Tale in Gardening

Homeschooling becomes a fun journey when you use everyday life lessons for teaching.

Last summer we started a fun unit on gardening. We sifted soil, tested it, and found that we have really crappy soil. Great for weeds, horrible for anything else.

Two years ago we positioned a larger pool on top of the grass, that was in our backyard. As you can imagine, all the grass died around that area. Since then, the only thing that has been growing in that area is weeds.

My husband wants a garden so badly, but the amount of work to create an ideal atmosphere for the plants to grow, is very daunting. Isn’t that like our lives though?

If I were to compare my heart to soil, like Jesus did in the Parable of the Sower, I would see that my heart’s soil needs a fair amount of work. The Fruit of the Spirit isn’t what always grows in my heart. Thank you Father for your grace and mercy!

I heard a sermon once on this topic, and the pastor used an acronym for Dirt, and it has stuck with me.

D – Disappointment
I – Insecurity
R – Rejection
T – Trouble

In his sermon, he brought out the concept that in order for Dirt to be conducive for growth, there needs to be death and quite a bit of yucky stuff in it. In relation to our heart’s soil, we need to face the yuck. The trying times, the rejections, and the troubles, for our heart to produce the fruit we are wanting.

That truth isn’t something we really want to hear, we typically want the happy. But if we go back to our gardening illustration, we are fully aware at the amount of work a farmer does before he plants the seed.

So this week, I am leaning into my DIRT moments. Seeing the work that God is doing to create the Fruit, I desperately want to see.

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The Stripped Down You

A true identity. If you stripped away all your labels, mom, friend, wife, your work title, what would you be left with?

12 days ago, I could tell you, but I don’t know if I truly believed it for myself. I needed to allow myself to be stripped of certain things that I used, to identify myself.

Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart…”

My Heavenly Father knew me BEFORE He formed me. That means to me that I wasn’t a second thought. That He had a “need” and I was the person He planned to use to meet it. Just let that sink in for a moment.

This place we are living in, views status as success. We need to make something of ourselves. All the self improvement statements ring through my head at this moment. I have used them many times to get myself up after a blow to the ego.

Yet, I have begun to realize that no self affirmation statement, no cheer session, can work as well as truly seeing yourself in your God ordained identity.

The one that has, already the Highest Authority’s approval all over it. The one that says, “I bought you with my life, because I love you.” The very Creator that saw you, before He ever made you. I don’t know about you, but no approval from anyone else is needed.

To be complete, approved of, loved, before I even reach a successful status, makes everything else fade into the distance.

I pray you see yourself in the same loving sight. That you are a treasure. His inheritance. No works are needed to achieve this status.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
Ephesians 1:18 NLT

Identity Confusion

I recently was reading a book by Ted Dekker. Typically his books are on the scary/suspenseful side. So, I was surprised when Truth was hitting me hard as I read.

In this particular book, a girl is on a mission to save two worlds. However, the only way she will be able to save these two worlds is to find 5 seals of Truth. They are truths that she has to know deep down and understand for herself. Then, and only then, will she be able to help other people.

Wouldn’t you know, one of those truths focused on her identity issue. At one point in the book, she gets transformed into the very thing she hates. Her failures become visible on the outside, in the form of scaly, puss oozing, grey skin. She begins this cycle of self hatred. Looking at all her failures and mistakes, realizing this mission will never be accomplished by her.

I don’t know about you, but I face days of being in this exact same state. I see the calling that is motherhood, and it is a High calling. The everyday demands can become too much. My temper can flare, despite my best efforts. I can say things that hurt my girls to the core. At the end of the day, I beat myself up with the woulda coulda shoulda game. Thinking that I am not the right mom for my girls.

In this book though, the guide that is helping this girl complete her mission, says something that has rocked my world. “Who are you?” Seems simple enough. Yet in the moment, this girl starts naming off things like failure, gross, not worthy, and others. She has forgotten who she is. He then pushes her deeper. She responds with titles, like daughter, friend, and 49th Mystic. All correct, but not yet the Truth. It takes a strong storm to finally get her to see that she is Almighty God’s Daughter.

In that identity her failures are already forgiven. In that identity she has more power than she could ever dream of, to complete the mission laid out in front of her. In that identity she has been fully approved of and loved.

This identity is what I am learning to lean more on. Yes, I am a Mom. Yes, I am a wife. Yes, I am a friend. Yes, I am a daughter. The list goes on and on. But, I cannot be any of those without removing those “masks” first, and seeing Me. The Me that is in Christ.

Approval Disease

I feel a possible book coming out of this, but that will definitely be a God thing. English, grammar, punctuation, has never been my strong suit.

Hey my name is Gina and I am a recovering people pleaser. Maybe you know of someone that struggles with this disease. You probably wouldn’t classify it as a disease, unless you have struggled with it. It can wreck your life if you cannot rewire your brain.

What do I mean by that? My world for the last few years of my life has been wrapped up in meeting others’ needs to gain their approval. Saying Yes to almost everything. Projects, little errands, answering endless phone calls, all in the name of this approval disease.

Facebook and Instagram created this HUGE snowball effect in my life. Watching other’s posts get more likes, more comments, and straight up more traction. Meanwhile, I was lucky to get 1 or 2. It would hit me like a ton of bricks, like a smack in the face. I couldn’t understand what they were doing that was so different. I began analyzing, at times copying their methods, appealing to the masses. It was such a sickness.

Then, almost a month ago, I got this deep, deep feeling that I needed to take a break from social media. I had done these breaks before, they would last like 2 days. But, God was asking for 21 days!!! 21 days without approval. Now ya have to know something, I use social media for my business. This was asking a lot. However, I cannot argue with the Almighty God.

I am on day 11. Something that also makes this a very unique experience is, we are currently down to one vehicle. One vehicle that fits 3 people, we are a family of 5. I have not been able to leave my home in 25 days. I have not received what you would call outside approval as well. These 11 days have literally been me and God.

This disease is something that is getting healed very deeply in me. It is rooted in not knowing my true identity. When I say “not knowing,” I know logically my identity is in Jesus Christ. However, living that logic out, wasn’t happening.

I am looking forward to sharing more with you all. This is a recovery process that has been so needed and it has already impacted my life immensely.

Unpopular Parenting

I have mentioned in a previous post that I have a 10 year old daughter. This phase of her life, has been bringing insight into areas where I continue to struggle.

I always thought that once you became a mom, you would just have all the answers. You would have overcome all the issues where you once struggled. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I parent in a way that I feel is unpopular amongst many. I don’t see myself as any better than my children. Have you ever taken a moment where you are getting ready to discipline your child, and really looked at the root of the issue? Let me share an example.

My daughters fight routine. They would rather have fun than complete a task that needs to be done. Sounds pretty normal amongst kids right?! They fight school work. Anything that doesn’t give instant gratification, they fight. This becomes one of our daily arguments. Explaining the importance of responsibility in their lives. Yet, I know for myself, I don’t want to do any of that responsibility stuff either. I mean, Do any of you LOVE to wake up early to go to that work meeting? Or do you LOVE to wake up early to get your kiddos out of bed to make sure they are prepared for school? I know I am not thrilled about either of those.

So, why at times do we expect our kids to put on this happy face, and then diligently do the work? I am 20 some years older than my oldest, and I still fight the lazy stuff. I really have no reason to get angry over an unclean room.

With that in mind, I parent like a coach/guide. Walking out the principles alongside of my kids. Sharing my own struggles at times with the same area. It can be uncomfortable to get vulnerable with your child. I have wondered if I will lose their respect. Yet, my experience has shown so far, that they respect me more and open up more often.

You may be thinking this sounds like being their friend. It is absolutely not that. It is more like validation. Seeing the struggle for what it is, and then showing them the next step to overcome it.

My husband was raised in a home where his mom was a “do as I say, not as I do” type of parent. Being strong willed, he fought consistently against his mom. He saw through the farce. She would become even more strict. This type of authoritarian parenting ruined their relationship. To this day, the tension is very thick between them. Due to this experience, my husband and myself swore we would not parent our children in the same way. My daughters have asked, “Why do I have to make my bed, when your’s is not made yet?” At that point I could get all parenty and mad. I don’t though, they have a valid point.

Checks and Balances. I see my kiddos as a system that prevents me from going crazy with power. Parenthood can go to your head if not checked. Leaving an opportunity for your children to come to you in a respectful manner and “check” you, prevents that from happening.

So yes, I feel my parenting can be unpopular. But I am okay with it. I know I have not arrived when it comes to overcoming struggles, and I am okay with my children being mini teachers to help me.

Think before you Speak

Hey friends!

How did yesterday go, with changing your “have to’s” to gratitudes??

I had an interesting discussion with my middle daughter, the one with a stronger will. She was once again, fighting the clean up time. I brought up the idea of, “she gets to clean up her toys”. Her eyes became saucer sized and she goes, “What?” I proceeded to explain that having toys is a blessing, something to be thankful for. That being able to clean them up, means that she has been blessed with them. It took her a bit to get it, but I think she finally got it.

After that encounter, I think over the next few days I will focus a bit on our words and our mindset, both here and in my home.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Think before you Speak?” I recently heard of a great acronym that I am using with my daughters.

T – Is it Truthful?
H – Is it Helpful?
I – Is it Inspiring?
N – Is it Necessary?
K – Is it Kind?

I have been teaching them that if it doesn’t fit all 5 categories, then they do not need to speak it. It has been a great learning tool, not only for them but for me. Quite frankly, being a stay at home mom can be tough, especially when you homeschool. We each have our own will, which then butts up against another’s will. Words have been said, that don’t fit any of those categories. The damage has been done. However, we can always grow, we can always make changes.

I hope these challenges are inspiring you to look a bit closer at your life. To see that you can always grow and get better.

Talk soon!

A Mom’s Have to Do List

1. I have to do the dishes
2. I have to do the laundry
3. I have to make dinner
4. I have to vacuum the floors

Anyone else have a list like this? I don’t know about you, but I can get in a pretty rotten mood with all these “have to’s.”

My middle daughter, has a bit of a strong will. When it comes to giving her a list of “have to’s,” the endless questions ensue. She has realized something that I think many of us know, but fail to think. We don’t HAVE to do anything. Yet, many of us just quote the age old statement, “Some things we may not feel like doing, but HAVE to do anyway.”

What if we changed that mindset though? What if we used some of that strong will mentality? The mentality that requires me to think five steps ahead of my daughter, in order to get her to own the task and want to do it.

Follow me for just second. What if I said, I get to do the laundry. I know, I know…but hang in there with me. Why do I get to do the laundry? Well..because my girls have clothes to keep them warm. God has blessed us with clothes. See where I am going? I just turned my “have to” into a gratitude. What if we did that with every “have to” in our lives?

The challenge I am giving myself this week is to change my “have to” mindset into a gratitude mindset. I bet I will have a better attitude towards my huge pile of laundry and the endless dishes. What about you? What is one of your “have to’s” that could change into gratitude?