Friday, February 22, 2008

Planting and Dancing

I skipped town last weekend leaving in my wake an “after party” house complete with decorations half up and half down, a kitchen that had produced a lunch for 20 that morning, and a desk whose piles rivaled the Appalachians. To get to the “rendezvous point” on time, I had to leave it. Yuck! (Did I really think if I got it back to normal that it would stay that way while I was gone?) Miraculously, once in the car with friends, I never thought of it again. Several of us headed to Dallas to a conference put on by Wholehearted Ministries (Sally Clarkson and friends). Once all of us were there we made up a pretty diverse group—home schooling Moms, preschool Moms, public school Moms, thinking about home schooling Moms--- that had the same desires for their children: to raise them in a way that caused them to love the Lord Jesus with wholehearted devotion.

I am famous for thinking a conference was super but then not being able to remember anything except that, for the time I was there, I was really encouraged and inspired. There is too much to rehash here so here are just a couple of things I’d like to ponder and practically put to use in our home and in our parenting.

The first star I see in my notes is by this sentence, “When God gives us time to ‘plant’, we better 'plant' because autumn is coming and we won’t be able to plant anymore.” Mrs. Clarkson told about a time when she had highly anticipated a day by herself. Each of her four kids had all-day activities and she had her every minute planned out. Just as she had sequestered herself in her cozy bedroom with a favorite book, her 18 year old boy came home from work unexpectedly and asked her if she would like to spend the day with him. After seconds of bitter disappointment, she hopped up and took off with her son. With joy, she made the most of the day ending it with a conversation of telling him all the things she was seeing the Lord do in His life and what she believed she’d see as time ticked on. She, by being willing to forego her own agenda, had earned the right to speak into his heart and life. Many will recognize that as a Young Life concept, but when you apply it to your own kids, it fleshes out a little different. In the midst of interruptions of our lives, the planting can happen.

Since my kids are young, six and four, I feel like I have plenty of time to plant, but do I? When will someone else’s seeds mean more to them than mine? Will there ever be a time when what I have planted be choked out by something else? And how long will the Lord leave me here to do this planting? Too often, I think I’m clueless I even missed a time I could have planted some fruitful seed in their tender hearts. Therefore, my new prayer is that I would recognize and welcome (that’s the key) these times as well as plan to do a little “gardening” with my kids and pray that God will cause the seeds to grow.

The next section of my notes looks like a constellation---- LOTS of good stuff scripted just for me. (I actually think Jeff slipped it to Mrs. Clarkson somehow.) First star: “Submitting to joy requires a mindset and a spiritual choice.” I have GOT to choose this joy instead of all my “Martha-ish” choices. To be joyful sometimes will require me to nix a lot from my almighty list. She reminded us that every season has its limitations and nothing is more important than knowing your limitations in different seasons. If I am “going and blowing” beyond my limitations (a.k.a. God’s boundaries for me), I don’t have His blessing and I will miss what He had planned for me otherwise—not to mention a miserable and neglected family. After we know our own personality, our children/husband and our own limitations, only then can we align our priorities well. Another star is beside “A simple life makes more room in my heart for the JOY of Christ.” Don’t we know this to be true? A complicated, busy life seems to be the norm……… what everyone expects you to have. To me, it’s nauseating and believe me, to my own fault, I am often nauseated. I pray earnestly to figure this one out. Mrs. Clarkson said that keeping peace, joy and simplicity in our home was worth any and all sacrifices, encouraging us to do whatever it takes to make this happen. Something tells me my own agenda will suffer most and rightly so.

She ended her final talk with a darling children’s book called, My Momma Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray which portrays a mother of a young girl who literally danced together through each season. They found something to celebrate and enjoy as each season took its turn displaying its uniqueness. Mrs. Clarkson was asking us to do the same. As I have thought about it some more and read the book to the kids a couple of times, I am challenged to rejoice in all the different seasons as a mother, embracing all the Lord uses to finish His good work in me and in my children. It’s a choice-- a choice I want to make. May He do this in me.


Dondra said...

You captured the essence of the conference profoundly. Thanks for including me in this weekend of spiritual encouragement.

Beth said...

I'm always so encouraged after reading your blog entries. Many times, I feel like I've just read a refreshing devotional. Thanks for sharing!