Welcoming in 2015

I shared a couple days ago about my one word for 2015. While mulling over exactly how rediscovering myself should look a couple things came to mind. The first was a song. A song I know I’ve shared here before. The lyrics of this song were once again brought to my attention on the 28th:

"The Real Me" by Natalie Grant. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bRGfId9quY

“The Real Me” by Natalie Grant. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bRGfId9quY

Even though this song was written to help the artist with a very real struggle with bulimia, I believe that so many of us can relate to the struggle of just wanting to find ourselves outside of our circumstance. That’s the beauty of music, the words can impact so many people in different ways.

Along with this song, there was something else that came into my mind. Scripture. One I’d become very much  familiar with several years back. In fact, it’s been the focus of several books I’ve read over the last several years. However, this time, it’s come to life so much more.

Prov31.25

These two tools, combined with the focus of rediscovering what self means to me, are sure to help. A few other steps I’m planning to take on this journey:

  • Set a consistent time to wake up each morning
    • enough time for breakfast and quiet time
  • Discover a way to become more active and stick to it
  • Write consistently. Either here or in a journal I received for Christmas
  • Read books. All the way to the end.
  • Take time monthly (more frequently if needed) and do something to refresh myself
  • Crochet again
  • Make girl time a must

Do you have any goals for this year? Any hopes and dreams that are beginning to take shape?

New name, Same concept

A few years back, my husband and I began attending a new church. The first Easter we celebrated with our new body of believers, I heard Easter Sunday called by a different name.

Resurrection Sunday

The first year, I found it odd. Of course, I understood why it was referred to that way. I just wasn’t sure about it. After all, Easter Sunday has always been called Easter Sunday. However, the more I reflect on it, the more I am beginning to prefer the new term.

Resurrection Sunday explains why we celebrate this day so much more than Easter Sunday ever could. For me, Easter means nothing more than a bunny and a bunch of candy if it isn’t connected to the miracle of His resurrection.

The death of Christ would have been just like any other death had it not been for one last step. One that no other prophet, teacher, or religious leader has accomplished. None other died a death for His fallen people after living a blameless life. To take it further, none other have returned after 3 days to prove that He holds the power over sin, Hell, and death.

For those of us who have chosen to believe in the very statements written in the  paragraph above, maybe it’s time we revamp our concept of Easter Sunday. This doesn’t mean we have to abandon all the fun and games associated with the day, but perhaps, we book end our celebrations by focusing on, remembering, and celebrating the reason we have the freedom to do so.

It may mean changing our perspectives, our priorities, our activities. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we avoid it all together. It may simply mean we make small changes to the fun and games. We replace some of the items in our baskets with faith-building fun. We place bible verses in the eggs we use for the hunt. We re-purpose the fun traditions to include the facts and history of why this day is so important to us.

In doing so, may we build families that look forward to “Easter Sunday” not for the fun and candy but because of the death and resurrection of Christ.

The song below has very significant meaning to me. It brings back amazing memories from my adolescence. I can not even count the number of times I walked into the apartment only to hear this song blazing, proclaiming this truth.

This song not only encompasses the events that happen from Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday, but I believe this is the same message the Father above is calling us to…

Will you accept the call? Will you arise in this new life?

I plan to. I sure hope you will join me.

Into Marvelous Light

Has it really been a month since my last post? *goes back and rechecks the date* It sure has.

With many tugs, I find myself back here. To write. To love. To share.

Many times in the past week I have sat down to write. I sit and try to type, but find my heart distracted. Unsure where to start. There was simply too much distracting me.

First off, props to those fellow moms. The ones with kids and still can find the time to consistently write. I pray for that to happen, but haven’t found the groove yet.

Secondly. The distractions. All of them. From financial issues, to medical issues, to work and looking for possibly a different work path, to marriage, to my quiet time, to every other thing that is on my plate and is slipping my mind. I can’t seem to get away from them. A much as I try, they haunt me.

Third, the launch. The launch of Impact Community Church. After much planning, praying, prepping, we hit the ground running today.

I’m convinced the third thing in the list is the reason for most of the things in the second. In fact, I can almost guarantee it. As we have an enemy who loves to strike right when we’re on the verge of something big for God. Something that is right in line with His plan.

The last 7-10 days have been absolutely crazy. First my body starts acting strange, after some conversations and research I know what’s going on. Then to discover little man needs a CT scan to see if he needs to have surgery before getting a helmet as his head still has quite the flat spot. The news from a loved one that includes further treatments in hopes of preventing things from getting worse. All of this on top of prolonged financial issues has put quite the strain on us as of late.

BUT we have a God who is bigger. A God who is stronger. A God who will prevail.

My hopes are to get back to this consistently soon, but I simply cannot make those promises. Not between appointments which should be set up soon, to all the possibilities that would bring. The emotions linked with every single thing going on are already running high. Honestly, they have been for quite some time.

So my request is simply this, that if you think of us, whenever you do, you simply say a short prayer. Even if all that comes to mind is “God help them” or something along those lines. It would be greatly appreciated.

Off Kilter

around here lately, there has been SO much going on. too much some days.

Between a schedule change at work (finally), keeping up with a wee one, finding time to be a couple, being involved in a church plant (launch is SOOO close), finding ways to keep connected to friends, horribly failing to keep the apartment clean, and on and on, lets just say making time for the things I loved doing before all this (and still love and miss terribly) has been near impossible.

So here this place sits. Without a post. For days, weeks, sometimes months on end. Sadly. Lonely. Unfortunately. I so love sharing this space with all of you.

With this time of transition things have just been off. Like I’m kinda floating in space watching everything go on around me, and it’s all going so quickly. Some days I feel like I’m in a fog, that it’s all a dream.

I love being a mommy. Although, I don’t feel like it has come as naturally as I was hoping, it is a job I know I am privileged to be able to claim. The challenges that come with it have been more than I could imagine. Then again, so has all the laughter and the smiles.

Being a good friend has been set on the back burner, I feel. I am not quite as readily available for my friends as I once was. It’s not something I like, but it is something that I have learned to adapt to. Once I do have the time, I often lack the brain power to sustain meaningful, deepreal conversations.

A wife. That is another facet of who I am. Another area that, while it comes naturally and we finally have the same schedule, I tend to not have made this a priority. Again, wife, a title I wear proudly, confidently, humbly. However, it is a title I feel like I am lacking to live up to in none-the-less.

What do all these have in common? The way I love. 

Last weekend literally everything I heard, everywhere I went, every conversation was focused on LOVE. Not just any love but God’s love. Not just anything having to do with His love. But a question:

What is the message I am displaying when it comes to His love?
Are there people in my life that aren’t hearing the gospel of Jesus because of me?

Yeah…ouch. Then a challenge came about…what do I need to put on the back burner in order to show his love to those I encounter every day?

But for me, it wasn’t about putting something on the back burner. As we were sitting there I felt the conviction. I knew that I needed to share. The longer we talked, the more the Spirit pressed. It was then I realized that for me, it was all about taking something off the back burner and placing it back where it needed to be.

My job, as much as I love it, takes all I have. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and yes, even spiritually. It was becoming abundantly clear that giving my all at work has been shorting the people I love more than I am comfortable with. By the time I would get home I was exhausted, my brain was much, my patience was shot, my attention span was gone, I was done for the day.

All of this was lead me to being short, defensive, easily agitated, and snappy with the guys in my house. I was seeing snippets of the weeks prior of reactions, conversations and such that I’d displayed, and I found myself disgusted with myself. For me, the challenged boiled down to loving my family better.

Learning how to give my all at work, but still leave the best of me for my guys at home. I need not short them because of the demands of my job. The task seemed (and still seems) impossible but I know that there is One who will give me the strength to succeed. All I need to do is rely upon Him.

So I ask you friend, to look over these questions…these challenges…examine your heart and be honest with yourself about the answers.

beautiful

What is the message I am displaying when it comes to His love?
Are there people in my life that aren’t hearing the gospel of Jesus because of me?
What do I need to put on the back burner in order to show his love to those I encounter every day?

Unexpected

Today we say an unexpected good bye. To a man who needed few words. Though he didn’t speak much, when he did, they impacted many. We say good bye to a man who was a rock for many. A man who was so capable of showing love by simply giving a smile your way. His compassion for others not measurable. How do I know these things of a man I’ve only spoken to a handful of times?  Because I saw it in his actions. I hear it in the words others have shared of him. The stories friends have shared.

As we look back, I see a missed opportunity on my end. The chance to know and learn from a wise man. So many times I walked passed him at church we’d exchange a smile, an acknowledgement of the other.

Barry, although we didn’t speak often, the impact you have made on my life has been more than you’ll know. You’re impact on those around you is greater than anyone can even explain. Even to those to whom you didn’t speak. We will realize many times over at exactly what you’re passing will change in our lives.

Our comfort is this: knowing you are out of pain. Even more, knowing you are sitting in Glory just waiting for those you love to join you. 

Barry, you were a great man. You will be missed by many.

Woah…

…has there been a lot going on around here.

In the past month we have had quite a few milestones come along in life.

First, our dear little one celebrated (err…well hit) his six month birthday. It seems like just yesterday we were at the hospital anxiously awaiting that sweet face to appear. Now, he is the happiest, most handsome, strange-but-perfect mix of his dad and me. He is attempting to army crawl…right now it just looks like he’s swimming on the floor. He has mastered sitting, but not how to get to or out of the sitting position on his own. He says mama, dada, baba, papa, and has started waving bye bye.

The last couple months, a friend and I had decided to take a break from our weekly meetings. Feeling, perhaps, that phase of our relationship was done. Little did we know that God had bigger plans and it was truly, just a short break. I am extremely excited to start meeting with her again. God works in mysterious ways.

Just this week, I started a different position. The same company. The same job title. A different function of the job. I am now working 8a-4p. The hubs works 8a-5p so my 1p-9p shift just wasn’t working anymore. I’d been looking for a solution to this issue, and little did I know that a transfer would be all it took. I am still able to see 3-5 of the 8 clients I had been working with almost every day. The best part of it all? I AM FINALLY ON DAYS!

Over the last six months, we have been a part of a team who has set out to plant a church later this summer. So Sundays have been church filled, both the church which we have been attending (Level 13) for several years and then the meetings for the new church (Impact Community). It’s crazy to think that this last Sunday, June 23 marked the last Sunday that those of us committed to ICC would be joining the L13 body in community worship for a while. What a service it was too. Now, we are just six weeks out from launch and that just seems insane to me. I am excited yet overwhelmed all at the same time.

And now to end, pictures of his progress from birth to current…

Just born

Just born

One month

One month

Two months

Two months

Six months

Six months

This was taken today

This was taken today

RTW: Lifetime

I wake up today…well for the day…to celebrate. You see, it’s been four years since I vowed my life to the man I love. It’s been for years since I said forever and always. Four years ago I officially became Mrs. Kevin McCollister. This was us four years ago:

Weddingday

It’s been quite a journey over the past four years. We’ve laughed a lot. We’ve had our struggles and trials. Many of them being in the last 12-16 months. If I could go back in time, I’d do it all again. Including all the bad times because it has just made us stronger and given us perspective in the good times. The end of last year, our lives changed forever. This is the last picture of us as a childless couple in december:

lastcouplepic

The next day, we met our little boy. Our joy in life. If it hadn’t been for all those ups and downs we’ve experienced, I’m sure that we wouldn’t be where we are now and I know that we wouldn’t have him:

stroller

In four years we went from newlyweds to new parents. With hills along the way. I can honestly say, I would not change a thing.

I love you Kevin!
I love the life we have together.
I love watching you with our little Andrew.

As you said this morning:
That was a quick four years. Heres to many more…

smRTW

So friends. With all the brokenness in this world. In marriages. In families. I am running to honor God in this lifetime. To  keep my marriage and family whole. I’m running to spend a lifetime with my guys. These two and, God willing, another kiddo…maybe two. As well as being the best daughter, sister and friend that I can be. To live my lifetime glorifying God in all I do. With every choice I make. With every milestone we meet.