Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I sat at our Wednesday Night Dinner at church tonight and just looked around with a warmed heart. A year or so ago we add “family friendly” seating downstairs in our Great Hall. We wanted to give families a place where they could eat together (which unfortunately isn’t the family “norm” anymore) and do so in a way that didn’t stress out parents too much (i.e. worry about their kids being too loud, too messy, or getting up from the table and running around when they were done eating). We have games that kids can take back to their table or simply play on the floor together. While I’ve enjoyed watching families eat together more, I’ve become aware of something even deeper:  community. Kids are sitting with each other and with other parents or adults and different families are eating with each other. Yes, families still eat together but it’s like one giant family meal. I love to listen to the children talk to each other about their day or what kind of stuffed animals they have at their house and giggle over each other’s stories.
I think about the early church that we hear about in Acts (2:44-47) where they sold their property and divided the money to share it anyone who needed it. They lived together, ate together, worshipped together and made sure no one was in need. I feel like got a small glimpse of that community as I watched as everyone shared food and laughter, helping the younger children get their plates back to the table or chasing a child that ran out of the room before their parent could get to them (OK that was my child, I was trying to help get more food to serve from upstairs J thanks for chasing him Erika!) and finally, all pitching in and picking up in one way or another. There was joy in simply being together, to being authentic with who we are and what struggles we have and laughing at the craziness of it all.
We all need  community. It is a gift that God has given us. If you haven’t had an opportunity to engage in that kind of community, seek it out, you won’t regret it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Isaiah 40:31: But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

This scripture is forefront in my mind lately. This is a scripture that I’ve read many times. It’s one I sing about, is on a lot of t-shirts or bookmarks and one that is spoken at many funerals (or is on the cover of the funeral bulletin), etc. I think I’ve always focused on the future hope of this scripture: That even though we can get tired and weary our God does not and we can hope for  a time when we will run and not be weary, a time  when we will walk and not faint. We can associate it with eternal life.  But it's a message about the resurrected life today as well.
 I think I’ve ignored the part where it said “Those that WAIT upon the Lord;” Waiting can give us strength.
I have done a lot of waiting lately. Some waiting has come back with news to rejoice from; some, not so much. Others, well, I’m still waiting. I want things in my timing, I want answers now, I want to know how things will work out in one situation or another. But I am called to put my hope in the Lord and that in this season of waiting, I will be made strong; my strength will rise as I wait upon the Lord. It’s rising. It may feel like it’s rising slowly but just as the sun rises and the brilliance of the sun’s light comes and envelops the darkness, Christ’s light has and will continue to break forth and wrap us in love which strengthens us for our journey. God is making the old new, renewing and transforming everything so that light will shine through.
As I wait, I will trust God to rejuvenate my soul and that, in time, I will spread my wings and soar with the eagles.
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Together We Grow

Eight years ago, I went to a Mom's retreat. It was great to have some time for myself and connect with other women. During the retreat, the women shared about how they were sharing their faith with their children and trying to instill values in their lives. I was so excited to start doing this in my own family's life that I bought these great little cards from something called "The Virtues Project." These cards contained a different virtue such as friendliness, courage, tact, perseverence, thankfulness, etc. and then explained what that word meant as well as examples of how to live it out. I was very excited to bring it home and start it with my family.The funny thing was that my daughter was only 1 yr. old at the time and could hardly talk! So they sat in a drawer until about a year ago. Then I brought them out and have tried to use them as part of our family devotion time.
I don't know about all of you but this part of our lives feels...well a little clunky. This is not something that I did growing up in my own family but we also went to religious schooling every day, so I'm sure my parents felt like it was "covered." As for my family now, we too are very involved at church. My children are a part of many different programs at the church where they are learning about God, engaging in prayer, singing, learning Bible verses, etc. We pray at every meal together and before bed and we have theological conversations everyday but still I felt like we were missing something together as a family. I have several different devotions that I use for myself personally everyday but have struggled a bit finding something that works for our family (and the different ages the kids are). So in the past month or so, I have really tried to make this more of a priority. 
So we use our cards from the Virtues project. We each close our eyes and pick a card and that is our virtue for the next week or two. We read together about what those virtues really mean (it's a good vocabulary lesson too :-) and each day we give examples of how we lived that virtue in our own life. It was really cute the other day when Jonah (my 3 year old son) whose virtue right now is "thankfulness" came up to me and after I fixed his coat that had been inside out, looked at me and said "thank you, see I'm being fank-a-less" (he keeps calling thankful, thankless or in his words, fankaless :-) But he's getting it and the kids are all pointing out when they are living out a virtue at home and of course pointing out when one of their other siblings is NOT living out their virtue very well :-)
In addition to our virtue, we are each working on a different Bible verse that we are not only trying to commit to our memory but also be more purposeful about living out. We have also read a devotion from a place I've checked out online, though I have to admit I'm probably not going to stick with that particular devotional because it's not exactly what I'm looking for.
I just know that it's important to grow together in our faith. I have found that I not only teach them but just importantly, they teach me. I get to see things through the eyes of a child and there is a profound blessing in that. But it's not always easy, sometimes it does feel a little clunky, especially if it is something new. You may even find some resistance from your family but I encourage you to give it a try. I would love to hear stories  of what some of you may be doing to grow together with your family. So share away! We can learn from one another as well as support and encourage one another in the process!