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Tuesday
Oct072014

Legacy

 

Sometimes I look back and try to remember them. My grandparents (on my mother's side) died my freshman year of college, within a four month window of each other. I try to remember them, and wish I could talk to them now. I have some regrets looking back, which doesn't help much now. We moved back to Michigan to be close to them, the summer I was fifteen. I was excited about the move, but sometimes I resented going up to see them so much on the weekends. I wanted to do stuff with friends, be involved in our own area.
But I also loved them dearly. I have so many found memories of their farm. Growing up, my cousins and I would build forts in the trees lining the pastures. We'd play huge games of hide and seek in the outbuildings. Or spend hours riding our bikes in the driveway. Later, my grandparents bought a little golf cart, and we'd ride it up and down the hills, exploring the corners of the land. Sunshine, rain, snow, we forded all sorts of conditions to get outside in that little golf cart.
My grandparents taught me a lot about love. My how they loved. Their house was always brimming over with cousins, in laws, distant family members, and a family they ran into at the grocery store.
They never had much money, but they always gave, the extent to which we didn't know until after they were gone.
I counted once, growing up, and their were thirteen of us cousins at the time. Thirteen! It's rather sad to think that we've all gone such different directions now. That it's been years upon years since we've been together, in the same place.
My grandparents valued family, so we were all expected to be there for holidays, overflowing the dining table to the card table, and even into the garage one Thanksgiving!
They weren't perfect people by any means, but they loved Jesus. They took some time to get there, but they both believed in His blood that was shed for their sins.
I'm thankful for the influence, big and small, that they had on me. The footsteps they left for me to travel in.
My grandfather was a history buff, a passion he often shared with me, spending hours pouring over genealogy spreadsheets with me.
My grandmother was a baby lover, everyone's favorite babysitter, a singer, love of Turner Classic movies.
Without realizing it, they've left me a lot.
I know they'd love my husband, and my babies. They'd be so proud of the military service my husband does for his country, they'd be flashing pictures of their great-grandkids to strangers at the grocery store, telling them all about the next generation.
They were just like that.

What a legacy.
What a heritage.
What beautiful memories to preserve.
And how thankful I am that I'll get to hug them again someday.

Wednesday
Oct012014

The Influence Conference 2014 Recap

I think my brain, my heart, is still decompressing from The Influence Conference.

It was truly an intense, thought provoking weekend. I came to the end of each day bone weary, climbing into my comfy bed and quickly falling off to sleep.

But it was a good tired.

It was the tired of a heart that was being pushed, of someone who had heard some words of truth spoken over her life. 

Being in a situation with 300 unknown women wasn't easy for me. I'm not really a crowd sort of girl, more of a one-on-one type. 

But this event pushed me. Pushed me to introduce myself, even if I did feel awkward and out of place. Pushed me to make some new friends through the process.

I think, perhaps, the first day, I pushed myself a little too hard. I felt my body saying that I needed a break, my head was pounding, shoulders sore, but still I pushed on. (I hate thinking that I missed something!). 

I don't think I gave myself the space I needed. This sounds a little silly to write, following the words up above about pushing myself to meet new people. Does it make sense though? Sometimes it's good to stretch, good to seek, good to reach out and make new friends, but we all have our limits. We all have breaking points. 

In Friday evening's session, Lara Casey reminded us to pay attention to our bodies, to recognize what they're telling us. I had come to a point on Friday of desperately needing rest, even if I didn't want to admit it.

Saturday was so much better. I gave myself permission to NOT attend everything. To NOT feel like I had to meet every person at the conference. To NOT feel like I had to be passing out my business card and promoting my blog all the time.

Such freedom comes with that.

There's such freedom in letting go.

 And I have to say that I enjoyed the second day even more. I enjoyed letting myself have breaks, roaming the halls of the hotel, even lounging in my room for a bit watching tv. I mean, this was my unique weekend away from kids! A total new experience for me, I needed to embrace it :)

I loved all of the classes, all of the things to learn at this conference. I've always been a bit of a school nerd. Taking classes in a Christian environment made it even better. I definitely took home some useful tools for writing, blogging and business in general.

But, for me, the points that hit home the most were the points of the heart. The things God spoke to me. My favorite two sessions were by the founders of The Influence Conference, Haley Morgan and Jess Connolly.  I loved their honesty and transparency. 

On Friday, Hayley talked about "The Try Hard Life." Here's a few bullet points from her talk that really meant a lot to me: 

 

  • "His Spirit lives within me--so it pushes out all of that try-hard and look-at-me."
  • What is the ARC in my own life? Pinpoint 5-15 things that changed me. 
  • "There's nothing that will make God love you less or more" 
  • "We need to preach the gospel often enough to ourselves to remember it"
  • "The Gospel is like a diamond, it's beautiful from a billion different angles. Just look closely at each side and tell the world about it" Haley Morgan quoting Jess Thompson
  • "How can I flip the idea of insignificance on it's head?" 
  • "Make the best decision you can at the time and walk forward"
  • "Every single day I have influence, because I am in Christ and Christ is in me"

 So much to ponder over here. I definitely have a lot to stew over in my journals. 

On Saturday, Jess Connolly had her talk. This was the point that I lost it, y'all. I truly was in tears during the worship set immediately following all of this. God has some deep things He's working on in me. Walls and expectations that definitely need to change. Thank you for your words, Jess Connolly, They truly affected me. And thank you to my new friend Lauren, who let me poor out my heart at the conference. I loved getting real with you like that. Here's a few bullet points for you all:

  • "It's worth us taking the time in the early stages of building to ask why we're building"
  • "God loves His Kingdom. God hates my kingdom. He loves when I build His kingdom."
  • "God hates it when I give enough tidbits to affirm me.
  • "God hates it when I love my husband and kids just enough. When I love them just enough to be good for me"
  • "How do I need to love my family to build God's kingdom?" 
  • "What does God think about my kingdom?"
  • "When I say: 'take my business, take my influence, take my passions, and remove them from me,' God says, 'Take this business, take your influence, take your passions and just use them for me'" 
  • "God is out for His glory, but He is gracious"
  • "God doesn't want a better life from you, He wants a better life for you."

 

 There's so much here, it's really all my brain can process at the moment. Right now, I'm getting our household back in shape, ferry-ing Emma back and forth to school, and praying about what God might have next in this little live of ours. I definitely don't want to just file this past weekend away in my memory, without taking some things to heart. Thank you for reading my words today. I hope you found them interesting. Join me at The Influence Conference next year? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Aroma

"But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this?"  (2 Corinthians 2:14-16, HCSB).

 

I love the language used here. We are the fragrance of Christ. He moves through us, ministering to others through us, each and every day. 

Others know about Christ because of us. Because we live our days serving Him and sharing His love with others. 

It's all Him. It really has nothing to do with us. It is Him moving, Him reaching hearts. Him ministering through us.

The first use of "aroma," or "savour" in the KJV, is the Greek word euōdia

 

  • a sweet smell, fragrance
  • a think well pleasing to God
  • a sweet odour, spoken of the smell of sacrifices and obligations, agreeably to the ancient notion that God smells and is pleased with the odour of sacrifices

 

 

The other mentions of aroma/fragrance are from the word osmē, which just means a smell, odour 
To some, we bring sweet smells of worship, of grace, of fellowship with Jesus. To some, it's the smell of His rejection. It's sad of think of, and harsh, but some will just chose not to follow Him. I'm happy it's not our place to decide. That we can keep on sharing Christ's love right up to the end. Only God knows their hearts. Only God knows just what fragrance they breathe in.
But on a positive note, did you know that you are a wonderful, cherished fragrance? That God is well pleased with your life of worship?
Today I'm heading to The Influence Conference, to worship with a beautiful fellowship of believers. Please pray for me while I'm there? I'm so excited to meet like minded woman who understand that beautiful influence they each have in their own circles. I'm looking forward to the new friends I'll meet, and worshiping with all of these great ladies! I can't wait to share with you all that I learn. 

 

Tuesday
Sep232014

Sunshine

Sometimes I have to remind myself of the good.
This past weekend, we packed up our family and headed two hours North for the day. I'm never sure how such roadtrips are going to go. In the past, taking my kids out of their normal routine has not always had the best results. But Saturday was not that day.
We can't always have bad days, right?

We didn't meet with any horrific traffic jams, the kids didn't scream and holler the whole way there, they didn't even have tantrums from getting too overly tired. We just had a nice day. And it was good for my soul.
It was good to just laugh, just love, just walk around a pretty garden, exploring where the paths might take us.
It was good just being together, celebrating a milestone. Celebrating an anniversary. Celebrating six years of marriage to my significant other. 
Originally I was a little bummed, wishing we had a good babysitter on hand so that the husband and I could have a night out. But, this was equally wonderful. It was treasured. Memory filled.
I'm so thankful that God gives us such days.
Days that are out of the normal rut. Days that are different from the normal routine.


At this garden, our kids were able to run, explore, watch the toy train set go round and round at the pavillion.
We had a nice lunch, Lebanese, which seemed the perfect thing to have, bringing back memories of a past trip the husband and I once took.
In the afternoon we window shopped in one of my favorite little towns, stopping for a coffee break at a funky little cafe.

It was simple, relatively inexpensive. Blessed.
I'm so thankful for sunshine days.
They bring hope in the other times. They brought joy to yesterday, when the kids were grumpy (probably after the long daytrip). Memories like that hold us through the mundane. They remind me that my kids really aren't all bad. They do have manners. They can be respectful, loving, attentive. They can, sometimes, just go with the flow.
They can be fun.

There are some times that I live safe, I stay in the routine because I don't want to see what would happen when we step outside. I've seen the bad spectacles enough, that I'm afraid to stretch my kids too far out of the norm. But, by doing that, I may also miss out on some sunshine days. Don't get me wrong, I know how important routine is to my children, they thrive on it, but I also think days like Saturday do us some good. It's a way that my husband is a good influence on my life. He encourages me to live outside of boundaries, try new things, experience life unplanned . He encourages me to seek sunshine days, filled with memories. What a blessing he is to planner me.

And how thankful I am for the ocassional sunshine day that God brings into our lives.

Have you experienced any sunshine lately? What gets you through the rough patches?

Friday
Sep192014

Our Thoughts

 

 

"We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4b-5, HCSB).

With The Influence Conference less than a week away, I've been researching other attendees, reading up on some of their blogs, trying to get to know them ahead of time. 

It's hard to not start comparing. 

To wish I was different.

Or to wonder where my place in all of this is.

I've started to struggle, wondering how real my calling could be. My calling that I've always felt on my heart. My drive to write, to share, to witness, to encourage.

When I read 2 Corinthians 2 this morning, it truly spoke to my heart. It was such a good reminder to take every thought captive. Insecurities, comparisons, disputes, to give all of it to Jesus, and replace it with His knowledge and truth. To replace the lies with His truth.

The truth is that this is my influence, this is my world. God has called me to live it out to the best of my ability. He's called me to do what He wants me to do.

It's beautiful to think that, next week, I'll be around like-minded women. Women who get the blogging thing, the mothering thing, the spouse thing. Women who are struggling along, trying to figure out their own, distinct calling. Women who struggle with seeing their own influence. Who struggle with feeling insignificant, just like me.

We all have beautiful stories to tell.

Mine? It's a story of a military wife and mother. Someone who has been torn from friends and family. Someone who is learning to love, wherever her feet are planted. Someone who is learning how to build a home for her family, who is learning how to share Jesus in her life.

That's influence. My husband, my children, new friends I make a new churches, moms I meet at the park each week. It's amazing how small, but yet how significant our influence reaches. My job? Live what God has called me to do. Share, what He has placed on my life. Know that the people who read my blog are the people that God wanted. If their hearts are being changed by this. Then, that's truly enough. Numbers? They don't really matter. Living out what God has called me to do? That's what's important.


What about you?
What has God called you to do?
What's your influence?