My World (Feminine Style)

Thoughts about love, liberty, disco

Ringing in the New Year with a fresh perspective. February 4, 2011

Filed under: Women — katiereich @ 1:15 pm
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I realize that we are already into the month of February, but the Chinese New Year was yesterday, so maybe I am not so late! :)

This year has already proven to be a stretching time for me personally. Let me explain, I tend to complain to Josh about how I am not the well rounded person I would like to be. There is never enough time in the day to get everything done, have time for myself and look put together while doing it! (Anyone hear me?) I would tell Josh, I can be really good at one or two things at a time, but to keep it all moving in the same direction, well that is another story. In light of this, Josh got me a few books to read to help me along in my journey. The first one (actually the only one I have read in its entirety up to this point) is Shopping for Time; How to Do It All and Not be Overwhelmed, by Carolyn Mahaney, et al.

This book, along with other things, have helped me to restructure my life, and reshape the intentionality with which I live. I must admit that after scanning the title of the chapters, I was not enthusiastic. Chapter 2 is… The First Tip: Rise Early (joining the 5 am club). My initial reaction was to throw the book away, but I knew that I had to give the book a chance and I am so glad that I did.

This book has more to do with priorities, then with actually getting everything done that WE want to get done. If you take a moment to look at how you live an average day or week, do you feel at peace?

The reality is, however, we don’t ofen manage the time God has granted us on this earth with the same intentionality or skill that we bring to shopping. Think for a minute:

  • Do you plan ahead to maximize your fruitfulness each day, or do you simply let life happen?
  • Do you make choices based on Scripture or on what feels good at the moment?
  • Do you strategize to use your talents to bless your family and church, or do you employ them primarily for your own personal fulfillment?
  • Do you evaluate every opportunity in light of biblical priorities, or do you do whatever it takes to get ahead?
  • Do you consider whom God would have you serve, or do you try to please everyone all the time?

While we constantly- almost unconsciously- plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices when shopping, we often neglect to do so with the most important matters of our lives. (All quotes from Shopping for Time are in italics)

How do you feel after reading that list? I know that immediately I was convicted of the fact that the most important things in my life, often got pushed to the back burner because of (insert any number of excuses here).

I realized that I was allowing my secondary callings to cloud my judgement and priorities in how I lived out my life. The first chapter of Misional Mom (another book Josh got for me) talks about this… “Each and every person who is a follower of Jesus shares the same calling, which at the core is not something to do but a Person to know: our calling as children of God is to know Him, first and foremost. It’s not about you. It’s about the One who calls you. Our primary calling is to be with God, to immerse ourselves in His immeasurable love and grace. Everything else flows out of this connection, which is our absolute number one priority.” Many times we take our secondary callings, those roles we have in life; mother, sister, student, co-worker, wife, and replace them with our primary calling. “As we pursue God’s mission in our lives- bearing witness to what Christ has done for us, making disciples here and around the world- we are able to see how He can use our secondary callings as channels through which His primary mission will be accomplished.” We need to use our secondary callings as platforms to connect with people to accomplish our primary calling, not to replace our primary call.

This all got me thinking, how am I to accomplish my primary calling if I am not “immersing myself in His love and grace?” Josh regularly talks about how our priorities are expressed in our lives through how we spend our time, money and talents.  I would say, of course my first priority is God… but in hindsight, the thing that was most important always ended up being squeezed into moments or just sprinkled on top in a very inconstant manner. In order for me to be on mission in my life, and use my time the most effectively, I needed to be consistently spending time reading my Bible and praying. In what other way are we guaranteed to hear from God?

Although, I have not joined the 5 am club, I am trying to regularly join the 6am club. In this way I am prioritizing my time, to first spend time with God, and then be able to make a plan for the day, in this way I am serving my family and creating more balance in my life. I have become more productive, and am allowing God the space and time to continue to make my heart more like His. Unfortunately or fortunately my excuses of too much to do and too little sleep no longer work. What is your excuse?

I am taking a group of women through this book and my goal is to post the homework/discussion topics here so that you can take the journey as well.

 

Sunday Morning Review: Is Jesus Really God? Phil. 2:5-11 October 24, 2010

Filed under: Church,Sunday Morning Review — katiereich @ 6:52 am
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Have you ever heard someone say that all religions are the same; that is doesn’t matter what they call “God” or how they get to “God”, but ther is just one God with many religions???

Josh talked last night about this very topic… he said that the biggest distinction between all of the religions is what they believe about Jesus. This will be the fork in the road up the mountain to God that will decide who gets up the “mountain” to God.

It does not matter what you believe about the Bible until you decide what to do with Jesus? Do you believe he is who he said he is? Listen here to find out who Jesus is and why the cross matters.

 

My Journey into Motherhood (and, no, this is not a birth story) August 26, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Family,kids — katiereich @ 10:43 am
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I have been sick for the last 10 days, so lacking the energy to do anything really productive, I have been reading. So while my kids were destroying the living room, or watching a family movie while we all were recovering I was sitting nearby reading. I read two books, A Mother’s Heart and a Sane Women’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. Both of these books got me thinking quite a bit about my journey as a mom, and how far God has brought me.

While growing up, I dreamed of climbing the corporate ladder and taking over the world (and no that is not a exaggeration)! I really believed that I was destined for something great, or at least I would prove myself and find worth through work. (All of which is a lie, but I did not know what love was, so it made sense at the time.) Then in college I had an incredible semester with a mentor who had a love for her family that I had never seen. She helped God break into my heart and allowed room for a change in my goals. I felt strongly convicted that I needed to not only be open, but have a heart turned toward having kids and raising a family. Of course, with the stipulation that I could still work if I wanted to ;). When Josh was approaching the end of his Master’s Degree we started talking about starting a family… We hesitated, but then I was reminded of the call God had already put in my life; we were pregnant immediately! (A friend once joked that I only needed to stand downwind from Josh to get pregnant.) And so our journey into parenthood began. Thankfully kids come as little babies, they are easy to tote anywhere, and other then a lack of sleep and a job change, life went on pretty much as normal. I pursued my interests and was excited that our little bundle seemed to fit pretty seamlessly into our routine, and interests.

Here is where things really started to change…

We moved to Arizona, and had Gavin 6 months later, then got pregnant with Ashton, when Gavin was 9 months old. During this time we had some major changes and hardships in our personal lives, plus we started Revolution Church! I did not take the time to think about how we were raising our kids, but instead the little energy I did have was focused on getting through the day. After Ashton was born, I kept myself busy, not because I thought that the activities were that important, but because I was terrified to be at home with 3 kids all day everyday. I remember people being amazed that I had returned to the bible study that I was a part of when Ashton was a day and a half old… It was not because I was uber-spiritual, but because I wanted a  break and the bible study had childcare!

I am not saying that my attending a bible study was wrong, but it was not the best thing because I was abdicating my role as mom. Yes, I was tired, but more then that I was an aimless mom. I was parenting to get through the day, or the morning or the minute, whatever the case may be. Now my kids are a little older, and sleep better, but I wish I would have had someone pull me aside and say, what are you doing as a mom, what are your kids becoming? I may have looked at them bleary eyed and then burst into tears, but maybe I would have realized that I was allowing my energy level and friends, who were intending good, to distract me from the crucial task at hand.

My thoughts about parenting have really started to change over the last few months…

Josh just finished up a parenting series at church, which always challenges us, but this time, we were in a place in our life where God has really used what Josh preached and we learned to take up our parenting a notch or 15.

I think the important thing to note, first, is that none of my journey is ever possible without Josh. As he has grown and changed as a man, husband and father, it has allowed me to change in unison and have the environment to allow God to work in my life.

Last week I was struck, emotionally blown over, by the fact that not only is it my (read Josh and my) responsibility to raise kids who are productive and well mannered, but a huge portion of my kids salvation rests in how I parent my kids. They see, or don’t see, God fleshed out in my life. They see a picture of the gospel in my marriage, how Josh and I relate. And I am pulled to my knees, praying that I have not missed an opportunity to be Christ to my kids. This week I have made a much more contentious effort to pray for my kids salvation, that they would grow up not just knowing about God, but that their lives would be transformed and turned upside-down by the God of the universe. I pray for a multi-generational heritage of faith for my kids and their kids.

With this, I have also seen a change in my attitude as a mom. No longer am I concerned with doing my thing and squeezing in time with my kids in the cracks, but instead I am taking a proactive, sacrificial attitude toward my kids. (Not to the detriment of my own spiritual and emotional health, or the health of my marriage relationship) Realizing that sometimes when they are upset or throwing a fit, they just are crying out for time with mom or dad. We are trying to be intentional and parent with the end in mind! I parent now, not with the goal of behavior modification, but of heart transformation. I am less concerned with my kids parroting the correct answers and acting a certain way, but of allowing discipline to show them that they have a sin problem and are in need of a Savior.

And at the end of the day, I am floored that God has enough trust in me, or at least His power in me, to be a part of changing lives and guiding little hearts to Him. I hope along the way they learn to mind their p’s and q’s, but more then that I hope that my kids are able to leave my house with a faith that cannot be quenched.

I pray that Ava will have her sensitive heart broken for the people in the world who do not know God. That she will use her kind spirit to care for and love people to Christ. I pray that Gavin with his upfront personality, will be able to charismatically, and supernaturally be able to draw people to God, as he is able to draw a crowd so easily, even at 3. I pray that Ashton, with his cute smile and fun personality will go out and share God’s love with boldness and conviction. And now we pray for baby number 4… that his/her unique story of adoption, would fuel his/her heart to see people adopted into God’s family. To find themselves and their identity in a new family, the family of God.

 

What I Have a Blog? 2009 in Review January 13, 2010

Filed under: Church,Family,kids — katiereich @ 2:55 pm
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This last year has been a frenzied blur of activity and new experiences. Probably two of the biggest things that happened this past year have been the birth of our 3rd baby, Ashton, on February 10th and celebrating the 1st year anniversary of Revolution Church that Josh, my husband, relaunched in September 2008.

Life with 3 kids has been challenging and rewarding. I once thought that I could have at least 6 kids, coming from a large family, now I no longer think that! Having the last two only 18 months apart has stretched me, literally and figuratively, in ways that I never imagined. I have had to become even more organized, patient and creative, while having less sleep and more little people in my life!

Josh has made some huge changes in his life over the last year. For starters he has made date night a huge priority, so NO MATTER WHAT, we have a date night each week. (Click here for more information about our last series on relationships.) This has made huge deposits into our relationship when we have needed it most. He has also been training for a half marathon and has made getting healthy a big priority in his life and in our family’s life, so he has lost a significant amount of weight. It is incredible to watch someone close to you, not only transform before your eyes, but take something so seriously that they actually do something about it. Complaining about something is really easy, but doing something about it takes a lot of courage. So; hat’s off to Josh.

One of the things that has hit me the most about last year are the internal shifts that have happened in my life revolving around relationships. Previously, I used to go to church, volunteer at church, attend a mom’s group at church, lead a small group for church, and go to a Bible study in church. I was spending ALL of my time with people who know Jesus, or who are aquainted with or pursuing Him. I think that I needed that for a season, but things have changed for me now, I am still involved in church and use my time, gifts and talents to honor God, but I am spending much less time with women and people who already are invested in the Kingdom. I intentionally have made a decision to reach out to those who are close to me, who don’t know God, so that I can make a difference in their eternities. That means that some of my relationships with people I already know have taken a bit of a back seat, but in ways that I am not even able to express, I am more filled because I am living my life not just for myself now.

I have been able to reach out to a handful of families in my neighborhood in extremely practical ways; blessing two families with a few meals after the birth of their second child, passing off some extra chocolate cake to the teenagers down the street, lending and borrowing things as a way to connect and share resources, and most of all trying to be the Light that God calls us to. This past week at Revolution Church, Josh asked us as a congregation to list 3 people who we could intentionally invest in and invite to church; a year ago, I would not have anyone to write on that card, but it made me excited that last Saturday night, I had to decide and think through who of my non-christian friends or acquaintances I would be investing and inviting.

I know that this may not sound like much, but for me, it has been a long journey. Getting to a place where I can hold loosely to some of the relationships that I want to cling to, so that I can spend more time with people who have a greater eternal need. I don’t want to come across all holy, because if you know me, you know that I am a far cry from perfect or even good for that matter. But God has started to change my heart toward the city of Tucson… and this is only becoming clear through Revolution’s study of Nehemiah. A book about a man who’s heart was changed by God for the city of his ancestors. I pray that my heart too, will be broken for the people who are swimming in the hurt, self-loathing, and anger that God has graciously pulled and is pulling me from.

Tomorrow I will post my “Sunday” Morning review about the first sermon from our new series; Building a City Within the City, a study on the book of Nehemiah.

Here’s to God changing your heart to be more like his and a resolution to blog with a little more regularity! 😉

 

Chapter 5 discussion of God, Marriage and Family July 7, 2009

Below are the questions that we used for small group last night. It promoted a great discussion about how we as ladies can support and encourage our husbands to become all that God has intended for them to become. (PS. We are going through God, Marriage and Family by Andreas J. Kostenberger.)

  1. How do you feel about Kostenberger’s definition of a family? “Building on our definition of marriage in the previous chapter as a sacred bond between a man and a woman, instituted by and publicly entered into before God (whether or not this is acknowledged by the married couple), normally consummated by sexual intercourse, we may define “family” as, primarily, one man and one woman united in matrimony (barring death of a spouse) plus (normally) natural or adopted children and, secondarily, any other persons related by blood.
  2. “[L]ike most Near Eastern cultures, Israelite families were… patriarchal (the father was in charge of the household). Like the spokes of a wheel, family life radiated outward from the father as its center. The community was built around the father and bore his stamp in every respect.”
    1. What was your father like? Was he a good example of what you want to be like or the kind of man you would want to marry?
    2. How does his example, good or bad influence your family life/marriage?
    3. What does respect look like toward your parents today?
  3. “Block lists the following nine primary responsibilities of the father in ancient Israel:
  • Personally modeling strict personal fidelity to Yahweh;
  • Leading the family in the national festivals, nurturing the memory of Israel’s salvation;
  • instructing the family in the traditions of the exodus and the Scriptures;
  • managing the land in accordance with the law (Leviticus 25);
  • providing for the family’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and rest;
  • defending the household against outside threats (e.g. Judg. 18:21-25)
  • serving as elder and representing the household in the official assembly of citizens (Ruth 4:1-11);
  • maintaining family members’ well-being and the harmonious operation of the family unit; and
  • implementing decisions made at the clan or tribal level.”

How does this translate into the role of a father/husband today?

(Men) How does this affect how you look at your role as a husband/father? What are some practical things that you can start doing in your life to fulfill these responsibilities?

(Women) How does this affect how you view the man in your life? How can you support/encourage (without nagging) your husband to fulfill these responsibilities?

Additional questions… How has your relationship with your parents changed since getting married? How are your in-law relationships? Is there anything that you need to do to repair/show respect in either of these areas?

 I hope that this gives you something to chew on!