Seeking the Small

Oh, friends.  I have missed you.  Summer break is finally here.  Life has been so free from writing that I’ve been twitching a bit.  We ended school in May, and I thought I could jump back in, but the kids were in swimming lessons, and the only time I could get for one of my kids was…during my normal sliver of writing time.   Swimming lessons are now over.  Curriculum is back on the shelves.  The garden is planted.  The winter jackets are finally in storage.  It’s time.

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I didn’t do even half of the things I was hoping to do during the break from writing.  That’s how it goes.

Sometimes people come up to me, acting very shy, and say that they promise they are not a stalker, but they read my blog, and they just wanted to say that they love reading my blog.  It’s always funny, because I think that’s how awkward friendships are in this day in age.  You may feel like a stalker.  I sure feel like a stalker to invade your homes like this.  I’ve missed writing you all.  Why must we feel like a stalker to take one step towards being in someone else’s lives?  That must be why we all get lonely.  We are too afraid of being a stalker to be a friend to someone who feels like no one notices.  Anyway…

Here’s some quick highlights of what has been going on.

I finally got to go on a retreat in March.  Since we started homeschooling 7 years ago, we figured out that I need a weekend away to regroup, because it is very taxing.  I usually go in January, which is perfect for the farm, and it’s perfect to help curb the typical February burnout that most homeschooling families face.  I wanted to try a different retreat this year, and it wasn’t until March.  That was a mistake.  I loved the actual retreat, but I had walked through the February burnout, and was so frayed that it was almost too little, too late.

But…I got to meet Ann Voskamp at the retreat.  Twice.  And the second time I saw her, she called me by name, and had a follow up thought to what we had talked about the first time.  She’s pretty much as kind and sweet as you would imagine her to be.  In fact, imagine what she’s like in real life, and the add thoughtfulness and kindness to that a bit more, and you’re a bit closer to her in real life.

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Something significant happened there, between God and me.  About 17 years ago, God humbled me deeply, and I lived in the shock of it for years.  I had my sights set on ministry which appears good on the outside, but it was deeply rooted in my pride and own religious accomplishments.  What followed was about a decade of me slamming into many doors that were not for me, until I gave up, and told God: “alright.  I’ll be still.  I won’t move until you make it clear.”  I knew that he wanted me to focus on my job of raising our kids.  He knew what we would face.  He knew we’d be dealing with some very high maintenance times.  He knew my family would need my full attention.

But sometimes being a wife and mother feels like it’s not enough.  It’s not enough for our ego.  It’s certainly not enough for other people’s expectations.  It’s lowly work, this job of changing diapers, spending so much time making food that at least one person complains about, and refuses to touch.  It involves lots discipline, and character training, which makes you “mean.”  It’s easy to think that these menial tasks are a waste of a life, like we are all meant for greater things than washing feet.

During these last months, I heard Ann Voskamp be interviewed on a writer’s podcast, and she encouraged other writers to seek the small.  Seek the little.  It resonated so much with my struggle to see the value in the grunt work that no one notices, to these little people who are most precious to God.  It made me wonder, in what other ways can the rubber-meet-the-road, so to speak, in areas of my life that are small, but important.

How many things do I skip over because they aren’t “big enough” to be worth my while.

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I have been studying and writing behind the scenes for quite a long time about the subject of mentoring.  Before I took a break from writing, I had the crazy idea that instead of complaining that there aren’t enough older women stepping up to mentor and support young mothers, I should be mentoring and supporting young woman.  It was hard to admit that I might be considered an older woman in some circles.  I’ve been slowly seeing it, as I see 20 year old, or even 25 year old, young married, or young mothers ask me advice.  It’s usually to the tune of them considering homeschooling, and they want to pick my brain since I’ve been doing it for 7 years.

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Has it really be 7 years already?  Really, that’s not that long.

I didn’t know who I should mentor.  I had no idea where to start.  I felt incredibly inadequate.  I had no time.  I would love to reach thousands of women, but why is it so hard to reach one?  So I went very local, and made a list of women who were roughly 10+ years behind me, either by age or stage of life.  I had a hard time coming up with women, and so those parameters became wiggly.  Every time someone new came to mind, I would just add her name to the list.

Soon, there were 7 young women’s names.  I have no time for a group that large, and I barely knew some of them.  Some of them were name recognition only.  But I started to pray.  I told God that I wanted to be his hands in feet in a small way, and I wanted him to teach me how to do this.

After praying for a good month or so, 2 names rose to the top of the list, mostly during a conversation with my husband when I finally caught him up on what I was hoping to do.  So I did the “stalker thing” and emailed each of these 2 ladies, and asked if we could get together for breakfast, individually, once or twice month, before our husbands went to work, early in the morning, and I would just like to “mentor” them.  Then I explained what I meant by that.  In my case, I would commit to praying for them every day.  I would just sit and listen and encourage them as they just talked about what was going on in their lives.  I would share what I have learned about marriage, as needed, or about parenting, as needed.  My main goal wasn’t to get them to do what I was doing, but to be a voice consistently point them to Christ, in whatever that looked like in their circumstances.

I was terrified.  Who did I think I was thinking I could do this?!?!

The response was pretty much a tear-filled “you have no idea how much I’ve been praying for something exactly like this!!!” from each of the women.

Surprisingly they didn’t call me a stalker. And I had no idea how much I would personally be blessed by this kind of relationship of meeting with someone (I barely knew either of them) who is newly married or has just little-little kids, with the sole intent of encouraging them.  It has ministered to my soul in a way that I could have never expected in my own life.

Then in March at the retreat, as I was spending time in prayer, it became very clear to me, that it’s time.

After 17 years, it’s time for me to step forward in more intentional ministry.  It’s time for my older kids to see me, and their father working in the church, and teaching them to serve others.  Knut already works a lot as an elder in our church, but I haven’t even been able to make it to a Bible study.  I just cover nursery from time to time.  I can’t even manage teaching Sunday School anymore.  It’s time to start stepping forward into the dreams God has laid on my heart.

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How did I know?  It wasn’t really audible.  God doesn’t talk like that.  His vocabulary is the Bible.  That’s his language.  I think that I knew mostly because this fear that was placed on my heart 17 years ago, like a child standing on the edge of a road, and her Father calls out to her to stop and wait for him to cross with her, just dropped.  It dropped and shattered like glass.  God has kept me in such a humbled position that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the power and glory and honor is his.  It wasn’t even that I didn’t care about getting honor and glory anymore, it was that I was so incredibly certain that I didn’t want a hint of it.  I wanted to be small, stay small.  I wanted to be so small that people only saw Christ when they saw me.  I couldn’t honestly say that 17 years ago.  Back then, I had dreams of people writing books about me.

It totally doesn’t matter anymore if the work he calls me to is big or small.  I know longer care if I reach thousands or 2.  I want to be faithful in what he has given me.  I don’t even feel the compulsion to charge ahead forward in taking on a lot.  It’s that I don’t have to be afraid to say “yes.”  The fear is gone.

I also gained some clarity as far as what I where I would be focusing my writing time.  I still intend to keep up this blog, though maybe a touch less.  Maybe just once a week.  I want to spend a significant bigger time working on writing Bible studies.  I keep putting it on hold because of how my family seems to get pummeled, spiritually speaking, whenever any one of us steps into ministry work… trampling on territory that Satan feels belongs to him.  I get a chapter written, and then I have to take a month off to tend to the wounds Satan seems to have inflicted on those in my house.  The same thing happened when Knut became an elder.  That first year was rough.

Writing every word of this Bible study thus far can’t be described as anything less than battle.

So I need to be more intentional on raising prayer support during this writing period.  I don’t know what will become of these Bible studies that I’m writing for small groups of women, but it really doesn’t matter to me anymore.  I just feel called to write.  God has completely shattered my fear in moving forward with that.

Please, please know that I would love an email, telling me what you have been up to the last 6 months that I’ve been off the blog.  I want to catch up.  You aren’t a stalker.  I’m inviting you in to comment, message, and let me know how you are doing.  I read every one.  I’m so excited to be back.  I would love your prayer support and friendship.  I’m so excited to dig in.

Short Sabbatical

Dear Friends,

I’m going to step back from writing for a few months.  I hope to jump back in around June.  There are some things that I need to do for my family, and some things that God is working on teaching me.

I would love to stay in contact with you, and make sure that we can reconnect when I get back.  If you would like to sign up below for my email updates, you will automatically receive the newsletter that I sent to my regular subscribers, explaining the details of this break.  I hope that this way, we can stay in touch, and when the time is right, I can share with you all the fun things going on.

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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.