Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creating Themes for Direction & Focus

On Wednesday mornings I participate in a fantastic program at our church called Mom2Mom. Each week we gather to hear a different woman speak on a variety of topics having to do with our calling as wives and mothers. One week last fall Mrs. Katherine Magnuson came to speak. Her topic was Creating Themes for Direction and Focus.
She spent the hour explaining the importance of being intentional with our lives. Creating a theme helps her to have direction for the year, to be focused and to see the things God is doing around her - things she would likely miss if she did not have her theme. She talked about leaving a legacy for our children and recording and chronicling the things God brings us through. Each year she comes up with a theme. Here are some that she has had in past years:
"For Such a Time As This" - seasons of life
"Excellence in the Ordinary" - focusing on doing all things, even the little things, for God's glory.
"We are the Sum Total of All of Our Choices" - focusing on making good choices.
"Fort Magnuson" - a year spent creating a home that was a fortress for her children. A place where they can come in at the end of the day to find rest and be recharged to face the world the next day.
"To God Be the Glory" - seeing God work and giving Him credit for it all!
"Sympthonia: Harmony for His Glory" - focused on living peacefully with others.
"The Power of the Little Things" - recognizing God's hand in everything.
"Finding Rest in Thee" - resting and trusting in Christ alone.
Each of her themes are based on a scripture verse and often have a hymn or Christian song connected to them. She then showed us her many year's worth of journals. She allowed us to flip through the pages and get a feel for their purpose and their importance. In some ways these journals are like scrapbooks. They are colorful. There are pictures. There is journaling and important information written down. But in other ways it's so much better then a scrapbook. There are no expensive stickers or paper to buy. You just need a $10 sketchbook from Barnes & Noble. You don't have to have pictures of every event in your year. You don't need to buy page protectors and use special tape and scizzors. It doesn't have to be picture perfect. There are no rules! You can use it as much or as little as you want. I used to do Creative Memories. But when you don't have a lot of money or any extra space, scrap booking is just not feasible. So this journal idea appealed to me!
But that was back in October. Months passed and I lost my excitement and motivation to create a theme for direction and focus. Then in January I received an invitation to attend a Ladies Journal Night. Mrs. Magnuson was going to meet with us at a friend's house to talk to us some more about themes and journals. I heard about it and really didn't plan on going because my life is really busy right now and I was pretty sure keeping a journal was just not something I was going to be able to keep up with. Some good friends changed my mind and convinced me to go. So an hour before the meeting was supposed to start I went to the bookstore and purchased a journal. I am so glad that I did!
On a more person level Mrs. Magnuson gave us some suggestions of what to put in our journals, how to use them, and how to come up with a theme. She suggested we include some of the following in our journals:
- Pictures
- Pages with your children's drawings, quotes and special papers
- Inspiring poems
- Quotes I want to remember
- Sermon Notes (she has her young children draw pictures of the sermon in her journal)
- A list of books you read throughout the year and what you've learned from them
- A list of books you've read to your children
- Prayer requests and answers to prayer
- Notes from trips you go on
- Mom2Mom, Sunday School or other notes
- Verses you have memorized
- Handprints of your kids
- A list of churches you have visited when away from home
- Special notes and cards you've received from friends
I sat in this meeting and instantly knew I needed a theme. I needed focus. I needed to live my life intentionally. The days pass by and quickly turn into years. I don't want to waste this time. I want to be able to look back and remember what God has done! I want to leave a legacy for my children. I want them to know how God is working in my life. I want to record all the things they say and do that I will surely forget otherwise. So I was sold on the idea. I had a new journal in my lap. I was given lots of ideas of what to put in my journal. But what I didn't have was a theme.
Mrs. Magnuson offered to help us come up with a theme. Almost all of the women had already picked one out. But when she came to me I broke down in tears. There is a lot going on in my life right now, a lot of unknowns (especially on that night)! For the last 4-6 weeks my faith has been challenged and I found myself surprisingly and ashamedly weak. I knew I needed to grow in my faith and trust in the Lord as we face some very uncertain times. I shared this with the group and they immediately began offering some suggestions of possible themes for my year, almost all of them accompanied with a special Bible verse. I was overwhelmed with how many of these sweet friends cared about my trial, truly cared - not just interested in the details of the story. By the end of the night I had settled on a theme. It was one that Mrs. Magnuson came up with.

Grace to Trust Him More

This is my theme for 2011. It's based on the old hymn, 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus and that song has been in my head since our Ladies Journaling Night.

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

We concluded the evening with a time of prayer and remembered the occasion by taking a group picture. That picture is now in my journal!

In the next few days I hope to post about why I chose this theme, why I need to trust Christ more and what He is doing in our lives. It's going to be a great year!


Kara said...

Yes! I loved when Lynn H. came and shared with our MOPS group about her journaling. And I loved what you had to say about it. Now I'm thinking to myself- Hey! It's only January, I still have time to start one for this year! I agree, it's going to be a great year.

Kara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

And I am sure that one of those friends mentioned Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Still praying for you all and the days that lie ahead.
Love, Dad Rademacher

Shelby said...

Thanks for sharing!

Kelly Glupker said...

You certainly do have time to start one! I think you should blog about what you learned from Lynn. I'd love to hear about it!