Today was one of those days I had to sit down and re-evaluate myself. The past few weeks (shoot maybe more) I've felt like I was on one of those hamster wheels running super fast but getting nowhere. I do realize that with two children under the age of three, there are going to be many days like this so I should give myself some slack however today I needed to figure out what was really going on in my crazy world.
For starters, I've been super forgetful lately. For example, I had planned with a friend to meet up at a nearby church with the girls for "trunk or treat" fun. Ive had it on my calendar for at least a couple of weeks and I was really looking forward to it. I had the girls costumes ready to go and everything. Well I got a text today AFTER the event where my friend said "hey we missed you tonight" and added a super cute picture of her daughter in her costume and it was only then that I realized I put it on my calendar for the wrong date. She had thought something came up and I couldn't make it and this is not the 1st or 2nd time this has happened to me lately. I was sad I missed the event but thank God the girls are too young to really care right now and I that I didn't actually show up on the wrong day with the girls dressed in their costumes, me looking like a fool. :-0 Also with my friend's help I was able to find another fall festival to go to in a couple days. This example above was just a small problem but seriously if something is not on my running to do list and calendar it just won't get done no matter how important it is. I guess I probably need to make sure I put the right dates down as well...
Lately I've been emotional (well more than normal for me haha) and things I can typically do easily, I'm messing up completely because Im really just doing TOO much. As I approach November and December, the two busiest months of the year for me with the holidays, travel, and both girls birthdays, I know I need to get my life back on track and quick! I need some order because lately my most used phrases has been, oops sorry I forgot, I didn't know, or I'm sooo tired ANND if I drive out to one more store that either hasn't opened yet because I'm too early or has already closed because I got there too late Im really going to scream.
I finally sat down today and looked at what was going on and I realized that yes Im doing a lot of stuff (and not always well) but I'm honestly not focusing on the area that should be first in my life...GOD!?!? Sure I pray everyday, its part of my routine to just talk to God throughout the day and pray with the family, buuuut have I been reading my bible consistently and building up the most important relationship in my life? Nope, not exactly... For a while I was consistently getting up early in the morning and doing my devotion and having quiet time to just breathe and have rest in the Lord but I fell off and lately I've been getting up early and running to the gym (occasionally :-), running to the grocery store w/out children in tow, making breakfast, organizing or cleaning something, doing the budget, etc, etc, etc. This is probably why I am behind on my daily devotions and my life seems completely out of whack. The peace and rest that is written about in the bible, I am missing when I rely on my own abilities and put God at the bottom of my to do list...you know IF I get around to Him after ALL my errands and tasks are done, favorite show is watched, and then hopefully before my day has gotten away from me and Im not too tired to do another thing. Yes sad I know.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
I understand that this passage was spoken to the God-fearing Jews (before the crucification and resurrection) who woke up each morning with the burden of following 613 laws and not exactly the normal tired you and I would feel after a long day. I can only relate this to my everyday experiences and Yes, I sure do feel heavy laden, I really NEED rest for my soul, and I would LOVE to switch my yoke for an easier and lighter burden. I guess in conclusion it is absolutely time I get back on track, studying my devotions, reading God's word, and striving to live my life with Him as the focal point. I need a lot of grace and I also need to give it out freely to others. I believe from time to time I need to have these rock bottom moments so I can re-adjust my life and priorities and I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling in this area occasionally, so please feel free to join me :)
Let Brotherly love continue. Don't neglect to show hospitality, for doing this some have welcomed angels as guest without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
What if the last person I had a chance to be hospitable towards was actually an angel? That scripture is thought provoking and makes me understand that God wants me to treat and serve people as if I were serving Him. Hospitality is an area of my life that I know I could work on. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy serving and helping others but hospitality in the sense of inviting people over, entertaining, and cooking meals for others does't come as naturally as I would like.
Last week was the last session of my Apple of Gold program (7 week program where older married women mentor younger married women), and it was another emotional one for me. This last week focused on Hospitality which is not one of my spiritual gifts. Our mentors live and breathe hospitality and they are amazing at making you feel loved and welcomed from the second you walk in the door. You feel special and like they took time to prepare for your arrival. They did a demonstration on flower arrangements and centerpieces for your table during mealtimes and decor for the home in preparation for guests. They showed and showered us with small gifts/trinkets and taught us ways to make your guests feel welcomed when they stay overnight and how to prepare the home for them. I have to say I was so overwhelmed because although I should have known all this stuff, I embarrassingly did not. Making my own flower arrangements is not something I ever do. Some of the younger women in the program grew up learning all of this so it wasn't that new to them, but for some reason all I could think about was how much I had failed in this area over the years. How many times I forgot to even ask if someone wanted a drink. :-(
When I became a wife and then a mother my ultimate goal was to have a warm and loving home for my family. I wanted my kids and husband to feel like home is their safe place, where they will always be loved and accepted no matter what the world throws at them. I think in this area I am doing well but now I really need to spread that warmth and love to others around me as well.
I think the reason my hospitality hasn't spread to others as much as I would like is because at some point I got more caught up in what I had and did not have. I've made excuses like... well when I get a bigger house, bigger kitchen, bigger table (w/out drawings on it haha), a better/ nicer guest room, a huge backyard, etc...then I'll invite people over more. When I figure out how to decorate better (OMG-I really have no clue what Im doing and Im definitely NO Martha Stewart) and have more money to fix the place up like I want THEN I'll be more hospitable. I'll just be real but sometimes Im just too tired and don't want to be bothered entertaining others. The kitchen might be a mess, toys all over the living room and Im the type that wants to clean everything before guests come by adding to my stress level haha. Trust that I completely understand that all of these reasons are selfish excuses. This means Im thinking more about myself than I am thinking about serving others but this is the truth of what has caused me to not grow in this area.
I know that I don't have this area of my life perfected but I am striving to get better. Im a working progress in MANY areas of my life :-0. Im learning it is not about what you have or don't have that should keep you from loving on others and inviting people over to fellowship. I have to continue to pray that God helps me in this area because I know this is big to HIM. Jesus spent His time on earth dining with others, feeding others, staying at people's homes, serving, healing, and teaching others. People showed him great Hospitality and I am certain that is expected of me as well.
A page from my Apples of Gold book. What words would describe your home? I circled the ones that best describe my home. Think about the ones you would have wanted to circle or ones you circled that you wished didn't apply to your home and what you can do to fix that moving forward ;-)
This past weekend I attended a women's retreat with ladies from my church. We stayed at Deer Run Camps and Retreats, which is a lovely location out in the woods. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of normal everyday life. Although I did have my phone with me, it was nice to not use it for social media, taking pictures, watching shows, Youtube or anything of that nature. I would not call myself an outdoors-type of person per se, but I enjoyed the short hike some of us ladies took, and our scheduled quiet time w/God where I had the opportunity to just sit outside on a beautiful day, journal, and relax. I really wish I did that more in my life but the excuse that comes to mind is that Im just too busy to sit still and do nothing. (definitely an excuse/ topic for another day :0)
The retreat's theme was, Are You Ready for a New Road? I won't go into a ton of detail about the weekend but I loved the super cute goodie bags that had some sweet reminders for us, and the idea to think about the different road signs and traffic lights we may see as we drive and what that can mean for us in our lives. Think about it- some of us really do need to make a detour, a u-turn, maybe even slow down or come to a complete stop in some areas of our lives. Sometimes we may need to yield, do not enter, or don't park in some areas as well. Maybe we really need to Goooo because God has given us the green light but for some reason we are stuck on red. Whatever that is for you it was a great way to think of these signs of caution and direction to help us on the road and how God gives us signs in our everyday lives as well, that we can only understand through a relationship w/ him.
The best part of the weekend was spending quality(drama free) time w/ ladies who Love the Lord. We laughed, many of us cried a TON, shared our stories, and I was especially excited just to have a short time of ZERO responsibility!! We roasted s'mores by campfire and I slept on the top bunk of a bed in one of the cabins-something I haven't done since I was a small child. I got to sit and have lots of conversations with some ladies I knew and many I didn't know and I thought as I was driving back home how important it is for women to build quality relationships w/ other like-minded women.
I can remember a period of time in my life where having relationships with other ladies was stressful, drama filled, and depleting. Im sure at some point we have all been around or witnessed those type of ladies and/or friendships. You know the "friends" who drain you emotionally, maybe someone who just won't grow up, or a person who is always in the middle of some type of drama. Shoot- maybe at different stages in my own life that might have described me, but I am so grateful for the place I am in my life now where I can actually say that I have quality friendships. Im not focused on the quantity part as much anymore.
I want to DO Life with my friends. I realize that the place I am in my life right now I don't have as much time to just hang out all the time, but my true friends are the ones where we can just pick up where we last ended no matter what. I think I might have read or heard this somewhere but I liked the thought behind it..."my next best (or close) friend MAY be someone I haven't even met yet." Thats pretty exciting to me. I try to remember what my husband taught me when I was struggling in the friendship department, which was simply "that I needed to be the type of friend I want to have in my own life." Wesley has been a great example to me of what it looks like to be a good friend to others. Sometimes you have to give/do more than the other person but that doesn't mean it will always be that way and I have found that to be true in my own life.
Friendships especially with other women is a working progress for me, as I know I am still working on myself when it comes to being a good friend and not being overly sensitive ;). One thing I consistently ask God for, is to bring people who are very different from me into my life. I don't want to stay in my own bubble of race, economic status, interests, etc. I think I can better relate to what is going on in the world when I get outside of "my own world."
The cute and thoughtful goodie bag