Trouble: Will It Refine You? (Part 3)

Trouble: Will you let it refine you?

1 Peter 1:6-9 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

According to Scripture, pain has a purpose in our lives. Three years ago, while in the throng of a trial, it all made very little made sense. As I have now grown as a result of that pain, I see how it has benefitted myself in ways I could never have imagined. Continue reading

Do you ask for Help?

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In my 4 years of adventuring through homeschool, I have had the notion that I must and should do it all. There are articles explaining how one can accomplish everything. Magazines that show the ideal homeschool day. Granted there are also quite a number of people who post about how they struggle, how difficult it is, or how they have days when they want to give up.

The response to most of those difficult times is usually, “Take a day off”. I’ve wondered, ‘How about the rest of the year?’ Yet, in all of my conversations with people, I express how great homeschooling is, how terrific it is to make your own choices for your child’s education. I rave about the curriculum, the freeing schedule, the time spent at home. To be honest, I love homeschooling. Despite the difficulties, I do enjoy it. Now this post is not just about homeschooling though. There is an underlying lesson I have learned, and am still learning, that I would like to share.

Many of us desire to portray our lives as complete. No one wants to look like the dishevelled mess we might actually be. I blame part of my own actions to time living among people who culturally practice “saving-face” so to speak. But when I dig deeper, to the heart of the issue, is this not a form of pride and self-righteousness that I am propagating? Although in some ways, people label specific cultures as “saving-face” cultures, don’t we all have that desire to show off our best sides? When I scroll through my social media and see what my friends post, it’s usually the best side, and so is mine. Now, I am not saying that in itself is bad. But it also may not be accurate, and in doing so, we might be trying to convince ourselves that things are rosy.

So, what if it isn’t all roses and sunshine? What if in actuality you are drowning? Overwhelmed, Broken, and depressed? Or just ready to throw in the towel?

I had a moment that hit me hard when I realized I was incapable of continuing on. It wasn’t nice, I was broken and felt desperate. I realized in particular that my current method of homeschooling was not working and we were getting behind, along with other frustrations arising. Now this took a turn that actually was a moment of peace and resolution. My problem here was that I was professing that I was entirely good yet inside I was drowning. Well, I eventually gave up and did the unthinkable, I cried out, “HELP!” Guess what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t all over when I fatally admitted that I was inadequate. In fact, it was just the needed words to break the cycle of defeat I was struggling in. Continue reading

How does your garden start?

I’m not an expert and I won’t pretend to be. I will say three years on trial and some major errors have taught me a bit about having a vegetable garden.

Now I love the flowers, they look pretty and smell nice, but I lean to the practical side. If I’m going to invest time, water, more water, and more water; Along with pesticide, sunburn, huge worms, and the occasional death of a little green thing; I’m wanting profit. By profit, I mean food, sustenance, something I can eat. So, I went leaping headlong into the garden world in very dry, I mean very dry climate. It’s beautiful, the endless hours of sunlight, the tall trees, and lovely when the plants grow. The key, the main thing, the big ticket, the most important thing, WATER. A bit emphatic I know, but it is unbelievably important.

So, here is my garden at it’s peak lest year.

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It was really nice. I watered every single day. Continue reading

Is it worth it?

Is it worth it? Is it worth the pain?
To go and give almost all for a cause, a dream,
Is it worth it?
To loose reputation and status?
To become a nobody in a nowhere place,
And to give up your values of self?
To be carrying thoughts, too heavy to express,
For years to come without an end,
Is it worth it?

To go to a new place, unfamiliar in every way,
To give up possessions, to give up health,
And throw away your savings and security,
Is it worth it?

Is it worth it to always have the faces in your mind,
The ones you may never see again, yet love?
Is it worth the scars inside,
When you can barely even find the words to express
The thoughts that flood your head and heart,
When you see a picture or hear a sound
That reminds you of what seems like another life?

The memories that flood uninvited.
They become invasive at the slightest reminder.
They take over at times.
Memories of hope, life, darkness, loss.
Full memories of friendship, rejection, love and indifference.
Is the pain worth the joy that comes?
Is there joy that does come?

The deeper the pain, the greater and richer the joy.
It is worth the scars to know the feeling of true healing.
The more intense the memory, the more fullness of life can be felt now.
I didn’t ask for this crushing feeling, the memory, the weight.
But I now welcome it.
No, not because I’m delighting in pain, but because I know the promises.
I know the hope, the relief when I remind myself that this is not my home.
I know the pain, yes, I am well acquainted with sadness.
It’s not mystery that other people too have felt the sorrow in goodbyes.
The sadness in loss, the grief in having to leave everything and everyone.
Yet there is a fellowship that is had by those who have felt the same.
I cannot know your cause for sorrow and rejoicing, I only know mine most.
Yet I know there is hope. Hope for a future, hope for eternity.
Hope that goes beyond what I can really dream.

Psalm 37:23-29 (NASB)
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.
Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever.
For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.”

Craving, Leaning, Growing.

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Craving, Leaning, Growing.

Those words in the title describe what I’ve seen my little sprouts doing this past week. I’ve been watching my basil seeds grow and I’ve been noticing some things about it that caused me to stop and wonder. Seeds need a certain type of environment and amount of nutrients to grow well and flourish. The three components that are most important for a seed are: the soil it’s planted in, the water that it’s given, and the sunlight it requires.

1 Peter 1:22-2:3 (NASB)
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grown in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” Continue reading