Our 2018 wasn’t an easy one, but it’s a faith journey and a story filled with hope.
From the outside looking in, it looked easy. Cute pregnancy pictures, a funny toddler, a couple cute houses; the only way to see the muck in the mix is vulnerability.
If you know me know me,
You know I struggled.
If you don’t know me, you just saw my highlight reel.
You didn’t see the tears. The hurting heart. The longing. The mourning over the word “miscarriage” only to find out God is big and we, in fact, were still pregnant.
And it’s ok that you didn’t see it. What I want you all to see now, is what God has done.
Our word for 2018 was expectant. Not because we were expecting (that didn’t come until March) and not because I deserve anything but because He is faithful.
I could have chosen waiting, faithful, or patient
But instead I choose to be expectant of all that He can do, could do, and would do in 2018.
I want to look back over my year and yell out to you “come and see what God has done!’”
None of it was without hardships and some suffering on our ends, but it was oh so worth it. In the moment, I couldn’t see it. In the bad times, it’s hard to remember. (As cliche as that sounds, I really mean it.)
But now, come and see what God has done.
Along with this and many more little things sprinkled in.
Our 2018 wasn’t easy. Full transparency, it might have just been the hardest journey I’ve walked through thus far.
I could choose to look back over my shoulder and only see the muck, but I’m choosing to see The God stories that triumph over it all.
May your memories of 2018 be the good ones, and may your 2019 hold the best that is yet to come.
photo credit: Wayne Farley
Facebook : www.facebook.com/TheWayneFarley + Creative Wayne
As a former teacher, Children’s minister, and now mom, I’m always looking for new fun things to do with Hensley that help her learn. That being said, I am excited to partner with Education.com to bring you this freebie! Hensley can’t quite read the words yet on this worksheet, but for now we can work on identifying objects. She’s not quite 2, but I am always surprised by what she knows and is able to learn.
Kids will be on point in reading skills with this fun word to picture match. The reading skills can continue at Education.com with more games and printables like this!
They have a variety of themes to choose from, including crawlies, a school themed template and seasonal themes (that will be perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks).
Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, or nannying some kiddos to pay the bills, if you’re looking for a fun way to entertain with something that isn’t just coloring or YouTube, Education.com has some great resources for you!
In a social media saturated society, combined with living in a warm beachy area AND it being the summer season, I have seen way more skin than I’ve ever cared to see.
I’m all for body positivity and being confident in who you are and how you were made. Focusing on who you are and not comparing. But hear me when I say this, it’s also very easy to see the difference between confidence, and attention seeking.
And we need to talk about it.
It’s an awkward conversation to have, no matter what age the friend is you’re trying to express this to. I’ve heard too many horrible things said when this topic gets brought up. Almost as if people are so unsure how to explain that it’s not exactly “right” they either tiptoe around to not offend, or aggressively slap people with the “your body is a temple” scripture.
So here’s how I’ll say it.
Your body is worth more than social media likes. YOU are worth more than social media likes.
What you catch people with, you have to keep them with. If you get attention just for your body, it’s uncommon that they’ll ever see your heart.
You are worth more than your social media presence.
You are called. You are worthy. You are loved. You are to be known by your true name, not your Instagram name.
I say this out of truth and love. From a place of experience. I’ve been on both sides.
It may not be the easiest thing to hear, but The Gospel was never meant to be the jelly on the toast, but rather the toaster itself. Seeing you how you are, transforming you to what you’re called to be.
Think before you post. Know that you have value and you are special. Know that you are worthy and you are beautiful. You are beautiful from the inside out, not the outside in.
I can speak for both of us when I say we don’t want our children to think living a life sold out to the Calling of The Messiah is easy, comfortable, or even sometimes understandable. When you are expectant that He is calling you to something more you obey. Obedience not often understood by a nonbeliever or one young in the faith journey. Sometimes obedience we don’t even understand, we just want to obey. We don’t proclaim to know everything but we do know that when you are obedient and give Him fertile soil to work, He can and will do more than you could ever fathom.
[He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number - Job 9:10]
Success, to us, does not look like following our flesh but following the Father.
The flesh craves easy, comfort, family connections, materials
But the Spirit craves The Father, and obedience, and remembering it’s His approval not mans.
Years ago when I moved to Franklin I wrote a blog post about how I put God in a box, and He then put me in Franklin.
By "putting God in a box" I mean I forgot how big, powerful, and sovereign He really is.
I told Him what He had prepared me for instead of really having an open mind to what He was preparing me for. I told Him what doors He should open.
I had limited my prayers to what I had wanted. I limited what God could do to what I wanted. I put God in a box.
I wrote then: “He has things in store for me that are far greater than anything I could ever fathom.”
And Oh did He.
Franklin made me a wife and a mom. And given me so many amazing friendships and hearts to love like family. Friends that make me want to be a better wife, a better mom, and a better person.
I believe Winnie The Pooh said it best when he said, “I get to where I’m going, by walking away from where I’ve been.”
You can’t be in two places at once, or I would find a way. I’m a believer in half obedience being full disobedience, and I don’t want to be Jonah sloshing around in the belly of a whale.
That being said, here are all the details of our next adventure in obedience:
Where are we headed: Brunswick, Ga to serve at First Baptist Church Brunswick. Britton will be the Contemporary Worship & Young Adults Pastor
When do we move: June 25th
Where will we be living: Currently we have been offered a temporary rental that is within our budget in the town next to Brunswick.
How far along are we in this pregnancy: 11 weeks as of Saturday, June 2nd.
When is the baby due: December 22, 2018
What impact does this have for our foster care journey: due to some strange (God ordained, as we see now) circumstances, we did not get very far in the process here in NC. When we get more permanently settled in Georgia, we will pick up where we left off and work to become licensed Foster Parents in Brunswick. Expecting another baby does not deter us from the calling to foster.
Will we be closer to family: we are actually moving further away from family, which is never an easy choice to make. We do know people in the area and the Church has been extremely welcoming and loving to our family already.
How can you help: We are always in need of prayer. We are also in need of help packing and cleaning to get ready to move and sell our home.
How you can pray for us:
Pray that our home in Franklin sells quickly, and we will walk away with some profit to be able to put towards a home in Brunswick.
Pray that we do find more permanent housing, sooner rather than later.
Pray for a healthy full term pregnancy and safe delivery. Pray against high blood pressure that created issues for us during our pregnancy with Hensley Jae.
Pray for our family as we transition to a new area, new home, new church, and new environment.
Pray that we will find the best medical care and perfect doctors for Hensley and myself. We have absolutely loved and had amazing health care providers here and we would love to be able to fill those shoes with new providers in Brunswick.
Pray for the ministries Britton will be leading. We are praying for leaders and fertile soil.
Pray that we would remember these are The Lord’s ministries and His people, and that we would be faithful with what He has entrusted us with.
We also don't believe in goodbyes, so just tell us you'll see us soon.
We'll see you soon,
I want to let you in on a little secret. Actually, all my discipleship secrets.
We have a passion for discipleship. You may not know that about us, and if you do, what you may not know is that we want a big bed and breakfast style home too.
We would fill it full young adult people who wanted to learn and glean more. From myself and my husband and Jesus.
Life skills. Discipleship. Mentoring.
There would be opportunities for intentional and unintentional discipleship. Because if you’re doing life together, both are bound to happen.
I believe you have to provide opportunities for both, because relationship comes before discipleship.
That is a dream we want to make a reality someday.
To disciple people who want to be disciples, and to help people reach their fullest potential in Christ.
To help people become more self aware, while becoming more God aware, allowing them to become more people aware. Becoming more “aware” in these areas allows for you to become less independent and more dependent on God.
Does that sound like something you need?
We have an open door policy but I can’t bring you into my home just yet. We’ve only got a few rooms, and they’re all full.
But if I could sit down and have coffee with you, here is what I would share:
Books and curriculum are great, but they can’t replace your Bible.
To me discipleship isn’t a book study, but books can definitely disciple people. Here are two of my absolute favorites that I highly recommend to people wanting growth.
Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl
This is definitely one of my absolute favorite books. This is actually the only thing I had when I got serious about growing in my relationship with Jesus and who I was as a disciple. I did not have someone to come along side me, but I had this.
And if you happen to be a mom too, this is another book I love!
Brave Mom Brave Kids
This book is amazing! It helps that I also know the author personally, but that isn't why I push this book. This book will help growth not just as a mom, or as a Christian but as a mom AND a Christian together.
Those books are gender specific, but the rest of what I’m about to say isn’t.
Discipleship is not making converts. I would explain it like this, discipleship is helping people in their sanctification process & teaching them how to disciple others. It's a cycle to be repeated.
"A disciple knows who Christ is and makes a decision to follow Him. A disciple is being changed by Christ. A disciple is committed to the mission of Christ."
This description of a disciple comes from my favorite resource for teaching about discipleship: Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual
I also believe it is important to become self aware and here are all the tools I use for that:
Personal Strengths Inventory : www.truity.com/view/tests/strengths-disc
Love Languages : www.5lovelanguages.com/
Spiritual Gifts & Personality Assessment : placeministries.wazala.com/products/place-assessment-tool/
All that being said, I don’t want to be a teacher, I want to be a developer when it comes to discipleship. I don’t want people to be reliant on me, but reliant on Jesus.
Just because I can't have you move on into my dream of a discipleship home doesn't mean you can't use these resources on your own, or with a friend, to grow.
Even if you aren't interested in the resources I have shared, here are some important questions I ask my people, that you can ask yourself:
I ask them often because there is always something new to learn, because you never fully arrive. These questions require you to think a little harder and think a little deeper. Think a little past the words on the pages of that book, or verses in that passage you are studying and think about what God is teaching you.
Now that we have shared our tools with you, we pray it promotes growth for you.
Now that we have also shared our secrets of passions and dreams, you can be in prayer for our family as we pursue what God is asking of us. (Or buy us a bed and breakfast style home so we can make our dreams a reality, either one ;) )