Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conference encouragement

Every year, i try to make it to my local homeschool conference.  It has never been easy, and i've usually either brought a big belly or a nursling along with me every year - but this year i brought no babies, and just my 15 year old son.

It's 4.5 hours drive just to get there, and the drive alone, with my big boy and no distractions was worth the price of admission - i so love who he is growing into, and love listening as he figures everything out...

I've told my husband that this is my "professional development" and he's agreed to make it happen, to the best of his ability (any Above Rubies conferences are also on the radar :)... i need to be encouraged sometimes that what i'm doing has value...)

Anyway, i was so excited because the keynote speakers this year were Clay and Sally Clarkson.  Now, a long time ago, over a decade ago, i was a young mom with a very active 3 year old and a new little baby in my belly, and i attended my first homeschool conference, in Vancouver.  The keynote speakers there were the Clarksons, and Dr. Gordon Neufeld, who wrote Hold Onto Your Kids.

Those sessions were absolutely fundamental to me as a mother, as a homeschooler, and as someone commissioned in the ministry of motherhood.

So this year, i was excited to hear them again, after all these years (and fruit!) and compare what i'd done with what i'd heard.

And you know, with so much of what they said, i realized that i had really internalized a lot of what i'd heard and made it my own, with no regrets at all.  i'm so glad that they were there when i needed mentoring - they were such a HUGE blessing to me!

But i noticed something - there seemed to be a brokenness, a humility, a... sadness?  During the sessions, they shared, briefly, some of the challenges they'd had, including being part of a church split, feeling misunderstood by the leaders of their church, and i knew God's hand was in this.

I think when things go sideways in local Body fellowship, it's so easy to do one of two things - either completely blame the other person, or just take it all on your own shoulders and let it weigh you down.

Seeing these people whose fruit i have seen, whose words i have tested with scripture, who have encouraged me so much to search the scriptures and find my fulfillment and purpose in Jesus - that they have had the same disappointments and challenges as I have lately, was paradoxically encouraging.

Not that i wish challenges and trials on anyone, but i felt that burden lifting a little bit.

I am still so disappointed with the situation we have here in this tiny mountain town.  So brokenhearted and helpless.  BUT i do know that God is in control, and I've felt His guidance so much these past few months, and this was just one more way that I heard Him saying "I see you, Stephanie..."

He does.  He sees, He hears, He cares.  He knows my needs, and the needs of my little ones.  He will provide what we need in order to grow us to be the people He wants us to be.

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children…just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
1 Thessalonians 2:7,11-12

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