Last Friday, I was inspired to do something we haven't done in quite awhile. I set aside my plans for the day, loaded the kids into the car, and paid a visit to a little nature preserve not two minutes from our house.
It couldn't have been a more perfect afternoon for a nature walk - warm and sunny with a nice cool breeze...and let me tell you, it was just the thing we needed.
We thoroughly enjoy all of the wildlife we've discovered right in our backyard...but there is just something therapeutic about being out in nature that has been left untouched. Uncultivated. Where the terrain still bears the original thoughts and designs of the Artist Who created it.
It clears the mind. Speaks to the heart. Nourishes the soul.
It really wasn't on my agenda to do this, last Friday. In fact, I started out our morning with an ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish before the weekend - lots of cleaning, several projects that needed to be finished, menu planning.....nothing out of the ordinary. Mostly things that need to be done.
These incredibly colorful Tiger Beetles were busy hopping all over the foot paths. I was lucky enough to sneak up on this one, and snap a picture before he jumped away again! Little Monkey, General and Rose had a lot of fun chasing them....
But sometimes, when the smiles and bright eyes begin to grow a little dull....when the conversation stops and the bickering begins....when little hearts begin to close up just a wee bit and grumpiness and frustration take over....
Mama knows it is time to slow down a bit. To DEschedule our days. Say no to some things - whether those things are activities outside our home, projects at home....or even just my own never-ending list of plans and ideas.
It's time to tie a few heart-strings.
|....but Peanut wasn't so sure he liked having these guys hopping around his feet. :)|
"The world is so full of a number of things, I think we should all be as happy as kings."
~ R.L. Stevenson
I learned this little poem as a girl - and it has always been one of my favorites! And these words could not be any truer for this little family of mine. There is no end to the number of wonderful activities and pursuits "out there" to keep my children's - and my! - hands and minds busy. Enough for a lifetime!
BUT. As it is with everything in this world. Too much of even the good things....really isn't such a good thing.
This was my view for most of the afternoon....and I really couldn't get enough pics of them all walking together. :)
|There was a brand new pavilion right at the top of a little hill - we will have to put this to good use in the future, and bring our lunches!|
A few months ago, on one of those unusually warm - and beautiful - Sunday afternoons, that we had in the very beginning of this Spring. Chris & I had some time to just sit outside and talk for awhile, as the little ones were napping after church...and we ended up having what I like to think of as a "milestone" conversation. You know, the kind that happen every once in awhile, and that you just "know" isn't an accident - you can sense God's hand in it. A defining moment, I guess.
That afternoon, we ended up defining a little vision of what we believe our home needs to be, in this new season of family life that we're entering into. It was something that brought me peace and clarity. A specific direction for me to focus all my homemaking, homeschooling and mothering efforts - everything working together with my husband's goals for his family.
And our aim is this - very simply, a joyful home.
One that has order and rhythm - a predictable flow of mealtimes and sleep times. Times of work and times of play. Times of prayer. Times of fellowship.
One that has balance - where each necessary aspect of our family life is thoughtfully grown - or pruned - to fit the amount of time and energy we are able to devote to it....and without it taking away from any other necessary thing.
And one that has relationship - laughter. Conversation. Strings being tied between hearts. Love for God being taught in the midst of daily life.
It's a simple goal.....but a lofty one, too!
As I watched my children run & explore with delight on the prairie, last Friday, I said a little prayer for strength and for grace. And mercy.
Because this "simple" little task seems to take all of my time, energy and strength to make it happen!
And then consolation was Graciously given, as clear and bright as the blue prairie sky.
What is it that will make my home peaceful and joyful?
It is time. Unscripted, unscheduled, unallocated.
Saying no to too many things, whatever they may be. Activities, outings, projects....even things done at home can be too much.
Remembering that my number one priority as a Mama (and wife), everyday, is nurturing souls.
~ :: ~
And......just as Jesus promised....His yoke is, indeed, easy and His burden is light:
All I have to do to make this happen, is -
~ :: ~
Because time is short.
And it can't be created.
But it can be...redeemed.
"There were endless demands on Jesus' time....Yet, He took time to rest, withdrawing to the hills to pray alone... Still He was able to make that amazing claim, 'I have finished the work You gave me to do.' This was not the same as saying He had finished everything He could possibly think of to do or that He had done everything others had asked. He made no claim to have done what He wanted to do. The claim was that He had done what he had been given.
This is an important clue for us. The work of God is appointed. What was given to the Son to do was the will of the Father. What is given to us to do is also His will.
"There is always enough time to do the will of God. For that we can never say, 'I don't have time.' When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and 'hassled,' it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God's."
~ from, Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot
The past couple weeks, I've been reading another book by Elisabeth Elliot - The Shaping of a Christian Family. Her words have always been a source of blessing and encouragement to me! I thought I'd leave you, today, with a quote that brought peace to my heart...maybe it will bless you, too. :)
"God knows the feelings of discouragement, inadequacy, and failure which conscientious parents feel. But it was His idea to make them parents and to give them this particular set of children. He knew they would not do a perfect job. He is Father to the parents, and promises every kind of help they need. He stands beside them in every situation, ready to give wisdom as needed and grace to help in time of need if only they will turn to Him and ask for it. He teaches them (see 1 Cor. 13) how to love these children:
Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never gives up.
.....It is a supernatural love. It is beyond our powers to love in this way, but it is not beyond His." (excerpt from page 146)
Isn't it comforting to know that God is right there - ready to give us the strength and the grace to finish this work He has given us to do?
|The true mark of a successful outing....one big, hearty yawn. Mission completed.|
Sharing a Mama's heart, today. :)
Wishing you a beautiful, peaceful and joy-filled Wednesday!
Maybe you will find a few minutes in your day to slow down a bit...and tie a few strings, too!