Thank you for joining me each Thursday for my series on living a Simple Life. Each Thursday, I share what God is teaching me and allowing me to do as I strive to live life simply. Ultimately, God is the one who placed the dream of living simply upon my heart, and I can only live it well when I follow in the steps He takes me.
Frequently, God will call us to place our dreams back into His hands, as they are truly His to begin with (but don’t be surprised if it turns out more extraordinary that you imagined!). Sometimes it will seem as if He is only taking us in “baby steps,” or even nowhere at all, but be encouraged- He is working; we are called to just keep faithfully following!
(To catch up on the “installments” of my journey, go here.) I also did a “bonus post” on Sunday, to more fully answer a question from Part 5.
We just returned from our annual “Mother’s Day” camping trip at the beach (see Part 4), but on the actual holiday, I celebrated by choosing some Simple Living activities for our family. I have never been one to throw my life into “Hallmark holidays,” as I call them. I really don’t need to listen to our society/greeting card companies/etc. telling me that my life is lacking if I don’t receive that jewelry/spa package/bouquet, on a day they determined is special (and pay them money for it!). What a bunch of emotional baggage to throw at someone; plus the resulting baggage of obligation and guilt on one’s spouse/children/friends!
To start off the day, I was awakened with simple breakfast in bed and a lovely card. I had requested that we attend the “early service” at church that Sunday (to allow time for my plans for the rest of the day). After worshiping at church together, we headed over to the season-opening of our local Farmer’s Market! I have been eagerly awaiting this day for months. It was such a simple pleasure to wander the morning market, and appreciate the beauty of fresh flowers and crafts. (Produce isn’t quite ready yet.)
We bought lunch to share from a family-owned Mexican food booth. We all shared a handmade $6 “nacho” plate comprised of tostada “chips,” carne asada, grated cheese, hot sauce, fresh guacamole full of avocado chunks, and fresh pico de gallo with lots of cilantro. Yum! While we ate, we listened to a musician playing his guitar and harmonica, and watched a family arranging floral bouquets- one of our favorite weekly booths!
Afterward, we stopped by the grocery store to get a few things for our next project of the day: our family’s usual volunteer shift at a Ronald McDonald House. Along with some friends from church, we make dinner once a month for the families staying there. After Gen’s naptime, we headed out to the House. We had decided to make a special dinner in honor of Mother’s Day, and the meal included roses and chocolates, of course!
We believe that it is important to involve our daughter as we serve others. By allowing her to be with us- and eventually join us in helping with the meal- we teach her to simply live as God calls us, as we love others. Just by being there with us, she brings a smile to many of the moms and children staying there. Frequently, I see moms whose arms are aching to hold their preemies- isolated in the NICU- stop by to hug Gen for a moment. Gen waves and joyfully says “hi” unconditionally to any child she sees- whether they come running into the room, or are pushed in a wheelchair. It is a blessing for us that we are not dividing up our family to run to separate activities; we are simply together. We love it!
As I have had many difficult Mother’s Days, it was an honor for me to spend time with those who are not having just a difficult day, but are in the midst of a very trying time. Apparently, there is a gift on order for me. It has been reported that this gift is being made, and will be shipped shortly. But my day was fulfilling enough without having a physical gift to open. My day was more blessed that spending my morning at a champagne brunch, opening jeweled gifts, or leaving my family behind for a day at the spa. I was just where I wanted to be! I certainly did not end the day with a “blah” feeling or saying “but I didn’t get the gift I wanted!” I spent the day looking at all the blessings I already have in my life.
I believe that being a mother is a blessing, not necessarily an accomplishment to be lauded. I would love to have many children, but at this point, God has seen fit to give us one beautiful child. I am overwhelmingly grateful for this gift God has given me. It is a joy to be her mother! I believe that children are not for us to plan and produce, as though they had been ordered on a warehouse assembly line. Their souls are miracles sent straight from God, to glorify Him forever- on earth and in heaven. (Sometimes these souls do indeed go straight to heaven. We miss them, but know that God is still glorified.) Parenthood is not something that I have done- it is what He has done, and is doing through me everyday.
I do enjoy a comment of love and appreciation once in awhile from my husband and daughter, but I will not depend on a special holiday to determine my worth. At this point, I know that I am called to fulfill God’s purpose in my life, as He calls me to be a helper for my husband, a keeper of my home, and a mother raising up a virtuous woman- whether or not I feel “appreciated” all the time. I can rest in God’s daily peace, living simply step-by-step, knowing that His way is sure.
To be continued… Join me next week for Part 7!