Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Lesson in Obedience

Gabriel's baptism 1

God has been using my children to teach me some pretty big lessons recently and today was no different.

It was a special Sunday at church. We have had church in the park the past 2 Sundays, but this week was also baptism Sunday.

For the past 2 years we have been talking to Gabriel about getting baptized. He has accepted Jesus in his heart, he knows God sent His Son to die for his sins…but the idea of standing up in front of people and talking about that was scary for him.

We have a service like that every year…and every year Gabriel has told us that he wanted to wait one more year.

As a parent this was hard for me. I wanted him to make the choice, wanted him to walk in faith and not fear…but I also wanted it to be HIS choice…not mine.

So a few weeks ago we talked again and he said that he wanted to do it when he turned 12. So one more year wait it was.

And then this morning he came downstairs and blew me away with his words.

He said he woke up and felt like God was telling him that he needed to do it today. He didn’t need to be afraid and Gabriel asked if I thought that our pastor would let him do it even though it was short notice.

He said that he had been nervous before but he felt like God was giving him the courage to stand up.

He was choosing to demonstrate his faith instead of letting his fear hold him back.

Gabriel's baptism 2And so we went to church and found Pastor Ray and asked if Gabriel could be baptized and he said yes. In front of a pretty large crowd of people Gabriel shared that he believed in God and wanted to be an example for his family and the church.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

I could tell he was nervous when he started talking…he said something like “God turns my good days into bad” ūüėČ and then realized that he mixed it up and corrected himself. But then he shared his belief in God sending Jesus to earth to die for our sins…

It is pretty amazing to hear your 11 year old articulate the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Gabriel's baptism 3And so with his profession of faith he was baptized.

Dominic helped and I took pictures and a video.

The water was cold and it is a little shocking to the body to go down under the water and come back up. There is a big breath that everyone takes upon rising again.

A breath of new life.

Gabriel's baptism 5Hope is found in faith in Jesus.

We will continue to mess up and make mistakes.

Just because we believe in God it doesn’t mean we won’t have problems, or mess up and say the wrong thing…that is why we need the gift of grace.

But we have the promise of new life, new breath because of our faith. An opportunity to breathe deeply and fully in the One who created us.

Today my brave son felt a calling from God to be obedient.

He later told me that he didn’t think it was going to happen today…but after this morning he knew he needed to do it and he was glad he did.

Our family didn’t get to attend because we weren’t prepared in advance that this would occur¬†today…but it is ok.

It was a beautiful, sweet moment with our 2nd born, and thanks to the technology of phones and You Tube we can share those precious moments with others.

And like our pastor said…it is a day we will remember forever.

If you would like to watch the video I am including it here at the bottom of the post. For email subscribers click here to watch.

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The Revealing – a GSD Post

Road

Oh friends what a journey I have been on this year. I have said it before but please DO NOT chose the word DEPEND as your One Word if you don’t want a year full of stretching! ūüėČ

I feel like I have been on a bit of a roller coaster lately, but you know it is ok. I do know that God is working out some beauty in all of this and am trusting that He will be the One on which I can depend through it all.

He is faithful. He is steady.

When I am not, I can trust that He is.

I discovered this even more when I was on a family vacation in early June and I am sharing some of the newest things God has been revealing to me about myself over at God-sized Dreams today. Will you join me there?!

The New Face of Brave

Elijah pool 1Elijah has been taking swimming lessons every Tuesday and Thursday evening for a few weeks. The first night we got there they had him in level 3. We aren’t a huge “spend the summer at the pool” family…so he has been in a big pool maybe 3 times.

He didn’t know a thing about it.

They thankfully moved him into the Level 1 class after the first night and it has been fun to watch him swim. He works hard, and even when it is tough, he smiles and keeps going.

He is one brave boy, my Elijah.

Tonight the teacher asked at the beginning of the class who wanted to jump off the diving board at the end of class.

He initially didn’t raise his hand and I was secretly relieved.

I had visions of a drowning accident, what if he let go of his noodle…what if she didn’t catch him. The water is 13ft deep and he doesn’t know how to swim yet without assistance.

Quite honestly, the whole idea seemed ludicrous to me…what was she thinking?!¬†

At the end of the class they headed towards the diving pool….and there was Elijah right in line with the rest of the kids.

Was he going to go through with it?

Elijah Pool 2He walked out on that board and put his toes on the very edge just like his teacher said. She was treading water ready to catch them as they jumped.

And then he just went for it.

Elijah Pool 3

What I loved most was that he didn’t timidly jump in, he leaped.

He trusted the noodle float, he trusted his swim instructor and he went for it.

My brave boy Elijah is such an example to me. He shows me how to be brave.

Elijah Pool 4

So often I won’t even step up to the ladder.

I know that I am going to be scared looking down at the unknown. I feel unsure of the next step and so I quit before I start.

And taking that leap? Heavens no. I am not brave like that…

But my boy reminded me today that sometimes we make a choice to do something even when we feel afraid.

Elijah told me later that he initially didn’t want to do it, but then he decided to be brave and try.

We all have that choice don’t we?

When we are facing a big decision, a job change, an unknown situation of any kind…we have a choice.

We can make the choice to stay stuck in fear, or we can choose to jump anyways.

Elijah trusted he would be ok, he choice faith over fear and became the new face of brave for me.

What a gift to watch it all unfold before my eyes.

Next time I am faced with something that induces fear, or worry or doubt I will remember my boy who lept into the scary and came out a little bit stronger from the experience.

The Spoon

Spoon 2

A few weeks ago I picked Karlena up from daycare and as we were driving home I noticed that she had a toy in her hand. When I asked her what it was she tried to hide it behind her back.

A pretty clear sign to me that she had taken something that wasn’t hers.

When we got home I told her to show me what she had. It was a small toy horse. She LOVES horses right now and it was obviously something she didn’t already have at home. But I knew it wasn’t hers.

She reluctantly admitted to me that it was Markel’s. When I asked her how she got it outside without either of us seeing it she said she hid it in her shorts! In the waist band to be exact! Can you even believe that?!

We had a long conversation about taking things that aren’t ours and the next morning we brought it back to daycare and she told Markel the truth and apologized for taking something she shouldn’t have.

This isn’t the first time that one of my kids have done something like this. Last year it was Elijah and some shiny treasures from preschool. I might have cause to be worried but the reality is don’t we all covet what we don’t have?

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I don’t remember how old I was but I do remember the tea set.

We lived on a hill and there was a family that lived down the hill from us that had 2 girls just a few years younger than me. Sarah and I became friends and often played together. Her dad also had a red corvette and every once and awhile he would take us out in the “cool car” to McDonalds for an ice cream cone. That was always such a treat!

At some point Sarah got a brand new, huge white tea set for a birthday or Christmas present.

Oh how I wanted that tea set. I loved playing with it and wanted to have one at my house. But I didn’t. It wasn’t enough that Sarah was generous in sharing it with me during our play time…no I needed to have one myself.

And when I couldn’t have it, I didn’t want her to have one either.

Why is it that we do that?

When someone has something nice/fun/new why do we feel jealousy, why do we covet what they have? Why can’t we be genuinely happy for others and their blessings?!

I didn’t want Sarah to have something so wonderful, so one day when we were playing I stole a tea spoon. I hid it in my pocket and took it home with me. Stuffed under pairs of socks, it sat like a dirty little secret in my drawer.

It isn’t much fun to play with one spoon.

It really isn’t fun to play with one spoon that is a constant reminder¬†of stealing…of a lie. I would take out that spoon and feel guilty. I knew that I should give it back. That Sarah wanted her full tea set together….that it wasn’t mine and I didn’t have any right to take it.

I honestly can’t remember if I returned the spoon or not. I hope that I did.

I have a feeling that I would have been the only likely “suspect” and maybe the truth came out…but if I didn’t, I want to apologize Sarah for taking that spoon!

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I was thinking about that story this morning as I was laying in bed. I am not sure what brought it to mind really but I find that as memories like this happen, I process them best at the keyboard.

I have been pretty silent here lately. There are some things that I do plan on writing about, but I am still working through them. Some ugly, icky parts of myself, and my past that God is healing and restoring.

It isn’t fun. Let’s be honest I am the type of person that would really like to skate around the difficult. I don’t like wading through the muck of my life. I want a quick fix to any and all faults/problems and I am finding again and again that God isn’t going to give me restoration on my time.

I am learning to savor the journey even if it means it is a slow, arduous process. (<====Click to Tweet)

If the end result is freedom from the things that are bondage in my life…well it is worth it.

One of the things that I want to find freedom in is this need to want what I don’t have.

It has been with me since I was young and started with the smallest of items, a tea spoon. It grew as I aged and became jealous of friends that had better, name brand clothes than I did. Maybe someone was smarter or prettier than I was. The cheerleader and the homecoming queen….I was never “enough”

As a wife and a mother I see all that you can do, and feel inadequate in my own family. I start to wish that I could go on the trips, or have the super romantic relationship with my husband that I see in other couples. Or the most well behaved children in church. ūüėČ

It is never enough. What I have is just never enough. But the reality is that it IS enough.

I have more than I could ever hope or imagine. SO many blessings in my life. No it isn’t always easy…but they are blessings none the less.

And I don’t want to paint a picture of someone that I am not.

I don’t have it all together. My children will mess up, but heck so do I – ALL.THE.TIME! I am not the perfect women/mother/spouse and it is ok! Thank God for grace.

A part of this walking into freedom is recognizing that I am who God made me. Yes there are flaws and imperfections but there are beautiful things too.

I don’t know if jealousy or envy is something you have struggled with, but if it is you are not alone! Let’s do something together and stop comparing, stop coveting, and start giving thanks for the very place that God has each of us.

It is going to look different for you than it is me. Let’s embrace the difference, there is beauty in that! And let’s start walking out of bondage and into freedom.

One spoon at a time.

Photo Credit: partycja

Changing Lives One at a Time – #FTFClub

FTF 4I was 21 when I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant.

A junior in college, and scared out of my mind. I was fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who loved me and my now husband who wanted to start a family with me. It wasn’t how I had always planned it would be, and while I was terrified of what the future would hold…I was not alone.

I didn’t have a full understanding of grace those first few years, in reality it is something that alludes me at times, even today. But I have seen God’s grace in my life over and over. I see it in the eyes of my children. I know that life isn’t always “fair” and doesn’t always turn out the way we had hoped or imagined…but there is mercy in these moments and I am so very grateful.

I can be a pretty selfish person, my woes and troubles keep me spinning and I start to believe that I can’t handle it all. And then I hear stories of women, girls even, that are faced with the same fear and uncertainty that I was…except their situation is far more bleak…

Meet Pauline

Pauline

“Pauline was only 15 years old when she became pregnant through force.¬†When she moved into Rehema House in Kenya, the maternity home¬†funded by Mercy House, she was desperate and hopeless. In just a few¬†short years, her life has been transformed through¬†the Gospel. Her son,
Melvin, is thriving. Recently, Pauline graduated from the residence program and moved back home. She attends vocational beauty school 5 days a week, while Melvin is in school because of sponsorship. Every Saturday, she goes into the heart of her slum and teaches more than 20
mothers how to make beautiful product that is then¬†sent to the USA and¬†mailed out in Fair Trade Friday boxes. The women in¬†this community¬†outreach make around $50 a month from the product and that‚Äôs enough¬†to pay for rent, provide food and school fees for their children. From a¬†pregnant teen to a mother/teacher, Pauline‚Äôs future¬†is bright and she is a¬†beautiful example of what God can do.”

Mercy Found Pauline

God’s hand has been in the life of Pauline and women just like her. In what might be a hopeless situation, a way has been provided. A way for hope, a reason to celebrate, a light in the darkness.

A Crazy Kind of Yes

A few years ago I heard of a group called Mercy House Kenya. Kristen Welch stepped out with a crazy Yes and answered God’s call on her life. A call that would eventually impact women in 18 countries.

FTF 7

As with any calling from God…the details seemed impossible. How could a woman from Texas make a difference in the lives of young, pregnant teenagers in Africa? How could any of us really? We don’t have the resources, the knowledge, to make a difference do we?

But through Kristen’s faith she has shown us that our yes matters.

Initially the Mercy Shop was opened with a few handmade, fair-trade items. The profits would be used to help fund a God-sized dream idea. To provide a safe place for unwed, pregnant teens in Kenya Africa to go during their pregnancy. They are given proper education and medical care, and taught a trade so that they can provide for the life growing inside of them.

They are given hope in a place where often hope seems lost.

One Yes Can Open Many Doors

But it didn’t end there. And soon the Fair Trade Friday¬†Club was born.

FTF 8In Kristen’s words “I heard it clear, these words in the middle of the¬†night, ‚ÄúProvide jobs for¬†women.‚ÄĚ It was years ago and I didn‚Äôt know what it¬†meant. We were a¬†couple of years into our hard work in Kenya, rescuing pregnant teens and¬†I didn‚Äôt think I could do much more. But I also couldn‚Äôt shake those whispered words. Fair Trade Friday is the response¬†to providing jobs for¬†women. Sometimes God asks us to do something we don‚Äôt know how to¬†do. But He does and He leads.”

What Then Is My Response?

It would have been easy for Kristen to ignore these tugs on her heart. But she forged ahead and because of her example first I now ask myself when then can I do?

One of the easiest and most fun in my opinion is becoming a member of the “club.” They have a couple of options available for any budget. It is a win win really, it is our chance to support the artisans and the reward is a fun box of cute items delivered right to our doors!

FTF 9

If you just want to try it out and see what the Fair Trade Club is all about you can order a One Time Box. For $35 + $10 shipping you will get 3-4 fair trade items. Everything from jewelry to fashion accessories.

For those that want a little mail surprise each month you can sign up for the Recurring Box. You save a little (Only $31.99 with free shipping!) and these are the perfect items to save and share with friends and family! Right now these boxes have been SO popular, they have a wait list. So if you are interested sign up now so you don’t miss out when the next group opens up!

If earrings are your thing, try the Earring of the Month club! This is $11.99 a month and they have discounts when you sign up for multiple months! Again join the wait list if you want in on these amazing items!

FTF 3

I love stories of redemption and there is a book being written, one full of hope and promise, in the stories of the women whose lives are being changed through the Fair Trade Friday Club. Mercy has found women like Pauline, women in 18 countries who now have sustainable employment. Lives are being changed and we all have an opportunity to be a part of it.

Join the Club and make a difference.

**Images and stories shared courtesy of Fair Trade Friday.

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