All Things Being Made New

20170922_141538.jpgFall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, changing leaves, the work and satisfaction of putting up the harvest, picking rose hips, hunting, and the excitement of a new of homeschooling year. I love when I can start making stews and soups again and enjoying my Chai Tea without anyone thinking I’ve lost my mind. I’m not a big fan of Pumpkin Spice anything but get a kick out of some of the marketing. I love pulling on a hoodie and my Muck boots before I head out the door. Basically, to quote Mountain Boy, fall is “my thing.”
I love how the beauty of the changing leaves remind me of Jesus’ promise that He’s making all things new. On the homeschooling front, we really needed a fresh start this year, we needed to be made new. Last year was rough for our family. Work and financial situations put a huge strain on my time and our homeschool.
This is Mountain Boy’s last year of elementary and I knew going in we had one more shot to “do” this homeschool thing right. So, I hit my knees and prayed for guidance. And God has answered in some of the most amazing ways. He’s opened my eyes to areas where I really needed to improve my teaching and communicating skills. He’s shown me where my priorities have gotten out of whack and provided ways to get them back on track. This year I’m not working during the week, except for my early morning newspaper route, which has helped immensely with our school. The kids see how committed I am to doing this year well. He’s also given my kids a renewed desire to learn along with a whole new level of maturity (I mean Mountain Boy has written not one, but two poems in the last week, one wasn’t even an assignment!!)😊 As for Mountain Girl, she’s working very hard on her sight words and her math skills are taking off!!

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We’ve thrown the stuff that hasn’t worked for us out the window and replaced it with what will work for us. Which brings me back to my love of all things fall. In the past we tried to do a traditional five-day school week, but it hasn’t worked for us at all. The main reason it didn’t work is, we are not sit in the house people. We are get outside and get dirty people. We love to be in the woods. This year we’ve implemented a “Funday Friday!” Basically, we take some sort of field trip every Friday. We must get our work done before Friday and then we get outside in God’s Creation and learn what we can only learn there! Today we went fishing to celebrate the first day of Fall. The score is fish- 1 us -0, but it was still an incredible day! I watched as they each bated their own hooks. I showed them how to cast even when the wind is blowing hard at you. We ate PB&J’s and talked about life. We got rained on, snowed on, and hailed on, but didn’t let it run us out!! We took some amazing pictures of the changing leaves and gorgeous mountains we’ve been blessed to call home. We saw some archery hunters and left a note for Papa at his base camp.
We had a perfect day; we learned, we grew, and most importantly we loved well today. Will tomorrow or next week be as perfect? Probably not, but it has the potential to be amazing all the same because all things are being made new!!

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The Struggle is Real: Part One

The struggle is real-

Have you ever felt led to do something that scared the livin’ daylights out of you?  Is there one part of your life you’ve struggled so hard in private while putting a smile on your face in public?  Have you ever felt God leading you to open up and share that very private part of your life?  Not for recognition, pity, or any other selfish reason, but so God might be able to use it to help someone else.   I’ve felt that tug on my heart and I’ve refused to share it.  That part of my life is my marriage.  I want to get a few things out in the open right from the get go.   First off, my marriage is not a cautionary tale, but rather an ongoing story of God’s redeeming grace!  Secondly, when I talk about a difficult marriage, that is not the same thing as an abusive marriage.  God has given provisions in His Word for women(and men) who are being abused in marriage.  If your spouse is abusing you or your children, you need to get safe and seek help.  If you need help getting out of an abusive relationship, I can, and will help you.

I’ve been very reluctant to open up about my difficult marriage.  I’ve struggled between wanting to scream from one corner of the world to the other about every transgression, to never wanting to air my husbands dirty laundry.  I still don’t want to parade out his sin, or present our struggles as solely his fault, so I’m not going to.  However, I am done hiding in the dark.  I’m done being ashamed and scared.  I’m done listening to the lies Satan has spewed at me about my husband, my self, our marriage but most importantly, the lies he’s tried to sell me about God.  I’m sure most of you know the lies, they go mostly like this… I deserve… He’s not doing what I need him to do….  This is so terrible there’s no way God will work this for good… And on and on they go.  But hear me when I say this, THEY ARE LIES!!!

My husband has struggled with alcoholism for about ten of the eleven years we’ve been married.  I am an adult child of alcoholics.  My dad was sober for most of my life.  My mom is another story.  To say I hate alcohol and it’s hold on people, is an understatement.  It’s presence in my life makes me feel very unsafe and uneasy.  Between his struggles and my baggage, it has not been easy for us to walk this path of marriage, even though we love each other very much.  My husband is one of the funniest, sweetest, non-traditionally romantic, genuine, down-to-earth, easy going, laid back, level-headed and supportive people I’ve ever known.  He can also be short-tempered, unmotivated, and uncommunicative.  I can be kind, generous, loving, patient, hard working and motivated.  I can also tend to be stubborn, prideful, hot tempered, discontent, impulsive and sharp tongued.  He can slip into alcohol addiction and all that entails pretty easily, while I can allow bitterness and unforgivness to take root in my heart pretty easily.  We are clearly both imperfect sinners who desperately need Jesus and His Grace.

God has used these facts of our marriage to grow and change me.  Growth and change are never easy, very rarely make us happy(at the time), and take time.  As I’ve floundered down this path God has graciously helped me navigate, I’ve learned some lessons that are treasure to me.  I’d like to share them with you.  Beginning with this nugget; we married all of one another.  This was a huge lesson for me to learn, and when I remember this truth, it changes how I love him.  I married all of him.  The best, worst, and every part of him in between.  And he married all of me.  How amazing is that?  He doesn’t get to only be married to me on the days when I’m nice and non hormonal.  And I don’t get to choose to only be married to him when he’s sober.  God in His Sovereignty brought us together and that means all of us, every day.  Not just the fun and pretty parts on the good days.

I’d like to share more about the ways God has used my difficult marriage for my good and His Glory.  Here’s a few more lessons I’ll go into detail about:

Really learning to believe God’s promises, getting out of God’s way and letting Him do what only He can, I can’t do anything to get or keep him sober, how I learned to stop acting like a victim and martyr in my marriage, that his sin is the same as my sin in God’s eyes, how I’m learning to respect him even when I struggle to like him, the strength in staying and how to get it, how to be submissive but not a door mat, and how I finally stopped looking for a way out.  My hope and prayer is that these words would encourage you in someway.  If you have a question or just want to chat with someone who’s been there, I’d love to hear from you.  One last thing I’ve learned is that there will be good days, not just good, but great days along the way

For My Friend on Her Birthday

I have been so incredibly blessed in my life with women who have influenced, encouraged, challenged and taught me.  I have had so many women invest in me at different times in my life, and I will forever be grateful for each and every one of them.  God has given me one of the greatest gifts of my life in my dear “Bible study buddy.”  Yesterday was her birthday and that made me stop and really think about how much her friendship has changed my life.

Our friendship began when we did a Bible study called “Made to Crave” together.  I sat in a church basement knowing I wanted/ needed to do that study.  I wanted so badly for the other women to join me on that journey.  With a dry throat and shaky knees I asked the whole Sunday School class if any of the women wanted to do that study with me.  From the other side of the room she smiled at me and said she was in.  No one else joined us in that study, but it was wonderful with just the two of us.

That first study kicked off journey of growth I could’ve never seen coming.  We’ve done many more studies since then, including the “Made to Crave” one twice, just the two of us.  We’ve each grown in our walks with the Lord through our time together.  It’s been, I guess about 3 years now that we’ve been meeting on Monday afternoon or evenings to study.  In this time we’ve studied, laughed, cried and prayed a lot together.

She is a very special woman of God, an inspiration to me of a woman who has walked with God through the fire.  When I think of the Proverbs 31 woman I can’t help but see my friend.  She is kind, strong, faithful, humble, hard working, generous, and loving.  She’s encouraged me in my marriage, motherhood, work, and life more times than I can count.  She’s also given me a few much needed butt kickin’s.  I know she’s been my very own prayer warrior when Satan has been trying to steal my marriage, peace, identity and many other attacks.

Our friendship was a Divine appointment.  When God leads us to let people in, it’s for our own good and His glory.  Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Is there someone God has put in your life to mentor or befriend?  If so, do it, the reward is beyond what you can imagine.  Oh by the way- I purposely didn’t use her name because it would probably embarrass her.  But she knows who she is.  So happy birthday to my dear friend, I love you and thank God for bringing you into my life.

Lessons From the Crazy Train

PictureOur Spring Break this year has been extra special.  My two nieces have come to spend the week with us while my sister is working.  While it has been an amazing week and so much fun, it’s also been pretty crazy.  With the addition of the girls,  I now have 3 girls(ages 6,7,&9) and 1 boy(age 10) in my home.  Here’s a few of the things I’ve realized from doubling the number of children in my care this week.

  1. Love really does cover a multitude of sins- I love these kids with everything I’ve got.  Love has helped me to overlook what needs overlooked, deal with what needs dealt with, smooch who needs smooched, and really listen to who needs to be heard.
  2. Laughter really is the best medicine.  My hubby is the fun guy in our home.  He loves to chase and tackle/ tickle kids.  This might have to do with him being a big kid himself, but anyway.  The weather has been nasty until today so we’ve been cooped up inside, without TV or video games, so everyone’s been a little cranky.  That is until hubby started the tickle wars of 2017.  All four kids and three dogs screaming, laughing, barking, running through the house will cheer anyone up.
  3. House work is important, but it really can wait.  And if everyone pitches in(this is easier to accomplish with more kids I found) it’s really not so bad.
  4. If I’m really having a hard time getting along with someone I love, I need to double check that it’s not because we are so much alike.  My daughter and youngest niece bicker and fight like crazy and have for years.  This week though I realized they are struggling because they are so much alike.  After I explained that to them, they’ve done better with their power struggle.  They’re taking turns “being the boss” so to speak.
  5. When accidents happen, and they will, the lesson is how you respond.  This week we’ve had our share of mishaps.  My hope is that I’ve handled them with the grace that shows Jesus in me.  I can’t give something I don’t have and I’m am thankful for the grace that been given me that I can continue to give it away.
  6. Sometimes we all just need a break and that’s ok.  My son had had all the girls he could ever want the other day.  He took his dog and went for a walk alone saying, “Mom I just need some space.”  I get it and was impressed that he recognized his limits.
  7. Sometimes we just want our mom.  Both of my nieces have cried because they miss their mom.  I was a little surprised because they had been pushing her buttons and being mouthy for about a week before their visit.  Don’t miss that one mamas, they don’t always show us how much they love and need us, but they do!!
  8. God always provides what we need when we need it.  Our family got some really hard news this week.  It’s too much for the kids to handle so I’ve had to go on without letting on that I’m pretty upset.  But God has provided a perfect distraction as I process and pray through this.
  9. We all parent differently and that’s amazing.  The rules at my house are different than those at my sisters house, but the principles are the same.  We are all on an incredible journey to raise our children well.

I’m so thankful for this time with all these kids.  I love that we’ve been able to slow down and enjoy one another.  I’d better wrap this up because they’re hungry again!!  Enjoy Spring and stay safe

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An Unexpected Way Out

She had asked him to come with her today.  He could’ve said no, if she would have demanded, or screamed and cried like some women, he would have.  But not Jill, not his wife, that wasn’t how she operated. With her lip quivering she told him her results were back and the doctor wanted to talk to her.  She had asked him to come with her, squared her shoulders and went back to cooking dinner without another word.  That was last night.  Last night when Greg knew he could never tell her now what he had been dying to say.

What he known for months was he wanted out.  He wanted excitement, passion, and mystery.  There wasn’t anyone else.  He wasn’t that guy, after all.  He was just a guy who was no longer in love with his plain wife.  It wasn’t that she hadn’t been a good partner, mother to their children, and friend, she had; she just never surprised him anymore.  She was, well boring and Greg felt like he was suffocating.  Sitting in the doctors office he had no words of encouragement for her.  All he could focus on was how much he hated the way doctors offices smelled and how he felt like he was being crushed from all sides.

As the doctor walked in Greg took her hand in his.  This was the moment of truth.  The doctor cleared his throat and said, “Jill the biopsy came back and I’m sorry but you have ovarian cancer.  There’s a couple of treatment options, but first I need to know more about your lifestyle, activities, diet, and your schedule.”

Greg sat there in shock, as he listened to the quiet and dignified woman he thought he knew talk about her life.  He had no idea she’d been training for a marathon, and the new way she was cooking was called “clean eating.”  What the heck is Crossfit and when had she taken that up?  How had she found time to help at the crisis pregnancy center downtown and take care of the house and kids?  Had she told him any of this, or had she given up talking to him when he’d quit seeing her?  He looked over and saw her, maybe for the first time in years.  Her blonde hair that framed her slender face, her green eyes that shone as she spoke with passion about what was important to her.  She wasn’t quite 40 yet but she had a mature beauty he hadn’t seen until that moment, the way she sat legs crossed, shoulders back, chin up, ready to take on this challenge.

“Well Mrs. Abrams, it sounds like you have a great support system and a very healthy and active lifestyle.  I’m going to recommend a full hysterectomy.  It doesn’t look like the cancer has spread yet, we’ve caught it early.  I’m confident with the surgery you should be cancer free.  Of course we will want to do some follow up, but if the surgery goes well you shouldn’t need any further treatment. ”

The doctor interrupted Greg’s thoughts.  Before he could process what he had just been said, he heard Jill ask, without hesitation, “When can we schedule the surgery?”  She looked over at him, smiled and squeezed his hand.  Greg sat in awe watching this stranger he was married to schedule her appointment with a sense of peace, he couldn’t believe.

Walking out of the building to the car he knew something new deep in his heart.  He still wanted out; he wanted out of his self-centered misery.  He didn’t know for sure how long they would have each other, but he planned to spend the rest of his life getting to know the incredible woman he married.  He shook his head when he realized the mystery, passion, and excitement he’d been craving was in front of him the whole time.  He vowed to himself to truly see her every day for the rest of their lives.  With more butterflies in his stomach than he had driving away from the church the day they were first married, he pulled away from the doctors office.

An Update And An Apology

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I had a great weekend with my family.  I can’t believe how much I’ve missed while I was working more than full time.  I’ve almost got the house back to my standard of clean(wow it’s been a job and a half!)  I’ve got a couple of posts coming up on homemaking, natural cleaning hacks, slaying the laundry dragon and more.  All of these are fresh on my mind because I’ve been whipping myself and my house back into shape.

My pantry is showing my neglect from this fall.  Hubby helped me this weekend and we got some much needed diced tomatoes canned.  I’ve really hated using store bought tomatoes the last week.  Besides aren’t these soooo much prettier?!  I know I’m nuts, it’s okay I’ve come to terms with it.  I’ve got some elk bones to make bone broth with and a bunch of dry beans to can.  I love having beans canned for those days when I forget about dinner and I can whip something nutritious quickly and easily.

We’ve been working on school work, getting back on the right track.  I have to say we’ve had quite the year so far.  Between me working and taking on a double year in English and Math(to make up for some holes in previous curriculum); it’s been challenging to say the least.  I’ve got to take a minute and brag on  my son who is just a couple of days away from completing one whole year in both Math and English.  He has really stepped up and put in the work this year and it shows.  I couldn’t be more proud of him!! Mini Me has also grown by leaps and bounds.  This year has by far been the most turbulent and beautiful year of homeschooling.  My grandiose plans  were shot all to heck right out of the gate, but God’s grace has given us the most productive year yet!!

 

That’s an update on how my little corner of the world has been spinning… now time for the apology.  I’ve dropped the ball on here and I apologize.  I’ve missed two out of three Flash Fiction Fridays.  To say these assignments are tougher than I thought they would be is an understatement.  But I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge, so this coming Friday I will have a new story for you guys, I promise.  Thanks for hanging in here with me!  I really do appreciate each one of you who take the time to read my craziness.  I’m working on getting the email function to work, but you can always leave me a comment here and I’ll get back to you!

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A Time to Resign: Getting Back to My Most Important Work

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King Solomon was one wise guy, there’s no doubt about that.  He said there’s a time for all things under the sun.  I’ve been walking through a crazy season of life the last 5 months. My husband started his own small business last spring.  Our plan(isn’t it funny that we actually think we can plan anything) was for him to build his business while working his full time job for about a year or so.  However God’s plan was very different and my husband lost his full time job in August.  In our area August is a great time to pick up work, if one is so inclined.  My hubby went to work helping ranchers put up hay.  August is also the beginning of hunting season and I was able to get a part time job waiting tables at a local 24 hour diner and hotel.  All the while continuing to work on building the business and home-school our kids.

Early in November I was promoted at work to Administrative Assistant and because we were without a permanent General Manager, there was a lot to do.  It was an honor and after some negotiating about my schedule(being unavailable during school hours and Sundays) it seemed perfect.  I really enjoyed the job and was excited to help financially support my family.  But then my priorities started to change.  It was gradual at first, but slowly my family got put on the back burner as I took on more and more responsibility at work.  We weren’t getting school done like we should, my hubby wasn’t pursuing his business like he wanted to because he was staying home with the kids, and when I was home I was trying to get so much done that I was irritable and impatient.  I’m telling ya, I’ve been a hot mess!  I’ve been putting in between 50 and 60 hours a week, pulling overnight shifts, and doubles.  I’ve been exhausted and when I don’t get enough sleep I’m not a very good wife or mama.

I’ve wrestled with quitting my job.  You see the ugly truth is there’s been a part of me that’s really enjoyed being in the work force.  I’ve also bought the lie, that I was the one providing for my family, when really God has always provided what we’ve needed. However through some circumstances at work I’ve come to the realization that it’s time for me to get back to my most important work.  And the peace I have in my heart is amazing.  I am so looking forward to getting our home school back on track, finally having a little time to read and write;-), I’ve been missing my kitchen and the freedom of creating healthy, wholesome food for my family from scratch, and it’s time for me to start thinking about planning this year’s garden.

I don’t know what the next chapter has in store for me and my family.  I do know for sure that God is already there and He’s got this.  He is faithful even when I’m not.  His ways are not my ways.  And I’m so thankful for that.  I’m ready to get on with my most important work.  So for today I’m enjoying getting some rest and investing my time, energy, effort, and love into the precious people God has entrusted me with.  And that’s pretty important work!!

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Mom’s home celebratory pizza!!!

Crock Pot Applesauce

IMG_1030I love making applesauce and my kiddos love eating applesauce so it works out pretty well around here.  One of the reasons I love making applesauce for my family is because I know exactly what’s in it.  I take feeding my family healthy very serious(my husband asked me if just once we could go to the store without me reading every label.)  I make almost everything we eat from scratch.  I however have been surprised(not in a here’s a cake way, but more like your fridge just died way) by the junk I’ve found in the seemingly innocent staples I use.  So I am a label reader almost to a fault.

Applesauce is one of the foods I used to buy when the kids were smaller that I thought was okay.  Then I looked closer and found the brand I bought has 39 grams of sugar per cup.  That’s crazy.  Homemade has about 24 grams of sugar per cup, which is quite a bit better plus it doesn’t have any preservatives, wasn’t made from a concentrate and I can flavor it how we prefer with spices.  The only drawback to making applesauce for me is the time it takes.  To make applesauce the regular way takes me a good couple of hours of work.  Recently I had some apples(about 8 pounds worth) that were going to go bad if I didn’t do something with them ASAP.  I also knew that with my schedule I didn’t have a couple of consecutive hours free for  a few days.  I knew I had to get creative because I hate to waste food.  I normally feed food that we aren’t going to get eaten before it spoils to the chickens, but 8 pounds of apples, no way!!  Out came the crock pot and as they say the rest is history…

Crock Pot Apple Sauce

  • 8 Pounds Apples (I prefer Granny Smiths for applesauce but I had Red Delicious)
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 Cup Cinnamon(this is an estimate I always just dump it in my palm first

Directions

Peel the apples, core and quarter(or use an apple slicer to save time).  Throw the apples, water and Cinnamon into the crock pot and turn on low.

I let them cook overnight.  By morning they were starting to smell really good and get soft.  I used an immersion blender to mash them all up.  I put the lid back on and let the yumminess cook down and thicken up while I was at work.

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This thick apple and spicy deliousness was waiting for me when I got home.  I sterilized my jars and got to work filling them.  I always can applesauce in quart jars because a pint will last about one setting in our house.  This batch made 3 quarts with a little leftover for an after dinner treat.

We live at a higher altitude so my processing time was 30 minutes.  The results of this little experiment were amazing.  Allowing the apples to cook slowly brought out a lot of flavor.  This applesauce is also a little sweeter that traditional homemade applesauce.  I don’t know if I would do it this way if I was making more(unless I used my roaster), but it worked really well this time.

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New Revelations From Familiar Truth

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Not seeing the forest for the trees.  How often do I miss something that is right in front of me?  I rush from here to there, not taking the time to really see much of anything.  I hate to admit that there are times when I skim read Scripture- especially when I am reading passages I think I know.  The ones I’ve read many times or have heard many messages preached on.  Recently I was challenged to spend time in Gods Word at a specific time each day for 21 days.  I spend time in His Word most days but not every day like I want to.  She suggested I start with a book I’ve read and studied before.  I would’ve said I know the book of John well.

John chapter 3 is how far I’ve made it on this journey.  This is a chapter I’ve read many times.  It’s highlighted with notes from previous sermons, studies, and time spent reading.  I hate to admit this but I thought I knew what all these 36 verses had to say.  I’m happy to say I was so wrong.  I’m going to share with you some of the truths God revealed to me in my morning reading time.

Starting in one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • The “new” truth I saw today in this verse was seeing how incredible this was at the time.  Up until Jesus came, God’s chosen people were the Israelite’s.  But through Christs sacrifice any and every one of us(the world) can be adopted into God’s family.  It doesn’t matter who you were, where you are from, who your parents or grandparents were, or even what sin has been in your life.

John 3:17-21 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deed will be exposed.  21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

  • The first thing that stood out to me in this passage was the reference to men means people(all people, including and especially me).  We live in a society that has degraded men by magnifying their bad behavior and mocking honorable behavior-but that’s another topic for another day.  It’s not just men but also women and children who try to hide our sins.  I am guilty of this so many more times than I want to admit.
  • We are not condemned.  This is not new to me or probably you but how and why Satan uses condemnation hit me hard in this passage.  Satan uses condemnation to make us ineffective in our calling.  Condemnation is a choke hold Satan puts on us to keep us trapped.  But Jesus came so we could have a life of freedom.  Part of that freedom is being corrected.  That’s where conviction comes in.  Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and is always for our own good.
  • Our nature is to hide our ugly parts.  We’re hesitant to take of the masks we wear and show who we really are.  But when we live in truth we should be transparent.  Never glorifying our sin but always showing how God alone has and is changing us.

John 3:30 is a verse that I’ve heard many times but to be honest I didn’t really know where it was or what the context was until I read it just now.  John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

  • John the Baptist got it right.  When I have Christ, I have to become less(less fleshly, less self-centered, less prideful, and less concerned with earthly things) and Christ within me becomes more.  He changes me from the inside out to re-present Him to the world.

I am in awe and humbled that the King of the World takes the time to reveal himself to me even when I don’t get it the first(or 27th) time.  The Bible is not just a book of history but the living Word of God.  Can I encourage you today to spend time in it daily, asking for new revelation, and help to implement what you learn.  If you are interested in more study tips comment below.

 

One Simple Act of Obedience

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Today I did something I never would’ve thought I’d do.  Today I walked into our realtors office and withdrew our house from the market.  Not because it’s the wrong time of the year to be trying to sell a house(the market is hot), not because we haven’t had any interest(we had a strong offer), and not because we don’t “want” to move, but because God said so.  For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m a go-getter with a planning fetish; not that being driven is a bad thing.  However when I pursue my plans at all costs, then I’ve made them idols in my heart.

For years now I have wanted to sell this house and get a place out of town.  By the way “town” is less than 500 people- so it’s not like I’m living in a huge metropolis here.  I can load up the kids in my truck and be in some of God’s most beautiful creation in a matter of minutes(the picture on my home page is one I took minutes from my house.)  I have friends around who do ranch and thankfully will always put me to work when I need a little ag-therapy.  I have so much to be thankful for, and yet I have not been content or nearly thankful enough for the blessings my zip code allows me.  I’ve not enjoyed my house because I’ve been focusing on resale value.  I have not truly loved my neighbors by working through our differences, because I’ve always seen the situation as temporary.  I’ve aloud myself to buy into the lie that if only the house would sell/ we could get out of town our whole lives would be better.  And I have exhausted my energy, time, resources and relationships to try and make that happen.

I’ve struggled with contentment throughout my life.  I have always been looking for what’s coming next.  Trace Atkins song “Your Gonna’ Miss This” has been me to a T.  What better work can I be doing?  I’ve thought that not having acreage and my own milk cow meant I couldn’t truly homestead or help people live more simply.  I know in my head that the Bible teaches that God is my portion and all I need, but do I really believe that in the deepest places of my heart?  Hebrew 13:5(NKJ) says “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So how is this an act of obedience?  Well a couple of weeks ago I heard a message on discipline.  It was a great message and I was really enjoying it, taking it in, and noding  my head as he talked about requiring first time cheerful obedience from our children, because that is the only true obedience.  Then the pastor said something that kicked me in the teeth.  He said if someone(me) hadn’t heard from God in a while it is possible that we didn’t cheerfully obey Him last time.  Um ouch!  You see God has told me for years to be content, and I’ve done my best at faking it.  The problem with that is I can’t fool God anymore than I can control the weather.  God looks straight at my heart and sees all the ugly I try so hard to hide. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.  I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  I am encouraged that Paul also had to  learn to be content; not that my circumstances hold a candle to what Paul endured.  God teaches each of us and even a great apostle had to learn this lesson.  If that wasn’t a big enough pill to swallow the pastor went on to suggest that we go back to the last time we were unwilling to obey God; obey Him, and wait for further instructions.

Does this mean our “starter” home will be our forever home?  I don’t know.  What I do know is I have decided to believe with my whole heart the promises found in Jeremiah 29 and Proverbs 3.  I am going to choose His plan over mine.  I am going to learn to be content right where I’m at.  I’m going to homestead this .27 acres to the best of my abilities, and I am going to Praise God each and every day for my home, my family, and my many blessings.  I may even paint Hebrews 13:5 on my bedroom wall and throw resale value to the wind!!