Convictions in a Craft Fair

I found myself snapping at my children last night. Little things that probably did indeed need my correction had me yelling like a crazy woman instead of gently disciplining. Have you ever been there?

As I realized my stress levels were off the charts, hot tears threatened to spill out of my eyes. I realized I had made a mistake. And it was one I could have avoided.

TheBestYes125I’ve been reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. This fantastic book talks about saying no to the wrong things in our lives so we are available to say yes to the things God has for us to do. It talks about letting go of saying yes out of obligation or guilt and saying yes out of obedience and joy. I’ve been reading off and on in the midst of other things in my life. But I should have gotten a key element already. God had given me some tools and I’d forgotten to use them.

In chapter five she outlines some simple questions to ask yourself when deciding if this is a Best Yes decision or a time you should say no. She writes about considering if this decision is one you have the resources to handle, “physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.” It’s only a small part of an awesome book, but I realized my off-the-charts stress could have been avoided this week had I asked this of myself.

I had signed up for a second craft fair. It seemed financially a good idea. I had extra inventory after the only craft fair I said I was doing two weeks ago. I was worried about affording Christmas for the kids and this seemed a practical idea. As a widow, Christmas is stressful emotionally and financially. Maybe this would help?

But as the week went on the stress of having to get myself ready for another show started to build. I had other things that needed my presence and my focus that had to get set aside. A child came down with a flu bug. Grandparents needed me to send them Christmas gift ideas yesterday and I still hadn’t ironed out a list with the kids. Sisters started bickering in escalating levels that needed me to shepherd their hearts instead of just yelling like a crazy mama to knock it off. The thought of leaving my kids another Saturday to their own devices left me torn in two yet again.

My eldest son asked me, “Is there anything I can do to help your stress, Mom?” Conviction hit my heart.

I realized that though this extra fair had looked good on paper, I had not prayed about it. How often do we make those kinds of decisions?

Two days ago I received news I would be receiving a little extra money in December. My Heavenly Father who longs to give good gifts to His children knew I longed to give them to mine. Had I asked Him, my week would have looked much differently.

I thanked my son and apologized. I told him after today, I wouldn’t feel so stressed. He said “ok.” I took time to calm down and try to gently deal with the attitudes of my girls instead of just their bickering. And I stopped trying to sew anything else last-minute and sat and enjoyed some time with my son.

So today I head off to fulfill my commitment to this craft fair with a repentant and thankful heart. My Heavenly Father is providing for more than just my needs. And He loves me enough to provide gentle correction in the midst of my chaos.

The next time an opportunity arises, I pray I will remember the tools He has shown me to weigh its value in my life and to ask Him for guidance. He has promised to always provide wisdom when we ask. We just need to remember the asking part.

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Created to Create

Today I woke up sad. Not depressed or hopeless—just sad. That sometimes happens to all of us. It happened yesterday and the day before as I headed to the only craft fair I’ve got planned this year. I realized when I came home, he would not be here to hear how my day went. He would not be here to get excited about the money I made that would make Christmas less of a financial stain. He’s dead and his presence is still missed over a year later. I realized today that tomorrow would have been his birthday.

So yesterday when the melancholy continued, I wanted to shake it off. I realized I was surrounded by mess—laundry, house, dishes—and had promised to take a kid on a Mom Date to a movie. Plus a dear friend was coming by to help plant tulip bulbs before the snow storm hits and I needed groceries. Can you blame the melancholy for lingering?

I realized that despite the extensive to-do list, I wanted to create something beautiful. I wanted to make a porch sign for my new, delightfully-set-back porch. I had almost bought one at the craft fair yesterday but the only one that appealed to me sold before I could. Upon returning home, I realized I had a scrap piece of wood about the right size. Hmmm…

Could I? Yes. I’m from a family of creative women. I could do this with just a little paint and the right font on my computer.

Should I? The answer to that one took a moment. Then I remembered something I’ve told others many times—we serve a creative God. And if I am created in His image, then I am creative! Just go read the creation story in the book of Genesis. “And God saw that it [what He had created] was good.” His creation brought Him delight.

You may read this and say you aren’t the creative type. Maybe you aren’t creative like me, but perhaps you can make numbers come together in a symphony of order on a spreadsheet that I could never do. Perhaps you can create a dinner from dozens of ingredients and hours of time that would make my head hurt. There is something inside you that is creative. It is the thing that brings salve to your wounded soul and light to your eyes.

So while at the store to pick up food for my minions, I bought three bottles of 50 cent paint. I had white paint plus primer already from the girls’ bookshelf project. I came home and did the dishes, tossed in a few loads of laundry, tidied the counters, and determined this was worth my time. I like the up-cycled, shabby chic look anyway. I could do that.

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Two sided to last a couple of months

Today I finished it. I ignored the to-do list and took some time to let being creative be a salve to the wounds that linger on my soul. It was healing. It was good. Tonight I fall asleep thankful for the beautiful children that fill my home. I’m thankful for God’s provision to buy them new clothes today. Nothing like a winter storm to reveal how much they’ve grown and how nothing seasonal still fits. A friend gave me a check for no reason that more than covered what they needed. God is good.

I also go to bed thankful I took time to sit and be creative. It spoke to something deep within me and the finished product makes me smile. Tomorrow, once the snow stops falling, I shall set it on my porch with pride.