As promised….here is my take on the last two months.
In summary, some days I feel like I have been donkey kicked by a pack of alpaca’s and other days I feel like I have nailed it. I spend most of my days in between…..somewhere between Roseann and June Cleaver.
All joking aside though…it’s been wonderful and difficult. God has me in the unique place of realizing just how much I need Him. My kids have a way of drawing out the ugly in me and my prayer lately has consisted of, “God, help ME?” Transition is hard. Moving states away from all that is familiar to me has caused me to fight the lie that I am alone. Being home with kids all day only to feel at the end of the day I haven’t really accomplished anything by the looks of it but I have been busy all day long….is frustrating. I have to fight the lie that I am worthless and that what I do all day doesn’t even equate to a hill of beans. There are many things that I am fighting through as we settle in and try and figure out what our life looks like for THIS YEAR while here attending the Pastors College. And with all that I just said (and more I spared you the details of) I don’t want to be anywhere else. I have no desire to ask God to remove what the Lord wants to use to create greater Christlikeness in me, a greater dependence on Him and a deeper love and appreciation for the Gospel. Knowing that is what He is doing through all the difficulty and challenges of this new season helps me endure with hope. And sometimes joy. I’m working on the joy part. I am asking God to help me walk in joy when it gets nitty gritty and I’m at the end of my rope. I’m asking God to help me remember that my kids are sinners in need of Christ….JUST LIKE ME. I love my kids. They have the biggest and best personalities. I melt when my sassy and independent Salem reaches up to hold my hand on her own and I love when my tough guy Titus, affectionately being called “Tank” now, complies with every kiss I request. They are wonderful kids. They are also the biggest tools God is using in my life currently. So they are indeed a gift in more ways than I probably even realize….in the scope of eternity and in the here and now. Pray for me to love them well….they are my neighbors too. Gentleness. Kindness. Patience. Self-Control. Understanding. These things I ask you to pray for me also. I was skimming through an old book of mine and my eyes fell upon this quote by J.C. Ryle, “This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, ‘How will this affect their souls?’….the chief end of their lives is the salvation of their souls.” I really want to frame that and hang it in my house somewhere because I want to filter all I say and do as a mom through this test question, which ultimately finds its answer in the Word of God. I’m asking the Lord to show me how to affect their hearts…not just try and control their behavior or entertain them to get them out of my hair. Working outside the home was way easier for me and felt way more natural. I loved working. Started working when I turned fourteen and had one or two jobs my entire life. I loved leaving at the end of the day and feeling like I accomplished something and did my job well. Through the example of my family I have learned to work hard. But I really want that to transfer to my time “working” at home (which I must add has been WAY more work than going into the office for me). It’s draining on a whole new level. So hey moms out there who don’t get sick days where the children can go to daycare and you can binge watch Gilmore Girls while recovering from a mean respiratory virus or flu—-shout out to YOU! You are awesome. And I miss binge watching Parenthood.
So this blog is already too long for most of my dozen readers and I haven’t even gotten to the rest of life. Cause SO MUCH LIFE is happening despite what I may have led you to believe in the above 880+ words. You see, I don’t usually get this time away to write so when I do I have so much to say….and I love writing so it’s hard to reign it in….BUT I must move on. Michelle is graciously watching Tank and Sassypants specifically for me to have some time to myself and I have only gotten one of the things on my list done so far (once this blog is complete it will be two things) out of six that were initially on my list today. And I must relieve her soon!
Let’s talk about marriage. I am currently reading Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci. It has been a rich read for me…very biblical and practical. It helps when have the authors pouring into our lives through this year while year by their words and their examples. They have been so accessible since our arrival and truly they have so much wisdom to share. In the beginning of their book they make a beautiful statement that truly inspires me in this life long journey with Aaron, “It’s overwhelming to realize that God intends to create and cultivate the same abundant, gracious love between a husband and wife that he has for us.” I deeply respect and appreciate my wonderful husband but because of my own struggles with various sins (selfishness, pride, anger, etc) I don’t always treat him accordingly. He’s so forgiving and I am thankful for that. I’m thankful for the one on one counsel and group setting counsel and wisdom we are receiving right now. Just watching the way our leaders interact with their spouses spurs me on to want to love my husband (who is also my neighbor) better. Just last night I told Aaron we should really be praying for seasoned couples whose kids are grown and who have lot of wisdom under their belts to be a part of our core team when we plant the church. And then for God to bring more seasoned couples to be a part of our church. Our church needs what we need. (And since I have a habit of giving blog shout outs—to all the couples out there who are teaching, modeling and pouring into younger families and couples….hats off to you!!! The Church needs you. We need you. That couple needs you. Keep on. Your influence has eternal ramifications.) Back to Aaron- he is wearing many hats right now and is doing it well in my opinion. He is such a good husband, father and friend and I believe with all my heart he is going to be a wonderful pastor….I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that. God’s grace has been so apparent in his life and I feel so very honored to be by his side…to be WITH him.
I can’t end without sharing about some of the things in place here to help ME grow spiritually and help prepare me for the road of ministry ahead of us. I feel so fortunate to have what I have right now and am trying to take it all in now because I know when we head out to plant a church our roles will be many in the beginning and we might not have this type of fellowship for a while. Well poop…I don’t know that. God is so awesome….He already has a team picked out to go with us wherever we land and I believe He will cultivate that among our core team (WHOEVER that is…..is it you??????). So we have a couple different settings in which biblical fellowship is happening. It’s very intentional and some of those settings are specific to our roles as wives and as pastors wives. We have our monthly Saturday morning time with Betsy(the wife of the Director of Student Care) and Julie (the wife of the PC’s Dean), both are pastors wives at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, and the eleven other PC wives (who are wise and mature and such servants already)! We usually have breakfast in their home and Betsy and Julie will lead us in a time of prayer and teaching. Rich teaching. I take mad notes. Can’t even read them half the time. But it’s probably one of my favorite times of each month. Then monthly on a Wednesday night six couples meet at Betsy and Gary’s to peer into our marriages and strengthen our marriages….this is teaching, prayer and fellowship. We also, over the course of our time here, have time with Julie and Jeff Purswell in group settings and a Q&A time with C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney. In fact, we just had a Q&A night this past Wednesday and it was just so edifying. Again…the wisdom, transparency and compassion expressed by these individuals is something I pray the Lord works in me. I will meet one on one with Julie while I am here also—we are having lunch Monday and it brings me great joy to glean from her as she lets me peer into her life and ask difficult questions (like anything to help address some of my concerns in paragraph one above). I am also part of a six lady fellowship group in which we incorporate encouraging, admonishing, confessing, serving and loving one another in this season. We meet twice a month. I really look forward to this time too. God has graciously grouped us together for so many unique purposes and I love growing with these ladies. Some of us ladies are doing a little “time swap” thing while our husbands are in school. Like right now…Michelle has my kids….last Friday I had hers. This is a much needed time to reflect, be still, run errands or write blogs that are entirely too long. It is a gift. We also have group events (like picnics and zoo outings) and girl craft nights that give us more opportunity to do life together. It has been one of God’s sweetest gifts to me during this time. I have so much to be thankful for….and I have so much to learn. I’m right where God wants me. On the good days and the bad. And when the enemy tries to tell me I ain’t cut out for this lifestyle and that I was better at the old way of life….I’m just going to throat chop him from now on….by God’s grace of course. Watch out June Cleaver…there’s a new gal in town. Just kidding.
Thanks for hanging on friends….through all 1975+ words. If you did. If you didn’t, I understand. Thank you my dearest friend for serving me well today.
Off to the chisel I go.