Where the Green Grass Grows

I heard an old Tim McGraw song on the radio the other day, and it’s never felt more relatable than now.

“I’m gonna live where the green grass grows

Watch my corn pop up in rows

Every night be tucked in close, to you

Raise our kids where the good Lord’s blessed

Point our rockin’ chairs towards the west

And plant our dreams where the peaceful river flows

Where the green grass grows.”

It’s planting season here, and our farmers are putting in long hours trying to stay ahead of the rain. Growing up with a farmer daddy and grandpa, and a mom who worked at a fertilizer plant, I declared my loathing of the farmer lifestyle, and vowed to get out as soon as I was off to college. But God had another plan.

Fast forward 9 years and just what do you think I do for a living? I farm. I live it, love it, hate it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it, dream it, farm it.   This was not the plan. I wanted a job preferably in a big city. I wanted to wear a suit and heels every day, with a fancy job title, and work my way up some corporate ladder. But God had another plan.

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God had another plan, and now here I am. I work at my in-law’s fertilizer plant and my husband and I farm. I am in a weird place. I have truly grown to love this life, but it’s not where I thought I’d be. I find myself feeling a bit lost sometimes, and wishing that I paid more attention to the farm talk growing up. And though I am catching on, there are still times that I don’t feel like I really fit in. Those are the times that I wonder, what if I had a white collar job, would I fit in there?  What am I doing here?  What purpose am I serving?

I got my answer to these questions at a women’s conference this past February. One of the speakers, Eugene Cho, was explaining that we often think the grass will be greener on the other side. We live in a world that encourages us to compare ourselves to others, and to continually strive for the next best thing.  Those were the exact human feelings I was experiencing. So I really tuned in and was eager to hear what Mr. Cho’s solution to this thinking was. Then he said, maybe what the Holy Spirit is really asking us to do is to, “water the grass you’re standing on.”

“Water the grass you’re standing on.” This sounds like an easy enough answer, but it is not. Watering our own grass is work. It’s roll up your sleeves, you’re going to get dirty, work. This means we have to embrace where we are right now, stop listening to ourselves, and start letting God’s word flood our hearts, our minds, and our souls, so it can sink into the grass we are standing on. God’s word is the water and our life is the grass. We cannot grow without Him.

I’m gonna live where the green grass grows

Embrace where He’s placed me, for my future He knows.

Every word He speaks is faithful, and it’s true.

I’ll raise my kids where the good Lord blessed

With hearts that love Jesus, and no worries for the rest.

There you’ll find Jesus,

Where the green grass grows.

Stay on the Sidewalk

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We were on a family vacation recently in Florida, and our little girl, Charlie Kate, was LOVING running around in the warm sunshine.  We took SO MANY walks around the motor coach park where we were staying.  The park layout was a big circle, so the other vacationers at the park would walk their dogs, ride bikes, drive golf carts, or just cruise around the circle in their newly washed cars.  It was a busy place.

So Charlie and I would take off for our walk and I would have to constantly say to her, “Stay on the sidewalk.”  The road was busy, and not everyone was watching for a toddling baby girl.  I had to say this SO MANY times.  “Stay on the sidewalk.” “Stay on the sidewalk.” “Charlie, please stay on the sidewalk.”  The road is dangerous.  You could get hit.  You could cause an accident.  You could get hurt.  The road is dangerous.  The sidewalk is safe. “Charlie Kate, please stay on the sidewalk.”  After repeating this phrase over and over again, it finally sank in.  Not for Charlie Kate, but for ME.

I finally felt just an inkling of what God must feel as he watches us grow.  We take off at high speeds, just enjoying this human life.  We run into the road, darting through obstacles in our way, and sometimes we get hurt.  Sometimes we cause others to get hurt.  Sometimes we get knocked down.  Sometimes we crash.  “Stay on the sidewalk, child.”  “This path I have set for you is safe and so, so good.”  “Child, please stay on the sidewalk.”

We have all experienced a time when we thought we knew the way in which we should go.  Everyone else seemed to be going in that direction so we thought we should too.  Or we wanted to do our own thing so we took another turn.  But the beauty of staying on the path, or sidewalk, that God has set for us lies in the truth that it can take us to places we can’t even imagine going on our own.  And our paths are not all the same.

God doesn’t want us to confuse staying on the path with, conforming to a straight and narrow sameness as everyone else.  Sometimes I think we like to put Christianity in a box, and its members all have to fill this square of rules.  But God made ways for us that are unique to EACH ONE of us.  All we have to do is listen to His command,

“Stay on the sidewalk.”

Psalm 37:4

Deuteronomy 5:33

Moping on them Monday’s

Do you ever feel like a fake? Like no matter how genuine you think you are, or are truly trying to be, your words don’t feel like they’re your own? I struggle with this everyday. I honestly don’t know how to interact with people, yet constantly put myself in situations where I have to. I love people, but I over analyze my actions, my words, my thoughts, and then I do the same to everyone else. I can’t quit. It’s such a habit it drives me crazy, making me horribly silly sometimes. I want people to like me. I want people to accept me. I want people to love me. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, except I want it out of everyone I meet. I simply cannot accept when people do not like me.

I. Can’t. Accept It.

I will literally get my mind and my heart into this worried ball of disgusting angst  when I think someone is upset with me. It really is a terrible mess of thoughts and fear and ugliness that I get myself into. And for what? I work so hard on building all of these friendships and crumble when they don’t work out or grow distant. I badger myself with questions, what did I do wrong? What did I say? Why doesn’t this person like me? I. I. I. Me. Me. Me. Selfishly, I become anxious instead of remembering that…

God. Is. In. Charge. Here.

I don’t stop and think about the seasons God has planned for me. I don’t remember that when the summer ends the leaves begin to change their colors and fall begins. I forget that God places some people in our lives for only a season and for only His reason.  So let’s get over ourselves (myself). Some people are not meant to stay in our lives forever, but are placed just so perfectly to prepare us for the next seasons of our lives. So let us remember that the next time we are going batty analyzing something we’ve said, concocting all of these scenarios where no one likes us anymore and we are alone in a corner…moping.

Let. Us. Not. Mope.

Let us choose joy when dealing with people that may not like us, and allow ourselves to accept the people God has placed in our lives, and move on with grace when He takes them away.

Cheer up, and read up…

Matthew 6:25-32

Colossians 3:12-14

First Mile Friday

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Running has become one of my best friends. We wake up early together, enjoy new songs together, explore new cities and roads together, but most importantly we’ve built a relationship through time spent together. Time spent together is the key here. I’d like you to experience a first mile, if you’ve never been runner, you can just humor me here for a minute.

The first mile of a run is the absolute WORST. Your mind and your body are saying terrible, awful things to you like, go back to bed, it’s cold, I have to pee, let’s just do a short run today, yeah let’s do that then go back to sleep! But you HAVE to shut it out, or you believe it and it ruins the entire run. I like to associate the first mile with the Devil, himself. I think back to the times in my life when I would just kind of dabble in a deeper relationship with God. I was a comfortable Christian, just safe and cozy in my nice square box. God would try and open these doors for me to come in and get a little closer to Him. He longed for me to spend more time with Him.  I’d take those first steps, but the voice of the first mile Devil would begin to speak to me. Wait, you’re safe here. You’re doing everything you’re supposed to. You love Jesus, let’s just stay here, there’s no need to get any closer.  It’s comfortable here, you like it here. That first mile devil won many times. I would step back, shut the door, and get back in my box. And then I became a runner, God taught me to shut out the voices telling me I’m too tired, I’m too sore, and he gave me strength to push through and just enjoy the freedom of the run.

That doesn’t mean running gets any easier because it doesn’t, it just means that my love for running has gotten stronger. The same goes for my relationship with Jesus. I have to trust God to shut the voice of the first mile Devil out so that I find the sweetness in His love, and can enjoy the freedom of our run through life.

When you’re running on empty…

Hebrews 12:1

First blog post

First blog post

Starting a blog was not really on my list of things to do. And I’m a list maker to the core. I don’t have a lot of free time, so adding to my list doesn’t really make sense. Yet here I am writing my first blog entry so it must be purposed for me.

I am a wife, a mother, have a full-time job in my family’s multiple businesses. I am executive director of a pageant, a leader of a ladies ministry group, an avid runner, and am a volunteer in our community’s Jaycee club. My husband and I farm and sing southern gospel music throughout Illinois and Indiana in our spare time. And now I am a writer for this blog.

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The truth is I have a hard time saying no to things. I’m a doer and pleaser. But this blog is different. The person that has put this task on my heart is the one person that I can say no to. And I’ve said no. Not right now, this really isn’t a good time. Maybe next year when things slow down.  But He keeps asking. God asked me to do it, and I have no excuses left in me of why I can’t. Am I writing in protest? Maybe. But probably more out of fear. Fear that people won’t like what God wants me to say. And to that God just tells me to get over it.

So my hope is that these words will grow something in you. Just a tiny seed of faith. Because sometimes that’s all it takes. Faith the size of a mustard can do the greatest things.