Refresh, Renew, Re-focus

Spring is here, well, at least I hope it is here to stay and we don't have some freakish weather coming in April. I am enjoying this above average weather, how warm it has been and it is truly uplifting to the mood. I have been completely unmotivated to blog for awhile. The last couple months have been some of my hardest. I have found myself hitting a wall emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Thanks to some help from family and friends and my doctor I have found some relief. I am hoping in time to see progress with my ability to manage life, cope with the stress and anxiety that is the norm for us. I have not lost hope, but I am finding I have more moments that God seems to be very silent and unresponsive. I realize this is my interpretation and that in fact He hasn't gone anywhere, He is still with me. My humanity, my brain seems to be interfering a lot more with the willingness of my heart to trust God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through me. I am very much aware of God's deep and abiding love for me, and I have not lost sight of His purpose for me. The struggle is with the day to day waiting, wondering when the change is going to come. When are we going to be where we want so desperately to be? We know this is not it, we know we are not going to be in Brazil, Indiana for long but in terms of the knowing how long and where we are headed--that is the frustration. Daily I ask the Lord, "What more do you require of us? How long? When will that moment we've been praying for, dreaming of finally present itself?" We don't know, but He does. So, we are left to give it up, somehow be okay with not knowing and the silence that seems to follow as we wait. We know we need to trust Him and He will take care of it in His good time, but it is hard. Those of you who have been in a position similar to us know exactly what I am talking about. I am well aware of how truly useful we are right where we are, and we have seen blessing after blessing occur as we've kept ourselves planted and growing in some wonderful relationships. God is good to continue to take care of our needs and use us even when we feel we are not exactly where we are meant to be or would like to be. I know the time in between is when we are being stretched, pulled, challenged and grown in preparation for what He has for us to do in our next ministry. Ministry is not just about where we serve in a job, but how we live out each day. First and foremost God has called us to love Him and to love one another as He loves us. There is no greater calling because as a result of that, we can grow the Kingdom and bring others to choose a relationship with Christ. I know how incapable I am on my own, but with Christ--nothing is impossible! There are many days when I would much rather curl up into a ball and not face the world or what I must accomplish, but by forcing myself to get up and cling to Christ, trust His ability in and through me, I can go on. I can make a difference. I can find peace and strength in knowing that He is in control and has my best in mind.
Please continue to pray for Ryan and I as we work, wait and pray. Ryan is still seeking a full time worship ministry opportunity and we have yet to see any progress after nearly 15 months. We appreciate your encouragement, your loving support, your advice and your prayers. We will keep you updated as we watch God's plan unfold in the days ahead.

Spring is in the air....

March 2. Very special day on my calendar. At the age of 39 I gave birth one year ago today to my beautiful daughter Chloe Grace. Truth is, I would absolutely do it all over again in a heartbeat! All four of my children, all four pregnancies were really good. Honestly, I enjoyed being pregnant and had very few complications and had wonderful doctors with each one. I can remember vividly as a child imagining my life one day when I was all grown up. Marriage, kids and a wonderful life. Little did I know what twists and turns life would take. None of us can know that at such a young age, when we are so innocent and unaware of how reality can spin some very different scenarios our way. Thanks to the good Lord above and my faith, my hope in Him I can stand with confidence in knowing I am a better, stronger person today because of what I have experienced. What I didn't say previously is that part of my childhood dream did include being just like my Mom, specifically marrying a man who would be in full time ministry. The road that Ryan and I have traveled together so far has not been easy, predictable or like anyone else's. That's the point. It has been our journey, nobody else's but ours. The frustrations I have experienced over the past year or so since Ryan was let go can be summed up here. I am more confident in my convictions than ever before that we as Christians, we as the "church" have a long way to go before we are anywhere near what God intends for us to be to reach our world. Let's stop trying to make those we seek to serve fit into our idea of "church" based on what we did 50 years ago and open our hearts and minds to what will draw them closer to Jesus. No amount of worship styles that make everyone happy, programs for Sunday School or Bible Study or whatever you call it, and any number of lists you push in front of your pastors to check off each week is going to make an eternal difference. What matters? That needs are being met. That we are loving God and loving one another. How many times I cross the steps of my church each week, classes I attend, or programs I volunteer for does not matter if I am not in relationship with the Father and in relationship with others who need Him. We need Him, we need each other and there are so many people in our world who need Him. Ryan and I have watched doors open and close over the past year and we have witnessed several ministries in person and online that are doing "church" right. It is not and it will never be about what we do inside our buildings that we have built but what we are doing outside those walls with what God is building inside our hearts! How long will we stand by and enjoy being so comfortable? Let's step out, let's make some changes, let's not do the norm--do something different and embrace something new especially if you are stuck. There is a reason our churches are not growing and are shrinking, dying. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of people are not coming in to our churches, because most of our churches are not getting it. Get out of your comfort zone, step out into the uncomfortable places in your community and do something new! Spring is here, so what better time to do it then now. Come together, it is time to shake things up and do something different from anything you have done before. My kids' generations are less and less interested in church and walking away from it for other things...why? Because they want to be part of something that matters beyond themselves, to impact this world for good. We cannot approach every generation that comes after us with what was presented to us 10, 20, 30 years ago. We must evolve, we must consider what can we be doing to meet their needs that is fresh and relevant, new and lasting? God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow but that doesn't mean our way of doing church has to be the same over and over and over again. The challenge has been placed before us and will be year after year. Be true to God, be true to your faith in Him, but do not fool yourself into thinking a one package deal will keep people coming into our churches. What will you do to make a difference for the Kingdom? Take up the call, follow Christ--no matter your denomination--and make a difference for the Kingdom. He put it to us before He left this earth, and we need to keep this in mind every single day of this life.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Mathew 28:19-20 MSG

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...