Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Summer 2019

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.”  (I Thessalonians 5:1)

Paul’s words come embedded with a warning to the church–sort of a, “It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway” message regarding a certain watchfulness and an inspired willingness to live in the present moment with hearts close to the knowledge that everything you see around you exists for today– but could be on its way to dust tomorrow.

I’m cultivating that focus here at summer’s end. Could this be why God designed the seasons so that rich fruition would give way to the gentle warning of autumn? Why else does the riot of color exist alongside the smell of decay, unless it is for our instruction and our comfort? God is nothing if he’s not a gifted teacher, using all the senses and bending over backward to make sure we get the point.

Borrowing the concept from Emily P. Freeman, I’ll be engaging in a bit of reflective practice here, and inviting you along for the ride as I harvest the seemingly significant bits from my calendar, pictures, journal, reading life, family events, and other happenings here on the hill.

Reflections from Ministry

Summer 2019 (from my journal)– Sunshine, mosquitoes,a glorious day of planting, and suddenly all the seeds are buried. Let the waiting begin.
This year, we planted only what we need, but everything we need. The plowed up field is wide and long with plenty of room. Some years, I have planted in fear of running out of space, but not this year. Everything is planted in abundance and all the seed has been squandered.

Then God said, in his quiet way,  “You can live this way as well. Behold your boundaries. They are wide, and there is plenty. There is more room than you imagine. There is more space than you are letting yourself occupy.”

And so, the matter was settled. This was God’s green light, and I went off to Christian Youth in Action Training for ten days of ministry to and with teens who were being trained to share the Word of God with children.

Of course, whatever we are teaching to others, we finally begin to understand ourselves.

Reflections from Writing

Do I believe Jesus can rescue my children? Do I trust him to work redemptively in their hearts? I want to.I’m tempted to look at statistics here on the blog and to share with you the “most popular” posts from the summer of 2019, but instead, I will share my favorite bit of writing:  a piece I wrote for Desiring God about the desperate dad in Mark 9 who brings his son to Jesus and howls the well-known lament, “I believe. Help my unbelief.”

The truth is that parenting exposes our need for faith, and our best move is to make room in our parenting practices for Jesus to put on display his power and his love for our children. What does that look like in practice? I’m still a work in progress, but you can head on over to Desiring God where I share a few thoughts about connecting our children with Jesus, the Power Source who enables us to make our parenting vision a reality.

Reflections from Worship

Finding community can be a long and challenging process, but the rewards are worth the wait.Local church ministry is one of the most important foundations of my following life. It’s there that gritty life-on-life connections and service remind me of what a sinner I am. It’s also where I share Goldfish crackers and God’s Word with a handful of four-year-olds each week.

This thought from our faithful pastor sank deep into my bones as he shared truth this summer from the life of Joseph:

“God’s sovereignty means that he is the undisputed boss of the universe. Reconcile your soul to the sovereignty of God.”

Reflections from Home

This guy begins his senior year this fall!

I walked into the post office bearing an envelope addressed to Maine’s Department of Education. It contained my final Notice of Intent to Continue Homeschooling. This fall begins my twentieth and final year of homeschooling.

I fully expected balloons and confetti to fall from the ceiling.

Since they did not, I went home and made pizza.

Home continues to be my anchor. There are ten Morins spread over three households now, and when we are all together, we are loud, we laugh a lot, and somehow, large quantities of food disappear like magic. I doubt if I will live long enough to find words of gratitude sufficient for the gift my family is to me.

Reflections from Reading

This summer I led my first ever face-to-face book club here in Mid-Coast Maine. If you’ve read the Sensible Shoes series by Sharon Garlough Brown, the irony of four women meeting weekly to talk about spiritual formation will not be lost on you. Our discussions ranged far and wide and, at times, the clock was our nemesis.

In Chapter 5, the spiritual director in Sensible Shoes lit a candle and began her meeting with this beautiful prayer that I invite you to pray along with me today:

“Jesus Christ, Light of the World, come and light the dark corners of our lives. Where we are blind, grant us sight. Where we stumble in darkness, illumine our path. Quiet us with your love, and enable us to hear your still, small voice. For you are our dear friend, Lord, and we long to be fully present to you.”

Amen

Thank you for reading. It is my prayer that this will continue to be a place in which we come together around Truth to hear the still, small voice and to come away resolved to follow and to obey,


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62 thoughts on “Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Summer 2019”

  1. Beautiful, thought provoking and heart stirring reflections. I love the prayer. I have saved it in my journal to read in the coming darker months.

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  2. I love following along especially when you share an open door into more of your life. You never fail to teach in the process.

    I bet your 21st year of homeschooling will be bittersweet. I already sense God has new things in store when you officially lay down homeschooling.

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  3. Hello, your post is beautiful. I am happy and sad to see summer come to an end. The cooler weather is nice though. Spending time with our family is a gift. Love the prayer. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend ahead!

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  4. I would throw confetti and hang balloons for you, friend! Congrats. You are doing such good kingdom work in big and small ways all around you!

    And I loved the first two Sensible Shoes books! I need to read the others!

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  5. I wish I could make balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling for you, Michele! Congratulations on beginning your final year of homeschooling. You’re a hero.

    I wish I were close enough to you to be in your face-to-face book club. But I’m MUCH too wimpy for those Maine winters. 🙂

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  6. 21 years of homschooling! I’d have celebrated, too! I imagine you’ll have celebrations at the end of the school year, too–for the graduate, of course, but for yourself as well. Or maybe a week’s vacation would be better. 🙂

    I’d love to be in a face-to-face book club with you, too! Funny, I never thought of starting one. Thanks for planting that seed of thought…I’ll have to let it incubate and pray and see what happens.

    I do remember that blog post about parenting–one of my favorites.

    Thanks for bringing us along in our reflections!

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    1. You would LOVE a face to face book club! It’s even better than the ones I’ve hosted on my blog–and those were pretty fun, too. We’ve decided to go ahead and read Book 2 between now and October and then have a Sensible Shoes reunion!

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  7. I so appreciate your posts and your calm reflections. Thank you for linking up and I hope you continue. Have a BLESSED holiday weekend!

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  8. September seem s like the perfect time to reflect. Better even than January. It just seems like a new year (or maybe that’s just the teacher in me thinking). your reflection from writing struck a chord (again) with me. I share that lament often, but have found it especially relevant lately. Your “Gang of 4” sounds wonderful. You are lucky to have 3 such thoughtful friends to share a discussion with.

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  9. Michele, I should comment more often. You always inspire and encourage me through God’s Word. I so enjoyed the Desiring God article. Congrats on twenty one years of home schooling and I am sure this last year will be bittersweet. Autumn seems to be a time of reflection for me. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

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  10. Pizza sounds like a great way to celebrate to me! We’re only in our 7th year homeschooling but I feel like I can already catch glimpses of the end… and I don’t like that! 🙂

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  11. Loved reading your reflections on Summer 2019, Michele. What a great metaphor for home: anchor. I, too, find steadiness and support in my family. There are eleven Rueggs spread over four households and three states now, but when we’re able to be all together, we too are loud, we laugh a lot, and consume large quantities of food. AMEN to your sentiment that words fail to express gratitude to God for the gift of family! P.S. I’ve put that book, Sensible Shoes, on my list. Sounds like another worthy read!

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    1. Wow, the Rueggs are spread far and wide. Isn’t it just a great gift when the worlds come together? I’m sure you’re going to love Meg, Charissa, Hannah, and Mara (the “girls” of Sensible Shoes!)

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  12. So much good truth here, Michele. I loved your pastor’s words: “God’s sovereignty means that he is the undisputed boss of the universe.” And this:
    “Everything you see around you exists for today– but could be on its way to dust tomorrow.” This post was a delight to read, my friend.

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  13. Michele, what a delight you are! May the Lord bless your last year of homeschooling with joy, peace, and strength. (I finished 3 years ago, after 15 years.) I loved homeschooling, but still find the freedom glorious! And what a beautiful prayer from Sensible Shoes. Your own book club, wow! (I led my own book club/Bible study for the first time as well.)

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    1. Aren’t face to face conversations over books (and the Bible!) just the best?
      And it’s good for me to hear that you are exulting in the post-homeschool life. I get so much “What are you going to do with yourself?” that it makes me wonder…
      But usually from people who have no idea how all consuming homeschooling can be.

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  14. This was a lovely post, Michele. It is so true that parenting continues to expose our need for faith, no matter how big they grow! May God bless you and your son in this final year of homeschooling!

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  15. Uplifting. I haven’t read the book series you mentioned but now I’m interested! I was in a spiritual direction group with four other women and we did a silent retreat together last December at a convent.

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  16. Awww, Michele, what a wonderful wrap up of your summer. I loved this! And the part found me vigorously nodding my head was the truth that parenting spotlights our need for faith. We are walking through a pretty tough season of parenting right now, and yes, God is calling me to faith, not fear.

    I always love your wisdom shared.

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  17. I like that Michele, “…whatever we are teaching to others, we finally begin to understand ourselves.” It’s so true! I’ve found it to be true in my own life as I have taught Sunday School, Bible studies and spoken at ladies conferences. I learn more than I teach.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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    1. Yes, that’s one of the huge fringe benefits of teaching. Even with my four year olds, I taught the story of Ruth on Sunday and have been mulling it over all week. (I hope they have too….)

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