The last several days have brought anxiousness and fear for the unknown as our family reached a day that would need immense prayer. In each moment of unrest I have tried to release and give these thoughts to the Lord. I know that he will carry them for me as I need.
When life is a whirlwind and we have fear for the future that fear will consume you. That is what I was feeling. I was feeling unrest, worry and anxiousness. Difficulty sleeping and lack of focus. Last night I prayed and read in my devotional before putting myself to bed at 8:00. The first five hours of sleep were solid, followed by three of tossing and turning.
Little did I know that when my alarm would go off at 4:45 I would have a calming sense of peace wash over me. No fear for the day or what was ahead in it. I knew that God had today in his hands. I recently read in a devotional that he gives us the exact amount of strength we need for each day. How fitting. How correct. The peace was and is part of his plan. He knew what I needed today. A true sign that even in what we think are our dark moments he is there to help carry the weight. He is always good and it is always well in him.
Tears stream down my face as I sit and write this in a coffee shop. I feel broken today, broken to the core. Counseling today was hard. Very hard. A time to sit and visit about the last month. The feeling that I am failing as a mom and wife and at my career. The feeling that I am surely messing my kids up to the core. Especially my first born. Putting my high expectations of myself onto her.
Each morning we run the mad race to get out of the house. Every morning I remind the kids ten times to put on their shoes. Three out of five days I am the last one out of the house because I just had to have a chai tea or a smoothie. When we are late on these days the blame goes to the kids does it not? Well in my life it does. It's funny because I say "You know if you would have put your boots on the first time I asked we wouldn't be late." The moment it comes out I know I'm blaming the wrong person. Really I shouldn't be blaming myself or the kids. This is our life and at times we are going to be tardy.
The reality, I am always to work by ten to eight. I can't remember the last time I walked through the door after eight unless it was scheduled. Why do we not give ourselves any grace? I give myself zero. The fear of disappointing others creeps in. The fear of not living up to someone's expectations takes over. Fear rules my life on a far to regular basis.
Fear of failure is ok. Failure itself is ok. Taking a leap and failing is ok. Failure is growth. If a goal or dream is realized to simply and with ease was it a God sized or Kingdom driven dream? Romans 5 tells us that grace will be obtained through suffering which I relate to failure:
"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:2-5 ESV
Shoot you guys, how much hope does that chunk of scripture give us? Even through trials, failure, and blaming others he is preparing us for more. He is pruning us and creating more God like character within us if we are willing to accept the challenge.
As I reflect on today I know I will be listening to this podcast on dreaming and this podcast on pruning for the umpteenth times. My prayer for you (and myself) will be that fear does not consume you but rather propels you to have God sized dreams. Through these dreams may he protect you while helping you grow.
Exhaustion has set in over the last week and I am beside myself. I don't know if it is the fact that harvest is starting or if I am truly exhausted. Each year at harvest I am reminded how hard single parenting is. How moods and expectations change from all parties. So tonight as I write this I am taking a deep breath and avoiding the mess that has ensued around me.
Over the last several months you have seen this little space on the internet evolve from a farm life blog to a blog about a farm wife leaning on God for help and guidance in all aspects of life. There is one part of the farm life blog that I miss, so I am bringing it back with a little revamp. The Tuesday Ten will be back but with different compiled lists on select Tuesdays. This week I am giving you all the feels, quite literally. I hope you enjoy.
1. Joy - This week I found joy in the eyes of my son as he expands his vocabulary and is starting to ask quite the questions. These questions are very different than the questions that our oldest daughter would have asked at that same age, but what a joyful experience to witness their differences.
2. Sorrow - Today the sudden passing of a business acquaintance brought sadness and deep sorrow. We are never given tomorrow so live today with God at the helm.
3. Hope - Finding hope in a clear conscious with the intent to leave my depression in the past.
4. Frustration - The past week has been filled with frustration as our oldest adjusts to school life. A new schedule and no nap has caused frustration in both of us as we navigate this new season.
5. Peace - I was reminded this week over and over again that He is always working with us and on us. A phase of pruning followed by a phase of growth or pruning and growth happening simultaneously. The peace this week has come from knowing that this season of depression is pruning me for growth in Him.
6. Fear - I am determined to not let fear get the best of me. My innate fear of failure has prevented me from taking certain steps. Each week I am challenging myself to put into action tasks that scare me. Actions that may fail, but nonetheless through these actions I will grow and learn.
7. Rest - Did you read my first paragraph? :) Practicing physical and mental rest, challenging myself to rest in the word daily AND to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
8. Grace - I need grace every week, but this week I am practicing the grace of wavering from my normal routine and schedule. I tend to focus on what has gone wrong in my morning routine rather than all of the good in it. Giving myself grace in the morning to sleep in a little later or throw my hair in a ponytail.
9. Patience - Each day is a new opportunity to practice patience. This week that means keeping my cool in reference to above #4.
10. Deliverance - Sharing hard truths with those you love will open new doors of love and light. A chance to deliver myself from hurting and pain.
Each week this ten could look different, but it will always be from the heart with the glory of God mixed in.
Seven years of love.
Today we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be as close as we are today. Never did I imagine that I could love someone like I love him. This love could have not grown this deep without disagreements, knowing when to say you're right and knowing when to not throw in the towel.
Marriage teaches you as much about yourself as it does about your spouse. There are blissful days but there are also days when I don't like my husband. I always love him but I don't always like him and that is ok. We are on a journey to know each other more fully every day. The love we share should grow with each passing day.
This past year has brought so much grace to our relationship. We are able to share our thoughts and feeling more openly and honestly. We are able to enjoy each others company like we haven't in the past. Yes, we still argue. In fact we did yesterday over where to go to brunch. Really, you can't make this stuff up.
One of the biggest blessings in the last year has been meeting with several couples from our church once a month. Having people on your side that are going through similar stages in life has been so helpful for us. This small group setting allows us to share struggles, sorrows and victories.
So today I am so thankful not only for the last seven years, but especially the last. Thankful that we get to do life together, even on the crappy days. Thankful that we can argue and learn from our mistakes. Marriage is hard. It isn't a walk in the park. Today I am thankful for you, Donald. The Godly man you are; loving me unconditionally even when you don't take me to the correct brunch spot. ;)
Messages have been popping up in front of me the last week or so. They seem to be tying back to the idea of deliverance. See that? The word of the year keeps following me around and showing up. Coincidence? Maybe a subtle reminder and a slight nudge on the shoulder that I have work to do.
For he will deliver you form the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
Breaking this verse down and delving into the meaning of each word opens my eyes more to the refuge that God is. A snare is a "trap for catching birds or animals" and a fowler is the person who sets the trap, who hunts for the birds. I would say that this is a pretty accurate description of what Satan is trying to do in our lives. He is setting traps for us to fall into, to see if we will take the bait. How are we responding when faced with a snare? Are we leaning on the Lord for knowledge and help or are we responding using our own knowledge. I know that in my life I have a tendency to respond quickly with words and actions. I give little time for listening or pondering my response. Each day I am faced with a snare and how I respond can change the trajectory of the day or my life!
Luckily when we place our life in God's hands he is willing to save us from the snares of Satan. He will heal us form the "fatal epidemic disease" that haunts our life. This pestilence or disease could be a laundry list of items: not attending church weekly, not letting God lead, a physical or mental ailment, lying, adultery, the list goes on. When we turn away from Satan and to God he will guide us away from this disease. We will be able to rejoice in the house of the Lord. We are assured several verses later that no evil should be allowed in when we are in his dwelling place.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place -
the Most High, who is my refuge - no evil shall be allowed to befall
you, no plague come near your tent.
What reassuring words we are given! He is a good Father! A saving Father! One who will protect us when we seek him and live out the life He has planned for us!
Today I am angry and frustrated. I don't know the real reason why, but part of me feels like people feel sorry for me. They feel sorry that I have to walk this difficult road. I would agree that it isn't rosy, it isn't a walk in the park, but guess what life isn't easy. I don't believe that when we are following Jesus and the promptings of the Holy Spirit that life will always be easy. The one thing I do know through all of this is that I find my rest in him. I have too. I have to give him the glory in it all. The good, the awesome and the downright cruddy.
As a sat reflecting on these tough feelings today I focused on verses from chapter three of Proverbs. Much of this chapter emphasizes trust in him. When we trust in him, our help will come from him.
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
When we take on the challenges in our every day are we taking the path that we want or are we taking the path that He wants? Are we taking the time to listen, observe and acknowledge the promptings that he is giving us? I know that I am very guilty of forging my own path at times. The reason that this path becomes more well traveled than I would like is due to me leaning on my own understanding.
When I relate this to my struggle with a mental illness I know that much of my sadness and darkness comes from my past when he wasn't number one in my life. When I strayed from the path. There were days before recommitting my life to Christ that were filled with bad decisions and heartache. This heartache has a different feel now that Christ is at the helm. In the song Shoulders by For King and Country the lyrics speak beautifully to the fact that he is here to help us when we let him help us.
"My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders"
For King and Country. Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. Warner/Chappel Music, Inc., 2014
As I wrap all of this together I know that I still have work to do. I still need to open my eyes and heart more fully to him. I know that I need to do a better job of recognizing his path over mine. I need to listen to his promptings. I need to continue to pray the Prayer of Jabez.
When it comes to mental health, let us cast our worries on him. Let us lean on his understanding. If you are on the outside and think that you know someone who is suffering don't second guess the promptings of the Holy Spirit when he sets a path before you. It might be hard to reach out to this individual, but open your heart. Pray for this person. Don't every be afraid to reach out to this individual through email, text message, phone, or a shared meal. This touchpoint could be a positive turning point for them.
My prayer for all of you is that we may listen to the promptings from the Holy Spirit and remember that we all have a path forged for us as long as we leave the understanding up to him. So don't feel sorry for me. Pray for healing of those who are hurting, listen to the prompts and share love.
Today was a BIG day. Today was a day that I made a commitment to myself to truly get better. To officially start kicking postpartum depression to the curb. By official I mean I am seeking help from a counselor. I've waited too long in this fog and I am ready for it to start to clear. I know that this isn't going to be easy. It most definitely won't be fun, but it will be worth it.
I can look to the Bible for reassurance. In the past week I have submersed myself in the bible like never before. Each day I am taking the time to open up this wonderful book and surround myself with the story of the King who gave so much for all of us. In the book of Psalms we see that we should give him our worry and our strife as he will always keep us afloat.
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalms 55:22 ESV
No one else has made a sacrifice like he did. Who else do you know that says "cast your burdens" on me? Our parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and counselors surely don't want to see us suffer and hopefully they are reaching out to help us on our journey, but they should not need to carry our pain, strife, fear, worry, etc. They will walk through the dark hours with us but we are not to cast these burdens on them. A counselor is someone who I can share my history with and in my case be counseled by in a Godly manner. I believe this is what HE would want for me. HE gave so much for us to give it all to him. When we are seeking help let us seek it from the one who can provide it to us. Again I look to Psalms for this reassurance:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes form the Lord, who made the heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2 ESV
I could repeat one part of that verse over and over. "My help comes forms he Lord..."
So I will leave you with this, a reminder to run to him.
God bless, Lisa
The season in our house right now is a tough one. Tough on so many fronts. I am learning that I need to lean in and give the glory to God (in every moment). That I am imperfectly made in his image. That he will help me through if I search for him in all moments of my life. I need to lean in when the moments are tough and murky AND when they are good and rich.
There have been more nights than I can count this summer when we have been unable to have supper as a whole family. In these moments the anger swells, the anxiety and shortness set it. Why or why can I not find grace in these moments? Why can I not fill my children with positive affirmations of their hard working dad? Why can I not lean on God and find the goodness here?
To be honest I think it is because I don't lean in and give him the glory in all areas of my life, in every moment. I fill these teachable moments with such angst and defeat. I go to anger and frustration towards my spouse and kids on matters which they have no control over. So today I choose joy and hope and leaning in. I choose giving him the glory in every single moment, tough and murky or rich and good.
Motherhood is hard and tricky. Sometimes its hard to navigate and sometimes you want to cry yourself to sleep in a locked closet where no munchkins can ask you “why” for the millionth time. But other times, most of the time motherhood is oh so rewarding. The title of mother is one that some have received through natural birth, adoption, hardships or unforeseen losses. The title of mother is one that will never leave you once you have heard that heartbeat on a fetal monitor or held a positive pregnancy test in your hands. God has chosen you to be a mother.
HE CHOSE YOU and don’t ever forget it.
Seriously overwhelmed by your responses to sharing my journey with postpartum depression. A sincere, THANK YOU! The biggest takeaway is that we are all surrounded by people who want to help us. Sometimes we just need to suck up our pride and accept it. I am a a first hand offender of saying no thanks. It is ok to be vulnerable. It is ok to let others know you are hurting. It is ok if others help. The people that are there to lift you up will not love you any less for you allowing them to share in your journey with them.
That being said I shared my word of the year with you all in January. Several months into 2018 I was handed a book. A small thin book with ninety three pages. Ninety. Three. Now I should have got through this book easily within a couple days, but it took me several weeks. I don’t know if that was because I was reading it before bed half asleep and I would have to reread the same pages over or if it was because I was taking my time to really soak it all in. I’m going to go with the latter ;) This short book has opened my eyes and heart to God’s journey for me even more and I believe has set me up for my path to deliverance. It also made me realize that it is ok to ask for help and it is surely ok to start prayer with a prayer for myself.
How often do you sit down to pray and you pray for everyone under the sun except yourself? Not anymore! Insert “The Prayer of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson. What a game changer?! If you have never heard of this book or prayer, don’t be alarmed. I didn’t know it existed. I am fairly new to picking up the bible and actually reading it. I have never read through the bible in its entirety. It’s a goal of mine, one day. Anyways back to my point, this prayer is hiding within 1 Chronicles. Now if you are familiar with the bible you know that this book lists out decedents and lineage. In chapter four we are introduced to the descendants of Judah. Specifically in verse ten of this chapter we meet Jabez and prayer that he prays:
Read it again. Ok just one more time. Powerful stuff huh? Now I don’t want to spoil the book for you so I will share how praying this prayer for the last several month has impacted me.
In April every year I attend a one day conference in the Twin Cities for women involved in agriculture. This is hands down my favorite conference. Huge takeaways at a heck of a price. Connections with others in the industry I love. So much goodness! Leading up to the conference I was asked to present at a roundtable session on crop insurance. I gladly accepted and prepared my short presentation.
Arriving at the conference I grabbed some breakfast and found my table, which was front row. I was totally excited about this and trying to keep my inner fan girl at ease. The opening general session was titled Executive Leadership. A group of four panelists shared their stories of moving to the top of their respective industries and excelling along the way.
As one of the panelists shared her journey her words mirrored something along these lines, “I would not be here today if God had not opened the doors he did.” Now you could take this in a couple different ways, but where it hit me was her willingness to act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit. When one prays the Prayer of Jabez we are asking for God to open doors for us. For him to expand our territories and share in the goodness that He only knows. To put our trust in him to jump when he says jump. To pray when he says pray. To listen when he says listen and to slow down when he says slow down.
One of the other panelists shared her journey to the top of a large regional bank. The day of her interview for the CEO position she needed a calming voice. She did what many women with a strong father figure in their life might do, she called her dad and asked “will you pray for me?” She never mentioned to him what she was doing other than going into a meeting. He prayed over her and several weeks later he asked her “how did your meeting go?”
Are we all this willing to ask for prayer and help? These two women that day, opened my eyes and cemented the importance of this prayer hidden in 1 Chronicles. In a room full of women they were not afraid to share the glory of God in their lives. That blew me away!
If you can hunt this book down I would highly recommend it. Even better once you read it share it with someone who is on their faith journey. I will be forever grateful to my coworker who took the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share this book with me; in a time when I need it most. Remember it is ok to pray for yourself, to accept help and to ask for help and healing. You have to love yourself first, so take the time to do so.
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!