Monday, June 3, 2013

By Faith

When you say by faith, I'm going to trust God and do whatever God says, it changes everything. This is where I must surrender my plans for God's plans. While it's easy for us to say that, living that out is a daily if not hourly or perhaps minute by minute struggle. In every situation and relationship of life, there is a constant battle being fought in our hearts. It's a battle of what God wants for me and what I want for me. I think about my kids for instance. When God asked us to place my fertility on the altar and trust in Him, I can remember fighting that battle for YEARS. Thank God I have had such a sweet and patient OB because God love her, she put up with me coming in and working through this on many visits. Yesterday Levi and I were sitting and talking and I had this moment where it hit me, had I not trusted and obeyed the Lord that Levi would not have been here. I got pregnant with Levi when Morgan was three months old. I can remember calling Ryan and freaking out and he assured me that everything would be okay. So yesterday Levi and I are having one of our often heart to heart talks and he hugs and kisses me and I just thanked the Lord in that moment for convicting my heart so deeply because this world is a better place with Levi in it. He loves Jesus and he loves people. He prays daily that all people would be saved. When Ryan prays with the kids at night, he will ask them what can he pray for them for...the others usually ask for prayer for the things that are going on in their world which there is nothing wrong with that and we should, but every time Ryan asks Levi what to pray for him about he always asks for prayer for others or he asks for things like "that God will never leave me". I have spent much of the past day since having the revelation with Levi thinking about surrender. That constant battle that goes on. I find myself often in that place. That tug of war between what I want and what the Lord wants for me. And in those moments I have to rest in God's promises. Because as I have learned over the years, we often face obstacles in getting to the places that God wants to take us. I have had to learn that when God gives me a glimpse of my future, that I can't ask how many obstacles are coming my way. I just have to ask Him what I need to do to get to where He is taking me. And as the challenges come, because they always do...I rely on Job 42:2, Job has become one of my favorite books, "I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Get in the game

"If you give it to God, He transforms your test into a testimony, your mess into a message, and your misery into a ministry"-Rick Warren
I love that quote for so many different reasons, but mostly because it's so true. Far too often I watch people hold onto to their junk. Whether it's something that was done to them in the past and they won't let it go, or an addiction they can't break, or if they had done something in the past that they can't quite forgive themselves all looks the same. They are sitting on the bench. I think about it in terms of sports. I played sports growing up and I was always a starter and I hated even going to the bench for a much needed break. I just wanted to play the game. Healing is much the same way. When we heal, we get to do the Lord's work. When we refuse to allow God to heal us, we have to sit on the bench. Now I know it takes a lot of work. Trust me, I have been there. But I can assure you of this truth, it's worth it. Yes, it's painful at times. Yes, it's tiring. But I look at it like going to the gym. I don't wake up in the morning and think oh my goodness, I can't wait to go kick my own butt today in the gym. But I go...why? Because it's good for me. And when the workout is over I like the results. It feels good. And giving our burdens to the Lord is the same thing. When we release ourselves to allow God to heal us, it feels good.
I know that there are some of you out there saying but you don't know what they did to me. I may not have walked in your shoes, but I have seen my fair share and I can tell you this, I am much better for giving it to the Lord than carrying it on my own. It was exhausting. And I know you are tired too. God wants to transform your life into a living breathing instrument that He can use to help others a long the way. So, get up off the bench...give whatever it is that you are holding on to to the Lord, and come join God on His mission.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Best and Worst

I read this quote today by Darrin Patrick that said "Want to see the best and worst version of yourself? Hang out with your kids." That stuck me right in the heart. Not because I don't know it's true for me, but because I know that it is. Ryan and I talk about this often. We see qualities in our kids that we don't like and the Lord is quick to show us that they are a reflection of us. So, if you are in our home when we realize that their bad qualities are a result of us, we repent. We repent to God and then we repent to our kids. We explain to them that mommy or daddy does something that isn't appropiate and that we are sorry that we taught that to them but from now on, no one can behave that way. And if they see us behave that way again that they need to let us know that we are not honoring God. And let me tell you, it's pretty humbling to have a 2, 3, 4, or 5 year old let you know you aren't honoring God in the moment. I am thankful for my kids for so many reasons. I love them so dearly. But this lesson right here ranks as one of my favorite reasons I love having kids. Because they teach me that I am not perfect. They remind me daily that I screw up. It allows me to never think more highly of myself, but forces me on my knees because I realize every day how much I need Him. But they also have taught me more about God's grace. They never hold grudges. They forgive easily and love unconditionally. Having them has taught me to love everyone better. Imagine if we all loved as children do...if we all forgave as quickly as children do, if we never held account of wrongs as children do...what a beautiful place this would be. My children have taught me to view the world and people differently and for that I am forever thankful.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Since planting Praxis Community Church, we have spent countless hours asking questions like "why"? Why do we do this, why is this needed etc? This past year we have been so blessed to ask these questions as we flush out what Praxis is to look like and to be very intentional with the way we do church. It's also reminded me a lot of being saved. I didn't come to faith in Christ until I was 22. Looking back on it now, I see that the Lord had been wooing me for years. It's really beautiful to think about now. I endured more heartache than I care to address in this blog growing up. By the time I had graduated high school, I was rather hostile to the gospel. This idea of this all knowing, just, loving God honestly pissed me off. Yes, pastors wives do cuss. 
Planting Praxis has had me really remember where I was coming into faith in Christ. The patience that many had with me over the years. All the seeds that were sown into my life. The list is endless I am sure, but my Nanny God rest her soul, Gracie, Jamie, Sarah, Donna, Jason, all impacted my life and my walk with Christ more than you will ever know. I am beyond thankful. The majority of that list knew me prior to my conversion and spent countless hours loving a kid who didn't love herself. It was in their love for me that they showed me Jesus and in that love restored my hope that maybe, just maybe this Jesus is real. I had a crazy conversion that I'll save for another day. But I often think of the love given to me by these people when I didn't deserve it. When I resisted it, when I flat out refused it. They loved me anyways, in spite of me and in heart slowly began to change. Love. At the heart of who Praxis is, is love. We may not have all the bells and whistles just yet. We have a lot of things left to figure out. But what we do love. And that's something that I am proud to say we do well. We don't care where you have been or where you are right now..what we do care about is you. And we're ready to love you if you'll let us. I know it's scary..I have been there. Just come....
So why Praxis? Why do we exist? Because of love....because He first loved us. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Parenting, what an Honor

Ryan and I have five kids. Five kids that couldn't be any different. From the way they look to their personalities, they are all each so completely different. We have learned that there is only so much you can cultivate with their personalities. There truly is truth to the fact that they are born certain ways with certain traits and characteristics. The dynamics in our home is all over the board. Morgan is our oldest and she is shy with those she doesn't know but oh so confident once she does know you and she has no problem speaking her mind. She has this need to feel needed and of value. She tries to earn her keep so to speak and she is best served if you allow her to work. I know, it sounds weird right?! But Ryan and I had felt guilty, like we were "working" her too hard because she is the oldest of five kids five and under so we purposely refused to let her "work" or "help" us and boy was that a mistake! She felt completely betrayed by us and we began having a lot of discipline problems with her. A wise older woman spoke some truth into me and let me know that Morgan is wired to "help" and maybe we should let her do what she was created to do. So we did, and sure enough, I got my kid back. Then there is Levi. He's our evangelist. He eats up the Gospel and you often find him listening to worship music with his hands raised. He prays for the world and for people to be saved daily. When I pray for him at night, he thanks for me doing that for him. He's just got a heart for God that is unmatched by many adults we know. And he's 4. Then there is Matt. He's completely oblivious to pretty much anything. He's a true middle child. I often say "where is Matt". He's just a very quiet and sweet little boy who often gets in trouble because he has two older sibllings that like to have him do things for them that they know they aren't allowed to do :) He's my kid that doesn't say anything, but he'll come and hold my hand when he needs to be comforted. He's the kid that doesn't give us any problems, he's so compliant. Then I have Luci. If you know Luci, that's all I need to say. She's loud, opinionated, and bossy. I have no idea where this kid came from because she is not like any of us. She's so girly and prefers to be in a dress any day of the week. She is everybody's favorite and as a guy at the gym says "Luci has swag". I do not have to worry about Luci. She's confident, she's self assured, and she tells us often she's "Beautiful." She's only two! Then we have Kate. My sweet Kate. She is my cuddle bug. She prefers to be on my hip than anywhere else. She has this sweet little smirk that she gives when she knows she's doing something that she shouldn't be. She looks just like Matt and Morgan and her mannerisms remind me so much of Morgan it's eery.
I tell you all of these things about my kids because I have learned two important things about the honor of parenting. One, what we cannot parent into them we can pray into them. Often times Ryan and I are at a loss of what to do, or how to handle a child but what we always have is prayer. God can move in their little hearts and work in ways that Ryan and I never could. Secondly, we have learned that the goal of the family, our role as parents is the replication of the image of God and not to just create a happy home. We want our kids to respond the appropiate way not because it makes us all happy, but because that's how God desires them to respond or how to behave. I often hear my kids correcting each other and I hear things like "that is not God honoring". And I love that about them. As parents, we can never get these days back. Their minds are so impressionable and the sooner we understand that and honor what God has trusted us with, the better off your home will be. Not to mention, I often like to think about how we will be impacting future generations with the way that we raise our crew. Pretty humbling to condsider honestly. I know that there are curses that my family has struggled with that has been passed on from generation to generation and my heart felt prayer is that I as parent my kids the way that God has intended, that those curses go into the ground with me. And by the grace of God they will.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where was God?

Where was God?

That is a question I get often in leading women through a journey of healing who were once victims of a sexual assault. Sexual assault, whether through rape, sexual abuse or incest is a devastating event that happens to far too many men and women, boys and girls. Victims of sexual assault also experience effects such as physical, psychological, and emotional scars and the abuse often manifests itself in responses such as denial, guilt, shame, distorted self-image, anger, and PTSD. The feelings that victims have I could never adequately put into words.

Praxis Community Church offers a support group for women who have been victimized. The group is centered around Jesus, His grace, and His healing hand. The reality is, no one on this side of the grave will ever truly understand what you went through. Sexual assualt harms people in different ways to different degrees. What I hope you find in our support group is a group of women who understand that you are hurting, who respect where you are in the process and never push you to go faster than your heart can bare. Sometimes, women come and they just listen. We never know their story. Some women come and just cry. Some come and scream and yell. People’s reactions are all over the board, and we welcome that and we honor where you are at. We don’t expect you to go through the class and come out as if nothing ever happened to you. Our hope and prayer is that you will begin the process to allow God to remove the guilt and shame and the effects that it has created in your life. I pray that women who enter the group with us learn that God is familiar with the pain you’ve been going through and more importantly that He mourns with you and that he is angrier than you are for the sins committed against you. So where was God? Come join us and let’s answer that question.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seven Years

Seven years ago today Ryan and I were married. There are no words that I can say that can truly convey the depths of the love I feel for him, nor are there words that can truly capture how blessed I feel to have been able to spend the past seven years of my life as his wife. Our first night that we hung out was spent talking about God and theology into the wee hours of the morning. Looking back on that evening now, God had set the tone from the very beginning. I vividly remember him leaning against a wall after we had been dating a couple of months and the Lord was clear, “you are looking at the man you will marry.”

The past seven years have been nothing short of beautiful. God has been so kind to me in giving me Ryan. Ryan, you are a man to be admired, respected, and revered. And I hold all of those feelings deep inside of me for you. I have learned more about God’s love for me through the way that you love me so passionately, deeply, and sacrificially. You’ve taught me how to love and how to be loved. You’ve taught me how to trust and restored my hope in mankind. You and I share that once in a lifetime love. We have the kind of love that is depicted in the movies and little girls dream of. We are blessed. And I pray that above all, our love represents Christ well. I pray that the way that we love each other teaches our kids about Christ’s love for them. I pray that our little boys grow up to be half the man you are. I pray that they watch you carefully and that the man you are rubs off onto them. I pray that they see a man who loves well, not just me but how you love them and how you love others. I pray that our boys see the importance of hard work and providing for your family. I pray that they learn about integrity, honesty and character from you. Above all, I pray that they learn what it means to be a man after God’s heart as you are. For our girls, I pray that by your example, I pray that they see the way a man should love, how a man should lead, and how a man should respect his wife and how much he loves his family. And I pray that they never settle for anything less.

 Yesterday as me and the girls drove down the road, Luci was talking about “her daddy” and she says, “he loves me.” I love that at 2 years of age, she knows that her daddy loves her. And I love watching the older kids “preach like daddy” and watching them admire you in their own ways. They all love you deeply and that is just a reflection of what a good man you are.

I love you Ryan. I love you more today than I did seven years ago. I never in a million years imagined that we’d share a love that reached the depths and lengths that ours does. Your presence a lone gives me a peace that I could never explain. I love the way it feels when your hand takes mine. Or the way I feel when you hold me. We’ve seen some amazing parts of this world together, we’ve had experiences that many never will. Yet, my favorite place to be is curling up with you at the end of the day. I love ending my day with you. It’s been seven years. Seven years and five babies. It’s been nothing short of love, beauty and God. Thank you Ryan…and thank you Jesus.