It’s Not You, It’s Me

Hello, Friends. Two months of Texas hasn't done much good for me. I am still adjusting, and I am still trying. Trying to like being here, trying to embrace “my journey”, trying to not scream at my computer screen every time I see a picture of a Florida sunset. But let's be real-I don't really love San Antonio, I wasn't finished with my journey in Florida, and sometimes I scream. Oh, yes, I do.

I have experienced some great moments, but mostly I only have the dishes and the kid's school schedules to make me get up in the morning. Sometimes I lay in bed and just count the hours before I can get back in bed. But I'm trying. Trying to write, trying to stay excited over possibilities for my future. Trying to not eat yet another taco.

According to every Pastor and Celebrity-Pastor-Wannabe on Twitter I was meant to save the world. Really, God bless them for their optimism, and outward perfection. But for me, it's just too much pressure. Honestly, I'm just trying to get through the day without dropping the “F” bomb. It's a miracle if I do my hair, and watch out world if I shower.

I chuckle at the idea that I'm of any help to anyone these days. I can barely help myself. Someone told me the other day that my writing was so inspiring and helpful. I was flattered and smiled but totally was rolling my eyes on the inside. If only they knew the truth about me. However, my kids are still alive, and they've been fed and I think they've showered. I think. Guess that says something.

I guess this is the “in-between”, the “transition period”, the gap. I thank all of you who have tried to help me through this time, called me, then called me again, and then called me again. And are still waiting for me to call you back. Let me say this with total certainty, “It's not you, it's me!” I'm in a funk, and I'm trying to get-funky my way out.

I just don't do well with the moments in life where there are in-betweens. But life is about moving from one valley to another, moving from mountain to mountain. Climbing takes the most time. The world wants us to think that the mountaintop experience is the most important. The world lies and tells us we stay on top of that mountain a lot longer than reality allows us.

I prefer the view from the mountaintop just like any other girl. But until I find the next mountain to climb I guess I'll just spread a blanket out, probably under a tree, and take another nap. I've perfected that. Might as well do what I'm good at.

What are you “good-at” these days? I'd like to know I'm not the only one who hates hanging out in the valley.

Your Kid is Not My Problem

I have all these kids that come to my house on Wednesdays. We call it Uth. I feed them, we play games, and sit around my living room (usually piled on top of each other) and talk about life, and what the Bible says and why it’s true.

So many of them don’t think it’s true. So many of them think anything can be true. They think whatever works for you is ok. They don’t think. I’m certain that’s the problem.

There is this constant state of confusion. So many of them don’t see anything wrong with their lives, their choices. They don’t see their need for Jesus. So last week when half of them raised their hands that they didn’t really believe that Jesus was the only way I became nauseous. I told my testimony of why Jesus is MY only way and how I KNOW that no other self-proclaimed god would rescue me, transform me, love me.

I went to bed that night convinced that what I am doing is not enough. My heart was in a frenzy, my head spinning, I had to do more, be more convincing, persuadeĀ them. For a week I contemplated, pondered, even considered everything I’m doing as completely meaningless.

This morning I said, “Jesus, what should I do. How can I convince them?”

He said, “That is not your job. Your job is to give them truth. My job is to show them that it is true.”

Exhale.

I want every child who walks out of my door on Wednesday to understand the tremendous love and grace and justice of Jesus. But if they don’t, it’s not my problem. In fact, I’m certain Jesus doesn’t see it as a problem he sees it as just another seed planted that he will water and nurtureĀ and grow to His perfection.

So tonight, I will pull up my overalls, throw on my rain boots and trek into the garden of precious kids, some sprouting, some blooming. But I will nourish them with the truth, give them a few hugs and wait for Jesus’ love to overwhelm them so they can no longer be contained in their seed.

Pray for us, would you?

Assuming in the Church–Very Necessary

One of the things almost every Christian parent does is find VBS at any church you possible can so we can get rid of your kids for a few hours each day. We hop from church to church closest to our houses, week after week, collecting T-Shirts and craft projects in exchange for a few moments of summer peace.

I am of no exception to this rule. The only thing that is different about me is that I have been in full time ministry for 10 years, and am currently working on the staff of a church plant. What makes my qualifications pertinent is I become very in tune with the workings of every church and their ministry. I am looking for ideas, sensing the Spirit, and struggling with my nature that always wants improvement, so often I am critical.

One of the things I stay most aware of is how welcoming and inviting the church people are. I believe that the most important thing a church can do is show love with open arms. As a church plant, especially, every connection made is a possible piece of the foundation of our church. But really, the church as a whole should desire and strive to missionally reach out to every person who steps foot in our presence.

If a church in Africa or the Dominican had people walk on their property, or were going into the community to reach the out to the lost they would certainly ensure a warm smile, a welcoming hug or handshake, burning to offer a sense of hope. But in America, we tend to take for granted whether or not people “really” need Jesus or “really” need to be a part of our church– or even THE church!

I have attended 3 events at this one particular area church, each one meant to be outreach events to the community. I have filled out registration information at two of the three events. I have never been contacted and not once at any event has anyone approached me to shake my hand or invite me to a church service.

What if I was that mother who was drowning in addiction? What if I was that woman at the well? What if I was the demon-possessed man? What if I was afraid and confused about who Jesus really was and this was my ONE, meek effort to try and connect?

We as the church body should look at every person with this perspective. We should assume that every.single.person. that God brings across our path is someone that needs to be reached for Jesus. We should be self-less about our functions at church, and not get caught up in the business of doing church, but concentrate more on being Jesus.

I have three more days left of this VBS, and I am hoping to get an invite. If not, I will just allow this lesson to better me and allow me to be aware of every person’s need for Jesus. How about you? Do you invite people to meet with Jesus?

Thoughts?

Ladies, Do Yourselves A Favor

I’m sitting at the pool listening to two young women lament over their relationships. Some would call it eavesdropping, I call it research. One beatiful young girl with blonde hair and a black swimsuit waved her hands in angry circles while chatting with her dark headed friend.

“He makes more money then me but I pay all the bills.” I looked for a ring to see if this was a marital problem but couldn’t figure it out right away. Then she talked about having to pay for the wedding and all of her savings were depleted.

He pays his truck payment-$520 a month, half the rent, and for his 4-wheeler-$250 a month. She pays the rest. She pays all the house bills, her education bills, their entertainment expenses. Only one of his paychecks are accounted for. She has no idea where the rest of his money goes. She is looking for a job that pays more. She’s frustrated. But they made the agreement that his money was his and her money was hers.

Everything in me wanted to march right over there with my heart full of wisdom and smack them both upside their perfectly pony-tailed heads. Here is what I would say:

Ladies, do yourselves a favor and heed my wisdom. You can’t be married and live separately in any shape or form. When God unites you, he unites all of you…your minds, your emotions, your spirits and even everything in the physical. The reason you are so frustrated is because you are going against your new nature. It will continue to be frustrating until you learn to live and think differently. As a married couple, you should be able to ask your husband about his paychecks and account for every dime both of you earn and spend. You will constantly live divided if you continue to live this way. And this division will only be the beginning. LIving separately will slowly and methodically infilterate every other part of your relationship. It will become unbearable. Ladies, did you know that money issues are one of the main causes of divorce in America?

Ladies, do yourselves a favor and be the one to take the responsible, mature path in all of this. Figure out how to manage all of your income, if necessary. Seek outside help, stop allowing excuses. Oh wait, your not married yet? Then ladies, really do yourselves a favor and resolve all of these issues BEFORE you get married. This is not something that will go away. If you don’t see eye to eye on money, you will certainly find there are other highly important issues you don’t agree on–like children, your future, your relationship outside of your marriage, your faith.

Ladies, everywhere, do yourselves a favor, and be willing to do the hard work and ask the hard questions with your significant other, husband or spouse to be. Marriage is not a joke, nor is it temporary. It is a living, breathing organism that requires your life being breathed into actively, everyday. If you aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, don’t live make believe and pretend that you are. If you’re not ready to really be married, then don’t get married.

All in a fun day at the pool.

Thoughts?

Consequences of Being a GREAT Mom

So today is the first day without my daughter. Yesterday with every bit of courage I could find in me, I drove away and left her to train and prepare to do missions work in Barahona, Domincan Republic. With just a flutter of fear in my heart, I looked back, but she didn’t.

Never have I felt this way, ever. Pride, sadness, fear, love all tangled to create streams of tears that I just couldn’t hold back. The thought of her getting hurt, the thought of her maturing and growing up and moving away. The thought of her developing even more independence–the thought of her not needing me anymore.

I woke up this morning to this text message from her:

I miss you but I’m having a good time. Please don’t worry about me. You’re a great mom. I’ll try to text as often as I can I love you with all my heart mommy and I’ll be ok. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxox :)

So as I’ve gone through the day with my heart in my throat, I realize that all of this emotion and heartbreak I am experiencing is just because I’m a great mom. I have always encouraged her to be bold and deeply compassionate for people. When she has feared going to parties or being the only one, I have pushed her to go anyway. When she has told me what she’s wanted to be when she grows up, I have prayed and told her to follow God’s call on her life and let her dreams be God’s dreams.

And so there she goes. Chasing after God’s plans for her, recklessly pursuing a chance to love others and change the world. And here I am, pressing into Jesus, reminding myself that He loves her more than I do–even though I can’t imagine that could be possible.

I’m not saying I’ve been the GREATEST mom, I have made my share of mistakes. But I know that I would never want to get in the way of what God has for her. And I pray as a parent, you won’t either. Because it’s painful to watch them grow away. In our selfishness and fear, we could hold them hostage to our emotional needs, but don’t.

Be a GREAT mom–

Grow them to love the LORD and trust HIM more than they trust you.

Realize that they are not you and need to find their own way.

Encourage them to know their gifts, strengths and weaknesses.

Acknowledge their fears and push them through it.

Treat them with respect by not rescuing them from every little problem that arises.

Being a great mom isn’t the easiest job, but definitely the most rewarding. My daughter is changing the world, my daughter is loving the world, my daughter has a GREAT mom!