Lately God has been stirring up a lot in me. Most of it has been based aroud making new connections, serving in the church, and my family. And the one word that has been constant throughout all of those is "intentional." God is telling me that I need to be intentional in all areas of my life especially in making connections, serving, and within my family.

Intentional is defined as having "a determination to act in a certain way" (Merriam-Webster). My goal over the next few months and year is to live each day intentionally. If I live intentionally not only will everything have a purpose but I will feel more organized and life will feel and be more full. 

My small group is currently going through a video series from Francis Chan based on his book Crazy Love. In one of the parts that we watched this week, Francis talked about how each morning he asks God to show him the purpose for that day. Talk about living intentionally. And that's what I want to do. I am going to start waking up 20-30 minutes before William gets up to spend time with God and to pray and to ask him to show me my purpose for that day. That gives me the goal of doing each and everything that I do in a day with intention.

Specifically, I want to really focus on being intentional in making (new) connections, raising william, in my marriage, and with serving others (in church). Lately I have felt a bit disconnected as all of my friends are unmarried and still in college and obviously childless. I've been working so hard at making new connections with fellow moms within my church, because I know I can't be the only one feeling lonely (also see this great post on lonliness in motherhood from Maiedea). And since I've started being intentional about these relationships, I've met more mamas and and have gotten to know some women, better. Just this week I have two girl dates set up, another one in the works, and I'm planning on planning another one with a new friend. Abby before this year would NEVER have done all of this. I will admit that I feel a bit anxious about it all but I always feel better once I get there or after a new conversation. 

I also want to be intentional in my parenting. This, along with having an intentional marriage, is so important in raising a Christ-driven, happy family. If I am not only intentional about how I talk to William but also with his bedtime routine and the TV shows we watch around him, he will basically live a better life. If I am intentional about praying with him each night, he will learn how to talk to God and learn how to be thankful from an early age. By making sure we are watching kid-friendly shows around him, he won't become desensitized to sex and violence, which I fear many kids in his generation will be. And simply by being intentional with his routines, I'm already teaching him simple things like how to be organized, the difference between night and day, etc. Being an international patent right from the beginning is so so important because the older they get, the harder it is to change their thinking, it's not impossible, but it is harder and they may miss out on certain things. 

Healthy marriages must have couples working together intentionally. Whether it be being intentional about communication and/or being intentional about spending time without the kids, your marriage will struggle without those are intentions. Not to say that being intentionally will fix/prevent all of your problems, but it does lessen the chance of things turning into struggles and it also gives you hope and peace that you can overcome those struggles because you are intentional about communication. With a relatively new baby in the house, it's so so important for Seth and I to start periodically setting aside date nights now that William can easily have a sitter watch him for an evening. I don't even want to think about the struggles we would have if we didn't have us time and if we didn't set aside time just to talk life and catch up with one another. I've seen many marriages and relationships fall apart because they were not intentional about communicating with one another. 

Lastly, I want to be intentional about serving, specifically serving in my church. My church is in such a cool stage right now, we are growing so much our main campus is practically bursting at the seems, we're opening a third campus, and the entire congregation is just on fire for God. It's the most amazing thing to see and feel and be a part of. Since Seth is on staff at church, I'm privy to some things ahead of time and I'm jumping out of my seat excited. Seriously! As I sit here I'm getting exciting just thinking about everything. I haven't felt this passion since I first started attending my church. Somewhere over the last years I let life take hold and church was kind of there but I wasn't bursting with excitement and passion anymore. Until now. Not only have a started to make some more connections at our campus but I have also emailed our campus' children's director and expressed interest in not only jumping back in volunteering in the nursery but also helping to lead things, I've joined the leads time for our Young Adults ministry and love it, and I've signed up for a monthly women's Bible study which starts in 2015 (without even knowing who else was signing up). I am intentionally working on serving more in the church so that I can share my love for Christ and my passion for my church. My hope is that this will help others come to Christ and will have a sort of chain effect. 

Everyday I am going to ask myself, "How can I be intentional today?" Whether it's being intentional about cooking something healthy for dinner or making a point to communicate with Seth about something specific, my goal is to be intentional in everything and do everything for God.

My challenge to you: How are you being intentional in your life? And how could you be more intentional day to day? 

Abby Barstowfaith, intentional, life