Bring Joy to Others + Watch it Change Everything

HOW TO BRING JOY TO OTHERS // www.angiewarren.com

Today I decided I would start finding ways to bring joy to others. As I pulled through the Starbucks drive through it hit me: I’m going to give a genuine compliment to at least one person I see out each day.
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This barista looked like she was having A DAY, you know the kind. I adored her tattoos and told her as much. She was so caught off guard it took her a moment to respond. As it sunk in, I watched her shoulders perk up. She just needed a little love.
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Do you need to pull out of a funk? Try making someone else smile! I’m no stranger to funks: five years of great, deep loss - but gratitude and giving have done me a lot of good.
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Same goes here online! We hard-working women come across other just as hard-working women every time we scroll and developing a connection, a real relationships? It does the BOTH of us good. So take a few moments tonight to cheer another lady on. It takes a village, and we are the villagers!

Jenna Kutcher Quote / www.angiewarren.com

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Dear Friend, What if We Had Coffee?

Angie Warren // Writer

Dear friend,

If we were to meet for coffee, I would likely be a few minutes late. I would apologize profusely and then want to buy your drink.

I'd wear cozy yoga pants and my Uggs, maybe a baseball cap. You'd sit across from me while I sip my iced coffee and you sip your ___________, and we would chat, like long-time friends.

I want to imagine it's possible. This coffee date together. I want to hear your heart and share mine too. What would we talk about? What would you ask me? What would we laugh about? What might we cry about?

In the words of myself circa junior high: write back soon.

Love, Ang

2 Timothy 1:7

Angie Warren

The other night my husband showed me this verse and my bible has laid open here, by my computer since. I take it as no small coincidence either, as I sit down to begin to work more towards a dream I've had since I was a child: to publish a book.

There are many steps to be taken first. I need to take one specifically, and I need to take it this week. It's in my weekly goals, and staring at me starred in my inbox, yet I've busied myself with just about everything else.

Am I avoiding out of fear? Is it apprehension? Insecurities? Yes, yes, and yes.

But here and now, I'm reminded that He hasn't given me a spirit of fear, no, He's instead given me a spirit of POWER. So I'll take that power and believe He will do good things.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not if fear but if power and love and self-control.


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Set the Ducks Free - When Things Don't Go As Planned

So that faith thing? It's hard sometimes. Even though I know God has a plan, even though I know He knows best. Man, there are days where I want to know the plan, like, now.

We got some disappointing news this weekend about our "homeschool plan". I almost laugh typing that because, we can plan and plan until the cows come home, but our plan means nothing if it isn't His plan. Amen?

Amen.

So, we didn't get into the Charter we hoped for. But, we will trust and wait and have faith.

I'm finding that I'm being stretched through this all.

You see my nature, in my past experiences, I tend to dive right into a project, business, plan. I dive in and tread water and eventually, sort of, drown, because I'm so burnt out.

God isn't allowing that to happen here, and realizing that has been mind blowing. He's giving me no choice but to, be still. To wait. To trust. To take it, slow.

Taking things slow isn't my first reaction. No, not at all. But here, in this, I have no other option. Yes, the kids are still in school (five weeks, but whose counting?). We have all summer. Yet, I want to plan and prepare and have all my ducks in a nice little row.

And God is saying, "Angie, set the ducks free. This isn't a project, or a new business venture. This is bigger than any of those, I want you to do it right. Set. The Ducks. Free."

So I will. I'll let the ducks go. I'm certain that some day I'll look back on this, this, "disappointment", and I'll know there was a better way, that this route, wasn't for us. I'll be thankful.

And until then, I'll still choose thanks, and joy. Because He's brought us this far, He'll take us all the way.

The Circle Maker and the Miracle (Our Homeschool Story), 2

If you're just popping in, be sure to read pt 1 of the story: The Seven Year Prayer.


In January of this year, our small group at church began a video series by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. I was intrigued. The premise of the book is: Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long. Batterson talks about the story of Honi, a man who changed everything when he drew a circle around himself in the dirt, praying for rain, and refusing to leave the circle until the rains came. Guess what? They came.

The four week series drew me in, as he asked us "What's YOUR biggest dream? What's your Jericho?".

I thought long and hard over this, dumbfounded at the idea that my biggest dream could be, anything I wanted it to be. So often I've thought I needed to pray hard for others, for things needed. But to pray about something, I wanted? I felt selfish. Soon, I began to realize actually, God wants to hear about what we want. He wants to hear about our dreams.

Soon, my dream of homeschooling made it's way into my thoughts, quickly I brushed it away thinking, nah, it won't happen, there's no changing the fact that my husband's heart and mine aren't in the same place.

Boy was I wrong.

The Circle Maker inspired me. I began to believe, trust, hope. I prayed over Matthew 21:22, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." I circled it. Literally. I wrote it on the chalkboard wall, on post it notes. I told a few friends, my grandma, and asked for others to circle it too.

I did this every morning, as the sun was still sunken behind the hills, long before my babies would wake for school. I prayed, and I believed.

I told God, "I believe you'll do a great thing - but if this isn't what YOU want, please remove it from my heart, because to be honest, this is exhausting. Year after year, conversation after conversation. It's yours, not mine, it's not in my control, it's in Yours."

A few months later, I decided to have the conversation, prepared for the reply I'd gotten every year now. Instead, he listened, asked a few questions, voiced a few concerns, but said yes, he would pray about it.

Say what?

He. Said. He. Would. Pray.

Internally I was screaming, outwardly, I was trying my best to put on a chill face. Not sure I accomplished that, but I did my best.

The following weeks I spent in great anticipation. I continued to circle the verse in Matthew, to wake before the sun, to pray over this. I'd made it this far, but there was still a lot of Jericho to go around.

The next conversation was rough. I felt defeated and discouraged. I wasn't sure how I would ever change his heart.

I forgot, it wasn't my job to be the heart changer, no, it was my job to be the prayer warrior.

Husband asked me to create a proposal. This is like asking a Panda if she wants to eat Bamboo. Um OKAY. I set to work, designing a gorgeously branded, nineteen-page, PDF to present to him. Yes, I know, I take things ten steps too far. Whatev.

Weeks I worked on this, researching, planning, praying. I poured myself into it. Finding local co-ops to join, planning activities and possibilities, and even making both personal and academic goals for each of our three children.

There was no stone un-turned, no page un-read. All the t's were crossed and i's dotted.

In the meantime, God was working in other ways:

  • Left and right friends came to me, unknowing that this was brewing, to tell me they had decided to home school. In fact, two of these are two of my closest friends.
  • The leader of a boys group our guys are joining soon, mentioned casually he and his wife just started homeschooling their little ones. WITH THE CHARTER WE ARE APPLYING TO.
  • An old buddy of Justin's was now in touch with him, praising he and his wife's choice to home school. WITH THE CHARTER WE ARE APPLYING TO.
  • Our basketball coach gladly agreed to let the boys play in his league regardless of where they attend school.
  • Luke's teacher not only supports the idea, but has been one of the biggest encouragements, offering to help in any way we need in the coming year. (Have I mentioned how much I love her?)

I could go on and on, it seemed that daily, something happened, or fell into my lap. I could almost SEE the Lord smiling down upon me.

Then just as I was finishing the proposal, we had an eye opening appt with our oldest's therapist. An amazing, wonderful, Christian, man. Divine intervention if you will.

We're now in the process of a probable ADHD diagnosis. Which, if you've been through it, explains, everything. It's almost a feeling of, relief. So many mixed emotions.

His therapist then said the words that about made me cry, "it's too bad there isn't an educational option that would really allow him to learn the way he needs to learn best."

And with that, and half hour more of talking, our therapist told me that homeschooling could really benefit Danny right now, learning how he best learns - instilling the lost confidence, encouraging his wounded spirit, reminding him he is capable, intelligent, and worthy.

Needless to say, the following day, as I handed my lovely, brightly colored, proposal to my husband, I felt a peace beyond description.

I smiled, sat next to him, and watched God do a miracle.

When the words "I 100% support this, let's do it." came from my husband's mouth, I felt as though Heaven had nearly opened up and rained unicorns and rainbows upon me. Or endless iced coffees and gift cards to Target.

No really.

Really.

Tuesday April 12, 2016 I witnessed the biggest answer to prayer I've ever seen.

We're gonna homeschool.

We're gonna homeschool.

We're. Gonna. Homeschool.


The Seven Year Prayer (Our Homeschool Story), 1

They need knowledge, but they also need just as desperately to keep the creativity they were born with.

My pal Sharon McKeeman wrote these words on her blog, and when I read them recently I stopped in my tracks. Because this sentence, these words of hers, perfectly summed up what my heart is bursting to sing.

Desperately. They desperately need, I desperately need, our family desperately, needs.

And so, here begins part one of our story. I'm thrilled to share that, the Warrens have decided to bring our babies home, to educate them here (or outside, or at the beach, or in a car, or on a tree...).

The journey to this place is not a short one, or has it been easy. I'll tell you one thing, one big thing, and that is this: God has heard the prayers, seven years worth. He's done it in His timing, He's handed me a gift I thought for many long years, I'd never have the joy to receive. He's done this humongous, great, vast, incredible thing - and I'll not speak of it quietly.


Homeschooling has always been on my heart, let me re-phrase, it's been a huge part OF my heart. Since our Danny entered Kinder in the fall of 2010, I've wanted him to be home. My husband however, did not share that heart tug with me.

This is the topic that drove massive amounts of misunderstanding, hurt, anger, and the like, into our days - all the things that tear down a relationship.

Each year, we sent our kids off to school, both public and private (all GREAT schools, all three of them our eldest has attended). But each year, my heart hurt. It physically, ached. I'm the mom that cries when summer break is over, or holiday weekends. My children are loud, and wild, and crazy - but I genuinely enjoy them home, under my wing.

So every year, as school registration approached, I timidly brought the idea up, only to remember, my husband's heart wasn't aligned with mine.

The funny thing about not getting what you want is, years later, if you're super lucky, you'll see why it was the best thing that you did not get what you wanted, in that time.

I see it now. I eat my words. I smile and nod.

I wasn't in the right place, our kids weren't. God wasn't ready to give me the desire of my heart, because He knew, in His sovereign foresight, that it wasn't the right time.

Year, after year, after year, my heart hurt. I watched friends share their days through social media, those friends that home-educated. I envied that, oh did I. Was that right? Of course not. Still, the heart wants what it wants.

So I prayed some, here and there. Sighed and gave up, yet again, on the dream to school my kids at home.

Husband had concerns, valid concerns. Many of them. Concerns that a lot of people have.

Did I feel hurt? Sure. Did I want to be rebellious and do it anyhow? Yes, often times I did. Do I see now, that again, timing wasn't right? In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 even? I do, oh I do.

Do I share this to bash my husband? Hardly. Not a bit actually. In fact, he is often wiser than I give him credit for. God was doing a great work in us both, in our marriage, in us individually. I share this to encourage you. As I was encouraged just a few months ago by a dear friend (thanks Tara!!).

Whether you're hoping to get your husband on board with homeschooling, or something else. Hear me when I say, choose grace, joy, even contentment through it.

I urge you: pray without ceasing. Give it to God. Honor your spouse, whether your hearts meet on the issue or not, love them.

Love them, love them, love them.

Be still, and know that whether it be seven weeks or seven years, He hears our prayers. He is good, all the time. Even in the midst of wondering what the bigger picture is, in the midst of the aching.

Tomorrow, I'll share part 2. The Circle Maker and the Miracle.