Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Church Announcements Say A Lot About a Church

I meant to blog about this a couple of weeks ago and just forgot in the chaos that is my life.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a proud "mom moment" however, it wasn't one of my kids that made me proud. It was my Church. I can only assume I feel this way about my Church because I have been there since close to the beginning and have watched it grow since it was a wee little one.

I am sitting there next to a girl who has never been before and who is skeptical about "Church" to begin with and my husband gets up to give the announcements.

Here they were:

Porn Again Christian- the guys in our Church will be going through a book written by Mark Driscoll called Porn Again Christian at The Gingerman Pub on Monday nights.

Santa Rita Courts- We, as a Church, are going to throw a huge backyard bash at the oldest projects IN THE COUNTRY on the east side of Austin. We will be serving this community food, playing a three on three basketball tournament with them, hanging with the kids, face painting and will have bands playing music.

Uganda- We have a missions team that will be going to Uganda for a couple of weeks in the summer. Please talk to Mary Monkton or Justin Hroch about going, if you are interested.

Adopt a Missionary Program- We have a new program that our City Groups will be taking on where each CG adopts a missionary. We email that missionary, commit to praying for that missionary, skype with that missionary, send care packages to that missionary and if we feel called to do so, help financially support that missionary. Basically, we become like a family to them and support them however they need support.

Last week...we had a missional spotlight from the Nixon's who have been helping the Schleuter's love on a group of homeless people here in Austin. They are letting these people into their homes to take showers, eat dinner and help do work around the house. They have started a new ministry called Renew, where they have taught the homeless how to make art out of trash. They are selling them at a booth on Congress at First Thursday. The coffee tables they made were UH-MAZING!! Want one!

I'm sitting there thinking..."this is such an awesome church". The word "porn" doesn't get mentioned in Churches very often and the fact that there is a pretty big group of guys that show up each time Nate goes through this book at The Gingerman, is really really cool to me. It shows that there are men who can get honest with their sin/struggles, share them with other men, and fight that sin together. I love it. I love that my husband doesn't think twice when asked to lead it. It's a pretty vulnerable spot to be in.

The Santa Rita Courts Backyard Bash was AWESOME! We had over 200 people show up and went through hundreds of burgers and hot dogs. We played with children who looked like they'd never played a game in their life. They were giddy over the face painting and by the end of the day, they were painting us! There were 6 year old girls that held Betsy better than I did (I'm assuming they get lots of practice with younger siblings) and little boys that wouldn't let go of my legs when I would try to walk. They were STARVING to be touched, to play games, to have a conversation, to tell you their name. I loved it and am talking with my friend Tara right now about starting a women's Bible Study over there.

I don't know as much about the trip to Uganda this summer but I know the team that went last year said it was life changing. I have seen the video and I wanted to go this year so bad but can't leave Betsy for two weeks yet. Maybe next year!

The Adopt a Missionary Program has been great for our City Group so far. We have a missionary named Heather and she is a missionary among the Shan people. She is AMAZING and her sacrifice in the name of Christ is so inspiring. It has changed the way Nate and I view our lives and our family mission and has spurred many conversations, since meeting her last week, about what true sacrifice is. I am so excited to get to know her more and pray for her as she prepares to return to Myanmar.

I love my Church. And it's announcements.

Begging for More

I had a fun girl's night out last week...for about an hour and a half before Nate started texting me wanting to know "where I was". Betsy woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep. (Let's just say they're both up "shoot's" creek if I ever die in a car wreck.) However, that's not at all why I'm writing.

I was challenged by my three lovely friends (ahem...Amy, Hannah and Megan), to update my blog more often. I don't really update it often enough for a couple of reasons: one...my life is rather redundant and two...I had no idea people actually read it. No one EVER comments. It's a good thing I don't find my value in how many comments by blog posts get!

We spent the evening here laughing over stories and sneaking sips of wine from each other's glasses when the person wasn't looking. We got giddy over the idea of starting a book club with each other. Three of us have read the book "The Help" (which you can read about here) and so we are starting to discuss that book tonight over more wine.

So...in light of these girls thinking I have a little bit of talent in the writing department, I have decided to set a goal to blog at least twice a week. I know it's not a lot but it's a start.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Letter to Jessica, Ava and Betsy

So, Mother's Day is coming up this week. It has been a morning of reflection for me as I think about that and what it stands for. It is a day set aside to honor our mothers. Some mothers are definitely worth honoring...and some aren't. My mom is a mom worth honoring mainly for her love for my brother and me. She and my dad raised us in a Christian home and for that I am the most thankful.

My reflections today have been mainly on what my role as a mother to Jessica, Ava and Betsy will mean to them someday. What will they look back on and remember about me? We are given these precious children to raise the best we can and it's so hard and such a big responsibility. Gosh, I know I've messed up so many times already and will mess up so much more but the main thing I want them to take away from my parenting is that I taught them about God's love for them. That he loved them so much that he sent his son to die for their sins. I hope they grasp that someday. It's hard for me to grasp, actually, but I learn more about God's love for me every day.

I have written them a letter to share my feelings about being their mom...

Dear Jessica, Ava and Betsy,

I love the three of you more than I could ever express in words so I'm praying that over your lifetime, my actions will show you.

I hope you remember me for always hugging you, telling you how beautiful you are and how proud I am of you. I hope you remember me reminding you that beauty of the spirit is more important than beauty of appearance. I hope you see me strive to model that and not just say it. I hope you will all feel comfortable talking to me when you are going through tough times and that I was remembered for being a good listener, not just an advice giver. I hope you will come to me when you need prayer. I hope you will trust me and feel safe with me.

I can promise you there will be hard times. You will cry over heartbreak, laugh so hard with friends you almost pee your pants, feel butterflies over a boy. There will be times you feel insecure. Times you feel overwhelmed. Times you feel sad. Times you feel left out. Times you will feel confused.

I am dreading the day I see you heartbroken over a boy. Or crying quiet tears in your room over someone talking about you. I'm praying that I will be graceful in how I love you in those moments.

You will most likely play sports, an instrument, sing in the choir or cheer on your school teams. You will have prom to attend. Homecoming. Football games. Parties.

I can promise you that I will love you through all of these things. I can also promise you that I will mess up. But at the heart of it all...I will love you.

I am praying that along with all of these normal things you will experience, that through it all, you are learning to grasp God's love for you and what the gospel means. This is my strongest prayer for you. It is the most important lesson in life.

I pray that one day I am not just your mother but also your friend.

My heart is busting at the seams with love for you three girls.

~Your Mom