Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simple worship

VERY cool night tonight! My friend, T.J. Haycox, who I have known since high school, had a great idea a while ago that I was able to participate in tonight. He had the idea to start something called a "Him Sing"...a night where people gather, very casually, bring guitars and songsheets, and come with hearts ready to worship. He has already had a handful of these "Him Sings" and tonight was the first night I was able to go.

So, Matt Glass, T.J., Christy Fritz and I hung out in T.J.'s living room and had a chill evening of worship. We sang some songs I had not sung in years!! We went old school and it was so refreshing!! It reminded me of how much I LOVE stripped down, authentic worship! Nothing loud, nothing flashy, no program involved, no planning involved...just worship!

I left feeling so refreshed spiritually, and I felt honored to be a part of a simple night of worshiping God with fellow believers. Thanks T.J. - thanks for your heart and vision for this.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A servant friend of mine

As you can see by lack of blogging this month, January tends to be a somewhat blah month for me. Holidays are over, the weather is pretty yucky, and it seems the sun is not out a whole lot. SO, when I feel this way, it is always good for me to stop and focus on all that I have to be thankful for, which gives me a little perspective.

So today, I want to spend a few minutes writing about someone in my life who I am truly thankful for.This is a dear friend of mine named Pam Sharp who has taught me so much about serving and giving selflessly. She and I have been friends for years and I consider her to be such a TREASURE in my life. Pam loves people so well and she has one of those personalities that lights up a room. She is almost always smiling and joyful and her joy is contagious to those who come in contact with her.

When I was in youth ministry, I often had parents tell me how much it meant to them to have someone loving and pursuing their child. Now that I am a parent, I have found one of the greatest ways I feel loved by people is when they take an interest in/care about my children. This is where Pam comes in...

So, when we found out Zach had Down Syndrome, Pam went to the library and immediately began reading up on DS so she would better understand what we would be facing. She came over and cried with me and immediately took a huge interest in Zach's life. (She is a favorite of Taylor's too, by the way). Well, I think it was sometime over last summer, Pam and I were having coffee and she said she had something to share with me. She said she really felt like she wanted to spend time regularly with Zach. She wanted him to grow up knowing her and for him to never remember a time when she was not in his life! I said "Thanks, but no thanks Pam. I really don't want anyone caring for Zach like that." JUST KIDDING!!!!!! Of course, I was deeply moved, as you can imagine.

This year we came up with a plan. I take Taylor to dance on Thursdays so Pam comes over every Thursday afternoon and spends time with Zach for a couple of hours while I go and have some time just with Taylor.

Now I don't "pay Pam back" in any way. She just comes over and serves us and loves us in this huge way every week by loving our little Zach. Her life is very full and she has a job, a husband and two kids of her own, and yet she still sacrifices her time to come and do this. Not many people today are willing to serve and give so sacrificially. I have learned so much through Pam's "gift" to us. She has been a definite example to us of the amazing love of Christ. She has lived out this verse "Each of you should look not only to your own interests , but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4) as well as "Serve one another in love." (Galatians 5:13) She is no doubt serving us in love, and her example as well as her friendship has impacted my family and me greatly.

So, don't you agree that even on a somewhat dreary January day, I have so much to be thankful for? Not the least of which is my dear friend, Pam.

This picture is Pam and Zach at the "Buddy Walk" in October.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Opportunity to live it out!!

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well: keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:14-17

These are the verses that were rolling around in my head on Christmas Eve as I laid in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about who was sleeping downstairs...and no, I am not talking about our Elf on a shelf!!

Here is what happened...we went to the 4:30pm Christmas Eve service at church. I am a planner , so we definitely have traditions on Christmas Eve. I had put together our meal of "Overnight French toast" which is one of our Christmas Eve traditions, that we would eat upon returning home from church. Then we would read about Jesus' birth from the book of Luke, and then put the kids to bed. Phillip and I have our own tradition of exchanging gifts and listening to Christmas music later in the evening. (I know-AWWWWWW,so sweet!) The night ended up looking a little bit different...

I have written before about two women who have been coming to our church who happen to be homeless and are presently living out of a car. I met them when our church hosted an overflow shelter for the Salvation Army. Well, they happened to be at church at the 4:30pm service.I saw one of them and went up to her after the service and before I could even think, I felt God urge me to invite her and her friend over to the house for dinner. Because I am such a planner, I don't usually do "spur of the moment" things like that. She gladly accepted the invitation for she and her friend, and after I told Phillip what was happening (sometimes when the Spirit moves, you don't have time to consult your spouse!!), they said they would follow us to our home.

We prayed on the way home and told Taylor we were having some guests for dinner. Then Phillip brought up the point that he was not going to feel right sending them out for the night so what if they spent the night with us? I probably said something really spiritual at that point like "Let's just see what happens..." (ha!)

We ended up having a nice dinner around the table, and after dinner, we made some hot chocolate and just sat around and talked. Phillip got the Bible out and read the story from Luke and then we put the kids to bed. By the time I got back downstairs, Phillip had already invited them to stay the night. They accepted and we brought their stuff in from the car.

Like I said, I am a planner...this was not what I had planned for Christmas Eve, but it was definitely what God had planned for our family!! So, when Santa came that night, he found two new friends in our home. On Christmas morning, when Taylor came in our room , we told her our friends had spent the night so she would not be alarmed. She said,"Mom, I am just so impressed that they stayed the night!!!" Hilarious!

We went downstairs and had our Christmas morning , while one of our friends lay on the couch watching it all, and the other stayed in the basement and just "chilled out", as she said. We all gathered to give our friends a little present on Christmas Day and got some Christmas morning pictures. One of them laughingly remarked "Hey-we are the darker side of your family!!" Once they opened their gift, one of them said "This is the best Christmas I have had in seven years!"

I,too, would say it was a wonderful Christmas,and one I will not forget! I thank God that His plans are different than ours,and sometimes we just need to step out in faith.

Now, as a follow up, I am asking God to protect our friends as they are sleeping in a car during one of the coldest winters I can remember. Since I have opened the door to such an experience, it is hard for me now to just "move on" from that. We'll see where God leads us in the future. I do know He reminded me of those verses on Christmas Eve and His word is living and active!!