Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tomorrow will bring big changes to my life. For nearly three years, I have held a part time job working for my church. I have loved this job, working with so many beautiful children. In the beginning, I was responsible for coordinating both volunteers and paid workers for the nursery through Kindergarten age children. But about a year ago, it changed dramatically when the church leadership asked me to help them embark upon a new mission.

Our children's pastor and I had both dreamed of having a worship service for the three year olds through kindergartners. So, that is just what we created along with the help of a few dedicated friends. Praise Park. A fun-filled, bright and cheerful place for the children to grow and learn about what it means to reach beyond themselves and worship their Creator! How awesome it is to be a part of Praise Park. To listen as 35-40 preschoolers recite God's Word that they have hidden in their hearts. To watch them dance and sing that God is alive, and jump and shout F-A-I-T-H. To hold a little boy with autism while his mama worships in the worship center.

It has been wonderful, and challenging, and often even frustrating. But for a very long time now, I have felt like I've been stretched too thin. I've found myself having trouble even getting out of bed, just so tired and overwhelmed. My homeschooling efforts last year were certainly less than joyful, and my performance at every single task I was undertaking was less and less acceptable. I spent time reading books on leadership and organization, trying to learn to make myself more capable.

But finally, I picked up a book I had read a few years back:
A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. It was a great book for me to read the first time around, but it was even more precious to me this time. As soon as I read it, I knew where I had gone wrong. As a wife and mother, my first ministry is to my family. But I had been giving so much of myself to Praise Park that my family was left eating the crumbs that fell off my plate.

So I told my husband that I felt we needed to choose between Praise Park and homeschooling. I just couldn't keep trying to do both and expect our home to be what God wanted it to be. He and I both came to our decision with sadness, but once we had landed upon it...and put in our six weeks notice...there was a sense of relief. Especially when a replacement for us was found, and it was a couple who would be so perfect for the job. (Way more perfect than us, I'm sad to say).

So, after tomorrow, I will once again be "just" a homeschooling mom, teaching and learning and loving and growing. It's my first ministry, and I am so eager to give my children and my husband my most creative and energetic efforts. But pray for me, please. This year I will be taking on 6th, 4th, and 2nd grades, along with Kindergarten and exciting, though a bit daunting, prospect!


Kathy said...

You can do it Shelley!!

Rebecca said...

I've missed your blogging, but I too haven't blogged much over the summer. Summer, combined with having a new baby, takes all my time. I am ready for life to slow down and I am definitely ready to get back into routine.

Once again, your post about Abagail brought tears to my eyes. I so appreciate you telling your story and I can't wait to sit down and reread it from beginning to end...with a box of Puffs Plus close by me.

I really don't know that much about you, but I sure wish we were neighbors. I hear your heart and see your love for your family and I think we share the same values. But since you live there and I live here, I will be happy and content to follow your blog.

Thanks for your love and dedication to our King, Sister! Keep blogging and I'll keep reading!

Sheila said...

Oh Shelley,
I am sorry for the praise park but, I am thankful for your heart and that you could hear. I will keep you in my prayers for your homeschool year, I also know exactly what you were stated in your blog about crumbs and I understand. Big Hugs!!
I am tackling this year a
7th grader, 4th grader, 3rd grader and 1st grader and helping our 12th grader when needed. So if I can be of encouragment to you I would love to. :)

Hugs again,