A Piece is Missing

Thursday, June 27, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

Once upon a time, a preteen girl asked her friend to go to a summer camp with her.  After much begging convincing of the friend’s parents, both girls headed off to a week-long camp.  They did obstacle courses, crafts, had bonfires, went swimming, did archery, had chapel and quiet times, noticed boys, made new friends, had cabin devotionals, gorged on candy, and had an absolute blast.

So much so, that the next year, the friend convinced her youth group leader that the youth group needed to attend all together the next summer.  And off they went.  Little did she know that her youth group leader was the cabin leader of another young teenage boy who eventually would become her husband.  They all had the same amount of fun and good times.  Special memories were made!

That friend was me, and the original camp-goer was my friend, Sarah.  I’m much indebted to Sarah for introducing me to Camp Elim, some of my fondest youth memories are from that camp.  And I’ve been looking forward to the year that we could send Devyn to camp.  This is the first year that Devyn could go, and I mentioned it only once before Devyn was ready to pack her bags.  And wouldn’t you know it, Sarah’s oldest daughter was going to go too.  It made things infinitely easier to send Devyn away for six days.

EmmaDevynCollage1I’m not really sure how it happened, but the somehow these two baby girls are old enough
to be without their mommas for a week.  I’m not okay with this.

In the weeks leading up to her camp, we started making a list of things she had and things she’d need.  I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done.  The physician’s release, the odds and ends needed to pack, checking and double-checking lists.  It was a little stressful… 

I think one of the most hilarious moments was when Devyn saw the disposable camera I bought for her to use.  “Awesome!” she said.  “An old-fashioned camera!”  Ah, what?  Old-fashioned?  I’m at a loss for words.

The night before we left, I snuck the journal I bought her out of the suitcase and wrote the longest letter for her to find while she was at camp.  I may have shed a tear or two while writing it.

The next morning, Miss Paige was up at 4:00am.  I kid you not.  She was showered, dressed, and ready to leave by 7:00am.  I think excited was the understatement of the year, and its no wonder she fell asleep on our way to camp.  While Mom drove, I found myself getting more pensive the closer we got to camp.  I can’t begin to explain the heart palpitations, the sweaty palms, how every bad scenario flashed through my mind.  And since that was less than productive, I started to pray instead.  And oh, how I prayed!

CampElimCollage1We found Sarah and Emma as soon as we got to camp and they were able to take us to the cabin the girls would be staying in for the week.  (It turns out it was the same cabin her daddy stayed in about 20 years earlier.)  Even more surreal was the list of campers on the door to their room…  Devyn and Emma.  Oh, how I pray this week has cemented a life-long friendship.  I pray that they become to each other what her mother and I have had for 25 years.  Life has come full circle!

Tomorrow we pick Devyn Paige up from camp.  I’m sure she had an incredible time.  I’m sure the taste of independence was good for her, and I pray that God revealed himself to her in numerous ways.  I prayed that God would become real to her this week, not borrowing a faith from her parents, but something that becomes solely hers.  I can’t wait to hear about all of the adventures they had this week. 

But most importantly, I’m ready for her to be home again.  She’s the missing piece to our puzzle, and its been weird without her.  I’ve started the hourly countdown…  26 and a half hours and counting.

Ashlynn and The Magic Band-Aid

Friday, June 21, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

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On Wednesday night, we had dinner at my parents house.  My sister, Christine and her family are currently staying there while their preemie baby is still in the hospital.  (Don’t worry, I’ll come back and share that story another time, but until then, another sister already covered it.) 

So there we are… 4 adults, 6 Littles, dinner time.  Its complete and utter chaos.  Good times. 

I watch as Ashlynn takes a bite and turn my attention to another child across the table.  Just then Ashlynn starts screaming and crying.  Now, she’s not one who is prone to dramatics, so her screams put me on edge a bit.  But after a quick assessment, all I can assume is that she bit the inside of her cheek.  A quick kiss, some consoling, and she was good as new.

The rest of dinner resumed without incident and soon the Littles were excused from the table.  The adults enjoyed the rest of the meal in quiet.  Well, much quieter than it was five minutes earlier.  It was at this point that Ashlynn started screaming and sobbing again.

Now I’m not going to lie, I’m a little concerned at this point because no amount of kissing and caressing is pacifying her.  The screams continue, all while she points to her cheek and telling me what’s wrong in-between sobs, in indiscernible toddler speak.  I honestly have no idea what she’s trying to tell me and move into the other room so I can get a better look.

After a thorough examination where I wondered if a molar was coming in, or perhaps a bee sting, maybe she chipped a tooth, all I could gather is that she probably bit the inside of her cheek again.  She sitting there and saying “Bah ahhh” over and over again.  Still screaming.  Still sobbing.  I’m still not understanding what she is saying to me, but by her tears and her motions, I know its important to her that I figure it out.

“Bah ahhh!” she said one more time, as she pointed to her cheek.  And a lightbulb went off. 

“Ash, are you asking for a bandaid?” I wondered.  With an emphatic shake of her head, we head to Nana’s medicine cabinet in the bathroom.  While I wrestled the bandaid from the box, then from the wrapper, Ashlynn continued to cry and hold her cheek.

But the minute I placed that bandaid on her cheek (not the inside, mind you, where the bite had taken place), there was complete and utter silence.  I kid you not when I say she fairly skipped out of the bathroom, over to Nana and Aunt “Stine” to show off her newest accessory.

Oh Bandaids!  You are magic!  Thank you for saving my sanity.  Once again.

A Restlessness, A Calling

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5 Comments A+ a-

This past year a restlessness has settled in my spirit.  Its hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.  I’ve felt this pull, this call, this feeling that something is happening in the world.  As though we’re standing on the precipice of something big.  And the question has been rolling around…  Will I be ready? 
Most of my adult life I have wondered what it looks like to be a Christian woman in this world, in this culture.  Its not as though Christians are welcomed with open arms by the outside world, and I don’t want to get into the whys but if you’re interested, here’s a great place to start.  I’ve wondered.  How does one follow Christ, remain relevant in this world, and balance grace, with the pursuit of holiness?  I’m no closer to an answer, but it’s at the base of most of my questions. 

Within the past six months, I feel like God has started a work in me.  First with the word, Courage.  A word that still terrifies me to my soul, but I feel He is using that word to teach me a lot about myself.  Some of its good, but most of it is not pretty.  Quite ugly actually.  And we’re only halfway through the year.

Then about a month ago, my mom mentioned author, Lisa Bevere.  And her latest book, Girls With Swords.gws-header
I’ve never heard of her or read one of her books before, but when I opened the cover and read the synopsis, the following literally leapt off the page and burned itself in my mind.

Worldwide, women are the targets of prejudice, sex trafficking, abuse, and even gendercide.  Lisa Bevere writes that these attacks say more about who women might be in the future than who they have been in the past.  In Girls with Swords she explains a spiritual enemy is seeking to disarm women on every level.  It’s time women become the heroes God created them to be and stand—courageous, discerning, forgiving, and wise.

It made me pause.  I haven’t read the whole book yet, I’m waiting for my turn.  But I can tell you the first two chapters sucked me in and I’m thirsty to read more.  Are we, as Godly women being called to stand like we’ve never stood before? 

Then today…

I read Raechal Myers blog and clicked over to the corresponding site.  I scrolled through IF:Gathering and wanted to weep.  I’m starting to feel like the pieces I’ve been pondering for over a year are starting to fall in place.
 
Our generation of Christians is different. We are not satisfied with comfortable life. We don’t trust it. We want more. We want to be…uncomfortable. Because we know our discomfort is a sign of growth. And it’s a sign that we are stepping into the audacious dream that God has for us.  -Lindsey Nobles

Is it any wonder that I got goosebumps today?!  Think of it, our God is an amazing God… working every single, minute detail to the nth degree.  A couple of Sundays ago, our pastor talked about how God had worked EVERTYHING in history, from the Book of the Law to cultural  differences, to have that one moment between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well.

If God can move heaven and earth for one moment between himself and a scorned woman, can you imagine the details He would work out, the lengths He would go to, to bring HIs daughters together for “such a time as this”?!  I’m a firm believer that nothing happens by accident.  I believe He works out every interaction, every detail, every circumstance for a greater good.  His plan, His story, His blueprint.  And there are other women out there who are feeling the same stirring, same urgency as I am.  Not by accident.

A few weeks ago I asked Jon, “Which terrifies you more?  Failure or living outside of God’s will?”  I’m terrified of both, but living outside of God’s will for my life is the one that paralyzes me.  Regardless of whether or not I get to attend this conference next February, I am certain of one thing…
God is calling a new generation, men AND women.  What if Lisa Bevere is right?  What if women are being targeted, not for who they were in the past, but for the force they’ll be in the future?  Is now the time to live out the calling God has placed on our lives?  Are you ready?  Am I?

Because this…

We are starting a raw authentic and community-driven movement. We are a generation who craves the uncomfortable – we will wrestle with hard questions and not know all the answers. We will invest in one another and represent the Church to a generation that needs God.


There is a restlessness among the next generation of women, who fear more than anything – wasting their lives. –
IF:Gathering Site

… is calling out to me.  And I wonder if its calling out to you too?

2013 VBS, Kingdom Rock

Saturday, June 08, 2013 2 Comments A+ a-

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that we had vacation bible school at our church.  Our church does things a little different than other churches do VBS.  In the past, I was able to sign the kids up, then drop them off and pick them up at the designated time.  During the years that I had babies, this was a wonderful set-up, and I’m still so thankful for those few hours of quiet while the Littles had fun at church.

But Summitview really encourages parents to get involved and create your own crews.  This means inviting friends and parents being the leader.  Not going to lie, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but I really wanted the Littles to go.  And as I warmed up to the idea, the Littles wanted to ask their friends Hannah and Nolan to go with us.  I may have hesitated just a moment, but quickly loved the idea and the next thing I know, we were packing up our full car and checking in every day this week by 9:30am.  And shockingly, on time.

VBS with the Littles and Friends

The Littles had an absolute blast!  And I’m so thankful for the time I had with the Littles.  The leaders, adults and teenagers, were amazing with the kids.  So patient, so supportive, so energetic.  Hudson even got to meet an older Hudson, and he was pretty much obsessed for the rest of the week.  Major kudos for older Hudson and his patience! 

It was exhausting… but so worth it.  And yes, I’m singing the VBS songs in my sleep.  Not even kidding.