Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

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How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

For better or worse

Post from my blog sharpexpressions that was written September 6, 2011. Drake would have been 10 months (almost 🙂

I posted a status on Facebook this weekend that said “I wish I could record Drake all day. His facial expressions are priceless & his mumblings in an effort to talk are going to be sweet memories once he’s talking all the time! He’s so much fun. So thankful we get to be stewards of him for now. What a perfect gift.”

I soon realized how far my understanding of this concept of stewardship has come. It has developed by way of difficult circumstances, joyous blessings, and moments of struggle.  I have come to a place of understanding this life is temporal and we are preparing for the eternal. Jesus healed many while He was on earth, but His healings were the the precursor to the ultimate, eternal Healing He was to bring.

I was 26 when I married by husband, who was 28 at the time.

We were by no means old, but we hadn’t just graduated college either. My singleness was a season. For better or for worse. The enjoyable times were the better and the lonely times were the worse. Let it be known that loneliness doesn’t disappear on the wedding day. The enjoyable times were filled with sporadic meetings with college girls, encouraging them, discipling them, challenging them, and all the while growing in my knowledge leaps and bounds. I was able to go where I wanted when I wanted. I was free to make decisions on a whim, change my budget (or not have one), I only had myself to contend with (with household tangibles…I’m not referring to huge matters of influence such as irresponsible, unstable, untrustworthy behavior, etc.) My schedule was my own. The lonely times were complete with silence in my bedroom. Moments of weeping to the Lord of my great desire to have someone in this life to care for and help (I had no real understanding of the magnitude of responsibility and accountability that desire held). There were days filled with question after question for God. **If you’re in this season, how are you treasuring, coveting, and utilizing this time? Are you a good steward of this season, for better and for worse? In the enjoyable times are pouring your time into whatever the Lord has for you now? (School, family, friendships, discipling, serving?) Are you using the lonely times to be sifted and refined for the Eternal purpose you are here to serve? The Lord quickly broke me with the reality that He doesn’t promise us marriage, children, friends, home, etc. He has a lot for us and we are to walk in this lot with grand thankfulness and resourcefulness.  He walks with you through these seasons to sanctify and purify you. Are you letting Him? He uses the seasons to make you look more like His Son..are you drawing nearer to Him?

These seasons are a grand picture that tie together little hills and valleys in our lives. He calls us to walk gracefully through EACH season and within that time frame we are to be good stewards of all that is in our sphere of existence. Wherever you are now, there are other people  in your life who benefit by watching (or should benefit) how you rest in Him and pursue Him.

Are you a good steward of your friendships? Some friends stay and some friends go. Is your time spent with them in such a way, that whether they stay or leave, you have no regrets?

  • Be graciously honest with them.
  • Meet conflict directly and concisely.
  • Apologize immediately where you must.
  • Forgive immediately where you must.
  • Go out of your way to meet their needs. It will return to you. (Don’t meet their needs with expectations or pay back in mind…Jesus doesn’t handle us in that regard.)

Are you a good steward of your relationship with your family?

  • Forgive them.
  • Honor your father and mother. It might cost so be prepared, but remember it is commanded for a reason and He will bless you and keep you in this area if you are obedient.
  • Get Christian counseling if your past necessitates it.
  • Make time for them.
  • Find ways to encourage them.
  • Bless them.
  • I am not naive to the fact there are some families where these actions are not possible. If you know the Lord and are surrounded by godly counselors, you know how to walk in this area. If you need help, ask a seasoned believer who is walking faithfully with the Lord. They will help you be accountable where you can be with your family and discern where you are not responsible.

Are you a good steward of your marriage?

  • Pray for your spouse.
  • Discuss Truth and theology
  • Be tender. Be aware.
  • Be affectionate.
  • Ask for forgiveness. Be forgiving.
  • Tell them good things about themselves first and then do it in public. Build your spouse up–it’s you and your spouse against the world at all times. If you’re in a battle with one another, you’ve lost your ally.

Are you a good steward of your children’s affections and their hearts? You only get a very short time with them.

  • Pray for them.
  • Pray with them.
  • Teach them Scripture.
  • Teach them obedience and faith.
  • Spend time with them above everyone else (except your spouse).
  • Model a healthy, godly marriage for them.
  • Be affectionate towards them and value their affection for you.
  • Tell them good things about themselves and then tell everyone else.

Are you a good steward of your time? Not a selfish time keeper.

  • Spend time first with your spouse, children, & family (quality time)
  • If you are single and without children, first spend time with your family, then your closest circles of friends.
  • Let your time be spend in prayer, reading the Word, Scripture memory, music, etc. Whatever stirs your affections for Christ and causes you to look more like Him.
  • Plan your time well. A calendar of your regular days’ commitments, monthly commitments, regular meetings & events, and other planned/scheduled happenings. Then fit other things into that frame. Be prepared for interruptions. The Lord will interrupt you and it’s an opportunity to be a good steward in another area (helping a friend, having faith when He allows inconvenience of a car break down, etc) of your life if you’re already a good steward of your time.

Are you a good steward of your finances? All that you’ve been given…is just that…GIVEN.

  • Recognize your WHOLE lot as being given.
  • Decide how to use what you’ve been given to honor Him.
  • Tithe.
  • Save.
  • Don’t overspend.
  • Pay off what you’ve already overspent, if you have.
  • Don’t make rationalizations for your wants. If you can afford it, be wise, if you can’t, be wise.

Are you a good steward of your possessions? Again, you’ve been given all that you have.

Take inventory of your possession.

  • Evaluate how it can be used to bless others. (A house can be a safe place for children from families who don’t know Christ, it can be a home away from home for a college student, etc. A car can be used to carpool for someone without a vehicle, to help families save money, or to give a child a ride with your family for a few minutes and be exposed to Christians if he/she is from an unchurched home.)
  • Don’t waste your possessions.
  • Take care of what you’ve got. It’s been given to you, cherish it.

The Lord blesses us with such enjoyable moments. However, there are seasons of hurting and struggling, too. How you respond to each is a reflection of your faith.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (see Matthew 6:33 to know what “these things” are) will be added to you.