I have been embarking the past several months, beginning late last year, on a journey of intentional simplicity. It started when God took away a few ministries that I was in charge of, setting this course of earnestly pursuing what He has for our family. I understand that “took away” sounds harsh. But, honestly, that is what happened. In the span of less than a month, He closed the door on two active ministries and replaced me in another. How’s that for getting my attention?! And while it was not because I was making sinful choices, just to clarify, it was very much an about face in what I thought of my calling. After working through very real feelings of disappointment and confusion, I began asking God what He wanted me to do. He had my attention and I was ready…
Then came the answer. I was doing too much. I was planning too many events, scheduling too close together, and offering to lead too often. I had stopped listening and was charging ahead in my own strength. In order to get my attention, God shut me down. He took away what I liked, so that, I would be able to learn to love what He wanted to give me. Everything that I had been involved in was good. From the outside looking in, it would have seemed to be very godly and beneficial. From the inside looking out, it was not what God wanted me committed to.
Even very godly, beneficial ministry or activity can become disobedience if pursued beyond God’s direction.
God wanted me to clean my schedule off so He could clean my heart. In order to do this, He began opening my eyes to areas that I had been ignoring in my children’s behavior. With my clean schedule, I had plenty of time to be committed and intentional to pray and parent how I should have been doing all along. You see, while I was busy selecting what my season was going to look like, the rains were coming and my crops were not even planted. I was longing to be instrumental in ministry without even realizing my calling was living in my very own home. My season was here and it was being lived down the hall.
If we stubbornly pursue what is not for us, we will absolutely miss out on the blessings that God longs to give us. By selecting for ourselves, what we think is best, we will surely settle for mediocre without even realizing what God was preparing, had we only opened our heart to receive. His season may look different than we imagined, but His harvest is always satisfying.
This picture of seasons is especially on my mind as we are growing green beans in our garden this year. When we were outside as a family tonight, Josh asked me to take each new sprout and make sure it was beginning to grow up the netting. And then he said the words that really got my attention, “Be very careful, each new sprout is very fragile. But, if we don’t connect them to the net, they will get tangled and die.”
I realized that is why God called me to clear my schedule. Why He went to such great lengths to help me obey. My season of mothering is now. If I ignored the needs of my fragile sprouts, they would be tangled in their search to grow. They would be lost as they tried to attach themselves. My children need me present, focused, and intentional if I am going to carefully and gently direct them to God. Just like the baby beans, they need guidance in order to make wise choices. To learn.
From the outside looking in, my day probably looked very unexciting and ordinary. However, from the inside looking out, it is a season of humbly growing. Of intentional simplicity. Of careful direction and training, lest any be tangled. He plans this season, and His harvest is always satisfying.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…