Living Sustainably

Well guys, we’ve had a time lately.

Lots of issues going on with the house and causing structural issues, and lots of resulting water damage.

We’ve lost a lot of clothing, baby/toddler stuff, and lumber we had in our basement – a reminder that we are completely dependent on the Lord to provide for us, and that we can’t take anything with us when we go.

But that, along with the anxiety of trying to maintain all of the things and systems I put in place as a mom of 3 as a mom of now 5 children is just not sustainable.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, as I’m not completely 100% sure what all can be eliminated from my laundry list of responsibilities (wait- can laundry be removed from the laundry list? If only.)

But what I’m beginning to see is that I tend to pile my plate full of good extras and then wonder why I can’t carry it without spilling (an excellent visual lesson provided by my toddler, by the way.)

So I’ve got to pare down to the essentials.

One of the most shocking things about the whole house fiasco is that we had SO MUCH STUFF in storage that we weren’t even visually aware of a large portion of the mess! How insane is that!?!?

Granted, most of what is down there is boxes of out of season clothing to be used as hand me downs for the younger kids. And we did lose a family heirloom or two. But most of it- just “garbage” stuff we planned to get to eventually, or could foresee some vague use or function for in a very specific set of circumstances yet to be determined.

But the potential usefulness of the clutter blinded us to some really significant issues underlying it all. And our spiritual lives are like that too! So I’m making some much needed changes.

Homesteading is great, and it has been one of my great joys these last 6 years. But we have grown as a family, and I haven’t managed to sprout any extra hands or eyeballs, so there’s still just one of me to manage all the additional tiny humans. And my 5 year plan can no longer function at the same intensity and capacity as it could have with fewer bodies to tend, nourish, and nurture. So, we’re going to be downsizing a bit for this season- My homestead needs to work for me, not the other way around.

I’ve also been really blessed by women in my church who are a step or so ahead of me in season or circumstances who are willing to actually come over to my house and be my extra set of hands and eyes to watch my children during their free play time (which is when most mischief occurs) so that I can have a bit of margin to accomplish the extra tasks on my plate with my husband being consumed with his current season of training. Part of me feels small, humbled, and oh so grateful. But there is also a part of me that resents always being the one who is in need of help- which is a big reason I’m scaling back to a more manageable workload; I don’t want my decisions to make me into a burden for someone else to carry.

I was given the wise advice that one of the wisest things I can do is to know when to step back; know when to fold ’em so to speak. And I’ve always viewed that as being a quitter. That was among the vilest offenses in my home as a kid- don’t be a quitter! It was as frowned upon as uttering any other 4-letter word, maybe moreso. But how healthy is it for one to carry on in burdens which harm rather than help? It’s not!

I can either scale back to a healthy, reasonable, and manageable level of responsibility, or I can die young and stressed from all the guilt and pressure I put on myself, with no one at my bedside because my children were exasperated and alienated in my quest for validation in my accomplishments… Ouch.

I want better than that for my children; I want them to know I value them as human beings, fellow Image-bearers, not just for the chores they do for me. I want them to know I love them unconditionally, not based on their performance of daily tasks. I want them to remember a joyful, cheerful Mama, who lovingly taught them God’s Word and walked in His ways, not just talked a good game. I want my children to see the Lord, and not be distracted by all the clutter; I want to be able to stop and discern any heart issues in them, not hidden by the myriad of distracting good things, and address it before it’s a catastrophic loss.

That is where I’ve been, and will be focusing the majority of my time and attention. I do love blogging, and getting to share my heart and how the Lord is working! It’s a great joy to me to do so. In this season however, I must remember the positional truth of Philippians 4:13- that I can do all things (given to me by Christ to do– in marriage and mothering, not all the heaps of extras I give to myself– in all circumstances) through Christ who strengthens me. Because it is in Him that my strength is revealed; it is in fulfilling the work He has called me to, being a great wife and an awesome mom, which I must give my all. And to do the great Lord’s work of discipling my children, and being a helpmeet to my husband has got to be at the forefront of my life.

Blogs will likely be fewer and farther between, and that’s okay. Because I’m working toward eternity, folks! I’m freeing myself to be available for my husband, to support and encourage him in pursuing his dreams and goals, and in his relationship with the Lord- and that is a joyful, beautiful, and fulfilling gift to me! And I’m investing in the eternal futures of 5 of the coolest, cutest, smartest little people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing – my children. 😊

2 thoughts on “Living Sustainably

  1. Same here, I’ve had to cut back a lot on my farming schemes now that we’ve got a little one and we’ve only got one. And a lot of times I’ve been barely scraping up enough words to put out a coherent blog. The fact that you’re doing it with five little ones is super impressive!

    Liked by 1 person

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