Well, I am one week into being more intentional with my life and there have already been many ups and downs. I wouldn't say I've totally failed, but it wasn't a complete success, either!
--One goal is to be more intentional about a consistent time in the word and prayer. While I have been having this time, it still has not been consistent. Being sick has really made it difficult to stick to that plan, but I will do better next week!!!
--It has been a successful week of being more intentional with school. One way I've done that is working harder to have a "schedule" (and I use that term loosely!) that is more flexible and built more around what really works best for my kids. Sophie is soooooooo not a morning person, so rushing her around and being rigid with an early morning start time (because I am pretty much useless past 1!) only resulted in both of us being grumpy and frustrated for the rest of the day. So, we switched things around and we start school with Ethan first (who is a pretty happy guy in the mornings) and start a little later with Sophie. It's also been a great week for being more intentional with pointing them to God more in every subject area. Of course, science lends itself best to this, especially since we are studying the human body this semester. I mean, really, when you look at the body's intricacies and all that has to work just right at just the right time, how can you not believe in the Creator! Math is a stretch...but hey...there is a whole book of the Bible devoted to it, right? So it must be important! ;) We've had a fun school week!
--One of my biggest goals is to be more intentional with our finances. We've already taken a few steps to make this happen. Our first step, which we started at the end of 2012, was to reduce our monthly grocery budget. Over the last two months we have reduced that portion of the budget by $100. It has been amazing to see that, even with that much less money every month, God has still provided and we've never gone hungry. We have eaten a few things we probably wouldn't normally eat because we are trying to be sure to eat what is already in the house whenever possible. The next step was to cut the "childcare" portion out of the budget completely. This is really only possible because Kevin's mom is now in town and God has provided a very sweet couple in our church who is willing to watch the kids for date nights without pay. God is good! We also came to a very difficult decision for this year, which is to no longer eat the meals at church on Wed. nights. We still go, we just take our own food. It would cost us $52/month and our kids don't eat the food that is served, so we felt we would be better stewards if we just took our own meals and then used that money each month toward missions or to help those in need around us. This has just started, so not sure how it will go, but it hasn't been that much of a hassle so far, and that's what I was really worried about.
--The hardest one for me is being more intentional in building relationships with those in our neighborhood. This goes way beyond my comfort zone and I feel far more comfortable making excuses not to do anything (I mean, really, we were all sick to varying degrees this week and we wouldn't want to pass it on to anyone, you know?) than just sucking it up and doing. I am praying that God will constantly remind me that not reaching out is disobedience and if I choose to disobey, then what else can I expect my children to do but to choose the same thing. They will live out what they see me doing (though I know there are exceptions), so if I want them to be obedient, then I must be, as well.
I am looking forward to meeting up with the friend who read the book 7 with me so we can discuss how we can make these ideas a reality for our lives. Neither one of us wants to just go crazy, but we know there are many excesses in our lives that keep us from focusing on Christ and what He asks us to do, and we need to remove those! I'll keep you updated with posts on things like: choosing 7 countries and eating only the foods that the poorest in those countries eat, recycling, pausing at 7 different times in the day to pray and seek the Lord.
The Lord has also really convicted me with the words of Isaiah 58 and what the Lord says here to His people about the kind of fast that He accepts. Still not sure what all that means and how it needs to change my heart and life, but there will probably be a post soon, so keep your eyes open (because I know you are just dying to hear deep, spiritual things from this silly, little girl!) ;)
Lord, continue to lead and guide our family so that we can be more intentional for You.