The other day, I was reading through a devotional that was talking about mentors. As I pondered the women in my life who have poured into me, I was reminded of how blessed I have been to have so many wonderful examples. In each stage of my life, God has blessed me with women who have pointed me to Jesus.
A few years ago, my whole view of mentoring was challenged. For decades, I had been pouring into younger women, sharing my heart with them, opening the Word of God with them, encouraging them and challenging them. I listened to hurting and broken hearts and sought to love them well. I didn’t always do this perfectly, but it was always my desire to honor God in these relationships.
And then one day, I discovered the ugly side of investing in others. It wasn’t the first time I had been hurt; disappointment had been a frequent part of my journey. But on this day, I was accused of being the reason for poor choices and bad decisions (according to the accuser’s perception). I was taken aback, but after a lot of prayer and an attempt at resolution, I learned that not everyone will be willing to see my heart and there are some situations that will never be resolved.
This was extremely hard for me to accept. At first, I was completely surprised. Really? You’re blaming me for seeking to help this person that you say you love? But then I was angry. Seriously? How can you not see that I have always wanted the best and for God to be glorified in this person?!! But as God worked on my heart and I sought to forgive, I was left with sadness.
Sadness for what is missed when we don’t seek to learn from others. Sadness that kindness is so easily disregarded and that unity in the body is ignored as if it is simply a nice suggestion, but not a command. Sadness for sin that so easily entangles.
It has taken me a long time to pour into others again. I’m still a little gun shy, afraid of being hurt and betrayed again. Little hurts or disappointments that in the past would have been a slightly painful now open the scars to some deep wounds. But those wounds drive me to my knees and they cause me to cry out to the Lord for He is truly my strength and my song. I wrote a haiku the other day (because that is what homeschooling moms do it seems!) that expresses my heart.
Falling to pieces
I cry out to my Savior
He gently sustains.
This journey has caused me to question many things. Do I pour into others because I like feeling that I am important in their lives? Or do I truly pour into others because I want them to see Jesus? If someone has an issue with me, do I take that personally or do I really believe Matthew 5:10 when it says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”?
Before this experience, I believed that if I mentored young women based on the Word of God all would go well. People would see me heart and trust my motivations. I now know this is not always true, but I am even more convinced that it is necessary. Because Titus 2 is not just a nice suggestion; it is a command. Older women are to teach what is good to younger women. Period. I must first be seeking God’s Word to impact and change my life, but then I am compelled to share with those God causes to cross my path.
This experience has also taught me to be deeply grateful for the women who pour into my daughter’s life. From the time she was little, my girl has been a challenge. She is ridiculously creative which sometimes makes her an oddity to her peers and causes friction with authority figures. For her people pleasing mom, this has been extremely difficult. I just want her to fit in, to not rock any boats, to be compliant and respectful and gracious and generous. You can see the struggle, right?!
It has been fascinating for me to watch her personality unfold and to see the responses of older women in her life. For those who are accustomed to working with children who fit into the nice and neat boxes of expectations, my girl does not fit. But for those who are willing to love her for who she is, understanding that God is most certainly not done working on her, I have watched a beautiful relationship develop.
And so, to the mentors in my daughter’s life, past and present, I want to extend a wholehearted thank you! Thank you for seeing past her idiosyncrasies and loving her anyway. Thank you for seeing Christ in her and seeking to point her to the truth of who she is in Christ. Thank you for not jumping to conclusions, but instead dealing gently with her heart. Thank you for challenging her when she sins, for praying with her and for allowing Christ to change her heart.
Mothers are not supposed to be the ONLY ones who mentor their daughters and I have learned this fully and completely. I am continually grateful that my daughter has many older women who pour into her. I know that she will make bad choices in the future (just as she does in the present!), but I will never blame anyone else for those choices. I know better!
Mentoring is important, but it is hard. If you have been hurt in a mentor relationship, how are you allowing God to heal your heart?
My one word theme for 2016 was “thrive”. I entered the year with great anticipation. My kids were doing well in school and I was feeling the stirrings to pursue my passions. But by the time May rolled around, I had forgotten what my one word for the year even was and I felt buried under pressures, hurts and disappointments.
As I examined the debacle of 2016, I realized that much of my floundering was not due to circumstances, but was instead the result of unmet expectations. The summer became a season of reflection and by the end, I was convinced that thriving could not occur if I was waiting for all of my circumstances to align perfectly. Rather, thriving must start with the internal workings of my heart.
I read through the book of Isaiah and as the words of the ancient prophet washed over me, I began to understand what thriving truly meant.
O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6
I am he who will sustain you;
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4
I had settled on a faulty assumption in regards to thriving. I thought it was about reaching my own goals and desires and experiencing joy and happiness as a result. Instead, thriving is about God and about Him alone. It is about his graciousness, his strength, his salvation, his wisdom, his knowledge. He is the one who sustains, he is the one who has made me and will carry me, and he will rescue me.
I knew all of these things on one level, but walking down the dark and twisty roads I was asked to walk, taught me these truths in a new and fresh way. Just in time really! It was soon after our homeschool year started (THAT is another blog post entirely!) when I was faced with the biggest challenge of the year. My mom fell during the night on an excursion and it was horrifyingly difficult for my sister who was unable to care for her. This began a decline in her health and a roller coaster of emotions.
How does one thrive in these kinds of circumstances?
Fresh on my heart was the reminder that my hope cannot be in my own plans, but instead must be firmly anchored in the truth of God’s Word. As my heart broke, God held the pieces of me close to His heart and he did indeed rescue me. Not by healing my mom or resolving hurts that threatened to consume, but by giving me Himself.
As 2017 begins, I am no longer focused on my plans, my passions, my goals or my future. While thriving is a wonderful thing and a blessing from God, it cannot be on my terms. And so, I am seeking to submit to the plans God has for me, to allow him to give me the desires of my heart as I delight in him (Psalm 37:4), to trust his work in me and to yield my future to his design.
“Thrive” was not what I expected it to be and I am beginning to think that is exactly what God is trying to teach me. Don’t expect, be surprised!
And so I’m ready to be surprised by this year as I learn what it means to “submit” in all areas of my life.
Have you picked a “one word” theme for 2017? If you are a blogger and have written a post on the subject, please share your link in the comments. I would love to read your posts!
Dear friends and family,
How do I sum up a year? We entered 2016 with hope and joy. In early December of 2015, we moved into our new home and were starting to settle in as we started the new year.
But life got busy. We had to adjust to changes in schedule and although they were slight (we only moved about a mile from the parsonage where we had previously resided), we found that this had a profound effect on our family. Lindsay was involved in orchestra and chorus and her middle school musical. Ethan was in orchestra and band in addition to Tae Kwon Do. The combination of all of these activities and an increase in evening meetings for Dave resulted in a frazzled family. We didn’t like it.
And then we decided to add a puppy, which has been amazing and awful and all the things you would expect from a puppy.
Introducing Sadie Pemberley Lothlorien Daye!
Our lives had become busy and crazy and we knew that something had to change. As we prayed, it became clear to us that God was leading us to start homeschooling our kids. I can look back at it now and see how God was preparing my heart for that decision, because instead of feeling inadequate or overwhelmed, I felt assured and confident that if God was calling us to homeschool, he would also provide all that we needed to do it.
Soon after we made this decision, we welcomed our new associate pastor and his dear family to join us in ministry. We are amazed at God’s goodness in allowing us to work closely with this dear family who have become like family to us. Our kids adore one another and Al and Rachael have blessed Dave and I in more ways than we could express.
As wonderful as this has been, it made for a very busy summer for Dave. We did not take any vacations and we didn’t have any of our extended family visit, so we were thankful for friends who came to see us and for our church family who loves us well.
Lindsay started 8th grade, Ethan 6th, Gibson 2nd and Ainsley preschool at the newly founded “Daye Academy” at the end of August. After extensive research, we decided to take an eclectic approach to homeschooling for our first year. It has been a successful endeavor thus far and the kids are thriving. They love the opportunity to study subjects that they are interested in and are working hard. It has not been without its struggles, but we are thrilled with the opportunity to spend time together as a family, to know where our kids are excelling and where they need extra help, and to make memories together.
While things were going well at Daye Academy, my dear mom’s health started to fail. We had planned to have her visit us for Thanksgiving, but instead we traveled out to Kansas to help her move into a nursing home. It was completely unexpected and heartbreaking, but we were also keenly aware of the privilege we have been given to be loved by this woman of God and grateful for the opportunity to be with her.
As her health has continued to decline and then hearing good news followed by a decline and then good news again, my emotions have been raw and I find myself on edge at the same time trusting God’s perfect plan, his sovereignty and his grace. Jesus being called Immanuel, God with us, continues to be a sweet concept for my aching heart. I have faced many hurts and sorrows this year, but God is faithful and He is good. So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I am reminded to cling to my Shepherd King!
And so from our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year! May you know a hope that anchors your soul in the midst of sorrows and difficulties and may you know peace that passes all understanding. In all things, may love and joy abound in your heart.
With deep affection,
The Daye Family
I blogged my way through losing Daddy and every single post your encouragement was there, your gratefulness for my words, your love for me shining through.
So how am I supposed to do this, Mama? How do I struggle through the losing of you without you being there to tell me you are praying for me? That you love me?
I can’t see the screen through my tears, yet I must write. My words have been jumbled up inside of me for too long. I have tried to be sensitive to the hurts of others, never wanting my words to upset others. My words have slowed down. Homeschooling the kids has consumed much of my time. Taking time to write has felt impossible.
But then I remember how you have appreciated my words, how they have encouraged you, how you have told me to keep writing and once again, I am drawn to this place. Because I can’t tell you. I can’t call you up and tell you that my heart is breaking and I feel adrift on another sea of anguish. I can’t tell you how I cried in the bathroom with the fan on, because my kid’s hearts are breaking too and I didn’t want them to hear me. I can’t tell you about the book that Lindsay is writing that you will never read (you would love it!). About how Ethan asked me if he could read out loud to Gibson the other day (knowing that you would understand why this is a big deal). How Gibson had to write “I will not lie. Lying is a sin.” twenty five times for a punishment the other day (and the reason why we would laugh about that!). About how Ainsley has been wearing a scarf you made for Lindsay almost every day (and how we can’t turn around in her room without seeing something you made!).
I want to tell you about the mudroom bench that your son-in-law has been making. I want to talk with you about the fact that I am finally going to make it to Mexico next year (I’m sobbing again!). I want to tell you that I haven’t had time to type up any more of Daddy’s sermons and how I hate that I won’t finish this project in time to honor you.
I love you, Mom. I know I haven’t always been good at loving you, but I am so grateful for your forgiveness. Thank you for your love for me and your willingness to grow in your understanding of me. Thank you for saying “I’m sorry”. I didn’t know how much I needed that until you said it.
Losing Daddy has given me the desire to live intentionally, not taking anything for granted and so I am grateful for these past 3 years of being able to share life with you so freely. This will always fill me with thankfulness.
Thank you for making our house a home. Thank you for demonstrating through your selflessness how to care about others. Thank you for showing me how to be a pastor’s wife and for unknowingly preparing me my entire life to support my husband in ministry. Thank you for working diligently to help provide for our family. Thank you for making countless ring bologna sandwiches for my lunches, for faithfully attending every football game to watch your girls march in the band, for taking me to violin lessons and advocating on my behalf to find a new teacher, for giving us $1 and a kiss when we went to Knoebels, for sewing many dresses (my favorite will always be the long white dresses over the red blouses!), for teaching Good News Club, leading VBS and heading up Mission Minded Kids. Most importantly, thank you for being the one to pray with me to accept Jesus into my heart.
So when you say “Bye, I love you, I’ll see you in heaven”, it tears my heart in two, but it also gives me great joy, because you have given me the two greatest gifts in life- you chose to give birth to me even when the doctor told you to consider abortion AND you led me to Jesus and faithfully taught me to love him more and more. Through all of that, you have never stopped praying for me. I know you love me, you have proven this, and I will see you in heaven, because you faithfully shared Christ with me!
I love you, Mama. Always have, always will.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. ~Joshua 1:9