Firstly, I want to say how excited I am to share this series! God has allowed me to know some amazing ladies, all living and serving Him in different stages of life. I want to share their hearts and their stories over the next few weeks.
Many times we find ourselves thinking that we could serve God better (or just be happier) if we were older, younger, more talented, smarter, married, prettier, wealthier, whatever... it usually includes being someone or somewhere else. But God calls us all in unique ways and there is never a day in our lives when we can't glorify Him.
Five ladies will be sharing their hearts in this series (including myself) through answering some questions about their mindsets, beliefs, and lives. We are all in different stages of life: married with kids, young married, single out of school (with different goals), and single still in school.
Starting this series is a woman who has always been my key role-model: my lovely Mom. I hope you all will be blessed by her words!
Q: Would you please share some basic facts about yourself; first name, age (if desired), a few loves/hobbies, etc…
A: Jen, 45 years old, I love the Lord and His word and growing in Him, my husband, children and son-in-love, animals, painting, reading, listening to music and singing at the top of my voice, sitting around a campfire, stargazing, riding horses in the mountains, taking shooting classes with my husband, being an encourager and equipper, and life!!!!!!
Q: What is your current role/occupation? Please feel free to share details!
A: I am a daughter of the King, wife, homemaker, and homeschooling mom. I also breed dogs and own any other animals I can get my hands on...wanting to garden more this spring.
Q: Did you choose this way of life? If so, why?
A: I did so want this life. It's profound simplicity and chaotic peacefulness are so good for my soul. So thankful the Lord gave me the desires of a family and added more, so much more...
Q: There are many misconceptions about women who stay at home instead going to college/having a career. What would you say in response to someone who criticized or was confused by your choices?
A: First of all....I wouldn't debate with someone about college or careers. And I wouldn't want to be arrogant or prideful. It's a personal heart thing...I don't feel like I've "missed" something by staying home. I would just gently share how much this kind of living feeds my soul and draws me nearer to my God and my family. I still have so much to learn and so far to go, so I pray that I would be loving and gentle, yet articulate and confident! There are just so many ways to learn and I am not good at conforming, so I needed to further my life "education" outside of the box!
Q: Do you see opportunities to use the gifts God has given you right where you are? Or are you “wasting your talents and wasting away”, as many would believe?
A: Well...I've shared my talents and abilities with my family!!! And have instilled some of my passions in them!!! How great is that???!!!! I've also been able to be used to serve in all kinds of areas...singing with my family for senior citizens, making meals to take to families, worshipping with my church family, just being available. And taking the time to teach and grow myself. Having a simpler schedule allows me the flexibility I love and I don't feel like I'm wasting anything...it's all in how we define "success" or "fulfillment".
Q: Being married and having children can be time-consuming. Do you feel like your life could have served a better purpose if you had pursued a career or had fewer children (or even if you sent your children to public school)?
A: Well, my house would stay cleaner!!! LOL!!! I guess you learn to have a purpose right alongside raising your family. I feel like I have many purposes and I hope that I'm being lead to give priority to those that really matter. I'm still growing and learning in that department. To see myself as part of a team rather than a "one woman wonder"!!! I like to take the kids with me...which can be stressful, but usually ends up in blessing others. For example...Daniel and Rebekah (6 and 4) were so free to give hugs to older people who may really have needed them!!!! You should have seen the smiles!!! And they learn things that I could never teach them.
Q: What kind of body image do you have? Have you ever struggled with confidence or thinking you are beautiful? If yes, then why? If/when negative thoughts attack you, have you found something that helps you see your worth?
A: I ignore my body's image for the most part... because it doesn't define me in a lot of ways. That doesn't mean that I don't want to be healthy or strong. It just means that I don't "conform" to my body. I let the Lord "transform" my thoughts to more important places. I don't let my body stop me from having fun, wearing a bathing suit, posing for pictures, etc. It hasn't been until I've been older that confidence and beauty have stopped being related to the "physical" me. My prayer is that much younger women would embrace that truth. I think once I started having children and my body changed so much after cancer treatments that I poured my "identity" into other things. Even though my body wasn't perfect, I still wanted to be captured in the lives of my kids in pictures...and I'm NOT photogenic!!! AT ALL!! But it doesn't bug me or make me lose sleep... I just see those pics and remember the fun, the connection!!! I've always been more about relationships than about how I look. So when I'm in a room...I'm concentrated on those around me and I'm just a "thinking" "feeling" "expressing" image... no body attached!!! LOL! I have a lot more freedom and fun that way. AND I don't take myself too seriously!!! Even though I'm in a season of wanting to shed some extra weight and am being successful in that, it still doesn't cause me to find my identity in that! My identity prayerfully will always stay where it should... in the Lord. Staying in the Word and writing it out and praying it helps me remember I'm priceless to God and I'm eternally, humbly thankful. :-)
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your future as you pursue God’s will for your life?
A: Well, I hope that my character continues to grow stronger in Him so that no matter where we go or what we do as a family, that I would have the peace and freedom to pursue all kinds of things. I love to learn and hope I never stop wanting to find out something new! That's what life is about. I hope I always stay curious and teachable!!!
Q: If you could share something you’ve learned over the years with the ladies reading this blog, what would it be?
A: Well, I guess I would share to not take life too seriously. And learn to laugh... a lot... and enjoy life no matter the circumstances. I've too often let my surroundings dictate my emotions instead of letting the Lord be my portion and joy. Life isn't an emergency... slow down, look at the stars, read good books to your children, kiss your husband every day, tell your loved ones that you LOVE THEM and hug them. Live in such a way as to have a long list of life and a short list of regrets. Pursue those things that bring you joy, even if no one understands how or why you would like it!!! Be yourself...God made you unique and wonderful. Learn to love your own skin and see yourself as beautiful no matter what the mirror or the scales tell you... that's not the definition!!! Your life in Christ and in loving others is what defines you! Stay in the Word, for in it is everything you need for life and relationships! Pray... really pray. Ask the Lord for the freedom to help you figure out who you really are and go to Him with your deepest secrets. He's our best friend!!! Remember that you're never alone in any of life and there is so much to be thankful and joyful for.... if we only remember!!! :-)