I first want to apologize for not posting last Friday. We had the wonderful and spontaneous opportunity to go to Medford, Oregon to visit my parents. My brother and his family came down from the Portland area as well, and we all experienced a very rare opportunity for the 14 of us to all be under the same roof. My dad celebrated his 63rd birthday on January 1st, so we had a party for him. We also took the kiddos high up the mountain, very high, looking for snow, as it was scarce. But the cousins all REALLY wanted to play in snow, and they didn't care how deep (or not deep) it was.
The day before I left, my dear friend/mentor, Cheryl McEachron, brought me a gift. I cherish her gifts, as I know she puts thought into them. I actually was expecting this gift, as she mentioned it to me several months ago - a book she was pre-reading before she passed on to me. It's a newly released book and already getting lots of attention. The title is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Cheryl doesn't give me books to read just for fun. Cheryl hears from the Lord, and prays for me, and I know the Lord directs her steps. When she gives me a book, its because the Lord has led her to. For that reason, I anxiously put the book in my travel bag to start reading on my trip.
I got the opportunity to open to the first chapter at my parents' house during my preschoolers' afternoon nap. Immediately upon reading the first few lines, I realized this book was no average book from the Christian bookstore. The colorful rich language and writing style was like none I'd ever read before. Chapter one was actually a bit of a downer - sad. But I could relate. I've experienced sadness, and not that long ago. I was with her. I understood. I have felt the things she wrote that she felt, and have thought the thoughts she says she thought. She had me. I was so anxious to keep reading.
And that I did, chapter two, the next day. She described in the second chapter the rock-bottom place, and then the revelation. God speaks, so often, in those rock-bottom places.
I won't give away any more of the book, which I'm still reading. Words really don't give it justice. The book is full of jaw-dropping insight. My life will never be the same after reading this. I can't quite explain how its ministering to me in the depths of my spirit.
I love this gal - Ann Voskamp! She's a farmer's wife and homeschooling mother to six children. She loves much of what I love and has grown in so many areas I strive to grow in. I'm learning much from her. Many times, mentors can be people you've never even met face-to-face - long-distance. They're just as powerful. I have subscribed to her blog, and am being fed daily by her wonderful insights (and photos, which won't make sense until you read the book). Check it out for yourself and see if it doesn't bless you as well: www.aholyexperience.com.
OTHER THAN THAT, I've been enjoying a three-week Christmas break. Just a few days left of that, and school resumes on Monday. I'm now ready. But the break was much-needed for everyone. We were worn out and in need of some play. We've truly slowed down and enjoyed life these past weeks. The holidays were a blessing, and so was putting away Christmas decorations and getting the house back in order.
I also shifted gears in my life. I needed that, too. I was juggling way too many balls in the air, and I wasn't very good at it. I am very aware of my season of life - I am wife and mother, first of all. And right now, while my children are young, that pretty much takes up all my time. And I want it to. They won't be here long and it will so quickly fly by. I have so much I want to pour into them, to teach them, to do with them. I have very little time for anything else.
So the end of 2011 was the end of several roles for me. I passed the baton of worship leading at the church to a very trusted friend. I also passed the baton of church administration, a role I've been filling since the church was birthed, to a very special married couple who will be sharing the duties together with each other. It feels very strange not to have my hands in everything and know everything that is going on and be planning everything each and every day. But it also feels very liberating. Right now, I don't need to know everything about the church. I need to know everything about my family. I pray for the church, love on the people in our church, minister when the Lord leads me, but my main focus in this season of my life is to be a help meet to my husband (who needs all the help he can get) and mother/discipler to my five wonderful children. I feel at total peace with this focus-shift, and my pastor-husband has fully supported me. I'm giving it all I got, and am finding true joy in living right where God wants me.