Monday, February 21, 2011

Home From Mom Heart

Me and my faithful "twin" Nicole who is on this complex  parenting journey with me. She is my encourager and the brains behind many ideas, she is also the one who makes all my kids Birthday Cakes since this non-creative momma  can't!
I've been to enough conferences over the years to know that the "homecoming" isn't as whimsical as I imagine, I also know that I fall into a depressed slump for about a week after returning  home. Then, what I learned sinks in and can begin to produce fruit in my life and action in my bones - maybe I'm just weird, but I roll with it!

I'm back from the Sally Clarkson conference ~ it was just as good, if not better, than the last two years. I was inspired, challenged, and convicted. If you've never been to a Mom Heart Conference I can't sing enough praises about the life changes it will inspire in your life as momma! The message is very similar each year, but the stories of inspiration and the inner-workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are faithfully serving the Lord - like us mommy's - is challenging! There is just something inspiring about the time together with 800 women from different walks of life. I just fall captive listening to the greatness of God and how He works in the lives of the faithful. Sally's life experiences challenge & encourage mom's to "persevere still more".  When you meet Sally Clarkson - a down to earth momma who is on a mission from God to inspire mothers for True Greatness - both within and without. Her life has been marred with trials and struggles and stories! All blessings from God that she uses to encourage Christian mothers right where they are - working moms, homeschooling moms, public school moms, moms with challenging children, moms who suffer from depression -  its all woven into the conversations. The stories of virtue, endurance, & commitment that God writes in her life just keep getting better and  better each year!  Here are some messages/ideas I returned home with:

  1. Traditions, Traditions, Traditions - they are foundational in getting children excited about God. My own eagerness about the traditions is also  a must!
  2. Tea Time on Sunday afternoons to relax as a family and read inspiring books to the kids that breed adventure and godly character. Its the perfect fun to our non-media day!
  3. Cure that Mad Mom Syndrome - what is it that I get the most upset about? "Yes, for me its the mess of toys in my home and the arguments that ensue when I ask them to clean it all up (10x per day it seems). How can the house go from clean to a disaster in the matter of one 10 minute shower?" Cure - get rid of the mad momma by eliminating the thing that drives you the most crazy, so I went to Target, bought 3 more bins for our assorted toys. I cleaned out the closets, sorted all the toys, and put them all out of reach. Today was the first day and it went so well! The boys asked for one box, played with it and then... imagine this - picked it all up and put it back in the closet! I was shocked how easy it was. They played with things today that they hadn't played with in months and its all neatly put back. Sigh - now if I go into that Mad Momma syndrome its my own fault - wait, I guess it was my own fault before? 
  4. Put my prayer cards on the kids headboards and tell them what I'm praying over  them - show my kids that prayer is a deep and systematic part of my life. Show my kids that they deeply matter to me and I talk to God about them all the time.
  5. Share more life stories, listen to my kids thoughts and dialog with them instead of always talking at them.
  6. Weave powerful words into my daily vocabulary, like, "Drew, you are a son of excellence, I love how you finished vacuuming your room and stayed on task." and, "Gabe, God is going to do great and mighty things in your life, he will use your tender heart to shape nations!" or, "Abby, your God's girl!" "Speak loving words over, about and to your children"
  7. A Momma's job is to "Civilize the home!" 
  8. "What will you do to whisper to this child the secrets of the kingdom of God?"
  9. Holiness comes at a cost - don't expect this path to be easy. Prepare for the rough times.
  10. Capture moments of beauty, redemption, and purity through writing and photography. Write my childrens stories and then refer back to them in conversation - the time they overcame a tough situation and didn't give up, etc. Encourage their confidence in the Lord! We live in a cynical society where we fixate on evil and chaos and business. My life is not an emergency (Ann's book) and I'm going to live a life of beauty, my children are along the journey too - their futures are being shaped while watching my life out beauty! "I can't pass on what I don't already posses."
  11. Loved this quote, "I'm called to be faithful, not uptight!"
  12. God doesn't demand first time obedience from me - the journey is in the wrestling and the lessons learned. God wants first time obedience, but accepts second, third, etc. I'll never get my child's heart with obedience alone. As a mom I need to be relational, forgiving, accepting, loving, and then develop, not require, obedience. My children are in training, each situation is a moment for learning. Obedience doesn't always have to be the first time. God is a God of many chances. Sometimes my kids  best lessons are the natural consequences - better at home where they can learn, than out in the real world where lessons are harsh and the atmosphere unforgiving,  Show God's love to my kids daily, by first capturing their hearts and then working towards obedience. Many times it was in the lessons of disobedience, that brought me to true repentance and humility, those lessons shaped a more accurate view of God and aided in developing my faith. In summary - don't compromise  my joy for demanded obedience - enjoy the journey!
  13. "There is no middle ground spiritually. We are either living or dying."
  14. Children who are acting out are asking for quality time! I loved Sally's story about her ADD/ADHD/OCD son who didn't wear his coat on their walk even though she had told him to get it three times. Instead of getting upset when he wanted to go home and get his coat, she took him home and had tea and talked with him. He replied, "You mean I'm more important?" He was feeling like he was not appreciated  and was acting out, this special time with mommy  was all he needed and his attitude changed.
  15. Read more living books with theme's of redemption, overcoming sin, trials which lead to greatness, godly character, perseverance, etc. to inspire my children. In reading and talking about hero's they will naturally become one because they see it modeled in real life (parents) and books.
  16. "You have to invest time with those (our children) we want to influence" 
  17. Stop the activities! Children are stressed out and over scheduled  and this leads to a weak family unit because the family is always gone. God wants us to Sabbath - rest and create a home environment where the person is valued for  being God's creation not their actions (sports, great grades, etc)! 
I'm  home recovering from a great weekend - I arrived to a puking little girl, water running down the street, a son half naked, and a messy house. Now it is time to civilize my home and bring in the "Momma with a dancing heart!"
Waiting for His Momma to come home!

 P.S. - Day 1 went so well with the kids, though my getting up early is not going well. Drew asked to do his reading first thing this morning and was so excited to read! It makes me smile and sing because I tried to push this on him in September and it went badly. I stopped and just slowly started back in January with easy words and sentences and a totally new attitude. We also worked in the yard and Drew worked along side me pulling weeds and just talking about life. It was a great day with a renewed and reworked attitude.

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