Monday, October 31, 2011

fun Halloween crafts...

The last two weeks we made some fun Halloween themed crafts. This was great to do while Naomi was taking a nap, to spend some one on one time with Noah, and keep him quiet!

His friendly bat. Two hand-prints and a footprint all upside down. Small googly eyes and he wanted him to have a red mouth for whatever reason. The little "ears" are his pointer finger prints. He is getting very particular about what colors he wants things.

 The Silly ghost. He had the option of what facial expression he wanted him to have, silly, scary, happy or angry. We have been learning about emotions, and he loves when I pretend to be each different emotion. Especially angry, oddly enough. =)

More ghosts. These are just his footprints again and fingerprint eyes and nose.

Then I felt like we needed a little Jesus in the display so I just traced out the letters, which I am terrible at, and let him paint them. Nothing fancy at all, but I was out of ideas!

{All of my Halloween craft ideas came from the blog eighteen25.}

Sunday, October 30, 2011

fun eating...

I'm so happy to be back into the blogging world! This post is all about food. Lately I have found the need to get more creative with Noah's meals. He would be happy with eating a PB&J with apples or applesauce every day for lunch, and chicken nuggets for dinner. So I'm trying to come up with fun ways to help him venture out. This week we made homemade pizza. It was yum, fun for Noah to help and not too unhealthy. We bought fresh pizza dough from Publix bakery, mozzarella cheese and pepperonies (probably a pretty unhealthy part).

 then for school I tried out a fun lunch. I had to improvise because I didn't have too many supplies. This was supposed to be a clown for circus day. He didn't really care about it, he just called it a silly man. =)

Dinner this week. I made veggie burgers in an attempt to get them to eat some more veggies. Noah ate one bite and Naomi only a few. If you can't tell it's supposed to be a rocket ship with stars and a moon. I guess the botton pieces are astroides. =)

 I have lots of ideas for more fun food, thanks to all my friends creating them also!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

this is why we do what we do...

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

I have been far away from the blogging world for a few months now. Time has been a factor and needing to focus on my family and ministry. But, I had this brewing in me to share so I thought this was the perfect time to start back up.
Fair warning, this is a long rant.

To start, ministry is hard work. If you have worked in ministry this comes at no surprise to you at all. It's messy sometimes, there are sticky situations to work through and it can be emotionally and spiritually draining at points. In some ways, I feel like I sort of jumped into ministry without much thought or really much choice. I married a pastor who was already part time working in the church. I honestly had no idea what I was getting into, and didn't really think my role would be that big anyway. I had planned on graduating college and working full-time. But two babies later, I never finished school and never got a job. =) The first few years of our marriage, I didn't play a huge role in our student ministry. I was pretty much tied down to motherhood and keeping a house in order. But, thankfully my children are at ages where I am able to leave them more often, and this has opened up the opportunity to jump in.

Now, let me explain my attitude towards youth ministry. It wasn't something I ever desired to do, and it's something that has completely intimidated me. But, I got to the point that if our ministry was growing and things were happening, then I wanted to be a part of it as well. I wanted to be front row when lives were being changed, and I wanted to play my role in what God was doing. To be honest, there were times when I started to resent ministry. It was taking my husband out of the house, some nights until late, and I was doing bath and bedtimes alone and I was feeling overwhelmed.

I had no relationship with the students of Grace and no clue what was going on in their lives. It wasn't real to me, therefor didnt feel important to me. So to get involved was going to make this personal for me. Little did I know that getting involved would mean my husband would have me teaching to 75+ students on wednesday nights, leading a small group, facebooking students, meeting them and their parents, etc. Basically everything that terrified me, he was making me do! He "forced" me, in a sense, to jump right in. And I have fallen in love with these students and have absolutely loved getting to know them. They are all amazing. I have never met teenages who just love Jesus and can't wait to get to church to worship him. It's pretty incredible what God is doing with them.

Last month, my husband begged asked me to teach on wednesday night in our Fallout service for our "Stories" series, which entailed leaders sharing their life story of what God had done in their lives. We had been running 70ish students pretty consistently. That's alot of people to me! I was nervous and honestly didn't want to do it. But I knew God had given me a message to share, and I needed to follow in obedience and share that story. So I swallowed my pride of not wanting to appear vulnerable in front of these kids, and shared my story of what I have experienced and how God has changed me. After two failed ungodly relationships, a broken heart and lots of scars, God rescued me and redeemed my life.

It was hard for me to share this because I am a private person. I don't want my dirty laundry aired for the world to know. I want my past in my past and I dont want to talk about it, nor have anyone else talking about it. But I knew that if God had done something so wonderful in my life, it's my obligation to share it and give him the glory for it.

A week passes and I didn't really receive alot of feedback from students. Several of the leaders had messaged me and encouraged me, thanking me for sharing, but I was questioning whether I should have shared or not. I was thinking no one probably wanted to hear a message from me, therefore it was probably pretty pointless for me to share and all that preparation and stress was in vane. I was asking God whether or not I actually heard from Him, questioning if the message was from Him or not. I know this was just the devil trying to discourage me. I had already made up my mind I was NEVER speaking again. It was too much work and I don't like doing it. =)

But a week later on wednesday night a mother and her student approaced me after the service. I won't share all of this girl's story for her privacy, but basically she was in a relaionship, her mother did not want her in it and was deciding how to deal with it. During my message, she heard God speak to her and basically tell her she needed to end the relationship. I think hearing what I went through while in a relationship that was not approved by God, really opened her heart to hear from God regarding her own relationship. Now I fully believe that if God spoke that to her, it was to save her from lots of heartache. He knows what is best for us.

I felt pretty honored to have played a role in this sweet girl's life. I know it wasn't me who spoke to her and told her to end this relationship. I know God could have done it any time and she could have listened. But, for some reason, He allowed it to happen this way. He ordained it that she would be there that night with a softened heart to hear from Him. He allowed me to be a part of this. Just as much as this has changed her life, it also changed my perspective on ministry completely. THIS is why we do it. This is why we sacrifice family time for the sake of ministry. This is why we put time and money into ministry. THIS is why we have stress at times in our home and attacks from Satan on our family. Because we realize what is at stake. Lives. It's all worth it.

I am thankful I finally came to this point. That I can truly say I love ministry and I love being a part of what God is doing at Grace. If you are not involved at a church, you should come check out ours. If you do attend Grace, make sure you are involved in our church wholeheartedly. You too can have moments like I did where you are part of God changing someone's life. He can use every single one of us to impact lives. We cannot successfully run our ministries without volunteers. We have an amazing team in the youth and Adam and I would never be able to do all this work alone. So get involved church. Serve in the nursery, volunteer in the gKidz or come help us out in the youth. Get involved in a gGroup, either on sunday morning or through one of mid-week groups. Start a gGroup of your own. Invest in the church, and God will invest in you. Your life will never be the same. I promise.

So if anyone ever wonders why we chose this profession, why we do ministry the way we do, why we run our church the way we do. Because we see that it's working. That lives are being changed as a result of us hearing from God.  We have realized that sunday mornings do not exist for us and our family of four (and I would say this for the entire staff of our church). We are there to serve. When I enter the church, I am not there with the intentions of what am I going to receive today or what can I gain from this? I am there to serve others and whatever I receive or gain on the way, is just icing on the cake. This doesn't mean that God is not going to speak to me or that I am not going to receive anything that day, or worship Him through the music. It is just not my main focus. I need to make time during the week to spend time with Jesus and receive from Him so that I can focus on pouring into others when I walk into Grace. This is a challenge for me, and I have not perfected this, but it's a work in progress. I pray that God continues to change my heart into a heart for others. I believe with all my heart that is the reason God calls us into ministry. To serve others and see lives changed as a result.