unpredictable power of routine in tending seasons

Welcome to Tending through the Seasons series, where writers from various seasons of life share how they are tending their soul by the Word of God through their current season.

Meet Katie Kibbe. She is a coach, writer, and speaker. She loves helping women envision life where her calendar is calm and her inner critic is quiet. She is the author of two Bible studies Abide and Arise, both available on Amazon. After many moves Katie lives with her husband and labradoodle in Cleveland, OH waiting for the children to visit with their dirty laundry.

Katie writes….

The only thing predictable about life is the sheer unpredictability of it all.

Growing up, I imagined what my adult self would be doing 5, 10, 15 years in the future. I was wrong in almost every area my imagination wandered. Yet, I still believed I could predict the future and dedicated a fair amount of time worrying about what was to come next.

We all do this to one degree or another. We predict happiness lying exclusively in one direction and sadness in another, failing to take into account that these two emotions are often found holding hands.

Like many mothers, I wasn’t excited for my children to leave home. Most of my social network and volunteer activities were related to my children. In the middle of the night I imagined what life would feel like in the future. All I could see was empty, empty house and empty calendar.

I kept trying on what it would be like when they were gone, rehearsing for my new role as an empty nester before I even had the part.

I wasted time worrying.

Now that the children have both graduated from college, my current season of life does not look the same as previous seasons. It’s true, my schedule is often as vacant as the children’s old rooms. It took time to adjust and create a new normal.

What my middle of the night musings forgot to include in its calculations were some habits I had been working on while the children were still at home. One habit continues to pay dividends in ways I never could have predicted.

When the grounding rituals of school are erased from your calendar, you need other things to fill their place to root you to the present. The practice I developed, and continue to maintain on a consistent basis, grounds my day.

Tending my soul through Bible reading and journaling made the most unpredictable days predictable as I tethered myself to our unchanging God.

My younger self would be surprised that this practice grew in the first place. You see, I was never that great with self-discipline. Despite my tendency to fly by the seat of my pants in most areas of my life, this practice became the foundation of my day in the midst of multiple moves and other changes.

My tending habit began when life was at its busiest. Both were children in elementary school and my husband was on the road for work more often than he was home. One morning, the children left for school, and I sat down to read a Bible passages found in the Lectionary.

The Lectionary includes Scripture passages for morning and evening along with the readings for daily Mass. These readings cover a majority of the Bible in a three year cycle. When life was chaotic and time was a more precious commodity, I started by reading a section of one Psalm.

It was just enough to connect me with God and ground me in the truth of His love. It was short enough to keep me coming back for more the following day.

As the children grew older and the demands on my time decreased, I began to schedule work and activities later in the morning. This opened more time to pray and ponder with Scripture, first thing.

No longer rushed, I settled into a routine. My Bible, journal, and favorite pen remained in one predictable place. I could grab a cup of tea and settle into my familiar pattern.

The distractions melted away as my body and mind became more comfortable with the steps. At first, I had to consult at checklist for each part of the process. Over the years, it grew into a familiar pattern I could easily follow without having to think about each step.

My time reading the Word became my favorite part of the day.

It was not until the children moved away that I realized how this morning habit anchored my day. Once they were gone, it was tempting to feel as though my purpose evaporated. It seemed that all routine should fly out the window so that I could start over as the “new me”.

Instead of giving up on my prayer practice, I added a new layer by introducing spiritual reading, increasing the time I spent in prayer and reflection with God’s word.

This practice reminded me of who I was and Whose I was.

No matter where I live and how much geographic distance exists between me and the children, I trust that our connection remains. Despite the unpredictability of life, reading the Word taught me that God is always predictable, steady, and waiting to pour out His love.

~Katie Kibbe

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4 thoughts on “unpredictable power of routine in tending seasons

  1. Mariel and Katie, what a great post. When I was in a very stressful seasons as a single woman in my mid-twenties, I began a habit of spending time in God’s word daily. It transformed my heart in that stressful season. And this discipline has brought me through raising two boys who are in their later teens. Time with the Lord has been my stability when all of life has felt out of control.

  2. Hi Mariel and Kate.

    My oldest has left the nest and the youngest are about to follow. This post was such an encouragement to me today as I’ve been wishing the time hadn’t gone by so quickly. With Him, I’m still anchored.

    Blessings,
    Tammy

    1. So grateful you have been encouraged ❤ I love moms like Katie, who share encouragement of the next season ahead. It helps the transition feel less sad.

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