We learn things everyday. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad. Sometimes they are hard and sometimes they are easy. Life is a constant lesson. So, today, I thought I would reflect on what I am learning/relearning right now:
#1 – You can’t budget for everything that may happen. For instance, for us, medical bills are never ending. Not complaining, just stating. Just when I think one thing is over, here comes another one. For instance, did you know that you can get viruses in your eye? Neither did I, until Ed got one a few weeks ago and had to make a special visit to the eye doctor. Did you know that within a period of 2 months, your child can put a sticker up her nose, a coin down her throat, and scare you by thinking she got into the Aspirin in your purse? Oh yes, all are true and really happened. The sticker was so far up her nose that we were sure an ER visit was in order, but thankfully, after a few times of sneezing, it came out. The coin saga I shared on my last post. To finish that story, we waited a week for it to pass and then were sure we were going to have to take her to Urgent Care this past weekend while in Myrtle Beach for Fall Retreat because the coin hadn’t reappeared, she was complaining of her stomach hurting, had vomited once that week, and she came down with a temp of 103 on Friday night. Saturday morning, as we were setting up for the main meeting, she went to the bathroom and it came out! I am pretty sure that the high temp was related to her body getting rid of the “foreign object” as the temp was gone Saturday morning and then the coin reappeared (similar to what happens with kidney stones). Thankfully, none of these resulted in ER visits especially since we haven’t even got the bills squared away from this summer when she had the bad fall and concussion. Just as we try to budget for everything and think we are good to go, we are reminded that we have no idea what is to come!
#2 – Soccer isn’t a great sport for 3 year olds, but they are cute anyways. We signed Kinsley up for soccer this fall. We thought it would do her good to have a way to funnel her “aggressiveness” and she has shown interest in playing. Ed signed up as the coach after he learned that there weren’t enough coaches and they would have to put a lot of kids together which would mean hardly any playing time for anyone. I mean, really, what is required in coaching 3 year olds?
Long story short, Kinsley is having fun – especially as she has realized that scoring goals means that people cheer for her (not sure this is a good thing!), but 3 year old’s do not have the attention span to play soccer. It is cute watching a kid walk over to the soccer goal and spend the whole time playing in the net, or watching them score in the wrong goal, or watching them lay down and roll on the field, or watching them pay more attention to the horse next to the field than the game itself. But their attention span is nowhere close to what is required for a 30 minute game. Note to self – don’t sign her up for sports that require major concentration until she ages a little.
#3 – I love to go deep with people. Last spring, I took the Strengthfinders test to try and discover my strengths so I could grow in them (did you know it is important to continue growing in your strengths as well as your weaknesses?) and figure out best how to serve our campus team and church with those strengths? While some of the ones that were listed for me were things I was already aware of, one surprised me. I am strong in what they call “The Relator” which is described as “people who are strong in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.” When I read this, I had an ah-ha moment. This explained why I enjoy going deep with people. This explained why I enjoy having a few very close friends (I enjoy having lots of friends but want a few who we know each other really well). This explained why I always get frustrated with family or friend get togethers where it feels like all we talk about is surface things but never do deeper with each other. This explained why I love mentoring college girls and going deep with them. This explained why I so often want to ask people the question “So how are you really doing?”.
While I am continuing to learn how this strength affects so many areas of my life, I am learning to be okay with not always going deep. Especially in the world of having lots of play dates with friends and their kids where you can’t go deep because you are constantly being interrupted with “Be gentle”, “Share”, and “Don’t put that in your mouth”. So if you are a friend, I would love to know how you are really doing. Lets grab coffee and lets chat. It will make my heart oh so happy!
#4 – God is using my kids to sanctify me. I already knew this, but I learning it over and over again (and I think I will continue to!). After a particularly hard week last week with my kids, I was shown how very screwed up I am and how much I need Jesus to continually change me. As a mom, there are sometimes when you can feel as “I am doing good with my kids and life” or “Yea, I have things to work on, but I am not so bad.” And then, the Lord allows you to endure something where he humbles you and shows you that you are sinful, you still need him every moment of every day, and reminds you of how thankful you are for the sacrifice Christ made and the grace he offers on a daily basis. This happened for me last week and while it wasn’t easy, I needed that dose of humble pie and the Lord used my kids to give it to me. So thankful for them —
#5 – God is moving and I am so blessed to be a part of it! While God is always moving, ministry is hard and we don’t always get to see the fruits of what He is doing – but when we do, we are so thankful. We had our Fall Retreat this past weekend and was overwhelmed by how gracious the Lord is being to us by allowing us to be a part of what he is doing. We joined with Impact in hosting Fall Retreat and all together, we had 160 students there (last year we had around 90 or so). From Eastern NC, we had about 58 students. Let me stop and explain what a God thing this was.
Last year, we had 15-20 students on Fall Retreat with us. When we were setting prayer goals for the fall, we decided to set our goals high and pray that the Lord would bring 55 students to our Fall Retreat. While we knew this was high, we also knew that if we reached this, it would be a God thing and not an us thing. Let me say it again: we had 58 students from Eastern NC. Praise God! To go further, we had 14 students from Fayetteville State, a ministry that we just launched last month and have only had 3 Bible studies with (check out our prayer letter we will be adding to this page in the next few days to read an amazing story that happened there!)! The picture below is a few of the FSU students praying at Fall Retreat. We had 10 from Wake Tech North, a ministry we just started working with and who have never brought students to Fall Retreat before.
Not to mention that God has allowed us to already see 10 students place their faith in Christ this fall (6 of those are from Fayetteville State!)! Our prayer all along has been that God would move so mightily on our campuses that we would not be able to say it was something we did, but that it was ALL HIM and we are seeing that happen! Please pray with us that the Lord continues to move in big ways and allows us to see it happen!!