Well, we made it through our last couple of weeks and are coming up for air before leaving for our Texas conference next Wednesday. I so appreciate the many emails, comments and cards I have received. Our family made it more gracefully through this trying time because of many of you. It is so comforting to hear life-giving words from friends and we appreciate you all very much.
We also had a wonderful trip to California. Though pretty tired, we had angels who met us in Anaheim and held up our arms as we tried to minister to the sweet moms who attended. It was such a great time of fellowship and encouragement with so many of you and lots of smaller meetings as well. I love your noble and enthusiastic hearts--what great moms you all are! So many of you said that you felt you had a whole new perspective on life. I am so grateful to hear your great comments. The most common thing people said at this conference and at the last was, "I wish I have invited more friends to come--I didn't know how much I needed this and am so thankful I made it. Just wish my other friends had come cause they needed encouragement, too." I have seen so often in my own life that the busy-ness and demands and financial pressures and time pressures sometimes immobilize me and I stay home from more activities just because I am pooped!
But I did see, again, how many moms need to be in a room full of moms like themselves, called to their own ideals and to renew their minds. It is why we keep doing it year after year. For all of you who came, we appreciate you supporting our ministry by attending, as it helps us to pay our staff and put more parenting books into print!
It always helps me to be with so many of you! Thanks for your encouraging words. (I do have to say that leaving Colorado for the airport in minus 10 degree weather in the midst of a snowstorm--and arriving in 65 degree California--with green grass and flowers all around--was also a boon to us! We thawed out and really enjoyed our "animal style" In and Out Burgers" (sauteed onions, mustard and melted cheese--gooey and good!) and our trip Saturday night to Downtown Disney--just to stroll amidst the lights and people and our once a year stroll on the beach in Laguna--(which is where my picture was taken for the top of my blog last year--a moment of fun at Laguna Beach, where we went when I was a little girl!)
Just a couple of thoughts. I have been speaking through the seasons of a mother's heart at these conferences. Spring--time for rejoicing and saying, "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Learning to celebrate life and all the spring seasons takes a choice of the heart and a submission to the limitations of each season.
Summer is a time for cultivating and gardening of the souls and planting seeds and foundations. Summer is just for a season and once the season is over, there is no more time to cultivate or garden--The window of opportunity to train and instruct and inspire in eternal values and great thoughts suddenly closes--so how important it is to really take advantage of that season and know just what you want to sow and how you want to immulate the reality of God and His character during that planting season.
Fall, is when one season of life is closing (toddlerhood, elementary, preteens, teenage and college) Falls are a time of readjusting expectations, choosing to be flexible with the life God brings and choosing to accept the harvest for what it is, while planning to be faithful to plant well the next summer season. Learning to accept those ideals that were never grasped and planning for how to continue forging a godly heritage in new seasons.
Winter--the season when all appears to be dead and the times are dark and sometimes overwhelming. During this season, the soul is deepened like in no other season--as roots are pushing downward into God's word and sap is restoring by learning to wait patiently for God's answers--and straining towards Him. In winter, souls are made and godliness and faith is forged--no one becomes seasoned and mature in faith or compassionate or ministry oriented without winters--they reveal the true character of our souls and stretch our faith.
So many moms I know are presently in winter seasons. It seemed this conference talk opened many eyes to the reality of the many seasons and demands of a mom and many were encouraged to remain faithful and true as a result of our study of scripture together during this particular conference talk.
Clay and I committed to bringing God's kingdom to bear in the lives of families all over the world to help equip them and to inspire them 27 years ago. We have seen, by God's grace, much ground taken for His cause. Yet, because Satan literally hates for us to be about God's business in helping families to restore their vision for loving and protecting their children, we have had many, many years of difficulty and spiritual warfare. Satan hates for people to be committed to the saving and building of children--just think of how he tried to destroy a whole generation of babies when Christ was born--to attempt to kill baby Jesus. What consequences would have been wrought in history if he could have stopped baby Jesus from becoming the savior of the world. He also hates for us to raise such babies for God's kingdom and to build them into soldiers!
We have definitely had to weather much discouragement and many dark feelings, but I do believe that the longer we persevere, the more we see the consequences of the battle are great in our lifetime and at this time in history. May He give you grace, encouragement and strength to persevere in your own parenting journey--don't give up! Don't throw away your ideals--they are working in due time to prepare a strong, light-filled generation who will stand for Christ in the difficult days ahead and it is the most important work you will do for His kingdom.
Tell your friends who still have the opportunity to try to come to the Texas conference. (Put your curser on the sidebar about the Texas conference!) We are about building moms and undergirding them and loving them as they continue this great road of parenting for His kingdom. We so appreciate those who pray for us and covet your prayers for the trip to Texas, for all of our health (Joy, and all of her friends in history coop have strep!), for safety and for God's spirit to work mightily through us and in the lives of all the precious moms who attend!
Finally, be sure to tell your sweet ones how much you love them. Take the time to celebrate your love as a family this Valentine's day! We will have a Sunday morning breakfast with cinnamon rolls and cheese eggs, and verbally express what we love and appreciate about each dear person in our family and then close in thanksgiving prayers to our supreme lover for His faithful and everlasting love for us. May He fill your week with His love and grace. My favorite two family verses for this time are "Love covers a multitude of sin!"(mine and those of my children and husband!) and "Love is a perfect bond of unity." Love gives grace and life each and every day to the home who rests in the unconditional love that Christ provides for us each and every day!
Blessings upon blessings!