Structure and Pattern

Yesterday’s post updated you on a few things, but I don’t want to stop there.

I don’t want you to think that just because I’m busy, I’m choosing to step out of everything.

I want to be engaged in what God is doing in and through me.  Things may just look different for me right now with the kids.  I just need to make sure that I’m staying connected with what God wants.  What are God’s desires for me?  In the midst of questions of what this looks like staying at home with the kids I’m getting on the schedule to volunteer.  We don’t freeze when we try to get things together.  We keep moving.  We keep putting others’ interests above our own and ultimately God’s interests above our own.

Sometimes I can be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns right now.  I am a person that loves structure and pattern.  I can’t say that I’ve always liked that, but it’s something that I can grasp at when I am trying to take control.  Trying to control things that I cannot and should not.

Do I truly believe that God can change me?  Set me free?  Change my relationships?

I feel like sometimes I end up praying – “I believe, help my unbelief!”

I believe God can change me, set me free from controlling things.  In those moments I don’t feel like it, I pray.

Ephesians 1:15-23

Here’s a few of the verses:

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

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Just jump in!

I was listening to Cornerstone Church’s podcast in Simi Valley this morning. They were talking about being stewards with our spouses, kids, time, money, etc. What does that look like with our time?
Not waiting or making excuses, just jumping in where there’s a spot and figuring it out from there. If we all waited to have the perfect conditions for anything in life, we would never go anywhere or be a part of anything. What a bummer! God wants to use us! Let’s get moving!

So many people talk about how their toddlers just love going to Journey Kids at the 11 with Mr. D. (the other vols rock too!). People comment to him all of the time, “Wow, I don’t know how you do it!” “I could never handle a room full of toddlers, that’s definitely you!”
Wanna know a secret? Something funny!?
When I asked Paul to be my “extra hands” in there when I was lead teaching he didn’t want to. “Toddlers aren’t my thing.” – was his excuse too! Now that’s where he serves and loves it every week. If he wouldn’t have put himself out there and tried, he wouldn’t be serving with the group of kids he loves to pour into every week.

Now “Mr. D.” is taking a month off and that gives others an opportunity to step up (in/over) and join an awesome group of kids and volunteers.
What about you? What excuses are you giving?
Where should you step in/up?

Family Update

Wheh!  What a month!  Exciting things are happening at The Journey, and it feels weird to be on the “outside” of things, but the nice thing is that none of us are really on the “outside”.  They keep us all posted on things like the Agency Blog and all of the staff blogs.  I loved this past series, and didn’t the band rock on Sunday!?

An update:

1 – Paul’s store is moving so he’s been working everyday from morning until 9pm or even last night until 2am.  I’ll be glad when it’s all done.  It’s been crazy to say the least.  I have to give props to single mothers.  Don’t know how you do it!  A few months ago I had no idea this would be happening.  It’s funny to see how God just had his hand in everything.  His timing is perfect.

2 – The kids are growing like crazy and we’re trying to keep a healthy home.  I guess just having 2 kids and a hubby in retail it’s hard not to have sickness in the house.  I’ve had to miss church more this year due to illness than I think I ever have.  It’s crazy.  I can’t wait until spring.  My sister just says to be grateful that their getting their immune systems up.

3 – I may be heading to TN to see some of my college friends.  I’m not sure how that will work with just me and the 2 kids.  Any words of advice?

4 – Did I say that I can’t wait for spring?  =)

5 – I’m excited for all that’s going on at The Journey and really am grateful to have been a part of the staff for the time I was. I do miss it, but as you can tell, it’s a crazy time and I just am not sure if I could’ve done this all.  I’m glad to be able to be at home with my kiddos!

Thank you, Gracias, Grazie

Thank you Journeyers for the opportunity to work alongside you and lead Journey Kids.  It has been an amazing 3.5 years to say the least.  A lot has happened in those few years and many of you have been a part of that!  Thank you.

If you haven’t read the Journey’s annual update letter I’ll catch you up to date.  I’m resigning to be a stay at home mom with my 2 munchkins.  It was a hard decision to make with lots of tears.  Paul, Eliana, Micah and I are not going anywhere.  Mr. D. will still be in the 2s room on Sunday, and eating animal crackers.  We’ll still be there to love on kids right alongside all of the other awesome, amazing and dedicated Journey Kids volunteers.  Who knows?!  Maybe God will have me jump back in after awhile.  All I know now is that sometimes God calls us to make difficult decisions, but He will walk with us through it all.  It’s ironic that this series we’re in is called CHANGE (missed a Sunday?  Check it out here.)  So, being the me I want to be (God wants me to be) right now is to be a wife and mom to my 2 kids at home.

Thank you for walking with us through the birth of Eliana, my brain tumor, and the birth of Micah.  If you would have asked me 4.5 years ago where I thought I’d be right now, I couldn’t even have imagined this.  Being a part of a community of people taking next steps with Jesus, serving alongside each other to show Jesus to others!  Wow!  So, see you Sunday early.  I’ll be sippin’ my coffee alongside all of you.

By the way, a huge shout-out to Selena Radosa who is jumping in and keeping Journey Kids rolling.  She has an amazing heart for volunteers and kids.  If you don’t know who she is, ask and introduce yourself.  Get plugged in and share God’s love with our littlest Journeyers.  It’s eternity we’re talking about.

I’ll still be blogging here, just probably not linked from the church website anymore.  I’ll still be sharing some thoughts and ideas if you’re interested you can bookmark or “follow” on the right.

Do everything….

I’m going to tell you how to do everything in your life!  (We live in such a society today that we cram too much in.  That’s not what this is about.  That’s a whole other post.)  Take a minute and read these verses.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” (Philippians 2:15-15 – in the NIV version)

14-16Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. (Philippians 2:15-15 – The Message version)

Easy, right!?   Well not really….

It’s so easier to get into the mode of complaining. “I’m so busy.”  “Cleaning up puke again!?  You’ve got to be kidding me!”  “Why can’t he just wake up and take care of this baby for an hour!”  They are driving WAY to slow in the passing lane – idiots”  “That is more than 12 items in the express lane!” and so on….

Whether we say it out loud or just to ourselves in the middle of the night grumbling does nothing but bring us down and those around us….Let alone the fact that if we call ourselves followers of Jesus – what does that show others?  (How do I look to the people around me?  Am I pushing others further away from Jesus by the complaining words I say?  Don’t get me wrong – God’s bigger than me.  He changes hearts, but I don’t wanter get in the way….I’d rather be used.)

It makes me think of these verses (bold emphasis mine)….

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

It’s not necessarily about controlling our words and attitudes ourselves.  It’s about our hearts, and we can’t change our hearts without God’s help and asking Jesus to forgive us.  God’s the heart changer.

A few questions I’m asking myself after reading, reflecting and praying on these verses:

What fruit am I producing right now?  Where is my strength coming from?  What is my heart full of?  Am I being a breath of fresh air to others or am I taking the oxygen out of the air with my words?  Do people see Jesus in me?

NOTE:  I use http://www.biblegateway.com to look up verses and do daily readings because I can switch versions to better understand some things sometimes.

Do gas cans and kids mix?

Well, in Journey Kids they do!

For the month of December Journey Kids will be collecting money to go towards the purchase of gasoline for the House of Hope Home in Kenya, Africa.  Journey adults are pulling together to purchase a van for the orphanage in Kenya, so we thought that it would be a perfect fit for the kids to come up with gas money for the van.  The van will be used to drive the children, volunteers and workers around the community for appointments and errands.  In the past Journey Kids have helped purchase a cow, chickens and school supplies.  We will be collecting money for the entire month of December.  Look for the gas cans in the lobby to put your money towards the gasoline.  Have kids?  Encourage them to skip their donut and put the 50 cents toward something that will make a difference in the life of another.