Like A Tree #Write31Days Day 17

Have you ever stopped to think about the growth of a tree? Through bitter cold, blistering heat, blustery wind, beating rain, and blazing sun. Through good years of plenteous rains and lean years of drought. From tiny and tender seedling, to soft and supple sapling, to young and vigorous greenwood, to old and sturdy hardwood. A tree withstands so much. Though its bark and wood may show scars from wounds or disease, with its roots running deep and branches ever reaching toward the sun, a strong tree can heal and thrive. Its branches spread. Its leaves give shade. It brings forth flowers for beauty. It bears fruit, nut and seed to give food to the living creatures in its shade. Its strong limbs offer shelter to nesting birds and squirrels tending their young.

How apt is the comparison in Psalm 1 of a righteous man with a healthy, well-watered tree! I, too, want to grow like a strong, fruitful tree—withstanding every trial, always reaching deep for the water of the Word, ever lifting my gaze to reach toward the Son, and tirelessly spreading my arms wide to bless all those within my reach.

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days

Just Try #Write31Days Day 14

Another very late posting of a #Write31Days assignment. Even though I wrote it a few days ago, I still wanted to post this one and let y’all know I am still trying to keep up! My husband had last week off work, so I sort of took the week off from my normal routine, as well, and we had some good family time. But I didn’t do much writing as a result! Here’s to a new week and new possibilities!

“I can’t!” he wailed as his bike rolled to a stop, then drifted slowly back downhill into the waiting bumper—my foot. “Yes, you can, if you will just set your mind to it and try!”

This was the conversation we had several times last week while biking at the hilly campground where our family was staying for a few days. I wish I could say we were gently encouraging the whole time, but after hearing the mantra “I can’t!” whined in our ears a few hundred times, my husband and I definitely lost our cool more than once!

Thankfully, God doesn’t lose it with me when I grumble and complain, drag my feet and wimp out when I feel inadequate and decide “I can’t” do what’s i know He is calling me to do. Instead He is gracious, gentle, and patient beyond compare. He just picks me up, dusts me off and gives me another chance, saying “Try again, love. I know it’s hard for you, but I’m right here, and I won’t let you fall. Just try.”

And when I do, I find Him faithful, every time.

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days

Loosening My Grip, #Write31Days Day 7

  1. I never knew I had control issues until I became a parent. Up until that point, I had a pretty tight hold on my schedule and daily routines…when I slept and for how long, when I ate and what I did on the weekends. I was in control of the little details on my life, or so I thought. I planned out my days for smooth sailing, and other than little speed bumps in marriage or finances, things were pretty peaceful.

Enter those predictably unpredictable, dependent and demanding creatures better known as children…and not just any children, but infants! Infants who cried and begged to be fed or changed at the most inconvenient times… Infants who never slept at night but could fall asleep in the car five minutes from home, thereby rendering any attempts at getting them to nap again completely useless… Infants who could cry inconsolably about seemingly nothing, leaving me feeling completely helpless and, yes, out of control. No more nice, neat little weekend plans, no more quiet adult conversation over dinner, and certainly, no more sleeping 8 solid hours in a given night!

My 5 minutes are up, but I have so much more to say on this topic of control and parenting. So let’s just run with it….

You see, these little upsets in my daily routine were just the beginning. Now I have bigger kids who have more independence and responsibility, more room to make their own choices and their own mistakes. I can’t control their choices or their behavior any more than I could control whether or not they had a good night of sleep. Yes, I can guide them and teach them and give them consequences when they disobey or disrespect me. But I don’t control the outcome of these efforts. As much as I would like a neat little plan that says, “Do this and this and that, and your children will turn out to be model Christian citizens,” there is no such formula.

In fact, I am learning that the tighter I try to hold onto my expectations for the perfect day and try to control my children’s behavior, the more chaos and conflict ensue. Instead of trying to wrestle peace and joy into my days by tightening my grasp, I am finding that I must hold all things loosely and let God be the guide. I must release hold of my expectation and selfish desires so that He can fill my hands with His plans for me. And I must let go of the tight hold I want to keep on my children, handing them over to His care because He knows far better than I do how to mold and shape their hearts for His glory. It is a slow, difficult lesson for me, but I am beginning to learn to loosen my hold on control and let God give me what I really need—more of His grace.

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days

Trusting the Author: #Write31Days Day 6

I have have been keeping up with the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes, but not all of them have been worthy of posting for various reasons. I am also writing them all out long hand, which means they are all pretty short. I could probably type faster and write more. But I feel like it is a good exercise for me to have to be very concise since my time is so limited. This post is from yesterday’s prompt, but I only got around to doing it today. We will see if I get any better at staying on schedule next week! 

When I read this prompt, Francesca Battistelli’s song “Write Your Story” immediately came to mind. But then quickly following that thought came the question, “What if I don’t like the plot twists in this story He is writing, this story of my life?” Truth be told, I sometimes have a hard time accepting my role in this story. So how can I learn to accept His plans and trust that it fits into His greater anthology of human history and eternal destiny? It doesn’t do me any good to fight it. He is the Author, after all. I only make myself (and everyone around me) miserable when I try to fight against Him.

I must remember that the Author loves me. He takes delight in me. He is for me. He even says He “works for the good of this who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV) I know He has called me to be used by Him, so I believe He can use even the hard, broken parts of my story, not just the easy, lovely ones, for His purposes. All I have to do is surrender to Him and let Him write the healing, too.

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days

This post is also part of the Five Minute Friday Link-up

How Can We Tell Them? #Write31Days Day 2

Yesterday my son wondered why there was a police officer on duty at the church we attended. Today he overheard a video on Instagram referring to the tragedy in Las Vegas last night. On both occasions I had to tell my son that there are some bad people doing bad things in our world today. We are not even safe at church, perhaps less so, actually. It is so hard to have these conversations with my children. I want to shield them from the hard, scary realities of these times in which we live. But they need to know the truth.

Even more, they need to know the truth that we can still trust God to take care of us, that we can have hope in Him. They need me to tell them the stories of faithful ones gone before us who stood firm in their faith amidst trials. They need me to tell them about the God who parted the Red Sea, who stopped the sun, who raised the dead to life. They need me to tell them about the hope we have in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Because when hard times come, when evil seems to be winning, that hope is all they will have. And then they can in turn, tell others about that Hope as well.

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days.

In Spirit and In Truth: #Write31Days Challenge Day 1

I have been thinking a lot lately about the different ways people worship within the Christian faith. Since moving, and even before that, within the broader Christian homeschool community, I have come into contact with more people who practice their faith very differently than I do mine. Orthodox, Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Lutherans, etc., etc., all having traditions, practices and rituals that differ widely from each other as well as from my own Baptistic practices. Yet we all worship the same Savior. We all believe basically one common thing at the end of the day: that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. How we worship is different, but WHO we worship….

HE is the same.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.  (John 4:23-24, ESV)

This post is part of the annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge, part of the Write 31 Days challenge with prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Find all my other challenge posts under the tag #Write31Days.

Feeling A Little Rusty

Creeeeeeak! Oh, sorry, that’s just the sound of my rusty brain and typing fingers trying to get warmed up. It has been far longer than I planned to be away from the blog, and I feel a bit out of my element as I try to start writing again. For starters, I guess a little update on our current situation may be in order.

Our little family completed our move successfully a couple of weeks back, thanks to help from a few friends, new and old. We feel pretty well settled in to our rental house now, and it is so nice not to be driving back and forth between states every week. However, we have yet for our old house to sell, so that still weighs on our minds and our bank account. But we know the Lord will provide and get it sol for us, all in His timing. For now, we are happy to be in Tennessee and to be together as a family.

Homeschooling is going along well again, and we are finding a new normal and new routines that work in our new house. Now I hope I can begin to add more normal activities back into my daily rhythm, not the least of which is getting back to blogging. Happily, I have a little external motivation to write more since I found the Five Minute Friday community. And it just so happens that there is a Write 31 Days challenge starting on October 1! I love the idea of kick-starting my writing with a daily free write challenge. Some of the free writes may show up on the blog, and others probably won’t. My main goal is just to have a time every day where I set the timer and use the prompt to write something, anything, for 5 minutes. I can hardly wait to see how this challenge impacts my writing!

If you want to follow along and find all my Write 31 Days posts, just click the Write31Days tag at the bottom of this page/post. I also plan to participate in Five Minute Friday posting as much as possible, so you can find those posts tagged FiveMinuteFriday.

If you are visiting Tuning Hearts from the Five Minute Friday community, won’t you let me know in the comments? I look forward to hearing from you!