"Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." Jesus Christ
With 5 conferences over a period of a few weeks, hundreds of details to take care of, hotels to be dealt with, emails to write, talks to prepare, it is very easy for me to gloss over my children at home and to say, "I have so much to do and so many important tasks on my plate, I do not have time at this moment to attend to your needs."
But, my integrity is based on what I live at home. I have a highly driven teenager who is shaping her ideals, watching her parents, listening to what is happening in our home. I am so grateful for her because she daily reminds me what is real, what is true and what really matters.
Last weekend, though the conference went well and hopefully many were blessed, Joy worked like a trooper. My children have all had to learn how to set up book tables, handle registration, stay up long hours waiting on me, putting up with the exhaustion of one more airplane, one more bag to carry, one more women who wants to talk. And Saturday morning at our conference, after having had layer upon layer of difficulty in the logistics of the conference in relationship to the hotel, I almost blew a gasket.
Ironically, the next hour, I was to speak about cultivating an optimistic, joyful spirit. I talked very strongly to one of the managers at the hotel about needing some things to take place immediately, as women were already waiting at the ball room door. And then the Holy Spirit put his finger on my heart, "Go upstairs! Go now! Prepare your heart to give your message with integrity--you do not have to control everything! Go now!"
And so I went upstairs. I quickly told Joy of our dilemmas, and asked her if she could go downstairs and be sure that everything would be prepared for the opening session, and went to my room and prayed, got my spirit right and focused on my verses for the morning. When I went into the ballroom, the tablecloths had been changed, the tables decorated, the water was out and it was ready for the morning. Joy had jumped in and I found out that 6 other women who were attending the conference had also jumped in to help and get everything ready for the day. How I appreciated that I had a daughter who could manage and be trusted. How humbled I was that these precious moms who had come to be refreshed and renewed had become servants to the rest of the women there, and helped to make the day ready for a blessing.
And so, God put it on my heart, "You need to serve Joy and speak encouragement and gratefulness into her life for all that she is: trustworthy, dependable, and generous of spirit."
And so, her favorite salad, (mixed greens, toasted pecans, avocado, cranberries, onion, and feta), and little finger sandwiches, hot Yorkshire Gold tea with our meal; and a chocolate torte for desert. Candles, china, fresh flowers from the conference, music and time to say, "I prepared this for you. I appreciate you. I believe in you and in your dreams."
Joy shared with me how much she was enjoying the book Clay had passed on to her--The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. She ended up challenging my own life. We both agreed we wanted to keep pursuing excellence as a result of our talk. I shared my vision. She shared some of hers. Our meeting of hearts took on epic proportions--books, music, influence, romance, plans.
The more I read the Word, the more I ponder Christ, the more I see that ministry--real, deep, life-changing influence-- comes from time invested, to talk, share, pray, listen, laugh, cry. It is what Jesus did. It is what I must do if I really want to have a heart-felt impact on those God has called me to serve.
And so a memory made, dreams shared, character challenged, and love cultivated. So an ordinary Wednesday became a day in which hearts were shaped and drawn closer together, because Joy is really the priority of my life during this season of my life.