Finally home and so happy to be able to look at a few weeks to breathe before taking off again for one more conference. What an amazing time I had with all the wonderful women who attended our London Mum Heart Conference. It has me dreaming about what comes next in Europe and the other places in the world where groups are growing.
Over the past few months, as people stand in line to talk at the end of conferences, I have reflected that so often, women want me to write about simple formulas that apply to their lives, their children, their own life puzzle. We all just want answers, NOW!
I could also see that like me, many wanted assurance that they were doing all of the right things to be sure their children would turn out ok. I have so many older mom friends who said, "I don't know why my child rebelled or became a prodigal! I did everything right that I knew to do!"
I also realized that because I made it to 60 and I am still alive, my kids made it through their years into adulthood with faith in tact, with vision for life, and still loved us, that somehow, I must have "done all the right things" or perhaps was more in control of my life.
Reality is I have never been in control and there were never formulas I could count on. Each child was extremely different. Each year was a new kind of stretch to my life, I always had challenges and kept looking for the time when life would settle down. My children have all gone through tough seasons and had doubts and trials amidst it all that required so much heart energy from me.
Expecting to be able to control life, children, husbands, friends, church, family is a road that leads to disappointment. We cannot make life behave by just trying harder or getting the right book, planner or instruction. Truth is, God wants us to rest, to leave our burdens in His hands, to learn a little more every day, how to walk by faith, love and become more patient, work hard and enjoy our days that He has given. As I thought about these things, I remembered an article I wrote some years ago, right in the middle of the "messiness of life" that I hope will encourage you.
Seems I have never reached that magical point where my life is quiet, peaceful, slow, with all the details in my life organized. There are more balls in the air now than when our family was much younger!
After my London conference, I flew up to Scotland to be with Joy and then to Oxford to be with Sarah and finally we had a 3 day girls' time together. But, what I saw, again, is that my children's lives are not static! They are dealing with stresses, life decisions, disappointment, dreams, bills, health, friends, ..., LIFE!! And they both needed "Mama" and lots of talk time and some help along the days.
And the violent car running down several people in London and deaths occurred in one of our favorite hang outs and we were just not in London that day--but that had an effect on all of us there.
I am quite sure many people think that my life of travel is somehow a vacation and fun time. I do love traveling and being with my girls and my life from God has many gifts. But the reality is, I am still helping, talking, training, praying and being a mama mentor in the lives of all of my kids. Kristen and I have often talked about the fact that even grown ups (like all of us) long for help, love and input from a mom.
Though my life is often very stressful and often out of balance-- I can still walk with God, And have joy, enjoy my minutes and the ones in my life at each moment, and make it through one minute at a time.
My home is not in balance--I know that when we fly to 5 cities in 7 weeks, to host mom conferences, that my house will get messier than usual and need a good cleaning when I get home. I understand that if I am going to be faithful to schooling when I am home and making meals and having quiet times in between all the prep for conferences--that things will pile up and go by the way side--but I also know I have a plan for getting it all together when I get home.
I know it will take all of us a few days just to sleep enough to have the energy to clean and straighten up--but I know that we will get to it and I will feel good about my home again.
As I have written before, I liked what a friend said to me, "The swinging hand on a clock is only in balance at one point while the fulcrum swings back and forth between the two sides."
And so my life goes--in perfect balance, rarely, once in a while--but always swinging between the two tensions.
My life wasn't in balance when I had 3 children under 5 and I had to nurse them and deal with ear infections and asthma.
My life wasn't in balance very often amidst the 17 moves--6 times internationally--seemed often I was packing or unpacking--
My life wasn't in balance when I had 3 teenagers and an elementary aged child who just wanted to play and read picture books, while we were staying up late with our teens talking about all sorts of serious issues in life, and then getting up early with my wee, little fun one-with dark circles under my eyes.
And all the while these in my home wanted to eat, (which meant shopping, cooking and an endless stream of dishes) and wear relatively clean clothes and messes abounded--always cleaning and messing--straightening and cluttering. No balance but a lot of life and fun and discussions and work and corrections--a stream of life never ending, but flowing to yet another new challenge and season of life.
I think I would have been so much more content and joyful if I had just known at the beginning that life for me would not be balanced--but could always be meaningful--if I would just accept the limitations of each day, each season, each child, my marriage and my finances--none totally balance, perfect--but all a blessing--so that is what was going through my mind today as I was whizzing about.
I don't think scripture promises balance--Jesus's life was not balanced--he always had people chasing after him and someone was always criticizing him amidst the feeding of 5 thousands, healing lepers and forgiving prostitutes, holding children and blessing them and saying scathing things to the Pharisees--
Paul's life was certainly not balanced-- or even-keeled--amidst prison, ship wrecks, beatings, and teachings. Peter was traveling, teaching, being persecuted--yet all of these had joy, full hearts, love and time to reach out to and teach others.
So, I was contemplating today--that if I would just see this day and all that my puzzle brings as God's will, I would be content, joyful and enjoy rest in the moments of my days.
I spoke of these issues in my book, Own Your Life as well as Different, because walking with God does not require perfect circumstances, just faith and faithfulness amidst it all. I hope it will encourage you to live well right where you are, to accept the limitations of your life, to enjoy the days you are given and to give yourself grace in the midst.