Monday, August 4, 2014

A Time and a Season

Hello fellow gardeners!

So I have been asked, "Jen, how do you do it all?" This always leaves me speechless b/c I am far from doing the bare minimum let alone doing it all! In fact, if we go several days without rain in the growing season, you will see the results in my messy home. Rain is about the only thing that will keep me indoors to get some housework done. I pray for rain, not only for my garden, but for my family's well-being!

I take rainy days as the opportunity to make a dent in housework. Notice I didn't say catch-up on housework. I am never caught up. Seriously. I am a terrible housekeeper! I could tell you about all sorts of psychology here, but suffice it to say, I like progress, not repetition. The progression of my garden thrills me! From a teeny seed that pops a bit of green out of the soil. Those tiny leaves growing into a plant. That plant producing fruit. Me eating that fruit. Then cultivating that plant back into the soil or compost to feed next year's crop. The variables of weather, types of plants, methods of gardening, crop rotation, succession planting... It just keeps changing!

But a messy house is, well, a messy house. Laundry gets washed, dried, folded, and put away the same every week. Dust doesn't change. Bathrooms and floors need scrubbed just the same. Beds get slept in every night. Dishes keep rolling through. Things get dirty as fast (or faster) as I can clean them. I really dislike treadmills.

With that said, I consider it my personal duty to do all that for my family, but more importantly, for my Lord. I signed up for this! As a believer, I am called to be a good steward of what the Lord has provided. " I try to see the pile of dirty dishes as a blessing that we are eating well, the pile of dirty clothes a sign that we are well-clothed, the unmade beds a sign of security, and the general dirt a sign of an active, healthy family. Granted, I don't see myself ever winning an award from Good Housekeeping, but I do the best I can. The Lord knows where my heart is. On days where I am feeling particularly begrudging about it, I pray for Him to change my heart. He is bigger than my feelings! Then I do get a quiet satisfaction in caring for my family in this way. But I still have times where the flesh wins out and I throw a temper tantrum the whole time!

So if you are sitting there with a crying toddler at your feet, a nursing baby in your arms, a preschooler dirtying up the one thing you got cleaned today, and a hungry husband rolling in to see if the dinner you haven't even started is ready yet wondering how in the world you are supposed to start a garden, know this:

First, the Lord sees you and your exhaustion. He gives us more than we can handle so that we will lean on Him and not our own strength. If life was easy all the time would we really seek Him? "...We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 (Don't believe the "God won't give you more than you can handle" bit. It's not in scripture and you can see it says just the opposite in 2 Corinthians.)

Second, there is a time and season for everything.
"There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
I went to a presentation on backyard chickens in the spring, and while it fueled my desire for them and confirmed to me that I was ready for this, my friend decided this wasn't the right year for her to start this. I applaud that decision! You have to be prudent in your decisions, not just follow the crowd. "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." Proverbs 14:8

Third, we are all called to different things and blessed with different gifts. "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. I have a passion for gardening, absolutely thrive with it! I can spend all day out there without even realizing it. I honestly have to set a timer so I know when to stop and go on to the next thing on my agenda. So it is easy for me to "find" the time for this because I love it so much.

Fourth, we all have different resources. I tend to do things that are more labor and time intensive to save money. I use what I have available and scrounge for parts and tools.

Fifth, I try to combine tasks if I can. I will fold laundry outside while my kids play. I'll listen to a bible study while I wash dishes. I teach my kids different tasks they can help me with in the garden to keep them busy while I do something else. I give the kids age appropriate chores and even challenge them with one or two that may not quite be in their grasp. Not to the point of discouragement, but a goal for them to work towards and the satisfaction they gain when they master it. In our house we work together as a family and all pitch in. Even my toddler has chores!

Sixth, some days are just a matter of surviving: I'm sick, the kids are cranky, hubby's working late, dinner burns, emergencies rise, hormones are running rampant, the A/C breaks in 100 degree weather...whatever your level of crisis may be. It's ok to have days where you feel successful just because everyone is alive and accounted for. However, if this becomes your life day after day after day, it may be time to reset your priorities and/or get some outside help. Follow the Lord no matter what. He will guide you. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6. Never lose hope. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed....Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, 16-18. Though my house may be dirty, my soul is fed.

I hope this has offered a word of hope to someone in need of it. I know I certainly need it on a regular basis. I started this post in the spring and now, being in a very tough season of life at the moment, these words I had written on a spiritual high helped to lift me up in my spiritual low. I know now why I didn't get it finished a few months ago.

I pray Spiritual Joy to you my friends!

Jen Hen


  1. Hi there,

    Thanks for stopping by Kitchen Serf last week.
    Your comments about housework made me laugh. I try not to too stressed about getting everything done because it will never be all done!
    But, it isn't gardening wonderful? It's such a great stress reliever and a miracle to see vegetables where there once were seeds. Keep visiting when you need a housework break!

    1. Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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