Our Summer Adventure Begins

Summer:  A time for lazy days, popsicles, beach visits, and if you live in Florida – profuse sweating!

This summer things will look a little different for us.  The last day of school we came home and began the process of moving out of our rental home that we LOVED.  It was definitely a place that God dropped into our laps right when we needed it and we have enjoyed living there the last 19 months.  In the last few months, the Lord has been speaking to us about changing our financial situation, downsizing, making space in our minds and wallets.  Emptying our plates, so to speak.  So at the beginning of May we decided to leave our rental home and live for the summer in a 29 ft camper trailer:  with 2 kids and a cat!  Borrowed trailer on borrowed land thanks to parents who love us and friends who have learned the beautiful gift and art of expanding love.  (seriously, that’s a whole other blog post).

We have been moved out of the house for nearly 2 weeks now, but with all the hullabaloo and getting set up, etc. we have only been in the camper for about 4 nights.  So far, things are going well with only a few minor hiccups.  We are learning how to get around one another.  I am learning how to not step on the cat.

There are of course privacy issues and a severe lack of alone time with everyone being in such close quarters, but so far no one has gotten on anyone’s nerves.  With a mama that’s a HUGE introvert, that’s a big deal.  I’ll be blogging more soon about things we are learning, enjoying, hating…and the list goes on.  But today I’ll just give you a little picture tour of our Home Sweet Home.

 

We start with the dining room.  It has a nice window, and the far seat has storage underneath that the girls put toys in.  They also have much of the storage above the table (not pictured) for books, toys, backpacks, etc.  I think about 1/2 the stuff in here is theirs!

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Directly across from the dining table is the kitchen!  There is a small fridge and freezer at the far end.  Stove, Oven, Microwave, 3 drawers and a cabinet on top and bottom.  My coffee stuff takes up most of this space right now and I am still figuring out where to put everything so there isn’t so much clutter.  It’s a process.

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Next up is the bathroom.  Again, we still have some clutter and my current problem here is where to hang our towels.  We have a lot of  command hooks in various places around the camper, so that may be what we need to do in here.  Other than it being tiny, it’s functional and we haven’t had a lot of problems.IMG_7545.JPGIMG_7546.JPG

Up top is a loft for the girls and on the right you can see some of the storage that is above the kitchen table.  They have their bed, some toys, and 3 drawers that they put their clothes in.  The curtain pulls shut for some privacy for them.  They seem to like it up there.  They like to stick their heads in the skylight!  You can see one of the cuties and my husband sitting on the couch playing the Wii!IMG_7543.JPG

Which brings us to the back room.  We have a couch and small tv set up in here.  It’s really meant for storing motorcycles, but since we don’t have those, we’ve made it into a livingroom.  I didn’t clean up in here before taking pictures.  It seemed pointless.  It’s not pretty, but it’s cozy and functional.  Behind the couch are stored cleaning supplies and extra clothes.IMG_7549.JPGIMG_7548.JPG

This is the bedroom…and Mr. Bean.  There’s a little ledge on each side along with two drawers, a teeny closet, and a little shelf up top.  As you can see, I do some work here.  I switch it up between here and my kitchen table on getting work done.  I’ll probably hit up a coffee shop or two here pretty soon on days when I need some serious uninterrupted time.  IMG_7547.JPG

 

So that’s it!  I also threw in a bad picture of my one decoration from the house…my beloved painting that has been almost prophetic since I got it in March!  This is a daily reminder to me that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine.  I didn’t think 6 weeks ago that I’d be living like this for more than a few days.  God had other plans.  What those plan entail for the summer are yet to be revealed here.  So I invite you on this journey of crazy with us!IMG_7550.JPG

Happy Trails, adventurers!

Our Summer Adventure Begins

Love Beyond Betrayal: the Gospel According to Doctor Who

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come  to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved  his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,  rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:1-11

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Doctor Who is one of my favorite television shows ever.  There are a few episodes where the Doctor will say something or have a speech and it comes across to me in a powerful way.  The Series 8 Episode, Dark Water, is one of those.  In this episode, The Doctor’s companion, Clara, completely betrays him and his trust and everything about their relationship.  She does this willingly out of complete desperation.  Then the conversation goes like this:

Clara: You’re going to help me?
The Doctor: Well, why wouldn’t I help you?
Clara: Because of what I just did, I just…
The Doctor: You betrayed me. You betrayed our trust, you betrayed our friendship, you betrayed everything that I’ve ever stood for. You let me down!
Clara: Then why are you helping me?
The Doctor: Why? Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?

WHAT?!?!  Am I watching Doctor Who or am I listening to a sermon?  At this point there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference.  I first heard this and immediately had to back it up and listen again.  What a picture of grace and love this is.  I immediately thought of Jesus and His willingness to help us.  His willingness to serve us and save us in spite of knowing that we absolutely will betray him

In the Scripture I posted above, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples KNOWING that Judas already had it in his heart and a plan in place to betray.  KNOWING that Peter would deny him 3 times that very night.  KNOWING he would be turned over to be mocked, tortured, and killed.  And in that moment Jesus is washing their feet.  He’s serving them and preparing to sacrifice himself for them.  He’s reaching out in love.  He’s giving the commandment to love one another.  Love beyond betrayal.

We’ve all been betrayed.  We have all betrayed someone else.  We’ve all betrayed Jesus.  And yet, Jesus looks at us and says, Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?  That’s TRUE love.  It’s true when we are not.  It’s true when we are surrounded by lies and deceit.  It doesn’t fail.  That’s the love that Jesus has shown and given to us, and that’s the love He has called us to.  Love that reaches beyond the betrayal we feel and says to our betrayer, “I care for you no matter what.  How can I serve you?”

Can we do that?  It’s not easy.  But if we will humble ourselves before the LORD, He will give us that kind of love.

Love Beyond Betrayal: the Gospel According to Doctor Who

Thankful for my friend.

When I was 7 months pregnant with Anna, Nick and I moved from Florida to Alabama where he took a position as a worship pastor.  Moving is hard.  But when you add pregnancy plus hormones, new state, new job, leaving friends and support behind…this was a particularly hard move for me.  We had one car that I couldn’t drive at the time, and so I spent the majority of my time stuck at home.

Then Anna was born.  I felt scared, alone, and more than slightly claustrophobic.  Postpartum depression reared its ugly head.  (It’s a real thing, y’all!) I loved that baby with everything in me, but I had no idea what to do with her.  And I was bored, depressed, tired, and lived in a box.  A tiny, tiny box.  I was alone.

Except I really wasn’t.  God saw my need and he sent me a friend.  Someone reached out to me and dragged me out of the house every Tuesday night for dinner, conversation, sometimes just watching tv.  This was my favorite night of the week.  I grew up so much during that time, and learned how to be a mom and a person at the same time.

We developed a bond and a friendship that lasts to this day, even though we don’t live near one another any more.  I know I can call or text her at any time for a laugh, or a prayer.  She became more than a friend, she became a sister.  Her kids are my kids.  I loved to watch them grow and develop into beautiful, godly women and amazing mothers.

I was thinking about her again last night, as I do on most Tuesday evenings, and realized that the years have passed and I am now the age she was when she first took me under her wing.  It suddenly dawned on me that maybe it’s my turn to be the mentor to a younger mom.  One that’s probably overwhelmed by the little poop/cry machine that just got dropped into her lap!

So I wanted to write this to say thank you, Melody.  Thank you for being my friend and mentor.  And thank you for what you are doing now, mentoring another generation of young women into being the women of God they are called to be.  I’ve seen you move through seasons of life with grace and wisdom.  I’m glad you are my friend.

Thankful for my friend.

Change of Season

A little bit of life update for me.  There have been a lot of changes over the last few months for us.  I had been hoping to do a little more blogging over the summer, but I took a break for a bit to refocus.

It’s been an interesting summer, to say the least.  And surprisingly, one of the busiest we have had in a while!

A little background:  Right at the end of the school year, Nick was let go from his job as worship pastor at the church we had been at for 8 months.  This wasn’t due to any kind of terrible thing or situation…just one of those things that happens at times.  This came as quite a shock to us, and quite honestly, we had no idea what we wanted or needed to do. There was a lot of emotion involved during that time, as you probably could have guessed!

Very quickly, Nick was offered a job teaching 5th grade at the school connected to the church.  After taking a few weeks of thought and prayer about it, he decided to take the job.  It seemed like a great provision and would help us keep our girls in the the school that they loved. We knew that I would need to take another job in order for this to happen.  I began looking for a job, but then felt the Lord tell me to wait.  So I waited.  I do not like waiting.  I like planning and knowing exactly what to do.

Time began to grow shorter and closer and closer to the date that I would need to have steady income and still I didn’t know what I was going to do about work.  Then…one day I walked into the school office with Nick to pick up his books and a little later I walked out with the potential of having a job there as well.  It was not at all what I was expecting.  And to be frank:  not at all what I wanted.  I prayed for several days and cried about it some as well.  I had an idea of what direction I wanted to do, and this was NOT IT!  And yet, I couldn’t pull myself away from it.  Finally, I stepped out in obedience to what I felt the Lord was doing, and accepted the job.  So as of Monday, I will be teaching music and art at the school – elementary, middle, and high school.  I find myself getting more and more excited about it, though I still carry quite a bit of nervousness.

In addition, I am keeping the other part time job I have that I work at home, as well as teaching private lessons at another Music School in town one day a week.  Yes, I am going to be a very busy girl!

There are so many things I feel that God is doing in my life right now.  I felt impressed recently to study John 15 and go through it verse by verse.  In studying these verses, I am reminded that the Father desires me to flourish and be fruitful.  And as the caretaker of the vine that I am grafted into, he prunes in order to make me more fruitful.  He is pruning away the things in my life that are hindering fruitfulness.  But, if I remain connected and abiding in the perfect love of the vine, I will have everything I need to stay nourished.  So even when life is looking like I’m being pruned, I know that I am nourished, and being taken care of and prepared for fruitfulness.

This post has turned out to be longer than I expected.  I still have goals for this little blog corner…and I plan to work toward them.  It may just take a little more time than I originally thought!

Change of Season

Never stop singing Oceans!

oceans

I read a blog post recently titled Stop Singing Oceans and the author talks about how we shouldn’t sing the song because we really don’t mean it.  I’m not slamming her for saying that at all. Many times I’ve sung songs in a worship service and thought to myself, “Do I really live my life like this?”  I think it’s good and right to ask those questions.  To see where we are spiritually and to grow in areas and let God use the lyrics to expand our understanding of Him.

But for me, I think I need to keep singing Oceans.  Sing it over and over until it becomes real in my life.  I look at the people around Jesus and they said things to Him about their belief…and then they faltered.  They failed.  They didn’t live it out.  But Jesus didn’t tell them to stop saying it.

In John 11, Martha had just told Jesus she believed He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God!  And immediately turned around and said, Jesus we can’t open that grave!  Lazarus will smell!  Jesus didn’t walk away and say, “Martha, I guess you don’t believe, so stop saying it.  Never mind guys!  Leave the stone!”

No way! In verse 40:Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  

And what about Peter??  Here’s his story when he sees Jesus walking on water:

 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out,“Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  Matthew 14:28-33

I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t leave Peter to drown when he saw the wind and was afraid.  “Oh, too bad, Peter.  You didn’t really believe.  You’re done.”

This same guy later DENIED Jesus, and still…hey Peter…I’m not done with you even though you’ve said (or sung) things that you didn’t succeed at the first time (or hundredth time)

I mean, the whole opening of the song says – “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.”  We might fail guys!  And that’s ok.  Because even when we fail, we call upon Him and rest in His perfection. We keep transferring our trust from ourselves, our money, our job, our family, or whatever we trust in…and we give it to Jesus.

We are made stronger in the walking.  Through the hardship and the perseverance.  We build muscles.  We have hard days, days we feel like we fail.  We have days we are sore and we feel like we’ve just been beaten up and dragged behind a horse! But we press on.  We endure, and it produces character in us.  It produces hope in us.  (Romans 5:4)

So yes, I will keep singing Oceans.  I will keep asking the Spirit to lead me where my trust is without borders.  I will keep asking Him to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander so my faith will be made stronger.  And when the storms and waves come and I find myself slipping, I will call upon His Name, because I am His and He is mine.

Never stop singing Oceans!

Asleep in the Boat

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – Mark 4:35-41

There’s a storm.  The wind is blowing, the waves are crashing.  Water is already starting to fill up the boat.  The boat is rocking and everyone is soaked and terrified.  But Jesus is in the boat!  He’s asleep.  He’s not worried about the wind or the waves.  He’s resting.  The disciples called to Him and He answered.  The wind and waves obeyed at just a word.

I think about this story often.  The world and our lives are full of storms.  They come from many different places and take many forms.  But here’s the thing:  I am in the boat with the Master of the wind and the waves.  The storm is ultimately irrelevant.  I may get scared sometimes because I don’t understand, but when I call out it is just as Psalm 91 says…

They will call to me, and I will answer them.
    I will be with them in trouble;
    I will rescue them and honor them.

I won’t worry about the storm.  I know the Man who is asleep in the bottom of the boat.

Asleep in the Boat

Limitless

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,  for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”- 2 Timothy 2:8-10

Limits.  We all have them.  We are limited by ability.  We are limited by finances.  We are limited by family obligations.  We are limited by job responsibilities.  We are limited by the expectations of others.  We are limited by physical health. I could go on…

Paul was in prison when he wrote these words.  In chains.  Bound like a criminal.  He had limits, but these were not his concern.  He knew something that went beyond the limits of his chains.  God’s Word is not bound.  God’s word doesn’t have limits.

I know that I am limited.  But I also know that God can transcend my limits to accomplish his purpose.  So I can’t use my limits as an excuse, but I have to persevere.  Persevere to find new ways to reach others with the Gospel.  Persevere and allow God to work through me despite my limits to bring words of deliverance to those around me.

I want to live like Paul lived.  Limited in body, but limitless in Spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Limitless