Miracles In the Making: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 7

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding God’s Will as you serve Him. This blog provides brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

 

Previous Posts In the Series:

 

Some of the handouts are available on their respective posts. If you can’t locate the appropriate handout, feel free to request them from me here.

Miracles in the Making

At first, I didn’t think I’d post about our class this past week because we’re in the final stages of our Mission Statements and Vision Boards. I haven’t completed my vision board yet, but I’m sharing a picture of a board I created a few years ago. My Mission Statement is shaping up but not finalized. I’ll share it here next week.

This past Wednesday, we had a small group. The numbers each week have fluctuated from five to fourteen women. That’s one reason why I’m leaving updates on this blog.

At first, I thought my only participant would be a woman new to our church. She hadn’t attended the workshop prior to Wednesday, so I gave her the handouts and a brief overview of what we’ve been doing. Then another woman showed up and wanted help with her Mission Statement. Last week, she’d shared with us a program she’s starting and she wanted her statement to fit this mission and help her create that quick blurb to use when telling others about this new program.

Her program will help children who have experienced something many of us can’t imagine. Because of the nature of this post and the confidentiality of the women who attended Wednesday night, I’m not going to share more about her program at this time. Sometime later, when she has everything ironed out, I will share her information because it is for a very worthwhile cause.

What I wanted to share was the amazing way God brought women together that night. We ended up with six of us seated around the table talking about this program and helping her work on her Mission Statement. The more she revealed, the more we bonded. And I’m still getting cold chills as I recall what happened. One by one, five of these women revealed their OWN experiences with the trauma this new program will focus on. Five out of six of us had personal knowledge and experience!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

I felt God’s hand in this gathering. Many of the women had missed several sessions while those who regularly attended were not there. God brought this particular group of women together as encouragers for each other and, in so doing, gave this program first-hand knowledge and validation of its mission.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I’ll admit, that night as I drove to church to teach this workshop, I didn’t want to go. I was tired. I hadn’t eaten dinner. I needed to get up very early the next day. Yet, God blessed me and five other women by being there with us as we revealed our secrets. I drove home feeling very different than when I drove to church.

Amen!

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My Daily Balancing Act

We discovered these rocks on the shore in Rhode Island. There were hundreds of these stacks, balanced against the winds from the ocean. © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

A few days ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to say in this post. Today, the desire to say it is gone. There are other needs pressing on me, and I don’t know whether I’m ready to share them.

I know, I know, I’ve been an open book about the struggles of my life, but most of those posts talk about situations in my past. Many of them quite a few years ago.

I’ve come to a point in my story where the posts have caught up to real time. To now. Today. That means the stories I’m sharing are ones I’m experiencing. The people they affect are dealing with them now. There are parts I can’t disclose, yet.

That makes the goals of my posts a bit harder to share. The outcomes are unknown. Yes, I trust God to take care of us, but everything I’ve been through has shown me that His way is often a way I can’t begin to imagine. He doesn’t always give us the easy outcome. He has a long-term perspective that I can’t know or see. To be honest, that frightens me when I stop to think about it.

So I don’t stop and think about it.

There’s enough going on in our lives to keep me from focusing on things I can’t change. Thankfully, I’ve never been much of a worrier. I’m a doer. I prefer to be on the move, headed toward a goal. And that goal, for now, is to get through this day. To get through the next day. To help my grandchildren cope with this unfair situation. To find time to spend with my husband, time separate from the grandchildren. To find time to focus on the rest of our family.

AND, to make sure I take time for me, so I’m the person they need.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

It’s not easy. It’s a balancing act. Most days it feels like the rocks in this picture, balanced against all odds. Like these rocks, I will persevere. I will stand against the elements and time. If nothing else, my story has taught me blessings will come. So, I wait and balance.

It’s what I do…for now.

Parenting: Looking For the Prodigal Seeds

Image courtesy of artur84/freedigitalimages.com

It’s been a while since I blogged about my personal story. In some ways, I’ve been avoiding it because I’ve reached a point in the story where things began to fall apart for my younger daughter. I’ve blogged about her teen pregnancy, and I’ve posted several blogs about the prodigal, hoping to discover wisdom for myself as I share the current situation.

I haven’t talked about the years between the teen pregnancy and her current situation.  She’s almost 37 years old, so that pregnancy was some time ago.

So, what happened?

I can’t point to one thing. It’s a series of events and choices.

From the time she was three, she started doting on younger kids. She was great with them. You could see she adored children. I watched and realized that some day she would be a wonderful mother. But events changed that part of her. After she gave up her son for adoption, her interest in younger children evaporated. I’m not surprised by that, but I am saddened by it.

Instead, she focused on her studies, on activities with church and the school chorus and band, and on spending time with friends. I recall one Friday night, she and her friends showed up at our house shortly before her curfew, seeking shelter from a bad storm. I suggested the girls call their parents to let them know they were safe and at our home. Their response shocked me: they didn’t have a curfew, and their parents wouldn’t worry. Only one girl made a phone call.

What!?

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

My children always had a curfew. I expected them to let me know where they were and who they were with. These 16-year-old girls didn’t have any boundaries. As I dug deeper into the situation, I discovered that most of my daughters’ classmates did not have rules about where they were or when they came home.

At the time, my daughter expressed thanks that we cared enough to know she was safe. It wasn’t long before she pushed for the same freedoms her friends had, though.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3

As our children grow older, the choices made for them become a two-way street. We eventually lose control over what they are doing. The teen years is not the time to lose that control, but that’s what happened with her friends. Either the parents wanted to be “friends” with their children or chose to not fight with their kids in order to enforce rules.

I stuck to my rules, but that’s when things began to fall apart.