dear husband.

Dear Husband,

You are 30 years old today.

I remember when you were 20 years old. That’s when I met you. Back then you were really just a kid. I was too. I was only 18. You caught my eye then, but I never imagined who you would become.

I never imagined the way you would pursue me.
The way you would chase after God’s will for your life with a relentless drive.
I never imagined you would save every penny from your first real job to buy me a ring.
That you would buy that dang ring as soon as you could and propose almost two years before you knew we’d be married.
I never imagined you’d get down on one knee, in front of the entire ministry that we held so dear to our hearts and ask me to marry you.
I said yes.

I never knew that we would travel Europe, backpack through national parks, road trip across the country, and spend summers at Young Life camp.
I never knew that we would build a life in Lawrence.
That we would a buy a home and start to make it our own.
That we would adopt the world’s weirdest and most timid dog.
I never knew how many softball games you’d sit through.
That you would make me coffee every morning and hold me every night.
That we would say yes to a life of ministry, challenging each other daily to give our lives away.
You never lose sight of Jesus.
Thank you.

I never knew how many tears you’d see my cry,
but also, how many times you’d make me laugh.
I never knew the way you would fight for me to pursue my dreams.
You are my constant encourager and my biggest fan.
I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today without you.

I never knew the way you would be at my side, calming me through childbirth.
I didn’t let you leave my side the whole time—not that you wanted to.
That experience taught me that your voice is the loudest in my life.
Your voice is louder than the pain I feel on the hard days.
What you say, I believe.
I trust you.

I never knew the way you would weep when you saw our daughter, Lydia, for the first time.
The way you would dance with her
and play with her
and care for her.
I never knew the way our daughter would look at you.
You are such a good Daddy.
She thinks the world of you.
So do I.

But all those things have come to be, and
here
we
are.

You are 30 years old today, and I am so proud of who you are.

You are a man of integrity.
You are a man who fights your sin.
You are a man who sees the brokenness in the world and fights for justice.
You are wise, you seek knowledge, you seek truth.
You’ve gained the respect of many around you,
but no one respects you more than I do.

I see what no one else sees.
I see the way you hide away early in the morning and late at night to spend time with Jesus.
I admire that and often wish I had a faith like yours.
I see the way you prioritize Lydia and I, even when outside voices are the loudest.
You choose to drown them out to be still with us.
Thank you.

So here’s to the next 10, the next 30, or Lord willing the next 60 years.
Let’s lock arms and grow old together.
There’s no other man I’d choose to spend the rest of my life with.
Thanks for being my partner, my lover, and my best friend.

Let’s continue on this crazy ride as parents.
Let’s take on more house projects we regret.
Let’s keep chasing the next generation of college students, sharing Jesus with them, and caring for them regardless of their response.
Let’s keep serving in our church every Sunday we can.
Let’s keep fighting for our marriage to be first.
Let’s keep chasing Jesus and selling out for His kingdom.
Let’s keep giving away all that we receive,
and never forget that the best is yet to come.

Happy birthday, Kevin. I love you.

Your Wife

just wait.

I can’t tell you how many times in my motherhood journey I’ve heard the phrase “just wait.”

In pregnancy… just wait until you are further along! Just wait until childbirth. Just wait until the arrival. And then your life will change.

And as my husband and I would celebrate Lydia’s milestones as she got closer to mobility, such as rolling over or pulling her knees up, again we’d hear from so many parents who have gone before us, just wait until she’s mobile. And then your life will change. 

To be completely honest, I’ve gotten so tired of hearing the phrase just wait from both friends and strangers, that I’m now trying to take that phrase out of my vocabulary as I talk with other friends who are pregnant or new mommas.

Is there not always something next? Having two kids together? The terrible toddler years? The teenager years? Just wait.

I truly doubt
the phrase just wait
will ever end
and
I’ll get to the day
where I wonder what
I’ve been waiting for.

 

L E N S . M A T T E R S .

Social media gets a lot of criticism. People claim that it’s a pit for comparison where people only share the “highlights” of their life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pretend like I haven’t scrolled through Instagram stuck in that very same comparison pit. But one thing I’ve wondered: is putting your highlights on social media all that bad? What I’m getting at here is, in an effort to share the joys of my life in a creative expression on social media, I am making a conscious effort to focus on the positives in my life. Yes, it may have been a stressful day, but my baby’s smile made me laugh, and that’s what I would like to choose to celebrate and choose to focus on.

Lens matters. What lens do we view our life? Do we focus on the positives, or the negatives?

It seems that when it comes to having a mobile baby, most people focus on the negatives.

It’s impossible to get anything done.
You’ll have no time to yourself.
You can’t take your eye off her.

What about all the positives?

My daughter is exploring the world!
She’s laughing and learning!
She’s growing and getting stronger!
It’s fun!

My charge is this: As we go through life transitions, and listen to other people’s reactions to them, let’s put their perspectives into perspective.

See, it’s not just having a mobile baby. Countless told me that marriage would be hard. After all, its famous nickname is the ball and chain! Well, I’m almost six years in and I’m still trying to figure out when I’m going to discover the “hard” that everyone talked about.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage can be messy, and our relationship takes work. Just like in parenthood, there are times when Lydia’s mobility has been inconvenient. I have to be more flexible in my days and willing to ask others for help to make sure the work gets done. But the joy of marriage and the joy of motherhood far outweighs any of the bad. In fact, I can’t even compare the two.

“Rejoice in the Lord always… do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)

The joy, hope, and peace that comes from a life in Christ Jesus, because of His life, death, and resurrection, transcends all understanding. That’s what I choose to focus on.

 

F I L T E R . O U T .

As Philippians 4:8 tells us, let us think about the things excellent and praiseworthy. Just as we change the filter on our photos to bring in better lighting, let us filter out the negative thoughts and voices that fill our mind, and choose to focus on the positives.

The more we focus on the positives,
the more,
over time,
we will experience
the peace
of God
and
more importantly
the God
of peace.

I’m not saying to be ingenuine or display an unrealistic life. We must own every emotion that we feel, positive or negative, and work through and process those. But I am saying that it’s OK to celebrate the highlights and to place your focus on the positives. You may just find yourself loving your life more, finding peace, and experiencing the very One who enables it all.

Ask yourself, what lens do I view this transition or circumstance in my life? A life-altering challenge for the worse, or an exciting adventure?

Don’t just wait for the circumstances to change, better or worse. Embrace the today you are living, and understand that the present is a gift, even in the mess.

.

As soon as Lydia learned to crawl, she started pulling up. Her upward mobility reminds me to see mobility, as well as many other changes in life, with the positive lens.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

make me new.

There is something in us all that loves the idea of a New Year. Perhaps it’s because God is in the business of making things new. The New Year is an opportunity for us to turn the page, set goals, and dream dreams of what could be.

This New Year’s Eve was very nostalgic for me for several reasons. Mostly because I thought a lot about where I was exactly a year ago and how different life is now. I was halfway through my pregnancy and, by way of a New Year’s Eve, all-out gender reveal, we found out that we were having a girl and named her Lydia Evelyn.

This year, I spent New Year’s Eve at Young Life Camp with my 7-month-old, beautiful, healthy, mobile and joyful baby, Lydia Evelyn.

Not only was 2018 about realizing and living into a call of motherhood, but for those who have followed my journey, you know that it was also a year of me taking a leap of faith and pursing a call into full-time ministry. After a long ten months of trusting God in 2018 with no idea where obedience would lead, being unsure if this path would equate to an actual job, the Lord provided a position within Young Life working part-time from home as the Young Life College Midwest Divisional Admin. It seemed only fitting, then, that I spent New Year’s Eve literally living out this calling, working as a Camp Director for a student weekend at Young Life’s Clearwater Cove while having a baby in arms through it all!

 

L I S T E N .

I struggle to sit still. As an achiever, I thrive on busyness and completing tasks. Even “rest” for me involves listening to a podcast while folding laundry. And, might I add, having a mobile baby and a new job doesn’t make finding time to rest any easier! So, I’ve been finding ways to trick myself into sitting still. (Whatever works, right?) My latest trick has been painting my nails. After you paint your nails, what do you do? You have to sit still to let your nails dry. If you try to do anything too quickly after, they chip. So, I packed my nail polish to camp. And, during one of Lydia’s naps, I painted my nails to keep me from doing anything else, from touching my phone, or computer, or even my pen. I pulled up a chair by the window, overlooking the lake, letting my nails dry, and just sat still.

I thought a lot about the New Year. I thought a lot about 2018 and wondered where I would be a year from now. What excites me about 2019 actually isn’t change. (Without a doubt, 2018 was about change!) But 2019 will get to be a year where I grow and settle into my new job while also watching my beautiful daughter grow. Yes, I hope to reach some milestones, specifically in finishing my master’s degree in May. But, Lord willing, I like to think that I have an idea of what 2019 holds. (Maybe I’ll look back at this statement a year from now and laugh, but here’s where I’m at now!)

So, as I sat down and asked the Lord for a word or phrase or vision for 2019, the word that came out of nowhere that He placed on my heart was the word: support.

 

L I V E .

As I prayed into this word “support” more, sitting still and overlooking the lake, I felt the peace of God. In 2018, I relied on others for an immense amount of support. Multiple baby showers and help through the last half of pregnancy, preparing for a baby, and not to mention child birth and recovery! I let others serve me and accepted numerous meals and gifts. My husband Kevin was my chief encourager, reminding me to trust God in pursuing full-time ministry, even when I doubted. Regularly, he encouraged me to finish my master’s degree, reminding me that it will be worth it, and meanwhile serving me relentlessly so that I could do so. Kevin has truly laid down his life for me this past year, as God calls all husbands to do in Ephesians 5:25, supporting me through pregnancy, postpartum, and job transitions.

And now, feeling like I have settled into a routine, a new lifestyle, and a new calling, with joy I get to recognize that it’s my time to give back and to support those around me.

Supporting Lydia will take much more of my attention now that she’s mobile. Productive hours have dwindled down to when she’s asleep or with a babysitter, and you know what, that’s OK. I have the privilege of letting go of expectations and enjoying her for the few hours of awake time I get with her each day, knowing that the work will always get done.

Another dream for 2019 is being able to support my husband more this year. He also has dreams of graduate school through seminary, and I want to be able to offer him the same support that he has offered me through these last few years. I want to help him to have the space that he needs to work, read, study, and do the things that give him life. Such is marriage, I know that there will be seasons where one of us has greater needs. I am determined in, as much as I can control, to make this year the one where I get to serve and support him.

And last but not least, I want to support my ministry, my friends, and extended family. I want to love people well. But like, really well. I want to celebrate people’s birthdays and accomplishments and milestones with a party. I want to be generous in hospitality. I want to serve without reservations. I want to attack the bitterness in my mind and be the first to see that it’s a “me-issue” and love even those that are hard to love.

In writing and reflecting, I am brought back to one of my favorite passages in Scripture:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)

May I let the love of Christ control me as I strive to pursue what it means to support others in my life. Just as He, who lived a perfect and holy life, died for me, may I no longer live for myself, but live for Him who created me, saved me, and sustains me.

And again,
in 2019
Lord God,
I need your help.
Make me new.

 

“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelations 21:5)

six months.

As Lydia turns six months old, I have been reflecting on a few things I’ve learned over this past half-year about myself in light of who God is. Here are six things in honor of celebrating six months of Lydia’s life.

O N E .

He still wants all of my heart.

It’s truly hard to put into words how I feel about my daughter. The best way I can think to explain it must start with the reminder that she was once a literal part of me. I was pregnant with Lydia for nine months. I felt her grow inside of me. The same way that I feel a oneness with the Spirit of God who lives inside of me, I felt one with Lydia. I felt her move and felt connected emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to her. As we spent that time bonding while she was in my womb, she truly felt like a part of me, and that feeling didn’t go away when she was born. She was set on my chest after birth and it still felt like she was a part of me. Even now, when I nurse her or she lays on my skin, I sense that same connection. So naturally, it’s not easy to be away from her. When I’m away from her, it feels like a part of me is missing.

And now I see why some mommas wait years before having their first night away from their babies. It doesn’t feel natural to do so. With all that being said, this past month I had a few overnight opportunities away from the home that brought upon a decision. Do I limit my capacity in these once-in-a-lifetime activities, or spend nights away from Lydia? (One was the wedding of a close friend that included a few overnights with the bridal party, and the other was a conference in Seattle.) As I prayed about a decision to bring Lydia with me or to let a trusted family member care for her, the Lord reminded me that He wants all of my heart. Choosing to leave Lydia in someone else’s care isn’t not loving her. It’s actually letting go of control and trusting that her life is safe in God’s hand. It also for me was a simple act to remind myself that while I love Lydia very deeply, my heart belongs to God.

T W O .

He’s still calling me outside the home.

Picking right back up with where I left off from point one, I’ve learned that He’s still calling me outside of the home and into the lives of others. While I spend most days at home with Lydia and her daily care is my greatest priority, the Lord hasn’t stopped my calling to love my neighbors, to love those in my community, and to reach out to the broken hearted. While my primary ministry is within my home to my husband and to my daughter, in this season, He has only increased my fire and calling to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus. I’ve loved filling my weeks meeting with students, having friends over for dinner, and creating a rhythm of life around our Young Life College ministry. For more on this, read my past post Family on Mission. At the end of the day, I’m learning to walk in obedience to where God is calling me both inside and outside of the home.

T H R E E .

He will follow through with His promises.

A year ago, I was three months pregnant and I was beginning to plan for life after Lydia’s birth. In praying, the Lord gave me peace about a few things. He gave me peace to pray boldly for a paid job in ministry. But He also gave me peace in this sense to stop trying to figure it out now, because there was something that He wanted to show me first on the other side of Lydia being born. So, for the next 9 months, I didn’t try to figure it out. I just waited. I tried to be present and faithful where He was calling me. I finished what was my current full-time job. I was present with Lydia during maternity time. I served my husband in his job. I served my local Young Life area as a volunteer, pursuing a calling over a job title. If you’ve been following my blog, I wrote about this in my entry, Promotions.

Yet over the past few months I started to doubt His promise. I questioned if He was going to follow through with the promise He’d given me – that He would provide a job – that He would show me what’s next. I constantly asked: How am I going to help provide financially for my family while maintaining my ministry here in Lawrence? We had a few months of high financial output and low input as a family. I knew that this wasn’t sustainable long-term and that ultimately, I would need to find work that paid. But I also knew that God wasn’t calling me away from the mission of Young Life College and helping reach lost students with the Gospel of Jesus. I doubted wondering, how is this all going to work together?

Out of a few weeks of doubt, I decided to pick up some softball lessons on the side to make some money but to keep walking forward in faith. Within a few weeks, Bill Reazer, our Young Life College Midwest Divisional Coordinator, reached out to me with a job opportunity. Part-time, paid work that I could do from home. I would serve YL College throughout the Midwest in a communications and administrative role, which fully aligns with my giftings. I can balance it alongside the ministry I’m doing with students at KU and being home with Lydia. As I write this, I’ve fully stepped into this role, and it still feels surreal. One year later, I am in awe of God’s faithfulness. I am actually in shock that He’s answered such a specific prayer.

It’s safe to say that I doubted His voice. I thought to myself – maybe I made that up, maybe that wasn’t really God speaking. Yet I was able to confess and crush those doubts and continue walking in faith with the help of my husband and my community. And now I get the great privilege of saying: Look what God did! He followed through with His promise to me!

F O U R .

He is in control.

And thank God He is! When I take a step back and look at my life, it’s nothing the way I thought it would be five years ago, but at the same time, better than I could have ever imagined it. I never thought that I would settle down in Lawrence and work part-time from home so I could live a life of full-time ministry. I also don’t think I could have ever imagined a more perfect, beautiful, and happy little baby that I get to call my daughter. One thing that I’ve been wrestling with, in the midst of my blessings, is why in this season I am so blessed while I see many of my friends suffering. I see friends processing through child loss or infertility. I see friends who have lost a loved one. I see friends struggle with depression, anxiety, and abuse. Yet I know that suffering is not unique to them. We will all go through suffering—the question is when.

And that is why our ultimate hope must stand on the One who never changes. The One who gives us a reason for our suffering. The One who says – you think I don’t use suffering for good? Just look at what I did on the Cross. Trusting that the ultimate goal in this life isn’t to avoid suffering, it’s to glorify Jesus. And honestly, we have more opportunities to fulfil our greatest calling to glorify God and grow in our relationship with Him when we are suffering. So, when I hit that season, because it will come, may I remember in the valley what the Lord has been teaching me on the mountain.

For more on this, see my previous post Life & Death.

F I V E .

He is a perfect Father.

As a parent, I will fail. I won’t be perfect. I will sin against Lydia. I will take her for granted. I will not love her and give her my full attention in some of the moments that she needs it. I will try, but I will fail. In my imperfections, may the perfection of my heavenly Father be that much louder.

And thank you God that you are a perfect and Holy Father not just to me, but to my daughter as well. I remind myself constantly that she needs You more than she needs me. And You are perfect for her. Thank you.

S I X .

He’s doing more than I can see.

I can’t see what life will be like a few weeks from now, let alone a few years from now. What He’s calling me to now is daily faithfulness.

Spend time in His Word.
Be present with my family.
Manage the home.
Finish my master’s degree.
Serve the mission of Young Life.
Love those around me.
Keep showing up in peoples’ lives.

What I don’t see is how He will use all of this daily faithfulness in the future. But after ten years of my best attempt at day-to-day faith, I get to look back and see that He has truly done immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, according to His work within me, and for His glory. He has been faithful to fulfil His promises, even if they didn’t turn out how I imagined or in the time I wanted them too. And even now, He’s doing more than I can see. He’s taking daily faithfulness and multiplying my efforts for His Kingdom Come. And it truly is joy, peace, and life.

rest assured.

Sleep. The most talked about baby subject. There are the most books, the most resources, and the most conversations all surrounding your baby’s sleep. The first question that other parents often ask me is, how is she sleeping?

What makes something so basic, like sleep, so complicated?

Sleep. Let’s think about this critically for just a moment.
God created us to need sleep,
therefore God created us with limits,
which means God created us to rest.

 

F I G H T I N G . R E S T.

About a month ago, we were knee-deep into the 4-month sleep regression with Lydia when we realized that our lives just hit a major transition. She went from being a newborn who could sleep whenever and wherever, to a baby who fights sleep.

After several nights in a row of her turning to a different baby at about the seven o’clock hour – from her smiley, giggling self to complete melt down – we realized that nothing was wrong other than she was simply tired. But she wouldn’t just go to sleep like she had in the past. We had to spend a significant amount of time soothing her and helping her fall asleep.

Out of that season has come an established a sleep time routine for 2-3 naps a day and a bedtime at 7pm. We put her in her sleep sack, turn on the sound machine, rock her, and hum How Great the Father’s Love for Us. Within moments she calms down and often I will hear a soft sigh of giving up and see her eyes roll back and her heavy lids start to close. I keep rocking her until her eyes are closed and then set her down in her crib to rest.

Lydia needs my help going to sleep. As we approach the six-month mark, when babies are considered old enough to self-sooth, we will embark on this idea of “sleep training” which can take on various forms. I find it so interesting that something so simple, something so basic, we need to be trained in and assisted with, but I’m sure more to come on this in future writings.

But for now, I’ll do what I always do with this blog. Take the normal circumstances of everyday motherhood and let God reveal Himself to me and teach me through them.

 

C R E A T E D . F O R . R E S T.

If you are familiar with the creation story in Genesis, God created the world in six days and on the seventh day, He rested from His work (Genesis 2:2).

When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He declared that one day a week should be held as the Sabbath. This day should be kept as a holy day of rest and Israel should remember when the Lord brought them out of slavery and set them free (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

God created us to rest.

While I don’t know all the answers, I believe that one of the reasons God created us with limits is to remind us that we are dependent on God for all our needs. Just like He called Israel to rest for the sake of remembering, our rest should remind us that we cannot depend on ourselves, but on God alone.

He created us to need Him, therefore He created us to rest.

 

C H O O S I N G . R E S T .

So what does rest, as an adult, look like? Yes, it is sleep in a sense, but I think at a certain age, it becomes more.

Cycles of rest should be a regular part of our day, our week, and our year. It can be as simple as returning to the Lord in the morning for prayer before we start our day, attending church on Sundays and having a day devoted to not working, or taking vacations or retreats a few times a year for rest. It should be a time when we get rid of expectations and commitments and turn our eyes on the Lord. To do the things that stir our affections for Him, whether that be a community, a hobby, or silence. We must prioritize rest. We must figure out what rest looks like for us and practice it, or we will risk burnout, exhaustion, or worse.

I am a lot like Lydia. I fight rest. As an achiever, I am always thinking of the next thing that needs to get done, the next person I need to see, and what’s coming the next day. I need God’s help to remind myself to stop. To hide my phone in the other room. To sip my coffee slow and appreciate the little moments of each day. To set appropriate boundaries and block off whole days or evenings to spend time with family and without the expectation of feeling the need to get anything done.

And I know that this is not uniquely me. In my community group last week, we talked about the idea of rest, and every person in the room admitted… we don’t know how to rest. We don’t know what it looks like to “honor the Sabbath” in our twenty-first century, American lives with smart phones and deadlines and constant demands surrounding us.

Somehow we fight
the very thing
we were created for.

Just because God created us for something, doesn’t make it easy. He created us to follow Him and be in a relationship with Him, yet we all know that following Him in the midst of the world’s temptations isn’t a walk in the park. Just like Lydia needs my help with her sleep, God wants us to ask Him for His help. He wants to help us follow Him. He wants to help us rest and be our rest. He wants us, through Him alone, to experience freedom.

When we choose to do what God ultimately created us to do, we feel peace, we feel fulfillment, and we feel freedom.

So by choosing rest, you’re choosing obedience.
By choosing rest, you’re choosing Jesus.
By choosing rest, you’re choosing freedom, rest assured.

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

 

choices.

When I was pregnant, I wondered who Lydia would be. Now when I think of my little girl, I imagine her bright blue eyes and shy smile. I realize all-the-same that I love her so deeply not because of what she’s done, but because of who she is. She’s my daughter.

Many days I look at Lydia and think about what it means to be a child of God. Now that I am a parent, I think about what it’s like for God to be like our Father. I wonder how He must love running to comfort us or hold us when we are upset, and how He must love meeting every one of our needs!

Lydia is growing, and at almost three-and-a-half months old, she seems to be hitting new milestones every few days. From rolling over to laughing to reaching for toys, I am in awe of this little one. As she’s becoming interested in what’s around her and gaining head control, I’ve noticed that she’s started turning outward while I hold her so that she can face the world. Lydia is learning that she has the choice and the control over where she looks and where she moves.

As Lydia has gotten older, she often prefers to look out at the world. Yet there are certain moments in the day, especially if she’s tired or not feeling well, when she will choose to curl up and bury her face into my chest. My entire heart melts as I embrace her, rock her, and hold her close. As a newborn, that’s all she really knew how to do. But now, there is something even sweeter about her choosing to turn in to me when I know that she has the choice to turn away.

And with this I’m learning how much God must love it when we choose Him in our day-to-day moments.

We have the ability and the freedom, not just to turn away, but to walk away.
Yet when we choose
to turn in
to rest in the arms of our Father,
He delights in us.

 

L O V E . I S .

We all have choices to make. God loves us so deeply that He gives us a choice to love Him back, yet He is longing for us to choose Him. And it’s not just the one time we accept Jesus as Lord that we choose to follow Him. It’s all the little moments that we turn into His arms, every day, that He loves.

Often in marriage, I have found that love is not simply a feeling, but more-so a choice. After nine years with my husband, five of those married, some days choosing to love would not be the most convenient, natural, or the easiest option.

Yet I choose him.
I choose to trust him even when it’s easier to be angry.
I choose to ask for his forgiveness even when it’s easier to be defensive.
I choose to listen to him even when I have other things I could be doing.
I choose to love him even when I have momentary doubts or fears.

Often in my relationship with God, I have found that love is not simply a feeling, but more-so a choice. Even after ten years of following the Lord, some days choosing to trust Him would not be the most convenient, natural, or the easiest option.

Yet I choose Him.
I choose to trust Him even when it’s easier to be angry.
I choose to ask for His forgiveness even when it’s easier to be defensive.
I choose to listen to Him even when I have other things I could be doing.
I choose to love Him even when I have momentary doubts or fears.

 

B E L O V E D .

God chose us. He chose to send His Son to die on a Cross as the penalty for our sins, so that we could justly receive the forgiveness of our sins and be placed in right standing with God. Because of His choice, we now have the privilege of experiencing fullness of life in a personal relationship with Him.

And
in case you’re doubting today,
God chose you
and
you are never too far gone
to choose
to run back
into the arms of Your Father.

Just as Kevin and I love Lydia not because of what she’s done, but because of who she is, God loves you not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are. We are His beloved children, and He is longing for us to choose Him.

 

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him… ‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’” (Luke 15:11-24)

family on mission.

It’s 7:45 on a Tuesday morning. My three-month old sleeps next to me quietly in her portable bassinet next to the dining room table. She’s been awake long enough to already earn her first nap of the day. My husband left the house early to meet with a student for morning coffee. Even our dog is sleeping on his bed in our living room. The house is quiet and the only sounds are the clock ticking and the occasional car driving by.

In this place I am able to sit down and write. It’s been too long since I’ve done this.

Much has happened since my last blog post announcing my move into full-time ministry. We had a house full of guests for about six weeks straight – no wonder I’m enjoying the quiet! Family came in multiple waves to spend time with our little one and we opened up our home to friends who needed a temporary place to stay. Not to mention we took an end-of-the-summer vacation and a sometimes-regretfully, do-it-ourselves bathroom remodel. I finished a grad school class and we have been working hard to prepare for another school year of college ministry.

The summer has ended and time is flying by. Lydia is changing every day and discovering the world around her. It’s this week, as the new school year starts and Lydia has gone from newborn to infant by definition, that I am overwhelmed by the joy of being a family on mission together.

 

M I S S I O N A R Y . F A M I L Y .

Kevin and I are perhaps unique in that we share the same calling as husband and wife: to reach college students at the University of Kansas and help them grow in their faith. The calling we have is as strong as if we were missionaries sent abroad, except our mission field is in our own backyard and in my own hometown.

When we dreamed of having a family years ago, our goal was that our life wouldn’t stop when we had kids. Instead, whatever God was calling us to do in that season, our children would join us in that calling. They would become a part of our ministry team rather than hindering us from pursuing it.

And so, on the very day that we drove home from the hospital after Lydia’s birth, we took the scenic route home. From north Lawrence to our home on the south side, we cut right through the center of town so we could show our 4-day-old the place where our family is called to do ministry.

We showed her the University of Kansas campus, our mission field.

As we drove around Memorial Stadium and up the hill to Jayhawk Boulevard, we prayed for Lydia and for our family’s mission. We prayed that God would use Lydia to reach college students at the University of Kansas with the good news of Jesus.

 

O N E . D A Y . A T . A . T I M E .

And while our calling hasn’t, our everyday life has indeed changed with this little one. I know that there will be days when I need to choose her over student ministry. I may leave our meetings early so I can put her to sleep, step away so I can feed her or meet her needs, or say no to something good so that we can maintain healthy boundaries and prioritize time as a family.

Someone asked me how I was feeling about the year of ministry with Lydia, and I responded with my plan: take it one day at a time. She’s changing so quickly and it’s impossible to predict what her needs will be a few days from now, let alone weeks or months! We’ll take two cars places for a while. She may end up joining us at Young Life Club all semester, or we may end up getting a babysitter by the end of it. But for now, I am loving having her come with us to meet new students. In fact, she draws them in and gives us the best conversation starter. She enjoys the countless people that love on her and want to hold her and make her smile.

Here’s to the start of another school-year of ministry, transitioning from a family of two to a family of three.

One day at a time, this is my constant prayer:

As a family, may we go where the Lord sends us.
As a family, may we pray for those the Lord brings us.
As a family, may we serve where the Lord calls us.
As a family, may we love as the Lord loves us.

 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)