Hey y’all… I have updated my Hearthrose.com website, which has links to the community site that Elspeth and I started, my youtube, podcast, and latest “thoughtful” (rather than personal) blog posts.
Come over and see & subscribe!
Hey y’all… I have updated my Hearthrose.com website, which has links to the community site that Elspeth and I started, my youtube, podcast, and latest “thoughtful” (rather than personal) blog posts.
Come over and see & subscribe!
I’ve been sitting and thinking about my “new goals” for 2022 and being completely bogged down because, quite frankly, the last couple of years have sucked insofar as making the changes I’d like to see made. Here’s a metaphor that actually happened. We’ve been trying to gradually beautify and stabilize the hillside in our backyard. There’s your goal. To that end, we planted some herbs that get on well with our climate and soil. Fed them. Sprayed their bugs. Put water on them. And…. then our uphill neighbor poured poison on one of her trees (or possibly our passionfruit vine) and there’s a stripe of death down the hill instead of a stripe of flowers. Even managed to kill off a mature rosemary. That takes work, people. Did we have a goal? Yes. Did we do the work? Yes. Did we get the outcome? No. And that’s how it’s been. I know it’s not just been for my fam, because hello 2021 – but there she be.
So, I asked God for my word for the year, and He said, ‘transformation’. I eyed that up and down and sideways and said, “was that You, Lord?” and then I sucked it up and looked at my calendar and said, ” He wasn’t even joking”. If *nothing* on my 2022 goals list happens, if I do *nothing* of my own, I won’t be in the same place in a year as I am now.
This year, my younger child graduates HS and turns 18. My older child is picking schools to apply to for his last two years of school, he’ll get his AA in the Spring. I’ve changed my job radically in 2021, and in 2022 I’ll see a lot more change (and a lot more to do) at work. Oh the irony – I failed to launch my last book properly or get my image consulting business rolling because I hate self-marketing. Guess who’s doing the marketing for people who pay me? I’ve learned a lot and continue to do so – and I’m wildly outside of my comfort zone. With my kids as grown humans now, everything changes professionally and personally. My husband has some goals for the two of us that are dependent on being parents of adults… so there are those too. I’m closing up a 21+ year season of my life. At the end of next year, I’ll turn 50.
Of course I have goals, I have assignments. I’ve got another book about half written, and I plan to finish that and get it to a real publisher. I need people to read this one more than I need to get the money from it, I need it to go into the world and make ripples. I have the post-foot-surgery and 2021 stress weight to take off. I have to get the kid through HS and survive all the nonsense around graduation – two graduations! – this Spring. I have clothes I want to sew – and I have a lot at my jobbyjob that I want to make happen. New things to be done, old things to be done over properly. (I really *like* the people I work for and I want their products to do well – plus I believe in the products. It’s a weird feeling, really wanting your bosses to win, totally outside of one’s own ambitions). So much to do…
So, “Transformation”. I’m tired, I’m scared, 2021 sucked. I’m NOT ready. But that really doesn’t matter at all. I can get on the surfboard or I can get pounded by the wave – but either way, I’m not going to be where I am today when you read this blog 12 months from now.
I don’t write here that much anymore, so subscribe at hearthrose.com, that’s where I’m putting up the interesting writing. And we (Els and I) have a chatboard over on locals. Come visit there. https://historicalfemininity.locals.com/ It’s free, I keep putting up a coupon code to get conversation going and it will stay free until it’s busy enough that I need to be paid to keep it moving.
To Transformation – the butterfly is out of the chrysalis and drying her wings, soon she will fly.
It’s – I think – okay to be frustrated and feel the emotion that’s real. Okay. Feel it. Let it go through.
And… now what?
I have a contribution to make, something I can do to make things better. So, after I get my daily things done, I’m going to be about THAT thing.
You have a thing to do to make things better too. So, go be about your work. Be in the Spirit, not the flesh. Let God work through you and change you. Be a light, which means getting yourself out of the way and letting Him shine through.
Today is not an easy day. I think we’re likely to see fewer easy days. I accept this without approving of it. So, there must be less of me and more of Him. Because the “me” is not very happy right now, and “me” would get in the way of others seeing Him and feeing Him in their lives.
That, I will not accept.
And this, this is going on the various profiles, because this is a true thing. Share if you like.
God’s been washing worry out of my system. It’s not a me thing, so don’t expect a “how-to” lesson. Come sit with me and wonder at His work.
I have some major stuff going on in my home. Won’t elaborate, ‘cuz private. But major-major. And God keeps saying, “I got this”. And then within hours of my coming and asking, He *starts* showing me how He’s got whatever it is. It’s not done, and if you feel like throwing prayer my way, I’d appreciate – but He has moved radically and consistently, and we are all so much in the palm of His hand that it is jaw-dropping.
In 2019 I was ridiculously overscheduled. He’s shown me why I did that to myself, and He’s gradually removed item after item from my schedule, until I looked up and said, “oh wow – I don’t actually have to schedule things with a shoehorn? When did this room open up? ” It’s awesome. As God has been doing that, He’s been increasing my trust in Him. Like, I find myself *really* trusting in His promises, like they’re set in stone. That’s weird. I mean His personal promises to me and mine, not Bible verses. So, yeah, it’s weird. (I KNOW IT’S WEIRD).
I’ve got things going on with my last ministry. And I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I brought it up today in prayer and … now I’m just chilling. Like, “God will make His will clear to me in due time”. I could be all worried about it and fidget with it, as would have been my habit six months ago. But now I don’t feel a need.
COVID nonsense – to vax or not to vax, which vax to get, etc. Don’t know. Not worried. I might have to get that done. If I do, I do. And then whatever will be, will be. Might not. Not fretting about it. Everyone on both teams finds this deeply irritating of me. -shrug- It’s not my problem. A lot of things just aren’t my problem, and when they’re not, I’ve stopped feeling a need to fret about them. Y’all – *I* find this confusing. It’s so not me. But … I guess it is now? New me. That’s a thing, there’s a new me.
God is blessing me and mine and walking us through the storm, and He has promised great things in His time, and He has His hands on us. A lot of things just aren’t my problem. I do what I’m called to do, when I’m called to do it.
I feel a bit disconnected from even my friends, because I kinda want to take the disconnect further. Do I need to track the latest outrage? The adrenaline rush is fun, but it’s not my problem. What do I put in its place? What do I intake? There are only so many times a gal can watch someone plant a tomato… I dunno. I should pick that up in prayer.
I haven’t been writing much this past year. That was one of the things that was taken from me. I hope that it is only for a season. I haven’t been updating any of the blogs really. Probably lost a slew of readers, insofar as I have them. I’ve always liked writing about what is on my mind and heart, and the stuff is so deep and so subtle that it’s hard to write about how things are changing.
There are big changes coming soon. Don’t know when. Don’t know how. Don’t know what. But big change.
Anyhow, I wanted to write about the hakuna matata – no worries – because it’s very wonderful to live like this, but it’s also very very confusing. I don’t know how to be a people in the world today when only the surface is getting ruffled, the well is deep and quiet and looking ever inward – and upward. This is what I wanted, but I don’t know how to be this person. I don’t know me. Yet. I suppose I will, once God’s done with this chapter in the book of changes.
I’m looking forward to seeing what He’s doing.
I’ve been wrestling for a while about what God’s will for my life is. Well, sorta. I know what I want to do *in part* and I know that God has blessed that… but the time is not yet. I don’t know what God’s will is for the things that bring in the cash, not after I exit the season of part-time work.
And the waiting has been hard on yours truly. I’ve been fighting like a fish on the line, flipping and flopping every which way, trying SO HARD to “do the right thing”.
I finally, finally thought to ASK. “How does this work, Lord?” D’oh. Is anyone else out there like me, you totally forget to be a child with your Father and just ask Dad how this is supposed to play out?
And I’m directed to a sermon by Voddie Baucham about determining God’s will. And he NAILED me to the wall… all the ghosts in my head just got slammed with a truth bomb. God has the will that we know about – follow His laws, read your Bible if you’re vague on the concept. He also has His private will, His Sovereign plan for the universe. And that’s NOT OUR BUSINESS.
I feel so free. I’d been trying to figure that out, stressing myself out that everything that didn’t work out as *I* had planned meant that I was outside of God’s will, screwing things up SOMEHOW… even though I’ve been through His Word a thousand times, sifting to figure out what I could possibly, possibly be doing wrong.
God knew that 2020 was going to be a screwed up year. That 2021 was (although I’m promised restoration) starting out *hard*. Real hard. Awful weeping crying nasty hard. He didn’t start me on something *I wanted* because He knew I’d need the brain cells for what has come, which I did not – but which, I have faith, will lead to good (I know, because Romans 8).
I feel like the modern church gets out of whack on this really easily. 1) just because of the way the World feeds into us constantly and 2) because a lot of folks are reaping what they’ve sown because they are, in fact, NOT following God’s revealed will for their lives. “I’m sleeping with my girlfriend and I don’t feel like God’s blessing my relationship”. No, really? Wow. -rolls eyes-
But if we say, “if things aren’t going right for you then you are in the wrong” you throw dirt on every martyr. Every man or woman who has been honorable and gone through ugly times. Every parent whose kid has died too young. Everyone persecuted. IT’S NOT TRUE.
So we are responsible to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith – if we are walking in God’s law for our lives, if we are believing His Words about ourselves, if we are loving each other and our enemies. We are NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OUTCOMES. God is responsible, both good and bad. (Yeah, that former is a bit pinchy, isn’t it? Gotta give Him the glory for what works out, if you let the Potter mold you, the clay… you’re just clay…)
When you’re talking to young Christians (maturity wise), you gotta start with, “you reap what you sow, there are consequences to sitting in sin”. But eventually you have to move past that to, “God never promised you a rose garden…. in this life”.
Anyway. I have some sittin’ and talkin’ to God about the other thing Brother Voddie brought up – if you want to know what you should do with your life, look at your skills and desires and gifts etc, then pray about it and search God’s Word. I know my Bible, so it’s time to sit with this intentionally and carefully and ASK. I might just get enough light for this moment, but that’s fine. I could use some light on this moment.
2020 was a year, wasn’t it? The Good Book says that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick” and darn if that’s not the truth.
Folks are asking what 2021 goals I have. To be honest, I’m walking wounded where goals are concerned. I have a bone bruise. It’s not that I don’t have desires. I do. But goals? I had goals last year.
I started the year with surgery on my foot. I was assured that I would be up and running in a few months’ time. Running, that hope deferred for over a decade… oh, sweet hope. I knew it would take sweat and pain, but I looked forward to relearning to use those parts of my body. The freedom of movement without pain.
The top of that foot is still largely numb, the bottom of my *other* foot is in pain, and the surgery-foot was swollen enough that I had to wear compression socks and lace up shoes all summer. Needless to say, I’m neither running nor jumping as yet. The doctor was wrong.
2020 was just LIKE that. For everyone. I’m not special.
And I’m not special in the Word I’ve gotten for this year. I asked, on my birthday (beginning of Dec) for a word for my 48th year. My word was “restoration”. I looked up the Bible definition of that word: “The biblical meaning of the word “restoration” is to receive back more than has been lost to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. The main point is that someone or something is improved beyond measure. Unlike the regular dictionary meaning of “restoration,” which is to return something back to its original condition, the biblical definition of the word has greater connotations that go above and beyond the typical everyday usage.” (reference.com)
That’s a promise I’ve had – and been waiting on – for many a year. It’s been met, and more than met, in other areas of my life. I write about it seldom now but my marriage was restored by that definition. I know the taste of that word, its operation in my life. It is not a slight promise.
So I come to 2021 a paradox. In the flesh, I am utterly worn-out. My Christmas break was too short and much interrupted and I’m just about relaxed enough to actually have a break and get something out of it – but I go back to work (and nagging my daughter about schoolwork, which is more stressful) on Monday. The inner toddler is SCREAMING. She is not okay. “I”, whoever it is “I” am, look on the spectacle in concern. “Something must be done”.
But it is not for me to do. I learned in 2020 a lesson I had to learn in my marriage, before it was restored… there is only so much that can be done in the flesh. It is not for me to do, not for me to change. I have tilted at windmills. And now it is for me to see what God will do.
In the meantime, yes – I have desires. I look at my life and see a mosaic of bits and pieces. I picked up a bit here and a piece there, because I was missing this or that or the other thing. I move from inside one box to inside another, and that has its function – I give myself completely to whatever box I am in. But I’m TIRED of changing tiny boxes. I’d like to do a few big things and give them a lot more time and attention.
I could play the game and write down goals and lists and plans. I’m very good at all that. It is harder to be honest and say, “I am waiting upon the Lord, and in the meantime, I am walking forward as He directs”. “I am giving things up, because I want to make room”. “Hope”.
As I said, I’ve heard from others … I am no more special in the tone of this year’s promise than I am in the bruises I’m carrying from last year. Hope. Keep moving. Walk on. Fight on. Be repaired. See doors open. Those are promises given to other women. For me, it is “restoration”. And as I could not have predicted the riches and tender mercies that I was given in one restoration, I will trust that likewise this restoration will leave me breathless in awe.
But today? Today is still hard.
Contentment is a truly counter-cultural value. It’s not one that I am much good at. It’s hard to be in America, told to Achieve or Die Trying *everysingleminute* and keep your peace.
Years back, I disciplined myself to what I’d call negative contentment. This is a discipline! I trained myself to not-expect, and that did bring me quite a bit more happiness than I’d had. You know – you are much more pleased with mother’s day hugs if you don’t paint a picture of waffles in bed. The culture will feed you to the eyeballs with expectations, and it’s important that you not internalize those if you want to be happy with what you have. If you want to *experience* what you actually have.
That’s an important discipline, and this isn’t meant to disrespect it. It locks down the nonsense.
But there’s another form of contentment, and we in the West and me in particular – we’re *terrible* at it. I mean, even worse than not accepting false ideas, what if you *didn’t enjoy what you had*? Why, that would drive contentment away forever!
To relax and enjoy, that’s a discipline of opening up. It’s a discipline of looking up, and thanking God. But to truly engage in this, you have to unlock some of the heart-truths that can sometimes get locked up when you lock-down the nonsense. “Oh! I LOVE this experience! I remember this… I wanted this… this is so cool… ” You have to remember your dreams to live in them.
I dreamt of the puppy for years……… and locked that dream away for another time. Later, later, not yet. it’s good to have her. But the experience of the first weeks with a new puppy aren’t EASY. They aren’t the chill quiet loving moments you have with an adult dog. But they’re sweet. She’s sweet.
And there are Very.Good.Things – like seeing the sunrise and spending loads more time outdoors. I love to be outdoors, and she forces me outside.
God has been telling me for MONTHS that I was supposed to rest, to chill out, to wait. And all I could think of to do is to find something else to work on. If I can’t work on what I used to work on, I can surely work on getting all my ducks in a row so that I can charge forth when the door opens. No. No. No. CHILL OUT.
I have wants. And they’ll come. But I am learning to sit and rest and *wait*. And if I needed the kind of help that comes with being exhausted from Puppy Patrol to get there? So be it. God knows that she is exactly what I have needed.
So, this is happening this week:
And eventually this is what will have happened:
But this isn’t my locked personal blog. This is the more general, theological blog. Why am I showing you dog photos?
Because I’m learning the *weirdest* lessons and being directed in the *weirdest* ways right now. Or at least they feel weird, and that weirdness is part of my lesson – to let GO already.
I’m supposed to be chilling out, resting, receiving, and becoming focused on the inner world, both of my own head, and in my literal inner world – my home. I’ve gotten myself so overwrought about being perfect, going outward, that I’m completely out of balance. Even to THINK about looking inward and allowing myself to be cared for is uncomfortable.
I’ve done the things. I’ve put up food for the coming storm. I’ve read my Bible through. I … do the things. I do ALL THE THINGS I CAN THINK OF. Except chill and rest and wait, because SURELY I FORGOT SOMETHING AND I SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE AND……
I know I’m out of alignment and this is causing problems. I got a mentor. She’s helping me with this. She had me think through some things and return Scripture to her, and I’m mulling on that. “What is it to you?”
I feel bad about being gifted. Guilty for being loved. But I am not the Creator. He has made all of His creation for His purposes – some for nice things. Even to type that is uncomfortable for me. Terribly.
So. Last week my husband said, “we can get a dog once the fence is fixed” and I went looking for a puppy. I knew breeders (Proper Breeders) want a contract signed in blood and for this breed, waiting lists that span years. I had a bad experience with one some years ago. (Yes, Giant Puppy is very well researched). But you can buy puppies online. It’s a thing. I found one. She’s Leonberger crossed with 20% Newfoundland (which is a little irrelevant, since Leos are part Newf anyway). In CANADA.
To make a long story short, just opening the conversation turned into, ‘well, I have a shipment of puppies coming through on Monday” and I’ll have the pup here Thursday/Friday. (The end of the journey will be by car). YIKES. Big changes.
A puppy will, of necessity, help me become more childlike… I’m super stoked, but DANG. Apparently to learn to receive, I need a board upside the back of my head.
Anyway. Puppy. 😀
No one. Absolutely No One. No one likes to be pruned.
No American wants to go into a dormant period, quieted down and put into Winter slumber. We are all supposed to be go-go-go, grow-grow-grow, nonstop. Even when we have a “quiet time” we’re supposed to make best use of every second, eyes on the prize.
But trees must be pruned. https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/tree-care/best-time-trim-prune-trees/ Trees that are not pruned are trees that end up diseased, with weak limbs, poor fruitbearing, and prone to snapping in high winds.
Note that pruning is what is done to *fruitbearing* branches, not failing branches. Those are taken away. No, pruning is a .. reward? Not really. But it is a thing done to healthy branches. To those that bear, to bear more, they are pulled back.
In nature…. errr… in horticulture, one also prunes back vines and brambles most strongly before a bad winter. Your prize rosebush is trimmed carefully, watered well, and then covered with a very large pile of mulch (perhaps even wrapped in burlap) to withstand winter’s whims.
I’m watching myself being pruned and my branches brought in and THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT. What I want is a life of significance, where I can use the myriad gifts I have been *given* in the Lord’s service. I want a direction, work to sink my teeth and my soul into, I want to make a difference. I do *not* want to rest.
But I am tired…….. and the storm is about to break…… and it is time to be turned inward, homeward, ever-more-Christward. As I struggle, I am being turned to face inside the walls of my home, inside the walls of my garden. It is time to rest. Time to listen to the Spirit, time to sink my roots even further down than I had ever imagined.
I can daydream of the bright days of Spring ahead, and hear the Word that someday, all that has been taken will be replaced, with interest, and that those dreams will be fulfilled in ways that I can, today, not even imagine – but for now, those are just whispers for tomorrow. For now, my work is in roots and in rest.
Pretty much everyone will tell you that things are about to get awful. There’s a storm brewing. It’s been brewing for decades. All kinds of ugly are about to start raining down – you thought the rest of this year was bad? Ha. And *everyone* will tell you the same thing. Folks that prophecy, folks that predict via charts and graphs, folks that taste the wind and shake their heads… all the same. Rain’s comin’.
Y’all know that.
It’s time to talk about how we head into this mess. I’m having trouble, folks. I know it’s a storm, but it’s a big ‘un. Yes. The waters will recede, and we will have “the other side”, but that other side might look as strange to us as the new world looked to Noah after the flood. I play at “disrupting the dominant paradigm” but DUDE. This is real. I’m a planner, a dreamer, a focuser. Kaboom, babes. All of that is buh-bye. And no, I’m not coping all that well.
I don’t know what the storm will look like, only that it’s going to rain. No one knows what it’s going to look like.
I tell myself to stop flinching at the little crashes of lightning that are starting. I mean, I already know that my governor is a lunatic. Masking between bites is his latest. What? I … what? But I spend too much time and energy reacting to the crazy. It’s got my nerves in a tizzy. Even when I only let my flinches last for a second, all of that gets me out of my true focus, which needs to be Jesus.
A year ago, pretty much every time I opened my Bible to sit and listen, I got the same passage, and as I type this, that passage comes to mind once again:
Matthew 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
Yes. There’s a storm. But we are protected, so long as our eyes are upon Jesus. That doesn’t mean we won’t be frightened. The disciples were frightened. But that’s when we look at the storm. Peter sank when he looked at the waves. But he walked on water when his eyes were on Jesus.
I know what to do. But how do I do this thing? How do I tune out the world, the news, the socials, the friends, the family…. ALL of it, and only concentrate on God? I’m not a mystic, hiding on a mountaintop… I’m a mom. A wife. An employee. Responsible to run my house and my kids and keep up with the folly of my local government so I don’t try to drive down this week’s repaving project…. I can’t close my eyes and make it all go away. Would that I could. How do I learn to live undistracted?
It’s going to be … well, no, it’s not going to be “okay”. It’s going to be something different. Raised with unicorns, the first pegasus is born.
As the storm washes through our lives and our land, how will we all be changed?