How to Give Your Kids a Minimalist Christmas Without Being a Scrooge

We’ve all had those moments.  It’s usually hits you late at night, as you are organizing the kids toys because you’ve had enough, and they don’t know how to do it right anyway.  You see tons of toys that your kids just dumped for the thrill of it.  You are reorganizing again, exhausted, and wondering even what in the world to get your kids for Christmas, because seriously, you don’t want to deal with any more freaking toys.

I think it’s important to recognize the feelings of a consumerist Christmas:

-Guilt over not getting your kids things

-Feeling like Christmas is when budgets don’t matter, and if budgets do matter to you, you feel guilty about it not being enough too.

-Worry your kids will be disappointed

-Feeling like Christmas = fantasy, and therefore, Christmas is allowed to break the rules.

-Worry that if Santa doesn’t visit your house, or your kids don’t get as many gifts as their friends, than when they grow up they will hate Jesus.

The consumerist-Christmas is a big, fat, guilt trap.  Don’t buy it.

For us, Christmas isn’t time to break all the rules.  Fantasy and imagination are completely encouraged, but that doesn’t mean you break your budget, the bank, or your household standards because it’s Christmas.  We don’t push pause on our values and ideals during this season.  Instead, it’s a time to present our ideals and values from a different angle.  We present it in a very tangible way.  We want to magnify the joy of our beliefs.

Here are some ideas to handle the Christmas onslaught of stuff.

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1) Do a yearly November toy purge.

Our family goes through toys twice a year to get rid of stuff.  Not only does this make toys more manageable to clean, and more appealing to play with, it also lets you know what is missing, and what might need replacing.  Is there a part of a set that your kids would really love?  Do you need to just stop buying a certain kind of toy?  How much space for toys do you have in your house?  Knowing your limits and space is a major thing to keep in mind when going into the Christmas season.  Living outside those limits = stress.

Those limits aren’t there to make your life miserable, they’re there to make your life manageable.  If you’re already full to the brim after the big purge, then make some decisions.  Whether or not you involve your kids in these decisions depends on their age.  As a rule of thumb, school aged kids can handle these sorts of conversations, and younger kids won’t grasp any anti-hoarding message.  Either you get rid of some toys, by donating them to others, or you decide not to spend money on toys this year, and know that upfront.  You can always go for experiences or consumable items instead.  But if you don’t have room going into the season, you need to make some hard decisions, before you end up crying on the playroom floor in January, wondering how on earth you got there.

2) Adopt the concept of “1-week toys” with your kids.

They are the dollar-store toys.  The happy meal, VBS craft, cheap group exchange items.  We call them 1 week toys in our house because honestly, they aren’t toys that are made to last.  They are toys that are made to be cheap, so that people can buy them and show affection and friendship without having to go without food for a month.  They are sweet, cute, cheap, breakable toys.  They’re 1-week toys.

My kids know that some toys that I give them, and some toys that others give them won’t make it to our permanent toy storage.  We’ll have them in our house for a week, and then I will get rid of them.  Sometimes they get thrown away, sometimes they are donated to Goodwill, and very rarely, I’ll keep them in a memory box for the kids, if it holds enormous sentimental value.

While I used to fight the whole idea of cheap dollar-store toys that just felt like an enormous waste of money and resources, I have learned that with 6 kids, they will just be a part of our life, and it is ungrateful of me to say what people can and cannot buy us from the kindness of their hearts.  This has actually made the concept of fluidity of items something that my kids can understand.  They learn how to hold onto something loosely, and enjoy it while you have it, knowing it’s not going to be permanent.  Kids like everything to be permanent, and can’t stand the idea that I don’t keep the 20 pictures they color a day.  This has been an enormously helpful thing to teach my kids that it’s okay to declutter.  It’s okay to say goodbye to things that you have loved.  It’s okay to make choices about what stays in your life and what doesn’t.  It’s actually proven to be a joy to my kids when they get them, and a valuable lesson for them when they say goodbye to them.  And they don’t break the bank.

3) Define what kinds of toys you want in your house.

Just like my kids know that some toys don’t stay in our house, they can recognize a toy that will stay permanently too.  I love toys that make my kids use their imagination, and not merely amuse them.  I like toys that make their brain spark with ideas.  It is very rare that we keep toys that require batteries.  The exception to that has been some robotics, and electrical sets when they get older.  I’m not into the flashing lights and noise.  I like wooden blocks in my house, kitchen toys that don’t crush within 24-48 hours.  I like games.  I like things that either tell a story like a book, or encourages the child to tell a story like puppets.

When you define what sorts of toys you want in your house, all the choices for your kids storage will meet that criteria.  Houses collect toys like a vacuum, so you can afford to be picky, no matter how poor you are.  In fact, when you keep your standards high, toys will be more expensive.  When toys are more expensive, your kids will get less bulk in toys.  When there is less bulk, there is less mess, less cleaning, less purging, and more time to actually spend with them.  Also, the toys won’t break as easily, so less disappointment as well.

4) Make gifts homemade, and encourage your kids to do the same.

Not of all our gifts are homemade, but we try to make our kids at least one of their gifts each year.  I often make them, but my husband will often choose to make a few of them as well, depending on his work schedule that year.  My kids see me making gifts for their siblings weeks ahead of Christmas.  This will a) reinforce the idea that I spend lots of time thinking about them, and what they like, b) fire up their imaginations on what they can make others.  This takes the focus off of what they will GET and trains their mind to think of what they can GIVE.

We will make a yearly fall trip to a craft store, and my kids will pick out some things to make for others for Christmas.  This year I made the older kids make a list of all the supplies they would need, so they didn’t spend hours agonizing over which craft to do while I’m chasing around the little ones in the store.

Handmade gifts have love poured into them, both from the parents end, and the kids’ end.  It reinforces in kids what the gift is actually about, as opposed to just the dream of getting everything you ever wanted.  Also, making gifts limits how many you can give as well, just because of the time they take, and puts into better perspective of how big Christmas should be.

5) Remove catalogs from your home.

I do my best to not let any of the hundreds of Christmas catalogs that come to our mailbox ever reach it to the mail pile inside the house.  I let the charity ones through, where you can buy a calf or rabbit to give to a family living in a 3rd world country.  Occasionally, I’ll let ones through like the American Girl Doll catalog, if I can somehow spin it as “So, do you think we could make something like this for your sister?  How hard would it be to make little doll muffins out of clay, and give them to her as your homemade gift?”

Sometimes if I actually want to look at the catalog to figure out if they have something I want to get for the kids, I will hide it so the kids can’t pour over it.  I think having tons of catalogs around makes it really difficult for my kids to be others-focused.

6) Live within your means.

Living within your means usually refers to not spending more money than you have.  That is definitely a good place to start.  I have learned, however, that this doesn’t just apply to money.  Do you have space for it in your house?  When buying a toy, don’t just ask if you can afford it.  Ask yourself where it will be stored in your home.  Ask if you have the time to train your child to care for this gift.  Ask yourself if you have the time necessary to manage it in your home, whether being cleaned up and spread to the 4 corners, or replacing batteries regularly.  What’s the plan for this item?  When I face the reality that things in my home are work to manage, I become extremely careful to choose items that have a place, (otherwise they live on my dining room table for weeks/months, and then end up under a bed) and whether or not I have the time to include managing it into my routine.  If these questions aren’t answered before the purchase, I end up, by default, making the decision to live in clutter, and always feeling behind in everything.

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7) Let go of legalism.

On one end of the spectrum, we can err by being swished around by the waves of culture.  We can feel guilty that we don’t spend more money.  We can feel guilty they only have 2 toys.  We can feel guilty that everything we’re giving them is practical.  On the other end of the spectrum, we can feel rigid and burdened that our kids have obsessions about getting the $100 deluxe Lego set, feel annoyed that family or friends don’t respect your family rules, and instead of making Christmas about Christ, you’re making it about what you’re NOT doing.

In part of the Jewish tradition of Passover, part of the feast is where the father gives the children something sweet to eat.  The symbolism that they were trying to teach the children was that God is good and sweet.  God is a delight to our hearts.  I think it’s not crossing over to any prosperity gospel to say that God wants good things for you.  Gifts might be a great way to communicate that truth.

The reality is that we strive towards as minimalist Christmas because I was sick of the stress.  I was feeling lost, and we honestly can’t afford more.  I didn’t want my Christmas filled with guilt, and I was convicted of all the waste of it.  It felt like an enormous distraction.  But we aren’t any holier than the family who spends $1,000 on each kid for Christmas.  The Bible warns against gluttony, but also talks about how natural it is for a father to give his child good gifts.  What is right is somewhere in the middle there.

It is good to set for yourself standards of what kind of toys, what kind of budget, and what kind of purpose you want gifts to be in your family.  There’s a difference between being intentional, and being legalistic.  You need wisdom to distinguish between the two.

This list is merely brainstorming with you, not a list of what is right and wrong.  When talking to your kids about it, take the time to explain that this is what your family does out of choice, and talk about how you and your spouse arrived at that decision.  Talk about the pros and cons.  Your kids might have a friend who gets more presents, and they need some perspective, or they might grow up and marry someone from a family who did Christmas totally differently, and they need the freedom to know that’s ok to compromise.  Don’t make a minimalist Christmas a legalistic Christmas.

Not Enough

We mothers carry so much.  As a friend handed Bjorn back to me after church yesterday, she commented how holding him is like a weight lifting class.  It’s not just the physical weight of motherhood, though, it’s the work.

Sometimes I feel helpless as a mother.  No, that’s not the right word.  Unqualified.  Insufficient.  Understaffed.

As a homeschooling mom especially, we spend the first year or two explaining to people that we are qualified, and that we are enough.  Our children don’t need different teachers.  The position of being a mother in this culture is being constantly on the defense.  I have had to defend my decision to stay at home with my children, my decision to homeschool them, and even the number of children that I have to total strangers on various circumstances.

I have been told that my degree is wasted as a mother.  I’ve been told that my children would be better off with specialists for their education.  (I have been told this by strangers.  Ironically, when I sought the help of various specialists, they have told me that my kids are getting more from me than they’d ever receive from a specialist.)  I’ve even had people tell me that mothers who have this many children are the problem with the world today.  It hasn’t been blog readers who say this.  It’s usually strangers.  One guy I sat next to on an airplane.  The homeschooling criticisms come most from random teachers who are still in college, or just out of college.  Teachers who have been working for more than 5 years almost always support me whole heartedly.

And to be perfectly honest, I have so many more weird things about me than being the mother of a large family who homeschools.  Friends, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to be a mother today, brace yourself.  If no one has criticized you,  there’s sure to be a blogpost out there in some form of an “open letter” telling you why you are doing it all wrong.

The criticism and lectures of motherhood begin in pregnancy.  Every pregnant woman will tell you that everyone has an opinion on everything she should be doing from her eating habits to sex.  Even strangers.  It’s easy to feel the need to defend yourself, and present your side of every story.

Of course, most people don’t say these sorts of things.  I happen to live in a community where having 6 children isn’t that strange, and homeschooling isn’t shamed.  But you only need to hear one remark, one criticism, one time, and it becomes that ache that gnaws when you are working at your hardest.

Yesterday I left church with tears brimming in my eyes.  My pastor caught my eye and gave me a firm hug.  Before that, our other pastor saw me, and offered his encouragement.  I suppose I love church so much because it’s such a safe place for me.  I think back to our pastor’s wife, who suffers from MS.  Through the years she’s been at our church, she has good months, but there have been dark times too.  I remember a few years back, I asked her how she was doing.  She had tears brimming in her eyes too, as she said, “I’m struggling, Gretchen.  It’s been a hard week, and I could sure use your prayers.”  There was no pretense in her.  She has the bravest of smiles, but her incapability to pretend that everything is fine is one of my favorite things about her.  I look up to her for that.

It made me feel like I never had to pretend when I’m at church.  I can tell people, “It’s been a hard week, and I could sure use some prayers.”

Last week I suffered from 3 days of migraines.  Harvest ended late Friday, and I finally got a great massage Friday night from the massage therapist who has been working on my neck as a favor to his daughters who are my friends.  We have talked a few weeks about a treatment that would help my neck and chronic pain long term, though it’s not comfortable for him to scrap my muscles like that.  Saturday I took it easy, but my shoulders ached like someone punched them hard.  Knut knew I was at the end of my rope, physically, and helped out with the kids.

Some of my kids had a hard week as well.  It’s to be expected the last week of harvest, but I do not tolerate disrespect very well.  I tolerate ungratefulness even less.  Arrogance and entitlement trigger my temper like nothing else.  “I can’t do this, Mom” I can handle.  “Mom, can you help me?” I can handle.  Bickering, I can handle…for awhile.

During church one of my kids had to leave the service.  As I went to talk with this child, and encourage, speak truth, fight alongside them, I heard words of criticism from their own lips that cut deep.

“You’re a horrible mother.”

Every time I tried to speak truth and life yesterday morning, I was battled with lies and hate.  I knew this was a spiritual battle.  This child knew where to kick me with words.  Right there in that blessed church, evil words were spoken, too many, intended to hurt me.

Of course my child doesn’t get to name me.  Only God can do that.  My identity does not rest in their hands, it’s already decided in His.

But sometimes loving your kids feels horrible.  Sometimes you can’t reach your kids.  Sometimes there are no words.  In those moments, it’s easy to want to fight to get your child’s attention.  Fight to get the last word.  Fight to prove your worth, knowledge, and status.

A very wise woman told me once that the Holy Spirit has access to our children’s hearts that we do not have.

I have learned that when I cannot reach my children’s heart, it’s usually because that’s when I’m supposed to back up, and let the Holy Spirit do his work.  You see, I’m not enough.  I’m not sufficient.  I used to fear that I wasn’t enough, but now I know it.  I know it, and I find comfort in it.

Because if I were enough, then my children wouldn’t need God.  

If I were enough to meet all the needs of my children, they would have no need to look elsewhere for wisdom and comfort.

The other week, a different child declared that he/she was going to run away.  In their frustration with our rules and expectations, the declaration to leave was made.  I asked this child where they intended to go.  They said they were going to church, where people listened and understood.  People liked them there.

This poor child didn’t know that this pleased me like crazy.  When upset, this child wanted to run to the arms of God’s people who had shared loved with them so generously.

Oftentimes, I’m not enough.  Sometimes I need help from our community to reach my children.  I’m not above counseling, or finding my kids mentors.

More importantly, I’m learning that my insufficiencies are put there by design as an opportunity to point my children to God.  I can’t tell you how many times I will say, “Call out to God.  Share your anger with him.  Be brutally honest with him.  He can take it, I promise.”

“Go spend a few minutes and pray.  Tell God your side of the story.  Tell him how upset you are.  Talk to him.  He’s listening.  Open up his Word, and listen to him speaking.”

“Tell God about how you are disappointed.  Open up his Word, and let him speak to your heart.”

One of my children said a little over a month ago, “Mom, hearing God talk to me isn’t the problem.  It’s that his words don’t make any sense.  He wants me to love people I don’t want to love.  It’s like I have a hard time trusting that he actually has my good in mind, because it feels like he just has everyone else’s good in mind, because he wants me to love everyone else, and it feels like he’s forgetting about me.”

I love the honesty of children.  Don’t we all feel like that sometimes?

There are some spiritual truths that my children will have to learn without me.  There are prayers their lips will say that I won’t hear.  I am not my children’s god.  I cannot fix their hearts.

My children are used to coming to me with their troubles.  I must train them to start to bring their cares to God.  It’s tempting for children to think that God is an idea, but a mother is practical.  Therefore God will limit the mother’s reach, so that the child has a chance to see the practicalness of God.

God is not just a philosophy, a story, or a set of rules.  Neither is a genie, some Santa Clause in the sky, there to grant our wishes, and make our lives full of comfort and ease.

God is a Father.  God is family.  God is love.  (The powerful kind of love, not the well-intentioned, weak kind.)

The sooner our children bring the cares of their heart to God, the better.

Satan will whisper a lie to mothers during this transition: You are failing.

You are not enough is true.  But we aren’t supposed to be enough.  That is not the same as failure.  That is a servant doing her duty wholeheartedly to the degree that her master wishes.  When the Holy Spirit whispers to our hearts to stop lecturing, and start praying, it is a wise thing to obey.

Sunday afternoon I spent on my bed, sandwiched between Knut, and my 5th child, Ingrid.  The bedroom was filled with piles of clothes, a thick covering a dust, and a very dirty carpet.  The 3 of us snuggled under grandma’s quilt, and talked about her doll as my husband had his arms around me, and I had my arms around her, and she had her arms around her dolly.

I laid there, and looked up at the ceiling, smelled Ingrid’s sweet hair.  It’s good to take a step back.  It’s good to lay down and just hold one another. This is what resting in God’s promises looks like.  With all the lies the enemy has thrown at me these last weeks, God has not been silent.  Promises that he’s holding me have been thickly spread on my prayer life.

Sometimes he calls us to action.  Sometimes he calls us to be still.  As hard as it is to be still when I see the work around me that needs to be done, and force myself to lay down, and I hear the desperate need for correction and disciplining of my children, and I force myself to be silent.

Because when God does tell me to be still, and know that He is God, butterflies start to swarm in my stomach as I realize with great anticipation:

God is working.  And if you’ve never seen God working up close in your child, with a front row seat that we mothers have?  Oh, friends.  It’s spectacular.  It’s the most beautiful thing you will ever witness.  I’m so thankful I’m not enough because my kids having God is so much better.

Full Bloom

 

These harvest days are long.  Do you ever feel like parts of your to-do list gets squeezed out consistently?  I have made some very intentional decisions regarding my family in the last year or so in regard to how we homeschool, and have laid out all of my goals.  I knew going into this year that I would have to sacrifice more, and it would cut deep.  It was not thrust on me.  I made the choice.

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These harvest days, Knut is not often there to support me at home, and in addition, needs support from me more than he usually does.  (I’ve actually been horrible at supporting him this harvest.  I’ll blame it on having a little infant, but really he’s not the issue.)  This year we are doing Classical Conversations for a homeschool co-op.  It’s all day once a week, and for a few of my kids, it requires more focus and time-sensitive assignments into their education, which was sorely lacking.  It’s brought me into contact with some wonderful new mom-friends.  It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made for our kids’ education, as I feel like I have the support, inspiration, and accountability I need to really thrive in this area right now.

Last year my kids’ activities grew with such speed, that I was floundering, and this year I’ve decided to embrace this season and stop fighting it.  I’m glad I did, because the focus and attention they have demanded from me these last few months bloomed into this enormous job that at times overwhelms me.

My writing has suffered.

I have been praying many times that I would keep my writing in correct priority to all the other work God has prepared for me to do.  As writing feels like it is getting squeezed out of my daily life, I’m praying so hard that God would keep me sane.  I miss writing like a dear friend.  I miss writing so much it’s suffocating at times.  My writing life isn’t gone.  It’s just that part of the daily list that is consistently getting squeezed off.

As I’m writing this right now, I’m sitting on the floor, at the end of a hall in the YMCA, listening to an aerobics class blaring on the other side of the door.  My big kids are doing their Tae Kwon Do.  My little kids are in child watch.  I’m trying to get my brain settled since it feels like I had at least 3 kids speaking to me at all times, since I woke up this morning.  It wasn’t 3 kids fault.  They all participated in “Operation Overload Mommy.”  They took shifts.

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I’ve asked God, in my not-so-quiet-times, if I shouldn’t be writing right now, and if I need to let go of the blog, to give me a peace about that.  However, just the opposite has happened.  Every time I pray about it, ideas just keep flowing out so fast that I’ve actually gotten a notebook to quick notes to come back to and expand.  It happens whenever I dare approach the throne of grace on this issue.  Ideas keep flowing for a group Bible Study book that I’ve been attempting to write.  I have ideas for a podcast, and spend some of my time trying to learn the software for that.  Learning new technology is painfully slow for me.  I sense God’s calling on my life even stronger in this area than ever.

So I just keep living each day, and reminding myself of my priorities.  I have gotten more organized than I have in my entire life…entirely by survival necessity. I’m aiming for excellence in so many areas, and as I see this writing dream of mine get squeezed out of my days, the vision for what God wants me to do gets bigger.  I can’t quiet explain it, other than to assume that not every day will be like right now.

12 years into this mothering journey, I’ve learned one main thing: the rhythm is constantly changing.  

There are seasons of naps, seasons of no naps. I’ll have seasons of loneliness and seasons of overwhelming fullness.  There are seasons of full schedules, and seasons of lazy days around the house.  There are seasons of awe, and seasons of frustration.  Sometimes the seasons are years.  Sometimes they are days.  Sometimes they feel like mere hours.

It seems I’m not allowed to give up my dreams, even though they’re not fitting so well in my current season.  As many times as I offer them up to God, he keeps growing them.  He keeps reminding me that he has not forgotten, and it’s not time yet.

So friends, the writing is coming slow, but I still relish in hearing from each of you.  I do try to pop over on Facebook and Instagram when I can.  Waiting on God is ridiculously simple right now as I’m too busy to wonder when I’ll have time for something.  But it’s just the season.  I’m not quite sure how long this season will last, or how quickly I should expect to switch gears.  Thankfully, I don’t need to know.  All I have time to do is to try to do the season in which I find myself as well as God’s grace allows.

Don’t give up on me, friends.  Feel free to email me or touch base on social media if you need to reach out to a friend.  I’m not always able to write back, but I always say a prayer for you.

Take the Rest

Sometimes I need permission to ask for help.

Asking for help makes me feel desperate, and I hate feeling desperate.  I like feeling capable.  There’s a high that comes from juggling everything thrown at you, like an air traffic controller.  There’s something guilt inducing in needing help.  It’s admitting we are weak, and not sufficient.

A few years ago, this whole concept was turned upside down for me, when my husband and I listened to a sermon series by Colin Smith on the 10 commandments.  When discussing the Sabbath, he said this was a commandment not just for an individual, but for a community.  Many jobs, he argued, cannot be laid down for a day without the structure of a community.

I’m thinking being a mother is one of those jobs that requires a community in order to get rest.

Usually my husband is usually the guy who gives me the day off.  We try to look out for each other.  However, this weekend, he had an opportunity given to him to go to a fun sporting event on his day off the farm.  Then next weekend, I’ll be spending my sabbath throwing a birthday party for one of my kids.  Throwing parties is fun, but let’s be honest.  Birthday parties are about as relaxing for moms as “family vacations.”

Recently I was listening to a Bible teacher reflect on the context of when the 10 commandments were given.  A whole people…in the millions, had just walked out of centuries of slavery.  They had a slavery mindset, and had a slavery culture.  What does he do?  He brings them into the wilderness and hands them the 10 commandments.

It wasn’t about making them slaves again.  It was about retraining them to understand what freedom is.

On top of that (God has a way of layering these messages from all angles, so that we don’t miss it!) the kids and I have been reading through the book of Romans for our morning devotions.  There I read chapter after chapter talking about how we are not slaves to the law, and how it’s about looking to Christ for our salvation, not the law.  It talks about how Christ fulfilled the law, and that looking to Christ is the standard.

It’s hard to leave the slavery mindset, isn’t it?  Freedom is a difficult thing to grasp to someone who has lived in slavery.

And I’ll be honest.  Motherhood is a job for which you are not paid, and it often feels like you are meeting the demands of others night and day, as though even your body is not your own.  Hmmm…any parallels to slavery there?  (Don’t get me wrong.  Motherhood is a gift, not a curse.  However, the pace and demands of motherhood are nothing to balk at.  It’s hard, hard, good work.)

All of these Bible messages have been sinking deep in me the last few years, and as I looked ahead to the next 2 weeks, I saw that I wasn’t going to get my next 2 sabbath rests.  The draining pace of up at 7 (or earlier) and working non-stop in my home, until midnight when I fall into bed, that is shared by various children at various watches of the night, would be my life for the next 14 or more days.

And I realized, that not only can I ask for help, but I should ask for help.  

The guilt of needing help has switched in my brain.  God’s Spirit has changed my heart on this issue.  Now I feel that pang of guilt when I try to do it all by myself, not asking for help at all.  He has brought me to a place of understanding that needing rest is part of my design, and going, going, going, going without stop is actually an act of pride, as though I was above my design.  It’s a rejection of the freedom God offers me to rest, and saying that I’d rather take up the yoke of work for yet another day…so as to not bother anyone.

We can split hairs on what is work and what isn’t.  We can talk about emergencies and kids just needing us and there’s no way around it.  But harvest isn’t some surprise that happens every year.  We aren’t shocked by harvest as though it’s an emergency that we didn’t see coming.  It comes every year, and I’ve learned that I have the freedom to work within my design without guilt.

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So today I dropped my kids off at my friend’s house.  I kept Bjorn with me because he’s still feeding on demand.  But he’s an easy-going, great napping kind of kid.  However, I’m going to spend the day letting my brain rest.  Bjorn and I stopped by my favorite cafe so I could get an egg sandwich.  Then I’ll probably window shop for a few minutes, and then head home and work in my sewing room, and just let those creative juices flow.

I’m waiting to hear back from someone about next weekend too.  Because God doesn’t say that we are designed to rest once or twice a year.  Every 6 days of labor we need a day without.  I know that the next 6 days will be grueling, so I’m planning on getting some help to rest after that.

I no longer feel guilty in asking for help.  I feel like it’s obedience.  I’m moving to a place of feeling guilty for accepting help, to not feeling guilty for asking for help, to not feeling guilty for asking for help.

It takes awhile to get out of the slave mindset.

I’m slowly learning that spiritual maturity isn’t doing better all by yourself, and reaching a state of perfection.  It’s leaning heavier and heavier on Jesus who cares for us.  It’s listening to him when he says “rest” and looking to him for what he plans next.  The more I sink into God’s Word, the more I see the spirit of independence is not always spiritual maturity, sometimes it’s full on pride.

We need to remember both on the giving and receiving ends, that God’s laws…for our good… were not given to individuals, they were given to a community.