Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Winter's End

"Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."  Acts 14:17

God truly is good all the time.  I've been wanting to post for the last few weeks, because I feel like our family has experienced a miraculous winter season.  I shared back in January how God just seemed to make sure every need we had this winter was taken care of.  The thing is, He totally kept it up.

Andy had constant work all winter this year.  And I mean constant.  So much so that he would go from one job to another and we barely ever saw him.  For the first time EVER in our married lives Andy went back to work and we were not majorly behind in all our bills and desperately needing groceries.  We weren't even behind a little bit!  It's been truly astounding to experience God's goodness on a daily basis.  I was marveling a few weeks ago about how God took care of every need we had over the winter.  Every single one!

Here's an example.  Our kids dance a lot, and once of the things we go through quite a bit of is dance shoes.  Especially with my growing son.  One week his shoes fit, and the next he's jumped up two sizes- it's ridiculous!  Well, every time we needed a new pair of dance shoes, there would be that much extra available that week for me to take care of the need.  We've had three out of town competitions so far this year- in the middle of Andy's lay off season.  We went to all three with gas in our tank, a nice hotel room paid for, and everything we could possibly need as far as food and snacks and entertainment.  We've had years in the past where we've gone to that last competition before Andy goes back to work and we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel.  We stay in the cheapest hotel we can find, pack sandwich fixings, and pray that the continental breakfast has fresh fruit so that we can take an extra piece with us.   And while that seems like such a small need, it's important to us, and important to our kids.  So not only did we have the energy bill paid in full each month, we also had the "fun needs" taken care of.

We have had wonderful adventures at our competitions this year.  I absolutely love seeing God bless my children- there is nothing better than watching them do what they love and knowing that God placed this desire and ability in their bodies and hearts.  He put that desire in their hearts, and like any good Father, he also has taken care of the financial needs necessary to put those desires into action.  I've been sitting here these last few weeks trying to decide if we should cut back a little on our dance activities. Not a lot, but there are one or two classes that I could ask the kids to drop for a year, and I am just so torn about that.  One of the reasons I am considering this IS the financial aspects of it.  The other reason is that having dance commitments six days a week has been a bit crazy for me this year, and I can't help but think that if we could streamline things a bit, my schedule could ease up a bit.

So I've been thinking on this for a bit now.  I've had a frank discussion with my daughter who is dying to do a solo, and I pretty much had to assure here that we'll look at that as a possibility for next year.  I've considered telling my son he won't be doing a duet, even though as a boy that is an important part of his dance training.  Both are very expensive additions to our dance experience... And here is where I am musing and spending a lot of time just whispering to God about it.

Because the facts are that so far, God has never given us reason to believe that our children should not be doing what they are doing.  He has made a way, year after year.  From bringing us to this wonderful new studio when our old one shuttered, to providing ways for us to work off our tuition, to simply providing work for Andy to meet the financial obligations being in dance provides.  Facts are, that right now, at this very moment in time, the wisest thing to do on a financial level is to scale the kids back to the bare minimum they can participate in at the levels they are at.  This still means a lot of dance, make no mistake, but for them it would crush them just a little bit.  But are we at a moment in time where we are to be wise, or are we to take a leap of faith?

See, in one ear, I hear the mutterings of people who are not shy in telling us over and over that we spend too much on our kids and on their activities in dance.  I'm so tired of hearing that.  I cannot imagine being in a season of parenting children and looking at them and deciding that my wants are more important than theirs.  Oh, I have a whole pile of desires that could easily be met if so much of what comes in didn't go to their passions.  But we only have these children in our possession for so long.  Soon they will grow and leave the nest, and THEN I can see to my passions and desires. God placed those desires in my heart too, but they will be met when the time is right.  But those voices don't stop, and I actually have been hearing them a lot this last week as I've been thinking on what direction we need to take with dance.  

Honestly, I wish those critics would shut up, rude as that sounds.  Because they are distracting me!!  As I'm spending quiet time talking to God about this dilemma I'm in at the moment, I keep getting interrupted by these voices of dissent.  What is the intent of these voices?  Do they keep muttering in my ear because I'm supposed to heed them?  Or are they muttering in my ear because they are a distraction of the devil who is trying to break my focus and try and persuade me to take my kids out of a world that they are infusing with the love of God?

John 10:27 says this:   "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

My discernment is not totally in focus on this issue, and I need it to be.  Decisions need to be made in the next few weeks, and I am just praying and trusting that the correct path I am to take is made clear to me.  I am praying that the voices that need to be silenced in my head will become mute and that the correct choices to be made become abundantly clear.  God's Ways are the only ways our family wants to follow, if we will only recognize His Voice when the time comes.