Saturday, January 29, 2011

Give it Away

Many years ago, before Jerrod and I even met, somewhere along the way, I knew deep down that some how I would be in ministry. I had a sneaking suspicion that the Lord would eventually call me to be a pastor's wife, and little did I know the ride I was in for. I truly can not imagine my life any different, and I feel blessed, unworthy, and unqualified many days to fulfill the mission the Lord has set before me, both as a mom and a wife.

As Jerrod has been in many different positions and roles, one constant has remained the same....people, God's people. The church. Who's needs, problems, celebrations, trials, successes, failures, baggage, addictions, relationships, births, deaths, and marriages never go away. Long ago when Jerrod and I both separately came to know the Lord, it marked a day for each of us, as it does for all believers in Christ, that in that moment, our life was no longer ours. It became Christ's. It was no longer what we wanted in life, what direction we felt best to travel, from big decisions to small ones, it was HE who would ultimately be the deciding factor and the compass in which we would follow. And with our lives being Christ's, we reside ourselves to the fact that He will and does use us as HE sees fit. In that, it brings true meaning to "die to self." Not what I want Lord, but what you want, no matter how much it hurts...sound familiar? A similar prayer that even Jesus Himself prayed shortly before He was crucified.

Although there have been many ups and downs both personally in marriage and in our family, but also in professional ministry, one thing is for certain. We are called to give our life away. It's not ours to keep, especially as believers in Christ. I think so often we get caught up in the lie of "do what makes you feel good," "oh I'm not gifted at this or that," "I just don't have time," "that's someone else's job", "I don't have anything to offer," or "I need to get my life together first" (It's a good thing the Lord already knows we're never gonna be perfect or else we'd all be waiting around till Jesus comes back! ;) ....excuse, excuse, excuse. Don't get me wrong, not everyone is called to professional ministry (where you get paid to do ministry;), but everyone is called to serve, to give their life away, to influence people for the kingdom, to make disciples. Amazingly, the Lord has equipped us ALL to do HIS work.

How are you going to give your life away? Are you going to be apart of a ministry team at your church? Are you going to partner with a local ministry in your area? Let's get a little more personal...Are you going to stop nagging your hubby and serve his socks off, even though he may not deserve it? Are you going to lay down your rights and expectations for "you" time to spend it on the floor with your kiddos? Are you going to sneak over and drop off a plate of cookies on your neighbor's porch just to encourage them? Are you sitting around at a party waiting to be served, or are you the one in the kitchen doing the dishes so everyone else can enjoy? (Love you, Jess!) The list could go on and on :) Don't sit by idle and miss out on what the Lord wants to use you for, and more importantly what He wants to do IN you!

I would love to hear how you are giving your life away. Big or small, leave a comment and let's spur one another on!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where I am weak, He is strong

As the days and weeks keep passing, I find myself looking at my blog and feeling very overwhelmed. So many moments in my day, I feel like the Lord reveals parts of Himself, truths that can only come from Him, glimpses of His faithfulness and goodness, and reminders of the abundant blessings He's lavished in our lives. Other moments, He's faithful to reveal specks (or lets be honest, sometimes logs) in my eye, showing me areas where I fall short, don't measure up and how desperately I need His grace.

I feel as though those moments are so powerful, and in the moment I wish I had the time to sit down in the moment and write all that He is doing in my heart, but unfortunately in the hustle and bustle of life, the moments are fleeting. So, here I am, doing my best to share a few nuggets of what the Lord's been doing in me.

The last few weeks have been rough. I'm pretty sure I went through (and may still be going through) a little depression. To compound that, or maybe what's causing it to be worse, is that we have a 6 month old that is not sleeping through the night yet. I have been beating myself up, feeling like I have been doing all the right things without any of the reward. Cooper slept through the night at 8 weeks, so I question what in the world I'm doing wrong ;) The past week or two has been much better, as I have been the schedule nazi, trying to work on consistency and it has helped tremendously.

To make matters worse, my anxiety has been pretty much on a level 10. For so long, 6 months has been my goal, my end point, my light at the end of the tunnel. I was so confident that once Sawyer was almost 6 months, that I would breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that the statistics were in our favor in relation to SIDS. After all, we had surpassed 4 1/2 months, praise the LORD! Unfortunately, as 6 months grows closer, I feel my anxiety raising again. In many ways I'm even ashamed to tell you how often I check the video monitor. You might equate it to some peoples' obsession with Facebook ;) Seriously, I feel like I'm glued to the thing!

This past week, we hit a turning point. Sawyer started sleeping so much better during his naps and at night, but with that came rolling over onto his tummy. Yep. You guessed it. That's exactly how he's determined to sleep. No matter how many times we would go in to reposition him, roll him over, and put the passy in, he's determined to be on his tummy. Not only that, but unwilling to have his face COMPLETELY turned to the side, but rather smooshed a little bit to the mattress. Be still my anxious heart! I wake up in a widespread panic multiple times a night to check on him, fearing the worst. I prepare myself almost each time I enter his room for fear of what I might find. After all, the Lord does not promise tomorrow, and just because He took Tyler, doesn't mean He couldn't or wouldn't take Sawyer too.

Needless to say, I'm exhausted. It feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and in many ways I feel like I've bought into the lie that it is up to me to keep Sawyer alive. Horrible and inaccurate, but a very real reality of where God is delivering me from. I love my sweet friends and especially my hubby too, so graciously and lovingly speaking truth into my life. The truth is, as one friend put it, I'm either going to trust and believe He is sovereign or I'm not. Yikes! Am I really believing He is sovereign in my life? I certainly am not living like I believe that. I take hold of the reigns way too often and the second I try to let go and give God permission to take hold of EVERY area of my life, I find myself right back where I started...yanking the reigns back, fooling myself into believing that I have everything more under control than the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and earth. It sounds so incredibly dumb when you really stop and think about it, to think that I might have it more figured out or have better ideas of how my life should run than He does. So often I fail to invite God into the process, into the corners of my life, and allow Him to search my anxious thoughts (which are many;). I'm missing out on so much depth in my relationship with Jesus, because I'm so focused on all the immediate and pressing issues in my life.

What's more, is that if He is who He says He is, He loves my precious babies more than I could ever dream of loving them. He desires good for my life. Life is not always good, but HE is. Many days, trusting Him is a choice. A decision. It's not something I always feel, but rather a conscious choosing that His way includes the big picture, something that my near sightedness is blinded to. I'm so grateful for a Savior that sees my inadequacies, my human faults, and my inability to trust Him fully, and still His grace abounds all the more in the areas where I am weak. For where I am weak (really weak!), He is strong. A simple song, a simple truth, yet a profound statement that we make so complicated.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

5 Months and Globetrotters

Guess who's almost 6 months old??

You like Coop's "work out" gear? This boy cracks me up!

We got to go to the Globe Trotter game this week thanks to some sweet friends;)
Coop had an absolute blast!

Nothing like cotton candy with your buddy Camden!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Marriage Book

We are beginning to read an unbelievable book in our Life Group. It's called "What did you expect?" by Paul David Tripp. The amount of wisdom is abundant, but I wanted to share an excerpt of something that encouraged my heart today.

"The empty tomb points us to one more amazing thing. It teaches us that God is willing. Why would He go to such an extent to help us? Why would He care to notice us, let alone rescue us? Why would He ever sacrifice His own Son? Because is is willing.

You and I need to recognize that His willingness was motivated not by what He saw in US but by what is inside of HIM.

He is willing because He is the definition of mercy. He is willing because He is the source of love. He is willing because He is full of amazing grace. He is willing because He is good, gentle, patient, and kind. Even when we are unwilling, full of ourselves and wanting our own way, He is still willing. He delights in transforming us by His grace. He delights in rescuing us by His powerful love.

So, when you are sinned against or when the fallen world breaks your door down, don't lash out or run away. Stand in your weakness and confusion and say, 'I am not alone. God is with me, and He is faithful, powerful, and willing.' "

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Time

A few things that made my heart smile this Christmas....

Sweet cousins cuddling on the couch ;)

Christmas Eve jammy tradition...

Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes :)

Jerrod opening the Brian Regan tickets I got him! :)

The look of sheer excitement...

over simple things like mouthwash ;)

My sweet baby boy, who the Lord has graciously given us even though we don't deserve him.

My first Christmas with two children in my arms. What a precious gift!