This year I attended the HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) convention in Richmond, VA. We use to live in that area so the 10, almost 11 hour trip for this wonderful convention and the opportunity to see an old friend again and some family was completely worth it.
My husband couldn’t get the time off work so the kids and I made a whole week of the trip and spent Tuesday driving, Wednesday playing with cousins in the pool, Thursday through Saturday in Richmond for the convention, visiting a good friend, and hotel pool play, and Sunday at church with family and pool time again. Monday was a big day filled with going to the National Zoo in D.C. and taking a boat tour of some of the D.C. monuments. It was a long day but lots of fun! (Other than the massive headache I ended it with that made it hard to even move or see straight…I’m thankful those don’t hit often)
The convention wasn’t what I originally dreamed it would be for me… a complete mommy break with me slowly strolling the convention booths and thoughtfully considering the plethora of choices that are presented. (whew! That was a sweet dream, but not a practical one!)
Instead, I had our four blessings with me, we drove around the 6 block radius of the convention hall for almost a half hour looking for available parking, stomachs were hungry after walking through one aisle. One! Ha! So we took a break within the first 20 minutes and spilled our drinks, chips, and various other munchies in the table area.
I made a decision after realizing that going to sessions wasn’t practical with four kids to purchase the convention MP3’s and that decision was so very freeing to me. I didn’t have to be upset that I was missing encouragement and refreshment or new ideas, I’d get them later and focus on enjoying my children now. I’m so thankful I did that!
God cares about my heart and wanted me to enjoy the children that I had been dreaming of having an escape from! We all had a great time, the boys enjoyed controlling Robots and getting their “robot drivers license”, the girls made bracelets, we played with puppets, watched amazing young jugglers, shopped the massive used curriculum, and my highlight was getting to meet Debbie Strayer.
I really had not heard of her before, but God knew she was exactly who I needed to speak with and be encouraged through. Debbie is the author of Gaining Confidence to Teach, and the co-author of the Trailguide to Learning series. (there are more too, but those are the key one’s I’ve looked at) 🙂 I spent a lot of time (at least the kids thought so) at her Geography Matters booth and even left after one conversation and came back in an hour or so for more. She was friendly, understanding, empathetic, and offered practical solutions laced with grace and wisdom. She felt like someone I could easily spend hours at the kitchen table chatting with and an oasis to me as I have felt my soul to be in an emotional desert for some time. (especially in the long dark winters of our north country dwelling place)
I began reading her Gaining Confidence to Teach last night as it just came in the mail and within the first 3 pages she showed me again why I so enjoyed our short conversations together. Her daughter put it best… “She lives in the real world, she knows things aren’t always perfect”. (her daughter told me this when I was going to have the children apologize to Debbie for her having to sit them down and stop a squabble)
That’s it! That’s why I connected with her, I love transparent and real people. She is a woman who understands that life happens and chooses to allow God to teach through those happenings and make her a more effective ministry to others for Him. It’s what I desire, what I’ve been taught by wise leaders in my youth, to take each moment good or bad, and to glorify God because of it.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Some people think we as Christians shouldn’t share when we are having a hard day or season or when we are struggling in certain areas, but in truth, in hiding our own weaknesses we are hiding the ability for others to see God at work in us. I’m not saying we should be complaining or moping, or constantly negative, but things happen in life that aren’t fun! IF we are vigilant to seek God’s will for each happening, we are bound to bring glory to Him, or perhaps someone else may be able to help our perspective change to see His hand. I desire to always be willing to be used by God, even if I feel inadequate. According to the above verse it would show God’s power even more greatly if I know that I was weak so that His power would be perfected.