Barefoot is God’s Whole Point of Summer

tbm.barefoot.summer“Spencer Sanders Ehman!”, I hollered. “You get in here and get yourself some shoes on, young man. You can’t be out there barefoot!”

It was summery day, though a bit on the cool side, the mid-morning grass still wet from the rainfall the evening before.

My then 11-year-old son headed out as he usually did each day, to shoot baskets, hunt for frogs, and skip stones on the small pound near our back woods.  He tried to convince me that, even though these activities were on his agenda, he should be allowed to wander aimlessly for hours totally barefoot.

My momma mind thought otherwise.

As I hauled him in the house to put on tennis shoes and socks, he seemed dejected. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t care if he went out to play. His chores were done. His bed made and dirty dishes taken up to the sink. I just wanted to make sure his feet were properly protected from any dangers that might be lurking on our property.

He obliged and slipped on his shoes, however when he began to go back out the door, the spring was gone from his step.

“What’s wrong buddy?” I inquired.

“Oh mom……barefoot is God’s whole point of summer.”

My mommy mouth smiled.

Of course he and I differ on the appropriate foot apparel required for an adventurous boy on a summery day, but he was on to something. Why else would God make the lush green grass feel so cool and soft between your toes?

Sadly we only have a few more weeks of barefoot weather to go. So, these days, shoes are optional around here {or at least I compromise and let the kids don flip-flops if the terrain may hold a slight risk of danger. A great risk of danger? Combat boots for my kids!}

But for the lush green back yard lawn underneath the towering oak tree? The strip of turf next to the house, perfect for running a shoeless sprint against a sibling or friend? The patch of earth that stretches from the back door to the garden, over which the kids tromp as they haul an old metal watering can to the tomato vines they so expectantly planted?

Well……All-righty then. Barefoot it is.

In fact, I’m headed outside now to get a little paperwork done.

Sitting in a cozy chair.

Under the tree line at the back of our property.

Next to the fire pit.

Completely barefoot—the green grass reaching heavenward, tucked neatly between my manicured mama toes.

Our Creator did have a good point, ya know.

Barefoot is God’s whole point of summer.

How about you and your kiddos go kick off your shoes today?

Barefoot blessings!

Karen Ehman

On Those Days When It All Goes Wrong

On Those Days When It All Goes Wrong

 

It’s the end of the day and I am beat. It’s been one of those textbook, almost farcical days as a mom where I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Since the moment my feet hit the floor, it has been one thing after another, and as I trudge down the stairs after bedtime Olympics, my shoulders feel heavy.

Was it waking up to two children fighting? Was it being greeted by a toddler in a messy diaper? Or was it when I went to sip a much-needed cup of coffee only to discover I was out of creamer? It could have been realizing at 11:00 that I had to schlep all six kids to the pediatrician’s office at 2:30—the pediatrician’s office that is an hour away– and there I stood in my pajamas with a rat’s nest of hair on my head, surveying the breakfast dishes strewn around the kitchen, and the jelly faces on most of my pajama-clad kids.

Perhaps the weight of the world is from the seatbelt that I had to wrestle for 5 minutes, the soccer ball that escaped the van onto the driveway as we were leaving and that I had to race to the end of the road, jump out, grab, and throw in the back. It could even have been looking at the gas gauge 10 minutes into the drive and realizing I had left my wallet at home. It was just one of those days.

It could have been any one of those things, yes. Or, it could be that I failed so miserably to hold it together during those stressful moments. I snapped and ranted and watched my children’s faces fall as they reacted to my sharp tone. The silence I demanded while I struggled to maintain any kind of composure came, but at quite a cost. It came at the expense of my children’s feelings.

As I sit down and take a deep breath, now surrounded by the silence that I craved all day, my spirit is heavy. I do the only thing I can: I lay it all out before my Heavenly Father. I beg Him to forgive me and I thank Him for His grace. I recount for Him in vivid detail all the ways that I fell short that day and all the ways I failed. I can almost hear Him whispering to me, “Come to me when you’re weary, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I will refresh your heart” (Matthew 11:28, 30; Philemon 1:20).

My heart is still as I take it all in. I screw up. We all do. God tells us that is when His power is made perfect—in our weakness. He gently reminds me of this as well as all the things I did right that day; holding my daughter so she wasn’t afraid at the doctor, affirming my son when he tried something new and sought my approval, and the stolen moments with my three-year-old as we snuggled on the couch that morning.

And He’s whispering the same to you, Mama. The hours that seem to last for years, yet once they’re past you wish you could re-do? He’s there for you. Bare your soul to Him. He yearns to comfort you. Then, once you’ve poured out your heart to the Lord,  lift up your head, wipe away your tears, and tip-toe back upstairs to kiss your babies one more time and tell them you love them.

Tomorrow is another day. His mercies are new and He is already there waiting for you.

Mandy Pagano

 

Mandy Head ShotMandy and her husband Joe live in Pittsburgh, PA with their six children. When Mandy isn’t homeschooling, changing diapers, and juggling soccer schedules, she blogs at Suburban Stereotype and also with four other ladies as the founder of Deliberate Women. She teaches Sunday school and also acts as the Coordinator for her local MOPS group. Mandy had dreams of being an elementary teacher when she found out baby number six was on the way, and struggled with putting that dream on hold. Since being convicted that staying home with her children was her first ministry, God has been faithful to lead her to amazing opportunities to minister right from her kitchen, sitting behind her laptop and surrounded by her family.

Mom, Don’t Be Afraid: God Will Be With You During Every Age, Every Stage

momdontbeafraidw

I’m a mom of six children, and I’ve learned a few things:

1. People take great pleasure in sharing their parenting horror stories.

  • If you are pregnant, people want you to fear labor.
  • If you have a newborn, they warn you about teething.
  • If you have a new walker, they want you to fear climbing and running.

There is only one thing they enjoy more than sharing parenting horror stories and that is…

2. Making sure you fear the next stage.

  • If you are pregnant, people want you to fear labor.
  • If you have a newborn, they warn you about teething.
  • If you have a new walker, they want you to fear climbing and running.
  • And then there’s the phrase we hear from the moment we discover we’re pregnant, “Just wait until they are teenagers!”

Friend, I want to tell you, “Do not be afraid!”

Yes, there are hard moments in parenting. You’ll face unexpected challenges and sometimes question your sanity, but fear, if you allow it, will keep you from enjoying your child today. Fear focuses your mind on an unknown future and bogs you down with worries that most likely will never come to pass.

Personally, I loved my older kids’ teen years. We had a great time as a family, and for the most part our teens were respectful. (Bonus: they could run to the store for milk!) Yes, there were emotional moments during the preteens years, but God reminded me that patience and empathy goes a long way.

We’ve dealt with issues from having unkind friends and I did have a climber, but looking back I wish I could stop worrying so much about “what was coming.” It robbed me of some of the joy of the moment. I’m doing better about not worrying so much with our second set of kids. I choose to remember who God is, and what He promises to provide, instead.

Jeremiah was a prophet who lived during the destruction of Jerusalem, and even though parenting is hard, there are very few of us who will have our whole world crumble around us like what Jeremiah faced. And what was Jeremiah’s advice?

The Lord’s loving-kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 NASB

Mom, don’t get focused on what could happen in the future. Don’t worry about college when your child has yet to enter preschool. Instead, remember that God will be there the moment you need Him. His lovingkindness never ceases. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.

God will give you exactly what you need in today’s moment of parenting, as you turn to Him.

Whenever the fears of the future comes, brush them aside and turn your attention to the knowledge that God is HERE, now. He will walk with you every step of the way, whatever that ages or stages of your children, guaranteed.

Blessings,

Tricia Goyer, TriciaGoyer.com

Little Dreams – a poem for mothers

Marys-TreasuresYou.

Heavy eyes.

Arms wrapped

we rock.

You.

Nuzzled rolly neck

of graham cracker smells

and stickiness.

You.

Tiny fingers lightly pinch

your brows

eyelashes

lips.

You.

Far away smile

halfway to dreams.

Baby-Boy-Smiles

I.

Drink it in with

mother’s heart.

Drop lips upon your

sun-kissed hair.

Remember other tiny heads.

More kisses for those

bigger now.

I.

Soak your sweetness in.

Wistful how

it flies.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Blessings, Christy

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