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#Winning!

Proverbs 22:6 “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

One afternoon I was watching Ellie through her classroom window. She was at dramatic play center. She had the table set perfectly with her corn on the cob ready to eat. She sat down took a look at the food making sure it was ready to go and then folded her hands and shut her eyes to pray. I nearly lost it! I’m so thankful that God allowed me to peek in at just the right moment. (Perks of Ellie being down the hall from me everyday.) 😍

Do you ever feel like you are losing as a parent? I feel this way often. Watching Ellie fold her hands and pray reminded me that Jessie and I are winning in the right areas. We might not always get it right and we are surely in need of Gods Grace daily but at the end of the day we know we are raising Ellie to love Jesus. Raising Ellie to Love and serve Jesus is an area I always want Jessie and I to win in as parents.

What areas as a parent do you want to win in?

The Tantrum of the Toothbrush!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

We have been in Illinois for a week now. The other night as I was putting Ellie to bed she threw a tantrum when I wouldn’t let her sleep with her toothbrush in her mouth. I explained that it’s not safe and I put it where she could see it explaining to her that she could have the toothbrush when she wakes up. She cried for about 20 minutes before laying her head on my chest. She lays there and began asking questions about all of her stuff that is packed away on the pod.

Mommy! My couch is with Ashley?

Yes! We will buy a new one.

Mommy! My chair is yucky?

Yes! We had to throw it out but we can pick out a new chair that is easier to clean.

Mommy! I sleep in my bed?

Your bed is safe till we get a house. Then you get your bed again.

Mommy! Christmas is at home, It’s not here?

Christmas is almost here. Christmas is everywhere because Jesus is everywhere. We are home now and we will celebrate Christmas here.

This conversation made me realize that the toothbrush was only the surface problem that brought out her real frustration. She’s frustrated that all her stuff is gone. It seems she thought we just gave it all away when we let our friend Ashley have the couch. Now I won’t let her have her own toothbrush. When she was given a moment she was able to let me in on the deeper issue. She’s worried about all her stuff. she’s starting to understand we left home. Deep down I believe she is missing her home, routine, and friends and she’s frustrated.

This moment has reminded me that many times we are upset over a surface issue but in reality there is a deeper problem. We become upset over such a small problem and that problem is what we focus on. However, many times that frustration isn’t the real problem at all. There is a bigger issue deep inside of us.

When Ellie let me in on the deeper issue I was able to help. I was able to pray for her. After she explained her frustration (the way any two year old can) she said “I’m happy” and fell asleep.

Are you allowing Jesus to get in on the deeper issue? He can help! Maybe you don’t even know what the deeper issue is. Begin to pray Psalms 51:10 over your heart. Ask God to reveal any issue to you that needs healing. Jesus is interested in your heart. Don’t allow a silly “toothbrush” to stand in the way of what God wants to do in your heart. Get to the root of the problem so you can live the life God has called you to.

Be A Light!

Acts 20:35

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I can remember it was Christmas eve and there was nothing under the Christmas tree. My sisters and I understood why but as anyone can understand the realization was still difficult for us. We are sitting in the living room when we hear a knock at the door. When we open the door there are at least 10 people standing there with a smile on their face. Some had boxes of food in their arms and others had big black trash bags full of toys. There was a bag for each of my sisters and I. Attached to the bag was a gift certificate for free skates. The entire moment was beautiful. They came into our apartment not judging where we lived but showing compassion and joy with the food and toys they had brought us. The moment that changed me forever was when they gathered around our table held our hands and prayed for us. Honestly, I can’t remember the words they prayed I just remember the feeling of peace and comfort it gave me. I knew everything was going to be ok. I knew in that moment God was watching over us and He had a plan for us.

Standing there as an 8 year old little girl listening as they prayed I remember thinking “one day!” One day I’m going to be standing where they are. I wanted to help in the same way. 23 years later I can say I am living the “one day” out. I don’t say this with a “look at me” attitude. I tell this story because I’m so thankful that God took an uncertain time in my childhood and molded and shaped it into a beautiful memory. I am so thankful I now have the opportunity to give back to my community in the same way it was done for my family growing up. Giving back is the greatest way to say thanks!

This year my family started The Christmas Bag Project. It’s a way for me not to forget. Its a way I say thanks for all the Christmas’ that people poured the love of Jesus on my family. I know what it is like to have someone show my family so much love and this is what stirs a passion in my heart to share that same love with others.

Each month this past year we bought a toy for our Christmas bag Project. We would take the toy home and pray over the child and the family who will receive the toy. After praying we put the toy in a pile that we can see everyday. Ellie will often bring us a toy and say “open please” we use this opportunity to tell her who the toys are for. We tell her the importance of giving to others.

We are excited knowing that a little boy and girl will have toys to open on Christmas morning. However, we are most excited that the prayer we prayed over the families will overflow into their lives this coming year.

Maybe you are not in the place to be able to give this year. That’s ok! You might be on the receiving end this year. I want you to believe that the year is coming that you will be on the giving side. Start believing that “one day” you will be able to give. Start praying for those you will bless.

For those of you who are in a season that you can give, I want to challenge you to find a way that you can give to the community. Jesus has called us to be givers.

Places you can give:

1. Toys for Tots

2. The Grind at Grace Outreach Center Plano TX (choose a child’s name and shop for them)

3. Operation Christmas Child.

You might have your own special way to give this season. Share with us.

2 Corinthians 9:7

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The moment a group of individuals walked into our apartment with gifts, food and the love of Jesus, a fire was starting to burn in me. A moment in life that started out to be so difficult was turned into a joyful Christmas memory because of the obedience of a group of people who chose to shine His light on my family that Christmas eve. I can never forget that Christmas because it changed me forever. I pray we all choose to be His light this Christmas season and the year to come.

What are some simple ways we can be His light this coming year?

Looking forward: I’m so excited because this next 2019 year for our Christmas Bag Project we will buy a game each month! Our prayer is that the game the child receives will bring their family closer together.

The journey!

Truth be told: It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a month. We are Excited for the journey God is leading us on, sad that we are leaving so many friends and family behind, worried about how the entire event will effect Ellie, joy that God has chosen our family, as well as the fear that God has chosen our family, peace each time God meets another financial need, discomfort of not yet having a place to live (can’t wait to look at houses this coming week) thankful that new friends have asked us to crash until we find our home and so many more emotions. One thing remains the same. We are following the path God is leading us on and while it can feel overwhelming and uncertain we know God has it all figured out.

The scripture I’ve been reflecting on lately is…

Philippians 1:6

“Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

There is simply so much peace that it covers all the fear.

Trusting Him…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We are definitely living out Proverbs 3:5-6 as we announce that we will be moving to Washington Illinois the first week of December. While we are sad that we are leaving such a loving church family and our Primrose family we are excited for the opportunity that God has called us to. We will be joining the team at New Life Church as the Campus Pastors at the Washington Illinois location.

Over the past 10 years I have met some incredible people who have become great friends and those who have become family. Leaving all of you is the hardest part of this move. Leaving a community of individuals who have loved me and my family brings tears to my eyes. However, the peace I have in knowing that our family is Following God to where He has called us is overwhelming. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Washington Illinois is where God is calling our family.

Here we are three weeks out and trusting God with all our hearts. I can feel the water works starting as we inch closer. We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we start this new journey. We need all the encouragement we can get so if you would like to, please leave your favorite scripture of encouragement in the the comments below. We are excited, we are sad, our emotions are everywhere. One thing that remains steady is our trust in God and His beautiful plan for our family.

We love you!

His Purpose His Time!

His Purpose His Time!

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Great Grandma Mary sent Ellie socks for the nursing home. However, we have already donated socks and each resident received 2 pairs. Fortunately our apartment complex just sent an email saying they are collecting socks for the homeless. Perfect! Ellie took the socks to the office to drop them off and the staff was so excited and greatly appreciated them. Isn’t God good like that? He never says “you’re too late!” When you show up with your blessing to offer He will always use it for His purpose. Great Grandma Mary was just on time with the socks because they showed up on God’s time. He used them for His purpose and not our own.

Maybe you have a “it’s too late” mindset. I want you to know It’s never too late for God to use you! Show up and watch God grow His purpose in you.

A Thankful Lifestyle!

A Thankful Lifestyle

A few years ago I was allowing my class to share freely. This is the time they can tell the class a story, a fun place they were able to go or something they really like! A little girl stood up and said…

“Be thankful everyday for everyone you love. You never know when they might go to heaven and you will miss them.”

I mean really how do you hold Back the tears? This little girl had just lost her new baby sister. She taught me such a valuable lesson that day. Be thankful EVERYDAY! It challenged me to create a lifestyle of thanksgiving.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalms 9:1

It was soon after this little girls touching reminder that I began asking my class each year what they are most thankful for. Now keep in mind they are 4.

They had so many sweet and innocent responses….

  • Mac and cheese.
  • Justin Bieber.
  • Hockey.
  • taking a bath.
  • eating carrot cake with my mom.
  • leaving school early to watch a movie.
  • laser tag.

Like the little girl above these kids also had some pretty powerful responses. Responses that moved me and even motivated me to change in many patterns of my own thoughts.

“I am thankful that I have stuff to share.” Aanya age 4

In a world that is always looking to have more it is refreshing to hear a child be thankful that she has not just enough for herself but for others as well

“Remember this Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

I absolutely love how cheerful this girl was with her response. She is so cheerful about giving to others. I don’t know about you, but this really gives me hope for the future! Not only do I feel hopeful for the future but Aanya has reminded me that during this season our thoughts should be focused on how we can give more than we receive.

“I am thankful that when I grow up I’m going to be a football player.” Kyle age 4

He didn’t say…

If I’m good enough…

If they choose me…

If others approve…

If I’m able…

He said “I AM going to be…”

I love his confidence. He has not failed at many things in life yet. He simply knows what he wants and will get there. We as adults need to adopt this same mindset. We need to believe in ourselves, our dreams, and in the others around us.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Each of you has a passion for something. There is something that sets your heart on fire. You have dreams! Places you want to go! Ways you want to grow. Goals you wish to obtain. Some of you go after your dreams and never look back. Then there are those of you who are terrified to even try. Why? We don’t try often out of fear that we will fail. This little boy has reminded me to not fear my purpose. Do not be scared to fail when chasing your dream. Like Kyle, know what you want and believe with God you can do it.

“I am thankful that Jesus and God are our leaders.” Kelsey age 4

This touched my heart on so many levels.  We often forget that when trouble comes our way, when it seems our world is falling apart, when not a thing is going right and life couldn’t seem to get worse- God is working behind the scenes in our favor. God created this world. God created you! We can’t forget that God has it under control.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Kelsey has reminded me that God has everything under control in my life. Even in this very moment when everything around me is changing I know that God has  purpose and a plan and He will see in through.

A few years ago Mrs. Geni (Children’s Pastor at Grace Outreach Center) encouraged me at rejuvenate to spend the year writing down 1000 things I am thankful for. I did it! It was one of my most joyful years too. I want to extend this challenge to you. It’s easy to go through the year and not allow time to reflect on all the good that is happening around us. What if we spent the year writing down everything we are thankful for, all the good that is happening and all the blessings we are expecting? I truly do believe doing this will be beneficial to our life.  Let’s not allow November to be the only month we reflect on all the blessings in life but instead let your lifestyle reflect one of thanksgiving. Be thankful each and everyday.  Along with this challenge, this thanksgiving don’t forget to give more than you receive, to believe in the purpose God has given you and to trust that no matter what the day brings God has got you in the palm of his hand.

What is something big God has done this year in your life that you are thankful for?