[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I[/dropcap]’ve had some wild dreams lately . . . not sure if it’s due to pregnancy or the fact that we’ve been watching 24 at night before bed or what? But between the dreams and my inability to get comfortable, nights have been interesting. Throw in a toddler who is currently fighting a cold and yelling “help!” at 4am and a preschooler who comes to wake you so that you can wipe his bum, and you know, it’s the life of a family with little kids . . . sleepless. Anyway, I did have one really good dream this week though, and in it, our 3 kids were a bit older, able to play in the front yard by themselves, and very, very happy that we had just moved to the beach. We were in a beautiful (still small) house in Central/North California, and Mark and I were able to watch the kids play as we sat out on the porch and watched the sunset. There’s a beach town in California that Mark and I fell in love with on our last visit there, and we do dream of it as being the perfect place to raise our kids. Makes me think of this song (which I sing regularly):
All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.
I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.
I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.;
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.
Thanks to my Pop, I have a good knowledge of music from the 60s and 70s. 😉
And speaking of my dad, today is his birthday; 60th birthday to be exact. Ryder was very excited about this fact until he asked if we could also buy him a gift, and I responded with, “no, it’s not your birthday; does Pop get gifts on your birthday?” Our conversation quickly turned into tears . . .
So before this post gets anymore random and aimlness, I just have two main thoughts:
b.) Heritage and playing our part
I don’t love winter. I was born and raised in Colorado and have never wanted to live here; winters make me ratty (i.e. crabby). I don’t like cold, snow, gray, lifeless landscape. I keep the heat at 70 when we’re home and wear my husband’s slippers and my coat or a sweater while he walks around in bare feet, jeans, and a t-shirt. He puts up with my moaning; he partakes in my California dreaming. And somehow, he sweetly helps me remember that it’s just a season; we’ll soon be sweating and tired of heat. Isn’t life about seasons, really? Maturity comes with knowing the season you’re in and knowing the purpose behind it? I look out at our apple tree and how gray and still it is, and I’m reminded of how it actually needs winter to rest. (I have very little agricultural knowledge, so bear with me.) But our tree needs a time of rest, a time of budding, a time of blossoming, and then a time of bearing fruit. And seeing how this is our 5th year with our tree, we’ve noticed that it goes through years of giant amounts of fruit and years of very little fruit. Most of that is due to how it was watered, how it did through the winter, if it was pruned and cared for at anytime, etc. Same goes for us. How we cope with winter is very crucial to what fruit we will produce in the summer. The things we plant, water, and allow to be pruned will play a big part in the fruit/harvest that comes in the next season of life. So I’ve made an effort to moan less, to be thankful when the sun is out, to be thankful when we get snow, and to be sure to cultivate any area of life that I can right now. We’ll see what kind of fruit comes from it . . .
And second, as I consider my dad and his 60 years, I think about his character and I think about his heritage. I think about my grandparents and my great-grandparents. We are so blessed to be a part of a family that loves God, honors Him, and desires to serve Him. We’re not a wishy-washy, don’t know what we believe type family. We know what we believe and why, and our hearts are to play our part in being His hands and feet. And I feel so honored and blessed to raise my children in that heritage. Yet we don’t get to just rely on our heritage and slide into heaven because of it. We choose to daily pick up our cross and follow Him; I watch my parents do that. I want my kids to watch Mark and me as we do that. Yet most importantly, I want to teach them that their choices matter. The motives behind their actions matter. We’re noticing that we have one child who is quick to cheerfully say “K, Mom!” when I ask him to do something, yet he doesn’t do it. Meanwhile, his older brother does not always have the best attitude, but he does what I ask. The differences in behavior and attitudes are making me realize that a.) my kids are very different, but b.) it’s a matter of teaching willing, cheerful obedience, which comes from the heart.
Many, many children of families in ministry are raised in a right environment with godly heritage, yet they choose to rebel and walk away from God. They live their adult lives outside of a relationship with God, and sadly, if they don’t repent, they won’t spend eternity with God. Their heritage won’t matter in eternity. Everything is about the heart; keeping it with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life (or the springs of life). And again, I picture the tree in our back yard. Everything flows from the roots of the tree. All life is drawn up and out. It may look dead and barren right now, in the middle of winter, but life is flowing in it. It’s the same for me. This may not be my favorite season of phase of life, but I can make sure that I am still cultivating life inside of me. I can still keep my heart, keep my attitude, keep my perspective. And it may not seem that either of my kids is learning anything that I teach them, yet soon, we’ll start to see the fruit of it. We’ll know if anything is taking root in their hearts as they mature and as they start to make more and more choices. They are still very fertile ground, even if I have days where I feel like the planting is hard and the watering is going no where.
So in conclusion to this somewhat messy, very unlinear post of thoughts, I am going to keep dreaming about life and cultivating the desires that God has put in me. Yet I’m going to focus more on recognizing the seasons and being faithful in the season that I’m in. I also know that I can’t rely on my past, my history, even all the goodness that’s been poured into my life to carry me to the next season. Yes, all those things help, all those things have gotten me here, but I have to keep cultivating, keep planting, keep watering, keep moving forward, keep pressing on. And singing while we go always helps . . . California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day . . .