Thursday, August 22, 2013

For My Sister-Friends

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” C.S. Lewis

This circle of women has meant more to me than they know. These ladies are wise. Wise from life experience; Wise from and education standpoint; Wise in knowledge of scriptures; and Wise in knowing how to be a true friend! These ladies know the Lord and they know me. They have seen some of my absolute worst moments and have shared in some of my best times. They have helped me grow. We've spent countless nights laughing and talking together, and countless hours discussing scriptures and praying with each other. I have learned more from them than I think I even realized ... that is until yesterday.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

These ladies are all Christians. That means they each have decided at one point in their lives to follow Jesus. I have had the privilege to hear each of them share their experience of coming to know Him. I have gotten to know them and shared life with them for a while now. I have even known a couple of them since high school. Last night we went out to dinner at Vickery's on Shem Creek. We were celebrating Beth (second from the left) since she is about to move to Colorado. We got a chance to catch up. We talked about kids and school, moving and houses, new cars, new life adventures, and just about everything in between. I think the restaurant setting kept us from going until midnight like some of the Tuesday nights in the past! What a treasure they are! As I sat at that table, soaking it all in, it hit me. These women are not only true friends, they are my sisters.

 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. They sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. Job 2:11
I love them! You hear people say the phrase "brothers and sisters in Christ" at church a lot. You even read that in scriptures, but yesterday it came alive to me. I looked around the table listening to parents from all stages of children (a baby to a college senior and all ages in between) what great knowledge I've gained from these Godly parents. I saw wives committed to their husbands ... wow, what great advice I've gleaned from them. I saw girls that love Jesus and are committed to the scriptures; to reading, studying, and lifelong learning. I thought about missions and the girls at the table that I've had the chance to go out of the country with - man, what a growing experience that has been in my life! I thought about the intimate parts of my life I've shared with these ladies and they love me still. I thought about the things I've done wrong that they've called me out on and they love me still. I thought about the major life decisions I've had to make and how they were there for me in prayer and in person. Can I tell you? I truly believe that they would come and sit in a pile of ashes with me for days without speaking, like Job's friends, if I needed it.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.  Proverbs 27:9
The closeness and trust that I have with these ladies is something that I've only ever experienced with my personal, biological sisters. I can trust them and go to them if I really need to. I probably should trust and go to them a little more than I do (being too kept to myself is something I'm growing in and as we grow up we are quickly becoming closer, yay!). I felt this kind of trust and love with cousins and parents before too. I really did have an awesome growing up experience as far as value of family is concerned. The bottom line, though, is that this trust and love is something I've only ever experienced with family. Yesterday I realized that I've got that trust and comfort and love in these friends. They are like sister-friends to me and it's so sweet! I wouldn't be the woman I am today without them. I know I have a long way still to go, but I know I'm not alone. I'm thankful for all I've learned from and with them and what's to come. The Lord created something good when He allowed friendships to form ... Praise Him! 

I love you Jennifer, Beth, Liz, Kristen and Jessica!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I will spend Eternity with him

and I'm so excited! He's one of 8 children I had the pleasure of baptizing from our children's ministry last Sunday. We used Isle of Palms county park for a church wide fellowship and headed into the ocean. All together, 73 people joined the family of believers at our church across two campuses. It was the largest number of beach baptisms to date.

My heart is full ... my cup runneth over!

Why I Cried


What a question. Presumably, you want to know why I cried. Based on the title of this blog, but please be patient. My response will come ... I want to address that question. Why? Those three letters and one punctuation mark spark SO much thought an conversation in SO many areas of life. Why? It seems like no matter how much you think, say, explain, answer ... whatever ... there's still room for one more WHY?

I've been reading this book with my fellow church staff members, and it's really been good at focusing challenging me on asking the right questions. I've recently applied it to my children's ministry and really to my life. Asking the right questions has given me direction. Well, let me rephrase that, it's pointed me in a direction.That's good!

Some of the "Why?" questions I've been asking myself lately are these:
           Why do you do what you do?
           Why do you want to move?
           Why do you want a family?

There are a multitude of reasons I could tell you about why I'm in the profession I'm in ... read back a few years to this post and you can see the way it all went down. I love my job. Most of the time it doesn't even feel like a job. That's good! There are lots of reasons I want to move back to Mt. Pleasant from Summerville ... that's another post for another day ... but the bottom line is that it's working out. That's good! There are probably a bazillion reasons I want a family. Here again, the bottom line is that it's all going to work out. We have a plan in place and it's good!

All kinds of things in my life are going great right now and I'm still asking myself questions. Why? Because I heard a sermon a few weeks back about "Suffering Well." Watch it here. (it's worth the few extra minutes, I promise!) One of the things our pastor said was that we should prepare ourselves in the seasons of good to be ready when the seasons of bad arrive. Our amazingly sovereign God knows what's in store for me. I think that he's choosing to teach me to consistently ask myself pointed questions
           so that when trouble comes I am prepared ...
           so that I can ground myself amidst a tornado of crazy ...
           so that when trouble comes I won't roll my little snowball of a problem into oblivion ...
           so that when trouble comes I will be prepared to stop, breathe, and remind myself ...

There's always an answer to that tricky little pesky question       WHY

Thankful doesn't begin to describe how I feel about my God. He's always in control. It's hard to lean on him and need him (i mean really really need him) when things are going good. I am working on that and learning how sweet my relationship with Him is during seasons of good. I am not being a "Debby Downer" thinking that trouble is lurking around the next corner, but I am recognizing that He's teaching me a valuable lesson that I can only PRAY I'll remember in the future. Life isn't always perfect. That's reality, so I'm so thankful for a God that helps us through struggles AND prepares us for them in advance!

I bet you're still wondering why I cried? Read this - I know it's long but seriously read it. Every Christian teacher I know (ESPECIALLY MYSELF) thinks this during the middle of August! This lady must have read my private journals for the 6 years I prepared for a new class of kids. I cried because I still have a teacher's heart. I love teachers - the chance I had to be one, the ones that shaped me, the ones I worked with, and the ones I've known over the years. I cried because I still miss the classroom sometimes. I cried because I know that God's plan to move me into my position here at FBC involved my whole heart loving being a teacher first. I cried because I knew I was called to be a Teacher just as strongly as I know I'm called to be a Children's Minister. I cried because I am overwhelmed with the love my Lord has shown me in directing my life. I cried because I thought I had the best of the best when I was a teacher only to find out the next step God had planned for me was even better! I cried because I'm not sure where the road I'm on is going, but I am sure that I'm on the right road ... 

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, 
from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you 
with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
so that Christ may dwell in your hearths through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory 
in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 
forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

... that's good!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Block Party, Camps, & VBS ... Oh My!

Getting used to working during the summer has been, let's just say, a transition. Last year was my first summer ever to be working! (I don't count high school summer jobs, or the one summer I was a dishwasher at Denny's - yes, you read that right, and that's another story for another post one day - because those weren't 'real' jobs). I've been either in school or teaching school since I was 5 years old ... from 5K to the 6th year of teaching, that's a grand total of 23 years folks! Old habits die hard. Naturally, it is still taking a little "getting used to." Don't hear me complaining though, I love my job! Seriously, I love my job. I'm not just saying that as a nice thing to say. I honestly LOVE my job! Here are a few glimpses into what my "summer work" has looked like: (be warned - the cuteness factor is immeasurable!)

Neighborhood Block Party:

Camp Kid Jam:
Living Inside Out!

Vacation Bible School:
Turn It Up!