Where oh where has evangelism gone?

Lately, I have been telling Michael that, with moving so far away from everything we know and loved ones so very soon, heaven has never seemed so so sweet as it does now. Heaven was always a beautiful reward at the end of a life of following Christ; a life well lived, but not as much of a reality in my current life (I had too many things to do before that).

Now, I do understand the longing for heaven while also fully living in the here and now. There are still many more things I’d love to see God do before I am taken to heaven (namely the lost ones in our lives now and the ones who will be in our future to come to Him), but my desire to be in one place with my Christian loved ones is a beautiful future, and is an even more beautiful thing with one of my very best friends Nicole accepting Jesus into her life.

With that, while listening to a sermon 2 weeks ago, I asked myself, “Where oh where has evangelism gone?”

I have been mulling over that question for the past two weeks, and I honestly don’t have an answer. When a pastor preaches on evangelism, we all give an “Amen!” either out loud or in our minds, but yet, we walk out those doors of the church and don’t think about it for another second until 7 days later while sitting in our same pew or chair acting like we are living this life we’re not.

What is evangelism in our day and time? While it’s great that you may put a verse or Christian song lyrics up on your Facebook, say you go to church, or take a stand for conservative values, this is not true evangelism. Evangelism is openly and honestly sharing The Gospel so clearly so that all who you speak to understand exactly what you believe and exactly how to begin a relationship with Christ. This means…

…actually talking with someone face to face… What?!

Yes, I said it. It means you need to be bold. It means you cannot fear for your own embarrassment as these are people’s lives and eternities we’re talking about.

I’m not sure when evangelism actually died, but let me tell you that the apostles made that their number one priority in life, despite the risk of DEATH, not just being laughed at or mocked…

REALLY think about that for a second.

Let’s make sharing THE GOSPEL with our friends and family members a priority in our lives and not an afterthought.

How can we do this?

While I don’t claim to have all the answers and am certainly guilty of making this an afterthought too, here’s what has worked for me.

First, I ask if I can share something about myself that is so important to me. I then tell them my testimony.

Second, I ask to know a little more about them and what they believe. I want to understand who they are as a person and where they are coming from. True love of another person comes from understanding them at a deeper level, rather than the shallow way many of us do.

Third, I ask questions about them. This leads to an even deeper understanding and isn’t so intimidating as I’m not forcing my beliefs upon them, but rather seeking to truly know them. And when you ask the questions, do not have any type of rude tone in your response no matter how much you may disagree. Remember, we are all created by the God and are people made in His image.

Finally, I ask if I can share why I believe what I believe. At this point, because I’ve sought to understand them, they will usually say sure. I then present the Gospel either just from the knowledge and experience I have based on my life change and the hope I have on Christ or, if I have my Bible, I will take them through a few verses about the Good News of being in a relationship with Jesus.

They can either choose to accept it or not. If not, and Depending on who I am sharing with, I may also offer some scientific evidence, a book of the Bible, or to talk about it again in the future.

Today, I leave you with this quote from a song that I heard while writing this:

“Whatever will come our way, through fire or pouring rain, we won’t be shaken..”

Happy Monday friends!

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The Classiness of a Duchess

I am not a big time follower of the events of the royal family and admit that, while I looked at a few pictures of the wedding later, I certainly was not up early in the morning to watch it. I also had no idea of a due date for the “royal baby” and have never once, until yesterday, mentioned it on any of my social media outlets. Yesterday; however, I wrote a status on Facebook that seemed to hit a chord with people so I want to discuss it in more detail here. Here’s what I wrote:

“Let me just say that I love the classiness of Kate Middleton. The fact that she wore a beautiful classy dress and wasn’t ashamed of her post baby body (and yes, to the idiots who actually think you have a flat stomach 24 hours after giving birth, you don’t), walked out of the hospital in heels, and did a press conference all with grace… Only 24 hours after having a baby! Thank you for showing the world the beauty of a woman confident after having a baby!”

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Photo Credit: www.graziadaily.co.uk

First of all, one of my favorite things about her is that, despite how she felt at the time, no one knew, and all they saw was someone happy and loving on her baby. As a former dancer, we were taught to put a smile on, be graceful, and bring the audience into the story DESPITE the incredible pain we may have been in (and I’m mostly referring to dancing en pointe- if you don’t know what that is, look it up, ouch! Especially when you have an ingrown toenail ;)) Ladies and gentlemen, classiness is fulfilling your duties with grace despite how we feel. Far too many of us have become a part of the complaining society who likes to scream “Woe is me” far too often.

Second of all, yes, I LOVE that she WALKED (was not wheeled in a wheel chair) out of the hospital after, yes, only 24 hours after birth, not 48. In America, we have made birth very much a medical/disease/illness type of issue where we go to the hospital and are treated as invalids for the entire stay from the wheel chair ride in to the wheel chair ride out, while being monitored for 48 hours. I admit, I was the mom walking down the hall with my baby the day we were leaving (24 hours after birth with my second) only to be ushered back to my room to be put in a wheel chair (I had almost made it to the elevator!). I felt so much better walking during labor and soon following. It helped me feel more like a human being and I bounced back very quickly after both boys. And the 48 hour thing, nope, I did it once and, as long as it’s my choice, I will never again! I can’t stand being woken up all throughout the day and night for 2 days straight! I just wanted to get home from the hospital so I could sleep.

Now, I’m not here to say I could do or be what Kate Middleton is, but I am saying I love how she made labor and delivery seem more like the perfectly normal and beautiful part of life that it is and that it is not THAT big of a “horrific” deal to do so.

Finally, that woman wore a beautiful dress that did not hide the belly that carried her precious baby for 9 months. She showed pregnant women, new moms, and the media that it is how it should be to have a belly (6 month size according to most statistics) when going home from the hospital. And I LOVE that she wore heels. I admit, I have never attempted that one. That is impressive and she’s on a different level and I’m sure she kicked them off as soon as they got into their car, but she did appear beautiful, classy, and well put together and displayed grace despite how I’m sure she felt.

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Photo Credit: http://www.usmagazine.com

So, the point of this post, is to say congratulations Kate Middleton, for not only delivering a beautiful gift from God, but for sharing your classiness with the world while doing so.

Happy Thursday friends!

Yes, I will have 3 kiddos 2 and under!

I know, I know…

Another announcement?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the last announcement for now.. that I know of πŸ˜‰

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I am pregnant with our 4th baby (we had one miscarriage with our first as most of you know) due mid-January, which will make Cale 2 years and 8 months when the third is born, so yes…

I will have 3 children two and under with a move to Montana in between! πŸ™‚

I know it seems crazy and, honestly… IT IS ….Β 

But we are so thrilled to welcome a new sweet little person into our family in January!

We know that God has everything under control and it is His timing and not ours that is guiding our life. We know that this little baby will fit perfectly into His plans if we make it about Him and not about us.

Regardless, I may need a little advice from women out there who have 3 children under 3 and, while this may be even more rare, also work from home πŸ˜‰

If you know them, send them my way!Β 

I’m working now to get a good working schedule into place because, as other church planting wives know, it’s not easy starting a church on anyone in the family, but I want to do everything for the glory of God and not give up what I shouldn’t or do what I shouldn’t.

Now the fun part: the company that sells the Intelligender test sent me one to try and review on my blog, YouTube, and a few other places. I am working on that review now. For those of you who do not know what it is, it’s a test that you can take as early as 10 weeks in your pregnancy and it predicts the gender of your baby! I won’t reveal too much more about it yet, but I will post the review soon and my results! πŸ™‚

Oh yes, and we are also planning a home birth this time so I will keep you updated on that as well!

Stay tuned and thank you for the support! Happy Friday!

Moby Mama ( A Review of the Moby Wrap)

There is NOTHING in this word that compares to..

.. The smell of a newborn baby’s head close enough to your lips to kiss while watching that sweet baby sleep on your chest… all while…

…Chasing after your crazy toddler whose holding your hand yelling “C’mon Mommy!!”

It’s like all your senses completely and totally experienced at one time.

That, my friends, is the experience of a baby wearing mama and this is why the Moby Wrap is soooo incredibly important to my daily life as a mom (whether you’re a mom of 1, 2, 3, or 10 πŸ˜‰

When I was pregnant with Cale, I had many of my “natural” mommy friends from our Bradley class talk about the Moby wrap and I thought I’d love one, but man the $40+ price tag was seriously holding me back from that purchase. But, I’ve since learned that, although the price is $40, it’s well worth it. Or you can find one used on Craigslist.

My friend Jenny and Gwen then each gave me material that was intended to work as a Moby wrap and they got the job done, but I struggled with the material constantly when Cale was a newborn and gave it up altogether much earlier than I would have liked.

When I was pregnant with Gabe, I decided no matter what that I would definitely have the original Moby wrap as it was a NECESSITY with 2 under 2. I was given one as a gift and boy, was that the greatest blessing!

So here’s my review of the positives and negatives of the Moby wrap:

Positives:

  • Most babies that are used to being carried will fall right to sleep in the Moby and will take a good nap in it despite the chaos around you.
  • The material is a stretchy jersey knit so it can “grow” with the baby.
  • Once you watch the instruction videos on the Moby wrap website, it’s fairly easy to do it yourself the first few times, and takes only a few seconds after those first few times.

Click on the hold you’re interested in to see the video for each hold here:

http://www.mobywrap.com/mw/how-to-moby-wrap.htm

  • Having your hands totally free while also cuddling your baby is the most vital aspect of this wrap (free to do the dishes, chase your other child, clean the house, etc.)
  • There are several different holds you can use as your baby grows that will keep them as comfortable as possible.
  • Keeps both of you warm during the winter.

Negatives:

  • It is definitely a hotter wrap during the summer.
  • Unless you wrap it on your body prior to leaving the house, it is tough as it drags on the ground while you’re wrapping it.

So that is my overall review of this product! It’s a must have for all moms, in my opinion, and it comes in a variety of beautiful colors! Here’s some of our uses of the Moby Wrap:

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First Sunday at church (5 days old)

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Just getting relaxed on a fussy day…

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Ready to go out and chase big brother around.

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Being interviewed by our college alumni for advertising purposes.

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ImageAnd at a college football game (one of several).

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

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Are Integrity and Honesty Dead?

Integrity: a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility: an unimpaired condition : the quality or state of being complete or undivided.

Integrity… One of my very favorite words as a teenager and a word I strived to live by and “hopefully” with great work, be known by. When asked in interviews what my favorite word was or what I hoped friends would describe me as, it was a woman of integrity. I loved everything about what that word meant, but unfortunately, due to some recent circumstances, I have begun to feel that this word is dead in our current society. I read this article recently: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2012/11/28/success-will-come-and-go-but-integrity-is-forever/

…. And it got me thinking (surprise surprise πŸ˜‰

Where are all the men and women of integrity? Trust me, I have known some great ones… But let’s take a look at our society in general. People, as a whole, cheat their way to the top, stepping over whoever they need to in order to achieve their ultimate goal. As someone who felt like an abused door mat for the majority of my teenage life, I can say that I didn’t see much integrity among many of my peers and, now as an adult, I witness the death of this beautiful word on a daily basis.

As a mom of two young boys, I am striving to live a life they can learn valuable moral lessons from. I cannot allow a lack of integrity to corrupt my own life nor can I allow them to be influenced by those who are killing it one step at a time. Please take note that I am in no way stating that I am perfect, but I am running the race and integrity is an important part of that race.

So just think for a minute about the definition of integrity as stated above and read the article. Then, ask yourself the question: Are you practicing integrity or are you allowing for the destruction of it?

β€œHonesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Oh honesty! Have you also deserted us? While thinking through some recent struggles with dishonesty, I said to a loved one last night:

Honesty is dead.

This is heartbreaking for our next generation. If we cannot trust people, what will the world be like for them? Will our children have to grow up in a world in which they can trust no one? How does this affect our belief system? How does this affect our actions?

It is hard to write this post, but as I promised myself when I began blogging, I would write about anything that came to my mind and was on my heart, without reservations, so here it is.

The definition of honesty is:

obsolete : chastity
fairness and straightforwardness of conduct
adherence to the facts : sincerity
Oh friends, based on that definition, honesty is dead… But I beg you, please prove to me and, more importantly, to our next generation, that it isn’t.
Honesty does not just mean being honest with others..
It means being honest with ourselves.
It means knowing and admitting when we’re wrong.
It means admitting that it wasn’t us when undue credit is given to us.
It means following through with commitments as promised.
It means not letting people gossip about others without standing up for truth.
Ultimately, it means practicing truth, despite the cost.
Readers, let’s take a stand for integrity and honesty. Let’s watch our lives live these words out loud.

Why Bozeman, Montana?

To my readers,

I’m very sorry for my lack of writing lately… It has been a crazy, wild ride that we’ve begun and I’m finally settled enough to share it with all of you. For those of you who are not on Facebook and didn’t hear the news, here’s what’s up with our family:

We are taking a huge step of faith that has been many, many years coming. On June 25th, after 4 days of sweet goodbyes, we moved away from Raleigh, NC. I knew it would be hard, but never could I have imagined how hard it would be. The Lord has called us to start a church in Bozeman, Montana. While it is heartbreaking to leave somewhere you have invested your life so much, we know that The Lord will do great things if we follow Him! On June 25th, we moved to Tennessee where we will live in missionary housing while we raise support before heading to Montana. Please pray for this as we are definitely stepping out on faith!

So why Bozeman, Montana?

To answer this question, I think we need to start at the very beginning of our married life and detail some of the major events that led us to this place (a place that is more than a 30 hour drive away from family and close friends and is cold- In case you didn’t know, I am a native Floridian πŸ˜‰

Before Michael and I got married, the Lord began stirring in our hearts a love for church planting through several classes we were taking at Liberty University. We never said to each other “Hey, let’s plant a church”, but we were both beginning to think about it. Michael grew up with his dad as a pastor and some of that experience led him to believe in the importance of church planting.

After we were married, we got involved at Bedrock Community Church in Bedford, VA. Our first Sunday was their 8th week of existence so we saw a church plant in its early days (though we now know there are much, much earlier days then this).

In 2010, through the Lord’s major blessing, Michael began the mentorship program under Johnny Hunt at First Baptist Woodstock in Georgia. It was a wonderful experience in which we both learned so much and developed friendships that will last a lifetime.

During the summer of that year (he was mentored from January-December), Michael began to look for a church that was needing a pastor and preferably one close to Raleigh, NC as he was planning on attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to finish his seminary degree. In the fall, he spoke with one of his mentors (a pastor from Bedrock Community Church) about his search to find a church and this mentor told him: if you want to plant a church one day, why not work with one now to get more experience?

Michael came up with many excuses, but in the end, it was because we wanted him to have a salary where he could take care of his family and we wanted him to have an “easier” ministry job where he could more easily finish school without having another job on top of it.

After this conversation, Nathan Miller came to his mind. Nathan and his wife Jenny were planning to start a church in Raleigh, NC (the exact area we wanted to move to for Michael to finish seminary). He had a few conversations with Nathan about it, we all prayed about it, and we decided this is where the Lord would have us to go. It was a whirlwind journey as we made that decision in October and moved to Raleigh in December.

During the year we were in Woodstock, before moving to Raleigh, Michael had heard of the need for a church in Bozeman, Montana. The church planting pastor at the church in Woodstock had been contacted about the need for a pastor to go to Bozeman and start a church. At that point, we were both not ready to start a church with Michael as the lead pastor, but we have not been able to get it out of our minds since…

…. it’s been 3 years.

We have been blessed with the amazing people we have seen come to know the Lord and/or grow drastically in their faith in the Lord while in Raleigh. However, last July, God began stirring in our hearts again a need to go elsewhere to serve Him. At the time, we did not know where (although, I admit, Bozeman had come to our minds more than a few times over the past 3 years).

In the spring, Michael again spoke with that church planting pastor at First Baptist Woodstock about our thoughts. After many conversations and prayers, that church decided to help us get out to Bozeman for a visit to see if we received confirmation one way or the other. Within the first 2 days of being there, I cried…..

…. we both knew, with such certainty, that this was where God had called us… but it was so so far from everything we’ve ever known.

I am so deeply grateful for the 100% certainty we received from the Lord because it makes this difficult journey so much sweeter.

We are now here in Tennessee and will begin fundraising this coming week. Please pray for this and that the Lord would bless us in this area as we are ready to jump in with ministry again!

I will keep you updated on this journey and the rest of our lives as we take this leap of faith…

… into the UNKNOWN.

Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We welcome the ends of the earth.

Some pics from our sweet time in Raleigh:

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