Thursday, January 23, 2014

Conference Time

I know I have been so bad on writing in my blog - I think it's just the season - once my twins stopped taking naps, any little to extra free time went out the window.  It's the taking the time to allow the creative side to take over my brain and being able to set the practical mom mind aside as I write.  But for now I am just enjoying having my twins with me and giving them as much love as I can while they are still home most of the time, because I know that season will soon pass and I then I will be aching for my babies...

Anyways, just wanted to share briefly what God is doing in my life right now, and how I came to the conference decision. 

I have been debating about the Sally Clarkson Mom Heart Conference for months.  In the beginning I had other thoughts of possibilities I wanted to do, but it has been on my radar in the back of my mind just wondering about it.  http://www.momheartconference.com/

This last year, as we have adjusted to being a full time private school family, I have not done well at all with it.  I lost the community I had at Cor Deo, and was not able to connect very well at our new school.  It is just a different set up, nothing wrong with it, just different.  After the first two weeks of school I felt so discouraged.  But, my children, Josiah and Ava, were coming home loving school.  They were adjusting well.  So I kept my struggles the best that I could to myself, to not take away from the joy they were finding in their new school.   And for myself, I knew I could not handle the homeschool aspect anymore.  I had lost all survival ability and thankful that the older kids education was getting taken care of, I slumped into more depression.  And with that depression a loss of the things I knew I should be doing with my children, that I haven't been.

I think there is a lot of things I have had to grieve through in this change.  Change does that.  Puts to death certain things.  But it also can bring forth the birth of new things.  It's all just a challenge to walk through and sometimes see it in the midst of it. 

The losses that surrounded me included the 3 times a week fellowship of other moms at Cor Deo.  It was also a hit to my identity.  A realization that I am not the homeschooling mom have it all together woman that I wanted to be in life.  And with that loss of the identity of who I wanted to be, I am reminded of the prayer for my children at the beginning of the school year, that their identity would not be found in their school or what they do, but their relationship with Jesus.  Which is what I need to have and be too.  But that's where the death of all the things, not bad things, but just things came into place, and just when I thought the ocean couldn't get any deeper, it did. 

This week, I was reading through the Good Morning Girls blog, which was announcing the official start of their Bible study: "Being Intentional."  And as I started to read through the Scripture for day one of this study, I decided that this would be what I would do with my quiet times every morning.  And not only did they have a Bible Study for me, they had one for my children, with things to do with them all lined up to match what I was learning, that we could study the same things together each day. 

Although I missed out on signing up for a group, I was able to print off the Bible Study, and so Monday we officially started reintroducing a Bible time with me and my children once more.  And it reminded me a little glimpse of some of the good stuff I used to do with my children when we were homeschooling.  And reminded me of the woman God does want me to be. 
Here is the link for the study: http://www.goodmorninggirls.org/2014/01/available-today-intentionally-focused-childrens-resources-materials-free-blog-subscription/

So I have started doing this with my children - still trying to tweek stuff, it's a bit challenging schedule wise, but we are making an effort - today will be day four of it, and I am hoping that it will instill the truth of God's Word into their hearts more each day.  And that's the stuff that needs to get rebirthed from the changes of this year. 

I need to figure this out with God.  How to be the Intentional Mom with my children in the Private School setting.  Just because I am no longer homeschooling does not mean I am not able to do things like this with my children.  It just looks different.  And that's okay.  This is the path that I need to be on now, to be intentional in what I am doing. 

As far as my decision of going to the conference came about, this was the path that I was on in the beginning:  At first I was telling myself lines like, "I can't go to a Mom Conference because I am taking the 'Easy' Way out with private school.  Mom Heart conferences are for the moms that get in the trenches with their children's education and I'm not that mom anymore!"  (Which I should clarify, for those that don't homeschool, I have never thought that of any of you - I think you all are amazing!  I am just my own worse critic!) But that is the lie that God is breaking down in me.  I am still that mom.  A mom in the trenches battling for my kids. It looks different, but I still do want to be intentional and pour into my children's lives and finish strong with them. 

When I read the Conference for this year, and as I thought more of where I am at in all of this, I began to think about going once more.  It is titled: Inspired!  Reaching Beyond What holds you back.  I think that description fits me very well in this season of life.  I need to lay aside the things that have been holding me back and continue to press on into the goal that is before me. 

This is why I know God has called me to go to this conference once more.  To seek Him and listen and ask Him, how does being an intentional mom look for me with where I am at today with Him.  And to not feed myself lines of failure anymore, or be defined by that.
I am So Excited to go!!  And to Texas of all places.  The land of my birth!  Better find some cowboy boots because I am ready to fly! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

With.

A few weeks ago, as the year 2013 was coming to a close, one of our pastors gave a sermon that really spoke to me.  The basics of the message was from Matthew 1:18-25, where it talks about God with us, and the four point he shared were taken from a book called "With" by Skye Jethani. 
(Here is a link to the book) http://www.skyejethani.com/books/book-with/


When he shared, he talked about four different approaches that people come to God.  And I thought it was such a great overview - and so true.  I will list the four below here:
  1. Life Under God - comes with the beliefs if I do all the things I am suppose to do in my life, and follow all of the rules, that the result will be blessing and a rich life. 
  2. Life Over God - the search for specific principles from God to give us control over our life.  Making the Bible divine disciplines for life.  It is taking the control for ourselves. 
  3. Life From God - the consumerist approach - what can God give to me?  What it's in for me?
  4. Life For God - All that I do I am going to do for God.  the Missionary approach - everything I do is For God. 


As I listened to each one, when we got down to Life For God, the conviction bells of the Holy Spirit started going off inside of me.  Yes, that is where I fell.  Life For God.  But that doesn't make sense?  Aren't we suppose to be sold out for Jesus, on fire for Him, living and breathing every moment of our life for Him? 
Or are we?  The problem with Life For God was you can end up feeling discouraged - You see all the world's needs and want to help and fix them all, and you can't.  After I had the twins this is where I begin to fall - into the discouraged point of feeling useless to all the areas of my life that I used to be involved in serving.  And a constant fight to want to get back to where I used to be in serving, trying to figure out how to take four needy children along for the ride and love them too, and make sure I have time to care for my husband too!  How can I be super mom for Jesus? 

I was stressing my husband out constantly with all my ideas of things we could do for God and finding myself frustrated that we weren't doing anything. 

The answer to this came in the simple approach of this:

     5. Life with God

God told me that morning I needed to get things in order.  He wanted me to do life with Him.  To be in relationship with Him.  To ask Him each morning to show Him what He wanted to do with that day.  To not live for Him, but with Him. 
It was no surprise to me that the next week I went to church, and we spent time as a congregation asking the Lord what tasks He might have for me for 2014, that these were the ones He gave me:

  • Deepen my heart for Him
  • Walk with Him and not for Him
  • To be praying faithfully for others
  • To be faithful to my God, my husband and my children
None of them were active in I need to start this and go serve here and do do do all this FOR HIM.  It was all about relationship with Him and the people around me. 
When I was thinking about it this morning, I realized how this doesn't just apply to God, but to my family. 
 As a mom, this is how my mental checklist can sometimes come out:

  • make breakfast for my kids
  • Pack lunch for my kids
  • Clean the house for my sanity
  • Be the driver for my kids to get to school
  • Grocery shop for my family
  • wash clothes for my family
  • Empty the dishwasher for my family

I began to see how this list is a FOR FOR FOR.  Not a With. 
And this is where I need to change - and I know it will be hard for me, but it's a part of what He wants for me this year. 

My list needs to include doing these things with God.  And with my children.  And with my husband.  Being fully present - recognizing it's not the task that is nearly as important as the people that the tasks revolve around.  Recognizing it's not nearly as important to be doing things for God as it is to be with God, talking with Him and building relationship with Him. 
I know my Martha tendencies will fail miserably at times, but this is the change He needs to do in me, and I want to be open to it. 

I know this didn't cover all the intricate details of what the book WITH covers in these five ways we can approach God.  I wanted to take a moment to share what He is teaching me and I know hoping to grow in me for the new year.  As I continue into 2014 I am looking forward to what my life is going to be like, WITH my God.