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.
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.