Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cultivate: A Weeding Session

via Pinterest
You see, the first morning we had to get up and get ready for school was fabulous.  And when my darling daughters arrived home, everyone was in a good mood.  They willingly did their homework without arguments.  They ate what was fixed for dinner without complaining.  They were kind to me and kind to each other.

It was a good day and I went to bed fulfilled and satisfied.  Their little love tanks must be full.  Things are going to be good.  Being a mom was so much fun today.

And then Tuesday happened.

The first words out of my oldest's mouth were, "Hannah hit me."  It just went downhill from there.  Shuffling feet, angry words, rejected breakfasts.  What has happened to my children?  How can I put them to bed one way and have them wake up completely different people?

I was mad.  I was grumpy.  I grumbled while I ate breakfast. I grumbled while I did my quiet time.  I grumbled while reading SDG blogs (I hope that didn't spill over into the comments, ladies).  I grumbled until I was 8.5 miles into my 10 mile run.

via Pinterest
It took a full morning and 8.5 miles for me to get out of my own head long enough to hear God speak to me about the events of the morning.  And what did He say?  Ahem:

And what did you cultivate this morning?

A particularly painful question because this happened on January 3rd.  Yes, only 3 day into my new word and, um, clearly I was failing.  But instead of arguing, I just listened.  Paraphrased, this is about what He said to me:

You reacted to their mood.  You were so focused on getting them to be respectful in that moment, so focused on getting them ready for school, so focused on what it felt like to wake up to completely different kids, that you missed the opportunity to cultivate a different environment for them.  You contributed to the grumpiness.  You did not cultivate an environment in which they might want to change.  Grumpiness begets grumpiness.  You cultivated more grumpiness.

Yes, He does have to repeat Himself with me sometimes to get His point across.  But I did get it.  The environment that I want to cultivate for my family has to have time to grow, to really take root.  At the same time, some of the old behaviors need to be uprooted (hence the conversation I had with God this morning).  If God didn't point out the weeds, I wouldn't have the space for the fruit.

I'm learning that cultivation is not just bringing in newness to spaces, but it's also about de-cluttering.  And with any job I want to do well, it takes time.  It takes not rushing.  It takes being intentional.  It takes being willing to bend and extend grace and realize my part in it.

The kids came home from school and I started using my word in conversation with them.  So far, I've just been asking them if their actions cultivate love.  Right now, I'll admit -- it's a bit more for me than it is for them.  I have to say my word out loud a lot in order to keep the goal in front.  But, I'm really hoping that one day, they'll start using the word, too, calling me on my actions and words.

"Mommy, are you cultivating love?"

In so, they will be a part of the uprooting and the sowing, the weeding and the nurturing.

Hopefully, when that day comes, I won't be so grumpy.

What about you?  How do you cultivate an environment of love in your house?  How do you climb out of your own funks so that you don't react, but instead, rebuild?

Linking with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus.


  1. I think I had the same kind of Tuesday...thank God for His grace to see we have tomorrow to 'cultivate love' and try again.

  2. It is hard, but having two teenage boys that share a room, cultivating harmony takes work!

    Here in the cottage, we handle the problem head on. We truly do not allow them to get nasty with words. Words hurt! And because they are with me throughout the day, I really don't let one slip by.

    It is hard. It is tiring. But necessary to handle. I don't particularly take anything they do to each other, seriously. I find that it is their way to express themselves, because in a way, they feel safe with each other. I take these opportunities to talk and to guide.

    Boy, this was a long comment - sorry ;)


  3. What a great post and one that deserves much pondering..."Do I cultivate love in my home"....I think I am going to pray about this and then make a list of ways I can do just that....

    Thank you so much for broadening my day and encouraging me to think about my actions and words....

  4. I'm afraid I'm better at telling them to do it than showing them how to do it. It's a daily giving to the Lord for me, morning by morning, and a lot of failure at night, but consistency and not giving up. There are good days and not so good days but God is so much greater than our weakness, thankfully!

  5. Oh SO exactly what I have experienced the last couple of days re: my word for the year. Once I set it, it was like the universe laughed. I saw how pitiful my *rest* really was. I saw how I don't know how to rest, not really. But it's setting the intention that makes us see what's happening. God pointing out the weeds. Loved this.

  6. I have also been trying really hard not to reach to my children's or my husband's moods. I think that is a huge step! They go to bed happy and wake up grumpy! Sometimes they grow sweet and happy and and turn into difficult young adults! That is really hard and takes even more love and prayer!

  7. Great word: cultivate. You mentioned reacting to their grumpiness. I love the quote from Lincoln from a great little book called Lincoln on Leadership. The organization takes on the personality of the person on top.

    That always made me mindful when I was head of the county health department and when all the kids were home. If mama was happy, or at least trying to be so, everyone's mood went up too.

    good post!

  8. New Year and new resolve - a perfect combination for God to do some weeding! I have had a couple of "ahem" moments already this year, too-lol! Just glad I am listening so I can hear the better thing He is calling me to :) Beautiful post, Jen!

  9. Don't react, but instead, rebuild. That's a great challenge, Jen! My one word for the year is Focus. I want to focus on what God is trying to say to me in the moment instead of just reacting. I want to focus on His direction for my life instead of just jumping from one thing to the next.

    Love this encouragement ~ many blessings!

  10. My sweet is a Master Gardener and spends hours in her wonderful garden. Even she cultivates plants that don't turn out. It is part of the experience.

    Enjoy the ups and downs of cultivating.


  11. Oh my goodness. What great questions, my dear friend. Did I ever tell you about my friend that was a bean farmer from Iowa?? I'm going to have to call you sometime and tell you what I learned from her. I think it'll bless you.
    I don't have a voice (strep throat) this week - I'll send you a text to see if you have a few free minutes next week.
    May the Lord encourage you on your journey of cultivation!
    Cindy :)

  12. I love it when God teaches us something that should be right in front of us. I love when our children assist in that teaching.

  13. You are absolutely right. One of the hardest things in life is to keep our eye on the ball directly in front of us and to simultaneously keep our eye on heaven, on eternity, as well. Of course, Jesus had to do that, too. I don't think there is any way to do that except for the way you did...reflect, repent, and rewind with God's Word firmly in front.

  14. I like the word picture of "weeding" as a way to express our need to get rid of the old and undesireable. Also the very practical concept of making room for the new and better!

    I've been a little grumpy because of unexpected responsibilities crowding my schedule (not that it was all that organized in the first place). I realized it yesterday, and determined to be more diligent about time with the Lord.

    Thanks, Jen!

  15. "It takes being willing to bend and extend grace and realize my part in it." Oh how this resonates! In our home, I'm constantly challenged by my husbands humility and example in not being afraid to confront the difficult and in not being afraid to say sorry first.

  16. I'm so glad you linked.

    And can I just add: I. Get. This.

    Your line here will stick with me: " get out of my own head."

    Running does that, doesn't it? It takes you to another place.

    And for the record, I didn't sense a hint of grumpy in my comment box. :)

    Love to you ...

  17. I too am guilty of reacting and pro-acting to circumstances. I love "culivating love" Excellent for the new year. Most.

    All thru Him,

  18. I have been thinking about this post lately. Funny how you read something and it sticks with you. I react to my kids' moods a lot and it gets me nowhere. Thanks for writing this and making me stop and think!

  19. Thanks so much for letting me join. HOPE you have a great day!


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