All Crafting Aside…

One thing I’ve known about myself but maybe never told everyone else because I never thought about it… I’m a recovering craft-a-holic. I’ve been known to dominate half a master bedroom closet in an apartment full of craft supplies in my early marriage years. I’ve been known to be into beading, crafts with scrapbook paper, sewing, bow-making, and wreath-making. I have a love-hate relationship with the hot glue gun and have learned to decoupage, basic painting skills, floral work, and a variety of other hodge-podge crafty nuttiness.

We just moved (yes, again!) and I let go of some of those hoarded crafty “just in case” gems.It was harder than I imagined and a bit of myself escaped when I let go of them because I love crafting! Creativity flows freely from my fingers and brain when I’m doing my crafty thing. Nonetheless, much of it was donated. Large plastic tubs full of stuff dedicated to crafts with no craft time to do them equals a full garage filled with stuff instead of  a vehicle. And when you live in the desert like we do, you want your car in the garage in the hot summer months.

All kidding aside, my heart just had to realize in this season of my life crafting can’t be my obsession or hobby like it has been in the past. So, really, all crafting aside substitutes have taken its place. My husband’s care as he is still working full-time and I am homeschooling and training our children.  We’re still helping in a church, we don’t have huge activities or a full-schedule to keep up with like we have in the past. Don’t feel sorry for me though, it’s been GOOD for us to take a break from the highways of ministry activity.

The crafty girl is still inside me… crying a bit.

She needs to wait on the shelf for really cool projects or fun crafts with the kids… or an opportunity to bless someone or the church with that creative part of me.

Better things have replaced my crafts:

  • Consistency in building the character of our children. Regularly taking time to talk to the kids about heart problems and counselling in those areas.
  • Faithfulness as a Christian example to our children, as it requires my dedication to God.
  • Doing daily tasks and caring for my husband fulfilling my roles as his spouse. Helping the kids learn chores and skills also takes time. I’m prepping them for life y’all!
  • Last year God allowed me to study and create new lessons for our children’s Sunday School class for the summer.

Crafting distraction has never built those things in our life when my attention has been diverted. Oh, believe me, I’ve tried. Many years ago I spent two months creating items to sell at a craft table at a ladies retreat. I found I only broke even money-wise after neglecting my family. They ate at crazy hours around my crafting and the kids were entertained by the television for long hours of the day instead of being watched by their mother. We lost a lot of ground in that time in our children’s behavior and it took much more work to bring our home back into order since crafts had dominated every work space in the house.

The Ministry Mamas Facebook posts have decreased because spending regular time focused on trying to help others was robbing our family too. Helping others blesses me only when it does not negatively affect my family’s well-being. Writing articles here has not happened as much either because a chubby fingered toddler is requiring training and regular supervision (imagine that!). She is a wild mess.

For me, it would be better to put all crafts aside (and any other distraction) and gain the hearts and influence God wants me to have in our home than to indulge in my heart’s fondness to create. It has required shifting creativity elsewhere.

Maybe you share that same feeling of putting a piece of yourself on the shelf for a while to focus on the most important things of family or ministry life.  You’re not less of a person for needing to focus on a different aspect of your family life. You’re not failing because you can’t do it all.

Food for thought: There are times that it would be better not to have the church activity than to kill yourself (and the family) trying to fit in another thing on the schedule. Then, there are other times we need to seek help. There are also times when the people in your home need your focus and attention more than anyone and anything else, not because you don’t want to minister but your ministry is only as effective as the health (physically and spiritually) of your family.

If you have already are the type of person who can easily set things aside or you’re learning those things yourself, you are better because you’ve minimized your distractions.

The lesson is: Don’t indulge in ___(name your thing here)____ to neglect those who God has called you to minister.

Putting things aside, just means you’re hitting the “pause” button in one area of your life so you can push “play” in another. It is in its own way the fulfillment of John 3:30, “He must increase but I must decrease.” When we divert our attention to making God’s priorities our priorities, we are investing in a worthwhile (eternal!) investment that will yield some type of profit as a direct result. It is honing in on the season of life you’re in with no regrets and embracing today as the gift and the purpose for which you are made and able to make a difference.

Do not misunderstand, it is good to have a few personal pleasures and allow yourself brain breaks to escape the trials and mind-work that these other focuses drain out of you. You may be able to get your craft-a-holic self out every once in a while but it may be that it cannot be that one thing you run to regularly to fill your time. The common used phrase says, “You can’t feed others if you don’t feed yourself first.” The same idea is here, if you aren’t feeding the needs of your own personal family then they will starve while you’re handing out the food to others.

Self-Inspection Questions

Does God want me using my time and talents elsewhere?

What does God want me to set aside?

Who or what has He been inviting and calling me to invest my time in instead?

How will I deal with those things that are tempting me to be distracted from God’s plans and purposes for me in this season of my life?

It’s not always easy to give up those things you love or your talented in but there may be a profit to be gained in a spiritual investment if you will be willing to set it aside and focus on God’s invitation to do something different. We never know what God will do with us until we follow Him completely. Run to His will and put all other things aside and give Him the chance to show you some special blessings ahead. Plan ahead to stand before God with no regrets in the investment of your time and your family!


Leviticus 19 Ministry Advice

I was reading through Leviticus 19 recently and found some great ministry advice… really, it is just practical for Christian living.
1. Don’t be a talebearer. (No gossip allowed.) Verse 16, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people…” 
2. Don’t hate thy brother in thy heart. (No jealousy or covetousness allowed either.) Verse 17a, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart..”  

3. Sometimes confrontation of sin is necessary. Verse 17b, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.” 

4. Don’t avenge or hold a grudge against your neighbor. (Forgive.) Verse 18a, “Thou shalt not avenge, or bear any grudge against the children of thy people…” 
5. Love your neighbor like you love yourself. (Serve and love and serve and love again.) Verse 18b, “But thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.” 

Emphasize God’s Provision with Your Children

Don’t you love when God shows His love and faithfulness to your children!? It’s one thing to know what God has done for you, as a parent, and really want your children to see God’s goodness and know He’s really at work in their lives too.

Last week we went to Costco to work on getting a new pair of frames for our son whose glasses had broken — welding came apart previously and then a nose piece fell off in a bounce house last week. He walked around all weekend squinting and strained. The man explained we could buy a new pair of frames that fit his lenses for $50 or he could get a whole new set of frames and lenses for $100. I thought $50-100 would be cheaper than having to do the entire exam and purchase again so I consented to go ahead.

The optician popped out IMG_1798.JPGthe lenses and of course asked me if all of our kids were mine (yes, all 5!). He discussed with Dos (our 2nd child) how the glasses came apart and then adjusted them to fit our son just right. Then, when I pulled out my card to pay the optician barely nodded his head no. I asked him what I needed to pay and he allowed us to be able to just take the frames at no charge. While I know frames don’t really cost $50, I pointed out to our kids that God had provided that for our son and was a blessing and a gift from God. I emphasized as we continued to walk around Costco about how God takes care of us and saw them smile at His goodness. I wanted them to see the blessings and provisions God gives when we specifically give to Him our offerings and tithes.

I just want to encourage you, Ministry Mamas, to make a point to highlight in conversation when God blesses your children. They don’t always see it or view good things as a blessing from above. It will help train them to see that every good and perfect gift comes from God and help them to see a positive outlook of life even in a sin-cursed world.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17