Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Time to Rest

Running in high gear the past few weeks, resting was something I was doing in short bursts. Yes, even resting was done in 'bursts'! By Saturday afternoon, I was tired. Not the rewarding kind of physical tired that results after a high level workout or afternoon of gardening or yard work.

No, this was the emotional, physical, mental tired that went to the core. The kind of tired that says "Stop the world and let me off for awhile." After wrapping up a WM Leadership Team planning meeting around 1:00, I ate a quick lunch with my husband and then crashed on the couch for a nap. Two and a half hours later I woke up! Supper? No way was I cooking so we went out to eat. Back home I relaxed on our patio with a good book. (Daisy Chain by Mary's great!) Nothing else on my agenda that evening. Sunday afternoon? Another nap after church and lunch. By then I was feeling revived enough to be 'Suzy Homemaker' and cook my husband's favorite Sunday dinner - fried chicken. I even baked brownies for dessert. By Sunday night I was feeling much better. Ready to get back on the spinning world and continue with life.

I'll let you in on something. This gal's guilt gene kicks into overdrive when I take time out like I did this past weekend. I hear words (not really, just thoughts) like lazy, slothful, non-productive. (Jennifer Rothschild's new study, "Me, Myself & Lies" is helping me deal with that issue.)

I love the way God prepares me for something before it happens. For the past few weeks I have come across several writings about God's provision of rest, His mandate to rest, and the importance of rest. He knew I was getting ready to hit the wall yet again and He knows how hard it is for me to rest without guilt. So this weekend I savored my rest as a gift from God. I enjoyed reading a good book, sitting outdoors just soaking up the sweet fresh air, even enjoyed cooking that dinner. I do love to cook when I don't feel rushed to get it done between other tasks in my agenda. And Monday morning? Well, I can't say I was ready to hit the ground running. But I was ready to work again, ready for whatever and whoever He wanted to bring into my life that day.

Rest. It is something I know I must plan for. It is something this list making, over achieving, God's girl is going to allow time for.............without guilt!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Who's Your Mama? (In-Law, that is!)

In one of the writing workshops I attended at She Speaks we were asked to write down the different roles we fulfill and/or challenges we have faced. The leader then challenged us to think about how we could take what we have learned or what we are experiencing and use it to encourage others.

One of the many 'hats' I wear is that of mother-in-law. I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters-in-law whom I love dearly. I haven't experienced the turmoil that some women do when their sons marry. But I have to admit that I used to worry that when the day came, I would be automatically assumed to be the dreaded mother-in-law.

I believe one of the reasons I have a good relationship with my daughters-in-law is that I automatically gave up my place as the woman in each son's life as soon as it became apparent this was 'the one'! No questions asked, no hesitation. I treated each young woman as the special person she is. After all, she was marrying a son of mine....she had to be special! I did not feel threatened by her. I knew I had a good relationship with my sons and didn't need to jockey for position. I knew they were not abandoning me and would remain very much a part of my life. After raising two sons, I was looking forward to some female companionship in the family as well!

Of course, this is my perception coming from my side of the relationships. Daphne & Tara may have completely different ideas!

I have also been a daughter-in-law and was blessed with a godly, kind and loving mother-in-law. We got along famously, though she died four short years after Larry & I married. What worked for us? She willingly put me first in Larry's life, reinforcing it with word and deed. I honored her relationship with her son, encouraging him to spend time with her.

I'm not writing this to pat myself on the back or to say I'm an expert at good mother/daughter-in-law relationships. I just know what has worked for me. I would love to hear your stories. What works for you? What doesn't work? What would the 'perfect' relationship look like to you? You can post your stories anonomously and even change the names to protect the innocent! Maybe we can learn from one another.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Abundant Life

My cup runneth over and over and over! Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend She Speaks, a conference for Christian women who feel the call to write, speak, or lead women's ministries. I chose to attend the writers' track in order to begin to fulfill a call on my life that God has been nurturing for a few years. I went with no agenda other than to be open to everything that God wanted to show me and wanted me to learn. Wow! God showed up in a mighty way.

I made lots of new friends, friends who share the desire to spread God's message through the written and/or spoken word. A gal who normally chooses to pay extra for the privilege of rooming alone, on this trip God prompted me to let Him choose my roommate. He blessed me with a dear, dear new friend. It was almost uncanny, the way we have so many things in common. From the moment I walked into the hotel room, it was as though we were long time friends who had simply not seen each other for awhile. Kay, I am abundantly blessed to be able to call you friend. Can't wait to see what God unfolds for us as our friendship grows. (Love that IKEA thing too, girlfriend!)

Other new friends are my newly formed online writers' critique group. Seven new friends from several different states will join me to encourage one another, pray with and for one another, and give each other feedback on our writing. Sisters In Ink, I love you muchly already!

I arrived in Concord, NC on Friday as one of several first time conference attendees. I left Sunday afternoon with a heart overflowing with God's love and a renewed confidence in His calling on my life. Then life...

...a phone call as I was driving home to tell me my daughter-in-law was going back to the emergency room for an ongoing problem that first arose on Thursday night. (Both times while I was traveling for this conference.) Monday...a return trip to her doctor who decided emergency surgery was necessary. Hubby & I took over kid care while son stayed with DIL at the hospital. School was ready to start and there were still supplies to purchase. So I joined the crowd of moms at the local stores to fill up our carts with the necessary pencils, paper, etc. Youngest granchild is not quite three years old so he was a bit ruffled by mom & dad being away. However, we managed to keep him entertained so it seemed more like just another fun time with Papa & Mama. DIL's surgery was successful and she is home recovering nicely. Kids are in school with all supplies purchased. Hubby & I are tired but thankful that we were here to help. After all, this is what family is all about!

One of the speakers at the conference reminded us to expect an attack from Satan since he is always looking for opportunities to try to discourage us or cause us to stumble when we have stepped out in obedience to God. She encouraged us to be prepared ahead of time by growing closer to God, soaking up His word and spending time in prayer.

There have been times in the past when I have come home from a mountain top experience such as this, encountered a life storm, and become almost instantly pulled into the poor me syndrome. This time has been different. Though at times over the past week I have felt like I have been on a speeding train, there never was a time that I felt life was out of control. Never a time when I thought, "Oh my, I am too exhausted to go on." Never a time that I felt resentment, frustration, or other negative emotion. I believe that is due simply to God's preparation in my heart for what He knew was coming. If you've been keeping up with this blog, you know I have written before about the difference between the busy life and the full life. This week has been absolutely the full life. How I've responded to it has been the abundant life promised to us by our Savior.

And that is something to shout about!

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