Saturday, September 20, 2008

Galatians 6:9

says, "Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Brent emailed me this verse earlier in the week. It has been a hard week this week. It seemed like there was discouragement all around us. Even as I type this we do not have a worship leader for tomorrow morning, which is only the icing on the cake. I have really felt like giving up. I know that is not what we are supposed to do, but I am weary. We had a couple visit our church last week who are interested in being church planters. They do not know us and yet they emailed saying they thought we seemed weary. I do not like it at all that people who visit our church can see that. And yet, aren't we supposed to be authentic? But, believe me, I was not trying to let that authenticity show. I have been praying through this all week, knowing that God is my strength. He carries us through these times that are so draining. This verse was an encouragement. Brent underlined the part that says "at the proper time." We don't know when that time is, but there is a time, and God does know it. I might add that we don't know what that harvest looks like either. Not all harvests are the same size. Our harvest could be a small one (like a garden grown in a backyard, rather than a farm!), I don't know, but I do know that I want to be obedient, and I certainly do not want to give up.

The sad part about the whole situation is that there have been so many encouraging things this week as well, but they have been hidden by the discouragement. So, for this moment, I want to document all the amazing things that God has done this week.

• Brent's parents were here this week. I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to have family here, and what a blessing it is that I have great in-laws! It was a very short and unexpected trip, but we enjoyed our 48 hours very much.

• Brent was able to share Jesus with our neighbors - the father, the mother, and the teenage son, and James invited the son to youth group, and he went. Hopefully they will be at church tomorrow.

• Speaking of James, he has been inviting lots and lots of kids to youth on Wednesday nights - I'm proud of him. And I am so thankful to Kevin who decided to lead a youth group, even though when he offered, James was the only teenager in the church.

• We had the opportunity to take the ministry vehicle to Cal State for the first week of classes and hand out ice cream as a support for Intervarsity. Brent was able to talk to some people about the church. There was also another man there who is planning to plant a church in the next few months, who we have become friends with who was also able to make an impact on the campus. The couple who leads Intervarsity stated they will be visiting church tomorrow.

• David's soccer coach from last year was married a while back. We have not had contact with her since last fall, but her new husband is now James soccer coach. They do not have a church and asked us about ours and stated they want to visit.

• I have another friend, who I have known for a few months who stated an interest in visiting also. She, too, is without a church home.

• Brent had his first men's breakfast this morning, and the guys had a great time sharing their stories with each other. Brent was encouraged greatly by this meeting.

• We will be having a women's night on Monday night in order to facilitate the women getting to know each other better. I'm looking forward to this. One of the women in the church took this on and has really done a great job of planning. Thanks Rhiannon!

• The people in our church are really neat, and we are enjoying getting to know them and learning about the way God has worked and is working in their lives. I am thankful for each and every person and am excited to be able to get to know them and have them get to know us better.

• Finally, a cool story . . . Last year we were at a birthday party and met this young couple who we visited with for a little while. A couple months ago we received a message from someone asking about the church. They just wanted to know what we believe and stuff like that. Brent called them back. They have a son, and she said they hadn't visited because services were at the same time as his nap, but they wanted to visit. They haven't come. Last night I was at a friend's house (the same friend from the birthday party a year ago) and there was this gal that Brent and I met last year. We spent the evening talking and hanging out. At some point she asked where we went to church so I told her. Can you believe it? In a city of 450,000+ people, this is the person who called about the church and the fact that her baby sleeps during service times. Isn't God amazing to put us where He puts us when He puts us there? They still have not found a church and have still been planning to attend, so I got to spend a little bit of time telling her about the church. She is nervous about leaving her son, but recently we put a speaker in a room just off the gym, with some toys and colors, for moms to use with their children as we have several who don't like to leave their kids. This sparked an even greater interest.

I post all this hesitantly. Who knows how many of the people I mentioned will visit and when, but what I am learning is that our timing means nothing. God's timing means everything. Only God could have facilitated that meeting last night. It's too cool! Even if they never visit our church, I hope God used us to plant seeds in each of these people's lives. I need to cling to Galatians 6:9, and I need to remember the positives when the negatives seem so big. In reality, there has been way more positive this week than negative, but I failed to see that initially. Please remind me of that when I am down and when I am tired. I need to press on and not grow weary while I wait for the proper timing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family and Friends

I have felt incredibly blessed over the past few weeks to be able to spend great time with family and friends and am looking forward to Brent's parents visiting. They arrive tonight. First of all, I went to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lookout Mountain, Georgia, for Paige Weichbrodt's wedding. That is a beautiful part of our country that I had never seen. I enjoyed quality time with the Casselberry's, and had fun helping with the wedding. The Weichbrodt family was a little preoccupied, as they should have been, but they were still wonderful and encouraging, and it was fantastic to spend time with them, too. I especially enjoyed the late nights up talking with Caroline, the car ride from the airport with Zach and his girlfriend. Zach surprised me. I don't think I have had a real conversation with him since he became an adult. It was fun!! And the time I had with Becky Casselberry was wonderful. She is challenging and encouraging and makes me think. Plus, it's just fun to hear about her life!!! I also enjoyed seeing Covenant College - seeing Jonathan in his new place and getting to see Katie's dorm. I understand why several of the Weichbrodt and Casselberry kids have gone to school there. Caroline talks about the character of the students (and I am sure that is true and much more important) but it is also just beautiful. It was also very fun to be around Katie, even though my time with her was limited as she was trying to cover so many things at one time. Way to multi-task. I know she was tired, but she kept a beautiful smile and had a lot of fun. Thanks to all of you for letting me be apart of your families over the weekend and for the past 12 or so years.

Upon my return to California, the Rumph's were in Bakersfield. I knew that and thought I was going to miss them, but instead, we enjoyed the whole morning with them on Tuesday before they caught their plane. They were also able to attend church that Sunday, but I was not here. We were able to catch up and talk church stuff, as well as just stuff in the rest of our lives. Being around all three of these families did cause me to miss Bartlesville a bit, but more than that, it reminded me of how blessed I have been to have these families in my life. They are all such amazing role models! Thank you for involving us in your lives and in the lives of your kids. We feel so privileged to even know you!

The very next weekend after I returned from Tennessee, I met my grandmother, aunt and cousins in Palm Springs for a few days of shopping and just hanging out. We had a lot of great meals and spent as much time in whatever store we wanted without husbands or children hurrying us along. We played Uno, and Mary and I enjoyed the pool. We stayed in a nice hotel outside of Palm Springs. It was a nice, relaxing time.

A big thank you to Brent who was here alone two weekends in a row with the kids - not an easy thing these days! I am so thankful for the time away. It was refreshing. Now if Brent and I could just find time to get away together!

I don't have pictures as I didn't have my camera with me, but if you are on facebook, you can see pics from both weekends in my profile.