It has been a week. A good one ranging from gardening to answering bazillions of questions from little people who want to learn all about life and how it works.
We’ve gone to the park with little friends one day and out for ice cream. Tonight is a birthday bash for the hubs with his favorite meal of homemade pretzel rolls and grilled burgers. This morning I took my favorite little lady out for breakfast to celebrate her big accomplishment of completing first grade well. Meanwhile treasuring baby giggles and sibling fun, watching the sun set, and not to mention the normal dishes, laundry, and cooking that goes with daily life.
Gah. It’s good. The end of the week is almost here and I’m tired. But it’s a good kind of tired. I’ve been challenging myself to ‘stay present’ more lately and while it definitely takes more emotional energy, it’s been so rich. It’s easy to stay glibly present in good moments, but the hard ones? Those are the ones I have tended to run from.
Hiding comes in many forms for me in those running moments. A big one was/has been screen time. And that’s a truly good and perfectly awful breeding ground for discontentment and self-pity to escalate. No good thing comes from comparing my “awful” or “boring,” or “whatever” life that I’m trying to escape at the moment to someone else’s more glamorous, put-together world. My success and worth as an individual, a wife, and a mom should never be measured by another’s life or calling or online picture-perfect world. Yet that’s exactly what I’ve done so many times. My only success is when I can switch from comparison/perfection mode and aim for one mark—pleasing God. That sounds amazing, right? But if I’m going to truly live that way, it’s not as glamorous and easy and amazing as it sounds. It takes constant choices to stay present in EACH moment and respond in God-mode instead of me-mode. I’m learning. But it’s been slow and painful at best because it involves death to me and my fleshly reactions over and over again.
I don’t know about you, but I do know that for me I’ve gone out kicking and screaming far too many times instead of choosing to ‘die nicely.’ I want greatness. But what if greatness is choosing presence over escape, peace over panic, love over fear? If I’m going to choose the first on each of those there’s one thing that needs to be surrendered—me. A thousand times over if need be. I want the Holy Spirit, but He can’t rest where there isn’t first a surrendering to Him. When I choose Him first over me, then greatness is simple.
So, this week there were some crazy hard moments and some crazy good ones. Somehow embracing the hard and staying present in those moments has opened up my heart in a much fuller way to the joy in EACH moment. I cry more, but I also I laugh at and with the kids much more when I’m present. I can sit and enjoy silence with my not-as-talkative man more. There’s a grace and overwhelming joy that comes and surrounds me in each moment and catches me by surprise. At the end of the day, it’s worth it.
We’ve been working at gardening and planting seeds lately, talking about how we get what we plant. One day at lunch as we were eating multigrain chips, Johannes seriously asked ‘So Mom, if I plant this seed will it grow a chip plant? Or a chip tree?’ I took a few quiet moments trying to control the giggle inside me that wanted to come out before I could answer his question. The same child has been out digging a hole in the garden this week ‘to see how far down the dirt goes, Mom.’ My girl has been voluntarily pouring over her Bible which was part of her end of the school year gift. Just devouring it! Asking me how to pronounce words like I-c-h-a-b-o-d and where to find things. These little moments are ones I miss if I’m buried in comparison games or wanting someone else’s life.
I have my best life right here! Right now. In this moment. This is greatness. Dying to me. Sowing more seeds. Trusting Father to watch over and grow them. Fullness of joy. Fullness of Spirit.
June 15, 2021
by Vera Smoker
Hi there! I am Vera, blessed wife of one and mom to three wonderful little people who make my world go round. I am an unashamed lover of Jesus, passionate about authentic relationships rooted within the identity that comes first from my relationship with Him. I’m a lover of good books, fat journals, sunsets and sunrises, long quiet country walks, and time with my family around campfires or on our front porch. Growth and mentorship are high on the list of values for me and I always thrill when I get to celebrate the wonderful journey of growth and discovery with others. The Hubs and I both love hosting so come relax with us sometime and we will chat the time away and connect over a good cup of coffee or chai!
God Made All of Me Matching Games
This set includes 16 matching games each featuring 4 vibrant real-life images with life-giving identity statements. As children place each matching card on the corresponding photo, they are speaking out words of truth and life over themselves. For non-verbal children, allow them to match the card as you speak the words over them. This fun and interactive set is perfect for engaging your little ones as they use their brain and their spirit to learn, grow and love life!
In the past, and sometimes still, I can find it difficult to slow down the intake and focus on being established instead of frantically going for more. I’m learning that it’s okay to give myself permission to listen to the same message or read the same chapter over and over again; to learn and re-learn a new habit; to move in peace and let the message or lesson sink deeply into my spirit.
I haven’t always done well with living in touch with the desires inside of me. I haven’t always seen or treated them as gifts. But God is teaching me the beauty of them. The more I learn to lean into and trust the Holy Spirit, the more He’s teaching me the joy and the graceful art of embracing those desires while simultaneously releasing them and going quietly on with what is ‘today’.
I used to think the only things of worth were the big things ‘out there.’ It was difficult, actually, almost impossible for me to find fulfillment and satisfaction in doing the everyday stuff. Now you moms out there realize that so much of mom life is made up of exactly this—normal everyday ordinary stuff. And when I became a mom at 34, I wasn’t prepared for all it would show me. It showed me I hated the normal hidden everyday stuff. It showed me I’d never learned to thrive well in the everyday gears that are so important in the foundation before going out in the bigger world for all the bigger things.