In Another Season

About a block from my house sits a garden plot. It is on the corner of two prominent streets that I pass all the time. It draws much attention to passersby because it is immaculate. I never see a weed growing between the rows of vegetables, each row is as straight as a road in Indiana, and the vegetables are beautiful and flourishing. It also gets attention because they have a scarecrow family that has grown over the years. It started out just as a human family with a man, then a wife was added, now they have three children! The gardener dresses the family according to the holiday – it’s so cute!

 Today as I sat at the red light where that garden is, I looked over and was amazed at what was coming up already. The gardener obviously has a green thumb. The Lord has watered it generously and the seeds are popping up like the weeds in my yard! As I sat there I was reminded of a principle of sowing and reaping that I heard at a Family Camp many years ago when our girls were small. The principles are:
  • You always reap what you sow.
  • You always reap more than you sow.
  • You always reap in a different season than you sow.

Those things are certainly all true of that garden plot, but they also apply to the sowing we do in our children’s lives. My inclination is to want results of the sowing right now. When the girls were little I wanted to reap from teaching them of salvation; praise the Lord we did – they were both saved at young ages. I also wanted to reap gratitude, appreciation, and responsibility. Those are seeds that take long a time sprouting.

There are many other seeds that take patience, but we as moms have to just keep planting the seeds, keep watering; keep teaching. Because the soil of each child’s heart is different, they will each respond differently and at different times than another child – even a sibling.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

The reaping is not up to us – that is up to God. Look for the harvest in your children’s lives as you look for the harvest in your garden, and know that it will come in another season.

Lovingly,

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A Perfect Day

Grandma, on a winter’s day, milked the cows and fed them hay, hitched the mule, drove kids to school…did a washing, mopped the floors, washed the windows and did some chores…Cooked a dish of home-dried fruit, pressed her husband’s Sunday suit…swept the parlor, made the bed, baked a dozen loaves of bread…split some firewood and lugged it in, enough to fill the kitchen bin…Cleaned the lamps and put in oil, stewed some apples before they spoiled…churned the butter, baked a cake, then exclaimed, “For goodness sake!” when the calves ran from the pen, and chased them all back in again…Gathered eggs and locked the stable, back to the house and set the table…cooked a supper that was delicious, then washed and dried all dirty dishes…fed the cat and sprinkled clothes, mended a basketful of hose…then opened the organ and began to play: “When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day…”
Reminisce, premiere issue, 1991,


Does the previous paragraph sound like a day in your life? Okay, maybe we didn’t have to split firewood, hitch a mule and put oil in the lamps, but don’t you find that you move from one task to another from morning ’til night? But do we reflect the attitude that is represented in that poem? It’s an attitude of joy; how else could she sing, “When you come to the end of a perfect day” after all that back-breaking work?

Do we look at all we do as mothers as contributing to a perfect day, or do all those tasks rob us of what we would consider perfection? Is perfection being taken care of or taking care? Is it being served or serving? Is it having creativity surround us, or being creative? Each of us need to answer those questions honestly, but the reality is, whatever our attitude is, our children will pick up on it. They know whether or not we love being their mommy. They know if we’re happy in what we do. Remember the quote, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? It’s really true, isn’t it? We women set the tone for our home, so if we have a bad attitude home is not a fun place to be! We all have days in which we’d like to turn in our mommy badge, but those days shouldn’t be the norm. Perhaps we need to ask the Lord to help us to be like the mother mentioned in Psalm 113:9 “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.”

Have a good attitude about all that you find yourself doing today…make it a perfect day!

In Their Own Way

In this past week I had the blessing of holding two precious new babies that were born into two of our church families. They were less than twenty-four hours old when I saw each of them. Their eyes squinted to see what was going on around them. Swaddled in hospital blankets, their little arms would stretch out and either settle in for another nap, or they would begin to flail, whimper, then cry.

At one point when baby Noah began crying his momma said, “He doesn’t like to be moved around and he cries when he is being jostled about.” The momma of Katelyn said, “She loves her thumb and quieted herself when she found it.” Already these mommies were studying their babies and learning their particular characteristics that make them unique.

When Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it, it’s saying, train up your child in his own way. It’s not that you let them have their way, you learn them and study them and train them up according to how the Lord made them. It’s amazing that in a family of two or more children they’re each unique. We have to ask questions about each of them: Is this a strong-willed child? He will need a stronger hand. Is this child gifted in music? He will need guidance in how to use that for the Lord. If this little one is selfish and self-centered (most all children are), they will need instruction in how to serve others.

Mothering is a task that requires learning our children and then using that knowledge to train them for the Lord. Then and only then do we have the promise that they will not depart from it. It’s an overwhelming task without the Lord’s help, but He is their Creator and will help us to understand how to teach and train each of them.

What are you learning about your children as you love and observe them? The scary thing is that we often see ourselves and our sinfulness as we watch them! Mothering is a humbling task, but a blessed one. This week before Mother’s Day I hope to share some thoughts and encouragement to moms, as well as those that have empty arms due to childlessness. God understands what we experience as women and He is enough to meet each of those needs.

Discernment in Reading

When I walk into the Christian Bookstore I am overwhelmed at all they have to offer. How many books are stocked on their shelves? There are way more than I could ever read, but the truth is, if you ‘re looking for a particular topic they will have it. Books on marriage, mothering, prayer, devotions, dieting, finances, dating, prophecy, faith, God’s will and much more can all be found with varying opinions on each subject! How does a person know which opinion is correct? Which author is going to lead me right?

The correct way to interpret any book is to see if it lines up with Scripture. Does the book agree with the Bible or does it teach some “new thought?” There is nothing new that God has added to His Word, so if there’s a new wrinkle then it’s more than likely erroneous and we need to steer clear of it. Does it teach something about God that is not true? Leave it alone.

We all need to read with discernment – whether it’s a book from the bookstore or an article on-line. Proverbs 14:15 says, The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. We can’t pick up a book or read an article and buy into everything it says just because it’s from so and so (some famous Christian leader), or because we found it at the Christian bookstore; we must read with discernment. This is “looking well to our going.” Ask yourself if it lines up with the Word of God.

I learned recently about a resource where you can read about new books that have been reviewed. This would save you the trouble of buying a book, then finding out it wasn’t biblical. Here’s the link to that website: http://discerningreader.com/ Here’s what the site says about themselves:

Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books–books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.
We do not seek to be harsh or judgmental. Rather, we seek only to be discerning as we compare books to the written Word of God. We let the words of authors speak for themselves and simply hold the books up to the light of Scripture. In doing so, we are building a database of reviews which we feel cast a discerning light on the books that are found in Christians homes, churches and bookstores.

I love books and love to walk through the stores and look at the new titles and find things that will help me. I’m grateful the Lord gives us encouragement to help us be discerning readers rather than “simple readers that believe every word.”

Monuments

If there is anything I have a surplus of it is journals. I have always loved to write my thoughts down and I have a sundry places in which I do just that. It began when I was in elementary school. I had a tiny diary with a lock and key. I wrote about things that happened at school, holidays at home and special events in history like when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon in 1969 and the election of Richard Nixon to the White House.

In high school my writing took a little twist as I also included some creative writing in the form of poetry into my book of thoughts. How interesting it is to read of the events of my life as a teenager (and all the drama that entails!). I can clearly see how the Lord was directing my steps as I graduated from high school then sought His will for the future. If I hadn’t written all that was happening at that time I’m sure my fifty year-old mind would surely have forgotten the details of the God’s provision for my going to Bob Jones. As I went to college I journaled the anxiety of classes, homesickness and again seeking God’s will for the future.

Do you remember when Joshua and the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River? When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight’” (Joshua 4:1-3). Those twelve stones were to be the monument that reminded the people of the way God brought them across the river and delivered them. My journals are my monument, if you will, of God’s faithfulness to me. They remind me of what God has done. That stoney monument was also to be the “story-starter” for the Israelites’ children when they asked what the meaning of the stones was. My journals help me to tell my girls the details of how the Lord brought my husband into my life and how they too can wait on the Lord to do the same for them. I’m reminded of God’s provision in a material way, of the way He’s answered prayers over and over again.

There are many positives of keeping a journal, but the best is the preservation of the memories of God’s work in your life. If you’re not writing these things down you probably won’t remember in the years to come and there will be no way to then pass on that memory to the generation behind you. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or creative, just record events. Its memories will be monumental!

This Little Light of Mine

I love to meander down the aisles at Lowe’s. I enjoy looking at paint chip colors, drawer knobs, light fixtures, appliances, and closet organizers. In the spring and summer I love going out to the garden area to look at all the flowers, plants and yard accessories. The other night we were there and in my meandering I came across the garden lights pictured here. They require no electricity because they are solar powered. It only takes three steps to put them together and pop them into the ground. I wasn’t sure how much light they’d really give off, but I knew they would make a nice accent at the sidewalk near the front door, so I purchased the box containing a set of two (the best part was they were on the clearance rack for $15).

I brought the lights home and did the simple assembly, took them outside and pushed them into the soft soil on either side of the sidewalk leading to the front door. The directions included in the box of lights said to place them in a spot where they’d get a good bit of sun all day. It stated that a rainy day or a shady spot would effect the light given off by the lamps.

Hmmmm….that made me think. I was humming “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” and thinking about my light source – my Heavenly Father. The more time I spend with Him the brighter my light shines. Hurried devotions, busy schedules, sleepy times in the Word without really listening to the Spirit speak to my heart and the light gets awfully dim – it may not shine at all. When I, like Eeyore on Winnie the Pooh, let the cloud of gloom and depression to hang over my head and I don’t think on the Truth (the Word of God) the light doesn’t shine just dimly – it goes completely out. Not only does it effect me, and it certainly does, but it also effects those around me. I have no light to cast on their path when I’m enveloped in my darkness.

I really like those little lanterns I bought at Lowe’s. They wouldn’t guide someone down the Appalachian Trail, but they illumine the steps enough to show you’re at the door. Jesus Christ is the Door. When we’re walking with the Lord, we are showing that Door to others…and isn’t that why we’re left on this earth after we’re saved? Is your light shining today? If not, draw near the Light source. Spend time with your God so your testimony will brighten your own path and also make a light for others to follow.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry season is almost here. I thought I’d share my family’s favorite recipe for shortcake. We like it better than the little sponge-type cake. It’s super easy to make and is sugary on the outside and sooo yummy and light on the inside! Note that the recipe calls for no liquid. The eggs and butter bind it together.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 large eggs

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add eggs, stirring until moistened.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly several times to for a ball. (Dough will be grainy). Press into a wax paper-lined 8-inch round cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and peel off wax paper. Cool on wire rack.

Cut into wedges and serve with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Enjoy!