That word has meant a lot of different things to me at a lot of different points of my life.

When Tim and I first got married, we worked full time with a college ministry. That has definitely been one of our favorite memories so far as well. At the end of our time there, I was pregnant with David at 23. That seems crazy to me now!
Anyway, all of the sudden my life seemed to STOP. My ministry became diapers, feedings, schedules, few showers, fewer adult interactions.... ect.
God changed my heart though. I had to train myself to be at home and be content. It's easy to go, go, and GO all the time. Just as any transition to a new job, I think staying at home you have to take on as a job and adjust to it. And give it time.
I just think so many women need to hear that your biggest ministry is within your 4 walls. That doesn't mean you shouldn't work. Each family is different.
I remember thinking when I was staying at home that I wasn't "doing" enough for God. Who was I leading to Christ? Where were the poor? The needy? The sick? And how in the world was I going to live out the Great Commission stuck inside my 4 walls all day???
How was changing a diaper going to save anyone?

I find myself at 30 a different mother than when I started out!  God broke down what ministry looked like, broke my pattern of thought that God was waiting for me to DO something, and that God would love me more if I were more useful for Him.

It's all a lie of the enemy. The fact-of-the-matter is this: Jesus loves you know matter what you do. No matter if you are running a nursing home out of your house or if you woke up and decided you were going to sit on your couch the entire day. God doesn't love you more one way or the other. If you REALLY can believe that, it is life changing. It brings FREEDOM of feeling guilt, busyness, or purpose. Your purpose is solely to know that you are passionately loved by God no matter what.

Jeremiah 31:3. I have loved you with an everlasting love.

I know our love for Him will be an overflow, and that is what it should be.... overflow. We will naturally tell others about Christ and reach out. I just feel like sometimes we are....


Your marriage is a ministry. Your children are a ministry.
If we aren't doing a good job at ministering to those people, then why in the WORLD are we trying to show Jesus to neighbors and nations????

Honestly, the last 2 1/2 years, my biggest ministry besides my children has been Tim. He went through a major career change that was spurred by one of the biggest crashes in the housing market. I knew that God was calling me to be Jesus to him through the past chunk of time in our marriage. To love him, encourage him, help him, take him dinner at school, take on side jobs and extra work to take some pressure off him financially, being a good mom to the kids that he loves, being a good steward of the home that he comes home to. And I still work a little now to help cash-flow our home renovations, my husband's dream and one I have fallen in love with now as well.

Call me old fashioned, that's fine. But, I think if we all really got SERIOUS about our roles as a wife and mother, then that would cause some people to see Jesus.  Because, really, how many people are doing that well??? Exactly. It is real life ministry. I'm sure every woman would want this:

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and called her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

I fall very short of being an perfect wife and mother, but all I want is for my husband and kids to know that I have their back. That I love them. And that they are the ministry I have right now. They have my full attention. I have the same dreams of reaching people besides them, but there is a time and season for it. (see below devotion).

Don't put pressure on yourself or others to think you need to start a movement. Start with your family first. Value the season of life that you are in, because it will surely pass.

During seasons of your marriage, you may also be the one that needs ministering to. Lord knows during all the babies we lost it was Tim pushing me on.

If you can view your marriage as a team and a ministry, it's a game-changer. What can you do to be Jesus to the man you vowed to and the children you probably dedicated to the Lord?
Don't get distracted, don't get off the path. You have a very clear mission and I hope reading this empowers you.

That's the end of all my deep thoughts from Jen, haha! I had so many freeing truths this summer that I really was dying to post them so I will look back and re-read what God told me.  I need reminders to stay focused.

This is a great passage if you need a devotion today: Ecc. 3:1-15.
There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?  10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor, it is the gift of God.  14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.  15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by."

Praying today!!


New Stage of Life.

Whitewater, the lake with my family on their boat, birthday parties, play dates, pool with friends, popsicles, sprinklers in the lawn, biscuits every Saturday morning, garage sales, car drives, movies, Savannah, the 4th of July on the Square, a summer church Bible study, dinner with friends, a beach vacation with family, running a farmers market at our house, doctors and dentist appointments, RENOVATING our house. But on the contrast, laziness, sleeping in, going out to eat, ordering pizza, pajama days, planting flowers, going through change of season clothes.

Well, that about sums up our summer. We have reached this point in our little family of four where we just all love being together. And doing everything together. We don't have babies anymore, we have little people. It's a really big milestone I think and I know we are building up a deep relationship with our kiddos that I think will be most important when they are older and really need us, not just now to tie a shoe =)

I'd like to think that is where our investment in them comes into play bigtime. I make small deposits all day long every day and I have for the past 7 years since I found out I was expecting David. All these little choices and little "insignificant" things I do 24/7  are amounting to when their need is great. They know I am here. For me, that is what I know God has called me to do. I believe He gives each mother a plan.

All that to say our first day of kindergarten went really smooth!
David described his day to me like this,
"I went in. We talked to the flag (the pledge of allegiance), we worked. And I worked real hard. I wasn't wild. And I wasn't bad with Coleston (his bff in the class). I love lunch. I made friends. I really want to go back."

And we all know thats a good thing he wants to go back- poor baby didnt know he doesnt really get an option. The kindergarten I put him in gets out at 1:00. I truly can't tell you how this seems to have been the perfect fit for little man. I did have a few days of tears last week, especially knowing we have almost definitely decided we are not going to have anymore biological children (that's another post), but I became so happy and at peace on Sunday. It all went well and I feel like he is going to thrive. Can you tell his excitement in the last picture?! Here are our summer pics and I will have to catch up on our house renovation. Our deadline is Christmas, people laugh, but we are no joke. We are kicking into a ridiculous gear to finish. Pics.... please excuse the fact these are all pulled off my new phone! I finally joined 2012 and got a samsung galaxy- i love it. And i never have a camera with me now!
  Surfing in Savannah
Roadtrip to Savannah- love this picture of Mackenzie
Became Marietta Regional Distributor for Farmers Market Baskets, my profile pic!
The renovated bathroom we just finished
Doctors appointments! David- 95th percentile, Mackenzie- 10th for weight, 25th for height
Stats have stayed the same for them since birth, i have a big boy and a wee one =)
Davids First Day of Kindergarten, yay buddy we made it =)

Here's to an end of a great great summer! So crazy we moved in May 25. We somehow managed to have a life outside of just the house!


Adversity and Contentment

I am hoping to have a blog-a-thon this week. We had an incredible summer, the house renovation is rapidly moving along, and my baby starts kindergarten monday morning!! God has answered some huge prayers this summer for us and I am trying to get myself back into a place where I can share and journal all of it!! One of the biggest places God has brought us to this summer is embracing the life of adversity we seem to live and also having rich contentment.

Everyone is writing a story whether they know it or not. People see and hear your life whether they are a big or small part of it.
Tim and I continue to have conversations about when we were 18 and what we wanted our life to look like verses now being 30 what we want our life to look like.
I think much of our life has included adversity. A synonym for that is difficulty.
As we begin to heal. learn. listen. move on from. the adversity that has been a big part of our journey, the pros out-weigh the cons. Interesting, right? Adversity has yielded fruit and blessing.
To be really open, the only real con and sin from adversity I still struggle with occasionally is when life seems to not be "fair." What I deem as fair, anyway. Mainly when people around me kind-of float through life with extreme ease. And the punch in the gut is when those who have had ease tell those who have had adversity what they need to do. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, if you haven't been down certain roads of pain, you may not be the best person to try and counsel those that have. **
Just a little life tip. I apply it to myself as well. I don't know what it's like to lose a parent. Many of my friends have. While I can comfort and encourage, I am not going to challenge, try and relate, or tell how them how to cope. You see?
That question is a huge eternity issue that I am constantly reminded this Earth is not our home. Adversity is short-lived. And this journey is but a vapor. We are merely blessed to be able to wake up each morning and enjoy the blessings we do have. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about fairness though- it's non-productive. I've also learned its sin and to take captive thoughts and surrender them. Recognizing that and then actually doing something about it is powerful. You chose to call those thoughts out as a lie and move on.

The pros are something written on my heart. I can't even write about it really. Some of the things I have gone through the last 2 years alone, God has been with me in a very special way. I have heard and felt our Creator in very real ways. The times of loss has been the times of God's greatest appearances in my life.  He has given me wisdom, words of comfort, and a heart that has seen and triumphed through adversity. Because of Him. Because He was there.
Moving into this house, the Hope House, God has in a very real way restored hope. Restored peace. And restored me fully.
I no longer feel the holes of this world, but God has filled them. And filled them with joy.
The 7 lives God created in me, the 2 that are here on Earth, God has healed. The homes and moving and career changes, going back to school, renovating. God has brought peace.
Great peace.
It doesnt all even seem possible, but that's how God works. He takes complicated, messy, ugly lives and makes them joyful and peaceful. He is the greatest desire of the longings in our hearts.

In some weird way, the adversity that has been ever-present in our journey has led to freedom and contentment for us.
And you can't buy that.

To be fully content and fully in the moment of where I am right now.
Our joy is not necessarily in the event filled sometimes, its how we spent our time along the way. I want to embrace my marriage, kids, and our messy life renovating houses right now. And not miss a second. They are too precious.
I dont know if you can fully wrap yourself around this whole concept except to really evaluate inwardly. Focus on your todays.
When you can fully live for the moments and the day, you release yourself and will have freedom from the what ifs of tomorrow. And in the same hand, adversity viewed day to day is pretty easy to surrender.

Food for thought. Its neat that during our house renovations, we are so desperately tired and seeking God, that we hear from Him in big life changing ways.

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