i drove up to my house right around bedtime last night. the kids were in jammies on the front porch and i could hear their squeals through the window of my honda odyssey the second they noticed it. "mommy! mommy's home!" they jumped up and down and ran toward me as i turned into the driveway and dave instructed them "don't get too close, you don't want mommy to run over your toes!"
safely in the garage, i opened the door to hugs and laughter and i could not keep the tears from coming. this is it. these kids. they are IT. they are my ministry, my sacrifice, my portion, my calling, my LIFE.
and i do know that in my head. but there is something beautiful about being reminded of that in your heart. and this weekend was just that. a heart reminder of what i am doing day in and day out with this one life that i've been given.
i had the privilege of driving danielle finzel and holly packiam up on friday morning and after a required stop at starbucks, we listened to holly answer some questions that sally was going to ask her on a panel during one of the conferences first sessions.
i've taken some very specific things away with me from this weekend and one of them is something holly brought up about creating liturgy in the home to make menial tasks into sacred ones.
we hadn't even arrived at the conference and God was already speaking truth to my heart.
one of the first interjections that sally made during the panel was "guys, your kids just want you to be happy. you know that right? don't take them or yourself too seriously! be silly with them! be fun!" and she says it all nonchalantly in a way that makes you want to laugh and throw your cares to the wind. she is so genuine in her approach. i mean, really, you just want to hug her and take her home with you.
in sally's first session she highlighted jeremiah 2:5 "thus says the Lord "what injustice did your fathers find in me, that they went far from me and walked after emptiness and became empty?"
and then she proceeded to challenge us with questions like, "what empty things are you walking after or investing in?" and i quickly came up with a list of things i choose on a daily basis that are empty. and sometimes what you need to shake up your world a bit is language. and this word picture of chasing after empty things and then becoming empty is incredibly powerful to me. i can think of few things worse than being empty.
and the speakers....from the panel, to sally, to sarah mae, to chrstal hurst would speak scripture over us and our kids, or tell stories of kids remembering scripture verses in different situations and i felt it all weekend long, this desire for more of the Word of God in my life and in my heart and in my mind.
and during a fabulous conversation with megan engebretson inbetween sessions i had an aha moment and connected holly's thoughts about liturgy in the mundane to a very real reawakened love for God's Word and now have a vision of memorizing scripture during the mundane tasks of motherhood. turning dish duty, toilet scrubbing and folding towels into a sacred space for my mind to dwell on God's Word.
filling your heart with God's Word is just about the very opposite of chasing after emptiness.
and Crystal Hurst was so very inspiring. she told of the last few miles of her marathon and how her sons were running with her there at the end. and after she had been running 25 miles and DYING of exhaustion, the boys were whining and complaining and asking for things like water and snacks and she was all "i can't believe that i am having to mother you while i am finishing a MARATHON!"
and of course she then relates that story back to real life mothering.
we do it when we are exhausted.
when we are sick.
when we are depressed.
when we are stressed.
when we are broken.
motherhood does not wait for us to have it all together and to be well rested.
it doesn't wait for us to have a well of patience or an hour of refreshing quiet time.
when we are at our weakest, motherhood calls on us still.
and the way she said it was challenging and inspiring and tears were streaming down my face as she called us all into this battle. i do believe she made us all want to fight for our kids with all that we have.
so, here's my battle cry:
~Do not walk after emptiness.
~Use mundane tasks to memorize scripture. (read it more, too! and have the kids memorize more, too!)
~Just keep going. and going. and going. and going. this mothering marathon is completely worth it.
the crew from new life downtown. sad i didn't make it in this one...i was at the book tables. ;)
it was so fun getting to know and chat with megan this weekend!
i told dave that i'm going again next year.
i highly recommend it.