Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flourish: Fall

fall

Yesterday, I talked about the 4 seasons of life that we go through.  If you missed it, you can read it here.
The majority of this year I spent in the season of fall.  Back in January and February, I could feel God was up to something.  The best way I could describe it at the time, was that big changes were coming, however, little did I know what that would include.  Around early spring, God was starting to make His requests known about some areas in our life that needed pruning or cutting back.  His request of things to cut out were all really good things.  Things that we deeply cared about and things that were all really good and not bad for us.  However, earlier in the year, a missionary spoke at our church and God really used him to speak to our hearts.  He spoke about living in a bubble, surrounding ourselves with people that are just like us.  Although, like-mind people are good to have in our life, we need to seek people out who are not like us, put ourselves in situations that will allow for us to share the love of Christ to non-believers.  I realized that I was completely in a bubble.  Not wanting that for myself or for my family, God started to move in a way that prompted us to do some cutting back.  In order to make room for opportunities and to step out of our bubble, it meant cutting back on some really fun and good things.
The first area that we started to address was a sense of our family going in all different directions and things.  We evaluated and felt we needed to come together.  We were craving time together, rather than splitting up and doing different things.  God was asking us to stop Awana for our kids and Growth Group for us.  This was not easy!  Actually, it was a real internal struggle for us.  We had loved the community and friendships we had made and didn’t want to step away from them.  Even though we thought Awana was a great program, our kids were starting to feel overwhelmed and burned out with learning Bible verses.  Ultimately, we knew that our family didn’t need one more activity in the evenings and we needed to listen to what our children were asking for…time with us, at home.  As hard of a decision this was, and as I tried for months to come up with an alternative, I realized that cutting this out was only for a season.  One day, we might be in a Growth Group again, but I didn’t want to miss out on the here and now.  One day, my kids will be gone but now is the time to make time for them.
Late in the summer, God also had me prune something else back.  I had been meeting with a small group of girls for Bible Study each week and by the end of summer I knew God was saying its time to take a break from Bible study.  I think this was the hardest thing for me.  I’m passionate about Bible study and I loved meeting with my girls.  I had this feeling that my kids were going to need more of me as we entered into our 3rd year of homeschooling.  I didn’t want to rush or hurry through our school work so we could get to Bible study.  Nobody does well with a stressed out momma telling her kids to hurry up.  I prayed about it a lot, had my girls praying for me and I knew God was asking me to give this up for right now.  It makes me want to cry just thinking about it, but this fall has run a lot smoother with homeschooling because of it.  My kids need me right now.  In a few years, I can see myself going back to it.  My kids will be more independent and I will be able to go back to Bible study.  Plus, I always have the summers to be plugged in to a Bible study!
In the meantime, I have been doing the IF:Equip Bible Studies on my own.  I love them!  They are perfect for a busy mom like me!  If you are needing a little Bible each day and some encouragement, check it out!
There is one more big pruning that I haven’t shared about but will tomorrow because it ties into the season of winter.

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