[box] Every Saturday morning, I will be sharing a little snippet from my own personal walk with God...straight from the heart. God has work to do in me too, and sometimes it's not pretty. But my prayer is that as I am honest, He is more able to do that work in me...and at the same time, encourage you as well.[/box] This week, my husband took over the home and the kids so that I could get away on my annual solitude/prayer/planning retreat. I do this every spring, mainly because: 1) I need it by this time of the year, and 2) I need the time to prepare for the coming school year. So from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon, I was excused from housework, homeschool, and all other responsibilities for a few days.
I spent my first evening celebrating. I don't do that often enough. No, I didn't break out any champagne but I did spend some time writing down all that the Lord has done over the past year, since my last retreat:
- Finished reading through my Bible in a year.
- Started memorizing Scripture again.
- Enjoyed consistent weekly date nights.
- Read through Love and War with my husband.
- Navigated through several health issues: an abnormal mammogram, kidney issues and an ovarian cyst--and they were all negative.
- Taught in three other venues outside of our church. Spoke twice at church--at MOPS and at the parenting conference.
- Taught my first online class.
- Taught a Sunday school class again, writing my own material.
- Started writing on my blog more consistently.
- Making strides in my relationship with my daughter.
- Earned and bought myself an iPad.
- Went to Mt. Hermon family camp for the first time.
- Was accepted as a reviewer for Eternal Encouragement and TOS Crew.
- Got rid of about 40% of my old clutter.
- Facilitated two marriage retreats with my husband.
- Began the process of adoption of Anah.
- Moved our family for the remodel and made it through almost 4 months in our temporary home.
At first, I didn't feel like I had accomplished much this year, but at the end of half an hour, God helped me to recall and write down 45 accomplishments and reasons to celebrate this year. I realized how much I had to rejoice in this year. Thank You, Jesus!
However, I also knew that I was in danger of sliding off track in my relationship with Him too. There were long stretches last year when I felt like I was running away from His call for my life. The voices of accusation, ridicule and discouragement kept me from stepping forward for Him. I knew that I was going to have to spend some time facing these fears with Him.
So the next morning (and the next), using a book that I had read twenty years ago, called The Search for Significance by Robert McGee, the Lord began to show me how I had slipped (once again) into a works-based faith. I noticed that I had become more driven and going back to old workaholic tendencies. I had come to believe that I was not worthy unless I gained the approval of others, which was why I felt like I had to work so hard. Little by little, others' opinions of me, which drove me to overworking, was becoming my god.
This thorn in my flesh comes back time and again, but I have learned from Paul's example that I can either ask Him to remove it or trust His grace to help me to work through it. I have a feeling that He will keep me working through this issue, these false beliefs, until my dying day. And so, I have committed to keep working through The Search for Significance again. My prayer is that He will heal me deeply in the process. I want to not just know in my head that I am His beloved, but to live in that confidence. I want to serve Him not as a means to earn a sense of self-worth, but as an overflow of gratitude. I pray that this journey will keep me humble and ever dependent on Him.
The rest of the retreat was spent doing one of two other things. The first was to pray for and plan for my kids. As I let the Lord deal with me, I was better able to look at my kids in a different light. Because I was aware of my own weaknesses, it helped me to be more gracious when I looked at theirs. It also helped me to evaluate their academic load in light of the eternal perspective, adding things that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise, and letting go of things that are not as important in the long run.
The other thing I did was to pray and dream about the ministry here at Mom University. Throughout the past year, I have been blogging, just to get myself into the writing groove. I'm still waiting on God's timing to move me to the next level. It has been good to stretch myself to write about a variety of different things, to see what kind of writing I like and what areas I am to focus on. I spent some time attending a virtual retreat via recorded mp3s and learned a lot. God is up to something...and it's exciting to see it unfold!
Thanks for joining me in the journey!