Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cultivate - Again

Cultivate - to prepare, to loosen or break up the soil, to foster growth; to promote or improve growth by labor and attention; to develop or improve by education or training; to seek an acquaintance or friendship. To cultivate the arts means to encourage the arts.

Wow! All of that under the word cultivate. This word was used in our pastor's sermon on Sunday morning as he was expanding on I Peter 3:1-7. You probably wouldn't think about the word cultivate when looking at these verses, but it was in reference to what should be done for a wife. He expressed that her gifts should be cultivated.

Somehow, in the rush of trying to survive the struggles my family has been going through, I just stopped growing. Not that I didn't grow in size... I did, and not that I didn't age... I did, but I didn't grow. I started to justify NOT spending time cultivating.

How many times do women set aside their own growth to make sure the family is making it along the journey? Many will say that is why they work in jobs outside the home, so they can continue to grow themselves.  At home, moms will justify their lack of cultivation due to their responsibilities as a mom, while believing this neglect is being spiritual.

My choice has been not to work outside my home, even though that work would have provided financial security and, at times, much-needed adult conversation. We chose for me to stay home, to home-educate and raise six children. In the early days of mothering, I seemed to know the importance of cultivating. This usually meant a trip to the park for the kids to play, while I ate up the contents of a book. Cultivating meant taking walks with one in a stroller and the others on bikes,which gave me added energy AND a trim body. I would also escape to my bedroom during lunch time to steal away and watch a home decorating show... this was before HGTV. Each of these things would re-energize me, cultivate me.

I enjoyed creating and, in my early mothering days, I had a cabinet built for my sewing machine in the same room where the kids could play, while I sewed. I had my own business, where I could remain at home and still create. This allowed me the opportunity of cultivating my love for interior decorating. My business never took away from my mothering of four young children. Yet, it enhanced my mothering skills because I was cultivating myself, while learning to raise my children.

I read books, books, and more books. I seemed to have four or five going at all times that cultivated my mothering, my cooking, my spiritual walk, my home education and my business. I took evening classes on different pursuits, while also attending conferences.

Each mother needs to cultivate the woman God made her to be. A woman has so many facets of her life and each one reveals rays of the beautiful light God intended for her to share.

Somewhere between raising and guiding the first four through teenage-hood, I stopped growing. We moved to a new city, which was good. But when my eldest started high school, the full schedule put a hold on all my cultivating. As any gardener knows, if you don't cultivate the garden, your crop yield will be less and the weeds will invade your plot of land. As I put my tools down in order to maintain our busy schedule and adjust to our ever-decreasing finances, I allowed the weeds to take over the garden.

So, when our pastor talked about a woman needing to cultivate the gifts God had given her and how that was a priority in his stay-at-home wife's life, I had a sinking feeling in my soul. I stated to someone recently that I felt "lost", not knowing what I was supposed to do. Yes, I still have three children at home and two still need me full time. No, I am not re-entering the work force outside of my house, even though I am at the age for an empty nest. What I am going to do is go before the Lord and ask how to pick up my tools. They may not be the same tools He had used to cultivate me before, because this time, I first need to break up the hard ground. I need to know WHAT He wants to cultivate in me, WHICH gifts are still on my shelf that need to be brought down and WHICH gifts He wants to reveal in me now.

It is so easy to have life nail us with curve balls and we let them sideline us. When this happens, we justify setting our gifts down, usually because we feel we need to or just don't have the energy or resources to continue them. As our pastor explained, this puts a new level of importance on a wife being cultivated and that it is just as important for his wife to be cultivated in her gifts as it is for him to pastor his large congregation. These are gifts that God has given to us, to be used for his glory, to reflect Him with the many facets that shine from our lives.

I will pick up my tools once again and look forward to this new season of cultivating the woman God made me to be, while continuing to be a wife and mother. I am believing that while I am digging up hard soil, my family will be enriched by the new crop.

This is a re-post for when I began blogging.  God is still working this truth in my life.  Blogging and re-doing my home is a fruit of the cultivating I have started.  I hope this re-post blesses you.

33 Joining in with more words:

Anonymous said...

Love it, Janette, so true, but to make things just a little easier on you, He is the gardener and He knows exactly how to cultivate and grow us. Just follow His lead knowing that the very process of His cultivating sometimes seems like nothing is taking place, especially growth. Ah, but underneath the soil much is happening. You're in good hands.
Much love, my dear.

Mary said...

we so need to cultivate and keep growing in all the areas of our lives. isn't it easy to set aside this when we are busy moms, or busy women.

when i am not cultivating, or growing i feel myself beginning to shrivel, close in on myself instead of opening.

i believe this is important for Dad's and men as well. they need outside interests, activities, friends.

great post friend!

Sonja said...

It's such a good post Janette! You are in that chapter of life where you are reassessing, and your pastors word was so right on! The same 'tools' that were good then, are still God's tools for the now, and for the next. You keep right on going my friend, you are SO on the right track! And this post is goig to bless a lot of women who can relate.


Farm Girl said...

I like this and It is all true. I am glad for the years like that and I am thankful for the years of home schooling because I see that those years I was home with the kids, God was pruning me and shaping me for the years I am in now. God had to teach me dependance on Him and had to wean me from the world. Mothering didn't come easy or naturally for me. So for me, that cultivation meant ripping everything I was out by the roots and tearing town the old foundation that I had built on sandy ground.
Very thought provoking.
I am glad for the repost.

Canadagirl said...

What a wonderful post! It got me thinking. I have been cultivating and growing in certain parts of my life but I need to cultivate more in my spiritual grounds. I need to and must. What you said has been added to other things I have been hearing the Lord say. Thank you for confirming that.

Blessings and ((HUGS))

Debbie said...

I have to say until I got to the very end of this post I was thinking...."wow, I would have said that Janette IS cultivating BIG TIME...LOOK at her beautiful kitchen, the home she is creating with her wonderful decorating skills....she is ALWAYS busy it seems....has little Benjamin who is still soo young and sweet to mother every day, her high school boy she is still teaching etc. etc." But then I read that this was an old post, so now I am not so confused. I think you may have many other gifts Janette that you don't realize you are even cultivating. And that is in your blogging! You encourage others every day and shed little bits of wisdom and truth in almost everything you write. As the Lord has worked on you, (cultivating you so to speak) you have shared with us. And I soo appreciate it and you! Love to you!! Debbie

Kathryn Ross said...

Oh - once again your repost is on the money! I think God has you reposting these because I wouldn't get to read them otherwise!

I have always understood this truth - if I am not filled I can not overflow in ministry to my children husband, and extended family - including my church family! God has so uniquely gifted women and never intended for one half of the body of Christ to be relegated to slave detail - making men and boys kings - so to speak.

This is why this choice of word in admonishment to men and their wives is so crucial to understand the nurturing that needs to be happening as a two way street in marriage - and in our community/social relationships.

May you prosper in your cultivating endeavors. I, too, am in a fresh season of cultivation. For me, though, just now - it's all about breaking up fallow ground. Methuselah Tree post.

You are a gem - blessing me this day!


BARBIE said...

The perfect read for me today. I have been neglecting my garden a tad bit lately. I've been so focused on making my home run, besides working full time. I forget to cultivate my garden, to strengthen myself. I am so thankful for this reminder.

e-Mom said...

As I was reading this post, I kept thinking about how blogging for you (and all of us) is "cultivating." And then I came to the end and found you had written this post when you began blogging... so there you go! You seem like you're always growing and learning--particularly with your current decorating projects. Press on my friend!

Shanda said...

This was a great post. I think most mothers stop growing as we give all our time and energy into growing our families. I know I am stepping out in new way now I have more time to myself and it feels good to start be growing again.

Vee said...

I enjoyed reading this repost never having done so before. It kind of hits a gal where it hurts because women are so likely to feel guilty for everything all the time on the best of days. I'd like to know some of the things you may have introduced to your life since that are helping you to feel as if you are cultivating your talents. Oh, I know one! You've made your home into a wonderful place to be with all your interior design skills.

Debbie said...

Oh Janette.

This post was written to me. I just know it. I have not really grown, it seems, in a while. Oh, I try to cultivate my spirit and grow scripturally. I am trying to rediscover myself around the home, too.

But there is/was something that I couldn't put my finger on. You expressed it here.

I'll be praying a bit differently now.

Shelley said...

Amen lady-bird - loved this post - and the challenge to cultivate. Through blogging the Lord has truly been cultivating much in my life. I feel as though my 40's are going to be good cultivating years.

Lea also known as "CiCi" said...

Oh, I missed this the first go around, so glad you reposted it. Very profound and full of richness! You are a gifted writer and I always enjoy stopping by. Blessings!

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Janette, this is exactly what has been on my mind these last few weeks, wondering what I should be doing with my life. I used to feel I was contributing, doing what God intended, now I sometimes feel lost. Good things to ponder and bring to God in prayer. I am just in an in-between stage and must trust He will lead me further.

Petra said...

I really like what Marcia said. I'm going to use her words to make things a little easier on you, and actually on me too? We are in good hands indeed! Blessings!

blessedmom's simple home said...

I don't think I read it the first time, but what a blessing it was to me today. Thank you for sharing this again. I need to remember this too.

JillAileenJones said...

Thank you for posting this. I am such a fixer that I tend to let life and it's many circumstances often drowned out the loving voice of our Father. There are times I have looked back ashamed of who I must have looked like to the outside world because I was so wrapped up in "doing the fixing" of what was going on in our lives instead of just leaning on Him and praying for His strength and His will, that I could not have been shining with His presence.
I will be praying for all that is still going on in your life and praying for God to clearly direct you and your path, whatever that may be at this point in your life.
Love you and your posts.

Cindy said...

I need some cultivating too. I feel stagnant these days. Great post!

Sally said...

I have found that I didn't always want to cultivate the gifts God wanted cultivated. I thought they were done, or more honestly, not as interesting or fun. I'm at the point once again, thinking I'm ready for more interesting things than what God is saying to continue cultivating (I've been doing that, aren't I done yet?) ((That sounds as whiney as you imagine.))

Rebecca said...

Yep! I'm re-blessed, Janette. It's an every day thing. And if we're not moving forward, we're going backward. There is no standing still: life moves forward and if we think we're standing still, we're falling behind...

Let's encourage each other and stir each other up to cultivate! You go, Girl!

Christine said...

I too was a stay at home mom and "cultivated" our children.
Great word, cultivate. Really describes the job!

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

I'm glad you re-posted it for those of us who are more recent devotees.

Janette, this would be a great speech at a women's conference. You're very wise. Very.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Such ever-needful wisdom! Life seems to move at so fast a clip that it's easy to flub one's priorities. Investing in our growth is never a waste of time or effort.

Loved this post!

Sue said...

I am speechless, Janette, really speechless!! If it had been possible to have my socks blessed off of my feet!! then it would have happened.
Trying to catch-up today, enjoyed reading some of your previous post, I am a hat person too , but like you am wearing them now out of necessity. Love your drill team photo,.
You are truly a gifted decorator, and I see the cultivation that God is doing by you cultivating this gift He has given you. GO FOR IT!! continue to cultivate, plant, nourish and reap the rewards!!
As always you are such a blessing to me.

Debbie said...

I am so glad that you began blogging or else I wouldn't have had the pleasure of getting to know you. I had to laugh when you wrote about reading 4 or 5 books at a time. That's me too. :)

You are a blessing to many of us outside of your home. And yet I know that you bless those within your home too.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

We must have the same Father!
He is speaking the same truth's to my heart todayXXOO
Shirley in Virginia

Sarah (Nikki) said...

loved this truth Janette...I can so relate to what you said about being there to cultivate for others....harder to stop and focus on doing it for myself.

Crown of Beauty said...

what a beautiful post, Janette! I hear every word you say, and I am with you in this season of your life. I affirm you, and I confirm God's call on your life. You are definitely a blessing!


myletterstoemily said...

we are all guilty of that but not all of
us see it in ourselves. thanks for the

A multi-dimensional life said...

And I can see how God really is revealing more areas of your giftedness to you by the way you are enjoying creating, through this blog as well as in your home!
I know exactly what you mean and relate to all of it. I do think just as with crops, there are times of planting, watering, waiting and harvesting within each of our lives and when the time is right, we are ready to produce! I am so ready LOL. I love creating too...don't you just feel most "like" God when you are creating? I'm glad you re-posted this and what a great work He is doing in and through you! xo

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Perfect timing! I was just talking with my kids about the things I used to do before they came along ~ like reading long BOOKS and riding every day... They pushed me to do more of this now for me *and* them! We agreed the time was right now and it would bring us all enrichment (as I can do it with them now). YOU always encourage and inspire me to cultivate myself as well! Thanks friend!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Janette, this post resonates with my soul. Thank you for re-posting it since it was my first time to see it. I can see how your culitvation is paying off. You are an inspiration. Thank you again. blessings ~ tanna

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