It seems that in December the crazies set in. I start to feel dizzy with all that is going on in our family.
This December I am trying to be intentional with how I invest my time and energy. It doesn't always work out the way that I plan. But I have found so much more enjoyment in this Christmas season than I have in years.
So how I have I chosen to be intentional?
I tend to worry more than I should. It's not a good quality - as in I even lose sleep because I play the worst case scenario repeatedly in my mind. Control freak (maybe?) I worry about a variety of things in my life but mostly our daughters.
With each stage of life there are new experiences, trials and changes. Ah change!!!!! Change and I are not good friends, we do not get along. Give me my structure, schedule and lists and it's all good.
Our family loves after church visiting. Generally we are one of the last families to leave. It was like that when my husband was the Youth Pastor and now that he plays on the majority of the music teams we can generally be found at the front of the church cleaning up music equipment and visiting.
One particular Sunday I was visiting with someone and I was sharing about our oldest daughter going to work at camp this summer and that she would be gone for four weeks! I don't know how I am going to handle it!!!!! She goes away to a youth retreat weekend, or a sleepover and I miss her terribly and have trouble sleeping. You know what my friend said to me:
"Do you think you can take better care of her than God can?"
Sometimes you need a friend to give you a kick in the butt. At first I was like, "Wow, harsh!" Then I slowly began to realize how true her words are.
Two weeks later I had an opportunity to exercise this new found wisdom. Our daughter left for a youth retreat at a Christian College that is a couple of hours away from our home. I dropped her off at the meeting spot - went back to my vehicle, paused for a moment and prayed for her weekend.
As she came to mind that weekend and worry began to settle in - I would stop and pray.
And you know what happened? I found peace and I felt freedom. It was AWESOME!!!
Whenever I would quiet my heart to pray for her, I would listen to what my heart was telling me to pray for. So instead of worrying I began praying that she would meet a mentor - someone that would be a positive influence in her life, that would be a good listener for when she needed someone other than her Mom and someone that she could connect with occasionally.
On Sunday I was excited to pick her up to hear about the weekend. I got to the church early and wrote in my journal while I was waiting anxiously for her return. Eventually my very sleep deprived daughter arrived and had enough energy left to share about the weekend. She had an amazing time - lots of fun activities, found a new love of lattes and she met an amazing girl that is a student at the college and just happens to be dating a guy from our church.
I could feel the smile in my heart, as I was so very thankful for a Father who listens, and cares and protects what we hold so very dear. This girl, this answer to prayer has attended our church a few times with her boyfriend's family and she always makes time for our daughter and the other teens she connected with that weekend.
There is freedom in giving our cares & worries to the One that holds us in His hand - that knows the number of hairs on our heads.
The next time worry sets in and steals peace and freedom from you, quiet your heart and place your worries at the foot of the cross. He's got this.
The relationship between a Mother and daughter is a unique experience.
We have two teen daughters - but honestly I feel like I have had teen daughters for years. As a Youth Pastor's wife and an educational assistant in a junior high school, I have spent years being surrouned by teenagers.
When my husband and I served as Youth Pastors in our church, we had many parents coming to us for help and advice. Which was comical because we weren't even parents ourselves at that time. I spent a lot of time reading articles and books about parenting teenagers so that we could sound a bit knowledgable. I look back on that time now that we have teenagers ourselves and I know without a doubt that the success of that youth program had nothing to do with my husband and I. We relied solely on where God was moving and we followed His lead.
One of the biggest lessons I learned during that time, is that the issues from what looked as a teen problem, was actually a parenting issue. I am thankful that I had so many parents teaching me indirectly how to parent teenagers.
I am a lifelong learner and I am still reading and learning how to be a better parent and build into our daughters. They are awesome, they have unique personalities and they encounter the same issues and choices as most teenagers.
In my quest for knowledge I searched for books about the Mother/teen daughter relationship and was stunned with what I found. I found books about the Father/daughter relationship and tons of books about how to heal from your relationship with your Mother. As I scrolled through the selection on Amazon my heart sank and my eyes welled with tears. What message is this sending me, that I am doomed to have a heathy relationship with my daughters?
Instead of being defeated, it became a challenge. Why are these my only options? Instead of searching through Amazon and becoming more depressed - I opened my Bible. I found such encouragement for my journey in building my relationship with our daughters and who I can be as their Mother.
It wasn't surprising that weeks into this journey of study I received a phone call to speak at a Mother/Daughter retreat. I love watching God's hand work in and through my life.
My studying is not yet done, I am working on an eBook to give others the option of learning to flourish as a Mother of teen girls, instead of your daughters eventually purchasing a book of how to heal from your relationship! YIKES!
So, could I have a few moments of your time to fill out a few anonymous questions? Just click on the button below and I want to thank you in advance for your help and support and please share this with others so that I can have as much participation as possible.
Have a beautiful day!
I have been thinking a lot about life and the choices that take you down your life's path. I have learned a lot from my choices and some of the wrong paths that I have chosen to take. Often I think about the choices I made in my teens and how hard I had to work through and learn from the consequences of those choices.
Since that trying time I have worked hard to stay on a better path for my life because I have been joined by my husband and our two daughters. My choices have a huge impact on my family.
I have been watching people around me making very selfish and devastating choices in their lives, and I am feeling so helpless. Our choices in our adult life have such a wide-sweeping impact on so many lives. How do people make the choices that they do and feel okay about it? Do they convince themselves that their actions and ultimate choice is really the best for everyone or just themselves?
I keep having the verses in 1 Corinthians 10:22-24 run through my head.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
I'm at a loss - Is there anything we can do?
The only thing I have come up with is to be a positive example as a wife, mother and friend, and through this I hope I can make a small difference.
Respecting Sabbath is an important part of our faith journey. I started on this journey not long ago. You can read my first blog post about Protecting Sabbath. I am still learning and as a family we are working to figure it out - what we are discovering is that it is a necessity.
In Exodus we see the first example of Sabbath rest - this is not a new idea. Sabbath is a lesson that was taught through Moses, we can read this in Exodus 31:12-14:
And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.
The first example we see in Exodus is the gathering of manna, They were to gather twice as much on the 6th day so that the 7th day would be respected as holy Sabbath. This began the pattern of work, rest and trust.
6 days of work, a day of rest and trusting that the Lord will provide what we need. Our bodies are designed to work hard, to take time to rest and to trust in the truth of His word.
This is something that we are working to achieve as a family and as it says in Exodus "throughout your generations" which means that we must model this for our children.
After church one Sunday we all came home to change into our comfy clothes and settle in for the day - but my husband asks us to get in the vehicle because we are going for a drive. Even though I had a lot on my "to do" list and was ready with about 20 excuses of why I couldn't possibly take the time to go for a drive - I knew I just had to choose to be excited about his idea and get in the vehicle. Our teen daughters were not so sure but jumped in the back seat and with my camera in hand we started out.
We live in a beautiful Province, Saskatchewan just takes your breath away. The Prince Albert National Park is only an hour's drive from our home. I will never forget as we rounded the corner into the main town site - we looked out the window to see a bald eagle flying over the lake right beside us - it was like we were flying with it. We pulled over and stepped out to look over the cliff to the lake below - the wind whistling through the trees, the waves lapping the shore and the quiet peace brought tears to my eyes. The "to do" list will always be there, the laundry continues to pile up, there are always meals to prepare, groceries to buy and put away but our daughters are now teenagers. We only have a few years of this family unit as we know it left to enjoy.
We need to model Sabbath rest to our daughters and our souls desperately need it.
This elk that we found at Prince Albert National Park has Sabbath rest figured out. Sit back and enjoy the sunset - life passes by too quickly.
How will your family choose Sabbath rest?
Carolyn's experience as a missionary, pastor's wife, national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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