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.
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.