Pursue the wonder

I have the back-to-school crazies.

If you have school-aged kids, you might know what I’m talking about.

The noise of commercials, piles of junk adds, and onslaught of school-bus-yellow stuff in the front aisles of every grocery, super store and department store I enter is all enough to careen me head first into the valley of distraught and fanatical mothers. You’d think after seven years of it, I’d have found a way to cope.

But I haven’t.

Year after year, I fail miserably at deflecting the gimmies and I-wannas, feeling like a loser mom if I can’t (or just plain won’t) buy my kid a new backback when their one from last year is barely broken in; or that I recycle school supplies; or that I don’t buy all the latest-and-greatest locker outfitting trinkets from the teen catalogs barging into my home.

Yet I want to be different. I want to be content. I want to be at peace with the conservative decisions I make, and I want to leave a legacy of contentment to my kids, teaching them to reduce, re-use, and recycle. Because after school is said and done, life isn’t about what’s in your locker or on your back. It’s about making the most out of what you have; about leaning on God and not over laptops; about being joyful in all circumstances, even when your off-label jeans hang wrong in all the wrong places.

But the pressure lurks.



And I feel the knot of wanna-gimmie-need-it-now twisting inside.

Until I make myself stop and listen and wait for the One who tells me to be still. Waiting long enough, standing still in one place, the goodness–the plenty–comes into focus. And I realize, at once ashamed and relieved, that I am blessed; that my kids have enough if they have a soft place to lay their head and a mama to hold them at night; that the sound of a trumpet vine is louder than any gotta-have commercial ever made, and a butterfly’s wings on our back patio is enough to silence the incessant, materialistic madness.

It’s hard to be different in a world that screams at us to all be alike.

But in that difference lies true contentment.

How about you?

Where do you find contentment during this crazy time of year? How do you avoid  or tune out the suffocating thrust of materialism, and how do you find and rest in God?

Here are a few pictures Middle Son and I took on the back patio this week. Consider the lillies . . . pursue the wonder . . . and the truth that God and His grace are enough.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
       that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” ~Psalm 90:14




“A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough . . . Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith . . .” ~I Timothy 6:6-8. 11-12 (The Message)

*Also posted this today over at Chatting at the Sky’s Tuesdays Unwrapped–a great place to find joy in the simple things.

9 thoughts on “Pursue the wonder

  1. This is so beautifully written. I like that you try to keep things simple, and to teach simplicity to your kids.

    Thankfully, my kids are all grown so I no longer have these issues to deal with. I never could afford the brand names they may have wanted at the time, but I wonder now if I thought to teach them the value of contentment? I don’t know if I did, but kudos to you for taking a stand against materialism (even when you feel guilty for having to say ‘no.’)

  2. What a great post! It is hard to be content with all the commercialism on TV. Everyone trying to keep up with the Joneses. Who are the Joneses anyways? I don’t want to be like them. They probably aren’t even happy anyway as they are trying to keep up with the Smiths. 😀
    Thankfully, with my children homeschooled we don’t have all of that. I did buy them some homeschool shirts though. 😀

  3. Like Deb, above me, my children are grown, but I can still remember the feelings of guilt you speak of in this post. Now, I see them sending their children off to school and doing what it takes to recycle and I realize they have learned well.
    You are teaching them far greater lessons, simplicity and contentment.:-)
    Beautifully written Amy, as usual.:-)

  4. “…the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.” That’s it, right there, isn’t it? Maybe if we point ourselves in that direction we’ll be on to something…

    This post is beautiful. In words, in photos, in truth.

    1. Diedra, Cynthia, Sherry & Deb–thanks so much for your kind comments and for visiting. Praying grace and simplicity and blessings for you!

  5. You wrote: “It’s hard to be different in a world that screams at us to all be alike.”

    I think is a big reason I wrote Not So Fast; I wanted people to know that they are not alone in being different (or at least *wanting* to be different), and that even if they *feel* different, it’s okay. Make the better choice anyway.

    You are choosing well, and reminding us to choose well, too, by telling your story with honesty and transparency.

    The photos on the back deck suggest that you found some sweet moments of peace in the midst of your back-to-school crazies.

    May you and your family have many more.

  6. I have to give my wife a lot of credit. She refuses to buy new things just for the sake of it. My daughter’s uniforms still fit from last year and though she wants new ones, my wife won’t do it. She refused to buy all the things that were the “in” things. They had nice things, clean things, but taught the two older girls and she’s getting there with the youngest ones.

    The other night I realized when our little one was talking about the books she’s reading and how into it she was, who she was or how the rest of the crowd would see her. It is a gift from God.

    Good for you, God’s arms and ours are sufficient. Everything else is just a distraction.

  7. When my girls were in high school, it was just becoming popular to wear jeans to school. I refused to buy the designer jeans and instead supplied them with material we all picked out so they could sew their own skirts and wear blouses. They were not always happy, but they were obedient. I think some of the other girls began to wear skirts too. Some times being different causes others to want to be like you. I have always been different! I think God wants us not to be like the world, even though we are in the world. I don’t mean we should be strange or weird, but we can use our common sense. God bless you for your common sense in raising your children!!

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