Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Day....Blown Away

There are moments in life that you know will always stay with was one of those.

Today was our last day at Praise Assembly. This was our first church home away from home, our first Children's Pastor job, our first family away from family.

This journey here at Praise has been amazing. We felt like it was home from the first time we came. We were loved on and pulled in from the beginning. 

Since coming on as staff we have truly been so blessed and supported and loved. It's truly unbelievable what God has given us and done in us and allowed us to give in the two years we have pastored here. 

Words are so limiting in this moment.

We have truly made life long friends and have opened our hearts up completely to be used and poured out and I believe that God really was able to use us to minister, touch and love the kids, youth, and families here.

What an unbelievable confirmation that God is faithful and truly has a plan for our lives to impact His kingdom!!

I am so blessed beyond words! I am so blown away!

Blown away by the loved we received today. Blow away by the support we received today/ Blown away by the hugs, gifts, words, and true blessings from today! (Just so that I never forget: Locket from Stacy & my Girls Only class, Card from all my kids, Pictures from the Harper girls, necklace from Kiana, and many hugs and prayers and sweet words of love and encouragement from so many)

Just deeply blown away!

Jesus, my heart is so thankful and so very full. Thank you for allowing us to love your children, young and old, and for allowing us to minister. Thank you for providing for us and loving us and for giving us Your Wisdom and love to give out! Thank You Jesus mostly for changing our hearts so that we can indeed make a difference in the lives of others because we are changed from the inside out by your incredible love! I have no words that can do justice to the gratefulness of your love, forgiveness and salvation. 
You, Jesus are the reason that we can love and teach and impact and minister to your people. 

Lord, I ask that in this new chapter that you would be glorified in all that we do. I ask you to give us Your Wisdom and Spirit to guide us to love your children and people and to make an impact in your kingdom! We need YOU Jesus! We thank YOU Jesus! We trust YOU Jesus!

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2014

Well it is Christmas and to be honest it doesn't really feel like Christmas this year.

I miss our family and I miss traditions and getting to be together. Christmas is so different without family.

I am so very thankful that this will be the last year that we have to be so far away from our families for the holidays.

I look forward to the stress of balancing families in comparison to not have any family here to balance and spend time with.

Lord give us Your wisdom in the future as to how to best balance our families and this Christmas would you be close to us as we miss our families and spend this one last Christmas without them.

Today is Christmas Eve...

Marshall will work from 8:45am to 12:15pm today at the bank and I will be home packing.
Later when it gets dark we will go get hot chocolate and coffee and go look at the Christmas lights.
We will miss our families.

Christmas Day, we will sleep in, open a couple gifts and then go eat at Waffle House (it was what we did for Christmas our first year here) and go watch a movie together.
We will miss our families.

But there is so much hope and joy in our hearts. We are so encouraged that we get to go back home, I know that with God we can do all things but we miss our families so much and I don't know if we could have gone another year without being close to them.

It makes my heart so sad to think about all that we've already missed but my heart is so happy that we don't have to miss anymore and that our families have been so supportive of us following God here so far away.

God has been so very faithful. So very very faithful!! Even in the moments that we were so lonely and sad and missed our families so much it was hard to breathe, God was right there with us and was our strength!

He didn't let us ever skip a beat and for that I am thankful. I don't feel like our lives were debilitated by it like they could have been. And that alone is because of God and his great love and care for us.

What a wonderful God we serve, and Oh How He Loves Us!

So on this last Christmas that we are so far away from our family and home I focus on Jesus like I won't have the luxury when we get home and we have the additional stress of balancing families.

I focus on what our Savior did in coming as a humble baby instead of a ruling king. He related to us and he came for us...for me. And there truly is no greater gift that I will ever receive than that. In all my years of living nothing will ever top that!

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for coming as Immanuel - God WITH us!

I love you Jesus! Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happenings during transition

It seems that life just keeps moving full steam ahead and I find my self waffling back and forth between being ready to go and fighting for more time with those we love.

There are moments that I just cannot wait to get back home to Alabama and begin getting to know our new community and church family as well as get to spend time with our families.

And then there are moments that I am with those here that I love and I want time to move slower.

Oh change you are a funny thing!

Our days are so busy with work, visiting, planning and packing and of course the unexpected things such as our car sliding off the road due to ice and snow, Tater getting sick and needing to go to the vet, and now Marshall being sick.

I feel as though I am caught in the middle of a wind storm and things are just flying to and fro.

Yet underneath it all there is still this Incredible and Indescribable peace that truly does surpass all understanding.

And God has been so very Faithful. He has provided friend to help in moments of need and low fees for the tow truck and vet bill and time that comes out of nowhere to get necessary things done and time together with loved ones that we will miss. He has provided strength and calmness and a house to live in and possible jobs in our new home. He has provided encouragement at just the right time and in just the right way. Thank you Lord for your GREAT Faithfulness and love for us!

Next week is Christmas and honestly it doesn't really feel like Christmas and I have forgotten that it is Christmas several times. But this year more than ever it is not all about decorations and gifts, but just about how incredible our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is and how much we love Him because He first loved us.

I don't even mind that it doesn't "feel" like Christmas. I am content to be in the moment we are in and to be learning and experiencing this new transitioning time in our lives.

Thank You Lord for this time, help us to learn all that we can from it. We love you and trust you and we thank you for taking such incredible care of us and for letting us love your people. Thank you for leading and guiding us always and for loving us so that we can love you and others.

In Jesus name.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas in Transition

Christmas this year isn't all decorations and lights and presents under the, this year we are in the middle of a very difficult but exciting transition and therefore will not have our decorations out and will not be spending a ton of money on gifts.

We are in the process of moving back home to Alabama which means that this will be our last Christmas far away from our families. This will be the last Christmas that we will be alone on the holidays missing out on all the togetherness of the Christmas season.

My heart aches in so many ways...I ache to miss yet another Christmas with our family, I ache that we are saying goodbye to people that we have fallen so in love with so that we get to be back with our family, and I ache because change is just hard.

However, there is JOY. Joy that my Lord sees exactly where we are and what we are facing and none of it surprises Him, He has been preparing us for this transition and He has been with us in the lonely moments all these years away from our families. There is Joy in this last simple Christmas when we are not juggling schedules to get to everyone's house for Christmas, Joy in the sweet moments that are closing in too fast with those that we will be leaving shortly. Joy in the sharing of memories that have been shared and made together. Joy in the faith that is being built up within our hearts - which I feel like is that best gift that I can receive this season. Joy in seeing God move and work and put pieces into place that we never could have expected. Joy in the new things ahead and the future that God is writing for us. Joy in the familiar that we are still in. Joy in the sweet faces of the kids that we love, Joy in the beautiful faces of the teenagers that we love, Joy in the friendships that have been built and will last for a lifetime. Joy in the hard work to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Yes there is Joy.

I am sad to let go and excited for what is ahead. 

I am excited to stand in faith that my God is putting all the pieces of His promises in place and to see the beautiful story that He is writing for us. 

God is faithful and always has been. I love to see the way He works, it is truly incredible.

So this Christmas of 2013 is a Christmas of Transition and it is hard, sad, joyful and exciting. 

Thank YOU Jesus for who you are and for the ways that YOU work in our lives. Thank you Father for your promises and faithfulness and for Your will which is multi-faceted and covers us, those we are leaving and those we are moving to. I can't wait to see the beautiful story unfold.

I am thankful for the baby Jesus during this Christmas in Transition.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Being blown away by the winds of change

Once again the winds are shifting in our lives.

We have spent a year praying for God to reveal His will for our lives so that we can begin to put down roots and begin thinking about the possibility of starting a family (terrifying thought for me).

Since aproximately one year after we moved to Springfield, Missouri to attend Central Bible Collage we have wondered what God's plan for our lives would be.

We were certain that we would move back to Alabama after graduating, that is until we were offered a job as Children's Pastors at our church in Springfield in December of 2011, a little over a year after we moved here. 

We prayed and felt the Lord leading us to take the job and that He would lead us.

At that point we had no idea what our future would hold. Would we stay in Springfield or would we move back to Alabama after we graduated with our degrees?

That is why we begain to fervently pray for God's will in January 2013. We want nothing more that to be in God's will always and we just needed to know what that was before we began making big life decisions (buying a house, starting a family).

The first half of 2013 I think was very hard for my husband as he was missing home and family so much. It hurt to see him hurt so much and want to be with family so much. Then after camp the tides shifted and I began to struggle and miss home and family so much. It was at that time that I began to pray that if our strong desire to be closer to family was not God's will that He would take it away from us. However the desires only grew stronger and I began to struggle even more.

I could not understand what God was doing or see how things were going to work out.

Then a few weeks ago we got a call from a pastor in Alabama and all of a sudden our world shifted. As this pastor began to talk and share his heart for children's ministry, pieces of the puzzle of our lives began immediately to shift into place. He would speak words that had come directly from our hearts. It blew us away.

After much prayer and a peace that literally surpasses any understanding...We knew that this was it...God's will...we knew that they would offer us a position (even though they were interviewing another candidate) and we knew that we would accept. It was as easy as breathing. Things just lined up so much and in such a way that it could ONLY be God writing this new chapter.

Since then we still have such a great sense of complete peace but we have begun the hardest transition of our lives.

We have completely fallen in love with our kids here at Praise, with the youth, with the families, and certainly with our friends and this process of saying goodbye and letting them go and trusting them to the Lord completely is most certainly one of the hardest things that we have ever done.

I certainly know exactly why God placed longevity in our hearts...I never want to say goodbye like this again. We have made life long friendships here I have no doubt, but we must let the kids move on to what God has for them.

We understand that even in the hurt that this is God's will and that there is much to learn during this time of transition. 

One thing I have already learned is that God's will is not one dimensional. He has made it very clear to me that this is not only His will for our lives but also for Praise and those we love here. I know without a doubt that we can trust Him with those that we love and that He has a purpose and a plan for all involved.

We are praying for His words and wisdom during this time of transition for us as well as for Praise and for the new church that we will be moving to.

Lord have YOUR way and help us to glorify you in all that we do! In Jesus name. Amen.