
Child 2: “Where are we going?”
Child 1: “When are we leaving?”
Child 4: “Where are we going?”
Child 5: “Is everyone going?”
Child 6: “Did you say we’re leaving?”
Child 3: “Where are we going?”
Child 2: “Who is going?”
Child 6: “Do I get to go?”
Child 3: “When are we leaving?”
Child 5: Where are we going?
Child 4: “Who’s gonna go?”
Child 6: “Where are we going?”
Child 1: “Can I go?”
Child 6: “What time are we leaving?”
Child 7: “Why are we going?”
Child 2: “When are we going?”
Child 3: “Are we all going?”
Child 7: “Where are we going?”
Child 8: “Go? Go?”

(7)

And then of course, there’s this, which I already blogged about, but is worth reposting:

If your name is Lilly and I’m supposed to be doing something with you tomorrow at 2:00, please contact me.

080 Calendar(Thanks to the help of a friend, I did eventually figure out who Lilly was and what my 2:00 appointment was for.  It was for a job interview I’d already done the following week, just written down for the wrong day.)

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Related Articles:

No really, you can’t miss him!  (that time I called 911 to tell the cops to be on the lookout for… A CAR.

Of all the embarrassing, humiliating, mortifying situations I’ve gotten myself into…

Oven Roasted Cheesecake

I bring to you, for your entertainment…. (when the kids pack Daddy’s lunch)

We are THAT family

Posted in Cooking... not so much, Daybook, Homemaking, Humor, PERSONAL, The Eigh of 'em | Leave a comment

Little feet and carbon footprints

005 feet

I watched a video a few years ago about high density livestock grazing and its healing effects on the land.  Sounds counter intuitive, right?  How could high density grazing (packing large numbers of animals on small amounts of land) possibly work to HEAL the land?  But it does, and the results are truly incredible (video included at the bottom of this post, if you’d like more information.)  It works because, contrary to popular understanding and most current agricultural practices, large numbers of animals grazing the land are beneficial for that land, if certain practices established in nature (such as rotational grazing) are in place.  It turns out, we’ve been getting it all wrong.  The more animals are on a piece of land, and the more aggressively they eat (and poop) on it, the healthier the land becomes.  It’s actually a fewer number of livestock, continually grazing the same amount of acreage, that will cause the most problems for the land.

I have a feeling our understanding of “carbon footprints” works the same way.  It seems to me that over the last decade or so, there has been a subtle (and not-so-subtle) cultural push to decrease the number of children born into our society and environmental concerns have played a large part in this cultural shift (interestingly enough, it was eugenics that played the biggest role in the last century, although most people are unaware or willfully ignorant of this fact.)

But what if we’re wrong?  See, I’m just crazy enough to believe that when God called children a blessing, He meant it.  But of course we all know that if everyone were to follow His advice and “be fruitful and multiply,” the earth wouldn’t be able support all the people on the planet and the world would end.

Or would it?

Maybe the problem isn’t that Planet Earth can’t support a large population.  Maybe the problem is that Planet Earth wasn’t designed to support the population the way we’re currently being supported.

I have this funny feeling that my large family and other large families I know are contributing far fewer “carbon footprints” than the vast majority of people in the Western World. Most of us don’t purchase each of our children cell phones, tablets, MP3 players and video games, which are produced at an extraordinarily high cost to the environment.  We don’t bow down to social expectations and buy hundreds of brand-new clothing items each year or make sure we all have a different outfit for every day of the week.  Most large families I know grow much of their own food which, if practiced on a wide scale, would save billions in fuel, not to mention heal the land of monocrops and CAFO’s.  Most parents in large families are not divorced which means, with the entire family living under one roof, we need half as much material to build our homes, use half as much energy to maintain our homes, and (because most moms of many stay at home,) use half as much fuel getting to and from our homes.  We rarely eat out, we use cloth instead of paper, we hang our laundry out to dry, we don’t have air conditioning… (well, they don’t have air conditioning.  I have air conditioning and have no intention of giving it up!)   Although these things are all hugely beneficial to maintaining the integrity and health of our environment, I’ve heard very few calling for a cessation on the use of toilet paper, washers and dryers or electronic devices.  I’ve never heard a politician (in this generation) urge our citizens to start growing their own gardens.  I’ve never heard one single environmentalist decry the skyrocketing divorce rate.

It seems we all want to save the planet, but we want to do it at the expense of other people – those already on the planet and those yet to exist.  We want to stop the creation of new life so we can selfishly squander our own.  I find it interesting, in a culture which murders its own babies and sells them for parts, that it’s the number of people on our planet, rather than what those people are doing, that most often gets blamed for the degradation of our environment.

You know what else I’m crazy enough to believe?  I’m crazy enough to believe that my children are going to improve the environment.  I’m crazy enough to believe they’ll leave this world better than it was when they came into it.

Maybe the problem isn’t the number of children we’re having, but how we’re raising them.

 

 

 

Posted in Birth Control, Parenting, PERSONAL, Politics, Stewardship | Leave a comment

Attention: Lilly

This is what happens when I don’t keep up with my filing system:

080 Calendar

If your name is Lilly and I’m supposed to be doing something with you tomorrow at 2:00, please contact me.

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Related Articles:
WFMW – Getting it Done – how I work (or not, as the case may be) David Allen’s filing system

Posted in Daybook, Humor, PERSONAL | 1 Comment