First day of summer 2015~

This may be my favorite day of the  whole year.  The day when we all sleep in and awake to all being home together.  Eating breakfast, special toast, at 1130 together with worship music playing in the background.  Rachel taught me this morning how to make crayon lipstick; summer is looking to be really good so far.  This year in particular may be my favorite first day of summer ever!  It signifies the beginning of our next journey;  our journey to being ALL IN! I woke up early this morning with butterflies in my stomach.  We are on our way!  Yesterday, I sent in the kids enrollment paperwork for their schooling next year.  Their homeschooling; unbelievable how the little details are working out.  We have secured a flat to call our home for the next year as well.  I am daydreaming of the possibilities of setting up a home in a foreign land.  I am sure the harsh reality will hit hard once I am there, but for today, this special day, I am daydreaming of how great it will be.  To say I am excited would be a gross understatement!

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So Much

So much is happening, so much is changing, so much.  I catch myself thinking in fast forward. So much is happening. We had a huge garage sale, sold a bunch of furniture, and gave away a ton of stuff.  God has been faithful.  We rented out our house and moved across town into a house our church owns.  A house that is a constant reminder of where I am in this season of life.  I love it.  At each happening I am reminded of His faithfulness, the adventure I am headed on and the opportunity we are jumping at.  I have been thinking a lot about Abraham and Isaac…. so much meat in that story.  I will hopefully be able to articulate what’s stirring in my heart soon, but for now I want to share a few of my favorite things in this season I am in.

First, there is this book, THIS BOOK!

 MarkBatterson_all_in

WIth each page I read I am provoked, encouraged and excited to be all in for Jesus.  If you haven’t read it, do!  It is an easy read and you will be encouraged I promise.  Although I found it hard to pick my favorite quotes because there are so many, here are a few excerpts.  Batterson (2013) writes

I realize we all have a different risk threshold.  Some people seem to be wired for risk, while others aren’t.  And a small risk for someone with a low tolerance for risk is a huge risk for him or her.  All of us land at different places on the spectrum, but just because you aren’t a natural risk taker doesn’t mean you get an exemption because of personality.

Think of it this way.  There are spiritual gifts like mercy, faith or generosity that enable people to set the standard, so to speak. But just because you don’t have that spiritual gift doesn’t mean you aren’t held to any standard at all.  Even if you aren’t gifted in that way, you’re still called to live mercifully, faithfully, and generously.  You might not set the standard, but you need to meet the standard.  (p.89)

When will we realize that indecision is a decision? When will we come to terms with the fact that inaction is an action? (p.37)

Going all out for God is not just about getting where God wants you to go.  Its about who you become in the process.  And it’s not about how quickly you get there.  Its about how far you go.  Going all out is a going the distance.  It’s crossing the finish line the way the apostle did: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (p.102)

Don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can. (p.91)

I assure you that every page is filled with thought provoking truths that will encourage you to be in all in for Jesus!  Wont you join me?  Let’s be crazy in love with Jesus!

Here is a formal book review (I bought a half dozen or so just to be able to give away, it’s just that good!)

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The second thing I am loving these days is IF:equip.  This is an amazing website!

if

The heart of this ministry:

“We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.” (IF:equip, n.d.)

They will daily send you the study and a short video (3mins)  of women discussing the passage and it’s application.  They also give you opportunity to host gatherings that create community and build you in faith and truth. It is seriously the highlight of my day to get an email from them and then to read Gods word together with thousands of women from around the world!  Check them out you will be encouraged daily,  I love women building women up in the Lord.

Let’s be the women who God called and created us to be!!!

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And lastly, I am OBSESSED with this song: In Over My Head

Here are the lyrics.  They just seem to be the song of my heart right now!

I have come to this place in my life
I’m full but I’ve not satisfied
This longing to have more of You
I can feel it my heart is convinced
I’m thirsty my soul can’t be quenched
You already know this but still
Come and do whatever You want to

I’m standing knee deep but I’m out where never been
I feel You coming and I hear Your voice on the wind

Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in
Let love come teach me who You are again
Take me back to the place where my heart was only about You
And all I wanted was just to be with You
Come and do whatever You want to

Further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours
Further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours
[x2]

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
And You crash over me, I’m where You want me to be
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
I’m Beautifully in over my head
I’m Beautifully in over my head

References:

Batterson, Mark. (2013) All In: Your one decision away from a totally different life. Austin TX: Zondervan.

IF:Equip (n.d.) IF: Gathering: Who we are. Retrieved from https://ifgathering.com/who-we-are/

Johnson, Jenn (2014). In Over my Head. We will not be shaken.  Bethel Music.

ALL IN

Three years ago Joel and I felt a stirring. A stirring like we were on the brink of change. A stirring that we needed to get our stuff in order because God was up to something. In the natural, we began to clean our closets, listed our house for sale and began anticipating the change that was in store. We waited, and waited. Questioned our hearing and our steps of “faith.” Yet nothing changed; our house did not sale. We then settled back into our very comfortable lives, and started to loose site of what we were contending for. Yet, we were unable to deny the stirring that still plagued us.

In the fall of 2014, Joel made a comment that set a series of activities into action. After years of dreaming and praying, Joel said if I could come up with half of the money needed for a trip to my birthplace that we could go. I promptly looked into selling our family car. Shortly after the sale of the car, we had tickets bought and we were planning “a once in a lifetime” trip back to my birthplace. A trip back to where my parents sowed, a trip to a land that my father had told me time and time again would capture my heart. In February 2015, we were off.  I had prepared my children for the emotional roller coaster that we were embarking on. I had been dreaming of this place my whole life. I imagined my feet would literally touch the ground and I would be undone. However, that wasn’t quite the case. We spent 25 days on the island. I spent the first 10 days or so thinking my parents were idiots for coming here with toddlers and my mom being 7 months pregnant all those years ago, not to mention why they would choose to live there now. I laughed out loud to myself that after all these years of dreaming that I finally got to the land I had known I was called to and yet I felt nothing and in fact, I somewhat hated it. I looked to Joel, who quickly told me he felt nothing. However, over the 25 days God began to stir, speak and prompt. I would catch myself daydreaming about living on the beach, or in the countryside.

 We serve such a gracious God. A God who is so loving and faithful that he gives us time to respond to his calling. During our last week, we were presented with the opportunity to serve fulltime. Joel and I sat in a coffee shop  were called out. Called out of our comfort place, called out of our fears, procrastinations and called out of our “someday.” If not now, then when? We went home and spent the night praying and talking about the opportunity to truly be all in.   How could we stand before God and say we chose comfort over calling? How could we not walk out our faith for our kids sake? How could we not be people who were truly willing to risk it all for God? In the wee hours of the morning, Joel whispered to me “you know we have to do this, how could we not?” I rolled over with butterflies in my stomach, we were actually going to give up the American dream, the comforts of home, a secure job, a successful business to move to a third world country! It made no sense at all but total sense.

Here is the crux of it; we believe whole-heartedly that this is where God is calling us. But we are willing to risk, give up everything for a 1% chance to be where God wants us. Crazy, I know! But how glorious, how exciting to take not just a step of faith but a leap of faith to walk out God’s calling! If this is our legacy, “to be those people who gave everything up for Jesus” then so be it! I have lived the majority of my life being half in. No more! I am all in for Jesus, ALL IN!

Do we have the qualifications? Do we have the resources? What about our kids? The good news is I know the one who qualifies, who is the greatest provider and who is such a Faithful Father. All those questions are minimal in the big picture! Sure my kids are going to sacrifice, and possibly hate or resent this decision. But isn’t this so exciting that at age 14, 12 and11 they are learning to give it all for Jesus? Something that most of us never fully learn! We have sold most of our belongings, and are so excited to get to live in total trust of His provision. Stay tuned for the adventure of a lifetime, a story of Jesus at work in 5 sinners and for our ALL IN lives!

14 years old

14 years ago my heart was awakened to a new found love. A love that my heart had never known, a love that would transform who I was, and a love that was just the beginning! As we celebrate Elijah’s 14th birthday today, we celebrate the love he awoken in our hearts and celebrate the truly AMAZING man of God that he is growing into. I still look at my sweet, 14 years later, with wonder in my eyes. How did God bless me with such a boy to call me his momma? He is truly remarkable! I know we think that way about all of our kids, or we should at least, but I tell you there is something special about this boy that can not be denied. There is a destiny in this kid. There is a love for truth, a love to honor, and a love to work hard in this boy that not even a momma could exaggerate. 14 years ago today was one of the best days in my life!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, Lij.

You are loved; you are amazing!

He’s the one

This weekend Joel and I celebrated our 17th year of marriage.  We were fortunate enough to sneak off for the weekend together.  Over the course of 24 hours we discussed our courtship, the proposal and the 17 years that followed. 18 years ago I was preparing to leave for Cambodia and Joel was headed to YWAM.  We decided that we should not continue to date.  I left for Cambodia with a broken heart knowing that God had a plan for me which may or may not include Joel.  Fast forward 7 month and Joel proposed (we still weren’t dating at the time of the proposal).  6 months after that we said I do.

This weekend we were discussing what in the world our parents were thinking of us two getting married.  I often think how God knew what I needed in a man, and how even in my ignorance He had a plan.  Because really how can an 18 year old know how to pick a husband?   I made the comment that my parents probably knew we would get married with or without their blessing.  Now mind you, Joel and I were not dating at the time he proposed and had not discussed marriage at all. Joel stopped me and said “NO!  I would have not married you without your parents blessing. I would have honored your dad, and waited for his blessing or trusted that God had someone else for me… And I would not have told you anything”  I sat in the car thinking about how that would have played out.  Somewhat like a movie I imagine, a really romantic movie where years later I would learn of his sacrifice.

His statement to me about honoring my dad and being respectful of my dad’s wishes, in spite of his own desires and/or wishes left me with a simple reminder of who Joel truly is.  Joel is a man who has faced adversity, been lied about and to, stole from and dismissed.  Yet he has always strived to be respectful and honoring.  He hasn’t always succeeded; nonetheless he consistently tried and tried again to always do the right thing.  His character and integrity have shown through his commitment to strive to always do the right thing!  Because of his commitment he has consistently found favor, and our family has been blessed because of his commitment.

In moments like these I am reminded that he is the one for me.  He was then and he is still today.  I love him so very much.  I am so honored to be the wife of a man of integrity, honor and respect. To have a man that is committed to pursuing the right thing no matter what!  I pray that I never lose sight of who Joel is and the man of God he was created to be!

Happy Mother’s Day

I have been incredibly blessed to have such amazing women in my life.  My mother has loved and encouraged me to run with Jesus my whole life.  I was also very lucky that I married a man that has a mom who has a heart for the Lord as well, and whom also loves and encourages me.  In fact, these two women are two of my best friends, they love me in spite of me and push me to fulfill the call of God on my life.  Happy Mother’s Day to two of the BEST Momma’s in the whole world.  Joel and I feel honored and blessed to be your children~

When my mom was 7 months pregnant, my parents felt a call to the mission field.  Like any good people of faith they packed their bags, two toddlers, and traveled across the world to work as missionaries.  I was born on the mission field shortly after their arrival.  That sowed something in me that I can not articulate.  Today I kissed my husband and oldest son goodbye as they traveled to Mexico with our church.  Joel has traveled to Mexico for years, but Elijah is going on his first mission trip.  This is the best mother’s day gift ever.  Seeing your child explore what God has for them.  Seeing him have a heart for people, much like I do, and his grandparents do is heart swelling.  It is my hope that much like the indescribable seed that was sowed in me 35 years ago, God would sow into my sweet, beloved Elijah David.  That he would rise up as a mighty man of God, dying to himself and living a life of service!

photo

 

Sex education

We have been talking openly with our kids about sex since they were little (age appropriate of course).  But today I put together a presentation for Lij.  I am so excited.  It is such an honor to get to teach him about how God created sex and the true gift it is!  I of course added the science aspect of sex, the consequences ,including pictures of STD’s ( I know what your thinking, but the harsh reality is sex has consequences and sores on your penis are a reality of sex these days!)  etc. in my presentation.  TRUTH is the only way we can equip our kids to with stand the worlds view of sex.  Biblical TRUTH coupled with scientific/medical information is power!  Here are two videos I found when researching sex education~

Who I am, where I’ve been and how great HE is!

I have been thinking a lot about redemption, joy and giving this year.  I found this video, thanks to my great pastor’s wife, and I think it sums up how great God truly is, and that even in my ugliest moments, my deepest sin, my pride, and my failures His grace is enough, His love covers my sin. Getting to this video isn’t easy, but worth the extra step.  I encourage you to click the link and be encouraged!

Who I am, where I’ve been and how great HE is!

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

To blog or not to blog

That is the question.  After nearly two years of not writing and only writing hit or miss prior to that, I am wondering if having a blog has ran its course.  I initiated the blog years ago when my kids were little and my life much simpler.  I wrote about my comings and goings; I wrote for an outlet.  Today, I would probably write as a sense of therapy; therein lies the problem.  Can one write being completely transparent, no holds barred without hesitation of offense, judgment or pride.  I am not sure, to be honest.  So much has transpired in the last 6 years of my life and although I have no qualms about being transparent (in fact, I could dedicate a whole blog to the pitfalls of transparency in a world that equates that with weakness), writing in such a way can provoke so much.  In the era of FB, twitter, and even blogging we can create a picture perfect life.  All to often the transparency is a few shades off and we present ourselves in a way that screams of our super spiritualism and/or only our victories.  But what about the real life issues, the ones that are often too real and ugly to speak of and in dire need of redemption….

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Here are a few topics of posts I have written and rewritten in my head

What is my role? Who have I truly been called to be and why can’t I walk it out!

How to leave a church, and how not to let the enemy win when doing so.

Why after all this hard work do I feel like I’m still missing something?

Rejected, abandoned and alone…

Novice nurse at your service!

If one truly understood the depths of parenting (pre-children) no one, NO ONE, would ever have a kids.

Justified, is there such a thing?

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I doubt I have a plethora of readers if any, so a lot of this probably doesn’t matter.  But I wonder what place, if any, does this blog have in my current life.