Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Story

I've started a creative journaling project with my Student Leadership team at youth group.  We are taking the 1st week to tell our story and then start writing about what leadership means to me ... i wanted to share on here the 1st part of "My Story". I wrote this on 3/10/11

As I sit on my couch on this rainy night, a blanket around my legs and Riley curled up next to me, I'm remembering how my story in Christ began.

I was raised in a Christian home but did not answer God's call in my life until I was 15.  It was summer and I was at a family Bible conference in Indiana. During the evening session, a tornado warning was sounded and several hundred of us were ushered into the basement to wait out the storm. It occurred to me that if the tornado did hit the building and I died that night, I would end up in Hell for all eternity. That realization was the start for me and about a week later I asked God into my heart and for the first time believed with faith that He had saved me. That my eternity would forever be with Him in Heaven.

Fast forward 19 years and here I am today. I never could have predicted how my life would end up.  If you had told me when I was 15 that in 19 years, I would be living by myself, with a dog, attending a large non-denominational church and working with teenagers, I would have asked you what drugs you were taking.

In my 15 year old mind, I would have imagined being 34, married to a perfect man (Derek Jeter perhaps), have 4 or 5 kids, a large house in a big city and been members of a small community church. None of which has come true. But I am more than okay with that because I see just how completely God is in control and how His plans are greater and more importantly, always correct.  I feel like if God had given my the life I dreamed of, I would not have been happy; I would have resented my kids, disagree with my husband and complain about it all to anyone who would listen. I'm very thankful God has had the control in my life and not me

Here is a picture of me in 1996 - I was 19. This was on a road trip to Tennessee. We stopped in Virginia for church. This is with my 2 best friends at the time; my brother Jon and our best friend Josh.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have always loved little kids. I started babysitting when I was 12; and with a few rare exceptions, I loved babysitting more than any other job I have had.  (there was this one girl that I'm convinced was possessed by a demon, but other than her ...).  I was given the gift of being "good" with kids. I'm good with babies, toddlers, elementary kids and surprisingly even teenagers.

When I was a teenager myself, I dreamed about getting married and having kids.  I thought for sure I would have 5 or 6 kids; my plan was to be a stay at home mom; that was my highest aspiration. Even when I was in college, I did not envision trying to get a degree that would provide me with a career that I would retire from.  I was mainly there to find something to "tide me over" until Mr Right came along and my life could "start". 

Obviously, God had a much different plan for my life.  I watched all my friends get married and start their families.  I made new friends and again, watched them get married and start their lives together.  Somewhere in that time frame, God had to teach me the very difficult lesson on contentment.  But thankfully, I learned that lesson and have never looked back from there.

These days, I am doing everything in my power to be the world's best auntie.  And not just to my biological nieces (and maybe one day nephews) but to many of my friends' children as well.  I love making those connections with them; there is something almost magical when they want to show me their toy or give me a hug.  When seeing my face makes them smile.

Over the holidays, I was able to spend time with all of my nieces.  We were all together for New Years.  It was great! We made sugar cookies, which we decorated, we played games, put puzzles together, colored, etc. 

Someone fairly new to our family told me that I should adopt 20 kids because I was so great with them.  She said I was so patient and good with them.

Her comments made me think a lot.  She was right; I was really patient with them.  There were times that it was nuts when we were all together, but I wasn't stressed out, I didn't get upset at them, I didn't ever have to "force" myself to be sweet to them or show kindness.  It was interesting to ponder, because I'm never that patient or sweet or kind.  It's not exactly in my nature. 

Recently, the message at youth group was on "love" and we read through I Corinthians 13 and all the attributes of love: patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It occurred to me that when I was with my nieces, all of these attributes about love came so naturally to me.  It wasn't even something I thought about or had to force myself to be; it was as easy as breathing.

Why was it so easy for me to show this love to my nieces? Why does love for my co-workers not come this easily?  Why does love for the high schoolers in my youth ministry not come this easily? (i do love them, but i don't always have the same level of patience or kindness with them)

Who would I be if I showed the same type of love to everyone that I show to my nieces?