PS - This song is dedicated to my friend Jill... she and her husband Mark LOVE this song.
At the encouragement of my sister in LOVE... "B" I am posting a blog today. BK and I take New Years Eve and the New Year to reflect on our family life together our blessings and starting fresh a New Year. I've been busy preparing my home for the new Year. Throwing things away, reducing clutter, organizing and folding laundry. I seriously think I have accumulated about 10 years of socks in this family. It's time to purge some of them.
My baby bro flies back to New York today. It is always bitter sweet when I say goodbye to him. I love him so much. I want him here. My kids ADORE him. But I know God has really cool life planned for him in NYC. I am excited for him to get back to it. Excited to hear how it all unfolds before him.
I am very content being home with my kiddos. Making them popcorn and hot cocoa (a treat after they cleaned their rooms) listening to them play together, laugh together and just hang out in their home. I am fussing over Josie, feeding her,changing her, playing with her. I havent really had much big kid qt with the older kids. I am praying I get to take them sledding or ice skating soon. What a blast that will be.
New Years Eve used to be "PARTY TIME" in my life prior to children. BK and I would stay out REALLY late, go to bars, and feel HORRIBLE on New Years Day. This year I am looking forward to Pizza Rolls, Buffalo wings, and BK is picking up a board game we can play with the kids tonight before bed. Then we will all go to bed around 9am.... (that's staying up late in this house!) And feel great in tomorrow morning. It may not sound exciting or thrilling or like a party to you. But the thought of spending time together as a family seems like the coolest thing I could possibly do.
I am also reflecting today on how God constantly is transforming us and making us new. I will not be the same person I was in 2009. So today I say goodbye to the Jen Kline of 2009 and look forward to the exciting adventure that awaits me in 2010. Some of it may be good.. some of it may be bad... but I am so gladI have the confidence that no matter what my faith, my hope and my joy in Jesus Christ will see me through every day. What a blessing my faith is to me. What an awesome blessing.
I love Christmas. As I sit here drinking my coffee and listening to Christmas music, I get teary eyed. Maybe it's PMS, maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's the holy spirit touching my heart and breaking it for the things God is doing in me and my life. Who knows. What I do know is that a long time ago, God sent his son, that we would call him Immanuel "God with us." And I am so very thankful for the gift He gave me in his son Jesus.
I am done shopping, I am done running around... I am ready to bask this Christmas in the true meaning of this holiday. I am ready to celebrate the greatest gift this world has been given. A baby boy, named Jesus who came to save us all. He came to give us life abundantly. He came to show us how to treat each other, love each other and help us fulfill God's plan for our lives. That's something to get excited about.
Jill and I were talking about it and we both have experienced the same tradition. We have a nativity scene with no baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas morning He amazingly appears there on Christmas Day. :) I will wake up Christmas morning, put Jesus in he nativity and thank God for all of the blessings of my life, my friends, my family, my church, my God. I will remember this Christmas how important this baby was many years ago... but I will mostly remember how important He is to me today in my life.
Thank you God for sending Jesus to be my savior. Thank you that you love me that much. Thank you for your relationship with me, for how you work in my life and the lives of my family and friends. Thank you for Christmas.
She is going to poop when she sees this blog. But I had to write about it. As you can tell from my last post, I've been having myself a little pity party. After I wrote that post I met with my friend Jill... in prayer. We have been prayer partners for some time now. We've had to try to adjust the times and days we pray now that I am out of the house more and am running around like a chicken. But I cannot tell you how important this is to me.
You see Jill has discipled this heart of mine to draw closer to the Lord. She is wise. She loves God SO much. She wants to please Him. She wants her life to reflect Him. Her husband too... discipled me to live my life closer to the Lord. It's funny because as I look back on this four year friendship I have with her. It had to be God doing so much in this relationship. Each experience we have together, each element of this friendship spoke to my heart. We've been on adventurous road trips, we've ministered together, we've loved kids and teens, we've shared mommy stories where we've laughed and cried, we've shared husband stories where we've mostly laughed, we've cried about sad things, and we've loved each other's children. But what's best is that we've prayed.
Jill prayed for me a long time ago when I first came to the River church. I've posted about this before, but I was a mess. Searching for Jesus, I believed he died on the cross for me and my sins, but I wanted to understand why that was important. What the heck? He died such a long time ago? How is that relevant to me today? What did that mean? So I attended a women's ministry event with our church I heard my other friend and our senior Pastor's wife Linn speak about specific love. She told personal stories about how God reached into her life and touched her specifically. She told stories about how God is an intricate friend. How he knows the details and he sends the holy spirit to comfort and love us right where we need it most. That was it. That's all I needed to hear. That makes sense. Jesus did not die a long time ago just so we could talk about his death and be thankful he made that sacrifice thousands of years ago. He died because he knew we would need him and he died to show us God's love for us. He died so we knew we could be in relationship with God because of his sacrifice.
I digress... at that women's ministry event I asked for prayer. It was the first time in my life I had asked someone else to pray for me... now that I think about it. It was the first time anyone had offered. It was the best gift someone could give me. And Miss Palmer did it. She prayed hard. She prayed specifically and not just asking God for things, but praising him for things, I felt like I was in a private conversation she was having with God and it was about me. It was powerful. And my prayers were answered. In small little specific ways after that day, I knew God was working in my life. He was speaking to my heart. This Christian stuff was not a joke. It was real. God was for the first time in my life visible to me. I could sense his love for me for my family. I watched him in the circumstances. He was there. He still is.
So, Jill and I prayed on Wednesday. She prayed for me again, in conversation with God. She prayed for peace, for courage for God's plan. She prayed for my family, my husband my marriage. She prayed for my ministry. What an awesome gift she is to me. What an awesome gift...the gift of prayer can be. Anyway, the next day I was getting all three kids ready to head out the door. I was packing up snacks, Billy was helping me and as I was picking up Toby's sweatshirt on the couch, it happened. Like it has happened so many times before... I felt joy. Pure joy. I know it sounds crazy... but I felt a flooding of joy. Given the things I was doing... (Getting ready for work and school) on the outside there is not much joy in that... but God provides us with all of our needs. With God all things are possible. I felt like a good Mom, I loved my husband, was I running around like a chicken? Yes... I was. But I knew I was right where God wanted me to be. What an awesome gift.
So this Christmas... I am going to ask all my bloggy friends to find someone to pray with. Find someone who loves the Lord who you trust who has been a big influence in your life and pray. And watch what happens. Watch God show up. Watch God draw nearer to you than you have ever experienced. What a faithful awesome God we have. He died thousands of years ago so she could pray for me. And he could be trusted to come through because he loves me.
We were talking in our staff meeting the other day. Our pastor was telling us about a ministry of men who are Christian life coaches. He was talking about how this ministry helps people assess things that they struggle with in life and puts them on a path that directs them. They use biblical principles and such. One of the areas this ministry works on with people is the area of "agreement". We have things that roll through our heads on a daily basis, ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions. Every day we choose to agree or disagree with those things. God wants us to only agree with the things that are positive. But those are not always the things we choose to agree with.
I think God is pleased when we are not beating ourselves up. I think God is pleased when we are thinking positively. I think God is pleased when we are loving to one another. I think God is pleased when he sees us forgiving, giving grace and seeking him in the Bible or in prayer. I think God loves a joyful heart.
Then how come it is so easy to slip into an agreement in our own minds of all the things that are directly opposite? Lately I have been very hard on myself, I am in agreement to things that are negative. Two things are the catalyst for the beat down I have in my thinking patterns. New baby. New job.
I like to agree in my mind that I am good at and working towards loving God with all of my heart, then my husband, then my children, family and friendships and then the ministry God has placed me in. But why am I agreeing otherwise? Why do I believe the thoughts in my mind that tell me I am a master at none of these areas? That my relationship with God is not there, that I am not the best wife to my husband, that I am fumbling in ministry, that my kids are failing that my relationships are so far away.
My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. When I heard it my heart swelled up and I was so excited. The words jumped off the page and grabbed a hold of me.
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.
This my friends is the truth. This is the positive goodness that the Lord has for me. He has plans for me to PROSPER, he has plans that include NO HARM.. God wants to give me a HOPE and a future. I am in agreement with this. I believe it. I choose to believe that this future God has laid before me is a prosperous life. One filled with hope and a purpose and goodness.
Why does God talk about giving me a "future?" Isn't that kind of obvious? Of course he gives me a future.. he gave me life. But I think when he talks about a future He is saying that as long as I give you breath and you are on earth... you have a job to do for me. You have a future that is purposeful, meaningful that you are going to make a difference for the kingdom of God. That is what you will do. That is your future.
So my friends as I share this tender glimpse into my not so perfect but OH SO HOPEFUL life... lets be in agreeement that no matter where God has us in this particuluar season of our lives.. that his plans for us are good. That he wants to give us a hope and a future that is bright and beautiful. I am in agreement with all things prosperous today. :)
Me and BK... my awesome man My youngest bro Austin My Middle bro Brad My oldest (but still younger than me)bro Peter Ben - B Willy Servant leader always studying the word. Seeks God with all his heart. Mark - Creative Genius, Pastor, friend Steve organized loving and peaceful man and his wife Lori... Dwight - our awesome Senior pastor who live and leads by his Godly example Kevin Dolbee - Passionate youth pastor who is always excited about the Lord Lately,I have been praying and asking God to help me see people as he sees them. To give me new wisdom, insight and of course he has delivered. The past couple of weeks it has been men. I work predominantly with an all male staff, I am married to an awesome man, my Dad is my neighbor and I have three younger brothers... all men. I am pretty much surrounded. (giggle) I am currenty working on a Daddy daughter dance at work which has had me thinking about how important men are to God.
Our society would like us to objectify, pigeon hole, stereotype men just as much as they would like us to stereotype women. Many men in our culture are shows as weak, lazy, dumb and limited human beings. But God has another plan. Men were created to be leaders, created to be do'ers, go getters, providers. They are the spiritual leaders of families. Men were created to be respected not demeaned. Valueable. Honorable. Good.
Before I took the job as a Children's Pastor, I asked the Lord to surround me and my kids and my family with good male role models. Godly men who were their own men. Who were confident in who God created them to be. Who didn't apologize for their faith. Who loved their wives and kids and wanted to please God. And man... did he deliver.
I am married to an awesome man who prays, puts value on his family, works hard, reads his Bible, loves the Lord and cares about his friends and family. I am learning to be the best wife I can be to this awesome man God placed in my life. Working with mostly men is helping me understand men a little more.
The staff of men I work with are some of the coolest guys I know. I am amazed at their hearts. They are so gifted, they all have a passion for what they do and they love God with all of their hearts. I am blessed to call them coworkers and friends, am learning so much from them every day. They love their wives, they expect respect, they are looking to the Lord every day, they speak the truth in love (even when it's hard to hear) they have grace and forgiveness in their hearts, they love to laugh and crack silly jokes and they are kind to youth and children.
I love it when God answers my prayers. It's a faithbuilder. Thank you Lord for the men in my life. They are a gift to me and my family.
I love love love this time of the year. As I type this post, I am sitting at the kitchen table at one of my most favorite places in the world. My Mom's house in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. Her home comes complete with a view of Elephant Butte lake and lots and lots of sunshine. When we got here she had pre cooked a bunch of food for us. The fridge is stocked if we are hungry all we have to do is heat something yummy up to eat. The babies are loved on, the kids have their own "grandkids" room. Decorated in a space theme. They cannot wait to come to Grandma's house, what a true blessing she is to us. I am so blessed by my Mom and her love of her family. Her home is comfortable, fun and loving. As I type she is laying on the futon with Josie reading to her to take her mind off her hiccups that are bugging her. The kids adore her. Grandma is a pro at making sure each grandchild understands how important they are to her and her heart. What an awesome Mom I have who loves my children so much. I am so thankful for her love and her example.
My heart hurts. I literally is in pain. When I look at this picture of all of these children my heart is so achey and yucky. These are babies with no Mom or Dad. These are little children who do not have a family to call their own. These are babies that do not know specific love. They are in organizations that give "general" care. Where people "generally" care for them in a very basic way. I am burdened for the orphan, for a couple of reasons. In the past four years God has been revealing to me little by little how important the orphan is to God's heart, and also to my own. God loves children. The joy kids bring to people I KNOW that I know is so much of who God will be to us when we meet him face to face. When I see my baby girl Josie's face light up with a smile as people coo and smile and love on her, I believe that warm fuzzy feeling you get from babies is a piece of God's heart. God revealing himself to us through children.
I love being a Mom, it is the greatest joy in my life. The other day I was sitting in Josie's nursery, laying with her on the bed listening to G and T play in the living room and I was overcome with unbelievable joy. It just flooded me. Believe me, not all days are like this. But seriously my heart and life is so blessed by my children I cannot even put it into words. They are gifts, true gifts to me and my heart. I see my faith was built by them and is continued to be built by little instances in my life. So I think to myself... if my faith was built by these wonderful babies God gave me with my own body... what a cool adventure would it be to watch God work in an adoption journey. However that may look.
I was adopted... so I understand how cool it is for someone who isn't related to me biologically (sounds so lame and scientific) to come into my life and love me as their own. My Dad and Mom were married when I was five years old. Very shortly afterward, my Dad "legally" adopted me in the courts. What an awesome thing he did...then he spent the rest of his life taking care of me, teaching me things, loving me the best he could and giving me an awesome life I never would have had. He loved my Mom and was opened his heart to loving me and my brother. What a huge cool thing. It impacted my life forever.
So when I see pictures like this I am blown away. I sit here in my cozy Colorado home. I have an awesome husband. We feed and nurture and love our children. We take them to gymnastics and karate and on bike rides. We laugh and play... and in the meantime... there are 147 million children all over the world without one ounce of what we could offer them. Children like these babies who's basic needs are taken care of but what about their specifics, what about their hearts, who "knows" them. Who can nurture them? Who is listening to them? I heard our pastor say one time that praying a prayer that says, "lord, break my haert for the things that break your heart is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Because when God reveals it to you... be ready for something that will change your life. Transform you. I have prayed that prayer. And it these beautiful babies break my heart. What is my response? What does God want me to do about it? I cannot sit here and just say... oh well, I guess that's just the way it is. Right now legislation is in place in Canada halting all adoptions from Africa. There are parents there who are in the midst of adopting a baby who cannot take them home because of a law. Yuck. In the Bible it says that true religion is caring for the widows and the orphans. What am I doing in response? Matthew 25: 31-40
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
I cry as I type. These cribs are prisons, these children are strangers, these children need clothes and food and love. It breaks my heart. It just breaks it in two. Bill and I have talked about adoption. We met with our sweet pastors to learn more... we are prompted by God to help. Before Josie was born we filled out an application to adopt from China in about 20 minutes. It was literally a 20 page document that I was able to complete very quickly. I was ready and excited about the thought of adoption.
BK and I prayed and prayed... we wanted to make sure this is what God would have us do at that moment. We really wanted to make sure we were walking in God's plan. Not some impulsive thing we decided to jump into without some specific prayer. BK has alwayw wanted four children. After praying and talking with Bill, we really felt we should try for another baby and then we got pregnant with Josie.
So now I ask myself, what do we do now. We are blessed. We have three beautiful children. We live in a nice home in a beautiful mountain town with awesome church family. We don't have a lot of money but after talking to many people who have adopted they assure us that God's heart for the orphan is huge. He will be the provider. How to we respond to such an incredible need. Lord, what do you want me to do in response to knowing what I know. I will pray... I will listen and I will talk with Bill. But I challenge all my blog friends to do the same. What is your response to what you know? What are you doing for the "least of these? Please pray and ask God what he might have you do. Then listen. So much needs to be done. peace. - jen
Wow. Here I am Josie is 4 months old. Before I had this beautiful bundle of joy I worked out a lot. I prayed with my prayer partner that God would help me in my workouts. I prayed that I would have the desire to take care of myself. I think if I am honest with myself... that in my own way after my miscarriage, I wanted control. I was hoping that if I was more fit, skinnier in better shape I would be in a better place to get pregnant. Like if I was more fit, God would see it and bless me with a baby. Like God was saying... "let's see what you can do Jen... then I'll bless you with a baby." Duh. I'm such a dork! God does not manipulate. If I weighted 300lbs God would have given me Josie... or if I weighed 119 pounds God would have blessed me with Josie. It's God plan not mine. (Can someone please give me some kind of lobotomy or something so I get that? PLEASE?)
Anyway, my reason for this post is that today I was working out at the gym. I am treating myself to 3x a week over my lunch hour... a one hour cardio/interval strenght training class. I LOVE working out. I really do. I just have a hard time fitting it into my schedule. I have a hard time making myself a priority. But when I do... man does it feel GOOD!
As I worked out I prayed. I was praying about priorities about how proud I was that I actually got to the gym 2x this week (kiddos were sick on Wednesday so I couldn't go). I was asking God to reveal to me how he saw me.
I am a visual person so he showed me a picture of a woman who was fit, she had kids running all around her she was in the middle of some type of an event or activity but she had energy, she had joy and it was obvious she loved God. He whispered to my heart..."this is who I want you to be. This is my plan for you." I was like.. really? A super fit Director of Children's Ministries in Durango. OK... guess I have my work cut out for me! Because let me tell you folks... I am no where near being "fit". I have some pounds to lose and some muscle to chisel. Plus a 38 year old metabolism.
Now, who I saw in the mirror at the gym was very different from the picture he put in my mind. I will keep working out until my body resembles that awesome woman of God. I will make time for him in prayer while I workout. I will watch what foods I throw into my body. Not because I am manipulating God, but because I know his plan for me is good and he wants that kind of life for me.
I don't have to perform for God, I don't have to do everything perfectly. All I have to do is pray and listen to his still soft voice and know that as he guides me through my life I can be confident in ALL that I put my heart into.
Anyway, I had a blast working out. This teacher busted my buns... but it was an amazing time of prayer and a conversation with God.
Thank you Lord for speaking to me in the times I least expect it. Thank your for your good plan for me and my body. May what I do with it always glorify and please you. AMEN? AMEN!
I've done it before so I'll do it again. Thankful Thursday on Friday.
I am so thankful for so much. This season of my life it is so good to remember how much I am blessed with. I am thankful for Josie my precious baby girl who brings me more joy with her squinty smile... she lights up my heart. I am thankful for the little girl Grace is becoming... a girl who is beginning to understand who she is, what she can do and the special gifts God has given her. I am thankful for Toby and how well he is doing in Kindergarten. How he is learning amazing social skills about how to treat others. He follows rules, loves the structure and schedule of school and seems to be thriving. I am thankful for my husband. Whew... BK... who is working a part time job as a ref... who is so supportive of my new job and has agreed to go on this adventure with me. I am thankful for the friends we have made in our Connect group, people I am getting to know. Who come to my house weekly to hang with us, share their hearts, and begin new relationships. They are truly awesome friends and a blessing to me and my family.
I am so thankful for the staff at church. My new co-workers. We are all getting to know each other in a work environment. It's a safe place to do that. I work with some of the most dedicated, loving wonderful people on the planet. People who want the River Church to be a safe loving place for people in Durango to come to. A church that can be proud of how we treat people. A church that goes out into the world telling people about Jesus and most of all being His example in the world of love and kindness.
I am thankful for my blog friend Cari and all my blog followers and fellow bloggers. All of your hearts are amazing. You inspire me, you make me think differently, you challenge me and you ask me to pray. What an awesome community and place to share our hearts and lives. I am truly thankful.
I am thankful for my family. My Mom and Dad... my brothers (and B and Al). Bill's family who we know support us and love us even though we left the Midwest to pursue this Colorado dream. I know from having my family move back to the midwest... how hard it is to watch your family leave and support them even though it hurts not to have them around. I am so blessed to have a family that gets it and loves us even with the distance.
I am also thankful for God's grace and love. Without God I am a wreck. With Him... I am a confident courageous bold woman who knows the plan he has for her is good. A woman who understands the importance of eternity over this world. I woman who wants to leave a legacy of love on this earth. A woman who's prayer is that the generations of Klines that come after us will be warriors for Christ, missionaries, good people who understand how to love others and who give all the glory to God.
This week was crazy. My life before full time job working out of home was at such a slower pace. I feel like I am constantly going going going. I get home wind down and when I finally am able to relax all I want to do is go to bed. Please don't feel bad for me. I am motivated by the fact that God is refining me and teaching me, he is doing a new work in me. I've blogged before that I do not want to be the same my entire life I want God to transform me. Well let me tell you sister... my prayers have been answered! lol. I'm totally babbling here, so let me get to my blog topic.
I've been thinking a lot about my kids. Things have changed dramatically now that I work out of the home and both of them are in school. Josie is with my awesome nanny 3.5 days a week and it just all feels and looks very different. I have this uncomfortable feeling and I have been trying hard to pinpoint it. I've been concerned about the amount of time I get to spend with my kids, the quality of that time. Am I ministering and loving them as much as I want to minister and love other kids in our church? Do I do enough to train them in what the Bible says... who is influencing them? Do they love them? Do they I give them Grace? Do others? Do I discipline them enough? Is it working? Is Josie getting ripped off? Do I need to spend more time with her? Am I a workaholic? I've noticed that G and T are interested in relationships outside of Bill and I. Grace has a teacher at church she calls her "big brother." Toby is wrestling with and being taught by some awesome youth (Children of other members of staff). They want to play with friends run around and talk to other people, they are becoming a little more independent. I have to rely on so many other people and trust they have G and T's best interest at heart. Can I do that? I don't feel ready to do that. But during this season I have to. I have to trust that the poeple God has put in my life for this time and this season are going to be as good as they can be to my kids. I need other people in my life to "assist" me in raising and loving my children. I always say there is no bigger blessing to me that someone genuinely loving my children and wanting the goodness I want for them. There is no greater compliment than someone telling me how cool they think my kids are and meaning it. They are my greatest gifts in life. My heart swells when I think about them. Please don't get me wrong. They are not perfect children and I don't expect them to be. But I am just in awe of how tender my heart is for my kids and other people's kids. I think it is because kids take you at face value. They want to see Jesus reflected in people and when they don't it is more of a disappointment than we could ever know. G is at an age where she wants you to be impressed with her independence. She wants you to know what she is learning... it's a normal part of her development. Toby wants attention. For people to see him. For people to notice what's special about him. I notice that in a lot of the kids in our church at the ages my children are as well. These are all normal things that kids their age want and need. But can I trust that my community will know that? I guess I just needed to write about the fact that a part of me has to give up some of the control I want over my kids. But as much as I want to do that at the same time I need to allow other people to speak into their lives, I need other people to love them, care about them and even sometimes disappoint them. I need to be able to ask for help when I need it and admit I cannot do it all. My spirit will seek out those who genuinely want to come alongside me to raise up awesome little Kline kids who people know love the Lord and are amazing examples of that love. People who can do it without judgement, without criticism, without high expectations. Again... hard stuff. I think we all want this as Mommies. People to care about our kids as much as we care about them. Truly... it is the biggest blessing. Do you have a village? Was it hard for you to give up control? Are you trusting God to do help? What about the disappointments? Just curious!
BK, I am so blown away by the awesome journey of our life together. If you look back on how we met, our LONG courtship, our engagement, our marriage and the time after that it has truly been an awesome adventure. And my love, I can seriously not imagine having been through all we have been through with anyone but you. You are my rock, you are the person who I trust, you know my faults, my flaws the real me... and you love me through it all. Thank you thank you thank you for who you are in my life. And thank you too... for pursuing your life and being the spiritual leader of our family. Thank you for setting an awesome example to our kids and being an incredible father. You truly are the best gift God could have given me. I always say that when Grace was born it was the time when God took hold of me and spoke to my heart is such a dramatic way... but I have to say our wedding day was the beginning of it all. On that day, we asked God to take this walk with us. We both believed with our hearts and souls... and we pursued it together. Had you not agreed to do that with me, I never would have had a day with Grace on the surgery table hearing God speak to my heart so clearly. So I thank you for that. I thank you for your willingness to step out and pursue Him with all you have. For giving of your time, your talents and your life to serve and for the awesome coach, friend and lover of my life that you are.
I hope your day is incredible. I hope God reveals more and more to you as each year passes and I pray that he just unite us as a couple totally invested in what He has for us. I love you BK... your the best. Here's to nine years of being married to one of the coolest guys on the planet. yeah for me!
It pains me when I don't get to post a blog. It's been far too long. So much has happened. I have just started my full time job at the church, Josie is now over 3 months old. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I go to work with a purse a diaper bag, a laptop bag and a nursing pump oh yeah and Josie in the car seat. My "big kids" have gone to school with hair not combed... and Grace's hair swooped into a pony tail because... yes... I am picking my battles and hair is just not something I am going to freak out about. Please keep in mind, I took this job knowing full well that it would include this more "fast paced" lifestyle. Here's the deal, even though it takes me away from blogging and it sucks up more of my time. I get to spend all day thinking about planning and organizing ways to reach little kids for Christ. To make sure kids hear the story of Jesus and that he loves them. I think it's truly the best gift anyone can give a child. The hope of a savior. Faith that they are never alone. Anyway... we've been busy as a family. After the cowboy gathering and the barn party... we have started a small group at our home. We play games every other week and on alternate weeks we chat about what pastor talked about on Sunday. Keep in mind... my pastor is cool... really cool... and really funny. You should check him out at www.iriverchurch.com. His messages are in video and audio clips. He's good stuff and is very wise. I wouldn't go to this church and be so dedicated and inspired if it weren't for his annointing of the holy spirit on his life and the powerful words he speaks about living a life for Christ. I couldn't have a better boss. We had a HUGE concert at our church for the youth... BK and I worked it on our date night... it was actually a ton of fun. It made me miss being a youth leader. If the kids were a little older... I'd be doing it again. Too much fun! We also carved pumpkin went to the pumpkin farm hung out with my Mom for an entire weekend and I celebrated my 38th birthday. Josie is still sleeping through the night. There is no magic to it. It is a God breathed thing... when I was pregnant my dearest friend Jinny prayed that she would sleep through the night... and she is seriously good at it. Thanks Jinny! She is laughing and talking to me... she is a really happy baby. She looks like a little Who from Whoville in the Grinch stole Christmas. Speaking of Christmas.... I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to lights and snow and Jesus' birthday. I am looking forward to Christmas cheeer and Christmas music. We also had some family pictures taken by our good friend Chelsea. I will for sure post those soon. Sorry I am throwing up in this post, but it feels good to just type and write to ya'll. My stalkers who I don't know or have ever had a comment from... and my known followers. I am praying about adoption... don't laugh. I really am. The reason I say don't laugh is because Josie is pretty small yet, but in some cases the adoption process is long and drawn out. If we wanted a baby two years from now... we would have to start the process now depending upon where we want to adopt from. My friend Lynsay owns an orphanage in China and is taking care of a little boy named Luke who has MAJOR heart problems. I saw his picture and thought... he could be mine. I could be his Mom. I showed BK his picture and said, Hey! You want to adopt him? He smiled. We live life on the edge here in Durango... Bring it on!
Alright I better go. I have far too much on my mind. I love you all, I am thankful for so much and I am glad I get to read all of your posts. Peace to you friends! Love, Jen
So, the morning of the Barn Party our family was invited to participate in the Cowboy Gathering parade. It was so cool to be invited, I had no idea what to expect. I've never been to this parade and I'm for sure not a cowboy! :) But our friends Ruth and Scott are avid supporters and volunteers at Spring Creek Horse Rescue. This horse rescue saves horses who are bought to be sold and killed. Ruth and Scott have adopted a couple of the horses and are amazing people. We were happy to be asked to be in the parade. Toby and Grace LOVE animals and horses what sweet fun we had with our friends.
We all got dressed up in our cowboy gear and attended the parade. We were not sure what to expect. We thought we would put Josie in our jogger stroller. One tire was flat before we left the house. So Billy inflated all tires before we left for the parade. We packed up the car and left for the parade. The parade was fun. We got the horses in place and the kids and determined where we were in the parade. Our number was 50 so it was a pretty substantial parade for Durango. (we are not known for our parade fanfare) So as we were waiting we put the horsies to the test and my 2.5 month old daughter. Out of no where there was a HUGE sound... like a gun shot. Now if you know anything about horses you know they are skiddish to begin with to be in parades... but when a HUGE gunshot sound happens. You'd expect the horses to go balistic. The horses were fine... they all just stood calmly. I look and the tire in our jogger stroller blew out. My wonderful husband inflated the tire a smidge too much. And woke us all up, I nearly peed my pants. OH yeah, when we walked out to promote the horse rescue, I was a little overwhelmed. The streets of Durango were packed, Grace saw friends from school we did our best parade wave and smiled. Here are the pics.
I just wanted to type a quick blog to talk about God's faithfulness and how he works in the most specific ways. As the Director of Children's Ministries here at the church I have been praying about the Mission of this ministry. What are we about? What is our goal as a ministry? As I've prayed and listened... God as delivered.
This ministry has to be first and foremost a "safe place" for kids to come to. They need to feel God's love in this place. It has to saturate everything we do. By safe I don't mean safe like we have safe toys and things, but emotionally safe. God's love and heart for kids needs to be reflected by everyone they come in contact with in our church. I have been grappling with what the goal or mission of this ministry. I have been praying and asking God for his direction in my life and what's next for riverKIDS. A wise friend talked to me about the this concept. that every child in our ministry is Seen, Heard, Known and Loved. Isn't that cool? God has put it on my heart that all of the curriculum, the crafts, the snacks, the schedules, environments, toys etc. is necessary but secondary to this overall goal. God wants us to teach the children yes... and we will do that. But Jesus taught his disciples by "being with" them. I am reminded of the story in the Bible about Martha and Mary. It is easy to be a bunch of Martha's running around getting Children's ministry done. But Jesus wants us to be Mary. To be present to Jesus and to be present to the kids we minister to daily.
Do we see them? If so How? Are we listening to them? What are they saying? Do we know their hearts? How can we reflect Jesus to them? Are we loving them in all of it? Do we see the kids as God sees them. Do we treat them they way Jesus would? Do we respect and honor them the way God does. Jesus wants to be WITH us. Do the kids feel like we want to be WITH them... like Jesus? Once we get this part right we will see the fruit in everything else.
Of course after I had chewed on this concept for a while, I prayed about it. I asked God... "is this too mushy?" Is it too simple to execute? But then God reminded me of my story about Ella, the little girl who knew nothing of God or Jesus. And the chorus to this song she memorized in our van on the way to the barn party. The words that touched her heard in such a big way. And they said this:
He knows my name He knows my every thought He sees each tear that falls And He hears me when I call
The chorus to this song speaks of just that. Knowing... Seeing and Hearing and when we do that... kids can't help but feel loved. God does not put experiences people and things in our lives by accident. He is intentional and I believe Ella's story and all the ways I have been influenced by this concept are God led. I believe it is important to God and I am so so blessed God loves me and my church so much he would show things to me in this way. It's going to be a great year in Children's Ministry.
This weekend was SO busy. My body is shot. This old girl needs to start working out. We held a big event yesterday out at a ranch sponsored by Children's ministry called "the Barn Party". It is a fall event to bring families together. We plan music, games for kids, lots of candy and treats, cake walk, musical chairs etc. etc. In the past years this event has drawn quite a few people. A lot of times when we hold events like these we measure success by numbers. How many people did we have... was it successful. The venue is donated by a local man who loves to offer up his ranch. Putting it together requires a lot of time and effort not only by me but by a large team who volunteer in the ministry. They seriously spend LOTS of their free time on planning, and implementing this awesome event. It knocked us all out.
I am writing about the event not because of the event itself. What God has taught me this year is that numbers does not equate success. But God used this event to show me what success looks like in his eyes. What happened is something that will change how I measure success in the children's ministry at our church. It's a story about Grace's friend Ella who she brought to our barn party.
Ella and Grace adore each other. Grace likes to talk about her faith to her friends, she likes to ask them if they believe in Jesus. Grace has asked Ella if she belives in God or Jesus and Ella told her... "not so much." Ella's Mom is a sweet awesome lady... her Dad a really nice man. This year however, Ella's Mom told me her and her husband were in the middle of getting a divorce. It broke my heart. Mom and Dad's divorce was final this summer. Mom lives in town, Dad lives out by us.
Preface: Ella and Grace happened to be watched by a babysitter prior to the party, the babysitter watched the kiddos while we set up the event. When the event started our babysitter Ashley drove all the kids out to the ranch in a friend's van.
So here we have Grace and Ella at the party. She had fun at the party, they ran around played games, ate treats, laughed giggled and got their faces painted.
On the way home we started talking. I wanted feedback from kiddos I wanted to know if they had fun. I wanted their input on the food, the prizes, etc. etc. Ella said she had fun, she said she thought the party was cool, she said she liked the music and the prizes.
Then she told me what she thought of her ride to the event. She told Grace and I that she liked the music that was playing in the van on the way out to the barn party. Grace said, "yes, that's called worship music. I like the song "Jesus is my best friend."
Then little Ella who does not really believe in God, who had never heard one word of worship music in her life told us in the most honest child like way.. " I like that song... um... that song... it sounded like kids were really singing it.. where they sang:
"He knows my name, he knows my every thought, he sees each tear that falls and he hears me when I call."
The tears welled up, I could hear he heart, she didn't just like the song. At the core of who God created her to be she could hear God drawing her near. She needed to know that God loved her knew what she was going through and knows her. Knows her heart, and hears her every prayer. At the tender age of seven, this little girl is going through some major stuff in her life. Her parents are getting a divorce. She stays with Mom during the week and Dad on weekends. Her world has been rocked.
And in one night her heart has been touched by God's love. God orchestrated a relationship with my daughter, this barn party event and my awesome church for Ella to hear for the first time that God knows her name, knows her pain, and wants to hear from her. A seed has been planted. This is God's success.
Then we talked about what happens on a Sunday at our church she asked me if she could come to our church.
I am praying for her. I am praying for her family. I am so blessed that God put this awesome little girl in my life and the life of my daughter. This is totally a moment that God orchestrated. He knew our faith, he knew Ella's pain, he knew what she needed exactly when she needed it and he gave her a message in a worship song that will draw her nearer and nearer to him. Please pray with me for this little girl, that she be blown away by God's grace and mercy. Pray for her parents who are going through a difficult time and I will do the same. In the meantime I will also be praising him for this moment I'll never forget.
Isnt' blogging funny? A place where you can share your thoughts with the world. A place where you can write whatever you want to everyone in the world. My friend Jill introduced me to blogspot... I really am blessed by it in so many ways... Jill also introduced me to Andy and Cari's Blog... (see link at sidebar). She told me about this amazing woman who had been through so much in her life... you see in the past year Cari's daughter at 7 months old was reunited with Jesus and at around the same time her husband Andy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and to top it off she was pregnant and due around the same time I was going to deliver Josie.
Jill knows how much I like to pray, she advised me to check out Cari's blog. It's funny how God can take circumstances that make you think you are going to impact someones life and totally blow you away in your own life. I thought, how cool! A family I can pray for! A family that needs God. But once I popped on to her blog... what I realized was that this woman had a HUGE heart for God. She prayed, she quoted scripture to help get her through, she knew God in such an intimate way from her life circumstances that at this point I thought... man I NEED MORE PRAYER! :)
I am thankful that Cari has shared her story. I am thankful that she has given me a new perspective of life on this earth. That someday when I meet Jesus and am in heaven I will get to meet her sweet baby Caden. That for eternity we all don't hang out on earth together but we get to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus and God who created all of us. I am thankful for Cari's faith, for her peace for her honesty and her ability to be vulnerable and at the same time confident in what she believes in who God is for her and her family. I am thankful she had her son Rigg who brightens up her days and brings her joy and is an awesome boy who she will be able to tell stories about Caden.
Today I am thankful for this family who although I only know them through my own blog stalking... have been ministered to and learned from. What a great gift.
The other day when I was dropping off Grace and Toby at school a Mom stopped me to ask if Grace and her daughter could have a playdate. She is an awesome Mom and was one of my OB nurses in the hospital with Josie. She mentioned that I "Look greaat" and that I lost ALL my baby weight... I shook my head vigorously (that's funny to imagine)but told her NO NO NO I did not lose all my baby weight. I have about 20lbs to lose to get back to my pre baby weight. Having a C-section delays the hardcore workouts of my past as well as being sleepless and having small amounts of time to get things done during the day. So I have a challenge ahead of me. But I will do it. This body does not lose weight by merely cutting back on the food I eat. God requires more of me to be fit. I need to workout about 4 days a week and eat well. Lucky me! :)
My profile name on this blog has a funny story to it. I posted it a while ago but I thought I'd repeat it for fun. Last time I started a new workout plan, I was adamant that I would lose the weight and I would get healthy. I never have felt athletic or like I was really good in PE. I never really exceled in those areas. But I had never been pushed either. I started doing Denise Austin DVD's on the television and saving one hour a day to myself... an hour where this Mommy got some ME time to workout. I LOVE working out, I just rarely make the time to do it. Denise Austin has a feature on her DVD's where you can mute her voice. Some poeple think she is annoying. I would pray before each workout and ask the holy spirit to multiply what was happening in my body. I also ask God to take calories out of chocolate... He could do it if he wanted to! ;) Anyway, one day when I was working out I was at the end of the workout doing the stretching... I felt accomplished and exhausted I felt sweaty and tired. And then Denise said... "good job, your doing great, your an athlete, a champion." Now, I don't know if I was hormonal at the time or what but when she called me an athlete and a champion I just started crying. I was sitting in my living room crying and thinking to myself. I AM a CHAMPION. I really am. It makes me laugh when I look back on it now. But I think many times we can believe the voices in our head that tell us we can't do something more than we believe the truth. And the truth is I am a champion. A champion mother, a champion wife, a champion athelete and a champion for Christ. It doesn't get any better than that. Peace!
In the next couple of weeks the kids in our children's ministry are worshipping in "big church" to this song. Today my daughter was listening to it on her Dad's ipod and singing as loud as she could the lyrics. She believed them. She was confident. Then I started thinking... do I really understand how big how powerful and how awesome God is? Can I even comprehend his power and with that can I even ever comprehend his love? If he created everything in 7 days... and his power raised Jesus from the dead... he WILL do and CAN do whatever he wants.
I love to pray. I love to pray because it causes me to be aware of when God has answered my prayers. If you are praying a lot it is because you have seen prayers answered that could only be answered by God. You see God in it. There is NO coincidence. God likes us to pray because he enjoys the conversation, he loves hearing from us, like a daughter calling her Daddy when she's far from home. He delights in our voice and our thoughts. But when it comes to answering prayers, he knows what's coming, he's already got it covered. He will act even if I didn't pray. He loves me that much. When I pray and see God move in an answer to prayer I cannot help but tell people. A prayer answered is a faith builder. My God is mighty like that. He puts it on my heart to pray so the truth can be told. He can move a mountain. He is SO mighty. That's so awesome.
First of all, I need to change the main picture on this blog... it does not represent the Kline family on this day. We need to take a new family picture so I can put it on here. That will come soon. Baby Josie fulltime job and family/church stuff is time consuming. We'll fit it in here someday soon.
Did you ever have one of those days weeks and months where you just feel like a punk? Today I woke up in a funk... funky... funkadelic. So, I am practicing living more intentionally... not letting my "feelings" and emotions rule the day. Time is too precious, life is too short to let emotions and feelings run me into the ground.
So on most days like this I would get frustrated easily, be quick to anger say things I'll regret, let the little things get to me. But not today. I am doing an experiment in "acting" the opposite of what I feel. If I feel angry, I'll do something that makes me happy or another person happy. If I feel sad, I'll try to get my baby girl to laugh. If I'm frustrated about something I can't control, I'll blow it off to think about it later .
Do the feelings follow the actions? Well, so far it has worked.
In the 80's there were these books called "choose your own adventure" books. Where you could make a choice and depending upon your choice the book would turn out differently. I am being intentional with my actions today praying that my feelings will be obedient and follow shortly thereafter. So far it has worked... this morning could have been riddled with yuck and funk. Not today. Nope... not today. Peace
I used to hope for a big house, now I'm happy for the one I have. I used to hope for a really nice car a red one with shiny black tires, now my minivan rocks. I used to hope for a perfect body with perfect skin, now I have stretch marks but three beautiful children. I used to hope to travel the world, now I see life through my children's eyes. I used to hope to get stuff, now I want to "give".
Now my hope is only for God's promises in my life. That his word is true. That anything is possible with God. The great commandment and the great commission are true. Love others like He did... Tell others about Him and how he saves us right when we need Him most. That is my hope.
You know when you hear a story and it sends tingles down your spine? Well I heard one today and I just have to share it with my blog friends (and stalkers) hee!
My brother Austin is an amazing young man. He turns 21 this winter and is at NYU studying musical theatre. My Mom had him when I was 17 years old. He is the baby in the family and was pretty much raised as an only child there was such a huge age gap between he and my brothers and I.
Because of that he spent tons of time with my Grandparents. Austin had an incredible relationship with my Grandma on my Dad's side.
We all did. But when we were all off at college and in school. Austin and Grandma developed a deep awesome friendship. They would go to the park. He would call her and ask her if he could sleep over at her house. She was an amazing woman with a thick German accent and a heart of gold. She loved him so much. Austin and Grandma could talk for hours. She would take him around at the age of 8 or 9 and he was so proud of her. He had Grandma's heart. She would take him to concerts, ballets and the theatre. She had a huge passion for it. She loved Pavarati, Placido Domingo and lot of other Opera singers. She even subscribed to Opera magazine. She never played an instrument or sang herself but she had a passion for music and theatre.
She always had tic tacs in her purse and coffee candy in a glass dish in her living room. Austin would always ask her for a tic tac.. he LOVED them with her. He referred to them as BOOM BOOM's. We would all laugh because whenever he saw Grandma he would immediatly head for her purse to get the boom boom or ask for it politely. Grandma passed away before we moved to Colorado.
Well Austin is now in New York studying musical theatre which is so cool. I always think about how proud she would be of him. He loves it. He is great at what he does and he has a good perspective on it too. When he was home this summer he heard the opera singer Andrea Bocelli was going to sing at Carnegie Hall. Austin wanted to go very badly. He told me the tickets were really really expensive and on a college student's budget he couldn't afford it. My Dad knew about Austin's desire to go to Carnegie Hall and told him that after thinking about it for quite a while he wanted to pay for his ticket to see him. Really good seats like 40 ft away from him. He said if he didn't pay for it... Grandma would have been really mad. So he paid for the ticket.
Austin went to the concert at Carnegie Hall the other night. Here's the cool part. I was saying how Grandma was probably with him as a guardian angel that night. Watching over him... enjoying it with him. He said that when he arrived he sat next to three older ladies. Two of them were in their 50's and one of them just turned 100years old. He sat next to the lady who was 100. He said that she looked and smelled like Grandma. Then he said, right before the show started... the older lady without saying anything really to him.... reached into her purse and asked him if he wanted a tic tac. He told me at that moment he said a prayer and thanked God for having "Grandma" with him that night. God is so good. He knows exactly what we need when we need it. And I believe he knew my brother needed a touch from the Lord and an awesome memory of my Grandma delivered to him and he got it... at Carnegie Hall listening to Andrea Bocelli...eating a tic tac.
Listen to this song. I love it. Although I don't ever refer to myself as born again I do feel new or different or transormed. God will never leave me the same. I am always transformed by his love and influence in my life. I felt new the day after I was baptized in the Animas River. I had a new perspective. I understood my purpose on earth. Praise God for all things new! Enjoy this song from Third Day. I'll try to pause my playlist.
It bothers me when I sit down and cannot come up with something to write about. That has been me in the past week. I have been so preoccupied with new job and kids in school and the new busier schedule...
I feel like I am so busy transitioning my life I have yet to settle into a new normal. At work I am waiting on my laptop, my office is empty and boring. We joke that it's the principals office or a dentists office. :) I still have to organize the HUGE closet I was blessed with and figure out what stuff I need to keep and get rid of. (I am planning to decorate the office to make it kid and adult friendly)
At home, I am working through piled up laundry, purging more toys( yes... more toys) from my kid's room and trying to determine how long both of them can live in their room and function for much longer. Grace needs her own space. They are getting a little too old to share.
I battle negative thoughts daily about everything. Finances are tight. (which is uncomfortable but necessary for this season) However, we are working towards being debt free and really getting ourselves on a budget.
All of the above gives me writer's block. No funny stories. Can't slow down enough to pay attention. This morning at church I cruised by our Senior Pastor and he literally was a blur. I had to stop. Slow down, look at him and say an intentional "good morning."
But today, I found my inspiration again. We came home. The kids were exhausted. We all ate some lunch and we napped. We just slept and I slept HARD. I don't make a habit of this but I really enjoy it . Josie took a nap with me in the bed. When I look at her, I am inspired and feel blessed. The rest of the world melts away. My negative thoughts turn to joy. Nothing else matters. This beautiful girl has entered my life and I am so so so happy. I kiss her cheeks, and she smiles at me. I say her name and she grins. She is pure goodness and I am inspired.
So as my transition time becomes a new normal... I will write more. But for now I will enjoy these quiet times with my baby. I will relish every moment... and blog.
Well, I made it. I decided to cut my bangs before I had to get up in front of the church. I got rid of the Van Halen hair and updated my "do" just a little bit! (again I am laughing) I refuse to cut the length I am trying to grow my hair out to. I have had short hair for a long time and I am going to have long luxurious hair if it kills me! I love pony tails! (still laughing)
Anyway, we went to the church and delivered all of our kids to their prospective kid classes. I found my spot in the church and tried to relax. I was so nervous I went to the bathroom like 3 times. I knew what he was going to ask... and I had thought about my response a hundred times. But I wanted it to come from my heart I wanted people to hear my heart for the ministry. I did not want it to sound rehearsed or contrived. It was truly my heart.
He asked me, what is your vision for Children's ministry.
I told him that after working in Children's Ministry with all of the people I had they all had one thing in common. "They wanted to please God." So at the very core of this ministry I want all that we do to please God first and foremost. I wanted what God wanted... and as I prayed I believe that God wants kids in the nursery to be held by Grandma's and Grandpa's and to be prayed over by them. That God wanted kids in preschool to begin to understand the power of relationships and that there are adults that model Jesus' love to them in a safe place. That preschoolers could pray for one another. That God wanted our 1st-3rd graders to hold the word of God in their hearts so when they had to make tough decisions they would know what God said about it. That the 4th and 5th graders would begin to have a confidence in their faith and be servant leaders that disciple other kids and families. Oh yeah... and that we would have a waiting list of volunteers ready to serve in Children's Ministry to love kids and tell them about Jesus.
It was cool. I had goosebumps. I felt passionate about it. (still do) But what surprised me is what came after the services. I was nervous to walk around our church and introduce myself and talk to new people. I thought this would be so scary.
A good friend of mine told me that God would place a "mantle" on me once in the new position. A mantle that would prepare me for this leadership position. I was not sure what that meant. But once I was introduced I was walking around talking to people I did not know, introducing myself, asking questions, talking to kids. Getting to know people and it felt totally natural. I was joyful doing it. I was excited to get to know these people because I wanted them to feel totally welcome in our church. God has placed an amazing group of people in our church and I am truly looking forward to what the future holds.
Please pray for me as I continue down this path. That not only am I doing the things God would have me do but that he receive every bit of glory that comes from it. He has big plans for Durango, for the kids at our church. It is not going to be easy or fun all the time.. (I'll post about that later) but it is going to be something that I know I will look back on and be happy I stepped out believing God would take care of it all. And I know he will.
Grace walking Toby to School (the school is right behind them)
Well, we made it through the first week back to school and the first week of me starting a new job. I have to say I planned this horribly. I should have transitioned all of this better. Doing it all at once was very stressful on myself and my kids but we survived.
I am not working from home so this is a huge transition for the big kids. T had a very hard time this week. I have to say that I have raised so far a very huggable loveable wonderful mama's boy. Not intentionally. We spent lots of time together when he was not in preschool and over the summer. Then Josie came and rocked his world a bit. Then school started and now I'm not home to be with him immediately after school. Today he did not want to go but I let him wear his scary Halloween teeth and Grace told him she would hold his hand and they could walk together and I would meet him there and he was cool with it so he felt better. He also got to play with the electric pencil sharpener and he loved that. I visited him one day over lunch and he was digging that. He also just popped up and went right back to class after lunchtime. What a trooper.
It breaks my heart to watch G and T go to school. I have many friends that homeschool. Believe me, I have prayed and prayed about this option. However, as difficult as it is to take my kids to school, I know that I know that God wants them there. Grace has already this week talked with kids about the Bible (again). They were just talking a little bit about stories they all knew from the Bible. I would love to have sat in on that conversation. A bunch of 7 year olds comparing stories they knew. She said one girl was talking about the "last days" and how the Bible says the moon will turn the color of blood... Grace was very impressed with her friend's knowledge. She made it sound very dramatic in those last days! :) She also is concerned about homework. Second grade has a bit more demanding homework schedule, lost of spelling, math and reading work we can do as a family after school. We will need to make time for it. I think it just helps kids prepare to do homework later. It's fun homework like spelling things in shaving cream on the kitchen table! I dig it! G has also been awesome, she needs snuggles and love too. Even though she's the big sis, helping Toby and loving on Josie... the first day came with it's share of anxiousness. We gave hugs, I came and had lunch with her in school and I talk to her about how much I miss her during the day. She's so beautiful and wonderful. I am a proud Mama to G.
I know some Mom's look forward to school starting. I really don't. I LOVE the summertime and spending it with my kids. I love the enjoyment I get out of waking up with them (late) eating sugary cereals taking them to the pool, carnival, playing outside and just spending time together. I love hearing them "playing". T will say... "and then I am the dog and then you come in and you are my Mommy dog and you take me to the doctor.. ok G? OK?" They are a team and I love being their Mommy.
Josie is doing great. She spent time this week with her new nanny Autumn. She is great. She understands how hard it is for me to leave her. She brought Josie to the church multiple times. She calls me and texts me throughout the day, she texts me pictures of her and tells me how great she is. I couldn't ask for a better person to help me love on this wonderful baby girl.
You might ask me what's up with BK in all of this. BK is awesome. We need a date night FOR SURE! We haven't been on one in too long the kiddos are sucking up all of our emotional and physical energy. When he gets home from work, we eat and chill a little, then G and T demand he get out on the trampoline with him. Today they golfed a bit in the yard after supper. We've been reading a book called the 15 minute organizer to help us stay organized with our busy schedules. BK is all about it and I am so thankful.
Well, as the "Director of Children's Ministries" God is laying lots of things on my heart. I am a little nervous because Pastor said he was going to introduce and interview me a bit on Sunday about this new position in front of the church. I'm mostly nervous about my hair because I seriously need a new updated cut. This rocker VanHalen thing has got to go... (I laugh as I type).
I am trusting that this new season in our life will be a good one. BK and I have said that we just need to get this down... it takes time, transition and a new way of looking at our life. God will ease us into it all. As I pray and talk to God in the middle of the night, He gives me the peace in my heart to know I am exactly where he has me to be. Even if it is uncomfortable for me right now. I look forward to tomorrow because it has been given to me. I am praying for my kids, praying for my marriage and praying that it all just falls in place. Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. Not enough time in the day! :)
I was just telling a friend of mine the other day that I think it's hard for people to swallow a Christian's lifestyle because it is so different from what the "world" looks like.
If you would have walked up to me in college and told me that someday I'd be an aspiring children's pastor, that I'd be attending church regularly sometimes spending all day at church just for fun I would have laughed in your face.
If you would have told me that to pray for someone gives me goosebumps and makes my heart skip a beat I'd tell you that you've lost it.
If you would have told me that someday I would attend a Bible camp with hundreds of teens and on the last day minister to a boy who wanted Jesus in his life... I would have doubled over.
If you would have told me that I'd prefer playing in the pool with my kids over a trip to Europe... I'd tell you no.
If you would have told me that I'd someday contemplate adoption and tear up everytime a story is told of a child without parents, I would have told you... not so much.
But that is who I am today. My life in my new faith looks different yes. God is making things crystal clear for me lately. My heart soars at the thought of what the future brings.
I look forward to eternity. I look forward to meeting Jesus someday. This life on earth is short. I plan to use this time to prepare for that day.
I am feeling nostalgic today. If you've read this blog you'll know I do this every once in a while. I take myself back to a place and time in my life. I think about the "good ol' days." I relish the journey God has walked with me.
I grew up in a home in a nice suburb of Milwaukee. My Dad and Mom both worked. My parents worked hard to raise us in a really nice area with a great school district in the town we lived in. They wanted the best for all of us. I don't think living where we lived came easy. It was expensive to live there. Many of my friends were "loaded". Their houses were perched on Lake Michigan's shores. We lived further in town but nonetheless had a great home and beautiful huge yard. My brothers and I were blessed by how much they desired us to be raised in a good community. Both of my grandparents lived close by so we would often see them and spend holidays with them. We were invited over for dinners, our granparents would take us places like ice skating and out to dinners and maybe even just have us over for a sleep over.
THE BURNT BRIDGE TAVERN
I spent summers going "up north" to a place called Eagle River, hanging at "Summerfest" a HUGE music festival in Milwaukee. In Eagle River we would always stop at this gift shop called the Strawberry patch... and I would pick out a stuffed animal. We would go to this cool tavern called "The Burnt Bridge." At Summerfest we would watch bands, go on rides, eat tons of good food and get our faces painted. I have so many good memories of my childhood.
I also rode my bike everywhere! I had a season pass to our local pool in town and had tons of fun with my brother's in our neighborhood. We rode our bike to a closeby candy store. I used to buy a pack of gum for a quarter. We rode our bikes to friends houses, to the grocery store called Piggly Wiggly (as we got older) and eventually when I got a job at a local veterinary clinic I even rode my bike there. I had a friend named Sherri who's parents owned a really nice restaurant in town. I would ride my bike to the restaurant, we would get food from the kitchen and go hang out by the pool (in the back of the restaurant). I have awesome summer memories.
My birthday was in October so many of my birthday parties were Halloween themed. I know some Christians are totally opposed to Halloween. Our Halloween parties were harmless and fun. We liked to dress up, we loved the traditions, the food, the candy and the memories. My brothers and I used to take the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin and put them in between our fingers and shoot them at each other. My parents did a great job of making holiday's special. Christmas and Thanksgiving were also big events at our house. My Mom would totally go all out to throw great parties for all of our relatives to come over and enjoy. Spending time together was important to our family.
My Mom and Dad put an addition on our home. My Dad and Grandpa did the work entirely themselves. I don't think they hired many outside My Dad worked to give me my own room. (I shared with my bro for a bit) He put hardwood floors in that room and my Mom let me pick out my very own wallpaper. Pink wallpaper with tons of strawberries and teeny tiny hearts all over it. I remember watching my Dad put each slat of wood down in my room. I remember how hard he worked to do it. My parents loved our family and wanted the best for all of us. They worked hard to give us a comfortable life.
My parents also had a great collection of vinyl records and a really nice "stereo system". They would play it loud. Sometimes we would all dance. Sometimes just my parents would dance. Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet, Jim Croce, The Pointer Sisters and John Cougar Mellencamp and Lionel Richie would be playing on that system many times. Once I got my first albums (Air Supply and Micheal Jackson's Thriller) I played many of them on the system too!
So today I leave you with a glimps of my past. I also leave you with a few songs on the playlist that I grew up with listening to in my house. Some of you may have not ever heard these songs. They are special to me, enjoy.
I feel gross. Four weeks after the birth of my baby girl... and I feel yuck. You know what I mean? My nursing bra's are tight, my "regular" pants don't fit well enough to wear them. Some of my maternity pants fit me and some of the maternity pants are just WAY too big.
Some days I shower, some days I don't. I love wearing pajamas. My nails have not been painted in a long time. My feet are dry and cracked... (is this TMI?) In have his new dark hair color that I'm not digging that much. I mostly smell like baby shampoo (which smells good) or some days spit up (does not smell good). Today I was running my fingers through my hair and my fingers got stuck at this one point... I realized Josie probably was trying to eat my hair or spit up in it... nice... and ewww.
BK is very supportive. He tells me all the time that I am pretty... but I just don't FEEL so cute lately. My "too tight" nursing bra's have this way of making me feel super frumpy. Then throw a nursing pad in there to make sure I don't leak all over my clothes and it's just adds to the ewww of it all. I am not complaining. I am just stating the facts. I am now in the season of Frumpy McFrumperson. I can't wait to put on a pair of regular jeans, be a well kept, NON sleep deprived Mama. That day will come.
Josie is up right now, cooing, grunting and being adored by her brother and sister. I look at her and KNOW that this season is worth it. Taking care of her and my kids brings me more joy than anything. So I think I can make it through this "awkward" stage. I've done it before I'll do it again. But in the meantime I'd like some "cheese" to go with my whine ;)
I have been blogging for some time and referring to this "new" thing or season in my life that is fast approaching. This has been a God planned, God directed journey for me and as it unfolded before me I was actually pretty amazed. It started four years ago when we moved to Durango.
The first advance toward this cool thing was when I decided I wanted to be a youth leader. I love hanging with teens, I love hearing their hearts, I love acting goofy, being silly and understand the heart of kids at this age. Being a youth leader was one of the most fun times in my life. It deepened my faith as I watched God working in the lives of all the kids who pursued Him with all they had, regardless of circumstances. As I spoke into their lives, God was working on my heart and my life too. God was working behind the scenes as I begun to prayerfully consider what God's plan was for my life and the life of my family, I knew He was going to reveal things to me I had never dreamed of. How cool is that?
One day BK and I were driving into the church parking lot and I said to Billy, someday I am going to work here. He was a little surprised. At our old church in Minnesota BK and I cleaned the church for some extra money. I even said to him, I am not sure if I'll be a janitor and clean at this church but I just have this gut feeling someday I'll work here. I had a great job... working from my home, with flexible hours and a company that appreciated and understood my family. The fact I had this thought that someday that would not be my job puzzled me. I was completely satisfied in my job, but God left me with a feeling that someday my job would be within our church walls. Wow. Here we go God.
After serving as a leader in the youth ministry for a about three years I started serving in a leadership role in Children's ministry. To be completely honest this new ministry threw me for a loop. There were tons of details to consider. Schedules, snacks, crafts, curriculum, volunteers, numbers of kids, laundry, cleanliness etc.etc.
I think I've talked about this before but where I grew up and in my community, Christianity or the belief in Christ was pretty much across the board. My friends and I were all different religions, Lutheran, Catholic, Christian, Methodist, but we could all agree that Jesus came to earth died on the cross for our sins in order for us to have a relationship with God. The basics were not argued or debated. In this town we live in now, it is a very different culture. There are many people who completely deny Jesus is Lord entirely. There is a big culture of new age religion and witchcraft. Some of the teens in our youth group have to "defend" their faith in schools. They have teachers arguing with them about their faith. Spiritually this town is different. Kids need to be prepared here to have a confidence in their faith and a deep understanding of God's love for them. Christ is real. Jesus dying on the cross is real. The fact He desires relationship with us is VERY real... and to help them establish a confidence in that is a great privledge and honor.
I can proudly say that " I love my church." We have an awesome group of friends at our church a great community of people who care about love and encourage. We hold each other accountable, we learn together, we laugh a lot, we have tons of fun and the best part is... not one of us is perfect. There is grace, there is forgiveness, there is patience and in all of it there is the peace of Jesus.
Anyway, this brings me back to my journey. Our Children's pastor was moving into a different role in the church so our Senior Pastor was going to be looking for a new person to fill this role. I met with him to talk to him about some of the things I had on my heart for the ministry. I wanted him to be able to find the right person for the job. I wanted him to hear my heart for the ministry and the church. Our "core" group of people who lead the ministry all met with him because we wanted him to find the right person for this job.
It was in this meeting our Senior Pastor asked me if I thought I would be able to do the job as Children's Pastor. I told him yes. I thought I could do it. Of course I could do it! I love kids, I love my church, God we have awesome people who serve in the ministry. It would be an honor. I prayed and asked God to reveal to me if this was His plan for me. Then... came all my "but God's" But God... "my job now is fine." But God, " I would need to work full time". But God... "I'm about to have a baby." But God... I'm not holy enough. But God... surely you have someone more qualified. ;)"
Thankfully, I have a pastor who asked me to pray about it and seek God in it. See if this was something God might have for me even though I could think of a thousand reasons not to pursue it. As I began to pray thoughts of my past flooded in, I always wanted to work for something that "meant" something. I've worked in corporations and worked my booty off so someone could make LOTS of money. It never saw the point in it. I would sit in marketing meetings where we would brainstorm on how to sell the latest product or service... and everyone would be so fired up but at the end of the day... it didn't seem like it was "that" important to me. Sure it was important to do a good job and to sell lots of these things, but in the grand scheme of life... was a widget or a service going to change someone's life? I took a Meyers Briggs Personality test when we lived in Minnesota and one of the top 10 jobs the test said I should pursue was that of a Children's Pastor. (I giggle now as I think about it)
At our church, the job as Children's pastor would be to point everyone I encountered to Jesus Christ. This meant something, something that changed lives, something that lasted for ETERNITY. Not just this life on earth. The things God could do in this ministry would be totally life changing for me and for the people I ministred to. God then gave me visions of what the ministry could look like, visions of ministering to people, praying for people, opportunites to see people healed from emotional pain. Watching families and kids be transformed by the love of Christ. God just flooded me with all of this. It fueled me. It ignited my passion for this church, for Jesus and for the ministry.
So to wrap this up, God worked out all the details, he coordinated it all so I could work full time, in a cool job for and with awesome people to serve the Lord and my church community. He worked out the details so my husband and I felt confident in moving in this direction. All my "But God..." statements were taken off the table. He also humbled me... showing me that this position is not about me, but about what God can and will do in our church and our families.
As of August 24th I "get to" be the new "Children's Pastor" at our church in Durango. What a thrill, what an honor, I cannot imagine anything cooler than getting paid to tell kids and families the awesome truth of Jesus Christ and then I get to watch God work in all of it. It is an honor and a privledge to serve this community and our families. So now... instead of saying BUT GOD.... I say Thank you God... what's next?
God is good. I am writing this blog to reflect on how that looks in my life, I am a Mom a sister a friend and a wife. And above it all I am a child of God. How awesome is that? I started this blog to be able to reflect on what that journey looks like. God has big things in store for this family of mine. I am just here to share my story.