Wednesday, December 19, 2012


But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

I am currently trying to teach my daughter what the word "wait" means.  My husband and I are working with her, so that she grows up realizing that sometimes, it is required of us to wait, and although waiting is not always fun or desirable, it is an important life lesson that must be learned.

My daughter is always thinking.  She has a way of reflecting on events and/or discussions that really always surprises me.  Upon being asked to wait, she ALWAYS says, "Mommy, waiting is hard!", but recently she stated with reflection well beyond her years, "Waiting feels uncomfortable, mommy."  I could think of nothing, but, "Yes, it does."

Currently, I am in a bible study that explores the results of a time when people in the bible were unable to wait on God, and therefore suffered great consequence.  Abraham and Sarah wanted a baby so badly that they had Abraham commit adultery to get one, resulting in a pregnancy and birth of a man who would spawn a nation of a religion contrary to the Christian belief system.

There is another story about a man named Saul who lost his job because of impatience.

The Israelite people walked all over God's timing, and He continued to have mercy on them.  I can relate to their impatience, but poor Moses...sort of.  

God's timing is often confusing, frustrating and well, just hard to understand.  In my lifetime, I have been forced more times than I like to remember how it feels to wait for a silent God to give me the answers I WANT!  I have had to wait.....and wait...and wait some more.  I think the toughest truth for me is that sometimes, we are waiting for things that just aren't God's will.  Sometimes, we are waiting faithfully that God is going to do what we want, and not trusting that He is working all along to give us exactly what we need.  Aligning our desires with God's will is a mystery to me, but I can say with conviction that every time I have allowed God's timing to prevail over my life, it has worked out exactly the way it should.  

I found some great material to share.  Below are some great tidbits that I feel minister to me in times of "waiting", so hopefully you will glean some truth from them also.   

 Here are a few things God does for us when we wait for him:

1.  He humbles us

Waiting helps us realize that we are dependent creatures.  We’re not the captain of our souls or in charge of our own destiny.  We’re not self-sufficient, but we live by every mercy dispensed from God’s hand.

2.  He teaches us to seek him
Waiting on God is not passive.  As we wait, we seek.  We pray, we beseech God.  We cry out “How long, O Lord?”  We ask, and knock and submit our requests to God.  If we got what we wanted right away, we wouldn't draw near to God and we’d miss out on the joy of his presence.

3.  He teaches us to trust him
While we’re waiting for God to save our child or meet our needs we stretch our faith to the limit.  We trust, though all our circumstances tell us to despair.  As we wait, our trust grows.

4.  He builds patience and perseverance into us
The only way to get patience is to have to wait for something.  Perseverance only comes through enduring trials, failures and persecution.

5.  He reveals what is in our hearts
What comes out of your heart when you don’t get what you want?  Grumbling?  Hard thoughts of God?  Or praise and trust?  When you can wait with a quiet heart, you know God has done a work in you.

6.  He helps us to treasure him above the things we are waiting for
He teaches us to find our contentment in him.  He is our portion, not anything in this world.  Only Jesus can truly satisfy us.  No person or thing that we wait for can satisfy us like Christ. 

7.  He makes mercy sweeter when it finally arrives
We appreciate blessings more when we've prayed and trusted and waited for them.  We appreciate health more after sickness.  And how much more will we enjoy our eternal weight of glory after our temporary, light afflictions.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A baby changes everything...

That describes this Holiday season.  I am allergic to nuts.  I see them, and my throat just starts to get itchy.  So, I truly understand that silly sentiment that life times...nuts!

Last year, I had a newborn during the advent season.  Our Evan was born on November 30th, in all his infinite neediness, and life as parents of two children began, whether we were in the busiest season of a pastor's life or not.  I have to admit, leading up to the event, I was nervous.  I thought I would be drowning under the responsibilities of mothering two children, while my husband was away planning Christmas Eve services and telling the masses about the baby in the manger.  I worried (Yes, Christians worry) that I would not be able to care for them.  I even worried that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to put them both to bed!  

However, it felt surprisingly peaceful.  I didn't need to be anywhere or off solving anyone else's problems.  I was taking care of my family and myself as I recuperated from having a baby.  People brought us food and took care of small needs.  Our church family respected the fact that we just a had a baby, and allowed us the space needed to get through the transition.  In a season where I thought chaos would ensue, the meaning of the manger was magnified as I held our son and enjoyed Christmas.  I cried a lot.  I cried when I thought of Mary, and what it must have been like for her.  I cried when I heard about caring for a baby in a stable.  I cried when anyone sang about it.  I cried, thinking of Joseph, and how confused he must have been.  I cried when I realized the magnitude of the shepherds getting to meet the savior before anyone else and what a gift that must have been.  I just....cried.  Giving due credit to hormones, I am realistic that some of the actual crying may have been related to post pregnancy emotions, but I believe, because I was able to focus on Jesus and what really happened that night in Bethlehem, I was able to enjoy what we mean when we say,  "The reason for the season".  

So, what am I getting at???  I shouldn't have to have a brand new baby to be able to reflect on a specific baby.  I don't want to be worried about anything else but a baby.  A baby who was born into a world that hated him and eventually killed him.  A baby that had a mommy who loved him so much, but had to let him go.  I want to be slowed to a stop by a baby who was born to die for the sins of mankind, my sins.  A baby who grew to be a savior for me and for you.  I want to have this focus all of the time, but now, at Christmas time, I want to worship, with my whole heart, the truth that the love I have for that baby that was born just to die, should resonate with me more than plans, presents, or obligations.

What are YOU doing to focus on that baby??  


Monday, November 12, 2012

What's in a number?

Well, I'm 30~ 3 decades down.
First of all, how did this happen?  Second, it isn't so bad.  When I was 16, I thought 30 seemed so old.  I  never really remember imagining my life as a 30 year old as any specific way.  I don't remember thinking I would be married with kids, or working, or doing anything specific.  I suppose this is weird  but I never had a plan.  I remember thinking that it was the end.  Old.  I do, however, remember thinking that it would be the summation.  The "me" at 30 would be the "me" I would be for the rest of time, however long that would be....and that would be it.  

I was wrong.  So, what's in a number?  Specifically, the number 30?

1.  Mistakes - I've made lots of them.  Many, Many hours of untamed, unruly, stupid mistakes.  Some were life-altering, some were path changing, some were silly, some were crazy, some were not my fault.  Some people say mistakes make you who you are, and I suppose that is true.  When I look back at my mistakes, I do really want some kind of good to come out of them.  One thing is for sure, they have made me realize my need for a savior.  I look back at many of these mistakes and want to change a few.  I would, if I had the chance, but we can't, so as I age, I am more careful.  As I reminisce on this point, I know with all I am that having Jesus has changed my perspective on life and therefore allowed me to "Give myself a break".  

2.  Children - Childbirth is NOTHING like they portray on TV - This makes me laugh because it was a total shock to me.  The actual act of childbirth is a dignity stealing, sometimes embarrassing, and painful reminder that the really good things in life, require reeeeally hard work.  It IS true, however, that I would put myself through it 10 more times to experience the love a mother feels for her steamy, slimy, bloody, crying, matted, bundle of pure perfection, wrapped tightly in a blanky, needing you more desperately than anyone has.  Never in your life, except the moment you hold that child for the first time would you look at a picture so worldly grotesque and just see, beauty.  I am already positive that God is real, but if I wasn't the creation of my daughter and sons would have done it for me.    

3.   I LOVE my children.  I would die for them.  I would die a painful, horrible death to protect them.  I lay awake and think of them, everything reminds me of them, and I am always wondering, praying and hoping for them.  I can't really remember life without them.  The most amazing revelation about the love I feel for my children is that I love a savior who died that death because He loves them even more than me.  Amazing.  

4.  Beauty - I have seen many beautiful things.  I have experienced beauty that the Lord has orchestrated just for me.  I am beautiful, and it took me way too long to realize that.  Above all, I have learned though, that, "Beauty is fleeting, and charm is deceptive, but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised!" Proverbs 31

5.  Success -  Success is relative.  When I was younger, success was a degree, a great job to go to every day, lots of money to spend on things, people being happy with my choices, and recognition for all that I did that day and every day.  Success now -   Well, let's see:  Almost every morning, I wake up before the sun, prepare coffee, read my bible, pray, and then listen and wait for my children to wake up.  When the moment arrives, I feed my children, I change their clothing, I embark on some sort of cleaning activity, I do laundry, I wipe the same counter 6 times in one hour, I diaper plastic baby dolls, I build forts, I wipe tears, I clean up toys, I prepare meals for my family, and entertain imaginary friends and silly ideas.  I rarely go to bed feeling like I did a good job that day, and even if I did, no one seems to notice.  Being a mother has been my highest calling and I am trying to make "success" of the job.  I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can achieve this success is to take a day that God has given me, give it to Him and ask, humbly for direction, because He and I know how inept I am on my own.  The reality:  My children don't care how many degrees I have, how well I can sing, how much money I have in the bank, how much cleaning I accomplished, or who I pleased that day.  They just want me, all of me, even when I don't have anything left.  Success, now, is knowing I can't do anything by myself.         

7.  Mean Girls - They aren't just for High School.  They come with you, even uninvited, and they still work really hard to hurt you.  There are people that end up in your life who take and go.  God has helped me decipher who should stay and who should be kept at a boundary.  I still have people in my life who just take, but I am learning that the greatest lesson Jesus taught is to choose the high road and "turn and offer then the other cheek".  This is hard, but somehow worth it.  

8.  Bad relationships - Sometimes bad relationships are just that, bad relationships.  What did I learn from being in those bad relationships?  Don't get into another one.  

9.  Change. Is. Hard. It burns. It tears. It refines. It sucks! Gods ideas are better than mine.  I haven't learned this yet, but I am watching change all around me, and learning to see that the plans God has for me are not plans that will harm me, but plans that will give me hope and a future! (Jer. 29:11-12). I have begun to learn to hold on tight and see what happens, trusting that God is directing my steps.  

10.  All advice is not gospel.  The practices, schedules, child rearing, and methods that work and are important for my family and my children are not the practices that will work or are important in every one else's family.  One of the hardest things about becoming a mother was not adjusting to "the new normal" and parenting, but dealing with women who judge, discuss, condemn me, and adjudicate their ways and methods on my life.  I learned to get over this quickly, and you should too.  :)  

11.   Listen to women who are older than you and have gone before.  Contrary to giving time and energy to anyone in #10, gain wisdom from women who have "been there".  I have one friend, specifically, that I appreciate more than I can put into words.  She is wise because she knows what it is like to be "here".  Find that friend, and soak it all in.  God puts people in your life that will make the path a bit smoother.       

12.  Eat slowly.  No one ever taught me how to cook before I got married.  My husband was raised by a PA Dutch cook, so we were in quite a predicament when I couldn't even make minute rice.  Furthermore, our daughter is allergic to half of the food chain and cooking, in my home, is challenging.  I actually HATE cooking, but have gotten pretty good at it.  It takes me about an hour + a day to cook dinner for my family, and I refuse for it to take 1/4 of that time to eat it.  We sit.  We enjoy each other.  We talk.  We listen.  We eat and appreciate that we have hot dinner every night.      

13. Realities - A woman's body NEVER goes back to the way it was before having babies, happiness is not found in a store, in a dress, in a relationship, in a job, in an idea, or a building.  

14.  I have learned that I should never stop dreaming, no matter how old I am.  More importantly, God wants me to dream big.  

15.  Purging my closet needs to happen yesterday.  The clothes are never going to fit again, and that is OK!

16.  As healthy as I become, I will do things that I grew up seeing and learning.  I must rely on God daily to keep me from falling into a pit of dysfunctional behavior.

17.  No matter how good my point is, if my presentation is crappy, no one will hear it.  Yelling solves NOTHING!  

18.  My kids will survive if they occasionally eat candy before noon and watch more than an hour of TV a day.  

19.  Some people are born without directional sense.  I am one of them, and I don't care.  I will sit happily in the passenger seat and be driven.  If you want me to drive, be prepared to give me directions, and please don't ask me if I realize we were just here last week.  I know we were, but I don't know how to get back.  I really don't know how to get anywhere.  :)

20.  I have learned to laugh at myself.  It is imperative   It really IS the best medicine.  

21.  My siblings will always have my back.  I have a twin sister and a younger brother.  We are very close.  We talk almost every day, all three of us.  We grew up in a challenging environment and could have left hating each other, wanting negativity for each other, or celebrating each other's failures, but we didn't.  We love each other.  Actually, we don't hang up the phone without telling each other so, even in turmoil.  They are some of my biggest supporters and I am one of theirs.  We make mistakes, we hurt each other, we argue, and yell at each other sometimes, but at the end of the day, I want the best for them.  I want all of their dreams to come true and pray the best for them.  I love the people they chose to spend their lives with, and consider them family I am blessed to know.  They aren't jealous of me or what I have, they are happy for me.  They believe, as do I for them, that I deserve every happiness.  I will always be grateful for them and love them until the end of time, no matter how mad they sometimes make me.  They have seen me at my worst and love me anyway.  No matter what is happening  if I need them, they will come.  I love them.  They rock.  I am blessed.        

22.  Picture albums are overrated.  A shoe box  stuffed with memories will eventually make its' way to a fancy little album.  Relax.     

23.  Reading the book is better than watching the movie.  Hands down.  

25.  The things you thought would matter forever are sometimes difficult to even recall.  

26.  The people you thought would be forever friends, are specs on your timeline.  It isn't that I don't remember them or love them, but I find it interesting that the people I thought I would never part from, are in other parts of the country or the world, living their lives without me and me without them.    

27.  Marriage is hard.  It is one of the most challenging endeavors God has ever blessed me with.  Every day I learn how hard to deal with I really am!  Marriage is something any child, teen, or adult is familiar with, but until you experience a marriage, you cannot truly grasp what it really entails.  My marriage to my Godly husband has challenged me more than anything ever has.  I have been challenged to communicate better, become more forgiving, more subservient, more kind, and less judgmental and condemning than my human flesh can stand.  It is a daily struggle against evil.  The biggest trick the world's perception of marriage plays is to try to convince that, in a marriage  a good marriage, a person's needs should always be met, and your spouse should always be working to make happiness, reality.  This, although picturesque and sweet, could not be further from the truth.  Needs go unmet, lovey-dovey romance is the exception and grossly unrealistic, and sometimes, one spouse needs more love and attention than the other.  My joy must come from the God I serve.  Only when I trust God fully can I meet the needs of my husband, and the same goes for him, which, by the way, he does better than me.            

28.  My husband is my ultimate best friend.  He thinks I am lovely, even when I don't deserve the title.  He has seen me at my worst, most disturbing moments and has kept me.  I am going to keep him too.  He is, by far, the most amazing man on the planet.  I love him more every day.  He takes care of me and our children, and although he doesn't always get it right, I have begun to learn to give him a break.  Especially because above all, I have learned I am far from perfect.          

29. Without God, I am nothing.  My purpose lies in my faith that He is in control of the details of my life.

30.  I haven't seen nothin' yet.....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Pastor is my best friend.....

Life in the parsonage is crazy.  I recently saw a funny little cartoon about what people THINK goes on in the parsonage as opposed to what actually does.  Of course, I can't find the cartoon, but it was a little something like this:  A beautifully dressed woman, delivering steamy hot pancakes, to a perfectly made up table with well mannered kids, with an hour to spare before needing to walk out the door.  The other side of the cartoon depicted reality:  A woman with hair still in a towel, with 5 minutes to spare until needing to be in a building across the street, throwing out food that she is pretty sure now has poop on it, two children crying, and one of them stripping through the house, bare butt and laughing.  

I am pretty sure when God made me a pastor's wife, he was at the peak of his sense of humor, because I am convinced He created me to prove any misconceptions wrong.  Anyway, I have been, as all wives are, created to be my husbands helper.  This is hard for me sometimes, because not only was I raised not being exposed to Jesus, but I was raised by a single mom.  She played both parts.  Slice it whatever way you would like, life growing up in an environment where the woman of our house made all of the decisions made me a no nonsense, take charge, make decisions kinda gal, which bucks against God's plan, and often leaves my husband and I at odds.  I am working on this.  I have come leaps and bounds and God's grace is amazing.  

With all this said, I marvel at my husband.  This being Pastor appreciation month, I would like to write a blog, honoring my pastor who also happens to be my husband, my best friend.  I sometimes feel that people are shocked to discover that my husband has limitations! They are stunned to find out that he has the same number of hours in his day that they do in theirs, or that he couldn't somehow fit more into his day than they do.

I love my job as the wife to the Minister. I'm responsible for that smile on his face when he walks confidently to the pulpit.  I'm responsible for that spring in his step when he heads into the church office.  I'm responsible for that dapper suit and tie he is proudly wearing.  I'm responsible for that good attitude that helps him to face disgruntled members or difficult counseling situations.  I have a big responsibility and I take it seriously, because you see, my minister-husband isn't complete without me.  He needs me.  He needs my hugs and kisses, and pats on the back, and cheers, and smiles, and "amens"!  Well, call me arrogant; but quite frankly, I feel like I'm important to the whole project.  You see, I go with him everywhere he goes, even when I don't leave the house!  I wish I always got this right...I don't. 

However, I try as hard as I can because I know, at any given moment, unlike any other profession, someone needs my husband.  When I says needs, I mean NEEDS.  Not that anyone else's husband is never needed, but my pastor husband is called to do many things, many people couldn't handle.  He is called to be emotionally, physically and/or mentally available at the drop of a hat.  He walks with people through the fight's of their lives and sometimes, tragedies.  He sees people at their saddest, maddest, and most passionate moments, and is called to walk with them through it.  He watches individuals that he loves make damaging/toxic choices.  He sometimes knows every dirty detail of the sin in people's lives, and gives hours of energy to trying to help them overcome the sin, just to end with watching them, devastatingly, walk into Satan's grip and be overcome.  He sits by, watching death take its' grip and enjoys visiting new life.  He remains silent when it is appropriate and uses words when it is the right time.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, he can recall scripture for situations that I wouldn't even want to hear about.  He mourns with mother's, widows and friends.  He listens to the seemingly hopeless circumstances of others, and offers support the way God calls him to.        

The reason I marvel:  He loves it!  He doesn't love watching others suffer, but he loves what he has been called to do.  He will run out of the house in the middle of the night to be with someone who is losing their loved one, he will spend hours, praying and thinking on a problem in someone else's life, he will worry and love and fight with you, not because he has to, but because he wants to.    

Knowing all this, I can send him out the door with a joyful, happy, loved feeling, where he can tackle the tests and wrestle the enemy to the ground. Or I can send him out the door with a heavy heart, full of hurt or anger, where he will quickly be overtaken by grief and anxiety, unable to jump the smallest hurdle. I am not the Senior Pastor (thank God, or we wouldn't have a church to worry about!) and, though my input is valuable to my husband ultimately, I am not responsible for the way money is spent, ministry is done or employees are hired.  My job is bigger than all of that!  When I do my job, he can do his.  

As the pastor's family, we know and accept his limitations. We're glad he's human. We even get to remind him of that every now and then, but we love him just like he is — human and all! We are his helpmate.  We serve him as he serves the church. This is a very important role. I often feel we need more education to do our job than he does to do his!  

We know exactly how hard he works, we know what he takes home with him, we know if his heart is heavy or frustrated or happy.    

I want him to know how proud I am of him.  I want him to know I watch him and feel exhausted.  I couldn't ever do what he does, or hear what hears, or know what he knows and am enamored by his ability to manage and love the church and still have energy to manage and love his family.  I wish I could love like he does.  He has care and concern and tough love and advice for everyone, and then comes home with a special store for us.  

So, as this Pastor Appreciation Month rolls to an end, I want my pastor to know how much he means to me.  I want him to know how much this life wouldn't make sense without him, and how blessed I am to have found him, and how wonderfully fortunate I am to have him father our daughter and sons, and how absolutely humbled I am to be able to simply call him.....mine.   


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Facebook....real or imaginary?

I have a growing hatred for the social media site, Facebook.  I can't stop the hatred.  Hatred is a strong word.  My daughter would say, "Mommy, that's a bad word."  We will use loathe.  Yes, much better. ;)

I should give you the back story....

I am having a bad day.  Not an obvious bad day.  I did fun things today, and had positive interactions with my kids and my super cool gym buddy that outweighed the negative ones.  I just had a day.  A day that doesn't want to end without rendering me helplessly crying for no reason.  That kind of day.  If we are honest, we all have them.  I am really honest, which, by the way, gets me in trouble a lot, but that's neither here nor there.  I decided to write, because that is what I like to do to feel better.  It is hang with me....I think you are going to agree with what I am saying. :)  

So, what do I do with my bad day???  I log onto the happiest place on Earth.  A place where anyone can be anything they want to be.  A place where the ultimate insult is blocking someone or writing some cryptic status about something you are angry about.  I log on, and begin lurking around.  I see certain people who only comment and "like" certain people, another attempt to throw weight around behind the scenes of shiny laptops or IPhones or any other vice of choice.  I am more of a Facebook stalker I guess.  I kind of just soak in information and then log off.  I like to post pictures of my adorable kids and write about things that they say and do, and post my blogs, but most of the time, I stalk lurk.  

As I lurked around, I must have rolled my eyes and sucked my teeth 6 million times.  God must have logged on at that moment, because I got an invisible private message to "knock it off and fix your attitude."  I logged off.

It got me thinking though....does anyone really like Facebook?  I mean, really like; enjoy logging on, look forward to logging on, or gain positive thoughts from logging on?

There are some reasons I enjoy Facebook.  I have maintained friendships with people who I rarely get to see.  I love following people's lives in the social media world and seeing baby announcements and wedding announcements and the like.  I love when I can connect with friends from high school/college and see where life has led them, and reconnect with them in that way.  Sometimes, I find out things I must commit to prayer for people via their statuses, and similarly  posting a quick request on Facebook gets anyone plugged in, praying right away.

I will not delete my Facebook anytime soon, I guess, although I think about it daily.  I am keeping it for the good, the positives.

Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks this.  In an attempt to feel somewhat normal, I googled, "hate facebook".  Hysterical.  Really.

How does one stay away from the nasty stuff???  How does one ignore the attempts of shun from other people??  How do we ignore the attempts of mean girl attitudes???? I am legitimately curious, because, I guess if we are all honest, Facebook just makes our bad days, worse.

I have a little thought experiment for you to participate in or not.  It helped me. :)

1.) Is Facebook our God?

If I am spending more time on Facebook then reading my scriptures, or doing anything else, there is an influence problem. A worship problem.

2.)  Is the cyber me helping me to see reality?

As stated, I let Facebook wars and silent attempts at my happiness get to me.  We should not let this happen.  We should worship the truths of God, not the so called truths of our Facebook friends.

3.)  Is my Christian witness suffering? 

If we cannot maintain our witness on Facebook by being integral, kind, loving, etc., should we really be a member?  Are you airing your dirty laundry and compromising your walk with Christ?

4.) Is Facebook taking away the peace that I have in God's truth about me?

Is Facebook aiding me in seeing myself as God sees me, or as others view me?  Is having a Facebook account causing my confidence in the good promises of God to fade away?

5.) Am I honoring my spouse/family?

God wants us to honor our husbands/wives.  Are we putting something on Facebook that dishonors our family?  Are we giving our spouses what they need when we are reading and keeping up with our friends, rather than the needs of our husband?

6.) Are you stealing?

When are you on Facebook?  Are you at work?  Stealing time from your employer, is stealing,

7.)  Are you lying?

Is the YOU on Facebook, the YOU of real life?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Church Hoppers.....

I came across this fantastic blog today that shed some light on something that frustrates me greatly.  I always seem to be inspired by things that frustrate me.  I don't know if that is a problem, or a sign that God wants me to do something about the frustration?!  

Either way, this is fantastic.  I thought about putting my own thoughts together, but I would not be able to say it better.  :)  So, here is what I want to share.....let me know what you think.   
This frustration has to do with "church hopping".  The article was written by Dr. James Emery White from his blog over at  Enjoy....and share....

First, a working definition: church hopping is going from one church to another without committing to any one church for any significant period of time (which makes it different than legitimate church “shopping”).

As Betsy Hart writes, hoppers reflect a growing tendency to decide, after they have officially joined a particular church, that “Oh, that pastor down the street is a little more high-energy than mine,” or “Gee, the music here isn't really meeting my needs right now,” or “I really am not crazy about that new children’s church director.”So they hop from church to church.

The hard-core hopper never even makes an initial commitment. They perpetually float between churches, pursuing a Beth Moore study at First Baptist, youth group at First Methodist, weekend services at Hope, Grace, or Community Church, marriage enrichment events at …well, you get the picture.
What’s driving this? 
For some, it’s simply the consumer mindset of our culture at work.As Hart writes, “Church ‘hopping’ is the ultimate ‘all about me’ experience.” They take from various churches whatever it is they perceive to be of value without committing to any one church either to serve or support.

For some, it’s insecurity.They have to be wherever they think it’s “happening” in the Christian world. I know of pastors who joke about a “migratory flow pattern” among Christians in their community who are constantly church-hopping to the “next” thing in church life.They move from one church to another, looking for the next hot singles group, the next hot church plant, the next hot speaker, the next hot youth group.Many times they end up full circle where they began, because their original church suddenly became “next.” 
For some, it’s spiritual gluttony.They want nothing more than to be “fed,” and when they feel they’ve eaten all a church has to offer, they move on where there is the potential for more food – as if that is what constitutes growing in Christ or being connected to Christ.
For some, it’s refusing accountability.A pattern of sin is pursued, or a choice made, and they leave for a place where no one knows, and no one asks.
For some, it’s avoiding stewardship.If they are not committed to any one church, there is no obligation to give or serve at any one church. They can float above sacrifice without guilt.
For some, it’s emotional immaturity.A decision is made they don’t agree with, a building campaign is initiated they didn't vote for, a staff change is made they didn't like, so they take their marbles and go play somewhere else.
I know, I know. None of these reflect well on the person leaving, which intimates that anyone who leaves a church is somehow in the wrong, and that is not fair.In truth, there can be times to not simply hop, but leap. If there is scandal that is simply not addressed, doctrinal heresy, or patterns of abuse, you should leave.But for the typical hopper, it’s not time for self-justification, but loving admonishment.
First, church isn't about you. Sorry, but it’s not. It isn't one of many stores in a mall that exists to serve your spiritual shopping list. Church is a gathered community of believers who are pooling together their time, talent and resources to further the Great Commission.
Find one and start investing your life.
Second, the very nature of authentic community is found in the “one anothers.” Love one another, serve one another, encourage one another; this cannot happen apart from doing life with people.You need community.
Third, the absence of a ministry you desire may be God’s call on your life to start it, rather than leave to find a church that has it. Remember, every member is a minister, and has been given at least one spiritual gift for service in the life and mission of the church.
Fourth, you aren't going to agree with every decision the leadership of any church makes, regardless of its structure or decision-making process. You either feel you can trust the character of the leadership, or you can’t.And being able to trust that leadership doesn't mean they will always do things the way you think they should.  In other words, don’t hop every time you disagree. That’s immature.(And for goodness sake, don’t stay and pout or politic, either. Either get on board once the decision is made, if it was one that didn't breach doctrine or ethics, or find a place where you can.)
Fifth, don’t worry about being fed as much as learning to feed yourself. Even more, concern yourself with taking what you already know and applying it to your life, and then helping to feed others who are new to the faith!
Finally, spiritual depth isn't fostered by satiating your sense of felt needs. It’s receiving a balanced diet of teaching and challenge, investing in service and mission, living in community and diversity that you probably would not select for yourself.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Greater love.....

We all know them.  We have all experienced this.  You know people like this.  People who seem to think they have the job of convincing you and everyone else how terrible you are.  People who twist your words and create a character of "you" that is off base.  People who are perhaps jealous or envious of your accomplishments and will stop at nothing to make you feel sad or miserable.  It hurts, it's annoying, and it is exhausting.  

I think the worst part about all of this is that, most times, these people are people you just can't leave behind.  They could be family, co-workers, friends you see ALL of the time, etc.  It would be easy to leave the toxicity for the birds and march on our happy way.  Through prayer and study, however, I have found that God is leading in a direction that requires absolute humility.  

I am sure I am the only human in the world like this, but for me, humility is HARD.  Especially when you have these people on your heels, waiting for failure.  Failure that would launch them into happy dances.   

This type of "thing" is not going away, so with the help of some recent prayer, study, and thought, I have come to some hard, but peaceful solutions to dealing with individuals who want to see you hurt.  It comes down to LOVE.  I really want to know what GOD calls me (and you) to do when I (we) feel undeserving of an attack.

First, we must understand LOVE. The love that we see, hear and experience here on Earth is a love that scowls at anyone who disagrees.  Earthly love demands us to love, accept, support, and subscribe to anything a person thinks is important.  We are called to LOVE everything, as long as it feels good.  This worldly love calls us to smile and nod at anything anyone says is good no matter the cost.  This love is giddy and blind.  It creates happy thoughts and rainbows everywhere you look.  Love, here on earth, makes a rainy day sunny.  Tune into the radio, go see a movie, turn on a sitcom, watch a commercial, drive past a jewelry store, you name it, you will see it.  Don't get me wrong here!!!  I love love.  I am in love.  I am head over heals for my handsome husband.  I have some really close friends who are just the coolest people God has gifted me with.  I love them, and they love me, and the blessing of love feels great!    

The Bible teaches two sides of love.  One side of love accepts and forgives people just as they are.  The other acknowledges truth and requires righteous behavior.

THIS...this is hard.  The other side of the love God sent his son to help us understand, biblical love, is something I may never understand this side of heaven.  Biblical love demands of us our full attention.  The LOVE of Jesus is something totally confusing.  Biblical love describes a man, a savior, Jesus who loved us so much, he DIED for us.  He was born for one purpose, to die for men who hated Him.  In light of this love, we have certain responsibilities.  This love requires change in us.  This love enters our hearts and demands requirements for behaviors, put limits on our actions, and muzzles on our mouths.  This LOVE has limits as to what HE will put up with.  This love always cares, but does not always accept.  This love demands these changes because WE are changed.  We shouldn't be able to behave "any ol' way" when this love enters in.   

So, if you're like me, you are confused.  Can we stay away from people that hurt for sport, or do we have to deal with them?!?!?!  For me, this is the worst!!  I mean, we have this savior who died for pitiful me and pitiful you (I mean that with all the "love").  A savior who died for men and women who hated Him.  A savior who loves men and women today who hurt Him and hurt others on purpose.  We are called to model our lives after Christ.  What does it all mean??? 

Thankfully (I am literally praising Jesus for this truth), it has been laid out for us if we are willing to search for the answers.  I am, because confusion is confusing....:)  

1.  His love and righteousness go together.  The Psalmist has said: "Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other." (Psalm 85:10).  God calls us to be like His son, but at the same time, He wants us to require righteous behavior from one another in our relationships.

2.  Maturity in a personal walk with Christ plays a HUGE part.  A mature person sees when they are in the wrong and changes their behavior (1 Corinthians 11:31).  However, everyone we encounter may not be mature in Christ or even have any clue as to what God says about behavior.  When we are confronted with this, we must chose to turn the other cheek and pray for that person to find the Jesus of the Bible, not the God of their personal agenda.  This is where boundaries with that person become especially important.  During the time of prayer (take note that this is not prayer for fire and brimstone to rain down on their pretty little heads), a healthy separation may be what God calls of you.    

3.  The Bible makes it clear that if we do not see what we are doing wrong, it is up to other people to tell us.  Check out Galatians 6:1.  This is not your opportunity to shout to the world what the person who hurt you has done.  Or like the people of 2012, it is not your God given right to create a back-biting spiteful Facebook status (see point # 2).  This correction must be done in COMPLETE humility and compassion for your brother or sister in Christ.    

Matthew 18 15-17:  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.  If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But, if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If they still refuse to listen, tell the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 


4.  If you have confronted a person who makes it their life goal to make you miserable, prayed for them, and corrected them in LOVE and RESPECT and HONESTY and HUMILITY, and they still won't change their behaviors towards you, it may be time for more severe boundaries. 1 Corinthians 5:11 is rough, but states perfectly the idea that if a brother or sister in Christ won't "stop", then YOU should stop associating yourself with them.  Please check it out, but, for now, I will spoil the ending: "Do not even EAT with these people."  It is not Godly to allow evil to go on when someone is in denial of their sins.       

5.  I think this should be number 1, but I will include it and humbly say that it may be the most important step.  Well, I should say that it is the most important one for me!  Influence is derived from what a person spends the most time doing.  If a person is practicing evil, practicing deceit, focusing on evil, and focusing on revenge, they WILL NOT SEE what GOD has for them.  When someone hurts you, it is most important to spend time in prayer, spend time in prayer FOR the person (again, prayer pleasing to God), and self reflective prayer.  The last type of prayer demands you (believer in Christ) to look within at what offense you have committed.  Being able to SAY SORRY and MEAN IT to someone who will gloat in your apology, feels as humiliating as hanging on a cross in plain view of mockers.

The LOVE of Jesus is described perfectly in one of my favorite verses.  This verse is from John 15:13, and says, "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends."  


Sunday, August 5, 2012


Philippians 4:8

"Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

This may be the most convicting, yet freeing verse for me.  I often find myself, as everyone does, faced with making choices.  Some mundane, like What should I eat for breakfast, what should my kids eat for breakfast, what should I wear, etc., etc.

But what about the choices that have a bit more weight?  Like, how I should be treating others?  Or, how should I be responding to my husband?  Or, how should I respond to my children?  What issues and events should I be giving time and energy?  What should I be watching on TV?  What should I be filling my mind with?

The one thing I have learned in my short time here on earth is that the choices I make that hurt me or others (husband, children, friends, etc,), often have common themes.  These themes include things that are NOT true, noble, right (in God's eyes), pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.  I often find that when I feel off kilter, I can trace back to a decision I made where I did not consult scripture.  I did not consult my guide and compass, Jesus.  

At times, I find myself really focusing on what 'I' want out of life.  I begin to focus on me and the offenses made against me.   I focus on people and the choices they are making that hurt me or my friends and family.  I focus on things that will entertain me.  I focus on things that are fleeting.  I focus on the right now.  

However, if we claim to know Jesus,  He calls me and you to a higher standard.  He calls us to focus on HIM; true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy HIM.  The choices that have that weight I spoke of have an impact that we need to take responsibility for.  The silent choices we make, like entertaining ourselves with things that would make us blush in the presence of Jesus, affect our marriages and examples to our children.  They affect our walk by pushing us further from HIM, and they send us down a path that does not move anyone towards Jesus.  It DOES matter what we choose!    

I have never read the Harry Potter series, but I recently came across a quote, posted on Facebook, by J.K Rowlings.  The quote reads, "It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."  Who we are in Christ dictates our choices.  If we are able to make questionable choices, questionable when put up against scripture, who is our guide?  Furthermore and perhaps more importantly, our choices show other people who we love.  I want people to know I love Jesus, but do my choices always show others this is true?  I have to question my love for my savior when I am able to make choices that point in a direction other than things represented by the words, "true and noble".  I have to discern my thoughts when I can choose entertainment that is not "right or pure".  I am forced to stop in my tracks and evaluate who is my guide when I am spewing from my mouth words that are far from "lovely and admirable", and I have to get on my knees in reverent worship to Him when I have strayed from that which is not "excellent or praiseworthy".

Allow your steps to be governed today, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 16:9). 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guest Blog - "Lessons in Wifehood: The Chains of Shame"

When Elizabeth first posted on her Facebook page about wanting to delve more into marital topics and perhaps even begin an endeavor to write a book, I applauded her and began instantly praying for her and her family in this endeavor.  When she asked me to share a story from my testimony where God has worked in my marriage, I was and am humbly honored to be a part of what she is doing over there at  

My story is a twisty one, but God has done miraculous works in my life.  When I look at where I was to where I am now, I am awed by HIS mercy, grace and acceptance.  My husband and I are like any other young, married couple, working hard and holding on, for dear life, to what is very important to us: a marriage that honors God and brings glory to HIS Kingdom.  

My guest blog deals with past sin and redemption, shame and freedom, and beauty from ashes.

Please go Go check it out, and while you are there, check out other great marital wisdom and encouragement, inspired by the God we serve, written by His servant, Elizabeth!!!

Love In Christ,

Thank you Elizabeth - you are doing God's work well!  
Warrior Wives is a breath of fresh air in a much needed time!  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hopeful Parenting...

I am about to admit (probably for the trillionth time) something that no one else reading this, does.  I am about to tell you something that would make you judge me, talk about me, tell your friends about me, pray for me (that wouldn't be so bad), and discuss me.  

....This woman.....WORRIES!   

That's right, I worry.  At times I am anxious, fearful and downright scared.  Pathetically, I sometimes even worry I worry too much!  I am being facetious, of course, but honestly, this is my thorn, and prayer is my only place to go. 

One of the things I worry the most about is whether or not my children will grow up to love Jesus.  I realize that by the advent of free will, the choice will be theirs, to follow Jesus or walk away.  I feel, however, it is mine and my husband's job to see to it that they have a Godly, loving home of which to base their decision.  I believe, and scripture backs my belief, that if my husband and I work to establish a firm foundation, we give our children a strong, very good fighting chance against Satan's constant attempts to cause harm.  

So, in a desperate attempt to make this happen, coupled with my limited experience/example of a loving home, I am embarking on a parenting "study", and I have decided to share my findings and growth with you, whoever you are.  I picked up a book from the Library entitled, "hopeful Parenting" by David Jeremiah.  Besides my rockin', smokin' hot hubby, he is my favorite pastor.  The thing I like most about David Jeremiah's teaching is the humility that shines through.  He has done a pretty fantastic job raising his four children, but still claims no fame or recognition for himself.  He gives ALL of the credit to God, the Father!  I love that!  

Jumping in!   

One of the most fragrant reminders to me, as a fearful parent, raising little ones in the world today, is that, "despite frightening headlines and cultural pressures, our God still sits firmly on His heavenly throne and promises to give us the strength and wisdom to build Christian households filled with Godliness and laughter" (Jeremiah, p 14).  What an amazing reminder we must never forget!  I must never forget that "With God, all things are possible" even the seemingly impossible task of building thriving Christian families (Mark 10:27).  

One of the scariest things, for me, is to raise children, "in today's world".  You hear that statement so much.  I believe I am guilty of saying that once or a million times.  It sort of has become and subconscious default for me; one to protect myself from feeling guilt if something in my parenting goes terribly wrong.  However, God does not care what world we live in.  Well, let me clarify....he cares, but He doesn't want me to use that as an excuse.  He is not surprised by the tabloids, the mass quantity of girls who throw up their food to meet the media's standards, the parade of porn and half dressed women flying before your son's impressionable eyes, and the millions of people suffering from an HIV/AIDS epidemic because of promiscuity and UN-safe sex.  He has not been caught off guard by the content of the character of those entrusted with our little ones, the manner at which our children's minds are twisted to believe the newest theories about religion, or the way in which the sanctity of marriage has been dragged through the mud.  Furthermore, He is not stunned or shaken by the fact that He is not allowed to be spoken of in a public school setting.  He isn't nervous, He isn't fearful, He isn't worried....He is God; the same God who helped parents, parent children in the 1950's!!!  I MUST remember this and I MUST hold onto the fact that,
"God is able to make all grace abound to [me] you, so that in all things, and at all times, having all that [I] you need, [I] you will abound in every good work"  (2 Corinthians 9:8).

"But, what if I can't figure it out until it is too late?"
"What if I fail first and realize it second?"

What if, what if what if???

I have this ongoing conversation with the God of the universe.  I am often so relived He doesn't just walk away, because even I would walk away from me.  I know, at times, I hear Him saying, 

"Well, what if you just trusted me...?"   

I have to believe I can really do this!  I have to believe I can actually raise children who turn into adults, who bless the community in Jesus' name.  Even before I gave my life to Jesus, I look back and reflect on moments where Grace abounded!  He could have left me there in that miry pit, but He didn't!  He could have never shown me how to follow Him, but He did!  It was miraculous that He still wanted me!  

So, I have to believe Him now.  I have to believe Him when His Bible definitively promises that He will never give us a task without the resources to see it through to its' full potential.  When He tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6), He also promises that "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).


My husband and I often talk about what kind of memory we want our children to have of us.  If you are following my blogs, you know that my husband is a pastor.  This may sound strange to you, but if you ask him, he will tell you that one of his most favorite aspects of the pastorate, is to reside over a funeral of a Godly person with a Godly legacy.  Although it may be sad at times to see the ones you love leave this Earth, having the honor to listen to the legacy of a truly Christ-like person from the mouths of their children, has to be one of the most humbling experiences.  To hear them speak of their mom or dad, and proclaim that Jesus was Lord of their life, that they lived in light of this, and strive to love their children as Christ loves all of us, is a glimpse of heaven on Earth.  Every child of this type of person, have eyes that sparkle when speaking of their parent.  I don't want my children to be forced to make things up at my funeral, they won't be fooling anyone, anyway.  

Put it into Practice

These are some things I am going to work on this week.  If you want to come on this journey with me, feel free to come aboard!    

  1. Begin with the end on mind - Jot down what you hope your children will say of you, at your funeral.  (What eternal values do you hope to leave them as your legacy?)
  2. What things, activities, or ideals do you see as eroding your family?
  3. What can you deliberately do to counter these things?

Leave your comments below - they truly bless me!

Jeremiah, David. Hopeful Parenting: Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God.  2008.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hands off!!

The whole world is online.  The whole universe is accessible at the poke of a finger.  The children born in this decade, will never know a time when mommy and daddy did NOT carry a device on their hip, in their purse, in their pocket that rendered them "find-able" at any given moment.  My Nora recognizes when I do not have my phone with me, and promptly reunites me with the device, asking, of course, to play Angry Birds. :)

Everyday, we are given a certain amount of time to impact the little people God has given us. We are given precious fleeting moments to spend time with our children.  During these moments, we can love them, help them feel loved, teach them, influence them, talk to them, ask them questions, hear their answers, show them how to be influential, and show them God's love through our actions.  We have the ability and potential to do these things to create productive, secure, loved children.

We somehow, however, choose to spend this fleeting time much, much differently.  We spend the day on our phones, talking to friends and/or relatives for hours, while the little ones meander about, finding menial things to occupy their minds.  We spend this time snapping at them when they interrupt these conversations, putting them in front of TV sets,  pushing them out of the way so we can finish using the app on our phones, ignoring them when they are calling our name to show us something they are discovering for the first time, tell them "later" every time they ask us to read to them, or treat them like a burden to your ability to enjoy our day.

This realization hit me recently in the, not so pleasant, aptly named, "hard way".  I was in the yard with my two children; Nora was running around and Evan was on a blanket, happy as can be, eating grass.  I was sitting on the porch, phone in hand, reading e-mails and responding to the people who had my undivided attention, when I looked up to see Nora staring back at me.  She had the saddest eyes, and they were on me.  She had been calling to show me something...I was ignoring her....and the moment was gone.  I immediately felt something....shame.  My little girl was exploring the world, discovering the coolest things she has ever seen, and wanting me, her most favorite human, to share them with her, but I was....busy.  I immediately got up, engaged her, played games until we were breathless, came inside, prepared for bed, read, prayed, and sang her nightly songs, and said goodnight.

The moment stayed with me though.  I couldn't shake the fact that perhaps I have missed more moments like this one.  How many times hadn't I looked up?  How many things did she discover without me?  And more importantly, how many more will I allow to go unnoticed?

I want my children to feel important.  I want them to know that they are set apart by the God I serve (The God of heaven, not of Apple), for a purpose.  I have been given the incredible responsibility of preparing well-rounded, fully prepared disciples of Christ, who feel loved, respected and noticed.

These moments were given as a gift.  We can use them productively, filling the minutes with meaningful memories, teachable moments, and lessons that prepare them for the life God has set before them, or, we can spend the precious moments involved in stuff.  Stuff that steals their attention and hugs.  Stuff that steals their tickle fights and butterfly kisses, and stuff that is way less urgent than responding to the latest request on the e-mail account.

God has placed in our hands the tremendous responsibility of raising men and women that could impact the world.  I refuse to allow them to leave my hands ill-prepared because of my need to stay connected!  I will, with God as my leader, put down my phone and my laptop, and fill the fleeting moments with meaningful memories.  Memories that teach, grow and develop people who will change the world.    

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5K faker...

I recently began to pick up a renewed interest in running.  When I was in college, I ran all of the time.  So much so that I would eat food all day and never gain a pound.  I am not talking about that healthy stuff people tell you that you need to eat to stay skinny.  My old roommate would appreciate this post, because she could tell you of the times we would order pizza and I would eat MOST OF IT myself!  That is embarrassing, now that I think of it.  I sort of don't want to publish this with that last sentence in place, but it is the truth, and that is what I do...."gumball head", remember?   

Anyway, running was easy!  I had so much strength and endurance that I would sign in RELIEF when our coach would tell us we only had to run a few miles that day.  "Good, easy day", I would think.  Now, thinking about running a few minutes makes me feel sick.  So, how did I get here?  It is obvious really.  I got married, new life began:  working/teaching, church life, ministries, exhaustion, then came our daughter, and then a move, more church and ministry obligation, our get it.  It happens to everyone.  At some point, within all of the "busy", running to anywhere but the refrigerator became taxing, so, I just, stopped.  I don't necessarily miss it; I have this love/hate with running, but I do miss the health aspects of being in shape.  

So, as I stated, recently, I began to pick it up again...sort of.  I signed up to run a 5K for "Life Choices".  I planned on preparing for it, I really did, but that life thing got in the way again, and well, I only worked a little hard.  I suppose I only worked hard enough to prevent certain death on the road.  I showed up, pretty nervous, and ran the race.  I ran 3.3 miles, in 35 minutes.  Not bad!  I was surprised I did as well as I did.  I felt good and proud of myself.  

As the week went by, however, I realized that although I finished that race in a reasonable time, I totally faked it.  I didn't prepare adequately for the race.  I was terrified going into it, and sore and exhausted the week following.  Not to mention, during the race, I seriously contemplated heaven as a viable option.  

I showed up, with snazzy running clothes and ran that race in a time that would make anyone think I tried beforehand.  I faked it!  

I was in pain, it was hard, and I suffered throughout the next week.  The 3.3 miles proved to be difficult because I didn't do anything to become strong enough to endure.  

Life, serving or living for Christ, is a lot like running a 5K, inadequately prepared.  I was probably able to complete the race with some level of success because of my past ability and strength.  I was able to fake being a runner, but I reaped the consequences.  

Life is hard.  It hurts and leaves wounds.  Jesus promises he will walk with us through these hurts.  But, that is all depending on how much we are willing to get to know him.  The better we know Him, the more equipped we are to handle life's lemons.  If you give your life to Jesus and prepare your heart with His word, He can give you what you need to endure life's not so sweet moments or seasons.

Just as remaining idle didn't help me run the 5K, idling away our life as a  follower of Christ, will not prepare us for running the race of life. 

We must keep growing, maturing, and serving to the end of our days.  

Faking it will exhaust us more, hurt us more and take more energy and recuperating than anyone has energy for.