What is Christmas?

Lying in bed, about to fall asleep

I started wondering, “what is Christmas to those who don’t believe in Jesus?”

 

Is it an excuse for shopping & eating?

A great day for giving & receiving?

 

It’s interesting  how so many celebrate this joyous holiday,

You would almost think everyone in America is a believer for one day.

(Strictly judging, of course, by the yard decorations and the money we pay.)

 

I started thinking about Christ at his birth,

No room in the inn, He was placed with the animals in the manger and laid amongst the dirt.

 

It wasn’t a royal welcome, that is certain.

But, that’s ok.  Jesus knew He was coming to a world that was hurting.

 

You see, sometime long ago Christmas was set apart, and that is a blessed thing.

Our culture created a way to recognize, and honor, our King.

 

We must be careful with our merry-making and vacation-taking,

That we don’t give in to the Christmas-faking.

 

It’s true everyone hasn’t yet heard, some are still mistaken,

The world didn’t create itself and not all is forsaken.

 

I’m sure it could be more eloquently said

But I just wanted to share again, “God is NOT dead.”

 

Santa is fun, but that’s not why Christmas is here.

This gift God gave –still undoes me every year.

Christmas is about the birth of our savior, let’s make that clear.

 

Maybe this is the Christmas that the whole world will hear,

Jesus came for us, celebrate Him and have no fear.

He will return for us, the day draws near.

 

 

 

Passionate

Last time I blogged, I confessed that I felt like I had been in the “time out chair.” I’ve spent a good amount of time in that chair,  going from day-to-day life asking God where my passion had gone….I was beginning to think that I was passion-less. I was beginning to think I had stopped being passionate about my opportunities, my future, and my ministry.

My oldest son is a fifth grader and his teacher assigned the class a “passion” project last week. I just giggled to myself because I thought, ” this will be interesting. Does a 10-year-old know what his passion is?” To my surprise, he had an entire page list of his passions and even had written a paragraph explaining what “passion” was to him. In his words, “passion is the tiny flame that is started when you love…Its a lot of things. It’s what you’re doing for fun, not for money.”passion pic

I love that. So simple. I was humbled to see all of his passions written out on paper when I had been searching so earnestly for my own ONE true “passion.” I was making it complicated. It isn’t complicated.

You see, I haven’t ever felt anything BUT passion for my family, but it was almost like any outside identity of myself and my own passions had faded dimly into the corner of my mind. I wonder if any other moms, or thirtysomething’s, can relate? It is easy to get locked into our daily routines. It is easy to be single-minded and lose focus of our passions. It is easy to stop dreaming about our “big ideas.” Sure we have hobbies that we enjoy, but what are we most passionate about?

So,I finally realized that my passion hadn’t left me…I finally discovered what my passion really is, in fact, it was so profound to me that I nearly laughed myself out of the chair. I was looking for some “great” idea, and God simply revealed to me that my passion IS, and ALWAYS has been, PEOPLE.

I love people.

People are my most treasured blessings. The Bible says it is the second most important commandment, love God and love your neighbor. (Mark 12:31) Too often I forget that is an important part of my purpose here on this earth.

I love  hearing people’s stories, I love having people in our home, I love getting to know their families, I love serving in our church with them, I love serving them. I just love people. Big people and small people. All people. I am passionate about helping people grow in their faith, I am passionate about being a good friend, and I am passionate about family. Biological or the family you make by choice. I am a PEOPLE LOVER! Revolutionary, right? It really isn’t. It’s simple. I want to love others well, and that can be hard. Messy even. I’ll take messy or hard over passion-less A-N-Y-D-A-Y!

That doesn’t really fit into the little box that I thought my “passion” would belong in, but I wanted to share. I can’t be the only one that has been wondering if their passions were still burning! We should live PASSIONATELY!

Feel free to tell me what you are passionate about here on the blog, chances are I am passionate about you and would love to hear from you!

All our love!

The “time out” chair? What?!

I feel like God has had me in the “time out” chair. Does that sound crazy to you? Am I the only one that has ever felt like God has set you aside so you could reflect, process or just cope with your situation for a minute? During this season of a new beginning here in Colorado, the Lord has allowed me to become very quiet….and for those of you that know me well, then you know this is a supernatural event in itself! 🙂

When I think of the time out chair I think of correction and loving discipline….I also envision my toddler-aged boys throwing fits as they sat on the bottom stair begging to be finished with their punishment. You see, for me, “time out” has been a go-to disciplinary technique since our oldest, who is 10 now, was old enough to need it. There were definitely situations when it seemed effective and other times when I thought it would be easier to use a different form of behavior modification in an effort to move things along more quickly….with less crying and fit-throwing, as I mentioned before. Nonetheless, I totally support “time out” as a great tool for correction and I believe God has allowed me to endure a season of a “time out.”

In short, I feel like God has allowed me to become silent and distant from so many of my life’s distractions so that I could begin to see more clearly how He is at work around me, in me, and in my family. To use a word from the Bible study I am currently doing, I have been “STUCK” in my “time out” chair waiting for God to reveal why He has me in Colorado, I’ve been waiting for Him to show me where my “sweet spot” in ministry is, I’ve been waiting for Him to give me wisdom on how to parent my special needs child….just waiting to have clarity..

And waiting.
And waiting some more.

Waiting for HIM to move me…..

All the while, slowly (painfully SLOWLY at times) seeing that He is meeting me and keeping me….equipping me to live in a new place, showing me my new sweet spots, establishing my new routines, building my faith and strengthening me for the new part of my journey. God has been redirecting my uncertainty towards His sovereignty.

This was a revolutionary idea for me, just maybe our Heavenly Father uses the time out chair, also.

For months I have thought of sharing different aspects of our journey in church planting here in Colorado, I even started drafts on this blog and didn’t publish them. I have not had any peace about what I would write or how to put into words all the things I have been feeling. Some days have been filled with His glory, and our church is seeing His faithfulness unfolding weekly. However, there have been many days I have searched for Him and felt like I couldn’t see Him.

He allowed me to get really desperate for Him, again. It has done my heart some good. If I’m honest, though, there may have been days that I  looked like one of my toddlers sitting on the stairs throwing a fit.

DSC_1020_2I have been “Stuck” and I finally feel like He is recharging me and allowing me to move forward. If He has you in the “time out” chair, I hope this encourages your heart….Sit tight, He is on the move. Keep praying and reading His word. Get real with God and with others. It helps, I promise.

…..Just maybe, He is waiting for you to finish your fit before you can get out of that chair! Please continue praying for our church, Storyline Fellowship. Thank you for continuing to lift us up.

All our love.

*side note: the Bible study I referenced is written by Jennie Allen and its called “Stuck”. I highly recommend it if you are interested in a great study, check it out!

The New Kids On the Block!

Being the “new kids on the block” is both challenging and rewarding. It has certainly caused us to step outside our comfort zones, but its a process that is sharpening us in many ways. We are certain God has us here for a purpose and we feel both lost and found, emptied out and filled up, fearful and excited…Does that make sense? However, nothing makes you feel more connected to your new neighbors than a great block party on a gorgeous day. The Broncos opening season win didn’t hurt either! 

After one month of adjusting, unpacking, and learning our new routines and rhythm, the dust is starting to settle and the reality of our big move has sunk in. We have laughed, and cried, at the difference one month can make. Some days it has felt like years since we left Arkansas, other days it seems it was yesterday.

Rather than getting into the countless opportunities and minor obstacles we have encountered, I thought it would be nice to leave you with a few thoughts about our biggest blessings since our arrival, and dozens of pictures of our new adventures in Colorado.

  • Did you know our sweet babysitter moved with us? She made the decision to come with us the day Jud was leaving town. Having her here with us is honestly another example of God’s faithfulness to our family. It is no small thing to leave home and move across the country. We are humbled, grateful and amazed that God would send her with us!  She is a great help with all three of our children, especially with Lydia, and has been a babysitter to several of our team members.
  • Another great thing God has done is that he placed our boys in the SAME classes as their cousins that are in their same grade. Jacob had been praying that this would happen. What a great answer to prayer! (Let the shenanigans of these cousins begin.) 🙂
  • Storyline hostessed a Pastor’s Conference to cast the vision for our church and more than 20 churches attended. We were encouraged and motivated by the response we have received from that! God is MOVING! Our launch team has grown to around 55, and more are adding to our team daily! It has been amazing to watch our team unite with a one-mindedness and authentic love for Jesus and one another. 
  • As our team is growing, so are our opportunities for ministry. We have secured a great location in a large high school auditorium, it seats about 400 people, and we are in warp speed preparing for our first preview service in November.
  • We are also pleased to share that we really love our neighbors, at least the ones we have met! 🙂 Many of them have gone out of their way to introduce themselves and have taken time to try and connect with our family.  Our children seem to be enjoying their new schools, and God is allowing us to meet new friends daily.

We miss you all terribly, thank you for your emails and texts letting us know you are praying for us! We pray for you always,and we ask that you continue to pray for us. We love you.

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13 Reasons Why I LOVE Him!

photoEven though we don’t  have it all figured out, we have each other!

In this season of saying many goodbyes and in the middle of a whirlwind of preparations  to uproot our family,  I have to take this opportunity to celebrate my man. Exactly one week  before we load up the moving truck, we are blessed to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary! Does that make us sound old? Nah. Afterall, we were babies when we said our “I do’s.” Hehe.

It hasn’t been easy. I’m sure at moments we have both felt overwhelmed and underappreciated. By the GRACE of GOD we are here today and I can’t imagine anyone I would rather have by my side. In a tribute to him,  here are 13 reasons why I love my husband:

1.  He tells me that he loves me. (Nothing hard, but I need to hear it!) *Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives.”

2. He prays with me. (We haven’t always done this, but it has been a game changer for our marraige. It’s hard to know what blessings we have seen in our marriage as a result of this, but I’m sure they are significant. I am thankful.) *Matthew 18:20 “Where two have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.”

3. He says thank you. (I like that he notices whatever it is he is saying thank you about. I know its a simple thing, but it matters to me.) *Proverbs 31:11 “Her husband has full confidence in her.”

4. He likes my cooking and prefers to eat at home. (It’s important to us to sit around the table and have that time as a family, I can’t think of one meal that I have cooked that he has complained about and there is NO WAY all of them have been good.) 🙂 *Ecc 8:15 …”Eat, drink and be merry.”

5.  He is a hard worker. I’m grateful that he enjoys a hard days work and that he has a great work ethic. * Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit.”

6. He loves the Lord. He takes us to church. I’m sure that this commitment to our God is the only reason we have been able to weather the storms we have faced. *Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”

7. He is humble, never really needing any recognition for anything he does. (This is another reason he may be a little upset with me, now that I have posted a public display of my affection for him!) 🙂 *Proverbs 22:4 “Humility is the fear of the Lord.”

8. He makes me laugh. *Job 8:21 “He will fill your mouth with laughter!”

9. He loves his family. It’s one of his greatest characteristics. I love watching him with our kids, and the love he has for them melts my heart. He would do anything for his family, its a noble and endearing quality. *Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my  house we will serve the Lord.”

10. He isn’t afraid to admit he is wrong. 1 Corin 4:2 “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”

11. He lets me be myself.  *1 John 4:12 “If we love one another, God remains in us…”

12. He is a good friend. My very best friend. *Mark 10:8 “The two shall become one flesh.”

13. He is a good man. Enough said. 🙂 Job 8:20 “God will not reject a man of integrity.”

Marriage is work, but it is totally worth it. Marriage is a beautful thing! I hope I haven’t embarassed him too much. This year’s anniversary also happens to be the same day our church  commissioned us to go on mission with God in Denver. WOW. Only in God’s plan and His timing. What a special day to celebrate both of our greatest adventures! We are definetly not the same couple that pledged to stay married 13 years ago, thank you, Lord! I pray we grow old and gray together.

Making the DAYS count, not counting the days!

If you have spent time with my family, prayed for my family, or even texted and attempted to spend time with us in this last month, thank you! I know how precious everyone’s time is, we are all busy, it has been a sweet season of togetherness for our entire family. We are down to three weeks left in Arkansas, and we are making a big effort to make the days count without counting the days we have left!

A funny thing happens when you start to live like you are leaving, life becomes a lot more INTENTIONAL! People that love you want to have more time with you! In our case, a new thirst for our closest relationships seems to have been ignited, and this time has been sweeter than I could have ever imagined. We have been SOAKING up the love of our family and friends, and I hope to be able to continue to make more time for those loved ones that we haven’t yet spent special and precious time with. (It is easy to take our loved ones for granted, and I hate to admit that I have been guilty of it. I would encourage you to look at your own relationships to see who you have been neglecting. Prioritize those that you love!)

It’s crazy to imagine how different life will be at the end of this summer for my family. While we have been staying up later, sleeping in, spending more time with friends playing, grilling out, catching fireflies and shooting fireworks, our hearts are preparing to say goodbye and that won’t be easy. However, we have universally decided that there are two things we won’t miss: mosquitos and humidity! 🙂

Please keep us in your prayers as we gear up for the big move! Colossians 4:3 “and pray for us, too, that God may open door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.” We are getting excited about the plans God has next for us, yet we are continually humbled that we are even invited to be a part of His work. His invitation is for you and your family, too.

* Did any of this blog relate to you or your family? Let us hear from you. We would love your feedback! Much LOVE to you all.

Home Sweet Home

Did you ever feel like God gifted you a really cool surprise and then wrapped a bow around it? That is the best way I can describe it.  Wonders will never cease to amaze this simple girl! Aside from the question of what we will do when we get to Colorado, the number one thing people have asked us about is our home and if it has sold. Wouldn’t you know our home would go under contract 6 days before we closed on our new home in Colorado? The house had been on the market for about 50 days, and we had felt a great sense of complete peace about the timeline that we were facing with needing it to sell.  You see, our “surprise” calling has had many terrific and glorious moments, but the punctuation mark on all of it is that the people buying our home want to close the same week we are planning to leave for Colorado. In the big scheme of it all, it’s one more sweet piece of our journey with Him in this new adventure. If nothing else, it has given us a true sense of awe in all that our Abba Father is capable of doing. We never doubted for one moment that our home would sell, but we were realistic that it might not happen in the timeframe that would be ideal. Who are we kidding, though? It goes to show us that our God really never is late, never early, but always on time. (I just have to keep reminding myself of that!) 🙂 

I’m not saying it was easy to turn over our brand new, custom made home to God. In  a lot of ways we felt like we would be leaving our “Eden” if we were to sell our home and move across the country to start a church.  We had been living in our new home about 8 months when God began revealing to us that He had other plans for our future. We had spent about 6 months designing and building our home to suit our daughter’s disability and the future needs of our growing boys. Did I mention we had only been living in it 8 months? 🙂  We took a lot of pride in having such a lovely home. At one point we wrestled with the “why” of what God was asking us to leave behind. We love our home, we love our yard, we love our neighbors and our neighborhood. We wondered why God would want us to leave all of it.  Through much prayer, God lovingly showed us that our earthly home is no comparison to what He has in store for us….At the end of the day, we decided that some of these temporary things can keep us from finding God’s best for our lives.  The parable of the Hidden Treasure took on new meaning to us. In Matthew 14:44 it says, ” the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (NASB) He is worth more to us than our earthly possessions, and sometimes He asks us to lay them down at His feet. The spread of the gospel is our responsibility, the souls of men and women and future generations is at stake. 

We say all these things to boast in the Lord. Our God is alive. He is faithful.  His has all authority and all power. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for our home to sell! We feel assured our God has once again proved Himself worthy of all our praise! Worthy of all our TRUST! 

I love that in Psalm 138:8 it says, ” The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” No matter how hard we try to be in control or direct or own lives, our futures, the God of the Universe will fulfill his purpose for ALL of us. That is a promise we can stand on. I vote we all surrender to His calling, accept the free gift of salvation He offers,  it will surely be the best thing we could ever do. 🙂 Image