All Because of God: The Hearts at Home 2.0 Conference

Kathy Koch, Ph.D., Cofounder
Do you know the voice of God? Have you learned to recognize His promptings and the wisdom of responding as He would want you to? On June 20, 2017, I opened an email that looked innocent enough only to learn that Hearts at Home was closing. I had served as a speaker often at Hearts at Home conferences and coauthored a book with its founder, Jill Savage. It was a vital and unique ministry. As a friend, I was immediately concerned not just for Jill, but for thousands of moms who would find out the next day. In fact, before I finished the email, I had the strongest sense that it shouldn’t close. I reached out to Jill that day and the Board chair the next day. I didn’t have a choice. God made it clear to me as I was reading the email that I needed to reach out. I hesitated because it felt arrogant that I would have something new to say that would cause them to rethink their decision. But, I had to reach out. God compelled me to. Thankfully, the Board of Directors agreed to work with me. This quickly became an “us” as I approached friends/colleagues about partnering with me who said “yes.” I couldn’t have taken on another ministry without Lane and Suzanne Phillips. They have passion, knowledge, business, and finance knowledge that I knew I needed. And, I wanted Suzanne’s insights about families to have a broader platform than her school provided for her in Alpharetta, GA. Last Friday-Saturday, we hosted our first Hearts at Home 2.0 conference in Normal, IL Almost 1,500 moms trusted us and gathered to hear from Suzanne, myself, and five of our favorite speakers (Shari Braendel, Jill Savage, Shaunti Feldhahn, Susan Seay, and Kathi Lipp). Our worship led by Tyler and Bailey Dodds was ordained and our MC/comedian, Sally Baucke, hit it out of the park every time she was on stage. Prayers and Scriptures shared by Kimberly Oden, one of our Board members, reached deep into the women to encourage them as God listened and embraced them with His love and hope. We experienced so much! Moms were inspired. We were a unified team even though not everyone knew each other. Volunteers served graciously and sacrificially. Women came to faith in Jesus Christ. There’s nothing better! Worship glorified God. Prayer from the stage for our moms blessed and inspired them. Exhibitors eagerly connected with moms. Speakers’ messages connected with moms in all ages and stages of parenting. Needs were met. Moms had fun. Relationships were strengthened. Joy was in the place and the people. Everywhere! Many moms were prayed for individually in the prayer room. Moms were reminded of their high calling. Moms were reminded they’re not alone. Moms were helped with practical ideas. Moms ripped up lie-identities and embraced truth. Moms laughed when being reminded they don’t have to like what their children do, but loving them is a must. Moms embraced a healthy perspective about their children’s strengths and weaknesses. Moms learned practical ideas about their outer appearance while being inspired to view it with a biblical perspective. Moms were inspired to believe they are the perfect mom for their imperfect children. Moms were encouraged to let peace rule rather than cultural expectations of perfection. Moms were inspired to believe they can live on purpose with purpose. Moms were challenged to move from being overwhelmed to living with peace. Jesus was proclaimed as the One Who meets our need for security. Jesus was proclaimed as the One Who meets our need for identity. Jesus was proclaimed as the One Who meets our need for belonging. Jesus was proclaimed as the One Who meets our need for purpose. Jesus was proclaimed as the One Who meets our need for competence. All Because of God I could go on and on. We had an amazing conference all because God spoke and I was able to listen and respond. I haven’t always, but I sure am glad I followed through with obedience back in June, 2017. Since then, I’ve been motivated to listen more and do what I know is right even if it looks wrong to others. I hope you’ve discovered this place of peace and joy. We announced at the end that we are moving forward with a new name and plans. As we expand what we can do with and for you, God led us to rename the ministry Ignite the Family. The tagline is “A Movement of Awakened Parents.” We’re looking forward to speaking out with our ideas. If you’d like to watch a video of Suzanne and I thanking Jill Savage, the founder of Hearts at Home, for all she did and then announcing our new plans, watch this: Remember, listen for God’s voice. Watch for His leading. Follow Him! It’s right and worth it!

Perspective is a funny thing isn’t it? It changes with time and experience, growth and wisdom. There’s a reason that God's word instructs older women in Titus 2:3-5 to teach younger women. It’s part of His design for life.

It’s so easy, especially during the holidays, to get wrapped up in the to-do list of life and to miss the moments.

A decade ago, my husband's company began bringing their leadership team and their spouses on an annual getaway...10 days before Christmas! Sounds wonderful, right?

Perspective is everything. This year it IS wonderful. It feels like a gift from God.

However, when I began coming my children were 12, 10, and 7 years old. TEN days before Christmas I walked out the door crying as I hopped into the car! How would I bake the cookies, mail the presents, shop for the kids, host a would I even attend some of the parties and events around this magical time of the year??? It was painful.

Here I sit, 10 years later, watching the tide slip in and out. Presents are mailed, shopping is wrapped up, the Christmas menu is planned, and, for the first time, I decorated the Christmas tree alone. I didn’t love being alone as I decorated, but I had a choice. I could either weep and long for what was, or I could focus on how excited I am that we WILL be together for Christmas!
It’s my choice.

Time moves and seasons change. It is His design! We won’t escape it. This season of life is so sweet in its own way, and I am learning to adjust. We all must! If we refuse to adjust we miss the moments God gives in the place we are in. There are precious moments in ALL of the places. There are treasures tucked into ALL of God’s timing, but we must seek them out.

The first Christmas when you are SO excited, and your sweet baby is asleep the entire day. Treasure!  

The toddler who is so overwhelmed they are stunned into silence and awe, or are talking gibberish while trying to figure it out! Treasure!  

The child who runs around the house in disbelief over the gift they HAD to have or they knew they wouldn’t get! Treasure!

The middle schooler who is too cool to be excited but a side grin creeps out because the pleasure can’t be contained. Treasure!

The high schooler who is maturing into genuine appreciation offering eye contact and a sincere thank you. Treasure!

The college student who is desperate for some clothes and money, but is really just glad to be home with family. Treasure!

The married child who is building a life, working to blend and balance all of your family traditions with the traditions of another. Treasure!

Another generation of littles and bigs to love and watch, teach and shape. Treasure!  

Today, a week before Christmas, we at Ignite the Family give you the gift of perspective. If the turkey is dry, so be it. If the gift doesn’t arrive, print a picture and wrap it up. If the tree falls over and crushes the heirloom ornament, pick up the pieces and make something out of it. Don’t let the messes rob you of the moments!  Because, the moments, good or bad, WILL turn to memories!

You won’t get this Christmas back. It is the only one you will have in this season. Time doesn’t stop for us to linger!  

Treasure this time!

MAKE this Christmas a time you treasure!

Enjoy and give thanks!  

- Suzanne

Before you go! I'd love for you to take a listen to this song by Adeline Hill, an amazing singer and songwriter. She and her family are dear family friends. Eric and Kristin have poured into our family in so many ways, including marrying Ansley and Will! I have mentored Adeline for years and know her heart well.

In the season leading up to her high school graduation Adeline was coming to grips with the change of season. Adeline released “How Can It Be Time Already” just before she and my son graduated. During their graduation, Adeline sang this TRUTH!

I sat and watched my son walk down the aisle. I watched the kids who had been in and out of my house for food, fun, and bible studies sit on the front row in both excitement and tears. I sat and watched Eric and Kristin, my dear friends, in tears as their first child to leave home sang these words. I sat and watched Adeline express the deep feelings of a parent's heart, feelings that come over and over with each and every season! The words moved everyone in the room causing us all to both reflect and to be intentional with the time we have been given!

We hope in the hustle and bustle of the holidays you will allow God to use this song to minister to your heart and to remind you to treasure the time with your family!