Be Refreshed – Spring Gardening For the Soul
By Diana, Contributing Writer
This post was intended to be all about spring gardening – spring vegetables that children love to grow, which vegetables will produce the most for your family, which types you can grow in containers, etc…
However, my mind and thoughts are in other places.
One of the things that I love about writing and being a part of the community at Keeper of the Home is that we’re real. We’re wives, mothers, and daughters doing the best that we can to nourish and love on our families.
As a KOTH mom, some of us homeschool, we take pride in feeding our families well even on limited resources, we do the best that we can to keep toxins away from our home, lay our own desires and ambitions aside to better that of our family and, most importantly, we do all of this with the strength that only God can provide.
As a writer and author, I’ve had to screen what I write about in order to protect those that I love and my own family’s need for privacy.
However, I can tell you right now, I’m struggling. I’m hurting.
My husband lost his job this past February. Within this past week our plumbing backed up which needs an extensive repair and my dog, my Boaz, passed away.
It’s raining hard over here.
My first instincts were to hide all of this pain. To lift up a facade of happy Christian mama with a solid foundation of faith. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…right?!
I can’t do that, and I’m writing this because I know there are other woman out there that need the encouragement that I’ve only finally started feeling this week.
In the midst of my anger, I got angry at my Lord.
How could he let this happen to my family. How could he do this to His children that He adamantly promised He would take care of and bless?
I kept praying, “God, what is going on?” “How is my family going to get through this financially,” and “Why did you have to take Boaz right now?”
In the midst of these questions, I stepped outside and saw this.
My spring chives starting to grow.
My bleeding hearts starting to produce their beauty once again.
All at once I felt a rush of peace and security. As if my Father in Heaven wrapped Himself around me and whispered, “I’m shaping and re-growing who you are.”
My soul was refreshed and I was encouraged by my God that soon there will be joy.
How to Be Refreshed During Difficult Times
As I write these words, I know the Holy Spirit is working.
I’m still uncertain of where my family will be or how He’s going to see us through it, but I am certain without a doubt that God wants the best for my family and will get us there.
However, these feelings, this faith, didn’t just come naturally to me. It wasn’t an “aha” moment, and it certainly didn’t just happen by stepping outside.
I’ve been built up by seeking and being in His Word, the Bible.
As believers, we can be assured that there will be times of trial and suffering. (For some reason, I thought this was true for everyone else but me and mine – Wow, was I ever wrong!).
It’s during these times of hardship that we have a choice to make. Either cling to God’s promises and be built up stronger in faith or turn from Him and be consoled by this world.
For me, it’s been during this time that I’ve had this unquenchable thirst for His word. My morning routine has been in time of prayer, pleading with God for understanding, and then reading through my study from Good Morning Girls. Every morning, God’s left me with a little something to get me through my day – to let me know that this time of hardship is what I need spiritually in my life right now.
One day, He really spoke to me through Luke 5:12-16.
It was in this passage that a man with leprosy saw Jesus, fell to the ground and begged him to be healed. He said, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me well again.” Jesus reached out touched the man and said, “I want to,” he said, “Be healed!”
In this, I learned that I’ve spent too much time doubting that God wants the best for me. That he really, really, loves me. He LOVES ME!!
As mothers and keepers of the home, we spend so much time worrying about our families and that they are cared for that we forget that God wants the best for us, too. That we are his daughters, His children, and that it’s okay to come to him like a child, broken.
I don’t know what the future holds for my family, but I do know that the only way I am going to get through this is by holding my Fathers hand.
Oh man, does that ever give me peace.
All of our needs are being met so I’ll just keep allowing Him to grow my spiritual soul and be refreshed knowing that the buds are blooming, the birds are chirping, and that my Father in Heaven loves me.
Guess what? He loves you too, so don’t be afraid to come to Him, to beg Him, to plead with Him to show Himself to you. Get in His word and be refreshed – He will deliver!
*One thing that has been important to me is sharing about my menu plan on a budget. It has helped many families, including my own, to continue to nourish them even through difficult times. If you’re going through difficult times, and you need the help of my menu plan to learn how to cook real foods to nourish your family, please contact me for a free subscription. Please don’t hesitate to ask; I would love to bless you as He has blessed me!
Thank you for writing this – it is exactly what I needed to hear today. We just moved to a new town, and have had some major unexpected expenses in the past weeks. We have been really struggling, on top of feeling utterly alone. But you have reminded me that we’re not alone! God is with us in this, and he is taking care of us.
Blessings to you, friend. May the Lord deal abundantly with you in the weeks ahead.
I’m glad it could be encouraging, Stephanie. Sweet blessings to you as well!
Oh Diana…my husband unexpectedly lost his job two years ago. Three weeks before I was due to have our second child. It is so hard and I completely understand how anger creeps in. Fear that can be crippling. How it can mess with a mans identity. What I can encourage you with is this…you will learn to trust God to provide all your needs most likely in a way you have never had to do. And it can grow your marriage in unexpected ways, if you choose to let it. His Word promises that ALL things work together for good, for those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes. Be blessed and encouraged as you continue to look for your “spring”!
Thanks, Erica! Romans 8:28, definitely one of my life verses. Thanks for sharing that 😀
One of my favorite devotions is with my 6 children is that God doesn’t want to use the trees that haven’t seen storms, cause they are not strong enough to make strong tools for His usefulness.
He is forging you, be patient.
In May, potentially my husband will be ending his job. He drives an hour each way, and we have an 11 man football team there in that same city, as a ministry, and it is coming up on its 3rd season this next year. Right now, I am homeschooling, cleaning the church, working 3 hours a day as a home health assistant, blogging, and he is mowing the church yard. The extra money gets us some much needed things, such as the gas to go an hour away each day and food for our animals, and a few other needed things, such as shoes for the kids, but savings, ha. GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL! He has been faithful through 15 moves in 14 years of marriage, two in which were major moves without any job, and living in a tent for a month on a friends farm. I have often struggled with the feelings you have communicated, but we have always come out stronger, and more full of faith than we had before!
Be encouraged! The flower always has to pushe through a whole bunch of dirt before we get to see the tender bloom.
Where i struggle is: We eat as good as we can, but our food bill is astronomical, so I could use some help there, as I use very little processed food and we are primarily gluten free.
Thanks and The Lord bless and keep you! May he comfort you during your loss too.
Thanks so much for sharing, Kristi. It’s good to hear from other mama’s doing what need be for their families. Much love to you!
In December 2011, my husband was so sick and we didn’t know what it was and we wouldn’t know for 4 months. It turned out he needed a heart transplant and that’s a journey we are still on. What I learned in this time is that God really means those promises in the Bible. He is my Shepherd and He will provide all that I need. Over and over He reminded me that I am blind, but He is not. These times of trial show US the depth of our faith; God already knows how deep our faith is. These times of trial are an opportunity to grow and strengthen our faith, but we have to choose that route. Know that having chosen to trust God, He will be trustworthy and your faith will be stronger and more beautiful on the other side.
Another devotional that has been very wonderful for me through this past year, “Streams in the Desert.” Today’s passage was about the largest uncut diamond, and how a skillful craftsman made two beautiful diamonds out of one, but he had to take the hammer to it first.
This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. This winter has been full of health problems in my family and there have been days I have cried out to my Lord that I can’t take anymore. I know that he will never give me more than I can handle but sometimes I lose sight of this and need reminded that he has a plan.
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. Psalm 34:10
My husband was out of a job for 8 months and I can testify that this verse was made real to us, I clung to it. It is true or it is not.
I also learned to take the anxious thoughts captive and exchange them for the truth of our sovereign Lord, over all things. Such peace covered us like a blanket on a cold windy day and the fearful thoughts were minimal.
You are running to the Word, so the trials are accomplishing in you what they are intended to accomplish. Continue in the Word — it is nourishment. You may want to begin marking God in your Bible and making a list of all of his attributes, his character that you see in each verse. Trust his heart for you in this time of trial and testing.
His grace is sufficient, it truly is a beautiful thing…the sufficiency of Christ.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
I know, O LORD, that your judgments are righteous and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
If your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.
I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, O LORD, according to your word.
Your testimonies are wonderful, therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
Establish my footsteps in your word and do not let iniquity have dominion over me.
Let my tongue sing of your word, for all your commandments are righteous.
Let my soul live that it may praise You and let your ordinances help me.
Psalm 119:67, 75, 92, 107, 129-130, 133, 172, 175
Btw – our dog passed a few weeks ago. 🙁
Diana, you are a brilliant young woman with a heart generous enough to share what’s real and painful in a way that brings hope and refreshing to others. Thank you. Lots of people are out in the world giving advice based on Christian theory. Nothing tested or tried in their own lives. You are bringing encouragement and comfort based on Christian truth……big difference. Ten years from now you will be walking with the Lord facing other challenges that seem as big or bigger than these but what he fashions in your heart today will not only help you then but will multiply to help others then also. I am blessed by your writings. He is always faithful.
Your transparency is beautiful and very encouraging to sisters who need to see that God loves us and provides for us, even in the dark times.
Thank you for sharing this today. A really inspiring read for anyone walking with Jesus because there are many ups and downs to face. I will be praying for strength and encouragement for you and your family. Great job and thank you again!
Thank you for trusting us enough to share your heart; I know God wants the best for you and your family. It’s just that it is so hard to accept that what God knows we need is often not what we are asking of Him. When I read your post this morning it lifted me up. No, I certainly do not delight in your family’s trials, but rather I am encouraged for the future of our nation and society by the mere knowledge that you and the other followers of KOTH are nourishing our future generations with such a fine example of stewardship. Life is often uncertain, but knowing that God has a plan for your life and trusting Him especially during the difficult times, you are being a faithful servant. That gives me hope. As a woman and mother of grown children, I worry that future generations could lose the gift of healthful and nourishing real food; that they will forget the gift we have been given and the responsibility to be good stewards of this earth; that they will be led astray by “bigger, shinier, better”. I will pray for you and your family, but I wanted you to know that you are also an answer to my prayers; God has shown me that I do not need to lose faith or hope in our future as long as there are followers like you and your family to secure our future.
I’m so sorry all this is happening to you. It’s so hard when you expect the sunshine but get the rain instead. We’ve experienced the rain too. Two years ago we lost two precious dogs (but we are still grieving); one, a longtime beloved part of our family, who passed away suddenly, and the other, one that we found and quickly bonded with but then had to give back to the original owners. And just a few months ago I suffered a miscarriage, my first pregnancy in 20 years (our son is 20 this year), and a complete surprise but nonetheless very much wanted. I could not understand why I would become pregnant after so many years only to have it go away so soon. And my health has been a constant challenge these past few years, as I struggle with adrenal fatigue and subsequent hormonal imbalances, to the point where everything that I feel I am supposed to do has had to be put on hold until I am better (but I’m using holistic methods to heal myself naturally).
But the lovely promises of Spring make me cognizant of God’s presence amidst the trials. It was only recently that I came back to this realization after feeling so empty and forsaken for a while now. Although I can’t understand these trials, I have to hold on to the promise that God fashions good and beautiful things out of the ashes.
Thank you for this wonderful encouragement today. I pray you would feel the sunshine very soon.
Thanks for sharing this. A lot of these mom blogs give the appearance of a perfect woman. We all know that this doesn’t exist but it can be intimidating surfing around mom blogs. Thank you for being honest about your weaknesses. We need to share these with each other, even perfect strangers sometimes. God was speaking similar things to me this morning. My husband has work but purchasing a home has been more financially stressful than we bargained for. Looking back we made many mistakes and reaped the consequences but God is faithful especially in our errors. I’m having trouble swallowing some of the consequences but God’s grace is sufficient at all times and in all things.
Hi Diana, this is beautifully written. I admire you for putting your thoughts into words. I’m sure after reading these comments you can see how others are in similar situations. Currently, I am really struggling with a co-worker whose work ethics do not jive with mine. I only work part-time as I think you know, but sometimes those 3 days make it hard to go in just because of her. But see…..I have a JOB. I need to be thankful. I keep praying that God gives me the strength to see past her faults and only just recently have starting praying for her, that she too can learn, see the other side, maybe see what she is doing? I don’t know….it’s hard! Keep up the great work Diana – God has great things promised for you and your family and you are on the right track:)
I am sorry to hear about all you are going through! It is hard when you are already dealing with a hard time and something else is added. I wrote about our experience with a job loss here on my blog
I hope it will be a time of great fruit and evidence of God’s love and blessing your family!! XOXO
Thanks for being so open and honest, Diana. So sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss and the loss of your sweet dog; praying that God’s grace would be poured out on you in this season! Love how He used your garden to remind you of His goodness.
I’m in a season of different challenges right now; trying not to just fixate on them, but hoping & praying I’ll learn everything God wants me to through them. Some days are better than others, as that goes :).
I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through all of this, it’s never easy with a job loss and of course everything else seems to happen all at once. You have a very good outlook on life and I know God will see your family through this tough time and he has great things in store for your future! Our family has been struggling with my husband’s job loss for awhile now, you may have heard about the whole Peregrine Financial Group scandal back in July (cedar falls, iowa). Thankfully my husband was able to remain employed for many months while they closed up the books, etc from the business. But that has all come to an end since Feb. He’s applied for many jobs since last July and had multiple interviews but nothing has come of those, we’re scared that being associated with that company has ruined his name. It’s scary not knowing what the future holds but we hold onto our faith in God and know that in his timing all will be okay, and with his will, we will find our way back to a more “normal” life. Hang in there!
About a year and a half ago you prayed for me when fear had overtaken and I was having a very hard time believing God was in control. I knew it in my head but my heart was trailing and frankly, I was afraid of his answer. My daughter had had a miscarriage, a stillbirth and was a couple months from delivering baby number 3, which would be her only living baby. Your prayer stayed with me for months. I kept going back to it and your kindness and that prayer helped get me thru those couple months. You do and have changed lives with impacts that are far reaching. I have never met you but would love to give you a hug, especially now. I will be praying without ceasing for you and ur family. I think of myself on God’s lap, being wrapped in his arms, with my hair being stroked when I am in over my head and need Him. I am putting you there now in my mind and praying for peace that really is beyond understanding. Thank you again for what you do.
Jenny, I’ll take that hug!! God has such a mighty way of sending his love and reassurance. He is so good! Thank you so much for praying for me and mine!! Huge hug back!!
I am so glad you are finding solace in God’s Word during this difficult time. He is the only source of Hope, the only source of Peace, the only real Comforter. I love what you have shared and appreciate how hard it was to lay that all out there for anyone and everyone to read, and I know that God will use your testimony mightily! I’ve been reading through the Old Testament so far this year, and the passage the Lord brought to my mind while reading this was Numbers 21:16-17, “From there the Israelites traveled to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, ‘Assemble the people, and I will give them water.’ There the Israelites sang this song: ‘Spring up, O well! Yes, sing its praises! Sing of this well, which princes dug, which great leaders hollowed out with their scepters and staffs.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old song, “Spring Up, Oh Well,” that was inspired by this passage? The lyrics are beautifully refreshing:
I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me.
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free.
I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me.
Spring up Oh Well.
Within my soul.
Spring up Oh Well
And make me whole.
Spring up Oh Well
And give to me
That life abundantly.
Praying for you and your family!
Thanks girl!! I love you!!
It was so refreshing to read this honest post and it spoke right to my heart. My husband also lost his job in February and while God has been so faithful in providing for us, there are times where I feel so discouraged and lost. In reading your post, I realized I was have been making the choice to be consoled by the world, rather than turning to God. It was convicting, but it was just what I needed to hear to get me going in the right direction.
oh this was wonderful to read! so uplifting….me too…always finding myself getting scared…likethe guy on the lake with jesus….I have been able to afford organic food for my autoimmune damaged boy who is allergic to any chemicals,GMO ect…every month i worry how will i pay for my sons specail diet the next month and praise God he always provides..
.I had a faith healer once heal my son. for an entire day hewas normal. when i say normal i mean at peace. it lasted for a whole day my beautiful boy healed. then he went back to his autism induced misery of OCD violence anger ect….I knew I just knew this was God telling me he had the power to heal my son…but there was something me and my boy need to learn first…thank you for encouraging me again….I think in these last days we can never encourage each other enough…God bless all who read…
Diana, thank you so much for sharing your heart. Your words are such a blessing and encouragement to me. I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious Boaz. God is using you and I know has many blessings in store for you as you have blessed so many others.
Thanks for writing this, Diana! My husband and I recently lost our jobs for next year, and we’ve certainly experienced the whole gamut of emotions. I identify with that need you feel to drink deeply from the Word…it is hardcore nourishment in times of stress and uncertainty. God is so faithful!
Had a very tough day full of anger and yelled at my special needs son And put a hole in my wall. Was looking for some encouragement and God showed me your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart…truly a blessing!
“Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD.” In times like these, those words do more to calm my fears than anything. I know where you are, I have been there. The only thing I have seen in times like these is that God is not only preparing the road ahead for me but he is gently whispering, “don’t be afraid, stop panicking, just be still, I’m right here and I am taking care of EVERYTHING”. He is always faithful to us and provides a way. Thank goodness he loves us. My prayers will continue for all of your families.
Thank you for posting this. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.
I’ve been completely blessed by all of your sweet comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to pray and encourage me during this time. Even though we’re in a difficult place, I’m overflowing with joy. God is so GOOD!! Huge hugs, sisters!!
This can happen so unexpectedly to any of us. I love how your garden and The Word brought you the encouragement you needed. I especially loved “As if my Father in Heaven wrapped Himself around me and whispered, “I’m shaping and re-growing who you are.” No matter what stage of life we are in, I am 55, God is always shaping us. Your words have encouraged others. A Blessed Sabbath Day to You and Your Family.
Hi! Like so many others who have wrote in, I felt your words penetrate to the place of hurt and confusion that i wrestle with. i should be so excited about the news of a 4th baby but it has taken me by surprise and left me worried all of the time., mainly due to our very meek income. i have three small wonderful boys whom i feel i can barely take care of b/c of the exhaustion and nausea with 1st trimester and i deal with perinatal depression. I was getting ready to close down for the night and stumbled on your entry by no accident! thank you for sharing, and please let me know about the meal subscription. i went hundreds of dollars over our food budget last month and that can not happen again, we are gluten free and 1/2 of us are dairy free! makes it interesting! what i need to do is get a menu plan, why is it so hard to stick to that… I wonder is it best to go shopping for sale items first and then put the meals together? can’t wait to hear more from you in the future! love, jen
What a blessing you are to us all. And what a great encourager you are.