Road Trip Retreat 2012

Ladies, if you’re a woman in ministry or a pastor’s wife, mark your calendars for November 12-14, 2013 and plan on joining me at the Leading and Loving It Retreat in Nashville! Last week I went to the Road Trip Retreat in OKC and it was a blast!!! Lauren, our worship leader’s wife went also and we laughed, we cried…. It moved me, Bob! :). Seriously, it was awesome to meet in person some ladies I’ve grown to love as very dear friends (that I met via L&LI virtual community groups and other social media). By the way, virtual community groups (VCGs) are kicking off next week and you should really join one :)))

Some highlights:
*The marriage team’s song!
*Meeting other women who share the same “lives” as I do as a woman in ministry
*Lori’s fun leadership, Brandi’s insight, Tiffany’s sincerity, Lisa’s laughs and Jessica’s heart!
*Movie preview…
*Barbecue
*Gifts, books, giveaways galore
*Time with my sweet friends
*and So. Much. More.

Here are some photos to see the fun we had. Now, make plans to join us in 2013!!!

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Be The One

With the start of another school year underway, I thought I’d repost this blog post from last year. Be. The. One.

Be The One.

 

Another school year is well underway for some of you, and starting this week or in the coming weeks for the rest of us.  Does this time of year muster up any emotion(s) in you as it does me?

Do you remember the nervous energy (that’s denial terms for AnXiEtY)?

I think the biggest transition for me personally, was from Elementary School – 6th grade to Jr. High – 7th Grade.  Our school district had 10 elementary schools and 2 Jr. Highs, so 5 elementary schools fed into each Jr. High.  That’s a lot of people, yo’!  And 7th grade… well that was just the worst, I don’t care who ya’ are.  That age/grade is just weird. Awkward. Gross.

No matter what clique ya’ did or didn’t belong to or how many friends ya’ did or didn’t have – everyone experiences some level of insecurity/anxiety in new situations.  Don’t let the trendy clothes or the nose piercings or the skateboard or the football jersey or the black t-shirt or the tough guy/girl attitude fool you.  Underneath we all have a desire to be liked (loved even) and included.  In fact, we each have a God-shaped hole in us that longs only He can fill, but that’s another blog.

One smile.  A hello.  An invitation to sit with.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to brighten someone’s day.  That’s all it could take to make someone feel special, included, valuable.  That’s all it may take to save someone’s life.

It’s not just at school.  Do you realize how much anxiety someone feels when they go to a church for the first time?  Do we realize people that regularly go to church often don’t feel loved, welcomed, included?  It’s a sad, but true, state of affairs that church can often be just as cliquey, if not worse, than the 7th grade.  We gather with our friends, chat it up, laugh, and make social plans all while another is alone – just longing for a hello.

Something’s gotta’ change.

Be the one.  Be the one to smile at someone in the hallway.  Be the one to sit with someone who is sitting alone.  Be the one who welcomes, invites, includes.  Be the onewith open eyes and a caring heart.

It could change your school. It could change your church. It could change someone’s life.

We may never know the significance of something so simple.  

Well, Hello There!

I can’t believe my last post was the HEARTBEAT Bill post!  Ay Ay Ay!!!  Well, if we’re friends on FaceBook, or follow each other on Twitter – I pretty much keep those updated.  (If we’re not friends of FB or Twitter pals, feel free to “friend”/follow me as as long as you’re not a creeper, I’ll “friend”/follow you back!!)

Soooooo, here’s a lil’ update on the past month or so:

Sept. 25th I ventured out with Valerie to drive 24 hours to Albuquerque, NM ~ her new ‘home.’  Let me tell ya’, me n God had a few chats about this one!!!  We had only met Val and Jesse last year around Christmas – but totally fell in love with them.  I was NOT happy with His plan of moving them away… *sad face*. But, His ways are NOT my ways… so instead of sulking in my self-pity, I helped her with the long drive (since Jesse had already been out there since August).  Plus, my aunt lives in ABQ, so it was a perfect fit – help with driving, visit my aunt, spend time in ABQ, FLY home :).   OH!  And did I get to mention, that my sweet Leading and Loving It friend, Steph, let us crash at her house at the 1/2 way point… near Tulsa, OK!  What fun it was to to hang out, talk ministry, laugh, meet her family that  I read about on her blog!  That part of the visit was TOO SHORT, but such a blessing!!

Anyhoo, I got back from that trip on Wednesday evening… and that weekend we had our 20th reunion… Whitmer Class of 1991… HOW DID WE GET SO OLD!?!  It was a blast seeing ‘old’ friends at the football game, Friday and at the reunion, Saturday.  T-W-E-N-T-Y years ago I graduated from high school.  CRAZINESS!

After the reunion weekend, I left Monday morning for 6th Grade camp at YMCA Storer Camps in Jackson,MI to be a cabin leader of 8 eleven-year-old girlies, including my Emma!  WHAT A HOOT!  We had the best time canoeing, horseback riding, rock wall climbing, snake petting, GPS adventuring, square-dancing and So.Much.More.  Funny thing is, I went to Camp Storer when I was in 6th grade (a few years ago…). It was such a blessing to get to go.

A few bullet points that may get their own blog posts in the near future, if I don’t wait SIX weeks to blog again:

  • I’m co-hosting a Leading and Loving It LOCAL Event tomorrow night for Pastor’s Wives & Women in Ministry.  It’s a Mix-n-Mingle Mocktail Party!!  Can’t wait!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
  • God has lead us to a fabulous company, Melaleuca.  We have loved the products for years and recently became “preferred customers”.   We are able to use and share about products that are amazing, safe for your home and family and get what we need delivered right to our door! Yippeeeee!!! We also have referred a few friends/family and are starting to build quite the business.  God’s timing is perfect.
  • Joey has to have another foot surgery.  We were discouraged at first as this news caught us off guard.  But, we are all thankful that he is able to get these corrections done and that we don’t have to deal with anything more serious.  We had just gone to the Matthew West concert a week ago, and Joey said to us at lunch after his Dr, appt, “Well, at least I’m not the little boy Matthew West wrote a Christmas Song about.”  True that, buddy!  However, Matthew West’s song about “Survivors” pretty much sums up our little man!
  • We’re going to Connecticut for Thanksgiving!! YIPPEEEE!!!  So excited to spend time with my BFF from high school and spend Thanksgiving with her family.  We’ll miss our family’s dinner, but looking forward to this adventure.  We hope to hit NYC during our visit too, which I’ve NEVER been!

Ok – that’s all (well, not really, but those are the highlights!)

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO??

Never Once

If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have noticed this week I posted with great excitement that we have given the BOOT to Joey’s boot.  All he has left is a few weeks of PT and he’s DONE with his feet ordeal.  As we left his appointment on Monday, I was caught off-guard with how emotional I was.  Just seeing the light at the end of this seven year tunnel, thinking on God’s faithfulness and the strength that He gave us to endure this long trial and how He worked it out in His perfect timing (new ortho doc in Findlay that specializes in feet).  Never once did we ever walk alone. He was always with us. Never once did God ever leave us on our own.

That’s my new favorite song by Matt Redman.  I can play this over and over and over – shouting in praise to our Faithful God – hands lifted so high I stretch my shoulders out of their sockets.

This song also stirs up emotions as I reflect on LifePoint‘s three years of existence. Even though at times it felt like more negative things were happening than positive – I can look back see how far we’ve come, knowing every victory is His power in us. There’s been scars and troubles… but God never once left us to walk alone or left us on our own.  He has been faithful.  He is faithful!

Finally, I can stand here on this mountaintop and see how God has healed/is healing from some deep hurts, some scars and struggles that pretty much knocked the wind out of us.  Battles that Satan tried to use to take us down… But, for every step God was with us and because of His power in us, we made it through. Now, with JOY our hearts can say:

Never once did we ever walk alone.

Never once did You leave us on our own.

YOU ARE FAITHFUL! GOD, YOU ARE FAITHFUL!

Enjoy this song by Matt Redman.  Close your eyes and raise up your hands in praise and shout YOU ARE FAITHFUL! GOD, YOU ARE FAITHFUL!!  PS – TURN IT UP!!

You! Follow Me!

How many times do we tell our children, “Worry about yourself”  or “I didn’t ask what so-and-so is or isn’t doing” or “You are responsible for you”  or “I didn’t ask so-and-so to do this, I asked YOU” and on and on???

God says the same thing to us, as believers, throughout scripture.  Most recently, as my mind was swirling, my pulse was quickening and emotions rising over what someone was or wasn’t doing, God brought to my mind this story from John 21:

Jesus had been dead, but is alive again, and He’s hanging out with the disciples – you know, doing all the things you would do after being dead and now alive… fishing, hanging out by the fire, grabbin’ a bite to eat.  It was all fun and games until the conversation turned to the future.  A grave future.  How Peter would die. Peter, in typical Peter fashion, didn’t camp there very long, ‘cuz if he had to suffer he wanted to know what everyone else was going to have to do to glorify God.

(Hear the children shouting, “It’s not fair!” and “What about so and so?” and “I cleaned up the dog poop yesterday!”)

Peter asks, “Lord—what about him?”

This is where warm-fuzzy Jesus becomes firm TRUTH (in LOVE)…  His reply, “What is that to you?” The Amplified Version adds in parentheses, “What concern is it of yours?”

What concern is it of yours?

He continues, “You follow me!”

See, Jesus didn’t tell us to worry about everyone else, what they’re doing or not doing, what they believe or don’t believe, what they participate in or don’t participate in.  Nope, His simple, yet firm command is just to FOLLOW HIM.  If they’re a believer, then they too have the Holy Spirit, and unless He chooses to use lead you to speak truth to someone, He probably has it all under control and doesn’t need our help :).  We can, though, bring those concerns to Him – which is where they belong anyways.  Or maybe, it bothers us so much because God’s trying to teach/show us something…  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that He wants me to worry about what He’s called me to be, do and believe.

Apparently I needed to be reminded of that – so maybe there’s someone else that needed that reminder too.

Mama Bear

You know that feeling when your child has been treated unkindly or unfairly by another child.  Mama Bear is awakened; ears perked,  claws pop out like a werewolf… one by one.  Make that an adult an you can add sharp, pointy teeth positioned with an attack stance.  Mama Bear on the lookout for her cubs – and you better stay clear.

That is one example of how I felt this week.  I literally prayed to Jesus, “Jesus, Mama Bear is angry, my claws have popped out and I need You to pop them back in place, one by one.  Help me, Lord!”

See, when someone messes with the Mama Bear’s cubs, it’s only natural that she retaliate.  That she attack.  That she protect her babies. She is doing the only thing she knows.  Both Mama Bear animals and Mama Bear ‘humans’ have the tendency to react the same way.  Again, it’s only natural. The difference between the Mama Bear animal, and the Mama Bear ‘human’, especially one that is a Christian, is that while it’s only natural to want react that way, in the flesh, we have the Holy Spirit living in us and we’re called to live by the Spirit. “Do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  Rom. 8:4.

I wish I could say that was my only battle with my flesh this past week… other battles include (but not limited to) being overly sensitive to a meaningless comment, being frustrated, being impatient, being critical, being anxious and worrisome… to name a few.  Being on the front lines of these flesh-battles have caused me to cry out to God for His help, His Spirit to give peace, His forgiveness for my pride, His work in my life. He has answered my prayer and is doing a work in me (notice I didn’t say has done… it’s a work in progress, ya’ll).  In Christ, I am FREE from sin (Rom. 8:4) and can put on the “mind-set of the Spirit (that) is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

I picture the bear that is full of the Spirit is a Teddy Bear :);  warm, soft, snuggly, ready to love on whoever comes near.  I want to be a Teddy Bear, filled with the fruit of His Spirit, not a Mama Bear living in the flesh – ready to tear at the flesh of another.  Help me, Jesus!

Romans 8

Not a Fan…

Sometimes, when you’re listening to someone talk about someone… someone well-known… do you formulate some opinion in your head as they’re speaking?  (Say SOME… ONE MORE TIME!)

Argh!  Well, I have.  In fact, recently, I was listening to someone sharing about hearing a well-known Christian speaker live and in my head I said to myself, “Not a fan.”  Point blank. Straight up. Nope, I’m not a fan of said person.

When did it become about being a fan or not?

It was like I heard God say to me in my Spirit, “Not a fan?  Really?”  (‘Cause He would use ‘really’ like we do in 2010.)

Someone else posts something about another well-known someone…  I think in my head, “I can’t STAND that guy!”  Again, really?

I hate, but appreciate, coming face to face with my own pride and wicked heart.  As a child of God, I have been exhorted to, “in humility, consider others better than” myself (Phil. 2:3).  My opinion of a person, well-known or not, is no reason to treat them unkindly ~ even if I never voiced that opinion.  This is a brother/sister in Christ.  I was one of those people in the Christian community tearing down another, just ‘cuz we don’t see eye to eye on some things. And that ain’t cool!

Ay!  Forgive me, Father, for my pride and wickedness.  Create in me a love for others, from You, and help me to annihilate my critical spirit.   Help my friends and readers to do the same.  In Jesus name, amen.