When my kids were little, I was a “Mean Mom” when it came to helium-filled balloons.
I hated them. Hated. them.
I cringed each time a store cashier or restaurant hostess offered us one of those bright red or blue “gifts.” I would quickly decline and get my kids out of there before they realized the supposed joy they missed on the other end of that ribbon.
Now, I didn’t have anything against balloons in general. Not at all. It was the inevitable my-balloon-is-gone-forever-tantrum that I disliked.
The story of a helium-filled balloon basically has three possible endings with the exact same outcome:
- It will pop and be gone forever. Tantrum.
- It will float away and be gone forever. Tantrum.
- It will slowly lose air until it ekes out an existence a few inches above the floor, possibly floating there for days, until Mean Mom is tired of looking at it and puts it in the trash. Tantrum.
My Floating Life
For awhile now, my life as been a lot like that third possibility (minus the trash can and tantrum). I’ve been keeping afloat, but not really soaring. This especially has been true of my spiritual growth and my homemaking efforts.
Somewhere along the line, I lost my heart for the home. A disconnect began erupting between what I believe and what I live. The result has been clutter piled up where it doesn’t belong, dust and dirt accumulating here and there, and things like frugal grocery shopping and cooking becoming a drudgery.
My spiritual life hasn’t exactly been soaring, either. For a very long time I’ve desired to grow spiritually, but I’ve not been able to move past the feeling of floating along. Sure, I’ve remained faithful with my quiet times and have been blessed by them, but that doesn’t necessarily equal growth.
A Gracious God and Painful Grace
Just like I can’t stand to look at a half-shriveled balloon hovering above the floor, God won’t stand for half-hearted followers of Him floating through life. But, thankfully, He doesn’t trash us; He tests us.
For a long season, God has been testing and refining me. He has been showing me grace through pain. He’s been emptying me and stripping me of everything I though I could hold onto, everything except Himself.
I’m just now seeing the pieces of this messy life forming a picture of God’s sovereign will for me. In the middle of the distractions that kept me from properly caring for my home and the discouragement that kept me from growing spiritually, God was crafting the trials and opening the doors that would draw me closer to Him.
God’s Perfect Plan
Several months ago, my very dear friend Leigh Ann asked if I’d like to join her at the True Woman Conference. I said a quick “yes” because I wanted to look at my far-away friend up close. I couldn’t wait to have some face-to-face conversations with her!
God had so much more planned for that weekend than face-time with a good friend.
By the time the conference rolled around, my life was absolutely falling apart. The thought of leaving home for a few days scared the daylights out of me.
What if life at home goes to pieces without me there holding everything together?
What if I just can’t take being around other people constantly?
What if I’m so overwhelmed by anxiety that I’m sick the whole time?
As I left the house, I told my husband, “I think I might die before this whole thing is over.” Those were my exact words and exactly what I was feeling at that moment.
Well, I didn’t die and nothing fell to pieces. As a matter of fact, God actually began putting me back together.
Something happened to me while I was there soaking up the Biblical teaching. I wish I could put it into words, but they just won’t come yet. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I do know that it was more than the words that were said; it was the lives that were lived. I saw beautiful, godly women breathing out the Word of God. It wasn’t just something they pulled out during their “quiet time”; it was something that was intertwined with every part of their lives.
And as I heard their words and listened to their stories, I began to see God’s purpose in my pain and trials. When I heard them talk repeatedly about the “steadfast love of God,” I understood why He had led me to so many verses about that very thing over the previous weeks. When they spoke of grace and redemption, I recognized my need for both.
At the end of the conference, a question began to haunt me: “Now what?”
I feared riding a spiritual high for a couple of days and then crashing back down to real life. I didn’t want to have summer-camp-syndrome. You know, where you’re on fire for God in the emotion of the moment, but it’s same-old, same-old once you get back home.
Well, God has helped me avoid that by continuing to bring the heat and show me my deficiencies. He’s also been showing me Himself in mighty ways.
God has graciously forced me to apply many of the lessons I learned at True Woman. And now, my prayers are different, my Bible reading is different, my thought life is different.
I’m no longer floating a few inches off the floor. Still, I want more!
I’ve been feeling my heart being tugged back to a true commitment to my home. I am realizing my selfish, sinful heart attitudes that have kept me from fulfilling my calling.
I also have a deep desire to grow in Christ. It’s a desire so intense that it almost hurts. I can’t even describe it. I want a revival in my heart and in my home, and it’s all I can think about.
Because of this, I’m going to be taking an intentional break from blogging. If I really believe in the mission of Gospel Homemaking, then I need to set aside time for this revival to take place. I need to cut out the distractions so I can focus on the gospel and God’s plan for my life and home.
I want this time to be purposeful. For the next few weeks, I’m going to serve my family with my whole heart. I’m going to read good books and study my Bible. I’m going to pray. A lot.
I’m also going to listen to podcasts and Biblical teaching. I can’t get enough of the Revive Our Hearts radio broadcasts, and I just ordered the recording of all the True Woman ’14 sessions (you can watch and listen to some of them for free HERE). My housecleaning time will be spent growing in my love for God by hearing His Word taught. I’m so excited!
I appreciate your prayers and patience as I submit myself to the Lord during this season. I am praying for a revival in my heart, and I trust God to do His work in me.
If you want to know when I’m back to regular blogging, you can subscribe to my newsletter for any updates. I can’t wait to experience the growth that can only come by the grace of God and then return here to share my heart with you!