I was nervous to post this, but it’s been on my heart so much lately what with some conversations with friends I’ve been having and eerily timely podcast episodes and devotional verses that I feel compelled to do so. I’ve always been pretty private about being a Christian; I didn’t grow up in a very religious household, and honestly didn’t really start thinking about religion in any meaningful way until college, so it’s not something that most people I grew up with associate with me, but you know what? It’s good stuff, and it’s part of my daily life that make me a better person. Hiding it is ridiculous.
I have always been a believer, but until I met my husband I didn’t really become a Believer, and that’s only intensified since we’ve been married. I just can’t see how we could have met each other without someone planning it–we certainly couldn’t have planned it, but it was so obviously intentional that I couldn’t ignore it. Things fell so perfectly into place and I’m glad we both picked up what Jesus was laying down.
Fast forward seven years, and here we are with two boys. We’ve had some wonderful times, and some hard ones, but it’s so plain to see that our lives have been guided by someone with a program. We’ve learned so much together, and everything is a step forward, even if it’s hard, because it’s teaching us lessons we need to learn to be better people and the best parents we possibly can.
We’re in a funky season right now. In addition to some more private things that are constantly on our minds, we have a new baby, the toddler has become a capital T Two Year Old, and we’re in a busy season on the ranch with breeding and branding and springtime, so we’re both doing a little more with a little (sometimes a lot) less. It’s not a bad season by any stretch, but it is one where we’re both feeling the effects of More with Less sprinkled with some uncertainty. In my younger years, this would have really stressed me out. I would have gone into full-on Control Freak mode (just ask my roomie/best friend in college. It’s not pretty), and tried to force change where I could to make the situation more within my command. Now, I’m learning to see the lesson and the grace where the stress used to be, and lean on God to help manage the worry and uncertainty. This has been especially true since becoming a mother–it would be easy to let worry swallow me whole, because there are now tiny humans completely dependent upon me and their daddy to take care of them. Instead of that, I’ve been talking to God. He’s helping me learn to give the worry to Him.
In busy seasons, though, particularly those with young children, it can be hard to find structured, devoted time to lean in, or even make it to church. This is doubly true when you live in a rural area and churches or bible studies may require driving time that is hard when you’re in the season of naptimes, messy babies, and active toddlers. I was listening to the most recent episode of the Coffee + Crumbs podcast on our walk this morning, and it really got me thinking about ways to lean in when everything seems so busy. It helps me so much to do so, because it makes it easier for me to find the blessing in whatever it is that we’re dealing with, and it makes the stress seem so much more manageable. I also don’t want the boys to have a constantly worried mama, and since worry is my default, I have to actively try and give it away.
For me, it’s all about fitting things in with whatever we’re doing. We spend a lot of time in the car or stroller, so having music to listen to when I need an uplift is helpful. I’m not a fan of most modern worship music, but I love gospel and hymns. I have a playlist on my phone that has Randy Travis’ gospel music, some bluegrass renditions of traditional songs like “I’ll Fly Away” (Willie Nelson has a killer live version), some recordings of gospel choirs, and some Hank Williams and Josh Turner, among other things. I also listen to sermons via podcast pretty often (Antioch Waco is my favorite, I really enjoy Carl Gulley’s sermons and his It’s Complicated series), and I love that I can find them based on topics because sometimes I really need a lesson on something specific. I also pray a lot. We pray in the car, I try and pray before bed, and if I get up in the night with Buster, I try and pray a little then, too.
If I get a quiet few minutes–most often while pumping in the evening, moms can’t do just one thing at a time, you know–I devotional it up. I have a few that I rotate depending on which style I’m feeling at the time, and lately I’ve really been into my Lara Casey Write the Word journal. I bought it over a year ago, and at the time the verses that were in there just didn’t speak to me or seem super relevant to that season, so I put it down and didn’t really think about it until this spring, when I randomly picked it up again. And you know what? The verses now are speaking to exactly what I’m struggling with, exactly what we’re going through, and are perfect for this season. It’s not a coincidence, y’all.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve been spending time in the book of Matthew, which is teaching me how not to punch people in the face when they are awful. So far, it’s worked. Pray for me, though, because some days it’s real hard.
In a recent blog post, Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman fame made mention that many people in agriculture are people of faith, because their whole livelihood is at the mercy of things that are completely out of control. This is so true, and really resonated with me both on a rancher level and a mama level. I feel lucky to have finally found my faith because I don’t know what I would do without it.
Probably punch someone in the face, and you know that’s not good.