Step Back- To Find the Way to Move Forward

It is hard to believe the holiday season is here.  Time marches on.  School started and I welcomed it with open arms.  While I relish the lazier days of summer, opportunity to step away from the schedules, I am always ready for back to school. Ready for the new schedules.  Ready for structure.  The structure and the schedules can fill up, and if not careful, the schedules crowd out everything else.

I found myself there a few weeks back.  Not just there, but feeling overwhelmed.  Then a small health issue and time was not enough.  The instinct for most of us it to push through.  I tell myself to give a little more, wake up a little earlier, go to bed a little later, skip lunch, say no to the home parties/social events.  No one wins in that.  Fatigue, frustration, loss of focus-that is all to be gained.

The only way to move forward is to take a step back.  It’s the counter-intuitive thing to do.  I step back.  I block off some time each day for a few weeks.  I have to stop.  It is not until I stop I can see what has consumed the time, the days.  It is not until I stop I can assess the time and the activities, knowing if the pieces fit or are indeed too much.  Those moments are for figuring out what is real, what is clutter.  Those moments are for taking time to go back to my true loves-making the time for that reminds me who I am, the life I have, and how to move forward becomes clear.

I talk about “white space” a lot when I talk about managing time.  White space gives me opportunity to breathe, to take in life, but they also give me opportunity for the unexpected.  When life becomes overwhelming, the plates can’t all be juggled and kept spinning the white spaces become the moments of clarity.  The white spaces are on my calendar and in the schedule I keep.  But spiritually, the white space is when I am still-the moments I quit telling God and instead I release it all and wait for Him.

BeStill

Step back in a moment of nothingness to be still, to find the way to move forward.

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Cup of Fresh Brewed Coffee and Main Things Remain the Same

My day of planning on the 31st went well.  As mentioned in Monday’s post.  I have been fairly purposeful about my calendar and project notebook, so I spent the time I had looking back through my journal.  I keep a daily journal.  Well, there are a few days missing.  For over 20 years I have held a morning quiet time.  For me, it is a spiritual discipline.  I love to sit with a fresh brewed cup of coffee, my Bible, journal and a devotional (or two).  My husband sits in a nearby chair, practicing the same discipline.  We don’t talk.  We dwell in the peacefulness of a morning not yet disturbed.  We dwell in the beauty of day not yet spoiled by our own sin nature.  The sun slowly rises and with it the robin sings and nature begins to stir.  In those moments our minds are clear.  What truly matters seems to rise to the forefront of our thoughts.  My husband ponders.  I write. Often the words I write bring clarity to my mind.  They determine the course of my day, or the next step in a decision to be made.  I often look back upon these words, amazed that I penned them.  Often it is evident, the Spirit has spoken.  Often the words penned are quotes from the devotional I am reading or a verse that hits me with a fresh perspective or new conviction.  When I take time to look back upon my journal I can see clearly the tapestry He has woven. What may have seemed chaos at the time, comes into focus and makes sense in hind-sight.

As I enter this period of raising teens, this Second Season, realizing my role is changing and my time to instill in them is quickly passing, I long even more for my actions and decisions to be purposeful.  I want my decisions to reflect my priorities, to reflect who I am, to reflect my convictions.  I want my decisions to have impact.  As I read through my journal words confirmed.  I am attempting to work a real estate business and organizing business part-time, but my main role is still at home.  Our home is our ministry tool.  Our home is my daughters’ safe haven, their soft place to land during these pubescent years.  I am now homeschooling one. The decision to do so based upon frustration with both public and private educational systems that struggle to see the capacity of children with learning disabilities, especially those who just need a little boost, a little accommodation.  The decision to do so based upon a need for my relationship with her to be more than one of tutor and task master.  The decision based upon a child who was losing hope.  My job is to protect her heart, but more importantly to teach her to fly.  I am blessed that in this time, I can do this.  It is a privilege and one I will not and dare not take lightly.  In addition, I am still meeting weekly with dear friends who know a ministry vision God has placed on my heart.  It’s been burning in me for years, but the time is not yet.  It’s not easy for someone like me to wait, but I am learning.  Words penned in the early morning hours in faithful discipline remind me to wait.

The main things remain the same.  Over a fresh brewed cup of coffee in the early morn, it is clear.

P.S.  I am currently reading “Visioneering” by Andy Stanley.  Life altering.  I highly recommend it.  If you want something challenging related to being a mom, I recommend the following:  The Passionate Mom, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Disciplines of a Godly Woman or The Gentle Ways of a Beautiful Woman.

I also challenge you to join me in praying for three simple things.  I have prayed weekly for these the past six months.  They are simple, but alter my mindset.  I pray weekly for Provision Not Prosperity; Peace not Panic; Gratitude not Grumbling.

Focus

Focus.

I read this post last week, but it struck a chord today.  I had a Second Season Mom moment.  One of those days when the needs around me seemed too much.  It’s easy-easy to lose focus or to let the negative self talk begin.  I realized though if I became overwhelmed, let what seemed the impossible, get me down, my daughter would soon lose hope.  This is especially true considering she has learning disabilities and school is hard, friendships can be hard.

I am thankful today I have taken time to be organized, plan, and develop systems.  Today I am reminded once again the why of being organized.  It is not an accomplishment, it is to have time to deal with life, the people in our lives.

I am thankful for the encouragement of these blogs, the words, the discipline.

School Happens

I promised pictures Monday of our “pansy” mania.  Well, we did it.  Several trips to a couple of our favorite roadside pumpkin stands and nurseries.  It was hot.  It was humid, but we persisted.  Unfortunately, in the midst of our “happy pansy frenzy”, school happened.  Another struggle for this SecondSeasonMom.  On top of that it got cloudy and foggy.  The pictures didn’t happen.  And while at first I felt guilty, I realized the whole point of doing this blog was to share my journey, to become more self-aware.  The point was to journey towards clarifying my purpose during this season.  Well, no greater purpose has this mom than to care for her family and to advocate for her children.  So the guilt was set aside.  (It turned out great, and I promise pictures before week’s end.)

I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a daughter with ADD and a learning disability.  Nothing compared to the autism spectrum issues or health issues many of my friends and family face with their children and the educational system.  Yet, it is still enough to take up large portions of our time and crumble both her and my self-esteem.  We had studied diligently and had worked for hours filling out reading guides, note guides, chapter summaries etc… More work than was ever required of me, even in college!  But in the end, she did it.  We quizzed orally, over and over.  We quizzed in the car, in the yard, at breakfast, after dinner…  Unfortunately to no avail.  How can a child know so much, have so much passion for life, so much compassion for others and miss the mark on tests?  I hit the wall.  The frustration of 5 years in public, 4 years in a private school that prides itself on helping students with learning disabilities in the least restrictive environment (for additional tuition), speech/audiology therapy, tutoring and, hours of personal blood, sweat and tears.  It seemed there should be something more.  It seemed it shouldn’t be so frustrating for her. As I looked over questions, talked to her twin sister about the tests, I couldn’t help but wonder.  Has education become about trying to show how much content we can throw at kids?  Does anyone care whether or not these kids are really learning?  Is it enough to memorize facts?  In my book, yes, it is in some subjects.  Should the test be confusing or should it ask straight up questions to see if you know the memorized facts?  I think the latter.  I could go on and on.  Four years as an elected school board member and piles of educational reviews, medical reviews etc… fill my brain, hard drive, and file cabinet.  But, that is not the point.  I’d like to champion the cause for all kids, but in this moment, in this season I need to raise the spirits of God’s precious child, uniquely and wonderfully made in His image.  I have no doubt, like so many others with learning disabilities, she is destined for greatness.  She may not graduate with honors and a semester worth of college credits.  She may not get an academic scholarship.  But, this I know.  This daughter of mine knows the deep sting of disappointment, rejection of friends, words spoken in frustration by tired teachers and a tired mom.  This daughter of mine knows how to keep going, to overcome obstacles.  This daughter of mine knows God’s word and knows her Savior personally.  This daughter of mine is incredibly gifted at teaching God’s word and praying heartfelt prayers for those in need.  This daughter of mine sees God’s beauty in the smallest of places at the most unlikely times.  This daughter of mine never utters a berating word towards a friend or another child.  This daughter of mine is the first to welcome the “different” student.  This daughter of mine is incredible.  Together this daughter and I will figure this out.

So, today this SecondSeasonMom apologizes for pictures not taken and posted.  I’m going to smile as I pass all those pansies and pumpkins in the yard on the way to pick up my precious cargo.