Finding God's grace in normal life

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2017 Reflections
I usually write a Christmas card letter…I just couldn’t get it done for some reason.  I have lots to be thankful for and as I continue to move through life I only know in part when one day I will know fully, as I am fully known.  We got to see some amazing things, we had great family adventures, we unplugged, we lead, we cried, we hurt, we healed.  Here’s where everyone is because I don’t want to have a year when I can’t read our summary next Christmas…so here’s the Christmas letter that almost never was…

Karson (11) my conscientious perfectionist-he’d play video games or read books about sports or trade sports cards with any of his free time as long as we would let him.  He is a leader who enjoys leading his siblings to construct amazing lego cities and star wars battles (sprinkled with his sister’s Lego princess castles in the battle for the universe).  He entered 6th grade (middle school) and began learning to play the trumpet (which we’ve discovered is a very loud instrument).  haha  When he walked in the first day he was ready and confident.  We’ve had conversations about words and I’ve defined more words that I really want him to know…he’s flirting with the balance of culture’s way of living life and God’s best way of living life.  He is navigating friendships that are changing and little boys trying to understand the grown up world much too young in my opinion.  If I ask him what he is thinking he often says nothing, but every now and then he will be chatty and want to teach me all about what he is thinking about.  I love those moments. This year he loved the thrill rides at Disneyworld…the bigger the drop and the faster it went the better.  He acted like meeting characters wasn’t that big a deal but he was pretty excited to meet anybody from Star Wars and Big Hero 6.  He mastered the wake board this summer and continues to snow ski faster than I am comfortable watching him do through the trees. 

Karis (9) my joyful song-A 4th grader this fall, she is my living doll.  She hardly ever forgets to change her earrings and match her outfit.  She can be alone with her imagination and creating colorful glittery projects while music is blaring and she is  singing along.  She enjoys volleyball and piano but really likes the time with her friends and her kind piano teacher…she is highly relational and loves people.  She has lots of friends and recently told me about a conversation at school where the girls were discussing if God makes bad things happen or not, to which she told her friends all good things come from God he doesn’t make us sin that’s our choice.  She hears from God.  I’ve prayed this for her since she was named, her middle name is Hannah, a woman of prayer in the Bible.  She is sensitive and caring and sees people, I mean really sees people.  She has women in our church she calls friends, though they are in their 20s.  She hasn’t learned her multiplication facts because she just doesn’t mind not knowing them, She doesn’t worry much at all.  She liked white water rafting for the first time this year and would say that meeting Ariel, Mary Poppins, Belle, and Tinkerbell were her highlights of Disney…though she also enjoys the thrill rides and the fabulous shows with singing and dancing.  She now wants to be a Disney princess and perform at Disney when she grows up.  We delighted in the sights at Glacier National Park together talking about God’s creativity for us to enjoy, but also really loved that Aunt Jana was with us!  During family dance parties she makes up her own routines and always has a costume change.

Karter (6) my rambunctious cuddler-He began all day school as a big Kindergartner this Fall.  He tells me all the 3 digit numbers he can add and all the words he sees that he can read; he’s pretty proud of his academic accomplishments.  His sister has taught him a lot in their many sessions of school in her room.  He continues to strive to keep up with his big brother athletically and closely follows with unending effort.  We went mountain biking this summer on a real mountain and he was brave through it all keeping up and leading us at times.  He lives life to the full with unabashed risk as long as he feels safe and in control haha.  His summer goal was to fish with real worms and he caught many fish doing so during our lake vacation.  He says winter is his favorite because he gets to sled and snow ski.  He jokes with sarcasm well beyond his years (where does that come from).  He is a happy helper when chores are issued and quickly adheres to the cause/effect world around him…unload dishes then go play.  He makes us laugh often and keeps us parents on our toes.  He likes music, but not the slow ones and has a surprising ability to sing lyrics to songs.  He does many fly by “pats” (hits) as he runs through the house (much to his sister’s chagrin).  At the end of every dinner he climbs up on Keith’s shoulders until we all are done.  Yes, not cool for much longer but we know this will inevitably end so for now we let it happen.  He likes riding his bike and played basketball this winter.  Karter’s goal at Glacier was to see animals and was not content with that being eagles or squirrels so when we saw big horn sheep and mountain goats that topped out his must see list rather fully.  He did not tire of the thrill rides at Disney and was often the youngest in line for them.  He was mesmerized by meeting the Star Wars characters and maybe a little worried when the storm trooper approached him.

Our church, Resonate Church, which Keith continues to be lead pastor, planted another Collegiate Church in Oregon and additional sites in two of our existing towns (in order to reach community outside of college students too) as well as one internationally.  Across our sites we have seen 140 people come from Death to Life, choosing Jesus in 2017. That is what life is really about…being asked by God to do the seemingly impossible and then God actually doing the impossible…choosing to use us along the way.  Resonate turned 10 in August and we’ve begun a look back over the first decade, filming documentaries we are calling “Only God”
…because we greatly recognize that we have lived through so many only God moments and it has been crazy to think and remember so many of them. 
We are on an adventure to plant 21 collegiate churches by 2021 here’s a video for that
Resonate was invited to share our story of our 3rd generation church plant at a large gathering for our denomination…we have now sent a team to church plant that has sent out a team to church plant.
Possible only because of God, things we didn’t even know to dream about 10 years ago!!

Keith and Paige both turned 40 in 2017, so we ran our 2nd 1/2 marathon and lived to tell about it...we’d like to say we feel wiser and more mature but we continue to prefer late nights over early mornings…which we used to equate to being immature and wondered when we’d grow out of that…maybe we won’t.  We read something that said “How am I about to be 40, I still feel 20…but then I hang out with 20 year olds and I’m like no never mind I’m 40.” In some ways our environment keeps us young.  Keith mastered wakeboarding this summer, mostly motivated by the desire to not let our oldest kid outdo him.  Just kidding, or am I? Keith continues to spend free time researching golf clubs or playing golf inside our garage swing clinic or outside as soon as its warm or close to it.   In the summer, we had a car accident and this resulted in Paige having back surgery and has lived to tell about it and hopes to resume life as close to normal as before one day.    As our third kid began full time school, Paige continued multiplication beyond her biological kids to her spiritual kids, those in our church.  She continued to explore a great passion of hers, to invest into the lives of women in our church, namely those who are church planter wives.  Being able to spend time and lead our ladies has been a joy this year as this continues to be a group of women that expands.

What a blessing we count our days…we have rough days raising a tween and teaching our daughter about friend drama and our youngest to use his words not his hands haha but for as long as God sees fit for us to breath on earth we rejoice in His goodness even when life isn’t always just as we expect. 

We thank God with blessing us with these.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

17 years

For each year of our marriage I write about us and attach a song to our is the 17th edition...

We’ve walked through life as best friends more than we haven’t…we met when I was barely 18.  You know me better than anyone else and I know you—your thoughts, hopes, and fears more than I know anyone else’s.  I really like that intimacy, even though sometimes it’s so vulnerable and raw.  
This year has gone by so quickly…we have a middle school-er, a 4th grader, and our baby is in kindergarten.  Where did the time go?  You keep our lives interesting and I love it.  You’re teaching our boys to become men and our daughter to be loved without strings attached or conditions.  Our church turned 10!! Remember when we nervously, with nothing but faith and a call, stepped onto that limb convinced we had to do…you’ve always been so courageous to run after what God puts on your heart…you were created for this!  Risking all but really nothing to lose when you know we are led by God.  We’ve been blessed to share God’s story of His church to 1,000s this year and that’s brought more adventures, some to even beautiful places that I won’t soon forget.  We’ve seen beaches, met the florida mouse, and spaceships, rivers and lakes…This journey continues to humble us.  I am sure that God’s favor in multiplying churches is bringing Him glory and changing lives; ours and our kids included.  

17 years…that’s almost the amount of life I’d lived when we met—I can’t see where you begin and I end in a lot of ways.  There’s a quiet confidence to our love.  It’s stood the test of some time through the years…we’ve fought hard, cried, we’ve apologized and we’ve grown up.  We have our recurring conflicts but they really aren’t often new things—we know each other’s tendencies, fears and weaknesses and when living in the Spirit this is the safest place to be.  You’re steady.  You’re unwavering.  You want to include me and our family in your life and not keep us separate.  You carry much weight, sometimes unimaginable weight of decisions and messy lives…yet our love grows deeper, sustainable and comfortable while sharpening us to be the best us. 

This song says a lot about love that lasts from 23-70, I’m here for you.  I have days where it feels as though I fall in love with you all over again…I’ll sit under the stars with you and dream and discuss our day and our kids and our life…it doesn’t matter who knows you or what successes or failures life brings…I’ll be loving you right where you are.
I wouldn’t and couldn’t ask for more.

Ed Sheeran, Thinking out Loud
And darling I will be loving you 'til we're 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don't remember my name
When my hands don't play the strings the same way, mm
I know you will still love me the same

Friday, January 20, 2017


During the Fall, Handsome K and I had the privilege of going away for 9 days.  Some work. Some play. All together!  The grandmas (his mom and my mom) kept the kids.  Flew in from Texas to watch over our babies (they aren’t actually babies anymore). 

We have specific rules about screen time in our home…rules that get me called endearing names like “mean mommy” and conversation starters like “you’re not fair” and “everybody else gets to.”  But I push forward.

One grandma told me that one of the nights she went to check on the kids after they had been put to bed and one was still awake explaining he liked to sit on his bed sometimes and think.  I found that interesting because he’d never voiced this before, and I thought I’d inquire about this with him in the near future...wanting to know about what he’s been laying awake at night pondering. 

Then later the first night of my homecoming, one grandma said she just looked in on him and he was still awake 1.5 hours after being put to bed.  So I went in to check on him.

He rolled over after he saw me and hid his face.  With the IPAD under his chest attempting to hid it (but not doing a very good job).  

My heart sank.  My prayer for him since birth has been the verse in 1 Kings which talked of Elijah being a man of God and the words he spoke being truth.  I’m not sure if the middle names we’ve chosen for our kids are because that’s where they will be strong or weak or both sometimes, but I pray that he will be a man of God and the words he speak be truth.  Both Truth with a capital T, like the Gospel, God’s love, Jesus’ death and resurrection and saving grace…and truth—like he will choose to not lie when tempted to do so.

Thankfully, I recently heard someone talk about asking the question, “Is there something you’d like to tell me or is there a secret that you need to say out loud?”  Promoting community and forgiveness within our family is my heart so I gently said…

“Is there something you’d like to tell me?” 


For about 1 minute.

Then a quiet slow…Yeeessss.

As he hands me the Ipad.

And he begins to cry, immediately confessing and apologizing.  He was caught in his sin.  He didn’t deny it or blame someone else.  I told him that I forgive him and we took a moment for him to ask God to forgive him.  I told him I was proud of him for confessing and reminded him what we know about confession.


You can’t have darkness in the light.  We talked about how it feels now that he’s not hiding it anymore.  He said he felt nervous.  He confessed he saw it, checked the battery life, got the was premeditated.  Then he acted on it.  I know the content won’t always be a question game about states and their capitals or games about grocery shopping (which thankfully was what he was playing, believe me I searched the ipad and icloud)…but for now my son understands the weight of guilt and secret sin on his level.  And he said it wasn’t worth it.

He told me he knew I’d know.  He almost wanted me to find out it seemed.  I told him I pray that he will always be caught or he will confess so we can work it out as a family and he doesn’t have to carry those things alone.  Bringing it into the light means no more darkness for that sin.  Things kept in secret are often those kind of things…dark, heavy, and festering.

I asked him if he remembered thinking about it throughout the day, he said yes.  We talked about how Satan wants to distract us and make us think our way is better.  I told him our screen rule is not a rule we have to deny him but to protect him because we love him.

He apologized a few times more.  I told him that wasn’t necessary that I forgive him but a little trust was broken.  I was living in a world where he was obeying so it may mean we talk about it again.  He hugged me the kind of hug where your kid kind of melts into you and feels like a limp toddler in your arms. 

A weight was lifted from his little shoulders.

He confessed some more things to me about the last few days.  It was beautiful to see his heart and hear his words.  He’s growing in the Lord. 

My child, I have great confidence that when you stumble you will get back up and take hold of the grace you do not deserve but God freely gives you.  His forgiveness. 

I beat myself up and think I deserve some wallowing and shame when I hurt someone with my words or make sharp accusations toward my family.  But the same grace and forgiveness is offered to me too.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s so easy to be forgiven, I should be punished…because that makes sense, right?

That’s one of the bazillion ways God’s love amazes me…he doesn’t want to punish us, he unconditionally loves us and chooses to forgive us.

Confession means we admit wrong, it’s humbling and feels embarrassing at times.  But confession brings freedom…I heard it in my son’s words and saw it in his countenance. 

It’s beautiful. 

It’s healing.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.   James 5:17