It has been a particularly hard season for my family. Since last June, our church building has been undergoing renovations. We are very close to the end of this mammoth project that was expected to be done in October, but here we are on the doorstep of February and we are tired. And cranky.
My husband has worked very hard along with an amazing group of volunteers in our church to make our church building more functional and welcoming to others.
When it is finished, it is going to be amazing. But right now, it’s just hard.
On Monday of this week, I woke up with a cold. I don’t get sick very often, but this one has hit me hard and although I’m starting to feel a little better, it has not been the easiest of weeks. I found myself speaking out of anger to my children and becoming easily frustrated. I know the reason why my behavior was less than stellar, but when we read 1 John 1 as a family a couple of days ago, my heart was convicted when we came to 1 John 1:9- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ( (in)courage Devotional Bible, CSV). Even though I had excuses, the truth was that I was sinning against my children when I yelled at them unfairly and when my selfishness was abundant.
And so this morning, we tried something new. When it comes to our relationship with God, my husband and I are intentional about reading God’s Word on our own and with our family. We place a emphasis on prayer and scripture memorization. We talk frequently about how knowing Christ and bringing glory to God should be our heart’s desire and we teach our children how to pursue Christ. When our kids sin, we pray and ask God to forgive them and we ask forgiveness of one another.
But we don’t confess our sins to each other and as we read that morning, I realized that this was an oversight in our parenting. I was also reminded of this verse in James- “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16 ESV). Each one of us has sin in our lives and areas that we are trying to overcome, but what would happen if we really believed what these verses are saying? That if we recognized, admitted and confessed our sins, Jesus would be faithful to forgive us and change us AND if we prayed for one another, there would be great power in this?!!
And so, we confessed sin to each other. We asked for forgiveness and we prayed for the person to our left.
Then we went on with our day.
A few hours later one of my children asked who had written on a ruler.
The one who confessed the sin of lying earlier in the day said, “I did.” And we rejoiced together, because my child KNEW that had it not been for our prayer time earlier in the day, the response would not have been an honest one!
I did not plan to share this as my “Try Something New Thursday” post. I don’t want anyone to think that our family has it all together, because we most certainly do not. There’s a line of a song we sing in church that says this-
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me (All I have is Christ, Sovereign Grace Music)
I resonate so deeply with this verse, because I feel it. The strength to make the right choice to follow God is not something that I am capable of accomplishing on my own. I need Christ. But, oh, to see my child’s eyes light up with joy KNOWING the exact same thing in that moment of honesty! This has been a struggle for my child for a very long time and we have prayed often about it. But the power of confessing sin and then seeing an obvious answer to that prayer was remarkable.
And so, I had to share.
We never know how God might use our efforts and our faithfulness!
Have you tried something new this week?
Remember when I used to write “Try Something New Thursdays” posts? It’s been awhile since I have been in any kind of blogging rhythm and I miss it. And so, I decided that I would write one of these posts this week. Except now it’s Friday. But I’m going to write it anyway.
Trying something new and being intentional about it is important. We have a tendency to get stuck doing the same things over and over again and this usually leads to feeling uninspired in our lives. Trying something new can break through those barriers and allow us to live with excitement and inspiration.
Each new year brings an opportunity to refocus and to live with intention. Trying something new doesn’t have to be a huge thing. In fact, often it’s the little things like trying a new recipe or drawing a picture with your kids that can be the kick start to inspired living rather than attempting a huge project and then feeling like a failure when you don’t follow through.
Several years ago, I saw an idea on Pinterest to start a Mommy-Daughter journal and write notes back and forth to each other. I thought this would be a great idea since my daughter loves to write, so I purchased a cute journal and we started writing notes to each other. It was great at first, but it quickly fizzled out. Perhaps she was too young or more likely it failed because it was my idea and not one that she was invested in.
Fast forward to this past Fall and my daughter asked for a journal for Christmas specifically for the purpose of writing back and forth to each other. It thrilled my heart! My daughter is my strong-willed one and we often struggle in our relationship. For her to invite me to speak into her life is a blessing, because too often it can feel like I am constantly correcting her. It’s not how I want it to be.
I purchased a journal right away, not waiting for Christmas! We began writing to each other again and getting a glimpse into her thoughts and her ability to communicate through the written word is beautiful. I wondered if it would once again fizzle out, but last night, the journal was propped on my bed.
Sometimes we are tempted to think that our efforts have been wasted. We tried something new, but it didn’t succeed and it certainly didn’t have any lasting effect. But I’m discovering that one of the gifts of parenting is finding that our efforts are never wasted. We might think that our efforts are for the moment, but often the rewards are not experienced until much later. Our first Mommy-Daughter journal failed. But now our Mom-Daughter journal has the potential to be incredibly meaningful.
Try something new every week. You never know what the impact might be. Live inspired. It will encourage others to want to live fully as well!
What is something new that you are trying?
We’re barely into the new year and I already feel a few steps behind. This is partly due to traveling over the holidays and it’s partly due to the elusive rhythm of life that I keep chasing, but never seem to catch.
For some time now, I have felt slightly off kilter. This isn’t necessarily bad. It has caused me to fall on my knees and to admit my inadequacies. But it’s not great either. In many ways, I feel like life is happening to me rather than the intentional living that I desire.
When I first started choosing “One Word” to focus on for the year, “intention” was the word I settled on. Each year since, different words have surfaced and I knew it was where my focus should be. Brave. Dignity. Submission. Light. Some words settled easily on my heart while others have been challenging, but each time, I knew that it was the right word for the right year.
As 2018 ended, I was trying to wrap my head around finishing school so vacation could begin, preparing for Christmas and planning for six people to travel for nine days with sixteen hours of a road trip before reaching our destination. Pondering goals and a focus for 2019 was beyond my reach. I had the thought that perhaps this year, I would not choose a word. But God had other plans for me…
As we crossed the Mississippi River, I turned around to look at my kids and this is what I saw- it’s a just-for-fun tradition to hold our breath when we cross rivers and my teenagers were doing it without any prompts from me. In that moment, I was challenged to keep being faithful to living intentionally, to not give up on the habits that have been meaningful to me in the past.
During my devotional time over our vacation, a word began to surface (as it always seems to do!) and it surprised me, but I knew it was the right one.
It first jumped out to me when I read Ephesians 2:3- “We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.” (CSB) It challenged me to think about that the things that I am naturally inclined to do. I began to consider this question- what is my default? And as my husband would say, “How does my heart roll?”
in·cli·na·tion/ˌinkləˈnāSH(ə)n/nounplural noun: inclinations
1.a person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way; a disposition or propensity.“John was a scientist by training and inclination”
synonyms: tendency, propensity, proclivity, leaning, predisposition, disposition, predilection, desire, wish, impulse, bent, bias;
As I asked these questions and considered the ways that I naturally slip into doing things without even realizing it, I was reminded of the following verses in Ephesians 2- “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”
I have been made alive in Christ because of the richness of God’s mercy, his great love and his saving grace. I don’t have to be bound by my inclinations! What good news this is!
Upon arriving home, I started praying through scripture using the Pray the Word Journal, an excellent ministry tool available through The MOB Society (a ministry for Mothers of Boys that I have the privilege of working for). One of the challenges in the book is to pick a verse to pray for your family throughout the year (check out www.verseoftheyear.com). I love choosing this verse in conjunction with my one word, so I began looking through scripture for the word “inclinations”, but quickly changed to the active “incline” instead. As a result, I settled on these verses from Proverbs 22:17-19a…
Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord…
Incline, hear and apply that it will be pleasant for you and your trust may be in the Lord.
This year, I will be focusing on uncovering my tendencies, my proclivities, my propensities and my inclinations. As I uncover them, I will seek to yield to God’s mercy, love and grace to change me where I need to be changed, so that my default will move from fleshly desires to spirit-led passions.
It seems like a heavy word, but the truth is that I can already feel weights lifting. I don’t have to be lazy. I don’t have to feel inadequate. I don’t have to please all the people. I don’t have to be unhealthy in my decision making. My default CAN change. I simply need to set my inclinations in the right direction.
Remember no man is a failure who has friends.
~Clarence in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Dear Friends and Family,
As we watched the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night, a tradition that always causes me to reminisce about my sweet Daddy who loved this movie, I was struck by how successful my life has been. I am surrounded by friends who have stuck by my side and loved me in spite of difficulty. Since I have also experienced rejection, this gift is even more dear to me.
And so, I wanted to take this time to thank YOU for your friendship, for the impact you have had on my life whether in the past or currently. Friendship is a gift and I recognize that I am a blessed recipient. Thank you!
A few years ago, I stopped sending Christmas cards. I LOVE receiving them and so my decision was fraught with guilt at the time, because I don’t like not reciprocating. However, it was one of the best decisions for the sake of our family to be able to fully enjoy the time leading up to Christmas. In lieu of Christmas cards, I decided to start posting our annual updates in this space and that tradition continues.
Our year started with more doctors appointments and a third surgery for our Ainsley girl for a recurring thyroglossal duct cyst. It was hard to watch her go through this again and the unknowns have been difficult to face, but what we have discovered along the way is the importance of submitting to God’s purpose knowing that His plan for her is good. Ainsley has had a beautiful attitude through it all and as this year closes, we are thrilled to be able to report that her neck is healing and we are continuing to trust God to write His story in her life.
Dave and I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago in February to celebrate twenty years since graduating from Moody Bible Institute. We had a wonderful time with family as my sister and brother-in-law were there for their 25th class reunion and our nephew was a freshman at our alma mater. We also had the pleasure of meeting our niece’s fiance. It was a special and memorable trip!
In March, Lindsay and Ethan had the opportunity to perform in a musical on the book of Acts at a local Christian School. As we watched them thrive in this environment, we were reminded of God’s sweetness in allowing them to be involved as homeschoolers in a school play. It was remarkable!
Over Mother’s Day weekend, we took a vacation to the Outer Banks and Washington D.C. We made countless precious memories on this trip and it was just what our family needed. We had the opportunity to see long time friends and family on the trip as well which was a sweet ending to a wonderful vacation.
Our time away was timely, because soon after, our church began a time of renovation. Much of the building was gutted to reconfigure the sanctuary (enabling us to move back to one service), to enlarge the foyer space and to add more usable classroom space. There have been setbacks along the way resulting in a much longer process than expected, but we are all eager and excited about the completion of the renovation. Here’s a current picture of the new foyer…
This Fall, we began our third year of homeschooling, joining a local cooperation of like minded homeschool families called Gloria Deo Co-op. Lindsay is in 10th grade, Ethan is in 8th grade, Gibson is 4th grade and Ainsley is in Kindergarten. I am teaching a “Great Books” class for 11th and 12th graders and enjoying it immensely. It has been a big jump from teaching preschool last year, but the challenge has been a good one!
Dave and I have been taking any spare moments we can to connect with one another in this busy season of our lives. We were gifted with the opportunity for a little getaway around Thanksgiving and it was a joyous time for us. Now we are gearing up for Christmas and making new memories with our family.
As this year comes to a close, we are focusing on the light that came into the darkness of this world in the person of Jesus Christ. We see this light continuing to shine in dark places and pray that we too would shine with the light of Christ. Our scripture prayer for this year has been from Philippians 2:14-16…
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
We’re still working on the grumbling bit and we are far from blameless and innocent, but we continue to pray that we would hold fast to the word of life and shine as lights in this world. If you ever have any questions about the hope that is available to all of us in Christ, please reach out. I would love to chat with you about this light that shines in the darkness!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!
The Daye Family