Hi, Sweet Moms,How I have enjoyed hearing from so many of you! However, I am on a new blog site (Type pad) and I haven't figured out how to respond back to those who leave comments! So, thanks for letting me know you are out there. We think that the server has been sending the details about my comments to Whole Heart, so I never get a link to all of you! So please know I am in the middle of figuring this out.
Now, to those who have asked about the beautiful picture on my header--as to whether it was my house!--Maybe in heaven I will have such a house. But this house is the home of Longfellow. Sarah and Joel worked in Cambridge last summer and a great memory was to travel to the area where Longfellow lived and also to visit the home and area of Beatrix Potter. They said it was breathtakingly beautiful and wonderful to hike! So I am dreaming of a future trip and just liked the picture--so there it is!
"Then Joseph had a dream...." Genesis 27:5
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 3: 10
"My frame was not hidden from Thee when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." Psalm 139 15-16
Here I sit on my bed in my hotel room in Orlando, Florida. I am attending a Christian performers conference for a whole week with Nathan, who is involved in numerous competitions in acting, singing and a various other areas for exposure. (Clay couldn't get off of work, so I am the attending parent!) Traveling one more time is not really what I thought I needed, since I have been twice to California and once to Orlando and once in Canada in the past few weeks. But, I am here to support my 19 year old's dreams--to go into the performing arts--singing or acting. Hollywood and New York are not the places I would pick to willingly send any of my children! But, as I have prayed about it, the Lord has reminded me that He wanted me to train my children to be stewards of the gospel and the truth of God's message to their culture--but he didn't give me a choice where He would have them bring His message. He just gave me the stewardship of His truth and His calling that I was to intentionally--with all of my heart and mind and strength--to pass on to my children--the next generation.
So, for years, I have said, "I wonder what God has designed you to do? I can't wait to see how He uses you in your world for His glory!" "What a great piece of music you played--maybe you will be a Levite--one who composes or sings music for God's glory! You are so funny and delightful--maybe you will be used to entertain and encourage people who need hope! I have never known anyone to read so many books or to write so prolifically! Maybe you will be one of the writers He will use to show people His reality through books! You are so kind! Maybe you will help counsel broken people! I believe He has made you for a special work to do!"
Looking back on Nathan, I can see that he has been dramatic and wiggly and fun and bigger than life since he was a wee thing. He has also been the most engaged by hero tales--loved acting out with swords and capes and plays and video productions. As I read in scripture, I see that God prepared our children with certain personalities--ideosyncracies--individual humor, loudness or softness--even things that irritate us--but as we see in scripture that what might irritate us could be something that will prepare our children for the task they were given!
I, myself, always felt I was "too much" for people. I have always been exceedingly passionate and driven (only girl with two older brothers!) I think I was ADHD before it was a term. But, when I am speaking to 1000 women, I feel that I am doing what God created me to do! I travel and speak and write and love doing it because I have been driven to do it from the time I was little. God gave me this personality because He wanted me to be a pioneer in the moms and homeschooling movement. I needed to be idealistic and driven, so that I would be equipped to do what He had designed me to do. What felt out of place in many situations, became a blessing when I was in the niche God had designed for me!
Almost none of my friends have my personality! But they are so much more capable of handling things that I am just not good at! Each of us has a stewardship to fulfill--and it will have to do with the unique personality God gave us for what He designed for us to do! However, personality is not always pleasing to those different than we are!
Immediately after we read of Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:5, we read, "When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more!" God gave Joseph a dream that sustained him during many years of trials. But this very dream irritated his brothers! So often, the rough edges or parts about us that are different, are the very areas that God has designed to be a part of a personality that will equip a person to do what God has created him to do!
But, for me, it meant accepting my children as God gave them to me--even with all of their extremes. I wasn't blessed with all "normal" children, but the ones God gave me, He has used to humble me, teach me His values, learn things I needed to learn and find out what it meant to grow in Him!
I was often in situations when moms could easily judge my "out of the box" children because they often didn't "fit" into the norm. But, I believed that one part of His call on my life, was to seek to nurture and cultivate my children according to their "bent." I can look back now and see that, though they have matured, they haven't greatly changed from the personalities they had as little children--even as babies. The extroverts were that way when born and the introverts were that way as babies! Some were academic--some were more physical and performing and loud! But, seeing them with the eyes of faith and the eyes of God, slowly taught me to be patient--to accept the limitations of my children, to try not to change them too much, but to help them to mature in Christian character and in a sense of destiny for their own lives. A child with hope and a sense of future, can sustain difficulties and limitations--if they know they have been created for God's purposes--and if they come to understand that each circumstance and each situation is preparing them to be equipped to do what He has called them to do.
However, if a child is trained that his life is about performance and works, he will lose heart if his life doesn't provide results. It is the mom who models and teaches hope, love, acceptance and faith for a future of purpose in God's hands--but only if the mom has accepted the limitations of her own life as well as the limitations of her children. For me, it has been a slow process, but , like so many others, I see that having children has been the tool God has most used to conform me to His image--and to confront my own sin and selfishness.
I am learning a lot while I am here, too. Just this morning, I saw probably 250 kids go down the runway as models. Yet, only a few stand out! They are all pretty attractive kids, but I realized that in the midst of so many bodies walking across the stage, it was those who sparkled--who had light, inner beauty, fun. life inside--that came out through their face--that I remembered. Same with the monologues--many talented, but only few passionate and real and alive. We read that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. It is heart and life and passion for living for Him that fans the flame that will shine through the personality of our children--that will make them good message makers. It is not about fitting in and living up to what is expected by culture--it is about setting free the spirit of a child to know and experience real love, deep faith, broad truth, touching beauty--that will set free the spirit of God to live through them--in whatever He calls us to!
So much for waxing eloquent. My break is over--the singing and monologue competitions are ahead. So please pray for me as I cheer-lead Nathan, and for Nathan to find God's favor in whatever work He has called Him to do! Blessings and fondness to all of my sweet friends in cyberspace! I am here until next Monday so would appreciate your prayers that I remain the mom I should be while everyone else holds the fort down at home! I have so appreciated your many letters and notes and plan to catch up on correspondence in about 15 years! Blessings! Sally Sally@wholeheart.org