Friday, July 23, 2010

Have you ever danced in the rain?

I have.

More so since becoming a mother, but the following is when it all started...

Years ago, I was blessed with the responsibility of directing the youth ministries of my home church. It was a job that I fought tooth and nail against, hoping to remain in the safe cocoon of support ministries and not the actual, ahem, "leader"! But alas, God won, and there I was staring down the barrel of activities galore with oodles of youth ages 12 and up. I remember our very first meeting when there were probably fifteen children in attendance and I swear that evening I actually heard the crickets chirp as I giddily tried to enthuse those 15 warm bodies that sat staring and waiting for my grand plan. Blink...blink...blink...chirp!

Being young helped. My zest for life helped. My faith and perserverance helped. But, I think what really drew kids in was my total and complete committment to whatever interested them. I was there. I made my way to football games, swim meets, dance recitals, marathons, spelling bees, you name it, I was there. Over the fence, in the bleachers, in the audience, I was there. I prayed for these kids encouraged them, and before long fifteen kids would turn into 150. I wanted them to know that God loved them so much, that He would send a servant to be there for them, no matter what. I wanted them to know that it was all about Him and had absolutely NOTHING to do with us. I wanted their first response when a team member was injured to kneel and pray...I wanted their sportsmanship to be apparent regardless of the situation, I wanted their parents to know, they were not in this alone, that together, we would raise these children up as God had intended.

I was not a parent. I was young and sadly enough, newly single as a troubled marriage unwound. This ministry became glue that would hold me together as I weathered personal storms that could have broken my spirit. God knew. He knew what I would need just as much as He knew what the children would need, and so we had FUN! Lots of it, camps, zip lines, ski trips, low ropes, high ropes, devotionals, fellowship, progressive dinners, rafting, retreats and every now and again the joyful, undignified dance in the rain...the list is long and beautifully filled with memories that prayerfully remain not only with me but with each child I was blessed to know.

I was an advocate for youth, insisting on youth services (led and designed by the youth groups) and all of those children attended church on Sunday morning, marching in usually a tad bit late, but nonetheless sitting in the sanctuary, listening to sermons we would discuss later, and taking notes on scripture that I prayed would become indispensible to everyday of their lives. It was during one such Sunday, that I was scheduled to give the message and I asked them all "to dance". The Leanne Womack phenomenon was in full swing and "I Hope You Dance" was on every station from here to California. Certain words to the song resonated deep within my heart to reveal truth that God wants us to live boldly in Him, to experience life in it's fullness, and to never take for granted the gift He gave. In many ways, my role with those youth has helped prepare me for motherhood.

So, it stands to reason as stormy skies swept in this week, I did not hesitate as my own girls approached me and asked excitedly..."Can we dance in the rain?"

Of course...only if Mommy can come with you :)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Sunday, July 11, 2010


"No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

A surprised Emily on her eighth birthday this past spring

Yes, I am still here. It is interesting how the newest trend can impact the biggest part of one's life. I used to carefully, with great anticipation, create posts worthy of the sweet readers that visit our blog. I'd choose scripture and photos, I'd proofread and proofread again. Our blog began as a means by which to share our life, as we added a new family member through the gift of adoption. It is no secret, I adored blogging. But, I would ask myself many what price am I blogging?

The past year, I began to work more, sometimes full time. Blogging...well, there was no time for that. If I was going to have quiet time with the Lord or facebook or singularly host the laundry list of other daily activities that demanded my attention, how on earth would I blog? Well, that is a really good question, because this year, for the first time in three years, I was presented with a new issue, where is all the time going? My children would say, "You are on the computer too much." My husband would concur and even my parents have made mention of my less than healthy computer mania that diverts my thoughts and splinters precious time.

As much as ceasing to blog may solve one problem, it would create another...the truth is, I LOVE to write. I especially love to write when the thoughts will be provoking, insightful and perhaps even make someone think or act when they otherwise may not have. I think God has equipped me to gently minister to the hearts of others through writing. Written word is powerful. In some ways, though shocking in our technological mecca, we have lost the art of effective communication. We email a friend, rather than speaking voice to voice, we type out sketchy text messages to thank a girlfriend for the wonderful gift she left on our doorstep, long gone are the gliding handstrokes of a penned letter to an aunt, a sister, a friend. Well, not completely. But I am guilty of sometimes travelling the heavily trodden road, instead of trusting my instinct that insists an eloquently written note would be far better than my lesser efforts.

I will continue to post entries here, though I must admit, I feel convicted to share more than just a personal family history here. I feel like this is a good place to deposit some of the wisdom imparted on me through the Truth I love more dearly than writing, blogging or even taking and posting pictures. Sure, my family will still appear here, but it is important I note, now that Emily is older, sometimes she will specifically say, "This is private Mommy, please do not share this." I honor that. I honor her heart and the privacy that is our children's, even if it means I need to re-write something I love. I love her more.

I chose the title, "Surprise" very specifically. Recently, my parents' pastor was relocated to a new church. We do not attend their church as members, we are merely visitors because we have a home church. Yet, everytime we attended the four years he was there, not one time did he ever miss an opportunity to invite us back and make us feel welcomed. On Easter Sunday, his sermon was entitled, "Surprise!" With great animation, he discussed the "surprise factor" of Easter. The joy....the sheer miracle of a surprise as grand as Christ rising from the dead. If I could convey via blog post the energy and joy, I most certainly would, but I can not. There is something I can do, in Pastor Sunil's honor...I can make you feel welcome here. I can invite you back. I can let you know, you are not a visitor, you are a friend, whether you have been here once or fifty times, I value you and your comments.

So, though it may be a surprise that I am back and ready to post again, it is not a surprise that God has big plans. As much as we relish in the surprise of His resurrection, we must also relish each surprise of everyday...the small ones and the large ones...the ones we know about and those yet to be revealed.

Did you have a surprise today? I would love to know about it.


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