Monday, January 24, 2011

Encouragement when my kids are done

For all of you parents and mostly mom's out there in ministry there are certain times a year when we are bombarded with meetings, conferences, activities, planning sessions etc etc. January seems to be my month. Calendars are pulled out and planning meetings happen just about daily as we prepare for spring conferences, baby showers, bridal showers, student and interns activities, work teams from other countries, Mission Reality, Graduation, and school events. Well, these past 2 weeks have been nuts and when they are nuts for us I can only imagine how are kids see us.

Most days, I change out of my pj's into my "lounge outfit" which is really just another glorified way of saying pajamas acceptable for company to see. Yes, I had the director's wife and the assistant director's wives over yesterday morning for a planning meeting and yes, I was in my "pajamas-acceptable-for-guests-to-see" oops. But back to my kids...this past wknd we had Mission's Conference. My husband is the Conference coordinator which really means we don't see Daddy for about 2 wks leading up to conference.

So anyways...this past wknd we had meetings Fri morning/ night, Sat morn/night and Sunday morn/night, plus all the meals, setting up, tearing down, baking, childcare preparations and to much else to mention. I feel that these conferences are made as family-friendly as possible and for that I am grateful, but man, it takes a major toll on my children and the peace within our family. We are greatly encouraged after these conferences and also exhausted, mentally, physically and spiritually. We are being encouraged but also tested more often than usual.

Eden and Novie all wknd were dreams, Eden hit her melting point Sunday morning about 5min. before the meeting started. She started to whine, than tear up, became irrational in her requests and quite hard to handle. When this happens I know my wknd is over and it's time to drop the conference, ministry and focus on my kids. I have a hard time with this! I crave encouragement and when this happens I feel that the encouragement I have gained and the refreshing way I feel after these meetings just went down the drain... and the cycle starts again. Mom's how do we deal with this?? I don't like feeling left out, drained of encouragement and once again having a "woe is me" attitude about being with my two favorite people!

First, have a plan! Know when these feelings come, how to recognize them and prepare yourself to take them immediately to the Lord. For me its when these conferences come, I know I will have a "love/hate" relationship for them and I prepare myself ahead of time to have a good attitude and be quiet. NO, I am not always successful. This past wknd a few things happened and I stood there quiet while my ENTIRE being was screaming to voice my opinion and exactly how I felt. Most come when I feel the need to protect my husband :) and then there were a few moments when I voiced my non-needed opinions. I don't always submit to the Lord.
Within this plan have A VERSE! One you can rely on when your attitude of discontentment or Woe is me is upon you. Mine is Joshua 1:7-8, and when I am quoting it most of the time I paraphrase it for me :) "Be strong, be courageous, and careful to obey all not turn to the left or right but focus straight ahead and you will be successful in all things...this book of the law will not depart from your mouth, but meditate day and night that you may observe to do all that is written in it, only then will I have prosper and have good success." Please look it up for the exact words.
I am going to share a secret, sometimes when I hear something that I have a hard time agreeing to or listening to, I will be shaking my head in agreement while quoting this verse, and if I'm quiet during the conversation, I am probably running this verse through my head and trust me it's for your benefit :)

Ok, second- find a friend and share these struggles with them so they can keep you accountable to them and pray for you as well! Find yourself a Paul for wisdom and a Timothy to encourage. I am still waiting for my "Paul" have not found one yet on this side of the ocean, but I have as friend I share my struggles with and the Lord knows my heart and exactly what I need and I know one day he will bless me with a discipler.

Third, and the most important, pray your sorrows and bad attitude away! I think so often when we pray we are not specific, man, when I'm sharing things with friends I share every last little detail, if I had a way to control smells, and temperature that would really help some of my stories out on even more insignificant details! :) I share everything, so why not with the Lord?. Try talking to Lord as if you would a friend, share every detail, every minor one and see what happens, most of the time I find it's not that big of a deal, that person really is not that annoying or rude and my situation is not as terrible as i thought. The Lord puts our attitudes into perspective and gives us other things to focus our energy on.

Lastly, remain faithful, we often wonder why we are stuck struggling with the same things, and people, maybe its because the Lord is still teaching us things we have not yet learned, maybe he wants us to just remain faithful where we are to be consistent and an encouragement to those around us. It's our job and responsibility to remain faithful where we are and if we keep struggling with the same things maybe we need to reflect on our hearts and what needs to change.

All of this to say, I think I needed to hear this and have this written someplace for me to focus on and remind myself of often. My girls are the most important to me and I can put my "needs" on the back burner to focus on them and be available to teach and disciple them. In these toddler years I am here to be consistent in discipline to bring outward obedience to the Lord, to teach them God's word and the importance of obeying and serving to please Him not me, to teach them that love requires obedience and that means Mommy obeying the Lord as well as them and of course here to love, squeeze and kiss them as much as possible. Sometimes they just need to sit on our laps and be hugged, kissed and for mommy to sing a song. That's all Eden needed Sunday morning, that and a good long nap ;)

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