Monday, January 16, 2017

I HAD A DREAM...


I had a dream…
and it didn’t involve losing babies.
I had a dream…
and it didn’t involve special needs.
I had a dream…
and it didn’t involve pain and grieving.
I had a dream…
but it wasn’t God’s best for me.

I grieved lost dreams…
and begged God to give me new ones.
I grieved lost dreams…
and was left to wait and see.
I grieved lost dreams…
and the pain was suffocating.
I grieved lost dreams…
and I wondered if God had forgotten me.

I have new dreams…
and my children helped to shape them.
I have new dreams…
because special needs changed me.
I have new dreams…
because the pain and hard finally broke me.
I have new dreams…
and it’s because of God’s love and pursuit of me.

I don’t know what you are walking through today but please know that God loves and adores you.  He is absolutely crazy about you!  If your life and circumstances have forced you to grieve lost dreams, I am so very sorry.  But God.  He is so good and He is so faithful.  Ask Him to breathe new dreams into your heart and you will be amazed at what He can do with your broken dreams and your fragile heart.  

"I say to you today, my friends,
that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment,
I still have a dream."
-Martin Luther King Jr

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

{New Wednesday PM Study} HOW WE LOVE OUR KIDS


If you are a parent or plan to be one someday, this class is for you!
If you are an Adoption/Foster Care family, you will find this class super helpful!
If you are struggling with a difficult child or hard season of parenting, please join us!

How We Love Our Kids is a new study Keith and I are teaching on Wednesday evenings.  We had a great turnout tonight and have several more people interested in joining us.  Because of that, we decided to do an Introduction night tonight and will start Session 1 next week, January 18th.  The class will run 9 weeks ending on March 15th.

The class is held in the Bookstore at Cross Church Springdale and is free of charge.

If you need childcare, we have a Midweek program for kids that includes Music and/or AWANA.  There is a one time charge of $12.50 per child for AWANA, but if finances are an issue, we can help you.  

If you have any questions or need more info, click here to submit a message.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

CHRISTMAS IS JESUS

Tomorrow morning, people all over will gather, open their Bibles, and turn to Luke chapter 2.  Most of our Christmas mornings begin with these words…
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
I spent the month of December anticipating the Coming, the birth of our rescuer, Jesus Christ.  Christmas is all about His birth.  Easter is all about His death.  But I find that reflecting on His death, His sacrifice, and His life, heightens my anticipation of His birth.  It actually changes Christmas.


The birth of Jesus was the start of a 33 year journey
that ended on a Friday that we call Good.

A baby, placed in a wooden box.
A man, nailed to a wooden cross.

I've spent the last couple of weeks in this non-traditional Christmas passage...

Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor, who asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus answered, “Yes, that’s right.”  Then, when the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders made their accusations against Jesus, he said nothing.  So Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are making against you? Why don’t you answer?”  But Jesus did not say anything, and this really surprised the governor.  Every year at Passover time the governor would free one prisoner—whichever one the people wanted him to free.  At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas.  When a crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, “I will free one man for you.  Which one do you want me to free: Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”  Pilate knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous of him.  While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him.  It said, “Don’t do anything with that man.  He is not guilty.  Last night I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.”  But the leading priests and older Jewish leaders told the people to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed. Pilate said, “I have Barabbas and Jesus.  Which one do you want me to set free for you?”  The people answered, “Barabbas!”  Pilate asked, “So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Messiah?”  All the people said, “Kill him on a cross!”  Pilate asked, “Why do you want me to kill him? What wrong has he done?”  But they shouted louder, “Kill him on a cross!”  Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do to make the people change.  In fact, it looked as if there would be a riot.  So he took some water and washed his hands in front of them all.  He said, “I am not guilty of this man’s death.  You are the ones who are doing it!”  The people answered, “We will take full responsibility for his death.  You can blame us and even our children!”  Then Pilate set Barabbas free.  And he told some soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then he handed him over to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.  {Matthew 27:11-26}
This Christmas, my thoughts keep going to the one who lived.
The one who was set free.

Barabbas.
A thief.  A murder.
An all around bad guy.

The murderer lived.
The Messiah died.

I find myself dreaming of what became of Barabbas.
How did this guilty man feel when he was set free?
Did that moment change him?  Give him purpose?
I so want to know that Barabbas didn’t, for one second, waste his pardon.
I so want to hear that Barabbas spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospel of grace.  But I don't think that's what happened.

And as I'm feeling frustrated and disappointed in a man I don't even know,
God quietly whispered to my heart...
Did that moment change you?  Did it give you purpose?
My cross was your cross, Jackie.  Are you wasting your pardon?
I took your place so you could live.  Who are you living for?

And that has messed up my Christmas.

We spend so much time making Christmas into something that it was never meant to be.  The world wants Christmas to be about a baby, and presents, and Santa, and an elf.  The world wants us to make Christmas about us.  But when you remove the distractions and set time aside to focus on the Coming, it messes you up.  When you take time to remember the humble birth ended in a violent death because of my sins and your sins, it changes you.  When I picture myself as Barabbas, standing next to Jesus, and guilty me gets to go free, it's just too much.

Christmas is love.
Christmas is grace.
Christmas is Jesus.

His birth, His life, His death.

They are all connected.
They are all important.
And they were all motivated my love.



Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
{Philippians 2:5-8}

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

WHAT IF THE STATES OF AMERICA ACTUALLY UNITED?

Photo Credit
Today is the day.

Today I will detour from my normal, I will exercise my freedom and my rights, and I will stand and speak without saying a word.

Today I will cast my vote.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016, I will vote for the person I would like to see step into the position that only 44 other people in the history of America have held.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to be THAT person.  To be the President of the States that only Unite in the midst of tragedy, then turn on each other again.

The top candidates names and faces are on every street corner and sprinkled in yards all over the country.  We are divided into red states and blue states and the media is working hard to provide info and sound bites that help us make the decision THEY think is best.  The one thing we seem to be united on is our overall disappointment in our choices.

Living in America is an honor and privilege.
The freedom to have a voice and a vote is a gift.

But my hope and salvation is not found in an election, but they are found in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross.

We are a broken humanity choosing broken people to run a broken country.

But God.
He specializes in taking broken people and making them whole.
He often uses our brokenness as a vessel for His glory to shine.

What if we allowed our brokenness and our differences to be the things that actually connect us to each other?  We can’t be diverse if we aren’t different and if we aren’t different there would be no reason to unite.  So today, my vote might not be the same as yours and my voice might not speak the same message, but I pray that these States will unite behind the person elected to be number 45.  I pray that our own brokenness opens the door for us to extend grace to each other this year and it brings healing to our hearts, our hurts, and our land.  

“Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And any city or family that is divided against itself will not survive.”
[Matthew 12:25]

Friday, August 19, 2016

A TEARFUL GOODBYE

We have lived in five different states and eleven different houses and saying goodbye is always hard.  But this is different.

Today, we said goodbye to 790 Clinton Circle, the place we’ve called home for the last seven years.  It is the longest we have ever lived in one house and it has been the most trying seven years of my life.


As I filled in holes, touched up paint and cleaned the house for the last time, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was wiping away and covering up all evidence of how hard life has been the last seven years.

We moved in a family of three, in the middle of the adoption process.
We moved in not knowing how that adoption would change our lives.

I moved in the me before Miles and 790 Clinton Circle would be the place God would break me of me. 

790 Clinton Circle became a place of isolation.  A prison of sorts.  Miles couldn’t handle real life and I couldn’t handle Miles.  We stayed locked away inside because keeping Miles safe was hard and important and a full-time job.  The walls concealed the cries and screams of a broken desperate mama and it often felt more like a battlefield than a home.

790 Clinton Circle became a place of refuge.  In my desperation, God showed up.  He knocked on the door, entered my mess, and leaned in.  He reached down, grabbed my hand, and slowly pulled me out of the pit I found myself in.
Grace upon grace.

790 Clinton Circle was a great place for our family to land for a season, but we knew it was time to move on.  Our neighborhood is defined as a carefully planned, multi-use community that brings out the best in humanity, and for the most part, that’s probably true.  But the downfall of living in an area where covenants keep houses and yards nice and neat is that assume the people in those homes have it all together.  No mess, no weeds, no junk.  And when their grass gets a little too high and the landscape starts to look unkempt, you can quickly find yourself more concerned about the look of their home instead of the people inside.

So when God moved us out to the lake, I fell in love.  The neighborhood is a more accurate reflection of me.  It’s a little messy, it’s not fancy, and it’s not trying to impress anyone.   The view from our house is breathtaking, but the view I fell in love with first was the perfectly imperfect neighborhood that we now call home.  Cars are on blocks in front yards, several homes have mini junk yards around back, and weeds surround vans that haven’t been moved in a long time.  Children run and play in the streets speaking languages I don’t speak and I can’t wait to learn all of their names.

790 Clinton Circle prepared us for this day, for this season, and for this neighborhood.  Our new home is our new mission field.  It is the place that we pray will have a massive impact for eternity.  I am so grateful that He trusted us with a space that, every time we come and go, we see needs.  Physical needs that we can meet that will prayerfully open doors for us to share Jesus.

Clinton Circle, you served us well.  You blessed us with sweet neighbors who became friends and memories that will last a lifetime.  And tonight, we say a tearful goodbye.

“There is a season for everything
and a time for every delight and
event or purpose under heaven-“

{Ecclesiastes 3:1}