This week has been quite different from our norm. Josh was gone at conferences for most of the week. One for three days in Minneapolis and one all day today in Milwaukee. I'm glad that he can take the time to attend these conferences. They certainly help him to stay fresh. Since he is constantly pouring out into others' lives, he needs to have the opportunity to sit and learn and be encouraged by other believers. These two conferences are ones he looks forward to all year.
With him gone, I knew that we would be hard pressed to get our normal schooling done. We could have done it, but the kids tend to get cranky when Dad is not around. And let's face it, so do I. So instead of our normal school week, we did something I've been dreaming about for quite some time.
We had "ministry week". I've been wanting to make sure that I'm instilling in my children a joy of giving and serving others. I want them to understand that when you help others, you are blessed. And I want to get them outside of themselves. It's so easy for kids to get caught up in the "me, me, me" of everyday life. We do try to teach our kids these things on a regular basis, but sometimes it's good to make some special time to really focus on those character traits you hope to instill in your children.
What does "ministry week" look like? Well it really could be anything. But for us, it was a hodgepodge of activities. We began the week by recognizing that God has given us much more than we need. We took stock of how good He has been to us and talked of how God often blesses people with much so that they can share with others. With that in mind, we went through our toys and books, household items and some clothing and chose things to give to others. And we didn't just give away the things we don't want. We chose a few items that were a little more difficult to part with so that we could really imagine the joy that someone else will have in receiving it.
Another activity was to identify four families who we thought could use a little cheer/encouragement. We all worked together to make some yummy cookies. The kids each chose one family and made a card for them. And when we delivered the cookies and cards, the child who had made the card was the one who went to the door and watched as the recipient had a little joy infused in their day. The kids LOVED doing that!
We also took some time to serve each other. The kids worked hard at helping Mom as I was still recovering from being sick and didn't have Dad around to help. Yesterday, the boys all helped to serve their sister by preparing the house for her special birthday party. As we cleaned we talked about what a gift it was for them to serve their family without complaint.
Lastly, we took time to pray for those we knew were hurting, sick, or discouraged. We thanked God for his goodness to us and asked him to also bless those we love with all they need physically, spiritually and emotionally.
It may not seem like we did a lot in a week. But when you throw in the fact that I had been sick, had no husband around, dealt with a couple of blow out diapers, had a child paint the bathroom in poop, grocery shopped, took children to doctor appointments and several activities, cooked, cleaned, welcomed a few visitors, nursed a baby, planned a party, and thoroughly enjoyed non-stressful FUN with my kids ... it was plenty. Even 5am wake up times can be sweet when you have two footie-pajama clad children to share them with.
And speaking of fun, one of the best moments with my kids was when we went for a walk on a gorgeous winter day and came home soaked. We found some really deep puddles on the way. And really, who can resist jumping in really deep puddles? I was wet up to my waist in the back! And the kids' winter boots will take a week to dry out. Let's just hope it doesn't snow any time soon.