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!)




Monday, May 5, 2014

Death to Political Correctness (a guide for adoptive families in talking to non adoptive people)

There has been a little video floating around Facebook lately - "If you wouldn't say it about a boob job (a guide for adoptive questions)". After 300 of my friends posted it, I caved and watched it. (I have to be honest, I was a bit turned off by the title. You never know what you will get if you click on a title like that....) The video really was cute and made me chuckle. As an adoptive mom, I've heard more times then I can count the things that people really do say to adoptive parents. (The same goes for the various lists out there of what to say/not say to adoptive parents or parents of large families. There's a PC list for everything!)

So why am I writing a blog post if I personally thought the video cute/funny? Well - because I think we (and when I say we - I'm talking specifically here about adoptive families) need to relax a little bit on how people speak to us about our life. (I think I'm about to lose half of my FB friends...)

Maybe instead of being so concerned with how others speak to us about our life choices, we could view the opportunities to speak truth about what adoption IS. My fear is that the many lists out there that give the PC way to speak to adoptive families (and videos like the Boob job video) only scare people away from asking us any questions at all. People who really want to know, even! I recently sat at dinner with some friends - most of us adoptive moms, but a couple not. One of the "nots" voiced that she saw the video and felt bad. She said she has so many questions about adoption, but doesn't ever ask them because she's afraid she is going to ask the wrong thing or in the wrong way. That broke my heart! If the adoptive community wants to continue to raise awareness, we have to be okay with people talking in whatever language they know lest they cease to ask! We can then answer them with whatever verbage we feel they need to know. (Personal example: "Do you have your own children or just the adopted ones?" "We had three biological children prior to adopting our two children who are now our own.")

I see adoptive parents CLINGING to this desire to be spoken to or about in such a way that even I get confused by. I've seen adoptive parents go off because another adoptive parent asked them questions that we should just know better then to ask. I feel a little bit like my non adoptive friends sometimes. I'm scared to ask! For instance, there is an obvious adoptive family at our school. I've often wanted to approach them - and an easy enough conversation starter would be our children who (*GULP*) look different then us. Very different. But I am afraid! I hear the voices of the adoptive families scolding other adoptive families for being so inconsiderate. I think that is messed up.

One last argument I hear from adoptive families surrounds the desire for adoptive comments, questions, or anything of the like to not be voiced in front of our children. I don't get this either. (I've now officially entered the contest as worst adoptive mom ever.) WHY? Why can't our kids hear the questions of others - as naive as the questions seem to be? PARENTS! We are doing our children a disservice if we shield them from the hurtful things people will say. We personally have had plenty of hurtful things said to us, about us, and all in front of our children. Should I shy away from those conversations or blog about how stupid some people can be? Or instead, maybe I could just respectfully interact with people who maybe just need a little bit more information, and explain to my children later that while these comments may feel hurtful to us (them) in the moment - they really don't need to be hurt. Maybe I could view these as amazing teaching moments for reminding my kids of the sovereign hand of God in their life, about how loved and treasured they are, and teach them to laugh at the world around them. Our children are going to grow up and always be faced with these hard questions/remarks from the outside world. Maybe we can choose to equip them with how to handle such moments gracefully. Maybe.

Whatever life choice you make, if it is visible to others - I do not believe you have the right to quiet the inquiring minds around you just because they say the wrong thing at the wrong time all out of curiosity. Yes, adoption, big families, homeschooling, insert other "weird" life choices here are private and very personal decisions. But we live in a public world. We can't have it both ways. We can't hope to raise awareness, want people to support/encourage us in our lives, or even help people understand us if we decide it is more important to mold them into this little PC person (thereby actually silencing them). My hope is that we would remain open to the questions around us - because you never know when one of them is the next adoptive family just not yet understanding our little world! (Disclaimer: Of course there are those obvious idiotic moments where the crazy person you don't even know in the store says the most offensive thing ever ... like the check out clerk asking me if my child has AIDS because he heard most kids in Africa do.... these are not the moments I am talking about. In those moments you just let your jaw drop and stand there staring at them until they realize how big of a fool they just made of themselves.)

Okay. That's all. I will step off my soap box now.