Regrets, Seedlings, and Reading Programs
Last September I shook my head at a row of lettuce. The mottly plants were sparse and their green leaves held a bitter flavor. I sowed them too soon. Afterwards, I had been unable to keep them weeded. Between the late summer heat and vivacious wild morning glories, I had another epic gardning fail on my hands.
Thankfully, it was only some lost elbow grease. I was able to re-start my growing by germinating my plants indoors. After several changes to seedling soil and conditions, I ended up with a fabulous stand of growing lettuce green in our greenhouse.
Timing is everything.
With that thought, I despaired reading the book "How to Teach Your Baby to Read". The book was given to me by a teacher. Written a couple decades ago, a group of professionals decided to help brain-damaged children overcome their developmental delays. It was during their research that they discovered an amazing truth: As long as a child can visually process and auditorilly process they can learn to read before they ever speak or write.
In fact, because of the way a baby's mind is growing, it is an ideal time to teach them written language. Micaela can learn how to read now. We don't need to wait for her speech to mature or her finger to become dexterious enough to manipulate pen and paper.
While this information excited me, it also made me sad. I should have started years ago with the reading program. It would be harder for her to learn now that she was no longer in her baby years.
Do you ever become paralyzed by regret? Does it ever make you want to throw in the towel and walk away? I do. My worst regrets have been in parenting. When someone points out one of Adela's bad habits I kick myself, saying I should have got ahead of it before it was an issue. Or when someone points out an intervention that will help Micaela progress, I worry that we didn't start doing it sooner.
What helps me so much is the fact that God is and has always been in control of each miniscule factor of my life. He is guiding me and providing for me as I go in this journey. I didn't get that book until October of this year. I have to trust that God gave it to me at just the right time for my little girl. So far, she loves every minute we spend reading her new words together. I truly feel we are making progress.
I consider my failed lettuce plants and smile. I learned so much through that process and I moved forward from it stronger and smarter.
I think that we often spend much time talking about trusting God with our future, but it is equally important that we entrust our past to His care.
After all, God has never changed and His love always remains the same.
What truths do you hold on to when you feel yourself slipping into regret?
Sometimes We Need to Trust We've Been Put in the Right Place
His shrill bleating cut into the air. I cringed and dumped grain to the horses. I turned my face into the cool breeze and watched the lamb trotting along the fence line. His black nose searched frantically for an opening that would fit his fat wooly body. No luck. He opened his mouth wide and cried.
I bit my lip and shook my head. My shoulders slumped as I went to the hay and began forking it for our horses. I could head back to the house and make him another bottle. I could tell myself it was the last one. I had weaned him so gently, so carefully. I had timed it so that his body would be large and strong. I had slowly cut back the ounces so that it wouldn't be a shock to his system. None of that mattered. He was placed like a little prince in a field of alfalfa with fresh water and food perfect for his growing body. However, that did not stop his eyes from following my every move, waiting for me to relieve him of his miserable and lost state.
It felt nice to put the girls on the bus Monday morning. We are back to a normal routine. Last week we went through an epilepsy study at Phoenix Children's Hospital where they hooked Micaela up to an EEG machine and slowly weaned her from her anti-seizure meds. They were trying to pinpoint the precise locations in her brain causing the seizures. However, the first seizure on Wednesday afternoon was so long and so difficult to stop, that the neurologist deemed it too risky to continue the study. We might never know if Micaela would be a canidate for laser ablation surgery. Our consolation prize was an appointment with a neuroseurgon to discuss implanting a VNS. It wouldn't be a cure but simply another treatment with the hope of better coverage than medication alone.
How did life get so crazy? Sometimes my mind drifts back to a time before children and the fears and challenges that come with parenting. Eight years ago we were living in Argentina. My only job was as a tag-a-long to Jovani's adventures. Most days I had felt like a peaceful island sitting in an ocean of quiet hours. Now my life fills, bursting at the seems. Like my little dogey lamb, I stick my nose through the fence and question where God has placed me.
I chuckle. My lamb sounds utterly pathetic to my ears. I hate his distress, but I also know with perfect confidence that he is capable of thriving right where he is now. I also know that a diet of sweet milk alone wouldn't sustain his growing body. He needs more. I am caring for him well by pushing him out into the pasture.
God has done the same. He would never of placed me here if both I and my relationship with Him, were not ready for the wilder terrain. Sure, I long for the simpler life, but I will thrive right were I am. I just have to trust, turn my nose to the challenges and proceed to build some spiritual muscle, some mental tenacity, and some emotional endurance.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
In what ways are you growing and maturing in the challenges you face today?
My Decision to Love My Garden
My boots sank into the sloppy wet mud. I had over-watered again. I cocked my head and stared at the pathetic tomato transplants. They drooped, the leaves shriveled and black. I sighed and wiped sweat beads tickling my forehead.
Goodness, I’m bad at this.
But I want to get good.
Three years ago, when Jovani and I decided to start our own farming and ranching operation, I knew I would have to let go of my fantasy future where I had a dream job reading novels all day. God had other plans. My husband is innovative and hard working. Life is never boring. This year we decided to expand our gardening and sell vegetables at the local farmers markets. So, I’ve had to get serious.
Isn’t it funny that the new motto in our culture is to avoid anything other than what you love, what your passion is? I don’t think God endorses that point of view. I’ve rarely experienced any sort of growth when I am only doing what I love and nothing else.
Sometimes we need to smile, put a hat on our head, and get to work. God can provide us with the skills and passion to make our season flourish.
Remember the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors? I am sure his dream future was to stay close to his father and brothers, to grow up there among his family in the land of his grandfather Abraham. But, that wasn’t his story. He was sold into slavery and God put him in the position to be the caretaker of the wealth and land in Egypt. However, you don’t read about Joseph pouting about his lost dreams. Instead, he flourished in the tasks that had been assigned him.
I want to be like Joseph. One of the reasons I have never been drawn to gardening is because it isn’t a natural talent or ability for me. Just like the rest of humanity, I am drawn to tasks that come easy to me, that I can shine in. Gardening is a lesson in humility for me. I am glad Jovani is right there along side me.
The book of James states that every good and perfect gift is from above. Sometimes we have a hard time trusting God when He gives us tasks outside of our comfort zone. But why not embrace it? Ask for passion and wisdom to honor God in your work.
As for my tomatoes, the jury is still deliberating.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Can you recall a season you spent outside your comfort zone? How did God grow you during that time?