Sunday, March 13, 2011

"It IS Well"

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to attend Hearts at Home's National Conference.  I have wanted to attend for so many years but various reasons excuses kept me from attending.  I planned many months ahead to save up for the registration fee and was determined to not miss out on another year.  I almost backed out of going because I wasn't comfortable going alone.  However, God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone and do it.  On the very last day of early bird registration, I gave in and registered.  I will NEVER regret making that choice and I will move heaven and earth to attend the FULL conference as many of the coming years as possible. 

There is nothing like being in an auditorium filled to capacity with Christian moms worshipping God freely, seeking to find ways to connect with their husbands on deeper levels, recharging their spiritual lives, and finding effective ways to embrace motherhood as a God-given blessing.  It was beyond uplifting to sit in workshops, main sessions, and hear conversations in passing that ENCOURAGED.  There was no shame in having tears rolling down your face----it was actually expected (which is why there were a package of tissues placed in every tote bag!). 

Let's face it---as a Christian stay-at-home, homeschooling mom----adversity finds us on a daily basis.  Swimming upstream in a world as ours is discouraging MANY days.  There are people that literally can break you down at a moments notice.  My heart and soul was MUCH in need of being surrounded by other moms that TRULY get the kind of mother I seek to be.  Hearts @ Home isn't ALL about staying home or's just about being a mom seeking to love her children as thoroughly and unconditional as Christ loves us.   NO one looks at you strange when you tell them your "job" or that you seek to put Christ first in your home.  It's embraced.  Oh how my heart needed that. 

Back when I registered, I had to choose my top ten choices of workshops to attend.  I love how God directed that.  Though I chose a variety of topics that would strengthen my marriage, help me connect with my children at their different ages and with their different needs, and provide spiritual growth....God placed me right where he needed me to be.  Three out of four of my assigned workshops fell under the category of spiritual growth.  I was hesitant to choose all of them as my top choices because I was riding such a roller coaster of emotions with my grief just beginning.  After all, did I STILL believe God was all of those things I had claimed Him to be?  Would I end up being a basket case and have to be carted out as the psycho woman having a mega break down?  God planned it perfectly and placed me in JUST the right workshops.  I'm sure I'll be blogging in the coming days about the amazing God-direct "aha" moments.  Right now, it's just purely OVERLOAD.  I'm uplifted beyond even what I had hoped, but it is SO much to take in. 

However, the recurring theme that seemed to just come from EVERYWHERE was the point that main session speaker Jennifer Rothschild spoke about.  "It is WELL".   She is a 47 year old mom that has been blind since the age of 15.  She KNOWS about difficult circumstances.  She KNOWS about heartbreak.  She KNOWS about asking God tough questions.  No matter our circumstances, it can still be WELL.  It's isn't always well with our circumstances, but it IS WELL with my soul.  Life CAN be hard and we can be broken hearted, but it is STILL well.  God doesn't always change our circumstances.  Cancer still may take someone we love (or we may have to fight it ourselves), we may lose a job,  we may feel like we can't keep our heads above water in regards to finances, we may feel abandoned by someone we love, our children may make wrong decisions.....the list goes on.  It is STILL well.  Just because God doesn't change our circumstances, doesn't mean he doesn't love us.  What happens is the change that He makes in us.  Deeper contentment can come in the face of trials and heartache.  We have to learn to embrace the difficulty because that is where we find God the closest to us.  It's where our needs and brokenness are exposed.  I can't be the mom, wife (or any of the other roles in my life) without falling into the arms of a God that offers abundant grace.  My circumstances may not be well, but I AM WELL because I have Christ to meet me RIGHT where I am.  He doesn't love me any less when I mess up and doesn't love me any more when I do something that is pleasing.  His love is unconditional and knows no bounds. 

Another beautiful point that Jennifer made was pointing out the words REST and RESIST.   If we want to REST in God's arms we HAVE to take the "I" out and stop resisting Him.  When I take myself out of the picture and let him take over, THAT is when TRUE healing comes.  That is where PURE contentment comes in.  God CAN change our circumstances and He can provide miracles, but sometimes he chooses to have us just REST in Him.  I always love hearing the statement that "sometimes he calms the storms and other times He calms His child".  How very true is that!  Paul asked for God to take away his burdens, but yet God told him that "my grace is sufficient".  Liberty comes from taking the "I" out of resist and resting in the peace, stability, and loyalty of God.  I should never settle for less. 

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