Obedience, Fellowship and No More Excuses

21
Sep
2015

Obedience, Fellowship and No More Excuses

Today is a BIG day in our house. Our family is stepping out, into an unknown area, but one we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we are meant to do.

I am nervous, a bit scared, apprehensive and maybe even overwhelmed.

We are hosting our very first meeting for our new small group in our home.

YIKES!! Yes, this introvert who is extremely private and loves to be a homebody and struggles immensely with hospitality perfectionism, is saying YES to something that will likely lead me to grab hold of HIM even more.

Isn’t that the place God does the biggest work in us?

For years I have been involved in a small group of women and it has been wonderful. Both my husband and I felt it was time to share life together as a family/couple in a fellowship group, yet our search for a new church was exhausting us and breaking us down. Incredible renewal was ignited when we found our new church home and we are able to step out in this calling.

We are meant to be in community with other believers, and not just on Sunday. It was clearly presented to me recently one morning while I read through my daily devotional on YouVersion written by Rick Warren:

“You are called to belong, not just believe. We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits.” – Rick Warren

It was confirmation to me that we were headed down the right road. However, I struggle with some significant things that make stepping out to host a group in my home a challenge.

Hospitality for the Introverted Perfectionist is Scary

This is a true step of faith for me and I will have to pray hourly for HIS strength to carry me through. You see, I struggle with wanting my home to be perfect, welcoming, inviting, spotless and everything done perfectly. I have come to realize – and it has taken me many years to truly grasp this – if I wait for that to happen, I will never be ready. I will never be able to serve God with the strengths He has given me right now.

Serving in New Ways

Our family had gotten in a rut in finding ways to serve. We have been blessed to monetarily contribute to causes we find called to help (one of those is the FIVE girls this blog supports in India through Compassion with your purchases using this Amazon affiliate link!) and with physical goods to those who are in need – but we’ve been able to make the excuse that we don’t have time to serve in the ways that so many places need. People have a hard time giving up their time to serve, and we have been guilty of this excuse.

So our group will find relevant and real needs in our community to step out and serve. I am excited to see what presents itself. We are in the process of reading Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker.

It’s All About Relationships

Getting to know new people is scary. Opening up in a real and honest way is hard – but I know I am called to be vulnerable, honest, genuine and authentic as we gather a group of believers together to search for relationship beyond our church doors on Sunday.

As an introvert I want to just keep to myself, be a homebody and tithe and serve in ways that I think are “good enough.” Yes, I did just say that – I was not looking for excellence in this area, going beyond what was good enough. From the quote above, this stuck out to me, kind of like a slap in the face: “none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves”.

So I am jumping in – and yes, I am busy. I don’t have time. I will be anxious that someone will think my house is not clean enough. I’ll be afraid to run out of food or surprise someone with something I say that may embarrass me. However, I am being called to step out and do more. So I will obey and be obedient and see what God can do when I stop making excuses.

Are you involved in a small group with your church? Or do you feel called to step out and join one?

This video really touched my heart and encouraged me in this journey. So many are lonely – even myself. This will be a great journey!

(Click through to the blog to view the video.)

Grab this book NOW – SERIOUSLY! It’s wonderful – For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards.

Improving Parent Child Relationships

21
Apr
2014

 Improve-Parent-Child-Relationship
There are those days were it can feel like all the communication we have with our kids is to give instruction, deal with discipline and shuffling them on to the next task.  It can be exhausting and leave you feeling a bit empty, as well as your child.

Creating relationships with our kids is extremely important – it is necessary to be intentional, focused and be curious about who they are and what they think.

One of the biggest take aways I got when I went to the Hearts at Home Conference a few weeks ago was this revelation to me given by Dr. Kathy Koch – who by the way is an extremely talented author, speaker and plain full of incredible wisdom for parents.  She co-authored Jill Savage’s new book, “No More Perfect Kids,” and has several of her own on my reading list!

“We need to learn to raise the kids we were given, not the ones we wish we were given.”

This really struck a cord for me and the relationship and struggle I’ve been having in my own mind with my youngest.  I just have not been the type of mommy that he needs and I am determined to change.  Actually when I think about it, I have had the same struggle at different times in my life with different kids.  Why does it seem we often desire something other than what God felt was right for us?

I am great at coming up with routine, setting expectations and getting things crossed off the list, but when it comes to really getting inside his little mind……not a strength for me.  I think there was a time where I was much better at this with my older kids than I am now.

Perhaps I am not alone?

The Importance of Communicating with Kids

Often, as parents, we talk to our kids but it is frequently a one-sided conversation.  We talk at them….but are we really having a back and forth conversation?  Rarely.

There are those days were it can feel like all the communication we have with our kids is to give instruction, deal with discipline and shuffling them on to the next task.  It can be exhausting and leave you feeling a bit empty, and I am sure your child feels the same.

Creating relationships with our kids is extremely important – it is necessary to be intentional, focused and be curious to know who they are and what they think.  Two-way communication is much better because you will have:

  • Less chance of risky behavior
  • You know what your child is thinking
  • You know what your child is doing
  • You can influence your child
  • You teach them healthy emotional behavior

There is that saying – we as parents don’t ever want to be “friends” with our kids, rather we want to be their parent.  I agree with that phrase, but I know for myself…..I do need to be their friend in a certain sense of the word.  I need to learn to connect with them on their level, to show interest and engage. 

I can easily become wrapped up in my day and what I need to accomplish and completely forget or neglect  {Hangs head} the relationship with my kids.  Ugh, that is ugly to admit, but I do.  I find myself just a little too busy to stop and listen or sit down and play that game of Candyland.

So what can you do?  Maybe a few of the ideas I am working in will help you?

1.  Set aside 10 minutes intentionally to do whatever THEY want.  This can be so very hard for a task orientated driven mom.

2.  Read together, regardless of their age – maybe it is a book, perhaps a newspaper or article on the internet.  But sit next to them and connect and converse about a topic, depending on their age.

3.  Linger at the table – don’t always be in a rush to move onto the next thing.  Some of the best conversations we have as a family are around the dinner table.  It is true…. we just are more relaxed and everyone feels included.

4.  One on one time.  This is not a new idea, “dates with your kids” is something that has been around for awhile.  But when you have more than a couple kids, it can seem a bit daunting, especially when you factor in scheduling.  But it is important and I am trying to rebuild this into my schedule.

Kids are people too and when we treat them as such, they gain a positive sense of who they are and also respect for what we have to teach them.  The relationship we can create while they are living inside our four walls will truly blossom once they leave our protection too….one thing I am learning by having one already flown the coop and another one on his way very quickly.  🙂

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