Changes: Following God’s Lead

I’m thankful that when change is on the horizon, God prepares my heart in advance.  God made me.  He wired me.  And He knows that I do best with a little warning!  I don’t always have the details, but by the time they roll around, I know to expect them!

For the past 6 months I have been watching and waiting, and our family is entering a whole season of changes.

~I am stepping down as the lead of Women’s Ministry in our church.  It has been an amazing two years.  God has used this experience to stretch me beyond what I would ever have dreamed.  I never thought I could learn so much in so little time!  What a privilege it has been to get to better know the women who have attended, to be allowed to hear their challenges, needs, and praises.  Praying with them, I have learned so much about their hearts and I appreciate each one of them so much.

For myself, I think it’s time for a good pruning, and a season of rest before the new fruit comes.  I’m praying for God’s will.  His ministry, His way, whatever and whenever that may be. 🙂

~God is growing our family once again.  My husband and I began our marriage thinking we were planning our family size!  By and by, God clearly showed us that he wants us to trust Him with that.  It’s a humbling thing, giving up control over something you’ve always been told that you have a right to control.  The miscarriages were particularly difficult.  It would have been easier to simply say, “We’re done,” but we would have missed out on so many blessings!!

18 weeks baby 9

Nearly every day of the first 4 months of this pregnancy, I had spotting.  It was my first clue that I was pregnant.  I have had to stay off my feet as much as possible.  It was hard, giving up the daily exercise!  As it turns out, a low placenta was the culprit, but as the uterus expands the placenta moves up, and so this month the bleeding has stopped.  I rejoice!

God has really used this time to take the idea of living with open hands to a whole new level.  “Whatever you want, God,” has become my daily confession.  I don’t always understand, but I know I need to be available for His will, His way.

~Letting Go… of what?  Oh, many things.  This idea of open hands is extending to so many areas of my life, but mostly I am realizing that there are dreams and expectations that I never completely let go.  If and when I feel discontentment, that is often the root, but lately it’s the approaching summer that is setting me astir.

I grew up with summers being full of travel and family time.  I always wanted to do that with our kids, but it would have been just me since dad’s job and ministry is full time in the summer… long days and weeks.  When my “big kids” were little, we spent many summers sick and a lot of expectations went out the window.  Now that they are older and we are healthier, is it any wonder that they want to be volunteering at camp with their dad?

We’re working hard to finish out our home-school year strong.  Big kids are preparing to be gone much of the summer at camp.  I’ve been hitting up garage sales and thrift shops to fill the gaps in their wardrobe so they’ll be ready to go.  When it is 90 degrees, they need enough shorts that fit, and it’s amazing how we wear out socks!

I am preparing for a continuing education class.  When I get home, all the big people will be at camp staff training.  I will be shifting my attention to the “littles”.  I’d really like this summer to be one of fun memory making with them before the baby comes.  Praying my body cooperates, so we can make some field trips.  They’ve asked to visit Lego Land at the Mall of America.  There are play stations set up and it doesn’t cost anything.  We can bring picnic lunches and just have a slow day.  They’ve also asked to visit the zoo, participate in library days, swim at the lake (we’re surrounded by State Parks that all have lakes and trails), etc.

So, now what?

~I hope to continue writing here on growinggraceful.com as God blesses and time allows.  However, summer is going to be a slower time here on the blog, and when the baby comes???  This past week I had to just let things go… family needs take precedence.  When I return from my trip, I want to finish our study on Galations, but then I will be putting the “Praying God’s Will” series on hold for the summer.

~I have a whole house full of little women (and little men) to continue homeschooling. 🙂  I’m currently praying about and looking into the details of what we want to study next year.  I’ll have one in Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 10th, and 11th grade.  One has graduated and will be in her second year at the Community College to earn her AA.

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{The majority of our homeschool curriculum, minus Math-U-See, resides on this basement bookcase.  Almost time to put back this year’s work and organize the upstairs school shelf with books for the new year.  It’s really time to go through and get rid of the least favorite items that will never be used again.}

~I am continuing to pray and prepare for this new baby.  My prayer?  That he or she will be healthy and whole, have a heart for the Lord, and a hunger to pursue Him always.

On the practical side, there is much to sort, organize and purge before the October due date.  There are also some little projects around the house that once completed, will make 11 bodies in the same house more comfortable.  As God provides, we’ll keep working on them… after summer youth camps.

~Personal Growth.  We’re never done.  A friend of mine recently said to me, “Linda, not everyone wants to go that deep.”  I know.  But I’ve done the surface thing, and I want—no, I need more.  I invite you to go deeper, too.

The theme God is placing on my heart for this season? Holiness.  I’m praying for it.  I’m asking God to change my heart.

I plan to go through Ann Voskamp’s study, “The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life” this summer, including the study guide and video.  I deeply appreciated her book, “One Thousand Gifts,” which was a prelude to this study.

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I’m looking forward to all God has in store.  The rest, the growth, the fun, and yes, even the change.

How do you handle change?

What do summers mean to you?

What are you doing to encourage spiritual and emotional growth in your life?

3 thoughts on “Changes: Following God’s Lead

  1. Stephanie

    Congratulations Linda! Wow you have a lot on your plate :O

    This post is so touching. I love how you view the different seasons in life and particularly this part:
    “God has really used this time to take the idea of living with open hands to a whole new level. “Whatever you want, God,” has become my daily confession. I don’t always understand, but I know I need to be available for His will, His way.”

    That is so good! I feel I need to do that more – to let God know that I am surrendering to His will and His way.

    “I am realizing that there are dreams and expectations that I never completely let go. If and when I feel discontentment, that is often the root, but lately it’s the approaching summer that is setting me astir.”

    ^This is again, so good and true. It’s sad to me that old dreams or expectations that haven’t (and may never) come to fruition are painful – that discontentment when we realize we didn’t get our way is hard! I know we can grow through it and become better people, and learn how to be content no matter our circumstances, but I still find it hard to “let go” of things.

    And I think I kind of understand about your summers. While it’s such a beautiful chance to minister to others through y’all’s camp, it’s not what you had dreamed of having that time to do family things and travel, etc.

    With my husband’s job, he really can’t do much with us in the summer either. He does things on his off days, but most of the week he’s just not able to really be a part of our Summer vacation which is sometimes still sad to me. I mean I think I’ve accepted it, because it’s been a few years of living like this with his schedule, but sometimes it does catch me off guard with tiny pricks of wishing it wasn’t this way. He still does save up at least one week vacation with us during the Summer, but again, it’s just not like I imagined that I’d be mostly doing stuff with the kids always alone.

    That said… we do try to have fun and just soak up the time together – me and the kids. And when he’s with us, he’s 100% with us having fun, so I’m grateful that he’s that invested as a father (and such a good father!) and that they ALWAYS want to be with him.

    I’ll be praying for you, Linda! Pregnancies can be so difficult, I hope you have a easy one with lots of relaxation and peace. And thank you for sharing your thoughts here, it’s so nice to have met you online – your blog is so encouraging and inspiring to me in who I want to be.

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    1. Linda

      Thank you so much for the prayers! I deeply appreciate it. It’s been wonderful getting to know you too. 🙂 I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer.

      Our family re-groups at the end of the summer. We pack up the camper and go away for a week or more. We stay at State Parks and reconnect, explore, and just have fun. It’s something we all look forward to!

      It sounds like you are blessed with a wonderful, Godly husband. 🙂 Looking forward to your summer updates.

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  2. lynnabbottstudios

    Wow, Linda! You have so much on your plate right now! You will be much in my prayers: for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, for a healthy little one, for God’s direction and wisdom in all that you do and for His blessings for your entire family! Don’t worry about the blog. Update us when you can. And know that we’ll be here whenever you post. God bless you in this new season! Love and hugs! ~Lynn

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