Women of Faith 2010

Driving away from my town and my people was symbolic for me. It felt like pulling away a giant cobweb from my face, one silky strand at a time. I don't always feel like being a stay-at-home-mom is a trap and I'm the ugly spider, but recently I seemed to have more appendages. Very spider-like. And feeling very stuck.

Every mother should get away from time to time to take a good look at herself and who she is. Find a place of objectivity. A place of reflection. Find yourself.

Cause mothering can sap the life blood out of you.

Unless your personality finds great fulfillment in the nurturing and care-giving of being a mom.

For me, It took a few days away to really feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The things I learned during those two days at the Women of Faith event brought so much clarity to my vision and freedom to be myself.....oh, I learned so much. I'll share just a bit of the best:

The speaker asks three questions: 1)do you feel a need to control what's going on around you? 2)when something happens unexpectedly, do you immediately feel fear and anxiety or faith? 3)do you often feel a slight disconnect between yourself and God or yourself and close ones? 

Ya. If you struggle with fully and completely trusting God, you are not alone. And fear can become a habit. It's also very contagious.

What I learned this weekend is that God is IN CHARGE of everything that happens to us. Even the tough stuff. It IS His will. 

Because if it wasn't in His will, why should I trust Him? Is anything or anyone more powerful than God? Absolutely not! He has the big picture in mind and everything that happens in our lives passes through his mighty hands. He says, "yes, that's OK. I will be with her through that pain. I will bring understanding at the right time."

This was really big for me.

When people are asked whether they focus on their strengths or their weaknesses, most say weaknesses. I did! Surely we need to make ourselves as perfect as possible, right?? Let's focus on what's wrong and make it right!

But that's not going to get us anywhere. This weekend I learned to live according to my strengths!!

First we redefined strengths and weaknesses as follows:
Strength -- an activity you participate in that makes you feel strong
Weakness -- an activity you participate in that makes you feel weak

Ever do something that you just loved? The time flew by...you couldn't wait to do it again?

How about an activity that just drains you? You might actually be good at it (by necessity), but you loathe it, you dread it, you feel depleted.

My job (and I'm still working on this) is to write Strength Statements and Weakness Statements. During a typical day, you jot down when you feel strong or weak. For example, "I felt strong when I sang songs with a room full of children." Then you pick a verb and get really specific with time, place, people -- all the details. Same for weakness statements (eg. "I feel weak mingling with large groups of people at any kind of gathering.").

This helps so much!! No longer do I need to beat myself up for what I am NOT.

Obviously, reality demands that we do things that drain us. But the point of this is -- in as many ways as you can, leave out the activities that drain you, that weaken you, and spend more time doing the things that fill you up and leave you feeling strong! Using our strengths is God's will for our lives!

"Use your strengths; don't hide them in humility!" Contribute.

The music this weekend was amazing. The biggest thing I recognized was the complete adoration. They were singing for God's glory! Complete freedom to praise God from the bottom of their hearts. Hearts soaked in the beauty of grace. It made me wish I felt free to have that tangible connection with a living God. A God that loves unconditionally. The God who died to make me righteous! Who is worthy of our joyous praise. It is so refreshing. Here's what I wrote {after a bit about what I don't like seeing...}: "What I want to see is the laugh lines on their faces, a soft, joyous expression -- maybe closed eyes above a pleased smile. The expression of love, found. All-consuming, cup-filling, over-flowing, makes-you-want-to-shout-praise kind of love." Hallelujah.

During one of the breaks, I was sitting in my fold-down seat, journaling, and this amazing picture came to my mind. Imagine God as the biggest movie director of all time!! Here's what I wrote: "There are SO MANY women here! It's mind-blowing that God could be working individually, with each person. That he is orchestrating events like the biggest movie director of all time and no matter what tragedies the plot is made up of, there WILL be a happy ending. How can we not put our lives into His capable hands? How could we not be amazed?"

Somehow along the way, I developed the idea that doing God's will would be a sacrifice. That we would need to do things outside our comfort zone, things we maybe aren't good at. Things I would learn to enjoy, possibly, or just do because I am a SERVANT.

Now I understand that we are to honor God with our TALENTS!! Doing things we are good at -- utilizing our strengths! These speakers and song-writers are absolutely gifted and they are glorifying God by doing what they LOVE! We should enjoy doing God's will! Others will be all the more blessed and helped if we are using our strengths to serve God! What a realization.