However, now that the day has arrived, I find that God is drawing my attention to something else this morning. I have been so focused on preparing for the event, that I hadn't taken the time to realize the significance of this in my own life. So, as I sat down for quiet time this morning, I found myself looking back through my journal entries from the start of this year, and I realized that today marks something equally important for me. Today I am seeing the fruit of an incredible journey with God this year.
When I started the year I was struggling. I was lonely, discouraged, lost. I remember feeling so overwhelmed because I knew I needed to make a change, but had no idea where to start. I asked my dear friend Kathryn to be my accountability partner, and she suggested a book for me. I know that God's hand was in this, and His will was so much bigger than I even knew. He used this one tiny step as the starting point for an incredible journey.
I studied simplicity, and with the encouragement of another dear friend I attended a women's Bible study at church. It was here that God took that first little step, and nudged me further along His path. My group at women's Bible study encouraged me to visit with our pastors about my thoughts on family ministry, and that was when I really started to feel the hand of God working. Yet I still struggled.
I struggled to figure out how all of this was to work with my current season of life... that of a toddler mama. God definitely worked in my heart for a long time on this, and I learned to say no to opportunities I thought I wanted because they weren't right. I struggled to learn what it means to be a wife and mother, and that my first and most important mission field is under my own roof. It was hard for me to accept the fact that I couldn't do it all. I remember specifically questioning the decision to turn down a request to work with the Junior High youth ministry at church. Saying no went against my instincts, and yet I felt peace with the decision. I realized that I was learning an important lesson abut discernment.
I spent months studying Proverbs 31, and during this time God changed my heart dramatically. It took a lot of work, but He managed to teach me the difference between the world's standard of excellence and His own. Slowly, He has helped me to see the value of my daily work... yes, even cleaning and laundry. I have so much yet to learn about this, but I reached a point when I felt like God was kind of giving me His stamp of approval to pursue interests outside the home. I remember over and over being reminded that my family was where I was meant to serve, but then it was like a door opened, and I was invited to venture out.
Going through that door, and volunteering to be Godparents leaders was a huge step for us. We loved our time as youth leaders in Missouri, but as I sat in our meeting with Pastor and listened to my amazing husband talk about how our life had changed over the years, I realized we had come so far since then. We now enter into youth ministry not just as young adults ourselves, but as parents. We see things a little differently. Not necessarily better, but differently. I can see how everything we have gone through has brought us to this point, and I am so excited to see where God takes us with these kids. I could go on and on (you know me...) but I suppose it is time to take this excitement and get ready for the day. All the while singing a little Sunday school song in my head...
God is so good, He's so good to me...
Okay, so maybe I am not done rambling quite yet. I also found myself thinking about the women God has placed in my life to help me along this journey and I wanted to thank a few of them real quick. I mentioned Kathryn, who held me accountable as I established my daily quiet time, and Amber, who encouraged me to seek opportunities for fellowship (and was also one of my greatest sounding boards for the struggle of finding God's plan during this season of motherhood). There was also Kim who taught me so much about discernment (probably without realizing it), Adriel who inspires me to look outside my own little bubble into a world filled with opportunity to share the love of Christ, Kim who inspires me often with her words and wisdom as a mama who survived the toddler years and is raising amazing teens, Casey who has helped me find direction and purpose as a mama, Ashley who encouraged me to do what was right for me and my family instead of feeling obligated to please others, and so many others... I am so lucky to have found this incredible group of women, and I love all of you!