If we’re not careful, the summer can slip right on by and we will let the good things take over the best things. We’ll get swept up in the busyness and forget to take time to relax or enjoy one another.
We will forget to live for Him.
People are eager for fellowship, and as Christians living in a town that is 90% unchurched, we are excited to interact with people day-in and day-out.
We are neck deep in a new-to-us ministry, and we’ve never felt more at peace. Or more exhausted at times.
At the beginning of the year, Intentional By Grace took a new turn. My husband and I began pouring a lot of time into making this site profitable because we felt the Lord prompting Mark to quit his job.
When Mark quit, we had the privilege of promoting The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and unbeknownst to many of you, when you bought through our link, you were helping fund our ministry and our calling here in our little town in Colorado (aka, you helped us pay our bills so we could stay here!).
Then the Lord brought along another opportunity for my husband to again be the provider for his family while working from home, and for me to transition back to being a stay at home wife and mom.
By God’s grace, I’m no longer a work at home mom, and I’m so grateful. Intentional By Grace no longer bears the burden of paying the mortgage, feeding little mouths, and keeping the lights on.
I talk often about pursuing your dreams here at Intentional By Grace. Can I get really honest for a moment? Can I share my dream with you?
I never have. Not really.
I dream of being a wife.
I dream of coming alongside my husband in his ministry, which is currently as youth leaders at our local church. I desire to help him fulfill his calling by using the gifts God has given me (namely an inordinate ability to see the big picture and oversee the details and make sure events make it to our calendar).
I dream of being a mom.
I dream of discipling my children, as many as the Lord blesses us with, day-in and day-out. I dream of homeschooling and teaching my children how to tie their shoes and ride their bikes. I long for them to know of the greater world across the big, blue pond, and I long for them to serve the Lord with their whole hearts.
I dream of using my gifts for God’s glory.
I dream of sharing my story, the one yet untold, and to do life with the teenage girls God brings my way. I want to befriend single moms and hang out with newlyweds. I want to extend hospitality as often as I can manage and create a home that makes it impossible to not think about God.
Could I do this and still be a work at home mom?
Yes, I could. If that’s what God was calling me to do.
My dream has always been to be a stay at home wife and mom. Really. It’s hard to admit, and it’s certainly not a popular job option for someone with a Business Management degree, but it’s my dream.
For some blogging is a business.
It should be, and it’s a wonderful blessing for so many families. It’s a way many moms get to stay home with their children.
It’s also a way many moms can minister to other women in the name of Jesus.
For the longest, blogging was my ministry.
It was where God had me and where He used me I believe.
However, over the last few weeks, He’s been showing me that I’m not the only blogger who can encourage women in their faith. In some ways, I’m replaceable here in this virtual community.
But right now, I’m not replaceable in my community that is 90% unchurched. Every single Christian is needed.
The harvest is plenty but the laborers few.
I cannot be divided anymore.
I don’t have to be divided anymore.
It’s time to go live what I teach here at Intentional By Grace. I have to use everything I’ve learned in order to minister in the flesh and blood right now.
That’s scary. It’s new to me. I don’t like new, and I certainly don’t enjoy change.
But I’m willing.
And I’m finally at peace.
I’m going to bring on three sweet contributors who will write for me once a month. I’ll continue to provide my monthly intentional living checklists. I’ll lean hard on my team, and trust the Lord to leave the lights on in this little space.
But beyond that it will be however the Lord leads. I want to go back to my roots and blog as an overflow of my life.
I can tell you I have about 20 posts drafted about gardening, 5 or so for how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in practical ways, 5 or so on discipling your kiddos, and some more on preschool.
I will post as I’m able. Maybe no one will know that anything changed, but I will.
My perspective changed.
I am so grateful for a God who doesn’t allow peace until we see and understand His will.
This year I’m preparing for an intentional summer by taking time to stop, listen, and obey God.
My plan for the summer is to focus more on relationships (in the tangible) than on recreation or to-do lists or being a perfect blogger.
This is what God has for me now.
This is not forever.
After coming to terms with the place blogging has in my life right now, I made a list of what I want our summer to look like. Here’s what I came up with.
Spend one night a week lingering long over dinner.
No rushing. Just eating, savoring, and enjoying one another.
Get outside together.
We’re growing our first vegetable garden this year, and I’m tending to the flower beds I started last year.
We’ll spend time riding bikes, going for evening walks, and just being outside. We want to be present in our neighborhood.
Put homeschool preschool on the back burner.
We’ve been doing intentional toddler time for a couple of years now. My toddler absolutely loves school time. Loves it!
But Mama needs a break. I won’t be printing off numerous printables, organizing multiple craft projects, or creating letter sensory bins.
This summer, I’m focusing on learning through play. Lots of play!
Create a complete homeschool preschool curriculum to begin in the fall.
I started The Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for toddlers a couple of years ago, but fizzled out. I was trying to do too many things, and I put the project on the back burner. But it’s never left my mind, and I’m convinced I want to use my own curriculum for my son’s first year of official preschool.
Build relationships with the teenage girls in our youth group.
I want to cultivate relationships with some of the girls the Lord has laid on my heart. I’m starting a small group that will meet a few times a month as a way to get this started this summer.
Extend hospitality to family and friends traveling through our town this summer.
We will have house guests for nearly a month this summer with only a few days break in between. I want to create a comfortable atmosphere and plan ahead so no one spends all day in the kitchen. Plus I want to be available to show them around town and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Go deeper into relationship with our church family.
I want to be available to enjoy Saturday BBQs with young families, go on camping trips, and open God’s Word together. It’s time to go deeper with our church family.
I’m going to blog when I can.
Maybe nothing will change. Maybe it will. But I’m going to open my hand, and let the Lord lead.
I’ve already seen God’s continued assurances that I’m doing the right thing.
This morning I read my Bible aloud to my toddler because he has “mommy is up early and in the Word” radar, made breakfast without rushing, and cut herbs from my garden. Because of the latter, I got to interact with my neighbor.
It was trivial, small talk of sorts, but it’s about the long term perspective of relationship, right?
If I had been focused on the blog and what I normally do during that time (social media updates), then I wouldn’t have had the encounter.
Blogging isn’t wrong. It is a beautiful ministry, and I’m so thankful there are women faithfully tapping out encouraging words day-in and day-out. The blog world needs more bloggers, if you ask me! We need your story if that’s what God is calling you to do.
I love blogging, and I want to use it for God’s glory. But it’s not for his glory if I’m doing it my own way. Even as good as it may be.
What about you? How is God at work in your life right now?
Update: There is much to update on this topic, but what I found at the end of the summer was that I continued to blog steadily. God continued to grow our ministry here online and in the tangible. Since writing this, Intentional By Grace is back to being a driving source of income for our family. It never changed, but God was put in the driver’s seat. He’s kept the driver’s seat since, and I believe you, my sweet reader, are all the better for it. I’m so grateful for what I get to do at Intentional By Grace. We have continued to grow our team behind the scenes, and my husband and I are full on partners in this business of Intentional By Grace, LLC. I am humbled and grateful. Oh, and we no longer live in Colorado. We’re now in my husband’s home state of Virginia. You can read more about it here.