Oct 26, 2010

The Relevant Experience

When I first learned about The Relevant Conference, I was excited to be able to attend a conference that would teach me more about blogging.  But what I received was a conference that taught me more about myself. I hope you don't mind if I spend a few days reflecting on all the Lord has whispered in my ear.

I have struggled for many years with our bedtime routine with our two youngest girls.  It seems when this time of the day hits I am totally spent, but the girls are ready for my quality time.  As you can imagine, these two ideas collide and it hasn't been pretty.  I've always tried to write it off as their way of delaying bedtime, but I now realize that this way of thinking was out of my selfish desire to return to the couch, my computer, or a television show before the commercial ends.  Seeing it in print awakens the guilt even stronger.

This is what made Relevant so different.  We went expecting information about blogging, but the speaker's focus was about taking care of our family first, honoring our God and yielding to his lead. 

My conviction came through speaker and author Sally Clarkson, who reminded me that ONLY I can be wife to my husband and mom to my three girls.  No one on earth was chosen by God for these two purposes.  My first responsibility is to them.  

My 10 year old has the love language of quality time.  I have neglected her in this area.  She always wants to spend time with me before bed, and the ugly truth is that many times, more than I want to count, I have shut her down.  I have raced out of her room to return to whatever I was doing before bedtime.  I have failed her.  I have missed out on countless opportunities to connect with her in the quiet of bedtime.....to answer her questions, to be available to listen, to pray more intently with her.  Lord please forgive me.

My 8 year old has the love language of physical touch.  She is a snuggler.  When she was a toddler we spent hours on the couch in a pile watching her favorite Blues Clues or Dora.  She still craves that time on my lap, snuggled under a blanket, pressed in tight against me.  If we haven't had the time all day, she wants it at bedtime.  She begs me to crawl into bed with her for snuggle time.  I have failed her.  I have raced through hugs, kisses and prayers to return to my to-do list.  I've missed out on moments that can never be recaptured.  Lord please forgive me.

My 20 year old is in college, but thankfully only an hour away.  She accepted Christ and was baptized at about 10 years old,  and I am so very thankful.  But right now, she is not walking with the Lord.  The pain in this mother's heart is deep, along with the guilt.  My walk with Christ was not nearly as strong when she was in grade school.  We went to church and participated, but I was not modeling a daily walk for her that I should have been.  I did not spend intentional time with her to teach and to cultivate her relationship with Jesus.  Now she feels He is distant, quiet and unreachable.  I pray for her constantly to find Him once again, to make him her Lord, to relinquish all the world is trying to tell her.  I grieve for how I have failed her.  Lord please forgive me.

Many who asked about my journey to this conference were skeptical, confused, and humored.  But I knew, He knew, that much would be accomplished there.  He had heart work to do, among new friends, admired friends, and sisters in Christ.  I am so forever grateful for His voice that penetrates my soul.  I pray I will continue to listen, and obey.


The Cottage Chick said...

I loved meeting you at Relevant. You are a lovely woman and gave me much encouragement. This is a great post and one we can all relate with. God bless you my new sister!


Skip'sMKGirl said...

I'm so blessed to have had a few moments with you in the (in)Courage lounge at Relevant. I am still pondering these things in my heart. Praying for you, and with you, Tammy.

Ashley Pichea said...

I've discovered that my "worst Mommy time" is the time between naps and bedtime too... I have a hard time transitioning between "my time" during naps back into Mommy mode. I've decided to try experimenting with my schedule, intentionally spending time with my kids during this "worst time" of the day. I'm praying it will change my attitude and their behavioral issues that seem to come up during this time of the day.

So good to have meet you at Relevant - God truly blessed us all!

Dawn said...

I too, am guilty of surrendering my kids at the altar of what ever I want to do. I'm still processing everything that God spoke to me this past weekend too. And re-organizing my priorities. So glad that I was able to meet you there.

traci said...

Cherie! ((HUG!)) The Lord has blessed me by introducing you to me. The memories I have of our encounters are so precious and when I think of them, I pray for you and yours.
May this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship that pleases the Lord. I can hardly wait for our next meeting sweet friend!

In Christ Alone,

Thoughts for the day said...

This is really beautiful.
When we realize something it is a soft whisper of the Lord for us to 'place it' close to our hearts and let it become our new challenge. Time passes by so quickly and they grow so fast and it really isn't a great effort for us to 'spend' time cuddling or reading or just listening in the quiet of the night.
I challenge you to prayerfully let this be something new for you to press into and allow the night time to be a bonding time. You won't ever regret it and with the older one, you can write her notes or call her or just pray intensely and let her know you are doing that.
Little 'love boxes' in the mail are wonderful.
Just another way of saying, 'I am thinking of you and want you to know it.' Hopefully you will find these as words of encouragement from an older mom and grandma. Blessings to you as you seek the Lord in all your days.

Mandy said...

So blessed to call you friend, and to now be able to say I've "met" you as well! :) Oh how my mother's heart was stirred this weekend, and I can identify with your feelings of failure! I pray the Lord uses us and works far greater than we could in our homes and our families! Praying for you, dear friend!!

Marci said...

Bedtime is the worst for me too. My kids finally wind down and just want to be with me and I just want to go to bed, get online, read a book, clean the kitchen... Each night since Relevant,I have spent special time with each child at bedtime. It's taken longer but somehow I haven't minded too much :)

It was a blessing to travel with you to Relevant and we were right. It was a "Christian Womens Conference"! LOL!!

Cindy in PA said...

I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts about the Relevant conference. And isn't it a beautiful gift that each time you wrote, "Lord please forgive me," He has forgiven you. Be kind to yourself sweet sister.

Sistergirl said...

I really wanted to attend the conference but didn't have the opportunity but thanks for sharing what God spoke to you about quality time.

I think if were are not careful with our time the technology can steal time away from our children.

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Oh sweetie- I know the feeling of mommy guilt so well! I too have been much more intentional with my children; even though it means it is harder and more draining to engage them when all they want to do is watch TV or play video games (something that is totally MY fault for allowing them to do that so much in the first place)

Praying for patience and renewed relationships with my husband and my kiddos.

Now if I could just stop missing the beautiful women I met (including you!) so much! Such heartache to not have that community the way God intends at home.

Love you!

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