When clocks slow down-A season of Renewal

We are one week into our summer break from school, and honestly, I feel like I’m waking up from a very long slumber. Things haven’t exactly slowed down completely. Our church activities are still in full swing, I’m still teaching, Lance is still playing and in school, and I’ve focused lots of energy into a new book. But, I’m waking up.

The biggest difference in our days has been the flip from school time to outside play time. I think those moments when all three girls are occupied and the youngest is safe and not attempting some death defying stunt from the ladder or trampoline, I have been able to sit and just…be. And that has made the difference. I’ve talked a lot about my “word of the year” through a Friday series, and this year my particular word is “renew.”

lady bug hands

Here it is April, and that word has led me down so many paths already. My last word was “love” and it felt like swimming against currents in a raging ocean so often. This year, renew feels so different. It is like following a stream through a lovely forest, only to stop every so often wondering if you’ve gone too far into the forest to find your way out if necessary. It’s been illuminating and peace giving, while also unsettling and uncomfortable.

In the last few weeks, the Holy Spirit has been renewing my marriage and relationship with my children. (Read that: the Spirit has been renewing my own heart and attitude toward them.) Creeping over to that inviting stream and gazing down at the reflection looking back at me hasn’t been easy to swallow each time, but each time I travel further down that path and creep back over, the reflection is less unsettling. The girl in the reflection looks more peaceful, with kinder eyes and a more loving disposition the the reflection I saw on the beginning of the journey. And maybe that’s why I keep on this path, though it’s taken me into some frightful areas and made me so uncomfortable at times…I want to keep going when I know that with each new peak over that edge, the reflection will look less and less like the one before.

In this new season, I bypass all the constant lists and fears of what my child should be learning and whether she’s in the right place. Instead, I pull out an old recipe for blueberry buckle to surprise my hunny and let the girls run barefoot outside while it bakes. I bypass all the articles about current events or the newest hot topic, and instead, seek out old blogs I haven’t looked at in forever…blogs that make me want to learn to can my own jam and slow down my life. In this season, I skip over the to do list in favor of the grateful list, and add each day

  • 456. muddy boots kicked off little feet
  • 457. stepping over a sleeping dog
  • 458. petals gone, green leaves there now

It’s an intentional season. A season of making choices and deciding that what I see and hear can be transformed mentally, before it hits my heart. I can choose joy. I can choose love. I can choose renewal.

What are you sowing?

What are you sowing?

I am finished with winter. I was once an avid winter lover, but then, I stayed indoors with children for days on in and the bouncing and restless hearts and running feet have cultivated within me a deep, deep love for spring. Not only do I need to let them release all that pent up energy, I need to see trees, hear wind, and sit below a maple on a swing with laptop in hand and drink sitting beside me. I need to see life and God and movement…not a wall. But, an early spring is creeping in. I just know it. I find it in the tiny clusters of buds on our maple tree that will soon become tiny “helicopters” and take flight, dancing and spinning their seeds to the ground. I see it in yellow flower buds that have pushed their way through muddy, cold earth to reach sunlight. I see it in a dog that spends hours lying in front of a glass front door, stretching in the length of sunshine on the carpet.

I don’t see it in my garden though. The garden. The one that has taught me more lessons in the last years than simply to never plant watermelon beside tomatoes and to protect early from giant scary bugs that burrow into squash. It has taught me about life and seasons and grace and growth. It’s still teaching me. I have never done a good job doing whatever you must do in order to make your garden look different than your yard by February. I open the curtains each morning in my bedroom and gaze out the back window to see a garden slowly being consumed by grass and weed. This morning, the two are almost the same, garden and yard. and I thought…I thought about sowing.

I thought about that garden and the seeds sown into it. Some seeds were carefully and cautiously sown and later, reaped a good harvest. Others, were sown just the same, only to reap no harvest. Some were bad seed. Some were different that I had thought, and once they had grown, I was surprised to find something different than what I had thought was planted. It is most unfortunate that gardens aren’t perennial. Then, you plow deep, plant seed, and then the plant comes back repeatedly and the grass stays away. The grass and weeds are strong, though. Stronger than, perhaps, that sown seed. And care for that garden is much like God’s manna, enough for today, but will need to be back tomorrow. Today, sow today, cultivate today, nurture today. Then again tomorrow.


What am I sowing in my life? Am I carefully and cautiously sowing good seed? Or am I purposely, unknowingly, or just carelessly sowing bad seed? Am I thinking that my effort and attention will reap one good thing, only to realize later that I was not equipped, and what sprang up in its place was not at all what I wanted to plant? Many people are currently in my life. More people are in my care than have ever been before. Souls that will live for eternity, drifting in for a night or day, then drifting out to go out into the world, only to drift back in again next week. Or the people that are here, day and night and day and night, listening, listening, watching. And I’m sowing. I can’t help but sow. We all sow. Even when we don’t mean to. but…what am I sowing? Will it last? Will it be stronger than the weeds and the grass threatening to choke it out and take over, or will I stand my ground, careful to be proactive in my cultivation and nurturing?

The whole of it causes a soul to be pressed down. Pushed against the floor on knees or face, overwhelmed at the prospect of┬áresponsibility you are unworthy and unequipped for. The heaviness of knowing that what you bring to the table will do little to sustain for a minute, much less to sustain a whole day and keep out the hunger. But, then I learned that the Hebrew word for God’s glory is kabod. Literally, it means heaviness. I take heart in knowing that the same feet that carried pieces of the Holiest of Holies from God’s Temple felt the same heaviness. Perhaps, that heaviness we feel is, indeed, the Glory of a Holy God, and that pressing that keeps us on our face with the knowledge that we can’t do it, is His way of making us understand, that…we can’t do it. Not alone. But the One we carry within us is the Creator. The Creator of wind and buds and gardens. He created the first garden. He’s also the Creator of souls and sowing. He also created the manna. He is sufficient, enough, and more than enough. El Shaddai. What and who are you sowing in? What is pressing you to your face with the knowledge that you simply can’t do it? Maybe that pressing is simply His Glory and with that knowledge, maybe the pressing isn’t so pressing anymore. Maybe it’s so good that it’s exactly where you need to be, because it’s exactly what you need. I know that’s true for me. Let’s sow good seed together. Let’s allow that heaviness that says we are not enough to cause our eyes to look upward with hands held out to receive more seed and not down in discouragement.