Thursday, December 6, 2012

A scary prayer

"The angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.'" (Luke 1:28)

"'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.'" (Luke 1:30)

I prayed a prayer this morning that quite honestly I mean with all my heart, but I'm terrified as to what it  will mean for my life.  The pastor at Southeast on Sunday spoke on Mary in Luke 1.  And while she has always been someone who interests me, I feel like it hit home more than normal this time around because of the fact that we are similar in that we are both moms.  God chose HER to be Jesus' mom.  Wow.  What an honor.  He spoke on what was it that made God choose her?  One of the things he highlighted was that she was a humble person and identified herself as a servant.

I long for God's favor on my life so much.   I want him to see me and be pleased.  I want to live a life that would make him want to choose ME to be his son's mother.  Wow.  I can't even fathom what an honor that would be.  And Mary's response was that she was his servant.  That was her identity, what she labeled herself as.

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. (Luke 1:38)

The prayer I prayed this morning scares me but excites me to see how God will answer.  I asked God to work in my life on the things that made him choose Mary.  The reasons why he chose HER over the thousands of other women, I want God to make me more like him in those areas.  The two that stick out right now are humility and servanthood, but other than that...I have no clue what those areas will be.

The thought of how this will be played out is scary, but exciting.  Over the next few months as I sense God working in my life in certain areas, I will know that those are the things that made him choose her!  It's like as God answers my prayer, he'll be letting me in on his heart...the what and why he chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus.  Oh God I long for that!!  I long for you to see my life and want ME to be apart of a story that is eternal.  I give you permission to change my heart, to mold me into a person you would CHOOSE to be your Son's "mommy".

We are about to embark on a crazy, life changing adventure out in California, where I have absolutely no clue what life will hold or look like.  Our world is about to get completely turned upside down.  I'm crazy excited, but also crazy scared.  I have a feeling that what I prayed this morning will come out through these changes.  It's been quite a journey so far, but the fun has not even started yet!  Makes me excited for the lessons that are on their way.  :)

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"  (Luke 1:45)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

11 months

So this time 11 months ago exactly I was snuggling my newborn baby boy and completely in awe of the great blessing God had just blessed our family with!  Life was fully ahead of him and so much to come for this little boy.  Kellen James you are a JOY and a BLESSING and my prayer for you is that you would grow in wisdom and have courage and boldness to lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ.  May you be an ambassador of Christ who proclaims his name to many!!

I can't imagine life without this little guy!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

summer lovin

And so our journey continues.  It's been about a month here in Kentucky and we are feeling settled and into our routine.  Thankfully my parents have a great set up where we have the entire upstairs (3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a living area).  We have our own space and it's been great.  I love having my mom and dad around all the time and it's been awhile since we've spent this much time together!  With that said....I'm also itching to get out to California.  My sister flew out with Elyse a week ago and has been telling us how the whole moving process is going.  It's hard, but they are getting there, and will be settled very soon.

I've always known this but it's just being reiterated right now...I love change, but hate transition.  I like knowing that things are where they are going to be and I can invest in where I'm at.  Right now I feel like we're just "floating" here in KY so it's hard for me to put effort into doing things well, because I know that we'll be leaving soon.  I can't let myself think that way because I don't want to waste this time.  I have these thoughts in my head that this time is in a sense wasted time not being established....but I can't and don't want to think that way.  I want to take advantage of this time and use it to the greatest ability.  Pete has been gone for almost 2 weeks (which has absolutely SUCKED!) but a good thing is that I've been able to spend almost every night working on things in my business that I haven't had time for before.  I've gotten more organized and followed up with a ton of people and done things that I don't think I would have done had he been home.

The kids have been great.  I just had Kellen's 9 month check up today and he's in the 21st percentile for weight and the 2nd percentile for height!!  GAhhhh!  haha.  Keira on the other hand is in the 92nd for weight and the 96th for height!!!  Keira is going to tower over Kellen!!!  We'll see how it turns out but it's just funny to think about.  I love those little kids with every ounce of my being!!

Kellen turned 9 months old yesterday and is just a little HAM!  He is the sweetest thing ever.  If he's watching you and you give him a smile or say something to him, he'll smile a big huge smile back and then tilt his head to the side in like a little bashful way.  It is the sweetest thing ever!  The best is when he does it and just cuddles into me.  Melts my heart to the ground!!  He is a ridiculously picky eater which is frustrating but yet kinda funny (I'm sure won't be funny once he's older....takes after his daddy!).  He WILL not eat something if he doesn't like it.  Mouth closed and face turned away.  I've discovered he likes pasta so if I can get a noodle in his mouth I can cover it with the good stuff (broccoli, cauliflower, squash, etc.) and he'll eat it....but give it to him plain, it's a no go.  I have to get creative because Keira has always been a good eater.  I absolutely love, love, love having a little boy and he has completely stolen my heart and better be a mama's boy till the day he dies.  He's got his daddy's head, forehead, hairline, ears and lips and then my eyes and nose.  Just thinking about him makes my heart warm.  We're blessed with an amazing little guy!  My prayer for him is he would grow to be a leader who leads people to Jesus with wisdom, boldness and courage.

Keira is on her way to 2 1/2 and is definitely in the "2's" phase.  I am so head over heals for that girl.  When she looks at me and just grins or says "Jesus book" "Jesus book" "Jesus book" or dances around the room or gives Kellen kisses and hugs or sings a song in her carseat....I am so smitten for my little girl!!  It is so much fun now that she's talking more and has her own personality.  She loves her daddy and is most definitely a "daddy's girl".  She loves to dance, take walks, go to the park, go down the slides, read books, kiss and hug "bubba boy" (as she calls Kellen!)....she's a busy bee but just so. much. fun.  I seriously don't want her to grow up and just stay this innocent and sweet forever!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our next adventure

Wow so a lot has been in the works over the last few months and it's exciting to finally get to share our next adventure.  God has been preparing the path for awhile now but we're excited to begin to walk on it beginning August 5th.  Here's the story:

Back in 2003, Pete felt God tell him that one day him and my brother in law Brandon would someday work together planting a church (they went to college together and were good friends even before they married sisters).  He had no clue when or where that would happen but felt like it was something that God had placed in his heart.  His dream.  His life ministry desire.  His calling.  When we were engaged and in the early days of our marriage we talked about it and what it would look like.  But at that point it was something in the future.  Brandon and Jamie (my sister) were in full time ministry in Bloomington, IL and Pete and I were in full time ministry here in Wichita.  We felt no leading to leave until God made it very clear that the time was right.

Brandon and Jamie had been talking about moving to Louisville, KY to start ministry at the church where my parents are at - Southeast Christian Church.  Brandon was in the middle of the interview process and it was definitely moving forward.  They had planned a trip out to San Diego to visit some friends and see what potential was out there.  When they arrived back home we heard the unexpected - they loved it.  I remember telling Jamie before they went out there that I couldn't see them moving all the way out there and how far away it was from family and everything we've always known.

After a couple more trips back to San Diego, it was confirmed.  God had called Brandon, Jamie, Elyse and their new baby to San Diego to plant a church.  Holy smokes.  Not only was this news crazy for our family knowing that they would be so far away from us, but even bigger thoughts started pouring into the conversations for Pete and I.  Is this it? Do we want to be apart of this?  Are we willing to uproot everything and move to the MOST expensive city in the US?  Do we want to be that far away from our family?  And most importantly, is this what God has for OUR family as well?  The wheels started spinning and we started praying immensely about what this decision would mean for us.  It was scary to think about it and what it would look like...but at the same time....beyond thrilling!

It was confirmed for us as well and we committed to help be apart of the launch of this new church.  Pete knew as soon as Brandon and Jamie said that's what they were doing that this was the fulfillment of what he heard God say to him years ago.  He knew that we would be moving to San Diego to plant a church but we still wanted to make sure that the time was right and it was a wise decision for our family.  Now to work out the details.

The church isn't set to launch until September of 2013 so we knew that we still had a good year left in Wichita before making the move.  That was okay at that point because I needed some time to adjust to the idea and the reality of what life would look like living in a box on the beach.  :)  As we started to talk through things Pete's schooling was one of the issues that we were trying to figure out.  He's about half way through his masters degree that he is going to Asbury Theological Seminary in KY.  Having to fly back for classes just didn't seem like a good idea and like it would be very expensive and leave me alone with the kids for some time.  As we were talking through the details, we decided that we were going to leave Wichita in January 2013 and move in with my parents for 5 months so Pete could go full time to school and get it out of the way.  Then we'd plan to move out to San Diego in May or June of 2013 and get settled before the launch of the church.

About a month or so ago, Pete was talking with his brother Ben and Ben was saying that we should seriously consider putting our house on the market now instead of in January because it just might not sell.  We could get a 6 month lease and then we'd at least not have the stress of trying to sell our house. If it hadn't sold by May we would be stuck and not be able to go out to San Diego.  We decided this was a good idea and met with 2 realtors.  After the 2nd one left, I had a break down and just the stress of showing our house with the 2 kids, the fact that we would barely make any money and the idea of moving 3 times was just exhausting to me.  On top of the fact that July is a very busy month for me with Thirty-One and I just didn't want to have to deal with all the packing and such.  I told Pete that we just needed to trust the Lord to sell our house in January and put it on the market after we leave.  That's what we decided to do.  Oh and we started praying we would sell it without a realtor as well so we'd at least have some money to walk away with.

Two weeks ago Pete came home from lunch and told me about this couple who he is marrying in September about how they were looking for a house.  He asked me if I thought he should say something to them.  I said go for it!  After a number of conversations and details worked out...they are buying our house...without a realtor!  Seriously, when that happened it was the biggest answer to prayer and burden lifted.  We couldn't believe it.  We drive in and out of our neighborhood every day and see these houses that have been for sale for months and here ours sold without a realtor in 1 day!  Talk about a God thing!!!!!  They needed to be in August 1 so we started looking for apartments.

After that was finalized, it only took a day for us to ask "Why are we waiting?"  We decided to see if Pete's classes would work out the same in the fall as in the spring semester and sure enough...they did.  Of course.  So after talking with my parents to see if surprise....we could move in with them in a MONTH rather than in January (haha) Pete told our Pastor and quit his job...AHH!

This is really happening!  So here we are, mid July and we're all of a sudden leaving Wichita much, much sooner than we anticipated!  It's crazy!!

The picture that I've had in my head for the last 6 months is that there have been so many puzzle pieces for this new adventure and they have been floating above our heads.  We knew they were there and had some place to fit in, but we just couldn't see how it was all going to come together in the end.  And then once our house sold and Pete's classes worked out and everything fell into place, I just feel like God took all the puzzle pieces and placed them in the right spot and laid out the complete puzzle in front of us.

There is NO DOUBT in my mind that this whole thing is a God thing.  Over the last many months I have been studying Exodus and just time and time (and time and time and time) again God has confirmed that this is the direction he has for our family.  As I've been processing and working through all the details for our move, God just last Thursday as I read the last chapter in Exodus gave me this verse: (40:36-38)

"In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels."

I truly believe that God has lifted his cloud in our lives and is moving it to San Diego.  If we were to stay here, we wouldn't be in God's will any longer.  So there is nothing that we can do other than to follow it.  And just like he promises at the end of that verse, that God will be with us throughout all our travels.  Yes, the process is tedious and very detailed with moving and storing stuff and buying houses and living with my parents and classes and travel with 2 kids....but as Exodus 3:12 and then again in 33:14 God tells Moses "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  God's presence is with us throughout this process and we are excited to see His provision in the details.

So there it is.  We're moving to San Diego.  Crazy.  Never in a million years thought that's where I'd "land" but quite honestly, it's not too shabby of a place to call home.  :)  (top 10 cities in the US to raise a family!)  The announcement was made at church this morning so the news is officially out.  Pray with us as the next few months are those of transition and uprooting and replanting in a brand new city.  We're excited to follow the cloud of God's Presence and praying for His presence to already begin to work in those of the lives that need Jesus there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day - sweet to my soul.

So I meant to write this post ON Mother's Day, but as always, I didn't get to it when I wanted to.  :)  What a shocker right?!?

This past Sunday was my 3rd Mother's Day and it was a great day!!  I honestly think that Mother's Day is better than my birthday.  Why??  I think because so much of my energy these days is spent on being a mom and taking care of my babies that a day to celebrate that specifically is just wonderful.  This past Sunday I woke up early and got to have some time in the Word before my kids were awake and God really spoke to me which made me very sentimental the whole day.  :)  Big surprise.  Here's what I was pondering....

5 years ago on Mother's Day I was living in Elgin, IL, was single, working at church and my deepest desire was to get married and stay home with my babies.  But it wasn't God's timing yet so I was waiting patiently.  I remember driving on Bowes Road to church that morning and as I was sitting at the stop light I saw a mama duck with her line of ducklings walking behind her.

I saw them and started crying and cried the whole way to church.  I felt slightly ridiculous knowing that I was crying because I saw a mama DUCK haha but the deeper feelings there were my longing to be married and have a family of my own to take care of.  I wanted that so bad but wasn't anywhere close to that.  I had just gotten out of a not so good relationship and was just sick of the whole dating thing.  After my morning mama duck episode, that afternoon I decided that I was going to fast that summer from guys and dating of any sorts until my birthday (Aug 26).  That summer was a foundational point in my walk with God and great things happened.  To make a long story short, it was on the very last day of my dating fast, my bday, when I went down to Bloomington to visit my sister and that was the day that Pete and I reconnected.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Thanks God for my incredible husband Pete.  I was obedient in that fast and He heard my longing to be married and answered.

Anyways...jump forward to this past Sunday and I was reflective of that Mother's Day duck incident.  I was praying Sunday morning and actually thanking God for Thirty-One.  Not because of the income or the way that it's provided for our family or the fun it brings me or anything like that (while those are all things I'm so, so thankful for!)....I was thanking God for it because of the specific reason that God knew my longing and deep desire to stay home with my kids and it is only because of Thirty-One that I am fully able to do that.  I can't even begin to explain my gratitude in knowing that God 100% brought this into my life because he knew my deeper need for fulfillment.  Wow.  I am so, so thankful.

I've been reading in Proverbs lately and being that it was May 13th I opened to Proverbs 13.  I got to verse 19 and read it and just started crying.

"A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul"

My longing to be a wife and a mom is completely fulfilled and there is absolutely no question in my mind that THIS is what I was MADE to do!!!  Yes, there are days where I don't have much patience, I am completely exhausted, I need to get out of the house or I need my alone time, but God knew my longing to stay home and I have never before felt so fulfilled in what I am doing.  I think that is why I want more kids because my heart is just so filled to the brim and overflowing when Kellen laughs at me or gives me huge open mouthed kisses or when Keira is riding in the stroller, looks up at me and wants to hold my hand and give me a random kiss.  It's like I feel like I will explode with the love I have for those two kids.  I want as much of that as I can get!!!!  And the fact that I get to parent alongside my best friend in the whole world is just the icing on the cake!  Pete is the most amazing dad and I am so, so, so, so blessed to be married to him.  I am more in love with that man every single day of my life and it just gets deeper as I see him tickle Keira till she's laughing uncontrollably or "throw" Kellen to make him giggle and smile. He truly is an amazing father.  Our kids are so lucky to have him!

So with that all said, this past Sunday morning God just reminded me that he is the fulfiller of all our longings.  He knows my deepest thoughts and desires and wants to honor them in my life.  

On a side note, when I was driving to church that morning with the two kids in the back, I was secretly looking out for a mama duck and her babies thinking maybe God was going to let me see another duck family just to know he heard me that morning.  No such luck....but later that day we all took a walk down by the river downtown and guess what I saw.  Yup.  A family of ducks.  I just laughed at God's sense of humor and it was on that walk that Keira just looks up at me, reaches her hand out and offers me a kiss.  Thank you God for my little family.  I am blessed beyond all measures!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An update

It's been a few months since I've written in here....surprising?  No.  But I have a few spare minutes, that of which I probably should be taking a shower before the kiddos wake up and the morning routine begins, but instead, I'm downstairs in my office printing things for my Thirty-One party this afternoon and thought I'd waste some time giving a short update on life lately.

Kellen is one week away from being 5 months old!!!  Holy smokes.  Where did the time go?!?!  He is such a charmer and I seriously can not get enough of that little man.  He gets me every time when he curls up his legs and arms and his face is covered with the biggest smile ever.  He's finding his toes these days - one of which is my favorite baby activities!  He loves his big sissy and watches her intently whether she's playing with her toys, giving him kisses on every part of his body haha or playing with daddy.  He knows his momma and is quite content with me if I do say so myself.  :)  He's been sleeping though the night now for about 2 months which makes for a very happy mommy!  We just tried last night dropping the dreamfeed and he slept right through like a champ. (although was up at 6...a bit earlier than normal)  He's quickly grew out of his 0-3 month clothes and is now sporting the 6 monthers.  My boy is getting big!  At his 4 month appointment he weighed an even 14 lbs - a little less than 2 lbs less than what Keira weighed at this point haha!!  I have been completely sucked in with his grins and giggles and could literally stare at him for hours.

They say that the transition from 1 to 2 is very hard usually.  However, I don't want to float my own boat or anything....but I've quite honestly not had a problem with it at all.  Maybe it's because Keira is such a great little girl and very obedient and well behaved (for the most part) or maybe it's because I can do okay and function without a full night's sleep or maybe (my reason) it's because I am doing exactly what God made me for so the transition has been easy - being a mommy.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was made for this job.  So far in life it has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I have found so much joy in it!!  Many, many, many times already since having two kids I've found myself getting teary eyed just in awe of the blessings of my babies.  Our little family is growing and I just can't believe God has chosen Pete and I to be the parents of these little ones.  What an honor!!!

Keira just turned 2 this week and she just cracks me up these days!  She's still much like her daddy in many ways....that girl could sleep for days if I let her (she twice this week woke up at 10:30 am!), she very introverted in crowds, loves to play, loves to read, she can figure her way around the iPhone in a slightly scary way (they are growing up in a way different world!!), she does NOT travel well (won't sleep a wink no matter how long the trip is), she loves her sippys of milk and is quite the cuddler.  I fully believe God gave us her first because of her demeanor.  I think I'm in for quite the different kid with Kellen.  :)

My family is such a blessing to me and as it continues to grow, I am just so, so thankful!!!  I can not imagine doing ANY thing else with my life these days!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A prayer request.

Mark 11:22-24
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

So I was reading a blog online and the writer referenced this verse.  My mom asked me the other day what she could be praying about and my first response was that I would get my 10 recruits during Dream Rewards so Pete and I could earn a trip to Mexico.  As I've been contemplating this prayer request, part of me feels like it's a very selfish prayer request.  I check my motives every time I pray it and almost feel guilty praying for this type of thing.  Thirty-One gives these great incentives and last year I was able to earn way more than I ever thought I could earn, so I know it's possible.  I'm the type of person that when a goal is set in front of me, there is something inside me that pushes hard, hard, hard so I can earn it.  I really, really, really, really (REALLY, REALLY, REALLY) would love to have a vacation with my husband, away from the kids, for completely free.  Maybe the reason I want this so bad is because I know the reality of us taking a vacation like Thirty-One would offer on our own is next to impossible financially.  Another "honeymoon" type trip for us is out of the question for a long time...unless it was free.  And so maybe that's why I want it so bad.  

So I come across this verse in Mark and I feel like it can be used out of context in so many ways and that is the last thing I want to do.  But at the same time, I want to believe that God can help me be successful in earning this trip.  When I first signed up for Thirty-One my desire was to make it a ministry and even more so that is my heart now that I've been in it for a year and a half.  I have 61 women underneath me and I want to love them and serve them in the best way that I can.  I want to lead well.  I want to set the bar high for them and show them what is possible.  With that said, I am completely dependent on the Lord's blessing and favor to make that happen.  I truly believe that God brought this opportunity into my life.  The name of my team is called Team 33:9 and while that sometimes sounds like a tacky name to me, the meaning behind it is significant.  The night I signed up for this "job" God gave me that verse in Jeremiah 33:9 - "Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it."  My heart's desire is to bring God the glory through this business and I believe that when I do that, he promises to bring blessings because of it.  Our family has already been more than blessed through Thirty-One and it has done exactly what I desired it to do...allow me to stay home with Keira and Kellen.  But I now want more than that.  I want to show the ladies under me who Jesus is.  It looks different than what I'm used to  being that it's not a "ministry" position at a church, but I believe that through my actions and the way that I lead, that can happen in a very tangible way.

So back to my prayer request, the Mark verse...and the 10 recruits.  Knowing that God has given me this business and blessed it in more ways that I could ever imagine (this time last year I had 3 women under me!), I choose to believe that this trip is something that He can also bless us with. Is it wrong to expect blessing from God?  Absolutely not.  My prayer is that God would lead me to 10 women who are extremely motivated and who want to make Thirty-One a business.  I want to believe that I am going to earn this trip and focus on doing my part in working hard to make it happen.  So if you're reading this, would you pray with me?  Not necessarily that I would get the 10 recruits, but that God would be glorified through the process of meeting and training these new women.  That I would meet these new women and show them Jesus through my actions and words. And maybe through this process, I would be able to earn this time away for Pete and I...a trip that we could never afford on our own, but maybe an answer to prayer and once again another confirmation of Jeremiah 33:9.