Similar to my experience of his books, when I read Donald Miller's On God and Farming I was interested, but I didn't have a moment of soul-bursting enlightenment. However, over the next few weeks I found myself thinking about it often, and referring to his point in conversations. He articulated something important for me: At 35, it's not hard to know what to do with my life. The hard part is staying with it. Tend your field, he says. Accept your calling. Don't chase something more glamorous, just do what you've been given to do, no matter what. In parenting, in your career, in relationships - tend your field. In time, you will reap a harvest.
A Deeper Family recently described mothering lots of little kids - or any sort of testing, grueling work - so well. "You just drown and drown and drown until you grow gills," she says. Man, do you. I often see pregnant women with a toddler on their hip and I have an urge to tell every one of them, I promise it's going to get easier. Don't be afraid to have more children. Two babies really is harder than four. In time, you will grow gills. I know I did. My daily workload was just as overwhelming, but eventually I could breathe again.
Do you guys all know about Allison Vesterfelt? Have you read Packing Light yet? (Did you know Packing Light is free on Noisetrade right now?) Recently she wrote Does Time Really Heal All Wounds? I loved her point. We credit time as the healer of wounds. In reality, if we give it time, pain takes root in our lives. It changes us, making us bitter, cynical, or overly sensitive. Time doesn't heal us. We do the work of healing ourselves. She says, "So instead of ignoring wounds to 'make it' on a day to day basis, maybe the better option is to embrace the brokenness, the hurt, the frustration, and the hard work it takes to get better. Maybe we should stop giving so much credit to time, and start giving more credit to the strength we have to walk the difficult road of healing."
Do you all follow Middle Places? I have loved getting to know the Middle Sisters since joining their crew this fall. One of my favorite new friends is Maria, who just started a blog of her own. She is one of those steady, gentle people who can take a room full of opinionated artistic types, and move them forward as a coherent group. She will not be the loudest person in a crowd, but without her, nothing would ever get off the ground. It is beautiful to watch her in action. Anyway, she recently wrote a piece called Creating Space. In it she says, "If only I could be as ruthless with the emotional clutter as I was with the clutter in my closet today. I hold onto those things so stubbornly when God desires for me to turn them loose ..." Me too, friend. I know that emotional clutter well.
And once again Like Mother Like Daughter calls mothers out with her playful, opinionated-yet-timeless advice. Leila's Affirmation in the Thick of Things emphasizes we cannot look for our affirmation in our children. We must keep a long view of our work in our families. For me, the challenge is to walk the tight rope between giving too much weight to the tantrum in front of me and too much weight to all the potentials - what if he becomes an inmate because I never taught him to manage his emotions? - of the long view. Still, there is a line in her piece I have quoted since I read it. "My affirmation to you is that contentment lies in letting go of the idea that things going well is the measure of doing good." We are doing good work, friends, even when things aren't going well.
Finally, have you noticed the beautiful pictures in this post? I'm holding her best work close to my chest right now - Christmas is coming, and grandparents are reading - but even Angela Giles Klocke's outtakes of my crazy family are gorgeous. Recently my family was honored to have a free (!) session with her. They are the first pictures we've taken since ... well, ever, I think. I just love them. Thanks again Angela. We are blessed by your talent and generosity! If anyone living in the Denver/ Colorado Springs area needs a photographer, I have a great recommendation for you.
What have you read online recently that is inspiring you?