‘Tis the Season

When you work in ministry, the Christmas season begins much earlier. Prayer, planning, preparation all happens so as to not leave anything to chance.

I have been on a church staff for the past 7 years. For the past 7 years every year around September/October life gets busy. As each year went by, more kids added to the mix the seasons got a little more complicated to balance.

But I always know what season I am in, if I didn’t it would take me by surprise and I would not be prepared.

My husband and I sat down the other night and talked through the next month or so of our schedule. It seems every weekend there is something going on. The best part was, the conversation never turned into disparaging the season. It was a discussion about our plan of action, because we knew it was just a season.

Having a family in ministry is difficult, but not impossible. There are busy seasons that demand a lot of your time and there are seasons where it’s important to take advantage of and spend that quality time with your family.

Remember, make the most of every opportunity to spend quality time with your family. Even in the midst of the busy season.

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Do Not Grow Weary

 

Pray for the world

Lately it seems there are more and more tragedies occurring in quicker succession. I know there are terrible things that happen all the time, it just seems like we are hearing of more and more with less time in between.

My heart breaks for this world; the world NEEDS Jesus. And I can’t help but think, what an incredible time to be a Christian! We get to share the true HOPE of the world, we are called to share Jesus with the world.

We live in a world that continues to shift away from the Lord. There is evil in our world, but there is also good. It’s important we have eyes and hearts to see the light.

“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

Bill Hybels shared a few years ago that the local church is the HOPE of the world. How true that is! Amidst the darkness and sin stained world, the local church are the hands and feet of Jesus.

“And let us now grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

Our call to action, our marching orders….continue to do good! Continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus. People desperately need Jesus, and we are here to share the good news, the hope of the world.

We are here for such a time as this!

Friendship and Community

Life and friendship can be confusing and complicated, but we all strive to build that community in our lives.

There are so many areas of our lives where we find friendship: church, work, groups, school, sports, etc. Our different communities offer friendships, but they are not all the same level of friendship.

More and more I am realizing the different levels of my friendships. I have a very small, close inner circle of friends, who I do life with and can share deeper more intimate details of my life. I have a larger outer circle of friends, who I do life with and with whom I share meaningful community. There is another circle outside of this, which are acquaintances, people I cross paths with but don’t necessarily connect with in community.

Each level is important and has a role in my life. We aren’t meant to do life alone, but we also aren’t meant to share every single intimate detail with everyone.

Jesus practiced this with his disciples. He did life with the twelve disciples, but there were three (Peter, James and John) that were closer and knew Jesus more intimately. They experienced a deeper level of life with Jesus, because they were privy to more intimate dialogue with Jesus.

We each have different levels of friendships and community, and that’s ok. It all looks different person to person. There is no cookie cutter, system or structure to friendships. After all, we are all unique.

Friendship and community is so important for a healthy life, we are meant to walk through this life together. Don’t forget to cultivate friendships and community. Ministry and motherhood can become quite lonely if we don’t.

 

Teach them to Fly

“Train up a child in the way he should go,

Even when he is old he will not depart from it”

Proverbs 22:6

My son starts kindergarten next week. I am so excited for him to start this next season of life. He loves learning and he told me the other day he was excited to make new friends at his new school.

This new season for him also means a new season for me. My mama heart is filled with all kinds of emotions about the world he is entering. As he is preparing to go to a new school I can’t help but wonder, did I help prepare him for what’s to come?

Before we get all crazy, I know this is kindergarten and he is still young and innocent. BUT, kindergarten is the first right of passage in entering this world of ours, truly entering it without mama and daddy right there with you. He will make big boy decisions, have to navigate friendships and relationships. He will be challenged and stretched, and he will grow.

All that I can do is prepare his heart, teach him the basic skills of life (as much as you can for a kindergartener). The rest is walking with him, coaching him, encouraging him and praying through each situation.

Learning to walk isn’t easy, learning to fly isn’t any easier. He will fall and fail, but I will be there to encourage him and help him stand back up.

So am I prepared? Is he prepared?

He’s ready to start testing his wings. I’m ready to see his beautiful wings.

Finding a Village

Three years ago I moved across the country from California to Texas. I left my friends and family and basically everything I knew. I had two children, one on the way, and another one we didn’t know about that would join us later.

I found myself without a village.

We moved with a few friends, which definitely made the transition much, MUCH easier! But as I came to understand where I was at in my life, I needed more, I needed that village, that support system and friendships and community.

Motherhood is a lonely place. If you are not careful, you can drift away in your house and not come up for air for weeks.

That is exactly where a village comes in. Women, moms, who come together to reach out to you-text or call to make sure that you do in fact come out into the world again.

So how did I find my village?

Well, three years later I feel like I am just now realizing the village I have here with me. It’s difficult to find that village, and fortunately I have made some great friendships that I can call on and count on.

It’s all about making a choice. I chose to go out there and keep my head up and eyes open. There were days I had to push through the loneliness and open my eyes to see the people next to me.

I had to choose to belong.

Finding our villages is all about choice. Sometimes there are other things that come into play, but the bottom line is we have to choose to be a part of a community.

That may mean going to a mother’s day out program even if you don’t know anyone, or going to a bible study, or joining a neighborhood group even if you don’t know a single person.

I do not like putting myself out there, I am not good at striking up conversations where you become best friends in two seconds. It takes a lot of effort for me to do something like that.

But in the end, it’s worth it.

Find your village. Do whatever it takes.

 

Joy in the Trials

It’s been a year since my whole world stopped and I placed my daughter into the hands of surgeons. Honestly, a year ago I felt numb and was just going through each day, one second at a time.

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“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

Last year I felt so much peace and joy as I faced a deep, unknown future.

I had a decision to make: choose joy or choose misery.

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I chose JOY.

Through all of this, I have learned that joy doesn’t mean happiness. I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t want to be happy that my daughter’s life was on the line, that her tiny heart was broken.

Joy is choosing to hold on to the hope of Jesus, despite the mess and chaos around you.

I had to choose to operate on what I knew, instead of how I felt.

I knew that God had a plan for my baby girl. I knew the surgeons were the best we could have. I knew, without a doubt, that my baby girl would be taken care of.

Now, a year later my baby girl is doing great! The experience I gained this past year is one I NEVER would have asked for, but I am so THANKFUL for it. I experienced God in ways I never could have if I hadn’t gone through something like this.

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Every trial is an opportunity for us to choose joy. Every trial is an opportunity for us to experience God in new ways.

This world is dark and corrupt, but there is hope to be found.

Jesus is the light and the hope of the world.

“Mommy, why am I always the last kid without a parent?” 

A few weeks back our church held our VBS, which I played a big role in making it happen. Needless to say, it was crazy busy and days were packed full. My kids, didn’t complain and they enjoyed being at church early seeing it all transform. (Plus right now, they all love going to church and I pray that NEVER changes!)

But it was the first night of VBS, I went to pick up my five year old and with tears in his eyes he said, “Mommy, why am I always the last kid without a parent?” 

I was caught off guard and this mama’s heart broke. I haven’t had him ask me anything like this before and honestly I really didn’t know what to say.

So, I gave my little guy a BIG hug and told him I loved him. I also got to share with him a little bit of why we were always first to arrive and last to leave: because this is why God has us here and we get to help make it special for so many people.

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As I explained to him how he gets to be a friend to other kids who are still there and how Mommy gets to help make an awesome event like VBS happen, he slowly understood (as much as a five year old is able to comprehend). I saw a light bulb switch on and he realized there were still friends there waiting for their mommies and that he was one of the kiddos who gets to stay and play longer.

The rest of the week at VBS he didn’t seem to think he was “the last kid without a parent.” It was such a blessing for me to watch my son interact with the kids in his group and have so much fun being there.

Kids don’t fully understand what it means for their parents to be in ministry, let alone their mom being in ministry. But that day, my son understood that he didn’t have to be just a kid attending VBS, he got to be part of why I was there.

I think if I hadn’t taken a moment to acknowledge what he was feeling and talk it through with him, if I had just said, “Sorry, this is how it is,” the outcome would have been very different.

This is a new season for me and I am sure this is the first of many questions like this. I will navigate these waters with care and intentionality, because as a family we are called to something bigger than ourselves.

Acknowledge what they are feeling, encourage them. Remind them we’re part of a something bigger! 

It’s moments like these that have the biggest impact on my kiddos life. Perhaps next time I won’t be so caught off guard. But each time, I have the opportunity to lead my children in the way they should go.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6