The blue skies, teal-tinged gray waters, and green leaves of South Carolina accented a stark contrast in the absolute blah-ness of Missouri's landscape when we left it. It was all browns, tans, grays in Missouri, and we were suddenly surrounded by vibrance at every turn in South Carolina.
And on our way home, the vibrant passing landscapes struck me. Blues and soft grays near the Appalacian Mountains in Tennessee, green pastures in Kentucky (beautifully familiar to me in March), and rolling, vibrant hills of Southeast Missouri.
When we pulled up our driveway, I was struck by the tender and bright green grass, which replaced the dull, prickly grass that had been there just a week before.
The calendar said Spring had come, and our yard reflected that change in no subtle way.
I am so thankful for seasons. Not only do I need a reprieve from winter in our weather, but I also need a reprieve from winter in my heart, from seasons of busy-ness, from seasons of feeling unsettled and disheveled.
Lately I've been feeling overextended. I am, in no way, as busy as I once was when coaching and teaching with two tiny kids. However, I have been a new sort of busy that comes with having two growing children, an adoption in progress, a changing family and added responsibilities/expectations in my new role as a "pastor's wife."
That said, after a period of evaluation, I realized I had a lot of great weekly commitments that often left me feeling harried and less-than-thankful as I gathered kids, got them dressed, fed them, and strapped them in the car with clean teeth and matching shoes, only to drag myself into a place that wasn't necessarily fulfilling or replenishing to my worn spirit. (And it's not that some of those things I was doing weren't great, amazing things...it's just that there were too many things for me to focus on the Main thing.)
I needed to cut some things out. Again, there were a lot of good things filling my time, but I didn't stay home to fill all of my time with those good things. I chose to stay home to be a Mom. I chose to stay home to focus on "training up our children in the way they should go," and to be ready to welcome Clementine when the time comes for her to join us. I chose to stay home to spend time with my kids and show them Jesus. But none of that was happening.
So I made some cuts in life. No more Fight Club (i.e. Huge Bible Study). No more intense fitness bootcamps. I reduced and refocused meeting times with others. No more Facebook on my phone (I was checking for DRC adoption crisis updates semi-constantly...it was unhealthy.).
And today--a day when we'd usually have to rush off to Fight Club--the boys and I had a grand day at home. They played all over the house and around it. We read books and Jesus stories and sang Seeds of Worship songs in the car on our ONE-and-only trip out of the house to a meeting at church. We talked about the hard, sometimes scary thunderstorms and how the grass and flowers in our yard will be even prettier tomorrow because of them (a lesson I have learned repeatedly in my own life). I laid with them in bed for twenty minutes and relished the extra snuggles just because I could. I wish I could say this was all normal for us on a daily basis, but it's not. However, I hope to make it the new normal.
I even tackled the disgusting pee-tinged shower curtains in their bathroom (clean now!), caulked the tub, moved their twin beds downstairs and replaced them with a queen mattress that they'll share, painted that Empire Dresser I've been dismantling and sanding for weeks, and removed some winter clothes from my closet.
Today was a good day, and it happened because I said no to some good things and yes to some greater, more important things. (And, yes, getting the pee out of those shower curtains was extremely important.)
This is a new season. Like any season, there are parts of this season that aren't ideal. I'd like to be exercising more. I'd like to stop doubting myself. I'd like to make relationships more of a priority. I'd like to be able to plan with more specificity for the future. I'd like to be more outgoing and encouraging to others--or I'd at least like to want to be more outgoing and encouraging. But I think part of this season will help me figure that stuff out, and that means part of this season entails being home more, doing more reflecting, praying, and studying on my own.
It also means I'll have more to give my kids.
Next season it will all change again. But right now, I think this season--Spring in my heart and everywhere else--is perfect.
(PS--If you've never done a study on Ecclesiastes, I highly recommend you get on it. It's not all sorrow and sadness, as I once thought. Thanks to a special study from a Bible teacher in KC, I fell in love with it four years ago and it has continued to rock my life in the best ways possible.)