Being Intentional

Standard

As I prayed and listened to what God would have me do this year, I felt like He kept telling me to do what He has called me to do and not to worry about the rest.  That has meant letting some stuff go, and it means being smarter and more prayerful about what I am doing in ministry, in my family, with my marriage, with myself.  I knew that the schedule I was keeping was not a forever kind of pace, and as God transitioned me into a new role this past year, I needed to take the time to figure out what was really important and what was not.

So how has this looked? (This is mostly a confession time for me)

Myself: I’ve worked on scheduling time during my day to read and study God’s word.  I have completely fallen in love with the Old Testament.  It amazes me as I read through the Old Testament the details that God had prepared so long ago to save us from ourselves. And I just have to say that I don’t think I would have lived a week during the time of Leviticus.  I would have never remembered all those rules!  There are definitely times that I could find oh so many other things to do instead of stopping and reading, and I will be the  first to admit that I’m not perfect, and there are times when I let those things get in the way. But it is a habit that I am working toward.

My Marriage: Our schedules have been tossed up in the air lately as my husband went back on nights recently.  The best thing to help with frustrations is communication.  When we aren’t communicating, I get frustrated.  My problem is that I communicate in my head, but don’t always do it out loud or on paper.  We are having to be more intentional about date nights, child care, and everything in between just to keep it from being neglected.  I have to say that my husband is absolutely my best friend, and I am so thankful to be walking through life together with him.  I could not ask for a better man to do that with.

My Family: This is probably the hardest one for me honestly.  But if it is not in order, and I’m not intentional about this area, then none of the rest matters after it.  My kids are my number 1 area of ministry (or should be).  I have been very convicted lately of the time that I spend with them.  Is it that I am in the room but not present with them?  I mean, how many times a week does my daughter have to ask to bake in her Easy Bake Oven before I have the time to do it with her?  How many times do I have to keep asking my son what he said because I wasn’t really listening the first time?

I am working on being more patient with my kids as they explore their boundaries, gain independence, question the way the world works, and where they fit in it.  I have found that when I schedule the time to be available for them, and make it a priority to set that time aside for them (and not my email or phone included) that they are really neat individuals.  I also know that if I miss this time, I won’t get it back and will not be able to redeem the relationship that I didn’t spend the time to develop in the first place.

Tomorrow I will talk about being intentional in ministry.

How are you being intentional with the time that God gives you?

An adventure worth taking

Standard

Each week we have a select group of people who take up an invitation to go on a crazy adventure. They are working tirelessly to make sure that what they do matters. They tell stories, hear prayer requests, comfort someone who is sad, cheer with someone who had something great happen this week. They teach God’s word and relate it today’s terms. They are serving your kids and mine. They are serving you and me. They are helping us in the discipleship process of our kids’ spiritual walk.

No. They are not always trained teachers. They are not always college professors. They are not always preschool teachers. Some of them didn’t even think that they were cut out to work with kids. But the dared to step out in faith and do what God had simply asked them to do. None of us always feel qualified or equipped but God gives us what we need. They are servants in children’s ministry. They rock babies, share God’s word with 1st graders, they walk through what a prayer life looks like (and do it throughout the week) with 3rd graders and serve alongside 5th graders as they teach them to continue in the process.

They are on the adventure of a lifetime. It has eternal rewards. Don’t you want to join them?

Proverbs 31 Woman

Standard

MOTHER AGE 15

This is my Granny.  She’s been on my mind a lot here lately.  As I think back and remember her, my mind is directed to the woman described in Proverbs 31.  She was a prime example of this woman.  Her legacy was passed down through her children, her grandchildren, and even her great grandchildren.  I pray that I will live to be half the wife, mother, and grandmother that she was.  Being a Christian wasn’t something she just did on Sundays, or when it was necessary.  It was who she was.  A lover of Jesus.  First and foremost.  She worked in her household to make sure her family was taken care of.  She loved my Granddaddy with all her heart.  When she passed away, we went in to help my Granddaddy clean out her things, and we found a freezer full of meat that she had stored away in hopes that they would never go hungry.

She made clothes, and could sew just about anything.  She is how I found my love for sewing.  One of my most precious memories of her was when I was pregnant with my first child.  I wanted everything to be perfect, but with a small budget.  Granny helped me make cushions for our baby’s rocking chair.  I had only sewn a little here and there, and didn’t really know what I was doing.  But she patiently showed me and helped me through it.  To this day, I remember how to make piping because of those 8 hours we spent together.

She could cook like no other.  Now I know that everybody says their Granny could cook, but I will defend hers as the best any day of the week.  Every Sunday growing up, I remember eating lunch that was piping hot and delicious to the last bite.  I recall all the times that I ate way to much at Christmas and Thanksgiving, because it was just too good not to eat it.  I remember sneaking into the kitchen while the adults were talking in the other room to grab one or two or three of the sweets that she’d worked tirelessly to make for us.

As we go through the busyness of life, us moms usually get buried in the middle of it all.  As we go about doing the work of the Lord, let’s not forget what we should actually be doing.  That’s raising up a generation that will know and honor God, love Him with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and pass along a legacy that is worth remembering.

GRANNY

Recruiting

Standard

We have all had that time we are dread in Kidmin where we have to hit the recruiting trail hard and heavy. That time of year when people run when they see you coming because they know what you’re wanting to ask. I haven’t been doing this very long but there are some things I have learned even in my short time in Kidmin.

1. Relationships are Crucial
The number one way to get people to jump on board with you and share in the implementation of the vision that God has given you is to build a relationship with people. And not just for the sake of recruiting them to do something for you, but to be able to disciple them and help them grow in their walk with God. Once you’ve gotten to know someone well enough you are able to challenge them by helping them find somewhere to stretch themselves through serving.

Not only are our relationships with other people necessary, our relationship with God is a must. We must be praying for and with our people on a daily basis. Talking with God is the only way we are going to know the steps laid out for us. Until we get that right, nothing else will matter.

2. Preparation is Essential
We are revamping our recruiting trail this year. It will take more work on the front end, but I think it will help out in the long run. We are lengthening our application to be able to find out more about those who are interested in serving in our preschool and children’s worlds. We are going to be hosting orientations before we allow people to sign up so that they can find out what it is really all about. We have a lot of wins to share this year even in the midst of transition and I want people to know that they can be a part of that. We are going to spend more time training new volunteers before they are released into a room to lead kids. My hope is that this will help alleviate some of those who serve out of guilt and don’t stick around for very long. I also hope that even if someone thought they wanted to serve in kids, but realize it’s not for them, we will be able to find them a place to serve somewhere else in the church. I want people to find their niche so that they love what they do.

3.Evaluation and feedback are important.
We are actually starting out recruiting with evaluations. I’m in the process of preparing self evaluations for all of our volunteers that we will begin to walk through. We have a lot of volunteers and most of them I know but some I know better than others. Some would never say a word to me if they were unhappy. They would simply just walk away. I want to find out what their frustrations are and what wins they’ve had this year. Then I want to find out their intentions for next year. I want them to know that my commitment to them is just as important as theirs is to me.

What are you doing to help make the recruiting trail a little smoother this year?

Family Christmas Celebration

Standard

Last year we started a new tradition.  We had families come in for a couple of hours and have fun.  They were given a time to ask a better question than, “What do you want for Christmas?”  They had the chance to see Who Christmas was all about.9780764449062

This year, we needed to keep asking those same type questions.  We needed to give families a chance to take the time out of their already busy holiday schedules and enjoy one another.    So this year, we chose to use Nativity: Lights! Camera! Action! produced by Group.  Basically, you have 2 rehearsed parts in the show, and the rest is all impromptu.  It was a lot of fun, and we had a lot of people on stage that would have NEVER signed up for something like this.  And the best part is they all did a fabulous job!  (Now I just hope I haven’t lost them from ever agreeing to do anything for me again)  🙂

We decorated with an old Hollywood theme, and as families entered the church, they were greeted with a red carpet!  They then had the chance to drink some hot chocolate and eat some yummy cookies, take pictures in our photo booth, watch a video about the myths of the nativity, and create some beautiful ornaments and Christmas cards.  While all of this was going on, our “cast” was back in our preschool hall rehearsing, making costumes, and learning motions to a song.

Once the cast was ready, we gathered everyone in the worship center, and the show went off without a hitch!  I hope that our families enjoyed this time to take a break before the craziness begins, and that they will truly see that God used ordinary people in the midst of an extraordinary situation.  He didn’t bring in trained professionals, or have the best set ready for the birth of His Son, but he did it with the people and the set that fit best.  That was in a stable, with Mary and Joseph, two unprepared participants who played a part in the biggest roles of their lives.

Growing in Grace

Standard

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and to be honest, although I’ve been praying for and over and my kids, I haven’t looked at this list a whole lot.  Between ministry, summer time, and a recent auto accident that has my brother dealing with a broken hip, I’ve just been trying to not drown in everything that needs to be done (or in the mountain of laundry that has taken over my bedroom).  But in the midst of all of this, God has been working on my kids (I know this is a shocker) even though I haven’t had a structured prayer plan for them.

2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Just today, my 4 year old told me one of the greatest things that even we adults need to remember.  We were actually sitting down for breakfast and she said, “Momma, I know something.  God cannot change who He is.”  Wow.  Slap in the face.  What truth and knowledge she has already learned.  Our elementary kids at church have been going the What’s In The Bible curriculum for the summer.  In order to learn what it was about, I downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes.  My kids have been listening to it NON-STOP.  It has been a huge learning experience and has raised some really interesting questions about the Old Testament.

So they are getting the knowledge down, but we are still working on the grace.  Me included.  I was touched by a blog this week that I read where Danielle Bell talked about falling short when her niece did something that frustrated her.  I was reminded of how I react time and time again to even the least little questions.  I don’t leave enough margin for them in giving out grace, and if I work on it, they will get better at it too.

Salvation

Standard

You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it. -Isaiah 45:8

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. -2 Timothy 2:10

These were the verses listed for the prayer of salvation over my kids this week. I really don’t like reading just one verse because it is usually very easy to take things out of context when you don’t have the rest of the story. So I decided to read through both of these chapters to get more of the story.

Throughout this chapter in Isaiah, we are reminded that there is only one true God and that our salvation in Him is where we find our comfort. I loved reading this with my children’s salvation in mind. My hope is that they learn quickly in life that people may come and go, things may be here one minute and gone the next, but they can find comfort in the salvation that God offers through Jesus.

In 2 Timothy, we find the encouragement that Paul sends to the church at Ephesus through Timothy. He reminds them to endure through the tough times of Nero so that they can fully benefit in God’s salvation and so that they can lead others to God. Right now I feel like I’m in this place. My kids are 5 (almost 6), 4, and 1 (for all practical purposes). They are learning so much right now, but they are wearing my patience out. I didn’t even pray for patience, but I guess I was not where I needed to be. 🙂 My oldest has already decided to allow God to be the boss of his life, and I can honestly say that I have seen that evidence in his behavior. Besides being a boy and doing what boys do, he has a servant’s heart and will do anything for his family and friends as well as complete strangers. My middle child, well, let’s just say God was probably laughing a little when he decided she would be with me. I’m low key (for the most part) but she is the most high maintenance 4 year old girl have ever seen. Like I mentioned in the last post, we have been dealing with an attitude of entitlement, which has gotten somewhat better. My prayers really were leaning more toward her that God would take her heart and make her submissive. I realize that one day her spunk will be used for the good but for now it’s about to drive me up the wall. As for the baby, I pray that he will see the good examples set before him through his parents and siblings and come to know the salvation that God has for him. I appreciate Paul’s encouragement to endure everything so that others may obtain salvation.

Until next time…