Over the years, our families extra-curricular interests have grown, changed, adjusted to our ages, preferences, the flow of daily life. Some pursuits were short lived due to lack of interest, funds or the simple fact- it just didn't fit our lifestyle. Other pursuits have lasted well into our current daily routine. As the kids have grown, their personal interests have changed with their age. Homeschooling has yielded itself well - giving us the opportunity to dig down and explore different avenues of interest and ability.
Some of our adventures have taught us things about ourselves we would not have known otherwise. For example, if not for a deep love for horses (and the desire to be around them everyday) had not lead us to volunteer in the Leap of Faith facility, we might not have discovered one child's deep love and desire to work with disabled children. Several years of camping trips - and a few massive hurricanes - have shown us one child's gift for forestry and survival skills. Another needed a way to focus energy when recovering from physical therapy and discovered amazing needlework talents.
We have stretched our minds and bodies in various areas over the years...every adventure has been worth the time spent on it. Our participation in local 4-H opened several options to explore while keeping costs down. A local music center provided lessons for various instruments. We may have all started learning the piano or taking art lessons, but only a few of us have continued it - we do not all have the same gifts... and we shouldn't. How dull would our daily life be if that were so!
Personally, I have enjoyed watching each one of the kids develop their own love for the various areas of "gifts" we have explored; from gardening, handwork, agriculture, music and painting. All of us have the basic concept in the same areas, but some of us took the time to nurture the gift and let it grow.
Now that we have found "gifts" we can use .. what do we do with them? Use 'em, don't lose 'em is my motto. God placed our gifts, abilities, handiwork and desires in our hearts and He intends us to use them! If you seek, you will find the ways He intends for your personality and abilities to be used. We are a ministry family; we have an abundance of opportunity to use many of our gifts. Some are ministry related, some are for our own personal use, some are possibly for our future endeavors....but if we do not seek, we won't find.
Dear reader, what gifts have you explored? Are there some you want to explore but haven't tried yet? It's never to late to give it a go. Pray on it; ask for it. I generally ask the Lord to show me how to nurture and use it - or remove my desire for it (if it is not His desire for me). He has not failed me yet! Stretch your selves and explore gifts.