Friday, November 21, 2014

Old men, dope dealers and Pastors


When I was a kid, I remember the Pastor at our church being gifted a Cadillac. The only reason I know it was gifted to him is because he stood up in front of the church one Sunday morning in defense of his new, sweet ride. As I remember it, the rumor mill had begun about how in the world could the Pastor afford a new, luxury vehicle (Gasp!) - and he felt the need to defend himself. 1) It was a gift. 2) Even if it wasn't, how was anyone to judge how he spent his money. Sadly, I've come to understand over the years his need for such a defense.

A month and a half ago, Aaron's car (which had been basically gifted to us four years ago) died. So we've spent the last several weeks trying to find something that would fit into our budget. Unfortunately, our budget for a new vehicle is currently non existent. As I was perusing Craigslist the other day, I asked Aaron why he couldn't have been a Dr. or something. To which my cheeky son turned to me in reply and said - "Why couldn't YOU have been a Dr., Mom?" Touche.

When I told my parents that Aaron needed a new car, they offered to give us my dad's old, dying (a slow death) Buick. Um, thanks Dad - we're good. My mom brought up that childhood story about our Pastor and said that maybe someone would give us a Cadillac like Pastor Bob got. Haha. Very funny.

A good friend -a young woman at our church who also happens to live off the support of others - told us that she was praying for someone to gift us a car. Um. Right. Who does that? Outside of our close friend who gifted us her vehicle four years ago....no one really just gives someone a car, right? Well, my friend started spreading the word that people should pray for us to be gifted a car. Even Aaron and I joined in her prayers. Every day I sang in worship - "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz!"

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the 
riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Mathew 7:11
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your
Father in Heaven give good gifts
to those who ask him?



This week some friends contacted us telling us that their Grandfather was needing to get rid of his vehicle. It only had 130,000 miles on it, he was the original owner and has taken great care of the vehicle. They would like for us to have it. What?!?!? Really God? WOW! You are really answering our prayers with this ....... you all see what is coming, right? A Cadillac. Not just any Cadillac. A 1989 Cadillac Seville. In the words of our friend who offered it to us, "it is the vehicle preferred by old men in their 80's and dope dealers". Well....apparently the Cadillac is now for old men in their 80's, dope dealers, and Pastors.

Isn't she a beauty???!!! (this pic is for you Angie O.)


That was a pretty story, huh? Just perfect! Isn't it so great how God meets our needs?

Yeah....let me tell you the rest of the story. Wanna know what is NOT pretty?

My heart.

When our friends first told us about this car, I texted my friend and asked why she couldn't have been a little more specific with what kind of car to gift us. Maybe a pretty Volvo Wagon? A sharp Honda Accord? A Mercedes? I told her I blamed her for the fact that we would be the new owners of a 1989 Cadillac Seville.

I have cried about having to receive this gift...and not tears of joy. I have begged Aaron to let me drain our accounts to purchase ANYTHING but this vehicle. A Princess doesn't drive an old man, dope dealing Cadi. Why does it have to be this car? I'm tired of being a charity case. I always feel like a charity case. Why is this our life?

Yes, that really was my response to God's gift. I looked him right in the face and spat on him. I denied his goodness. I wanted to deny his gift. I wanted better. Don't I deserve better? It took him all of about 5 seconds to give me a big fat spanking in the form of conviction. He longs to give us good gifts, and he had just given us one. A safe, reliable, FREE vehicle. Pay no attention to the aesthetics.

Into my heart he brought a wave of reassurance that in his love and provision for me, he gets to do it His way. And his ways are always best. God actually had different plans for the measly $500 we had set aside for that car, and I'm so in awe of how he orchestrated the entire thing. Once I saw the actual purpose for that $500 that he had, I couldn't help but stand in awe and give him all Glory. Now I'm moved to tears of joy and thankfulness.

There are a few things in my life that have been lingering for several years that I have been begging for God's provision, his gifts, for his hand to intercede. I wonder how many times I miss his gifts to me because in my Princess mentality - I don't see them as good enough. So I keep moping around, asking for him to provide, telling him that what He's doing just isn't good enough. All the meanwhile I'm missing the beauty of the bigger picture of how he is orchestrating everything. Oh what a wretched (wo)man I am.

So I repent. And I say thank you. I may never will never love this incredibly ugly, old vehicle - but I will love what my God has done through it. And every time I look at it or (shudder) have to drive it - may I be reminded that He is the giver of all things good. In His time. In His way.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Out of joint




There never seems to be a shortage of running or gardening metaphors when it comes to our spiritual lives. I like that.

As a runner (I hesitate to call myself a runner anymore, but I'm going with it for now) - some verses and analogies just make my heart a little clearer to me at times.

I was reading in Hebrews 12 today. (And all the other Runners are rolling their eyes right now...)

Heb 12:1 (ESV - emphasis mine)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Some translations would say - "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles or ensnares us".

So that verse is kinda obvious, right? As I kept going though, another piece of chapter 12 stood out to me that never has before.

Heb 12:12-13
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

I've been in and out of this sport I've come to love for the past 2 years now due to some bad knees and shins. I've recently taken to Crossfit with the hopes that some muscle balance and strengthening will help me heal up enough to get back to running. So how very practical to read - "strengthen your weak knees....so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed".

But then I started taking this running and joint metaphor and using it as a lens into my heart. I had originally been meditating on the first part of Hebrews 12...thinking through those pesky sins that cling so closely. So when I got to verses 12 and 13, I took pause. How does one, in light of the sin that entangles us, strengthen what is weak so that it may be healed? Training of course. Just a different kind of training.

I can't keep running to strengthen my weak knees. That just doesn't make sense. (Although I've known and read about many runners who do try that...) So in the case of sin, to go on sinning in the areas we know are sin obviously does not lead to healing. There's this thing called muscle memory, where our muscles find a way they want to be (or have been trained to be), and settle in a certain way....even if it isn't the way they are supposed to settle. This can cause all sorts of pain (and things being "put of of joint") if the muscle isn't healed and retrained. Our hearts are no different.

We have a choice: to lean into sin, or strengthen what is weak. I can act out of anger, or choose to overlook a wrong. I can grow bitter or I can forgive. I can despair or I can hope. I can cling to my "vices", or I can come broken to the feet of Jesus. 

It's a choice. And as with everything, the Bible generally has the answers to my silly little questions. So how do I make straight paths for my feet? What is the Crossfit for my soul?

Proverbs 3:5-8
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

And in all of this, I'm ever so grateful that it is in repentance and rest that my salvation is found, and that quietness and trust is my strength (Isaiah 30:15), because I cannot say I've been strengthening these weak knees or lifting these drooping hands very well at all.

Clinging to new mercies today.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bowling Buddies



For as long as I can remember, my Mom has gone bowling every Thursday morning. Yes. Bowling. She's had a handful of friends that have lasted through the years. I remember our families getting together for outings and vacations, Christmas cookie exchanges, and Bible Studies that all included the same general group of friends. I don't know that I realized how sweet of a thing that was until recently.

Being an adult is hard sometimes. Jobs change, kids are crazy, friends move. It makes community hard more often then not. Darn adulthood.

With adulthood comes the analogy of settling down - letting your roots grow deep. I guess that's what my parents did. I don't remember many of their close friends moving away or leaving the "circle" (or heaven forbid, the bowling league). We moved away once, but came back after a year or so. The same friends were there to welcome us back.

There's a tree I saw in Uganda. It was a massive tree, but the roots appeared to all be above ground. Open to the elements. Perhaps easily destroyed? Strong, but exposed. Then there is the maple tree in my backyard. Huge. Lovely. Strong. Shelter. Home.



I guess I would say I feel more like that tree in Uganda then I do the 70 year old Maple tree in my backyard that has roots so deep it destroys the entire blocks sewage system. (Not really...I don't think.)

I've tried my entire adult life to set and grow deep roots. God has had other plans, I suppose. We've moved away from family, friends, churches and cultures (seriously - have you ever been to South Jersey? For this Nebraska girl - talk about culture shock!). We've changed jobs and churches and neighbors. I've lost track of how many children I have and where they came from. Life seldom has seemed settled. I find myself often wondering if that is just a thing of our generation and the time we live in, or if it is our choices and God's plan in our life. Whatever the case may be - it can often just feel lonely.

Thanks to the introduction of Facebook, one can have over 1000 friends and still feel very alone. Ask that person how many deep and meaningful relationships they have in "real life" and you may be shocked. But this isn't a post about Facebook. (However, FB hasn't helped....)

I don't believe I am alone in my pursuits to belong. Believe me when I say that I've tried it all. I've joined moms groups, Bible studies, play groups. business ventures, adoption groups, groups for Pastors wives, PTO, hobby related groups, running groups, cycling groups, and most recently CrossFit (Lord help me). It's how we - the human - move toward belonging. We search for those who are like us and we play the game. We cry out to know and be known. Sometimes the cry is heard, and other times it isn't. Most of my ploys for community have come up very short for many reasons. Maybe I should try bowling. 

Church planting has created an entirely new dimension to this. It's very strange to be living in the same town for 13 years....only to find yourself starting over (to a degree). I have not done well with this aspect of our new life. 

I wonder if the women of generations past have dealt with this. Didn't they just sit around knitting and quilting all day? That sounds glorious to me. Except for the whole knitting and quilting part. But to be with people all day who know us....and get this...still love us??? That sounds beautiful.

But today it just feels like we hide. We hide behind our kids, our jobs, our families, our status, our agenda. Mix that with the reality of life - new jobs, new locations, etc....and well, how many people feel alone? Unknown. Unnoticed. This is not good. 

Roots are roots, I suppose. Above ground or below. So I can try to choose to see my above ground roots as strong and meaningful... not as something to easily be destroyed, mowed over, climbed on and given over to all of natures elements. I have roots that stretch far and wide. I have roots in Nebraska, New Jersey, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cypress, Australia, Minnesota, California, Missouri, Florida, Alaska. Christ Community Church, CORE, The Lighthouse, Flatirons, Calvary and Gospel Life. I may not be leaving the same communal legacy my parents left for me - but I pray that our vast roots reach down to our children and their children as meaningful and purposeful. Oh, may I live with purpose. Be it alone or be it with a tribe.

Being an adult is hard sometimes. Saying goodbye, changing our worlds, it's just hard. And to be honest, terribly lonely some days.

Anyone up for bowling?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A mother's heart - for all the children we never could hold.

I saw a few posts today on Facebook about National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. You know, one of those days you probably wouldn't know was a "day" until you did see it floating around on social media.

Well, I joined in. 1 in 4 women suffer from the loss of a child. That's a lot of women! And having been there, I believe it is something to mourn. Some women are effected by this loss more than others for various reasons. But that doesn't so much matter. A life is a life is a life. And with the loss of life, mourning and grief is called for.

Our oldest daughter was just shy of one year old when we found out we were pregnant again. I still remember showing Aaron the pregnancy test that evening. I remember calling our families. I was thrilled. We were having another child! Fourteen weeks later, God had a different plan. I found out the child in my womb had died. And because I was fourteen weeks along, they did not want me to wait to "pass" the child on my own. So I went in for surgery (but only after 6 ultrasounds to be SURE). A D&C is what they called it. At one point, the Dr. referred to it as a "spontaneous abortion". That didn't seem right. I did not choose this. I was heartbroken. This child had grown in me. I fell in love with her from the moment I thought she may be. Before that, probably. I had the procedure done, and all I remember is waking up from surgery with the most incredible void I have ever felt in my life. My womb was empty. My child was not safe with me where she belonged. She was gone.  Forever. That is a feeling that I cannot put into words. But I know I am not alone. 1 out of every 4 of you know what I'm talking about (assuming you are females).

I grieved. A lot.

A song called, Glory Baby, by Watermark was on repeat for months. I would drive the NJ Parkway with Providence asleep in the back and that song playing over and over and over.

Glory Baby, you slipped away as fast as we could say baby. You were growing. What happened Dear, you disappeared on us baby. Heaven will hold you, before we do. Heaven will keep you safe, until we're home with you. But I'll miss you everyday, miss you in every way, but we know there's a day when we will see you. So baby let sweet Jesus hold you, till mom and dad can hold you. You'll just have heaven before we do.

13 years later, and I just typed those words out from memory as if I had just thought of them. They hold fresh in my heart as if it were yesterday. Sara Allison Britton was my daughter. For 14 short weeks, I got to love her. I got to bond with her. I was the only one who knew her. Other than Jesus. He did knit her after all, however perfectly imperfect in my womb. And I believe that her days were known and ordained from the beginning of time - just like yours or mine. She is whole in the arms of Jesus. I'm jealous.

Over the years, I have had some dear friends suffer the loss of children in a depth far greater than I had to endure. It's been heartbreaking. So it seems funny to talk about what I went through. It really could have been worse. I suppose that's always true though, isn't it??? It could always be worse? But women everywhere who have to deal with the loss of a child at any age need to know that it is okay to grieve. A mother loves her child from the second she knows she is carrying the child - which is generally long before a test shows the little pink line. I actually took solace in this truth. If the greatest command is to love God and love others - what an amazing privilege it is as a mom ... I am the only one who knew my daughter - to be the one to have loved her. But that lost love left a broken piece of my heart that I will forever carry.

A mother's love is fierce. It is not to be reckoned with. I've never tried.  
Instead I will carry that brokenness and that love with me.

This is long and sad. Sorry. I'm not done yet, though.

So having experienced such a real pain, and knowing friends who have suffered more than I - where I'm about to take this feels risky. But here I go.

I have now birthed three children, and adopted two. I remember vividly during our first adoption process having a conversation with a man who asked me how I knew I could love my adopted child as my own. We joked about how guys need to see and hold their child to begin to actually love THEM (rather than the idea of them), and women just know and love. I laughed - remembering Sara. While Aaron was a rock during that time - he did not KNOW Sara as I knew her. I told him it was similar to that. While I knew and loved my children from the moment they were growing inside of me, the same was true for my adopted child. I didn't need to see him or hold him. I just knew that I knew that I knew that he was to be mine, and I loved him with this fierce love that claimed him as so.

When Aaron and I began the adoption process the second time around, I very nonchalantly blogged about HOW we started the process, and the two boys involved in bringing us to the place of adopting again. So here is the part that seems calloused to say after having lived through miscarriage and the pain I've seen my friends go through  .....

I was asked this summer what made us pursue adoption the second time around, and for some reason - I began my story talking about these two boys. And I began to cry. WHAT?!? Where in the world did that come from?

The last few weeks, these two boys have come back to my heart and mind in a way I cannot explain. I have cried for them and prayed for them. The good news is, they were probably adopted by someone else. So they are, Lord willing, living a good life. But wow. My mom heart had taken these boys in as if they were my own. If there is such thing as an adoptive miscarriage - I had one with these boys. When we decided to not pursue adopting them, I told Aaron at the time that it felt like I had lost Sara all over again - that is how deeply I loved these boys. But I pushed their memory aside, and for some reason - it has returned. They too, left a piece of my heart broken - never to be whole again. And I don't know what to do with the sorrow.

I know that last paragraph came out of left field (who am I kidding....I know nothing about sports  - what does left field even mean?). But it's where I have been the last few weeks. And it is an awful feeling. So today when I saw that it was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, my heart was to encourage moms that it is OKAY to grieve the loss of your unborn child. And maybe even to tell myself that it is okay to grieve the loss of these two boys. Maybe? I pray they have a mom and a dad that love them as much as I did. Do.


For all the Glory Babies:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Though You Slay Me



If Bloggers blogged (what a funny vocabulary the Internet has brought about) about a bad day, or a hard season, or a friend struck down, or a marriage that was struggling, or loneliness, ....it probably would feel pretty uncomfortable, wouldn't it? Yet every single one of us goes through seasons where we feel uncomfortable....where we feel broken. So why is it uncomfortable to read of someones suffering, I wonder?

In response to some stuff in my own heart right now, and also those around me that I am seeing wrestle through things un-imaginable to me - a song has resurfaced that made its way around the inter-webs a while back. So if you are in a tough season right now, may this bless you.

My favorite line from John Piper in the middle of the song is this:  "Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or the fallen man...every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that."

Did you catch that? "In the path of obedience". Obedience is HARD when you are slain.

Still let our song be:

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fighting for Joy (even when you aren't happy)

**I'm breaking the rules and putting an update BEFORE you read this. Reading through my post, I decided I sounded kind of preachy. Please know I'm preaching to myself. Full disclosure...it's been a tough season - give or take 3 years. So these thoughts, while gleaned from the world around me, are mostly a full reflection of my own heart. I hope you leave here encouraged.**

Joy. It's been on my mind A LOT lately.

I've decided that Christians are some of the most depressed people I've ever met. Now before you get your panties all up in a bunch, just hear me out. We know Jesus. We are called into joy. We are taught through suffering that joy and happiness are two very different things. The Bible doesn't call us to be happy, it calls us to have joy. For those who don't know Jesus, they probably don't have much joy either - but they are really good at faking happiness (or actually just BEING happy), so it often appears that they have more joy. (That sentence made my head hurt. Sorry about that.) But Christians seem to feel the weight of this world, and it robs us of our JOY to the point that we can't even fake happiness. Isn't this world supposed to be better than this? We have Jesus. Surely there is more. Surely it shouldn't feel this hard.

But there in lies our fault.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I've been pondering a few reasons why it is so hard for Christians to have joy.

1) We fall into a belief that because we follow Jesus, because we've committed everything to Him - that He in turn will remove our sufferings, our sorrows, our pain, our troubles. I mean, really God? I give you everything! The least you can do is take this cup from me. There's two problems with that. One being that He TELLS us in His word that we will have troubles. Why we expect different is beyond me. The second being, He didn't take the cup from Jesus when he was facing death on the cross for the entire world. But us? Somehow we truly believe that we should not have to face the sin and suffering around us.

2)  We think that because God seems to have miracles working in everyone else's favor, and everyone else's lives look better than ours - that somehow we got the short end of the stick. We have some pretty huge spiritual Giants that show us throughout History what the "short end of the stick" really is. Sarah (she waited for just a few years - give or take 90) for her hearts desire to come to be....that of having a child. I was depressed and questioning God when I had to wait one year. In the world of our hearts desires and dreams though - time is a big issue when it comes to joy. Noah had to face all sorts of extremes (including Rock People, apparently) while he waited for the earth and humanity to be renewed. Most of us can't handle when the sun doesn't shine for 3 days straight. (If you suffer from weather related issues, remember this dude.) David was obviously a man of sorrows, depressed, bi-polar, clinical...you name it. Solomon? Don't get me started. Men!! Think of having that many wives? Tell me your heart didn't just sink from the thought alone! And besides that, have you READ Ecclesiastes? "Nothing new under the sun" doesn't exactly bread hope and joy. Job? Duh. Paul? When is the last time you were in prison for spreading the Good News? Jesus. Ouch. Yeah....we have it pretty good.  (Disclaimer: I KNOW our lives are still hard. Stay with me.)

The other major flaw in this is that we quickly become "one-issue voters" (as Aaron likes to call it). We have one thing we cling to so tightly .... if God would just heal me, heal my child, heal my marriage, heal our family, pay off this debt, provide what we {think we} need ... THEN I would believe he loves me and truly is for me. We become so engrossed in these thoughts that we forget the many areas he HAS showed up. In this, we are called to REMEMBER the wondrous works he has done (Psalm 105). They are many.

If we choose to cling so tightly to the one area God isn't showing up the way we want and forgetting all the times he has, we've now reduced the size of the cross to fit neatly into our back pocket only to be pulled out when we need it....but it's hard to bring it back to full size when we've shrunk it for so long.

3) We think that if we struggle, it means we lack faith. So we muster up strength....we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, put on our big girl panties.... We put on a smile and act as if. All the meanwhile, true joy is plunging further and further into the darkness. There is help and there is hope. And we live in a world where often times help and hope can be accessed by taking a tiny little pill on a daily basis. But if we do, its best that the other Christians don't find out for fear that they will see our weakness and question our faith.

This one I take many issues with. I've always prided myself on being the strong girl, so it's taken me a while to get to a place of "issue", but I'm finally there. Joy comes in the morning! And for many (including myself at times), that joy came in a prescribed bottle. There is no shame in this, Christians! Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and a myriad of other mental health afflictions are REAL. We do not have permission to use them as a crutch to avoid the hard, but we do have permission to (through Dr. supervision, counseling and/or Gospel community) deal with the mind so we can deal with the heart. I've decided it takes a much stronger person to admit their need for help than it does to pull up those bootstraps.

4) We live in a society/church that has two theological camps to chose from. Either we believe in prosperity theology, or we believe in martyrdom theology. Both are wrong. Jesus doesn't promise to give us everything, and he doesn't promise to withhold everything. For those who struggle with joy, finding a solid middle ground is trickier than one might think.

5) We lose sight of eternity. We blind our eyes to Gods sovereignty. Bottom line is this - How long will He leave us here? It's all too much. We can't handle when life is hard, because what does that mean about God? Is he causing this? Is he allowing this? If he dictates our successes and failures, then why try? He already knows the future, so what good are my prayers?

Life is messy. God makes something of messes. Life is hard. God offers a light burden. Life is sad. God makes beauty from ashes. Life is unfair. God brings about justice.

So Christian - I ask you this..... what is stealing your joy? I remember when I had young children. They were needy. To say the days were long would be an drastic understatement. I thought that diapers, fits, sleepless nights, long and lonely days, and Lego pieces scattered everywhere would be the remainder of my days. (The Lego one I am still wondering about.) Joy seemed out of reach. Mundane was the new normal. Lonely was the new black. And hopelessness was forever my companion. But that season has passed. Every seasons passes.

Are you committed to fight? Our joy was bought with a price. We deceive ourselves (correction, Satan - who came to steal, kill and destroy - deceives us) when we  think life is only hard for us. We deceive ourselves when we grow bitter in our sorrows. We deceive ourselves when we think everyone has it better. We are each uniquely called, uniquely gifted, uniquely pursued, and uniquely crafted in the Image of God to be a part of something bigger than we can imagine. I'm not saying you have to be happy about this. But God's word makes it clear that there IS joy in it. And honestly, to know the truth that our lives will measure up to be better than we could have prayed for or dreamed of??? Well, THAT is hope! It's up to us if we choose to cling to the joy and hope at our disposal or not.

We go to war with our sorrows with the truth of the Gospel ... so that joy may abound. Martin Luther nailed it when he said we must beat the Gospel into our heads continually. For it is through the Gospel that hope, peace and joy are at its fullest.

Brothers and Sisters.....may we CHOOSE joy today!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may about in hope." Romans 15:13

Monday, May 26, 2014

The End of a.... Decade.

Yesterday marked the end of an Era in our family. More accurately, the end of a decade.

For the past 10.5 years, we've been at a great church in Boulder, Co where Aaron has served as the Pastor of Worship and Music; and more recently included Pastor of Young Adults.

That sentence felt very formal and resume-ish. Enough of that.

Yesterday was our last day serving Calvary Bible Church. It was incredibly bittersweet. I'll just get it out of the way now and admit that while I sang our last song (All To Us), I was a blubbering mess. For those of you who don't know me, this can be quite shocking for some. So much so that one friend after service stopped me in the hall and declared, "You cried!!!!" Another friend took the opportunity to snap a photo of the moment. There you have it. I have a heart. I feel. At least once every 10 years. The rights to the following picture belong to my friend, Michelle. I'm sure she grants all permission to use and abuse however you see fit.




We've had some amazing experiences over the past 10 years. We began at Calvary with 2.5 kids (one child in my belly + 2 on ground). We were 10 years younger. We added 2 children from Africa to our brood. We bought our first house. We started small groups and left small groups. We journeyed through the world of Orphan Care with many. We saw friends marry. We walked through sadness and life and joy and heartache with more people than I can count. We were blessed.

Over the past few years, it's been a growing desire in Aaron's heart to be involved in more "Pastoral Ministry". (I never much appreciate it when he says this - because I've never seen a Worship Pastor with more of a Pastor's heart than Aaron. It was evident in all he did. But that is neither here nor there.) So we have prayed and talked and prayed some more over the years. He brought it before our Pastor about a year and a half ago and together they began to talk about what this might look like for Aaron. A couple of months ago, it reached the point in our conversations with God that you just can't help but put that first step in the direction you believe he has for you.

So off we go...one foot in front of the other. We are so thankful for the generosity and blessing that we left Calvary with. Healthy partings in churches, sadly, are a rare thing. This was just one of the many confirmations for us that we were heading in the direction God was asking of us. (There were many other confirmations...but you don't want to be here all night.)




There are a few questions that I hear repeatedly from people when they find out this news...so I think I'll use this as a forum to answer them.

1) Are you crazy?? Yes. Yes we are. But with good reason. Leaving the comfort of security and embarking on the scary (yet exciting) road of the unknown is a crazy kind of thing that can only come from God ..... let's call it faith.

2) Where will you start your new church/Are you moving? We are not moving. God is planting us right where we are at. (I'm so tempted to begin to make numerous gardening metaphors. I'll save them...for now...) The neighboring town to us has not one single church in it. True. Not one. Um - we live in America right??? You know, the land where you can generally throw a rock and it will hit a church somewhere??  Yeah...not here. There is work to be done. The Gospel has corners to reach.

3) How do your kids feel about this? WOW. This was a hard one for me in the beginning. I had many sleepless nights over how our children would respond to this plan. With one child going into High School and one going into Middle School - we know that they are at important phases of their Christian life...or maybe their church life?? (That's probably another blog post...) What an answer to prayer it was when we actually talked to them about it for the first time. Aside from the cruel joke that Aaron played in beginning the conversation by telling them that I was pregnant (WHICH I AM NOT!), they all had such soft and open and even excited hearts about the idea. My favorite question was probably from Malachi - "Will there be a playground at the new church?" THIS is crucial to ones spiritual life. Seriously though, the kids have been amazing through this entire thing. I don't know why I get to be their mom....but I'll take it.

4) How are you? This question always makes me laugh. Um. Good? I don't know.... Scared, excited, nervous, hopeful, anxious .... it depends on the second you catch me in. I have all sorts of emotions wrapped up in this deal. Me and Jesus are working through each of them. All I know is that with my ever changing emotions - not one of them is unseen by him or left hanging. I will tell you this - seeing your husband do something that is so obviously from the Lord, and something he has longed for .... well, that's pretty amazing to watch. I'm glad I get to do this with him.

5) How do you start a church? This question is maybe my favorite. I really have no category in my brain for church planting. I've never done it. What I am finding so far, though - is that planting a church is much like anything else God asks of you - you put one foot in front of the other and pray HARD.

Logistically, we are finding there is much to be done. We form a 501(c)3. (I don't even know if I have the parenthesis in the right place on that!) We pray. We deal with Federal and State stuff. We scour garage sales for nursery/kids ministry items. We pray. We start to gather a Core group of people who are just as crazy as us and are willing to run with us. We pray. We begin fundraising. We pray....and then we pray some more about that one. We find a meeting place. We pray. We begin purchasing all sorts of things that one takes for granted when sitting in a pew on a given Sunday morning. We pray. We set up a home office (even if the pastor doesn't think this is necessary, the secretary does). We pray.

To sum it up..... one foot in front of the other and a whole lot of prayer.

I won't lie. Fear sets into my soul  very quickly at any given moment and with no notice at all. I have grown accustomed to the comforts of what I know. So this is scary work to me. BUT...all in all, I'm excited for the road before us. I'm not sure why God keeps calling us (me) into things that I just don't feel all that equipped for, but I suppose I'm not the first in history to feel such a weight. I'm so thankful for the many HARD but GOOD roads that God has lead us down over the years....especially recent years. I have the memory and proof of His faithfulness readily available to reflect on as we walk this new road.

With that...I leave you with the song that has been on repeat in my mind and on the stereo this past month. I've decided it's the song not of this past decade, or the next one - but of my life. (If you were in the second service at Calvary on Sunday, you now get to be left with TWO of my theme songs. You're welcome.)

Now...off to update my blogging resume to include, Church Planting Wife. (eekk!)