Hands Full is here!
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or under water as a mom of little ones, dear soul, you are not alone. I am right there with you; so is our Father in Heaven. This 30 Day devotional for moms with their hands overflowing, is full of real life experiences and hope in the One who rescues us from them all: Jesus.
I’m not sure when the dream began, but my husband and I have often talked of our country-living vision. The simplicity and beauty of country life beckoned to us from the suburbs, although neither of had ever lived it.
Every time I read books like Charlotte’s Webor Mr. Brown’s Farmto my kids, I would imagine ponds and ducks and children running in fields of green and yellow.
Living in the country this past year has definitely held its excitement; barns to explore, woods to walk, and views to see. But I’m not gonna lie here and say it has been all Fern and Wilbur. It’s been an adjustment. Because you can take the girl out of the suburbs, but you can’t take the suburbs out of the girl.
Target and Starbucks are my people. I just can’t help that. Most may not be proud to be from the cookie-cutter community that exists 30 miles outside the city limits, but I am not one of them. The country is wild and quiet. So unlike the noisy pre-planned community I am used to.
The first few months on our dream property were like a honeymoon. We woke up to golden hills topped with a bright orange sun, and were in awe that this was all “ours.” Eyes wide open we would go exploring and adventuring, learning the land and feeling free.
Then we began the first of many renovations. And like my husband is always apt to do, we went big instead of going home. We (I mean he, with a rope and a truck and a couple of saws) tore down our old unstable front porch. We filled three full size dumpsters with demo from the porch and treasures from the barn like old T.V.s, canned food, and carpet.
We replaced 16 windows, created a man cave in the barn, rebuilt our front porch, replaced siding, installed a new front door and built a beautiful brick staircase leading up to it.
We made it through those few crazy weeks and January left us tired and happy for the quiet and peace we finally felt in our new home. But then it got a little too quiet. And then with baseball in the spring, too busy. And it seemed as if we had in fact moved, which of course we did. We knew we were moving to the hills, far from our friends, but we hadn’t felt it until now. We are people people and we never want to lose the connection to our beloved suburban community. But the 40-minute drive was feeling farther than it had before.
Nine months later, spring left us wondering if country living was all it was cracked up to be.
It was a hard place to sit. When you risk it all, you have to be willing for the potential reality that things won’t turn out like you were hoping. That you will in fact, have chanced it all and lost. When we moved, we knew it was a big risk. We knew we didn’t know what it would be like to live in the country having been suburb kids our whole lives.
But we felt (and still do) that sometimes it’s better to try than to wonder, and so we took the chance and bought the farm.
Although we aren’t shutting out the chance that we may someday risk again and move back to the burbs, for now we are staying. Even in the worst of summer’s offerings (heat and dust aplenty) we’ve renewed our determination to stay. We’ve remembered the reasons we moved out here. Fallen in love with a mucky pond, four-wheeler rides and some barn dancing–just us.
There are a lot of hard things about suburban kids going country. But there are also a lot of perks. There’s painted sunrises and sunsets that we can actually see, horses to pet, trails to run and bikes to ride over gravel hills. There’s porch swinging and sipping and some pretty sweet campfires (in the rainy season of course). There’s dreams yet to be dreamed and room to explore.
And as I sort through feelings of missing crowds but enjoying space, I’m reminded that any change we face in life is like this: full of pros and full of cons, of risk and reward. Risking, venturing, change–all these are unsettling things bringing unsettled feelings.
To any decision in life we make, there are perks and there are drawbacks. Advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons. We can never be free from both.
And something I’m learning more recently is that there is risk in taking risk, but there is also risk in not taking it. It’s risky to get married, to have children, to move to a new city or take a new job. But there is also risk in NOT doing these things. In order to save ourselves heartache or loss by staying close and keeping safe, there’s a world out there of things we miss. Things we never knew we would love or people we never meet.
High risk, high reward, my husband likes to say. The risk is that there may not be a reward. But how will we know unless we try? And if we try and fail? Well then, we have learned to be brave. We have learned to live unencumbered by fear of failure, and that in itself is success.
Because like hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
You guys!! By God’s great grace, something I wrote was posted with (in)courage today! I am so grateful for this opportunity to share what God has shared with me. You can click on the link below to read more.
Thank you friends for all your encouragement to me along the way.
I sent this picture out as our Christmas card last year. My husband thought I was crazy. He still thinks I am. We’ve certainly taken better family pictures, so why I chose this one he didn’t understand.
But this is my family. This is our house. And this is one of my all-time favorite pictures of us. Why? Because it’s real life. It’s crying and pouting kids and a big ‘ol messy house. Yes, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this one describes us.
I’m ever grateful our house doesn’t look like this anymore, but it still isn’t perfect and neither are we. And what this picture reminds me, and hopefully others, is that even when things look a little better on the outside, life still isn’t perfect and it never will be. And I’m beginning to think God’s more concerned with the process of redemption, than the result of perfection.
There are a lot of “Instagram stars” out there these days. People with lots of followers who post pretty pictures with perfecting filters, and whether they mean to or not, they make life appear better than it really is. To be fair, it’s hard to be real, it’s hard to see real on social media.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of social media. It’s easy to want people to see us as pretty, happy, stylish, women. Women who discipline their kids perfectly, decorate like Joanna Gaines, and age like Jennifer Anniston. Women who have it all together.
I know people can look through my Instagram account and see a different story than the one I know, even if I didn’t intend them too. And that is why I love this picture. It’s my chance to be real and vulnerable with you. To open the door to my house, (or front yard) and show you the reality of my messy wonderful life.
Because in the end, I’d rather you walk away from time with me feeling relieved and encouraged, than impressed. I want you to know you aren’t the only one with piles of papers on your desk, or piles of rotten wood in your front dirt. You aren’t the only one whose children pee in the grass and run through the aisles at Target.
Instead of leaving you fascinated, I’d rather leave you encouraged. I’d rather be real.
So I’d rather not impress you with our house, our children, or my sense of style. Instead, I want you impressed with the fact that we are all in this together. Impressed with our collective desperate need for a God who gives us infinitely more grace than we give ourselves (and each other).
I’d rather a friend or a stranger leave my presence– in person or online–grateful for her own gloriously hard mom life than envious of mine. So I’ll post this picture all day long, if it encourages us all to live life a little less filtered, a little more vulnerable, a little more real.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Hi! I'm Brooke
Brooke lives with her husband and their five energetic children outside of Sacramento, California. She loves Jesus and pizza, and has a thing for throw pillows. Her dreams are big, her God is bigger, and yes, her laundry room is a mess.