Saturday, 21 November 2015
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Tomorrow I turn 28 and it has me thinking about goals. I’ve always been a goals-oriented person. Since having a baby, I’m still a goals-oriented person but the goals have definitely changed. Sometimes my goal in the day is to simply get my toddler down for a decent nap, to unload the dishwasher, or, let’s be honest, to just make it to bedtime. :) I think establishing goals for ourselves, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, is a really healthy, positive practice.
This morning had me thinking along the lines of personal goals. A lot of my personal goals the last few years have had to do with furthering my education or career. Graduate university, graduate with my teaching degree, get a job subbing, get a permanent teaching job. Once I had my son, the goals changed and became more mommy focused. Things like getting my baby to sleep well, helping him try different foods, nurturing values of sharing and kindness, being consistent with discipline, keeping a (somewhat) tidy home, cooking healthy meals, practicing self-care… these are all goals I’ve had this past year. But in the muddle of having a baby and getting pregnant relatively soon after, I’ve found that it is very easy to lose sight of myself and my own, personal goals.
It’s completely ok that my goals have changed in this season and I think it’s actually healthy. As our lives change, we reorient ourselves to what is happening around us and the needs of those counting on us. But I also think it's healthy for us to have our own things. I recently heard Jess Connolly say on a periscope that she believes all moms are a “mom plus.” This idea that moms can be, for example, a mom plus a business owner, a mom plus a teacher, a mom plus a homemaker, a mom plus a crafter, a mom plus a writer, a mom plus an artist, a mom plus a pastor’s wife, a mom plus whatever, was refreshing to me. It made sense to me. What is my “mom plus”?
When I invite God into this question and ask him what he is calling me to in this season (my ‘plus’ something), I feel a few things heavy on my heart. Heavy in a good way. Heavy in a way that even just thinking about them brings me purpose and excitement.
For me, right now those things are…
-encouraging relationships with the other moms he’s put in my lives
-preparing our hearts for the church ministry he is calling us to
-putting time, effort and resources into my blog
-setting aside time for writing on my blog
There are always more things, more people, or more endeavours we can give ourselves to. One day I would love to get a masters degree, but I don’t feel that is what I’m being called to right now. Paying attention to the things that he’s put on my heart right now allows me to discover my calling and purpose in this season of my life.
So, considering what I feel he’s calling me to right now, here are some personal goals I have for myself in this season…
- Invest in the women God has placed in my life- nurture friendship, encourage them in their motherhood and relationships with God
- Allow God to prepare my heart and ready it for the ministry he is calling us to- time in His word, continuous prayer, and building my relationship with my husband during this time
- Purchase a blog design and install it
- Write 2-3 times a week on my blog- ask God for help in narrowing my focus as I discern the particular purpose of this blog and the ways he wants to use it
I love setting goals. I love the purpose and structure they can bring to our lives. I encourage you to set some personal goals for yourself. And if they are simply to make it to bedtime with those kiddos of yours or to maybe eat a vegetable today…I so get that. :)
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Some days, I feel like theres just not enough space. Space to think. Space to breathe. Space to be patient. Space to grow. Space to trust. Space to celebrate. How do we create space? I think the answer is in the word ‘less.’ In John 3:30 we read, “He must become greater; I must become less.” He must become greater. I must become less.
This past week we set up our Christmas tree. A little early, I know. But there’s something about having it up early that I just love. Having a tree in your home is kind of a funny thing, if you think about it. And then, to top it off, we put lights on this tree in our home and we decorate it? If you think about it, it is a little strange. And it had me wondering recently, where did this tradition begin?
I read up on it and discovered this:
“It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.” (http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees).
A man takes a moment to look up at the stars, notices their beauty amidst the evergreens and decides to recreate this moment of awe for his family, in their home. This simple act turned into a tradition that still is very much alive today.
As we approach the sacred season of Advent, I am aware that, most years, the days leading up to Christmas are full. This year, I want it to be different. Instead of feeling rushed and stressed and busy, I want to have a quiet, joyful, in awe heart before the Lord. I recognize that in order to do this, I need more space. The question is, how do I make Him greater, and how do I become less? Becoming less doesn’t mean we boycott gifts, say no to family functions, and become the grinches who stole Christmas. Becoming less, I think, looks a lot like Martin Luther did. The story says he was walking home, writing a sermon. I’m sure he was feeling distracted or maybe even burdened on this walk. But instead of keeping his gaze downward, he turned it up. Towards the stars, the evergreens, the heavens. He noticed the beauty and basked in it. And then he recreated it for the ones he loved.
May our hearts be turned towards you in each moment of this Advent season. May we not become distracted by the burdens and weights that often overtake our hearts during this season. Instead, may we be so enamoured with the miracle of your Son, Jesus, coming to earth to save us, that we notice the beauty in lit-up trees, in giving and receiving gifts, in baking cookies and singing carols and smelling turkey. May it all be a sweet offering of praise to you. I pray that you, Holy Spirit, would enable us to make the space we need in our hearts to worship you. In your precious name we pray, Amen.
Monday, 9 November 2015
I woke this Monday morning, knowing that I have a choice. That, in fact, I have many choices.
I can start off my week grumbling about all that I need to get done, or I can start off my week with hands lifted in thanksgiving, trusting God to help me accomplish the tasks ahead.
I can live in hurry mode, constantly trying to tidy up after my 18 month old, racing to get small tasks done around the house, or I can slow down. I can look at the task in front of me as a portal into the Kingdom of God, as a small way to serve my Heavenly Father.
I can live out of fear, constantly worrying about our future and what it might look like, or I can rest in the unchanging love, faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, who already goes before us and has a good plan for our lives.
I can go through my days longing to have a big influence and platform, wishing that what I did seemed more meaningful, or I can choose to “celebrate my smallness” (Emily P. Freeman, Simply Tuesday) and see the sacred in making grilled cheese sandwiches, reading storybooks, cooking for my family and having dance parties after dinner.
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ~ James 5:11
I read these verses in James this morning, and the word steadfast stood out to me. Sometimes I think what makes our days frustrating, lonely and unfulfilling is that we’re striving after something God has not yet given us. We want to see the next step when he hasn’t revealed it yet. We want to live into the full potential of our calling when Jesus is asking for faithfulness in the small moments of our days. We want all the kinks and troubles of our health, our relationships, our finances, to be resolved so we can live at peace. Instead Jesus offers us himself, the Prince of Peace, and gives us all that we need amidst troubles, trials and unfulfilled longings in our lives.
So, on this bright November Monday morning, I’m taking a different posture. I’m not trying to do things perfectly, no, because I know I will only fail again and again. Instead, I am leaning in to my Saviour, Jesus.
I’m choosing worship, gratitude, and slow paced living. I’m seeking to trust him as I celebrate my smallness. I’m choosing to believe that those who remain steadfast will be considered blessed and that through it all, the Lord is compassionate and merciful, always.
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
I just started reading the book “Simply Tuesday” by Emily P. Freeman (one of my favourite bloggers.) It’s all about ‘celebrating your smallness’ and slowing down in a fast-moving world.
It’s so easy for me to wake up and move through my days like a bit of a robot. Making check lists. Measuring the days success on whether or not my toddler napped well or behaved well, or whether errands got run and dinner got cooked. But I’m starting to see that going through my days this way looks a lot more like striving than abiding… and I think it’s making my soul weary and tired.
So…Wednesday goals, simply put?
Receive ~ Receive my energy, wisdom, and love from the Lord
Pour out ~ Pour out that love to my family and those I interact with throughout the day
Read (not social media) ~ While baby boy naps, use that time to do something that pours into me- reading a life-giving book or a fictional novel is so much more life giving for me than spending the whole time texting or on instagram, etc.
Play Outside ~It’s supposed to be 20 degrees here (yes in November in Ontario! What!) So taking my boy outside and letting him play (and maybe even letting myself play too) is a goal for today
Abide ~ Throughout the day, the moments, the ups and downs, just abiding in the love of my heavenly Father
Dinner ~ I’m thinking spaghetti and salad night
Connect ~ Using some time after dinner and our son’s bedtime to connect with my husband
Rest ~ Get to bed at a reasonable hour and get the rest I need (this pregnant mama needs all the rest she can get!)
Sure, there are other more ‘productive’ things I could put on my list for today. And it’s not a fail if I end up using some of my time to do laundry or clean, but those are not the primary goals of my day.
What about you? What are your “Wednesday Goals” today? And if they feel more burdensome than life-giving, is there a way for you to rewrite those goals (even if they are still very task-oriented) that will allow you to abide rather than strive today?