Well, in the past 21 months that I've been absent here, life has exploded. Literally exploded. Bear is in developmental preschool 4 days a week, has been walking for over a year now, and his speech is suddenly taking off as well.
Lila is 2 1/2 but looks and talks like a 4-year-old. She is everything I prayed for and more, kind and compassionate and CRAZY about her big brother.
And we've added Annabelle Grey to the mix (Anna or Anna Grey). Crazy, but the girl is 14 mos already and has no troubles keeping up with her big brother and sis. In fact, she's quite wily and often outsmarts the older two.
And with all of this, I was trying to run my business of two Etsy shops that also exploded this past fall and winter. I was attempting to be the perfect mother and wife AND work a full time job from home all on my own strength. And I was running on E.
I had known for awhile that it was time to give up my business. I always justified keeping my shops open by saying that my business is my "creative outlet" or that it allows me to interact with adults on a daily basis. But who was I kidding? My business had become my drug. I was addicted. Addicted to the feelings of pride and success, addicted to others' praise, addicted to the rush I got every time I sold something. And like anyone with an addiction, I thought I could control it, when in reality it was controlling me. I was stressed out, overeating, exhausted, and empty.
And in the meantime, my kids were growing up with an absent momma. "Mommy, I want to go outside."
"Just a minute, baby, mommy's got to check this email."
"Mommy, can we play downstairs?"
"In a little bit honey, mommy's finishing this hat."
And sadly, I watched them becoming bored, disinterested children who stopped asking me for good things because they knew that inevitably, I would put them off, or worse yet, ignore them altogether.
As Kurt Bruner says in his book, It Starts at Home, "...the greatest threat to successfully passing the compass of faith to our children is negligence. Our days are filled with activity and responsibility. We live at such a fast pace that is is difficult to even think about the spiritual development of our children, let alone to direct it....We feel the guilt. We regret the pace. We worry about the outcome. But we can't seem to break the cycle."
So as the calendar turned and the new year began, I was sitting at church listening to my pastor introduce our new sermon series, the book of Acts. And though we only studied the first eight verses that morning, when we got to verse 8, Jesus's words of how our lives will "bear witness" when we receive the Holy Spirit shook me. I knew that my life as I was currently living it was unremarkable and unchanged though I knew the Holy Spirit. And though I have the Holy Spirit, I had stilled his voice. Ignoring his promptings the same I had my own children's.
"Won't you pray with me this morning?"
"I'm exhausted. Only got five hours of sleep last night. Have to make kids' breakfast and get coffee."
"Will you open the Word and let me speak to you?"
"I have to get these items made and shipped out before tomorrow."
And though I don't doubt that he continued to ask, I became very good at tuning him out and neglecting his nudging and leading. But I know he was still at work because I had known for several months leading up to this particular Sunday that I was going to close my business...that something had to give. Though I had tried to quiet his voice, he had been preparing my heart for the words that were going to be spoken that January morning. Preparing me for the greater things God had in store for my life.
So I came home from church that morning and told Dan it was time to call it quits w/ my business. And then God stirred. Simply by speaking the words, a stronghold was broken and God MOVED. He stirred passions in me that had long been dormant. Women's ministry, being intentional in my marriage, mothering, friendships. And I feel alive. And I've begun to dream. And I feel my heart race at the hope and possibilities that God's put within me.
I'm thankful that in spite of me, God can still use me, broken, selfish, and empty. That he can restore me, change me, and fill me to become the vessel he needs me to be, the wife my husband needs, the momma my babies need, the daughter and sister my family needs, the friend my friends and neighbors need.