Monday, October 28, 2013
I drove the four hours to Greenville (with a sleeping baby! woot woot!) nervous, excited, and craving. I wasn't even completely sure what I needed out of the conference. I just knew that blogging wasn't fun anymore. I had lost me a long time ago and I needed a new purpose.
Now that I am home from the Allume Conference I have A LOT to process. It was an amazing weekend and just what this tired, restless soul needed. So here is a very brief summary of what I received from the weekend.
My soul had a big hole in it. It had been emptied in the Spring. A rough pregnancy, an exhausting three year old, and then a newborn. I quit all activities. Even gave up teaching bible study and running women's ministry at church (although I really wasn't able to give my best to that anyway). Serious thoughts of "what's my purpose?" or "this isn't enough for me", "am I pleasing God at all?" Yep, just some light pondering.
The thing is... the whole "I'm just a mom thing" freaks me out. Because although that is my number ONE priority and focus right now-- it's not all of me. And the Bible is clear that being a mom isn't all that I am. I am first to LOVE HIM and LOVE OTHERS. It doesn't say focus all your time on your kids and forget that there is a whole world out there. Because let's face it... those kids grow up. And someday they won't need me every minute of the day. Although I will always be there mom and always be involved in their lives whether they want me or not. I figure if I carry battle scars from them being inside me, that gives me permanent involvement status (in a non overbearing obnoxious way of course).
Ok, back to the point and to Allume...
Remember I said I wasn't sure what exactly I needed? Well, I found it. I love being a mom and I love homeschooling. But those two things left me very disconnected to the world. The world that's hurting. And being that homeschool mom- I didn't have a lot of options. With nursing a baby, I can't go on lots of trips to Africa, with homeschooling- I can't volunteer at the crisis pregnancy center. So how can I teach my kids to serve God by serving others if we are home all day? That has been the question that I have wrestled with for a couple of years. (And yes homeschooling is a ministry and I love being a stay at home mom.)
And finally.. (back to Allume yet again)...
I found PRACTICAL ways that I can serve God. That I can take care of orphans and widows. And even more amazingly, I can do it WITH my children. Alongside each other, serving our Lord and not just each other.
***side note*** I say that last sentence with care. I'm seeing the effects of staying home a lot. My kids have become demanding, materialistic, and completely out of touch with the rest of the world. And all moms need to be sensitive of this. ***
Ok, off my soap box... how does this look exactly. Because like some of you reading, I have felt this tug for awhile but was at a loss as to how it could change.
Allume did an amazing job of bringing organizations to light that need help. Help that involves stuff people can do in their homes. Yes, you heard me. I can stay in my pj's, nurse my baby, and serve Jesus with my kids.
So here's the plan for us over the next couple of months....
Please see this list as a guide and not as a post bragging about how spiritual we are. I just know that I needed some practical ideas and I hope this list can just help point you in the right direction for some ministry opportunities for your family.
1. I am doubling up with Kendra from Preschoolers and Peace to write a series called 40 Days of Being Still. More on that coming this FRIDAY.
2. Our family will serve at Micah's backpack in December. This is an organization that packs bags of food for needy kids to take home over the weekends so they don't go hungry. We did this last year and it was amazing. Even Ellie who was two at the time could fill up bags in the assembly line.
3. We will be cutting out "shoes" for Sole Hope. A ministry that makes shoes for children plagued by jiggers in Africa.
4. As a family we will fill FOUR boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This will be a big commitment financially this year. But I am committed to doing a box for the ages of each of our own kids. They will "shop" for the box they fill. Last year Shane and I split up the kids in teams at Walmart and shopped. It was awesome to teach our kids that for a lot of kids this is their only Christmas present.
5. Make enough baked goods to deliver to FIVE neighbors we have never met. We also want to deliver a meal to a family that recently had a baby.
6. When 40 Days of Being Still concludes we will be into Advent. Ann Voskamp spoke at Allume and gave everyone a copy of her new Advent book. We will be doing this as a family starting December 1. By the way, I will be writing an entire post on meeting Ann Voskamp. All I can say is WOW!
So this long and breathy post is almost at its end. Anyone still reading? I know that words and attitudes can often be misconstrued in social media. So please know that this is what fits my family. This is what finally gave my restless heart peace. The "thing" that I had been searching and struggling with for so long. It may look completely different for you and your family.
If you have any more ideas please comment! I am always looking for practical ways my kids can serve.