Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Encouraged Heart

Our life is so busy right now! I remember the days when I was drowning in diapers, tantrums, and nap schedules thinking that I could never get more busy than that. Here I am, though, drowning in a different kind of busy. I'm teaching 3 different grades and trying to convince #4 that she doesn't need to do school yet. (it's not working)
I've got baseball and band schedules(and now teaching choir) to juggle along with worship team rehearsals, small group, and AWANA. Trying to keep up with this schedule while also maintaining order at home, all the normal house chores, and maintaining a pretty high maintenance and specialized diet can be CRAZY!
All that said, last night as I was cleaning up the kitchen after we ate my heart was so full of joy and encouragement!
The children went upstairs to clean their rooms and pick up the house and when they were done they all went to get their AWANA handbooks to work on memorizing scripture. While washing dishes at the sink, in front of me was Martin on the couch helping Jonathan learn his verses for the week and behind me my husband was helping Aaron learn his verses for the week.
All around me, while I busied myself with my work, I was experiencing discipling. A brother discipling his little brother and a father discipling his son.
All glory to God! In the normal hurriedness of my day and checking off the to-do list, God gave me this precious gift. I could not stop smiling! My heart was and is full of joy.
I pray that you will know the free gift of God's grace - not dependent on your performance - but fully a gift from a loving and merciful creator.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

God's Faithfulness Part 2

The very same week that I went through the screening process to be on the worship team at our church, I was also approached by the board of Martin's band association to think about being the choral director for their organization.
Martin started playing trumpet this year with the CCHBands. This is a homeschool organization that has been in existence for about 20 years or more. Right now they offer Beginner Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Wind Ensemble.
At the time no one was really sure about the logistics. So, the board members discussed how to proceed with adding a choir to the band program without having the choir take over completely. They wanted the choir to supplement the band - not take from it.

I had always hoped that I would be able to return to choral conducting again one day. I didn't intend to return to the public or private schools because I didn't want to do anything that would draw me away from the children. Our intention is to homeschool our children all the way up to graduation. 
I did hope that one day I would be able to serve the homeschool community in some way to offer choral studies. Logistically, I never knew how that would work out. It's a lot of work to run a community program of any kind. So, this opportunity, pretty much fell right into my lap. I wasn't seeking after it. It sought me. In the same way, I wasn't seeking after singing in church again - my husband somehow knew without me saying it.

I see all of these things as God's faithfulness in my life. I give praise and glory to the One whom deserves it. It is not my my own merits that I am doing the things I am doing it is by His.

Last week, I held auditions for the CCHbands Concert Choir. I have a choir of about 18-19 voices that will be rehearsing every Monday and Thursday during the hour that Martin takes beginning band.
Yesterday, I held the first rehearsal for the Concert Choir.
I am back in the game. I have the best of both worlds. I get to be with my children 24/7, teach them at home, and also teach and train young voices to sing. My heart is soaring.

His faithfulness is beyond what I can even find words to express. He cares about the small details. He has brought me out of a long and hard, but also joyful season of babies, diapers, sleepless nights, long days, seminary, and homeschooling for the past 7 of those years, and then blessed my socks off by giving me back everything that I had given up.

Only He could do something like that. It is my prayer now that all of these things that He has given back to me will be used for His glory. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

God's Faithfulness - Part 1

11 years ago, I told the principal of the high school where I worked that I would not be returning the following year. It was both hard and not hard. For me, it was a no brainer that when I had children I would be the caretaker. It's not something that I spent time trying to figure out. I knew that is how I wanted it to be. So, in that way, it wasn't hard. The way it was hard is that I loved my job. I was the choral director for an Arts Magnet High School. I worked with some pretty amazing students and it was such an honor and privilege to work with those students! Most days my office was full of students eating their lunch with me and talking about important issues in life. I developed relationships with the students that caused them to want to speak to me freely about hard things that they were going through. 
We also made some pretty great music! I had 5 choirs. Die Meistersingers was the advanced Chamber choir that was mainly an acapella group, Jazz Company - all jazz music, Select Women's Ensemble, Treble Chorus, and Men's Chorus. We did about 4 major concerts each year as well as the extra performances that we did throughout the community all through the year, and in the Spring a Musical on top of everything else that I had to do! It required about 50-60 hours per week. Not too hard to complete a work week like that when you don't have little ones at home.
I wrestled a little bit with the amount of time and money that I spent to train to do the type of work that I was doing - and how when I stopped working to stay at home with my child - would I have just wasted all of that time and money spent? I knew the answer to that was "No!", but I had to talk myself into it a little bit! 
Not only did I say goodbye to my job of spending 6 hours a day behind a piano training young voices, I also said goodbye to singing in worship at church.
I tried to keep that up for a little while, but it became complicated after a while, since at the time my husband was the pastor of the church. We had decided that we always wanted our little ones to be in worship with us - we prayed about it and felt as though God was leading us in this somewhat difficult direction. In order to follow my husband's lead on this (and my own heart as well), there were sacrifices that needed to be made. For me, it was not being as involved in the music at church. 
I have never spent a single second regretting the decisions that we made as our new baby joined our family and as 3 more joined our family throughout the years. While keeping the children with us in worship has been challenging and exhausting at times, I've also seen the fruit that it has produced that spills out over so many areas of our lives. 
When I traveled to Nashville, TN a little over a year ago. I was able to go to a concert that was being presented by a former choral conductor of mine from college with many performers that I knew from my college days. Because my children were acquainted with sitting quietly and especially having the trained self control to do so, I was able to go to this concert with my 4 children(ages 2-9) and sit through a very long performance of Handel's Messiah. It was a total blessing to me that I could sit through this wonderful performance, but how much more it was a blessing that I could do it with my 4 children! 
So, saying goodbye to my well-loved job and even singing or playing the piano at church was both hard and not hard. 
However, in the past year to year and a half there has been a stirring in me. I really missed singing. I have spent the last almost 11 years singing to my sweet children, but I was longing for a little bit more than that.
Thankfully, I never even had to tell my husband. He already knew. In fact, he's the one that brought up the fact that he thought it was time for me to start singing again! All of our children had gotten to the point where it only required one of us to be sitting with them. So after we went through the new membership process at our new church I plugged in with the worship team. I'm so thankful to be singing again!
And if that wasn't enough...