Wednesday, September 10, 2014

So your heart wants to be in a grass hut, but you're stuck in suburbia

I've mentioned before that I get itchy a lot. I like change. I move my furniture around and by the holes in my walls you can gather that I move the pictures around a lot too. After 11 years of marriage Trevor is no longer surprised to come home to a completely new arrangement in things, and he often has to look around for lids and straws because they inevitably are in a new location.

I have lots of ideas and plans and my mind never rests. I am also what is called an "Activator" or as my friend Jenna calls it, a Fire Starter. My question isn't "how?" or "why?" it's "when do we start?".  I like to jump. This is super great in so many areas, and for the areas where it's not so great I'm thankful for my non-fire starter husband who balances me well.

When God began shaking up my heart a few years ago and opening my eyes to things I really hadn't seen before, I began researching things like "South Sudan Missionaries with Kids Under 3" and was emailing and making phone calls before I knew it.

I was ready. The roof was taken off and I was ready to fly. I wanted to get my hands dirty, be used in a more powerful way and not waste anymore time doing the things that were driving me crazy. In all honesty it was church that was driving me nuts. I was tired of people complaining about silly things that don't matter, serving the served and the falseness that seemed to come with Sunday morning "fellowship time". I was burnt out over the lack of authenticity and I declared it a lost cause.

Well, we didn't pack up and leave right away. We did a lot of praying (mostly Trevor did because I was just done. My prayers were more like "please open a door so we can leave) Even though physically we hadn't moved, my heart had moved on. I was jaded and annoyed and done.

I am ever so thankful that my wise husband didn't say "No" but kept praying. He held everything loosely in his hands, but continued to seek God's will for our life. We talked through a lot, weighed a lot of options and continued to just take next steps.

God gave me a little time to pout about things, and my friends listened to my heart and my complaining without telling me to get over myself. I'm really thankful for that too.

After God had had enough of my self-righteous pity party (I have no problem admitting that)  He pretty much said

"Instead of whining about not getting to go do the big awesome things you want to do RIGHT get off your butt and go do something for crying out loud!" (my translation)

Wait. So, just because I can't live in Africa in a grass hut and raise my boys naked in the dirt right now, it doesn't mean I can't take what I have and do something meaningful here???

I will be honest with you and say that it didn't just click for me right away. I begrudgingly began in that direction, all the while hoping that soon we'd get to head off and do something even more awesome. It didn't have to be Africa, but I wanted it to be big. We both have some big ideas, and I am just the one that says let's do it before thinking things through all the way. It has to be now or I'm over it.

I had a foot in what God was doing here and now, and a foot in what I hoped would come.

It took awhile before I saw things with new eyes.

Yes, there are people who get to jump up, pack their things and go...with littles in tow. As much as I wanted that to be us, to be the people who said a crazy yes and went and did something big....God was asking us to be faithful in the little things for now.

I can't tell you how many times I sat around a table with our tribe and shared my heart, wanting more, big ideas, dreams etc. I felt like the little stuff was insignificant and someone else could surely do the little things.

I stepped into a role that I knew God had called me to, and in many ways is stretching me. Our church went through a huge transition, and that's big....but when your spouse is on staff there it's magnified. We are still transitioning.

We are being faithful in the small things. The things God has for us right now, we are doing it. We are mentoring, training, investing in people, growing leaders, encouraging and all the while we are still dreaming about what God has down the road.

One of my friends, he says a lot of good stuff, has pointed out so many times that sure we could go and do these other great big things elsewhere but that what we are learning right now, in this time is going to be huge and benefit whatever is next. This isn't a wasted time. It may feel like treading water at sometimes, but if we are willing to learn while we wait we will be so much better off.

I say all of this to say, dream.

 Ask God to show you what is really deep down inside. If money, fear, location or education weren't an obstacle, what would you want to do with your life?
 And then pray. Can you do it? If not why? Then work on how to eliminate those whys.
If it takes awhile to do that...

Don't just sit on your butt and wait. Do something. I don't care what it is, but do something. 

Jump into a role, use your gifts, fill a spot, seek something out. Don't twiddle your thumbs. Don't waste the opportunity to learn now.

You can be awesome now, even if what you really want is a little ways away. Maybe you come to find out that the little things really are big things and you are living the awesome without even realizing it.

Don't believe that what you are doing now doesn't have a huge impact somewhere down the road.

Dream. Do. Don't wait.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Jack: A Letter Before You Start School


Tomorrow you start Kindergarten. It's not a big deal, but it is a big deal all in the same breath. Someday you'll know what I mean.

As you start school, I just wanted to remind you how much I love you. I love so many things about you I just don't know where to begin.

Daddy and I picked a verse for you. One that we pray over you and trust will help shape your life and your heart.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love"
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

You see, Daddy and I love you so much, but there is someone who loves you even more than us. He gave you to us. He trusted us enough to look after, care for and guide you. To teach you how to be like Him. We mess up a lot, sometimes we get things wrong....and we are so thankful for grace.

God's grace says "you messed up, really really big but I love you anyway and you don't have to be perfect for me to love you"

Remember how we talked about compassion, about how when you feel a little sad inside when you see someone hurting, or being hurt? Remember that we want you to act on it! Don't let that little feeling inside just sit there.

Be a friend to the kids who don't have friends. Say hi to the quiet kids. Sometimes that quiet kid is you, so you will have to be brave to say hi to others.

Don't be afraid to be you sweet boy. You are silly, you are funny and you love to help. Look for ways to be a helper to everyone, to flash that dimple at people who may be having a tough day.

Mommy and Daddy don't care how many awards you get, how many times you are noticed for doing good or how many times you get picked for things.

We just want you to love God and love people. We want you to do it not for a sticker or a star, but because it's the right thing to do. Be brave and courageous, even when it's a little scary.

When Mommy was little there was a boy in her class named Virgil. Virgil didn't really say much and his clothes were a little stinky and he always looked like he may have cried a lot the night before.
Nobody really wanted to sit by him. I don't know why, but maybe kids were afraid because he was different.

But Mommy said hi. I never squirmed when I was seated next to him, and I never made fun of him. I will always remember the card he gave me, I don't remember exactly what it was for but I do remember he thanked me for just being nice.

See, it doesn't take a lot to make someone feel loved and special.

You might meet a Virgil this year, or the next and we want you to be the one who makes him smile. Because here is the thing. Different is okay and different isn't scary.
 We're all people and God wants us to love no matter what.

So as you head off tomorrow for this big new world of school and you get to meet so many new people and learn from an amazing teacher, know that you are loved and that we are proud of you.

Go love people.

Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Here we are. Kindergarten. I remember Kindergarten quite vividly. I remember making solid friends. Playing guitar on a wooden block, accidentally doing the splits on the linoleum floor, making hand-print Christmas ornaments and being chosen to help the teacher cart them to the kiln.

I remember snack time. And my lovely beautiful teacher Ms. Olsen and her bouncing blonde hair. 

I honestly can't believe Jack is here now. It sounds so silly to say time flies, but it really does. I am excited for him. 

When we felt God moving us in a different direction for schooling this year, it came as a shock to me and honestly it was hard. I didn't want to do it, but then God opened so many doors (frankly some that shouldn't have opened) and we suddenly felt at such peace with this change it was undeniable. We always said, a year at a time and a kid at a time as far as schooling goes and yet we don't want to bounce them around every year, so I think this is what things will look like from here on out, at least until God moves us in another direction, if He does. We are thrilled.

I'm super happy about it.

One of the reasons I'm happy about it is this:

Sometimes God likes to do fun things just because He loves us. 

That's one of my best friends. Jack has her for his teacher this year. Yeah. That's cool