What I Learned This Summer

Each season Emily P. Freeman, author of A Million Little Ways, Simply Tuesdays, and The Next Right Thing, invites her readers to take a moment to reflect on what they learned that season. This time, at first, I passed over the proposition, my mind too preoccupied.
Early Tuesday morning as I found my mind wandering amongst my thoughts, I stumbled across the memory of the latent suggestion and paused to consider what took place in the last three months. What did I learn this summer?

The results were staggering.

Newly planted perennial garden illustrates the lessons I learned this summer

If Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, we can start there. We learned we are expecting another child to our family. That makes five. But with past struggles and tragedies, no pregnancy is simple.
Incidentally, I had a manuscript to write, a devotional to help pregnant women find peace in their pregnancies whether it is their first pregnancy or their fifth.

For the first time, I learned I could find peace in my pregnancy.

The book was written, edited and turned in according to my deadline. We will see that next spring.
Writing a book feels like planting bulbs, as does pregnancy.

Gardening tools in red wagon and flower bed act as a metaphor for what I learned this summer

One puts a great deal of effort into this hidden thing. It stays hidden, except for the change inside the one making the effort. Suddenly, it all changes. Boxes arrive on the doorstep filled with copies of one book with my name on the cover. Flowers burst forth in spring. A baby changes every routine built in the once-baby-less space.
I planned and prepped for our homeschool year, approaching, in trepidation, the education of three individuals in separate grades. This seemed a very big transition to have a fourth grader to teach.
Two long days were spent in combing the syllabi and curriculum, and the formation of a daily, weekly, and year-long schedule. I thought, “how can I do this?”

Within the first week, I learned I can do this.

The lessons were the same as last year. If I focus, if I guard myself against distraction, if I have a plan, we can do this. The children thrive, our relationship grows as we spent the exciting time of learning new things together, and our home benefits from the discipline and structure that are necessary to make a busy household work well.

The ultrasound turned out beautifully, the book launched, the homeschool year began. We are busy, tired, but joyfully embracing this season knowing activities may get very quiet for some of us as the room fills with the sounds of a newborn baby.
The things I work on and experience are nested within my family’s experience as a whole because I have a family. Family members affect each other, whether they like it or not. This summer we saw the happy family development of a successful September planting that takes chickens into account, growth in my husband’s business and new schedule arrangements that make life better for everyone in the home.

In between all this, are the moments of everyday: pausing to eat healthy, to plan a meal for my children, to invite other women into my home to know each other better, to pray more, to read in the afternoon, to close everything and turn away from everything, looking into the eyes of the child who wants to tell me about Pokémon, a dream, or the city they built for ants in the dirt at the foot of the mulberry tree.

I feel like more than ever, this season, I have learned that life is good and full of promise.

I invite you to savor the good days, the good moments, even if they are surrounded by clouds of unknowing in the darker seasons of your life.
Peace is possible. You can do it. The sun will shine again.

What did you learn this summer?

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