Time At Home

I recently spent a full Saturday morning grocery shopping and cooking all the meat we would eat that week. I love taking care of business and being productive at home. I bought 10 pounds of chicken breasts and cooked all of them for quesadillas, stir fry, and soup; I also bought 7 pounds of bananas to peel and freeze for smoothies. I had to clean out our freezer to store the bananas, and ran across some meat that had been gifted to us a questionable amount of years ago. Instead of pitching it in the trash, I decided to cook all of it to re-store for our cat.  At one point I had the smell of chicken, goat (another story), and bacon all cooking at the same time. I actually hate cooking meat, so somehow getting it all done at one time feels better than waiting and cooking it throughout the week.

As I was cooking (and feeling really good about my productivity) this nagging, nasty, little voice kept sneaking into my mind trying to tell me I was wasting time and being selfish–that somehow spending the entire morning in my own kitchen cooking for my family was selfish. I was reminded of how the devil will use anything to kill my joy; it may be something someone said or something I’ve read that’s burrowed deep into my soul creating doubt.

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between conviction from the Lord and lies from the devil. However, Jesus told us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Life becomes complicated when we forget what and who we should be focusing on. The bible says in Proverbs, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.  Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27)

When we’re distracted from our work set before us each day, whether the distraction is good or bad, we’re not living with joy or accepting the abundance that the Lord is offering to us. My particular purpose that morning was to cook food for my family, and even the simplest chore can be done with purpose when we do it out of love.

Another translation of the bible says “give careful thought to the path” instead of “ponder the path”. When we’ve given careful thought and prayer to the path we’re on and know it’s where we’re meant to be, we can fight the doubts when they come along. It’s so easy to become dissatisfied with the path the Lord has placed us on and the blessings he has given us when we look to the left or the right away from God for our guidance. Why is it so easy to doubt and criticize ourselves? Whether we’re spending our entire days at home changing diapers and wiping noses, waking early to go to work, or living as missionaries in another country, we are on a path that has been set before us, and we can walk with confidence if we keep looking directly forward, doing our work for the Lord.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Hymns


 

“Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:19-20

I love traditions, and the older I get, the more I appreciate them. I started writing out some of my favorite old hymns to sing to my babies and kids as they were falling asleep a few years ago, and I often grab my list of songs, including these hymns, to remember the lyrics when I’m singing kids to sleep. I feel like the hymns double as peaceful songs to help them fall asleep and deep truths for them to think about. Do you appreciate hymns or introducing traditions to your kids? I’m linking some here; let me know if you have any other favorites!

And Can it be That I Should Gain

As the Deer

Be Thou My Vision

Come Thou Almighty King

Come Thou Fount

Fairest Lord Jesus

For The Beauty of the Earth

How Great Thou Art

Just as I am

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him!

This is My Father’s World

Thy Mercy My God

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Genesis 8:22

“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

I find comfort in the stability of the seasons and in God’s promise of their steadiness. There will always be a time of growth and life, no matter how dark or dead things seem now.
“He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they give drink to every beast of the field…You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate… He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord!” {Psalm 104}

《Summer and winter,

Springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness,

To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.》

Proverbs 4:25


I took the kids for a walk today and I cannot count the amount of times I had to say “stay on the path.” If I wasn’t saying stay on the path, I was climbing into the thorny brush to pull Sam back on the path. It was a good reminder to me of how much patience and grace God must have for us, watching us make our own decisions– often leaving the path– yet steadily reminding us the path is the best way. While some trouble can meet us on the path, the path ensures we avoid so many avoidable dangers and troubles. And then, in the same way my love for Sam never changed no matter how many times I had to climb into thorns to get him, God’s love remains, even when we turn off the path of living for Him.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:25

Living a Quiet Life

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…”

1 Thessalonians 4:11

The afternoon rain is pattering on for the third day in a row, creating a hazy dome of wonder that makes the world feel smaller and the woods out our windows greener.  I have a beautiful image in my mind of the pattering of raindrops being heard through a screen door, the smell of earth and water wafting in with warm breezes.  A flickering candle glows brighter as the clouds grow thick, and the dark mood of the mid-day storm is lightened by the lilting jazz music coming from inside, meeting the summer rain at the screen door and creating a beautiful symphony to etch into the memory in my mind forever.

So distinct is this image, its like a memory I can’t remember until I experience it again and it all just seems so familiar, it must have happened before.  It must be a memory from my childhood; from a time when I was so young only the feelings and senses remain, because with every rain, I wish for a screen door, and at every chance I attempt to recreate it.  It’s so simple; so specific.  Yet, aren’t these the things that make us feel full?  These simple memories that draw upon our senses; the ones that create an entire portrait and experience that requires our full engagement and gives every part of our being something to dwell on?

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…” Oh, how I long to live a quiet life, and yet oh, how my mind wants to wander to places it has no business being.  In this moment I wonder, what can compare?  To the sound of the birds and the crickets timing their melodies between the light rolls of thunder.  To the thickness of the summer air being swept away with faint hints of an autumnal breeze.  To the single crow reminding us of the season to come.  To the beauty of the greens so variant, and the leaves holding on tightly as they softly rustle and sway from the weight of the raindrops, thankful to be taking in the warm water.  This is the place my mind will rest.  This is the moment I will seek to dwell on as the world fights and begs for my attention.  It is here that my energy is released into the freeing sway of the trees, and I am free to feel and smell and soak in the glorious creation surrounding me.  My God my creator has set before me the path I’m meant to live and to be; who am I to look to the left or to the right for more, for different, to compare, or to judge.  My health depends on this quieting of the stress and anxiety and need to control.  As the beauty of this moment in quiet solitude holds firmly in my mind, I will return to my daily business of working with my hands, and working to love those set before me on my path.