Sunday, October 31, 2010

Feeding our souls

The Monday before I attended the Relevant conference I found out through reading Sally Clarkson's blog that she was going to be in New York City giving a free talk. The group had trouble finding a venue, so they ended up meeting at some one's apartment in the city. I was so excited to hear Sally. Her book, Educating the Whole Hearted Child was instrumental when I started home schooling my oldest daughter "back in the old home schooling days" of 1998. Back then, we didn't have the Internet, and when I found this gem of a book, I knew it was the way I wanted to home school my daughter. I was thrilled to find a kindred spirit in the home schooling world. I wanted to educate my child's heart: and Sally got that.
Fast forward to 2010. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to be with "THE" Sally Clarkson and listen to her minister and encourage a room full of mothers. One of the reasons I even went to Relevant was to see her and hear her speak.
A friend and I went into the city together to to Kristen's darling apartment where Sally was hosted. I was so impressed with how Kristen created a home for her four children in a small, 2 bedroom place. It was so welcoming and cozy. After meeting Kristen, I knew that we would be instant friends.
There were about 20 women there. Sally sat with us in a circle and made us laugh. She also shared wisdom and stories with us. I came away from the meeting refreshed and refocused. We mamas need that. I was so blessed to be able to attend.

One of the things I came away with from Sally's talk is that we, as mamas, need to be feeding our souls. If our souls and spirits and bodies are depleted, then what are we to share with our children? How do we pass that on to them? How do we give them a life-giving home?
"Start growing." she said. "For your children."

Kristen shared on her blog some ways she does this. I loved this:

"...what I am learning in these busy hours that weave into days and weeks around me, is that I must stop. I must find some place to be still and to follow opportunities to quiet places. Early morning walks in the first glow of sun, tea and candlelight waiting after prayers are said and kisses are smooched onto foreheads; an hour here or there to spend with pens and crisp new paper, spilling out my thoughts and prayers; these places of calm are essential to remaining the woman I want to be.
I have been waiting for these moments to come upon me, expecting them to appear and then take hold of them, but I am also learning that I have to build them in to the foundations of this life our family is making. I have to create time set apart to be filled with the Word of the Scriptures, to confess my own depravity, to seek grace in quiet places so that I can cultivate grace in the busy ones."

What I need right now, in this busy season of life, with five children and a busy schedule, is not more books or formulas to tell me what I need to be doing with my children. What I "should" be teaching them, talking to them about, reading with them... (although they do have their place...)
I need a mother...years ahead of encourage me, walk with me, talk with me and tell me to take care of myself, for my children's sake.
I need organic solutions to my "parenting challenges".
I need someone to point me to Christ. To continually challenge me to go to Him for answers, not Google. =)

I take care of myself, my children are nourished, and my home-life is nourished.

“And there are my children! My darling, precious children! For their sakes I am continually constrained to seek after an amended, a sanctified life; what I want them to become I must become myself.”~Elizabeth Prentiss


Jenny said...

Thank you for these very timely thoughts. I too have recently spent some time with Sally. My time came in reading her book Seasons of a Mother's Heart while we were camping. I absolutely agree that I need an encouraging mother to gently guide me and offer "organic solutions" to parenting challenges. So, I'll take what I can get right now in the form of book or blog.

dmoms said...

I get this. I have not found this type of person in my own life. Maybe this is why we do seek it out elsewhere - like the internet.

Kim Hyland said...

This really speaks to me today, Andrea. I have been sitting here catching up on blogs and ladies I met at Relevant but haven't taken the time to visit since the conference a week ago. There is much "screaming" for my attention, but my soul knows its needs . . words, both mine and those of other like minded hearts. They're soaking in and strengthening me for the walk. Thank you, friend. You're a kindred spirit. XO

Anonymous said...

Amen, Andrea. I look forward to building some of this time into my own schedule soon.

Aimee said...

this was an excellent post. "organic solutions"...yes! love, love that.

Kristen said...

I was sooo blessed that you could come and be a part of this night! I just got pictures from a friend who took photos (my camera died... of course!) so I am going to post them soon. I am thinking through how to feed my own soul and heart in the midst of this journey, I think its going to be a process for me of how to make it my new norm. But its worth fighting for...cheering for you in this as well! (and I am *so* glad we are friends)

Children of Eve said...

"Start growing." "For your children."
I love this. If we are stagnant we have nothing to give them.