Welcome----to those of you that are visiting "just" a mom---refined by grace for the first time! If you've found my blog from MomsToolbox, you are probably here checking out things for B90.
First off, let me introduce myself!
My name is Tracye. I'm in my upper 30s (yikes!). I live in central IL, but I'm a southern girl through and through (and you will probably recognize that even if you can't hear my accent!). I'm a SAHM of 3 (14, 10, 5). We are in our 10th year of homeschooling (even though I only committed for one year). I'm PASSIONATE about marriage and celebrating the kind of relationship God intended. Married for 16 years to a man that I cherish. It has been a rocky road, but we are finally connected in ways I never dreamed possible. This is WAY better than the honeymoon phase---this is the tried-and-true and still madly in love stage! I'm very active in volunteering at our church. My kids say that if you need me I'm in one of two places....home or the kids department. They are right! I love babies. I love to blog, read, scrapbook, all things crafty and frugal living. I'm sappy and romantic. I'm emotional and sentimental. That's me.
I'm not a professional blogger. I'm "just" a mom. Yet, reaching out to women and touching their hearts for God IS my passion and it IS my ministry at this point in life.
The most important thing about me is that I'm a daughter of The King. Nothing matters more to me than my one on one relationship with Christ. It's not about religion. It's relationship.
My B90 story/history:
B90 was a catalyst of a heart change like I've never known was possible.
I was raised in church from birth. I was a "good" girl----never really strayed far from my beliefs. Granted, I mess up on a daily basis and fall short many times....but I never went "wild" so to speak. Yet, I carried around a convicting secret. I had never read the Bible cover to cover. It bothered me. I had tried but failed countless times. I spent time in God's word on a very regular basis, but I had never completely read the word. I was ashamed. Convicted.
I joined in with MomsToolbox four sessions ago and committed to doing it. I made it! I stuck with it. In the beginning, I read to just check it off the list. I just wanted to do it to get it done. I wanted the guilt I felt gone. That is the way I approached it. Something else happened. During that time, I began to have a thirst and hunger that was only satisfied when I dug in. A switch took place in my heart. Instead of reading to get it done and off my list, I began to read because it connecting me to God in ways I had never truly experienced. It changed me and God poured out blessing after blessing.
I was so changed that I wasn't satisfied during the weeks that followed....I was ready to do it again. I wanted to see what God would show me in another "round". Just reading a few verses or passages during my study time didn't seem to give me that same connection. I decided to join in again. Just a few days after making that commitment, my life took a drastic turn I wasn't expecting in the very least. My dad, who was healthy and rock solid, was suddenly very sick. He was diagnosed a few days later with stage 4 cancer and walked home with Jesus just a short (and extremely long at the same time) five weeks later. The rug was pulled out from under me like never before. Being that his earthly battle ended on Christmas and we spent our holidays saying goodbye, my world turned upside down. I had every excuse to back out. My faith was shaken. My doubts were huge. My heart was shredded. Yet, that longing was so strong. I completed the journey again. Though I'm currently struggling with this being the 1 year "anniversary" of so much loss and so many struggles, I can honestly say that B90 was the greatest tool in my emotional well being. Scripture came alive to me in ways I didn't know possible. Verses popped off the pages like never before. It was amazing the things that "spoke" to me that I missed the first time. Despite incredible heartache, I was so overflowing with joy and peace. Being that deep in God's word made that possible.
The changes I experienced in my own heart and the desire I wanted for others to experience lead me to mentor a group this last session. (Shout out to group 62----you ladies still warm my heart! I think of you and pray for you often! You blessed my heart in such tremendous ways!) I had the option of mentoring or mentoring and reading. I chose to read along because I didn't feel comfortable encouraging others to do what I wasn't willing to do! I without a doubt am so grateful for that time! Again, God's word opened like never before and His blessings were tremendous.
What can you expect from me?
IF you commit to reading along with us, I am committing myself to you. I will be praying for you BY name. I still carry around the names of those in my group last sessions on index cards. I often still stop and pray for each of those ladies.
I will be reading with you. I'll be facing the same struggles and distractions.
I will be emailing you at least once a week. My role is to encourage you. I will not be interpreting scripture or explaining it. If you have questions, and you will, those will need to be directed to your pastor or come from your own deeper study.
You can expect confidentiality. If you post a comment on the blog or email the group, that is obviously public. If you email me directly, it stays between the two of us. That was very important to me last session. Many times we shared things as a group, but many other times there were private conversations and prayer requests.
You can expect me to be your personal cheerleader! I want to see you succeed. I want you to experience the fullness of what God has in store for you. However, I'm not going to be beating you over the head if you don't make it. I will celebrate with you no matter how long it takes or how far you get! God will reward ALL of your effort!
I will be posting links and encouraging notes to help you along the way.
What YOU need to do:
Your main commitment is to READ. It takes the average person 45 minutes to an hour a day to complete the assignment. It may vary from that depending on how fast you read and how many distractions you have (which you will have many!). You must read; listening doesn't count! You may use any translation you wish. I will provide a link to a bookmark that you can print that lists what each day's requirement is and I will also post the reading schedule. This is a FAST pace reading. It isn't deep study. When you have questions, which you WILL, you will just make a note of it and come back to it when you have extra time or after the session is finished. I'm always amazed at the notes and highlights I make each session!
You MUST check-in every Monday. This is for accountability. You will simply post a comment on each check in post just letting us know if you are on track, behind, need extra support, etc... You can also email directly is you are a "quiet" one. That's OK, too!!! You can obviously post what you are learning and what God is showing you, but that is optional. You can encourage others in the group and pick up encouragement from them as well. The main thing is: you MUST check in in some form.
When and How!
To join in, simply reply to this post and let us know you are joining. BE SURE TO LEAVE AN EMAIL contact. That is the only way I can contact you directly with emails of encouragement and follow ups. I will send out an introductory email so you will have a way to contact me as well. Once you comment, I will get you added to our group.
When: This session will begin January 2nd, 2012 and will be complete at the end of March. I will be honest and admit that this starting date is a VERY busy one for me. I have so much going on those first three weeks of January. Yet, I want to start the year off right. I want my focus to be in the right place. I want my priorities to be in the right order. I know some of you feel the same way! I asked several friends that were interested in starting their opinion on start dates and they mostly agreed that the first of January would be the best for them. They also NEED the year started off in a positive way.
I hope you will join us. I can't wait to see how God blesses each of you. I can't wait to meet you. I can't wait to start praying for you by name. I'm already praying for you now. I'm like a horse at the starting gate of a big race. I can hardly sit still. I can hardly wait to see what God does in each of you. I can't wait to see how God changes me and what I learn this time around. I'm excited. I know it's going to be a hard journey at times (we are all pulled in so many directions, Satan will try to distract), but with the encouragement of each other....we can do this! We can do it together. Won't you join us?