Ceilings & Floors

“How long have y’all been in ministry?” people ask us. “Well…” we answer “it’s a little hard to say.” You see, Jeff has been a full-time pastor for almost 17 years, but before that he was a traveling evangelist…and before that he was a youth leader…and before that he was a preacher’s kid who watched his mom & dad do ministry together just about since he was born. He learned so many things simply from watching his parents- things that his fellow seminarians had to learn the hard way.

My parents were not pastors, but we were still in full-time ministry. Serving in the Christian school as well as in our local church gave lots of opportunities to learn & grow as God prepared me for life as a pastor’s wife.  Opportunities like being the first to arrive & the last to leave, navigating various groups within the group, cleaning toilets… all the important things they don’t teach you in Bible college. 🙂

Jeff & I both were raised by godly parents who taught us right from wrong, where to find the answers to life’s questions, the fact that God loves us unconditionally, and how to live by faith. We were blessed to have parents that challenged us not only to live our lives completely sold out to Christ, but also to love God deeper, know Him greater & serve Him even more boldly than they had in their own experience. And that’s what we want for our daughters. We want them to go even beyond what we’ve experienced in our relationship with God.

The other day I was speaking with a Christian leader and he was asking about our girls and their service in the church. I was telling him about how both girls already serve in ministry according to their gifts and talents- and they’re only 12 & 15! He was amazed! And then he made the following statement that has stuck with me: “Your ceiling is their floor!”Um… what? Thankfully he went on to explain that he meant that our girls are following in our footsteps but that they have the privilege of starting even further along the road than we did. I like that!

Isaac Newton is attributed to saying “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” I could change that to be true in my life by saying “If I have gone further it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.” I am thankful for the giants in my life… and that they’re letting me stand on their shoulders.  And I’m thankful that my girls are choosing to stand on our shoulders as well. Can’t wait to see how much farther they will go!

Whose shoulders are you standing on?

shoulders

God Provides: Teen Edition

I’ve discovered a new fact as a parent: teenagers are expensive! There are so many extra costs involved that are outside the realm of normal provisions. It would be easy to sit around and worry about such things… but then I think back to my own teenage experience and remember how God provided even for these extra things.

My parents were both in ministry at the Christian school where my sisters and I attended. At one time there were three teenage girls in our home: that’s a LOT of extra expenses! Looking back, though, I remember God provided even the little things (or the big “extra” things) in ways that I didn’t realize were miraculous.

I needed an expensive scientific calculator for school. The teacher gave me his old one.

I needed team shoes for the basketball team. Turns out the “sample” pair the company sent was just my size. (looking back I imagine my coach had something to do with that…)

I needed a dress for “prom.” A  cousin I didn’t even know that well gave me adress that was perfect! (I use “” because it was a Christian school so it was actually called a “banquet”…but basically it was our “prom” without the dancing). 🙂

I needed wanted a letter jacket and a class ring…and somehow God provided those things for me, too. I’m sure my mama’s money juggling system and my dad’s extra summer job may have had something to do with it… but at the time I just received these gifts as yet another of God’s provisions.

As my girls reach the teen years and talk turns to yearbooks, prom dresses and class rings, I feel myself starting to worry about such things. But God gently reminds me of His sweet promise to always provide, and once again I rest in knowing that He is faithful.

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Matthew 6:28-30

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
Matthew 6:28-30

*To read more about God’s Provision check out THIS POST or THIS ONE or THIS ONE from my mama!

It’s All In The Presentation

My youngest daughter is becoming quite the master of manipulation…I think part of it comes from her Daddy The Preacher…

The other day she came home from school and began to show me some papers the teacher had graded and returned to her. She pulled one out of the stack and held it up to her chest so I couldn’t see the grade. “Mom!” she said excitedly. “You won’t believe what I made on this paper!” She smiled really big. “I usually do really bad on these math pages because they are so hard, but I really did good on this one! I am so proud of myself!” She was almost bursting with excitement as she turned her paper around and exclaimed: “See? I made an 82!!! I am so excited!” 🙂

The next few moments felt like an out-of-body experience. I watched myself break into a smile, heart filled with pride over my little girl’s accomplishment. As I reached out to hug my precious child I suddenly came to my senses: wait a minute…you normally get straight A’s in math. You haven’t been struggling with any of the new concepts they’ve been teaching you and your math test scores are off the charts! Why am I congratulating you on the lowest B possible?? Why??? Because of her presentation!! She almost suckered me into giving her a prize for doing so much less than her best because of how she told me about it. She makes me laugh…nervously…

I’ve found that in ministry, getting people to be a part of the work is all in the presentation. Every year we can stand before our congregation and beg people to volunteer to work in VBS or the nursery or children’s church and get very low results. However, if we would present it differently I think our results would be different, too. Talk about how exciting it is to be a part of such a vital and life-changing ministry as VBS. Remind people of how easy it is to tell little children about Jesus and how simply reading a story can impact these little ones for eternity. If you don’t have anyone signed up to keep nursery for next month, don’t stand before your people and groan about not having any volunteers. Instead, stand before them with a sign-up list in hand and tell them that there are ONLY 4 SPOTS LEFT and they need to sign up now to get the day that works best for them! It’s all in the presentation! 🙂

At home I remind my girls that they don’t HAVE to practice their music/running/etc, they GET to practice! We don’t focus on how long our list of chores is on Saturdays, we focus on how SHORT it is. We talk about all the good things that we get to do because Daddy is the Preacher instead of all the things we don’t get to do. It’s all in the presentation.

I’m going to do that for Christmas this year, too. Instead of focusing on what everyone else seems to have that we wish we had, I’m going to work on focusing on the good things we do have and those that don’t have such good things…Maybe I’ll blog about that soon…it’s really too long to share right now…besides…I GET to go clean the house! Woohoo!!! Wanna come clean the house with me? It’s gonna be so much fun! We’ll crank up the music, have a piece of chocolate, and turn it into a party! I’ll bet you wanna come now, don’t you? See? It’s all in the presentation! 😉

 

Life With a Teen PK

I do not like roller coasters. All those ups & downs…the unexpected twists and turns…and especially the feeling of being out of control! People who ride them voluntarily are crazy!

My oldest & her daddy after her first roller coaster ride

These last couple months living with our teenager has felt much like a roller coaster. Our oldest daughter turned 13 in September and is currently in the 8th grade. Some days she makes us so proud…others she makes me want to pull my hair out! Here’s a sample of our roller coaster ride as parents to a teenage girl~

  • She forgot to make a food dish to take to her international food day event for her foreign language class, so she woke me up early to make a big batch of baked spaghetti at 5 am…on a school day…and she woke me up with the words “We forgot to make my spaghetti for school!” WE??? Not a great way to start the day. 😦
  • She started out running cross-country for the middle school but because she is a hard worker (and they needed her to fill a spot) the coach moved her up to run with varsity. When she passed one of her teammates out of sheer determination I was so proud! 🙂
  • I sent her to brush her teeth one evening before bed. When I went to tuck her in, I noticed only 2 toothbrushes by the sink…and one of them was mine. I wasn’t born yesterday, so I asked the girls if they had both brushed their teeth. Both answered yes. Then I asked which one did not use a toothbrush. Both answered “not me!”  {pause} Which one of you used MY TOOTHBRUSH?!? My 13-year-old daughter used my toothbrush! And put it back hoping I would not notice! GROOOOOOSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! 😛
  • She came home from her youth Bible study the other day and told me she knows what God wants her to do with her life. They had been studying spiritual gifts, passions, talents, calling, etc. Up until this study she had thought she wanted to be in either culinary arts or computer forensics. Yeah…that’s quite the wide range of career choices. But after learning about how God has made her and the fact that He has a plan for her life, she came home singing a different tune. Now she knows that God wants her to travel around helping people who are going through hard times and telling them about Jesus. How cool is that?! 🙂
  • Saturday was her last cross-country race of the season. We had high hopes and were looking forward to watching her run one more time. But something happened mentally that slowed her down and caused her to have a terrible race. As she passed me on the first lap she was dead last. I called out to her all the encouraging things that moms say: “Keep going, honey!”, “Don’t quit!”, “You can do it!”  As she came closer I continued to call out encouragement- still proud no matter how far behind she was. She looked at me and yelled “I CAN’T do it! This is STUPID! LEAVE ME ALONE!”……. WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY TO ME?!?  Oh, no she didn’t! Somebody get the preacher! We’re about to have a come-to-Jesus moment right here in front of God and everybody! Don’t make me come out there! I will jerk you off this course, whoop your tale, and still make you finish this race!… But what I actually said was “Keep going, honey…don’t quit…I love you!” 😦
  • We had revival services this past weekend. Not actual revival…just the services…but that’s a post for another day, I suppose. My girls were not excited about having to go to church on Friday and Saturday in addition to all day Sunday, but I tried to help them focus on the purpose behind it and have a good attitude anyway. We had the guest preacher and his lovely wife over for supper before the service on Friday, and I was so proud of my girl. She carried on a mature and respectful conversation with the couple and shared information about her life in a positive and humble way. She told the about being on the cross-country team, learning a foreign language, taking accelerated classes, representing her class on student council, becoming co-editor of the middle school newspaper, and recently being chosen by her principal to become a peer mentor to struggling 6th graders. The pastor looked at me & my husband and commented on what an amazing young lady we are raising. It was a good reminder. 🙂
Our kids are pretty amazing. Sometimes I let the little crazy things that they do distract me from the amazingly awesome people they are becoming. I have to remember that life is a process. It’s not their job to have it all figured out, it’s their job to keep learning & growing. And it’s not my job to make them perfect, it’s my job to train them in the way they should go. I am thankful that God has given me these girls to train and I pray that I will lead them in such a way that they grow up to love God, love people, and be able to laugh when their own kid use their toothbrush one day! 🙂

My Baby Is Growing Up!

My baby girl turns 10 today! I cannot believe it! When I said my thoughts to her about how I can’t believe how fast she is growing up she replied “Yeah, you’re getting on up there, aren’t you?” Thanks for the reminder about my age. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite memories of her growing up to this point:

Learning to play ball in Evarts, KY

Strawberry Pickin'

"No, I'm not gonna share my dessert with you!"

Lovin' the beach!

Being "adventury"

She's trying so hard to obey the sign...

Really? You're in the drama club? Shocker! 🙂

Her puppy room that we did together

Eating gelato that she ordered herself in Washington DC

At 10 years old, my sweet girl is very independent yet always considering the feelings of others. Her teachers say that she is helpful and sensitive. Her friends say she is loyal and kind…a true friend. She is friends with the popular and the not-so-popular, boys and girls, younger and older, those who have nice things and those who wish they did….everyone is drawn to her. She is beautiful inside and out! I love you, Kianna girl! Hope your birthday is super happy! 🙂

After conquering the ropes course at the Mall of America~ FEARLESS!

To read more about my Kianna, check out a  story I wrote here about her a couple months ago “We Did It Together