What a great weekend Sarah and I had in Michigan. So many kindred spirits and great parents with passionate hearts. We are so blessed to meet so many wonderful people. It keeps us focussing on our own ideals and aspirations. Thanks for all who made is such a memorable weekend for us. Now to the winners of the 2 Dancing With My Father books. We so appreciate all of you who helped us get the word out. Please be sure to send Jennice your full name, address, phone number and website or blog so she can get the books out to you asap. I would like to know where everyone is from who entered! I hope the books are a real encouragement to you, as the concepts change my life daily!
Jackie Mersch, Westminster, CO
Stephanie White, Galloway, OH
Jennie Nelson, San Diego, CA
Heather Bradley, San Antonio, TX
Anissa Tyler, Abilene TX
Jodi Hartfield, Colorado Springs, CO
Holly Willis, Lake City, MI
Janine Baker Sabin
Thanks, too, for all of you who have been commenting on my blog and facebook while I was out of town. I was so touched by so many great comments, insights, encouragement and convictions. You have all been of great encouragement to me as I have pondered these issues. You will keep me going in my own ideals. And now, I thought I would share a very sweet letter from a mom that I received today.
Dear Sally, I wanted to send you an email to let you know how deeply your conference has impacted me. As a Mom of a 5 year old boy, 3 year old boy, and 2 year old girl, I've been discouraged for the past year and feeling like life is drudgery. We're getting ready to move for the third time in 2 years, my husband has had multiple jobs that haven't worked out, and I've been alone in a new city for the past 3 months while my husband has had to work out-of-state. I've felt very far from the Lord and quite discouraged in my faith. My church life hasn't worked very well and I have very few friends (and am used to having many!). I cried when I read the description for your conference--you renewed. Sobbed, actually. My heart knew I needed it and my dear husband sent me even though it was quite difficult to pull off. I almost didn't come because my friend's father-in-law died tragically and I thought she might need me. I also felt guilty for spending the money to go. But the Lord in His grace moved me to go anyway as He spoke through my husband and sister and other friends I met there. This is what I came home with: 1. You inspired me to make a daily time to be replenished with and worship the Lord. This is my 6th day in a row and it must be a record for me in the last year. I had always thought I was a strong Christian, worked in a very intense Christian ministry for years, but the loneliness of moving to a new town with 3 little ones just flattened me. You challenged me, inspired me, and encouraged me to make it a priority. As you explained how we Moms get depleted, and how we get harsh when we don't go to the Lord to get filled back up, my spirit screamed within me - Yes - that is me! I have always known this intellectually but somehow God used your wording and timing to push me to Himself. I want more than anything to be a good Mom and I can see I am taking steps toward that. 2. Your admonishment to "work harder" when I can't seem to get everything done, has pushed me to work harder. You've shared so many stories in person and in your books that I know you know what my life is like with toddlers. I chuckle over it every day now and tell myself, "Work harder!" And I am. I am getting more done even though I'm spending my free time with the Lord instead of my own self-made frenzy of life. (Your description of how we get in this frenzy was very helpful.) 3. Your daughter Joy's question to us all, "Are you the Mom you always wanted to be?" has been ringing in my head since she said it. I remember being her age and having dreams and ideals, and I thought being a Mom was going to be the most amazing, fun-filled journey ever! 60; But lately it has felt like drudgery and like I'm failing. I am now excited to work toward being the Mom I always wanted to be. Thank you Joy for letting God shine His light through your heart right into my heart. There is now a new spark there. 4. Your calling to Moms to make our home beautiful and fun-filled. I always dreamed this is what motherhood was like but I've lost it. I am determined to bring it back in my home. I love candles and games and celebrating every little thing. 5. You quoting your son when he told you to "Chill" because you were uptight about a messy house. That it was just going to get messed up again. You then said something about if our children are going to live and eat in our homes, there will be messes. I know this, but trying to live up to everybody else's standards (and trying to work with my husband's) has been quite the damper. 6. How many times did you tell us graciously to stop comparing ourselves to other women, other families! Again, something I "know" but don't put into practice. All of your advice and encouragement and wisdom together has just jump-started me back to becoming "the Mom I've always dreamed of being." 7. You said, "If you're sitting on a couch depressed, nobody can get up but you." That pierced my heart. I'm getting off the couch. I'm spending time with the Lord and His word which is the only thing that will make me the amazing mother I long to be. I am bringing beauty and joy back into my home. I am going to somehow figure out how to make meals and snacks every day and do laundry and have fun discipling my children. By God's amazing grace. 8. The scriptures you shared - so many of them pierced my heart. Most of them I knew, but was not living. Your reading them and describing how to apply them in my life gave God a place to bring them alive. 9. I really enjoyed Sarah's talk and bought her book along with some new storybooks for my kids. I'm excited about making stories a more central part of our lives. 10. Julie and her team were amazing. I worked in a crisis pregnancy center/abstinence program ministry and hadn't even thought of starting to instill these principles into the lives of my children this early. It seems so obvious now, but the business of babies & toddlers crowded that out. Thank you for bringing it back so I can get started more intentionally. 11. Sally, you are the first person to say to me (and I have heard many great speakers!) that if I want my children to turn out right it will cost me my life (or something like that). You said it would take every bit that I have. I am committed to giving everything I have for my children now after hearing you drill this into my head. I have watched so many Christian children turn away in many ways, and thought, surely there has to be a way to avoid these things for the most part. I don't want to be one of those mothers who makes excuses for her children's mistakes. I want to raise them in righteousness and truth with love. I did not grow up in a Christian home, although I have loving parents who raised me the best way they knew how. I am now struggling with figuring out how to create the patterns in my life that will help me to stop yelling at my kids and love and train them in the Lord. I'm halfway through with Ministry of Motherhood - reading it is like having a loving mentor by my side teaching me how to be a Godly Mom. One who is real and genuine and humble and full of stories and who doesn't always have all the answers but has a lot of them and knows the one who does have them all. Thank you, Sally, Clay, and all of your children for allowing your lives to be so transparent. It has given me invaluable glimpses of what a family is supposed to be like that I may never have known. You have given a treasure and I know it was with a cost and for that I am grateful. My 3 little children would say thank you if they knew how you are helping me to be more compassionate, kind, forgiving, fun...you get the idea. On a logistical side, I wanted to tell you all the things I enjoyed. I planned many conferences at my last job and am aware of how many hours of work and prayer by many people these things take. To have a conference go this well did not happen by accident!!! 1. The hotel was beautiful. The staff were friendly and helpful. The location was perfect. 2. Loved sitting at round tables. Volume level of speakers was perfect. Temperature was perfect. Great to have water available. 3. Schedule was well thought-out with just enough free time and just enough content. So often there is not enough free time but you had a nice balance. Loved the worship times with Clay! 4. Thanks for emailing the schedule ahead of time. It was really nice to have all the information. 5. Thanks for all the notes in our booklet. It was nice that you had only one side printed because I took notes on the other side too. 6. The registration was smooth and efficient. (Nice work!) 7. Being greeted by smiling young ladies with baskets of candy and young men with muscles and can-I-help-you attitudes was LOVELY. What a welcome! That is how I want my children to be. Thanks for setting the example for us younger Moms. I am telling all of my friends about this conference and hope to bring many of them back. Sally, thank you for sharing your heart and your time. You have brought great excitement and hope to my heart that I CAN be an awesome Mom. You have given me so many tools and I am digging in with all I am to disciple my children for Christ. Thank you for this motivation. I'm sure there is more, but my children will wake up soon. This was a bit wordy but I just wanted you to know how much I was blessed. At least I know you like to read. :-)
Looking so forward to California. Registration open for a couple of more days.