Be the one!

Be the One!

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” Psalms 107:1

Read Luke 17:11-19

This weekend in Elementary we watched the Thankful Leper by Saddleback Kids. The fun began when ten kids were given the opportunity to wrap themselves up as lepers using toilet paper and act out the story alongside our friend who played the part of Jesus! I was impressed with Joann and her on the spot hands on idea to help the kids better understand the lesson. They loved it! Afterwards, we talked about how Jesus must have felt when only one Leper who he healed came back to thank Him! We asked the question “will you be the one to thank Jesus?”

I wonder how many times God has blessed us and like the nine Lepers, we fail to thank him? I can count so many blessings that I have not thanked Jesus for. It can be easy to stop thanking Jesus for all He is doing in our life. We become so used to the good things that He does for us that we take for granted these many blessings. Often, we allow ourselves to believe that we have what we have because of the good we have done. Maybe, we believe that our hard work has finally paid off. This has some truth. We can’t sit back, do nothing and expect Jesus to get us where we desire to be. However, it is because of Jesus that we have what we need to do the work He has called us to do. Some of us begin to think about how life has been a challenge and we can’t see pass the challenges in life long enough to thank Jesus for the good that He is still doing. There is so much good that God is doing even in the midst of all the challenges of life. There is always a reason to be thankful. What keeps you from saying thanks?

I’ve realized lately that I haven’t been very thankful in my marriage. Anytime I get mad at Jessie I begin to list all the ways he is not helpful. I suddenly forget all the big ways that he does help. I recently felt convicted about this as Jesus said “think of all he does for you!” The first thing I thought was, I NEVER have to fill my car with gas. For me, this is HUGE and Im so thankful for a husband who is willing to take over in this area. This is not number one on my list but it was the first to come to mind. Now I am spending the month listing out all the ways that Jessie is a blessing to our family. It suddenly makes perfect sense. If I’m struggling to be thankful in my marriage or any other area in life, am I truly living a life of thanksgiving toward Jesus? If we find ourselves complaining more than thanking we should probably start a list of all that Jesus has done for us. Begin to thank Him for the many blessings in your life. We have so much to be thankful for.

We may all be in different seasons of life but in each season there is reason to be thankful. Also, in each season there are many individuals like the 9 lepers who never come back to thank Jesus. Which of the 10 lepers are you? I want to be like the Leper who came back to thank Jesus. I want to be the one who is thankful in all areas in my life. Will you be the one to thank Jesus for all that He has done for you? Will you be the one who comes back?

Faith Over Fear!

Faith over Fear!

“Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:31

Read Matthew 14:22-33

I use Ellie as my guinea pig when it comes to my Kids Life Elementary experiments. While I’m pretty sure the Jesus lesson is over her head (she’s only three), she still enjoys the experiment itself. After we test it she always ask “will it work for the kids at church mom?” A few weeks ago we wrapped up our Fear Not series by talking about faith over fear. How can we choose faith when we feel that we are drowning in fear?

Experiments really help get the kids attention. I try to do them as often as possible because it’s in the experiment that they just get it! I find the majority of the experiments we do in Kids Life on Pinterest.

The orange that is floating has its peel (trust in Jesus). This orange confidently stays floating on top of the water because it knows who it’s strength comes from. It’s not distracted by its fears and failures! Notice the orange at the bottom without its peel (trust in Jesus). It sank because it let the worries of the world take root and pull it down. Your worry can be so heavy. We see in Matthew 14:22-33 that Peter began to walk on water until he looked around and became troubled by the wind and waves. His faith was challenged and he began to sink. He called out for Jesus to help him. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31

Which orange are you? In what area is Jesus asking you to trust Him? Will you be knocked down by the wind and sink in the waves? Or, will you continue to have faith and let Jesus do the unbelievable through you? The disciples didn’t believe it was possible to walk on water. Infact, they thought Jesus was a ghost when they first saw Him walking toward them on water. It was only after all of this went down at 3am that the disciples believed that Jesus really was the son of God.

On another note, the Bible specifically says…

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.” Matthew 14:25

This verse caught my attention. Every word in the Bible has a purpose. When I read that Jesus walked toward the disciples at three in the morning I began to ponder on the hundreds of mornings I have woken from my sleep at three in the morning. It made me question, am I waking up at three in the morning for a reason? Is it God calling me toward Him?

Just a thought! Not relevant in this blog at all. Moving on!

So often, Jesus calls out to us as He did Peter. He calls us to walk on water figuratively speaking. We take that step of faith and are amazed at what Jesus is doing in and through us. Then for a tiny moment we take our eyes off Jesus and began to look at our fears again. We sink. Just like Jesus reached His hand out to catch Peter, He also is reaching His hand out to each one of us. Put your eyes back on Jesus and walk toward Him. Choose faith over fear. Choose to have faith that Jesus will see you though. Choose to have faith that Jesus will bring beauty from your pain. Choose to have faith that when the boat is shaking and the wind and rain is crashing in that Jesus will show up not just in time but at THE RIGHT time. Have faith in Jesus. You might be surprised at where He leads you.

31 fun activities for October!

We had a blast this October. We were able to fit so many activities into the month. I would love to share those activities with you guys!

1. Carve a pumpkin!

2. Make Monster Juice!

3. Make Halloween snack mix!

4. Decorate a pumpkin!

5. Paint a pumpkin!

6. Grow a pumpkin seed in a pumpkin!

7. Halloween characters can bowling!

8. Trick or treat smell my feet canvas!

9. Poke a pumpkin!

10. Life size pumpkin memory!

11. My pumpkin has ——— seeds!

12. Cookie cutter prints!

13. Visit a pumpkin patch or fall festival!

14. Trunk or treat!

15. Family costume picture!

16. Make witch brooms!

17. Playdough monsters!

18. Pumpkin hunt!

19. Play with pumpkin guts!

20. Make pumpkin hut slime!

21. Blow up a pumpkin!

22. Boo a neighbor!

23. Halloween nails!

24. Halloween gingerbread house!

25. Jello brain!

26. Trick or treat!

27. Candy corn experiment!

28. Wear Halloween socks!

29. Bake Halloween cookies!

30. Do something for the community!

31. Go on a hayride!

Crush Fear!

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

This past weekend we talked about fear in Kids Life! Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid. We can give our fears to Him. As a visual aid, we had the kids write or draw their fear and tape it to the cross. Our friends in Kids Life were encouraged to continue giving their fears to Jesus this week. We sent them home with a list of 7 scriptures to pray when fear begins to creep in their hearts. I want you to pause for a moment and think about that fear that consumes you. After you know it, give it to Jesus. Maybe you will write it down and rip it up! You could draw a cross and stick your fear to it. Maybe you will verbally give it to Him. It’s your choice. Don’t move on in your day until you have cast that fear on Him. Below are 7 scriptures for you to memorize. When you feel that fear sneak up, crush it with The word of God.

7 Scriptures to help you crush Fear!

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.'” Isaiah 35:4

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

What is your favorite fear scripture?

Pop Every Bubble!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Today I watched Ellie and her friends through the door of their classroom. Joy covered her face as she excitedly popped each bubble. Kids Life Preschool started their fear series today! Mrs. Kelly had them pop bubbles to illustrate that just as we pop bubbles we can also pop our fears like bubbles. We do not have to be afraid when we are on team Jesus! Watching Ellie in this moment took me back to this same weekend last year. It was a year ago this weekend that we came to Visit New Life Washington. I dropped Ellie off in her class with Elizabeth and Corey Philyaw. Two amazing Kid Life volunteers. Have I told you how Fantastic all of our volunteers are? They are so great! Ellie had no fear. This girl, she teaches me so much. Ellie walked in ready for what God was calling us to. More ready then Jessie and I could have ever been. A year ago this past weekend we chose as a family to pop every fear and trust God on this new journey in life. I stood in worship that Sunday morning that we visited, fighting back tears! I hate crying in public. Honestly though, I was so broken and a good cry is just what I needed! I began to pray…

“ Lord why us? I’m not ready for this! Who am I? Are you sure? Lord, please don’t let us down!”

I’ve never been more scared. The more I think about it, the fear I felt wasn’t causing the overwhelming amount of tears. I mean seriously, I had enough tears to baptize a few hundred people. I was really fighting the tears from the complete peace, joy and the feeling of being at home that I felt. I was overwhelmed with a peace that passes all understanding. I stood in a room with only two or three faces who I could name. Not because no one greeted us but because everyone was so welcoming I lost track of names. Why can’t we just all wear name tags in life? I stood in a new room I had never entered before and yet still felt at home. I remember thinking “we belong here!” . As Hannah Merry began singing the words “you’re never gonna let never gonna let me down” I began to cry. I couldn’t fight the tears anymore. That song was for me! I couldn’t even sing the song out of fear that My tears would become loud! Thankfully, I was able to hold back the sobs. Tears fell from my eyes because I knew we were right where God wanted us. In that moment listening to the song sung beautifully by Hannah (who BTW I now call friend) I knew God was telling me “I will never let you down.” This past year since choosing to move here to Illinois we have had to pop so many fear bubbles with Jesus. We have had to trust Him on so many new and challenging levels. Yet I have never felt more at home or more at peace or more in His calling then I do today. God has not let us down on this journey. He has only surprised us with all He has done not just in our life but in our church. We are coming up on a year of living here in Illinois. God has shown me and taught me so much. I have made friends with so many wonderful people. I can’t wait to share all of this with you soon. I’ll leave you with this. When you choose to follow Jesus there will be so many bubbles of fear that rise up and float around in your heart and mind. Be sure to POP EVERYONE OF THEM!

Every Baby!

The love I have for our second child cannot be measured by the size our baby was when he or she went to heaven. The love I have for our baby leaves a longing in my heart that aches when I wish I could have held our baby

The grief that a miscarriage brings is very real to me and many others. Every baby deserves to be remembered. Every baby deserves to be missed. Every baby deserves to be cried over. Every baby deserves to be known. My heart is reminded and full of love knowing that Jesus knows EVERY baby. Not only does He know your baby but He loves your baby and He loves you.

Today is infant loss and remembrance day. This bracelet I made reminds me of our baby in heaven who is so loved. Even in the pain I’ll continue to trust in Him.

Stickers EVERYWHERE!

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Do you get annoyed with all the stickers your kids bring home? Do they cover your walls and car windows? The worst is when your child leaves them on their clothes and you wash the clothes only to realize the sticker is permanently stuck to their clothing. This is why I gave Ellie a book that she can stick all her stickers in. She loves it and enjoys going back and looking at stickers she got in the past. She has learned that she can only stick stickers in her book!

We often live life aimlessly sticking to places we don’t belong and not serving out our full purpose in life. Just like Our kids place stickers in the most inconvenient places we also do the same in life. We try to stick to people, places and things where we do not belong. God has created you for a purpose. Discover your purpose and stick to it.