Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Ordinary Home discussion

Welcome everybody! It's time to discuss Chapter Four of No Ordinary Home. I hope y'all are enjoying this as much as I am. Thanks, Dawn, for getting us all together - this is great!

The Dailies
I could've written this chapter. Casey and started our home together with vastly - vastly! - different attitudes about housekeeping. He was fanatically neat - I recognized this when we were dating and he paused a movie we were watching to take the popcorn bowl into the kitchen, wash it!, and put it away before finishing the movie - and I was, well, less fanatical. I had no problem vacuuming once a month instead of once a week, for example (this was before we had rugrats, by the way). When Levi came along I was thrown for a total loop - not only was I dealing with some health issues, a brand new baby, a lot of (I hate to admit) anger and guilt about having a c-section, a total reordering of my life plan and a (perceived) big power shift between me and Casey, but now I was supposed to KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN, TOO!!!
For a long time I thought that having a clean house was surely a sign that I wasn't using my brain - it was a pride thing. Surely I was be scrubbing toilets, right? But when I finally (listened to my Father and) changed my attitude to reflect Colossians 3:23-24 - And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men; knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ - I started to see that life is in these details. The toilet has to be cleaned, so clean it well, clean it with style! About that time I was reminded of an illustration that I read in one of Mary Pride's books (I think All The Way Home) about Cinderella. In the old Disney movie, Cinderella is singing and swishing and swabbing the floor with class and beauty. Because she is faithful in her work, she is fit to go before the prince (along the lines of Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before unknown men.) Well, my Prince is coming to sweep me away one day, too. How do I want Him to find me? Diligently doing my work with grace and a thankful heart or whining about how hard my lot is and how no one helps me?
But how do we go from knowing so little about running a home to doing it with grace and style and love? I really liked what she said about having a committee. I think we often feel like we need A Titus 2 woman to show us how to do everything, but that doesn't work. We aren't supposed to be carbon copies of one another. And no single older woman is going to know everything we need to know. We have to be *picky* - picking a little from this woman about scheduling, a little from this woman about cleaning, a little from this woman about cooking and a little from this woman about doing it all with joy:)
Carol (the author - I feel like we're friends now so I'm going to call her Carol:) ) left us with some great practical questions to ponder so that we can make some changes in the areas where we see a need.

List the areas of your life that feel disorganized, cluttered, chaotic.
Who can help you organize or learn the tricks of homemaking in those areas?
What areas of your life feel sacred to you?
How can you enhance them? Make them more regular? Share them with others?
What areas of your life feel ordinary, mundane, and definitely not sacred?
I think I'll think and pray about these tonight and share about them tomorrow in the comments. Please, everyone, feel free to make yourselves at home here. Share about your thoughts on the chapter, how you felt as you started making a home, your answers to the above questions-just anything:)


Jayleigh said...

Wow. I'm going to read the rest of these posts. How awesome is this? I think I need the book, too!

Dawn C said...

jayleigh - Hey, I think it's a great book - I really think you'd enjoy the comments - they've been really good.

Shannon, my dear THANK YOU for hosting this week!!

Shannon said...

Jayleigh - Come on in and join us - we're having a ball!
Dawn - ANytime, girl:) Now I have got to get to bed so I can be coherent in the morning:)

molly said...

Lynn loaned me her book so I've actually read it--hooray, I can take part in this!!!

Shannon, this was SUCH a great post. Good job, girlfriend! I have had almost the exact same experience.

What a DIFFERENCE it was for me when I realized that I could just do the job, or I could "do all things as unto the Lord!" WOW.

I stumbled upon a particular proverb (don't have the chapter/verse off-hand, though) that said, "In all labor there is profit," and I remember writing it out in big words and putting it in a conspicious place. It was life for me, I tell you!

At that time I had two in (cloth) diapers, 3 babies in 3 years, and was just OVERWHELMED. What I'd been able to keep on top of before, albeit with consistant effort and application, was now falling down around me ears, and I was also suffering from the mind-numbing side of "very little adult contact," to boot...

It was just the right time for me to get that "rhema" word from God (or whatever you want to call it), that reminder that in changing a poopy diaper, there is profit! :) I needed that then, just to remember that there was a PURPOSE behind all the (apparently meaningless, at the time) mindless menial work!

That was then, though, a real labor for me. But I honestly have to say, in response to one of the questions, that changing diapers is something sacred to me now, in that I *know* God is in it... It is an act of "loving the least of these," of caring for those who cannot care for themselves, of ministering to their needs (at the expense of nice smelling air, among other things--lol)...

Maybe it's just becuase my workload is not quite as demanding as it once was when they were ALL little, or maybe I'm actually maturing (ok, barely), or maybe I've just changed so many diapers now that I've become permanently scarred in my definition of "normalcy," to where I consider changing diapers as normal as eating and breathing...?

So maybe I better not feel too spiritual after all...


Dawn C said...

Proverbs 14:23, I believe is the one you're in reference to.

I too kept it up - I need to put it back up - although I'm in a different season, there is a ton of things going on right now and I'm back to feeling so overwhelmed, I could sit down and just cry. It's such a huge blessing to remember that in ALL labor there is profit. Here's my question - is this a Biblical principle that we can rest in? (like sowing and reaping...)
(Sorry - must fly - will be back. It's going to be another one of THOSE weeks - where it takes me 46 attempts to get one coherent thought here.) :?

Shannon said...

Molly - I'm so glad you got your hands on a book! It's always great to have you around:) I kind of feel the same way (most of the time!) about changing diapers. There's something very sweet about serving little ones by making them clean and sweet:) I've had thought a lot about how excited I would be if God called me to live in some foreign country mission field no matter the conditions just to serve Him, but how not excited I am by the daily grind around here. But this is my mission field - just because it doesn't seem as *exciting* or *glamorous* (if living without running water can be glamorous) doesn't make it any less important or worthy of my best for Him. I think those kinds of thoughts about marriage sometimes too - I'd gladly give Casey a kidney if he needed one, so why can't I give him a little grace when he can't find the mustard in the fridge? The little daily stuff seems so much harder.
Dawn, You do have a lot going on, huh? I think it's so easy for us to become overwhelmed because this job is so big and small at the same time. Just the basic being a mom stuff includes everything from teaching your child to pray to teaching your child to wash behind his ears. Multiply that by the number of children you have and cover everything they need to learn to be an adult:) Then consider that we're also nourishing a marriage that we want to last (and thrive!)for the rest of our lives, running a household (complete with however many people are in yours), and trying to serve our extended family, church family, and/or communities....Well, it's a wonder we're ever anything but overwhelmed!

Shannon said...

*What areas of your life feel ordinary, mundane, and definitely not sacred?
Cooking supper feels about as "not sacred" as it gets at my house right now. I actually love to cook, love to put meals together, but it sure ain't working for me right now. By the end of the day I'm worn out (and so are the kids), Casey's just getting up and bless his heart he just wants to chill for a little hwile before supper and everybody's cranky and hungry so I wind up throwing something together or *sigh* heading to chick-fil-a:( So anyone have a handle on cooking supper or just have a great tip to share?

Tiffany said...

Ok, so I don't want a nanny, housekeeper cook in that order I want, in the following order: housekeeper, secretary, cook, personal trainer, on-call babysitter. Does that make me further along or further behind?? *lol*

I too need a committee. I love the idea of getting to glean from a myriad of women, instead of having just your 1 appointed Titus 2 woman that you then try and be just a like. And I love how Carol (Shannon, I too feel like she is a friend by now!) had men in her committee too. Sometimes I forget that it isn't just moms who can pass on their wisdom.

As far as housework goes....well....there are some weeks that are so great. The laundry is done, the livingroom is picked up at hte end of the day, dishes aren't left in the sink over night, I even include my toddler in the chores and we have a blast. Then there are the weeks that you can't see the floor through th toys, the kitchen is sticky with only enough clean silverware for one meal, we're out of underwear, and I have to park the kids in front of the TV to just get the trash taken out. In most ways I do better with each passing month, each passing year. My house is much better now, and things are much more natural now than they were when I first got married. A lot of that is my attitude about work. Like Molly and Shannon were saying, the difference in viewing work as profitable and honoring to God and something worth my time and attention really makes such a huge difference! What I find challenging is the ballane in the daily life. The housework, with the play, with the time on the computer, with the time spent reading, and hopefully a shower...

I love her phrase "my tasks were Holy, I would enter them wholly" I want to paint that on every wall in my house along with the Proverb from Dawn earlier.

I'm not big on schedules, but we are coming into a season where I need to get this family into a routine. I'm not concerned that we eat right at 6 every night. But that in the evening there is a dinner, followed by some family time, a cleaned kitchen, and a generally uneventful bedtime. What I need to figure out though is what is essential in that routine? Is it vital that we have a formal breakfast and lunch like dinner? Or does the baby need naps in her crib right now or is she still getting enough sleep sleeping off and on in the family room? Is it time to consider letting her cry it out if need be? (hate that idea!!!!) ugh, and now I'm overwhelmed again.... God is a God of peace, not disorder. Having a peaceful home as a fruit of the spirit? I will say that the thought makes me want to close the book right now, bury my head in the sand and pretend that I never entertained the concept. But as she goes on to point out, once encountered with truth it is best to act quickly. *sigh* Does anyone besides me ever just wish for a week or two without being confronted with any new truths? Just some time to work on the old ones and get them figured out? But I can see the hand of God in this. I'll be having surgery soon, and if the girls are in a regular routine, and the house if peaceful, it will make my recovery time a lot easier. Of husband doesn't do housework. Has no concept of how. So maybe not getting too attached to my clean kitchen is a better thing for our marriage. How does one do a peaceful house if you can't clean it?

Ok, I feel like I just have a TON of things on my heart about this topic and I can't seem to get them out on to the page before my mind is on the next thought and so everything is coming off scattered on disconnected.

I'll be back.

Ann V. said...

Thinking on sacred... and ordinary. I want my life to be "all one piece"--I have been muttering that for days: "All one piece, Lord, sacred and ordinary, no distinction, all one piece." The God of the Word, the God of my Worship, is the God of all my ways.

We have been singing this song during cleaning up time... just a little ditty we made up, "Clean up time, Clean up time... Lord, we love to serve you, Lord, we love to serve you." I have taken to singing it throughout the day:"Cooking time, Cooking time, Lord, I love to serve you..etc"

All sacred, all ordinary, all one piece. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

I want to get that.


Dawn C said...

Ok, so I kept trying to get back here ALL day long - ended up leaving at 4 pm and returning at 10:15!!!!! SO, my brain is something between cooked squash and overcooked oatmeal. I will have to head back in tomorrow.... thanks again Shannon for hosting.

Holly said...

Hey gals...I don't have the book - but I've enjoyed reading your comments and posts! Keep it up! :)

Shannon said...

SO many great comments:)
Tiffany - It is so hard to get the balance right - to find the time for everything without short-changing anything. Actually that may be impossible. I think we just get as close as is possible:)

"How does one do a peaceful house if you can't clean it?"
I would have a pretty hard time with this, too, but I think our attitude makes all the difference. Talk to your hubby and try to come to terms with the fact that things will be messy for awhile. If you're both at peace that will show in your home.

Shannon said...

Ann - "All one piece" is exactly what we need. Thanks for the reminder!
Dawn - Anytime:) Come on back when you've got a second.
Holly - You're welcome to add your two cents anytime! Book or no!

Dawn C said...

Hey - I have returned (cue the heavy ominous music) :) Although for how long is debateable. LOL

Tiffany, my dear, I'm so sorry to hear about the impending surgery and even sorrier that we're not any closer. I would be honored to come help with your chillens and meals, etc. (Not to mention bringing along a big girl helper or two.)
I think that Tiffany - and you too, Shannon, touched on a HUGE point, that I thought Mrs Brazo needed to SHOUT about - being tired during this stage of life is HUGE. I don't mean it can make a difference. I mean it's HUGE!!! (Or it can be. There are times I was in tears over something, copped a nap and woke up quite able to deal with it...we MUST remember that and allow grace for it...and wisdom. Taking a nap can be a holy event...Ann's comment)
Ann V - I read "Plain and Simple" - an older woman in the Lord loaned it to me. It DID nourish my soul. The whole idea of the all things being sacred and ordinary was very life giving. (LOL - at the time, I was spending time in Amish homes..tons of it..and I wasn't seeing what she was talking about, BUT her words still nourished my dry and weary soul.)
I had to laugh when she asked for the list of disorganized areas of our life. I just wanted to write "All" That seems to sum it all up.
I DIDN"T want to laugh when I read "Who can help you" - because, I think most of us are more like Tiffany - family isn't nearby - if they were, they all work. There isn't anyone near that is doing what we're doing and doing it better than we are. (That sounds arrogant - don't read it that way - read it, those that are near are in the same place that I am, not ahead...PLEASE hear that in the heart I am intending) :?
I love the discussion about diaper changing becoming sacred. I use diaper changes as a reminder to pray about something. (Whatever the Lord has me praying about at the time.) That just seemed to totally take my mind off the "doing." I'm with Shannon - I think making dinner is my area, as well. I'm weary by then, the baby is crying, I'd really like to be sitting on the sofa chatting with Jeff while the kids make dinner....AND if anything is going to show up my lack of discipline, it's the dinner hour. SIGH....
I LOVE how Carol (our friend Carol) :) ends the chapter - "The routines of life reinforcing the miraculous. Ordinary jobs becoming sacred, holy occupations." MY doesn't that refresh your vision for what we're doing? It sure did mine!!!
(HEY! I got a whole thought out here!!!) :)

Jen said...

Shannon, I really like the "committee" idea as well. I really needed this reminder yesterday when I read your blog. I need to reread the chapter but felt I should comment while I had a chance today.

The reminder that we are surrounded by a group of women in the body of Christ that have unique offerings is timely. As I said, it really helped yesterday, and I need to be thankful for those committee members I have even if they don't really know that they are a part of my team. Most are bloggers, some on motherhood, some on marriage, ya know, I really understand the concept of picking a whole lot more when I think about how I actually glean information. DH *just* told me to be picky on Sunday night when I asked him who I can trust. I am in a place where I feel like I can trust few people and it isn't a very nice place to be. His suggestion was just what Shannon said. Ask for advice and take the good stuff you hear and use it how you can, then if you keep hearing good stuff from a few sources, go back to those. I am either too trusting of people or not trusting at all. Many things make me prone one way or the other, but recently I have been to trusting in one relationship that my DH agrees that I should pull back from. *sigh* There is a lot on my heart and I'm just feeling like a dam ready to explode. My committee is here on the internet, but at this point, especially Sunday night, I wanted a flesh and blood woman to talk to and be loved and hugged by.

Alrighty...I seem to be leaking at the cracks of my dam, so I better be on my way for now. Like I said, I'd like to reread the chapter and then come back and comment better. Also, I need to read the majority of the comments and then see if I have anything to add to those. :) I had some to add to last week's conversation but it was Saturday and figured most people weren't returning to the conversation anymore. :D Didn't I say I was going? yeesh. See ya later, sisters.

Shannon said...

Jen - Reread the chapter when you get a second, but feel free to comment anytime! No matter if you've read the other comments or not (although they are great!) - we want to hear you whenever you can grab a sec. We all know how it is:)
So much of my committee is online, too. I think a lot of us are probably in situations where we don't know (IRL, I mean) many other women who are committed to being homemakers. And that doesn't mean we can't learn from women who aren't homemakers at all. I know I've learned tons from women who I had very little in common with. But sometimes we want a woman close by who has walked *this road* ahead of us and, well, there just aren't many to go around. Like Dawn, I find I'm actually further down this road than most of the women I know (only b/c they aren't on this road). I tend to think we're sort of pioneers bringing this whole staying home thing back "in." Thinking back to my own childhood even though we moved every two years or so - I can't remember one stay at home mom. Not one. I know there must have been some....but none of my friends had one. So a lot of us are finding our mentors where we can (anyone else ever Thank God for the internet?).
Boy, I've been talking a lot. Y'all feel free to drown me out:)

Jen said...

thanks, shannon.:) keep talkin'. ;)

It seems I'm in a different place than you because I gather with other women at church week in and week out who do make their home their primary ministry. I am afraid most of them are so overwhelmed that it is difficult to reach out beyond what they are already in the midst of.

I'll answer the questions now. :)
I liked Dawn's answer of "all" areas being disorganized. My main area right now is getting a better handle on a cleaning schedule so I don't feel everyday like the weight of the whole house is on my shoulders and needs done NOW. :) It really does help my sanity to have it broken down into daily jobs.

Who can help? hm, well I like talking to my husband who recently told me to calm down and think. So, I did and planned out a week of work (simple like laundry monday, bathrooms weds, etc). I hope it helps. :) Otherwise, we'll see.

I think the area that feels most sacred is my relationship with my husband. In the areas where I directly serve him I sense a sacredness.

More regularity would be a great start to making this area even better. I wanted to rub his back every day this year. That hasn't happened, but I have had opportunities to make it really count. I need to seek fresh ways to serve him and bless him because I can.

Ordinary and mundane - waking up every morning. This is probably the hardest part of my whole day. Even when I go to bed early I still wake up tired. I am not ready to face my days with the bright eyed, ready to go toddler who stands banging on the other side of that nursery door! How sad. :.o.( I hate to admit that I don't look forward to our days together. Once we get going they are what they are, but it could be so much more. Speaking of a ready to go toddler banging on a door...there she is. Going with a smile and tears......

homemakerang said...

hi thanks for stoppin by! Re the book, click on the title of the post and it should link you to the place i bought it from. I bought it in person at a HS booksale from the people i linked too

Michelle said...

((((((((BIG HUG)))))))))

Dear friend, I have been where you are right now. It can be so defeating at times!

You are not alone, we have all been in that place and most of us are still in it. Rather than making high, ideal goals, try making smaller more attainable ones. For example, instead of making it a goal to rub your dear hubby's back every day, try the goal of giving them more often than you are now. Instead of a perfectly cleaned house, how about getting the dishes done and the baby's toys picked up? Important note: please do not take me literally, but as in all things submit these goals to the Lord, which brings me to point #2.

Another thing which has been of immense help to me lately is to submit my day to the Lord and ask Him to accomplish those things He wants me to do. After that I do not give myself permission to beat myself up over what has not been done.

I am also in a season of life where everything feels disorganized. I have never been a good is such a struggle for me...then layer home schooling on top of that...then layer having a toddler on top of that...then layer having a bipolar son (who rarely does his chores without a significant battle) and teaching my autistic daughter how to keep her room picked up herself instead of me doing it...then layer on top of that taking care of my father in law, who has cancer, and my mother in law, who has either senile dementia or early alzheimers...and of course there's still the hubby to tend to and take care of...well most days I feel kinda' poured out and nothing feels like I've done it well enough. If I didn't trust the Lord was in charge of my days I'd be headed straight for depression.

I started out trying to be an encouragement to you, but ended up sounding like a annoying!

The parts of my life which feel most sacred right now is praying with my husband and taking care of my in laws. The parts which feel least sacred is dealing with my son and daughter when they are in their unreasonable mode!

Speaking of making dinner, I'd better get going and make something for my family. I'll try to come back later and finish a coherant thought.

Much love to you all...I'm so thankful for my "committee" !

mamakayb said...

This chapter was so good!

The area I feel most disorganized, cluttered, chaotic, etc... is housekeeping and parenting. I have bought every book you could imagine but I have no IRL person to go to. We were the first to have kids of anyone we knew -- so everyone's kids are younger than ours. We were the first to homeschool. etc...

I am so thankful for the internet and the women I've been able to learn from online. Kim at Large Family Logistics
has so many good ideas. Ann V. has encouraged me to persevere and to keep looking for the holy in my everyday
life. Dawn has taught me so much about health and living for God and parenting. I've learned so much from the ladies at Choosing Home.

I have so far to go though! I feel so defeated when day after day I make the same mistakes with the kids, when I
don't get everything done that needs done, when there are dishes in the sink from last week, etc...

Who can help you organize or learn the tricks of homemaking in those areas?

My mom is helping me learn to sew which is very nice. I don't know anyone else to ask for help.
I know so much of my homemaking skills would improve if I just spent more time doing them. I think if I followed ANY system CONSISTENTLY my problems would be over in that area.

What areas of your life feel sacred to you?

Nursing a baby, reading great books (like the Bible, Lamplighters, YWAM, etc... ) to the girls, eating dinner as a family & singing together

How can you enhance them? Make them more regular? Share them with others?

I do these things nearly every day.

What areas of your life feel ordinary, mundane, and definitely not sacred?

cleaning the kitchen, doing the mounds of laundry & then actually folding & putting them away

Changing diapers has not been much of an issue for me. I think dh has changed diapers probably less than 10 times and I think it just has become second nature to me. Its hard to believe I've been doing it pretty much contanstly for the last almost 8 years. I have found it is a nice time to have one on one time with the baby to talk to her and smile at her.

Dawn C said...

Ok, my dear friends.... I read these comments and I just...ache. (ACHE!!!) I want SO much to help you and I don't know how best to serve you. Is there a way that we can make ministry to one another however many miles apart REAL? Is there a way that I can say to Krystal..."Hey, how are you doing with dusting the back of your toilet this week?" and have it REALLY TRULY HELP?! Just think and pray with me about this. It really is a weight on my heart.

Thanks my dears!

Dawn C said...

WHAT? I gave you nearly 12 hrs to figure it out...don't you all have an answer for me?!!! ;) :D :D

Me neither. :D

Shannon said...

Sorry, Dawn:) I feel asleep thinking about it, though. Not that it wasn't interesting - it's just that I fall asleep whenever I sit down these days!

Jen said...

hmm, looks like the comment monster ate my comment this morning.

I'll wait til this afternoon to repost something similar just in case it shows up. Until then, I'm off to go dust my toilet!? I guess the back of the tank?! Lol dawn, I'll be thinking about you!

Michelle said...

Dawn dear,

I'm off to a sp. ed. mtg. this a.m. so just have a couple of moments to respond.

Are you sure that the encouragement and accountability offered here is not real? Would a gentle reminder to dust the back of the toilet be any more real if delivered in person than it would be via this group of women that (I think) the Lord has assembled for a reason? It seems to me that accountability and encouragement is a matter of the heart. Is it possible that the Lord has gathered us here together because he already knows that we are lacking for people to fulfill this role IRL? Is it possible that God is using a tool like the internet to focus and reflect His glory in our respective lives so that we may go "home" to our spheres of influence to magnify Him further? Just scattered thoughts as I dash out the door....

Shannon said...

Michelle - I've thought before that maybe the Lord has us all spread out for a reason - maybe we're to be like missionaries:) Maybe we're focusing too much on the limitations of not being close by one another. For one thing I know I need to stop thinking of my friends as being in two seperate groups - online friends and IRL friends. My online friends are just as real and just as (sometimes lots more!) helpful:)

Jen said...

As far as real life and online - well, I met my husband on the internet and it sure didn't make our relationship any less real. :) God has worked through the internet in my life for 7 years through real people. There have been many times when I wished there was flesh and blood to touch, but sometimes it isn't what He's got planned. Without the internet I'd be a true hermit and reallllly lonely. :D I'm only a bit lonely every now and then. ;)

I'm definitely grateful for my committee which is mostly online. Soemtimes I wish I could get to know the women more, but hey...contentment!

Dawn, I really think you're doing a great job. You invest a lot in our lives. I know how I get when I just want to do something *more*. Don't underestimate what you're already at work doing. I know I truly appreciate the time you give to blog and comment in the forums and on our blogs. *hugs*

And I'm so thankful we can open up and be honest with one another about the mountain top experiences as well as the valleys.

Tiffany said...

Dawn said,"Is there a way that we can make ministry to one another however many miles apart REAL?"

I say you send me Bondservant. ;-) *Lol*

Violet said...

I prayed for years for a "flesh-and-blood" mentor/encourager and the Lord's continual answer seemed to be "Wait". This was in the Dark Ages, before the Internet! I finally understood why the wait was needed - He wanted me looking to Him FIRST. My personality is to become too quickly, too deeply dependent on others before Him (it's so much easier and handier when they are right there in a tangible sense, for me).

After coming to this realization, He gave me some very special come-alongside friends. Then...gradually I began to depend on them more than I should, and He had to intervene and cause a situation which was quite painful in literally removing them from me for a season. In the meantime my mother came to live with us and I was reminded that in all my growing up years I never remembered her having a close woman friend. But I daresay that even today (she is 84 yo) there isn't a person who has ever known her that wouldn't consider her a dear friend. How did she do it? She was best friends with the Lord, and lovingly ministered wherever she was placed. There were no favorites to her - they were all favorites and they knew it. What a heritage I have!

I would encourage all of you to cultivate FIRST your relationship with Him, glean from others around you IRL or on the Internet, and live your life in Him knowing you are where He has placed you for this particular time in your life. There are people He has for you to influence and be influenced by. Don't concentrate on that, though. Concentrate on Him and someday in heaven you will be amazed at the results of your very mundane life.

Shannon said...

Violet - What a sweet reminder:) Thank you!

Michelle said...


Great reminder! OT: I had a similar experience with overdependence but instead of on a person (though that's always something to keep my eyes on) it was on my involvement in the church choir. I would experience something akin to a spiritual "high" every week after practice. For me it was an intense hour of praising the Lord, giving my best to him, refining my best, making it more and more excellent so that the offering of praise given on Sunday morning would be even better than I was capable of giving before. I loved my time in choir. After Anna was born, I had to drop out...our church moved for a time to three services and I would've had to be at the church around 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. on Sunday for final practice/warm-up. We had a 3yo, a 2yo, an infant at the time and John said "no". I felt the loss very keenly. Little by little, the Lord began to show me than I was depending on choir to make me feel close to Him, when He wanted me to depend on Him alone. It's been 8 years since the Lord and my lord shut that door and God has certainly brought other areas of service in and out of my life since then. I hope to be able to get back some day; but only if I have the right heart attitude.

Dawn C said...

Oh Tiffany, I wish that I could send her to you for a while. She would bless you SO much, I have no doubt. She is a delight!

Violet, what a good reminder. When I came home from work to be a stay at home Mommy, I was alone. ALONE. Jeff worked 35 min away - and was long distance - we had one vehicle, which he obviously took. I knew no one here in town. My only friends were those from work (40 min away) or from church (35 min away) I was ALONE! It was SO good for me. I just went and poured out all my daily quota of words in my prayer closet - by the hour. Danica was a night owl and she'd sleep in until 10:30 or so - Jeff left at 5:30 - 6:00 ish, so I had all that time for prayer and Bible study - and I used every bit of it! That was a precious and SWEET time with Father. During that time, He allowed me to experience some really strange things in prayer. (LOL - COOL strange, but still nothing like I had ever experienced before. I don't know why that surprised me, I'd never spent 4 - 6 hrs a day in prayer and Bible study, either.) I miss those days.

I MUST share this story - one Sunday morning, Jeff was sharing a song he had written. (Have I told all of you this before? Too bad. Suffer through it again);) We were in a church where we DID NOT FIT. We could no longer afford ($) to make the drive (40 min one way) so we were attending a church locally, instead....and we were simply too weird for them. (One man told us that we prayed for too many things - that we should spend less time in prayer and more time doing. Not sure what he thought we ought to be doing... :D) I was telling Father how lost I felt in this Body and how alone I felt, while Jeff was offering the special music. (It is a BEAUTIFUL SONG - I should post the words on my blog.. gee, what a surprise, I'm digressing) Suddenly, someone in the Body came up and laid their hands on my shoulders. They were standing directly behind me and I couldn't see them without turning around and I was also discretly nursing, so I couldn't do that. All through the song, they just patiently waited, with their hands on my shoulders. (I could feel they were praying for me, too.... kwim? You can just feel the prayers flowing through you?) When Jeff stopped singing, the baby stopped nursing and I reached up to pat their hands, which were still on my shoulders. There were no hands there, although I could still feel them. I whipped around to see who was behind me. No one. NO ONE. I do not know what Father did that day, but I to this day, can feel those hands upon my shoulders at times. It makes me cry to type it out, even. LOL Aren't I pathetic? (Now, see, aren't you glad I made you sit through it again?) ;)

Shannon said...

Dawn - That's such a precious story. Thank you for sharing it. Isn't He amazing!?!

Jen said...

I wanted to take the time now to say thank you for the encouragement. The comment monster ate my original comment of thanks. I apologize for the delay.

Also, I wanted to tell you that your paragraph about what God has you doing right now did not sound a bit like whining to me. :) You did a great job of relating your dailies and the way you are honoring Father through them.

I am praying that I will remain as faithful to the call which He has placed on my life.

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