I spent my weekend at the Influence Conference, a conference for Christian women with the ability to influence others for Christ (that’s everyone, you guys!). There were bloggers, business owners, writers, and pastor’s wives. And lots and lots of mamas.
Since the conference was in town, I was able to come home to sleep each evening. Each night, I felt worn out and a little frustrated. I was learning so much and remembering the importance of the words I use and the actions I take. When I write here, I want so much to be honest and genuine. And I also want to be positive and reflective. Those last two do not come as easy.
Each night, Dan asked how it was going and what I was learning, but I just wasn’t ready to talk about it. God was absolutely pressing some ideas into my mind that I wasn’t sold on yet. When we finally talked about it all over dinner on Sunday night, it all came out.
Here’s what I was reminded of this weekend… what I don’t always live out, but I know is very true:
+ God loves His Kingdom; He hates mine: I say I am for His Kingdom, and to those looking in, it might look that I’m successful. But I’m not successful each and every day. I make my kingdom look like a pretty home and loving my husband well and persevering through adoption. But really, I established a pretty home for my enjoyment, not His glory. I love my husband outwardly, but in arguments I’ve said “it would be so much easier without you.” And while we are persevering right now, there have been times I so badly wanted an out from the heartache we’ve felt.
+ God is out for His glory, but He is still gracious: So despite all this yuck heart around home and husband and adoption. Despite me not giving Him the glory, He is still gracious to me. He still provides the means for us to stay in our pretty home and doesn’t take it away in a fire or homelessness. He still allows me Dan beside me every morning, and He uses Dan to encourage and equip me. He still opens doors that lead to steps forward in our adoption of Theo and Elliot.
+ When I say “take away _____ from me,” God says “use it for Me”: When I realize He hates my kingdom and is still gracious to me, I get extreme. I want to say “take away my home!” I don’t want to use it to host strangers and friends to show Your light, so just take it away. I don’t want to strive to put a Gospel-focused spin on our adoption struggles anymore, so just take it away from us. But over and over, He’s saying He’s placed me here in this situation to use it for Him.
+ God loves to equip me with His Spirit to make Himself known: I feel ill-equipped. I feel that another Natalie would make a better wife to Dan. Another Natalie would open her home more frequently to those in her community. Another Natalie would hear that no progress has been made in getting our kids home, and she would turn immediately to prayer instead of tears. But He equips me! And he does it lovingly and happily, not begrudgingly.
+ It’s time to build: He has set me here right now. He has placed me in each circle I find myself in: work, home, marriage, church, friends, neighbors. It’s time to believe these Truths, make plans, and move forward doing work for His kingdom. There will be opposition. But it’s time.
I love this conference for its mix of little blogging tips and big spiritual calls. I’ll be applying some of the blogging wisdom (starting 31 Days tomorrow, by the way!). But the above stuff. That stuff is what I want to practice and believe over and over again.