Finding God's grace in normal life

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Our call to something...

When Keith and I knew we were supposed to get married it was a God thing. God does that, He knows our strengths and weaknesses and He knows us personally so He knows how best to speak to us.  Therefore, the way He speaks, can be different, well, because people are more for the sake of writing this down for our kids to see Gods sovereignty, here's our story.

Keith and I had been close friends all through college (since Fall 1995), for 3 1/2 years.  We were involved in ministry together, we hung out together, we were in leadership together.  We were together a lot.

January 1999
My last semester of my senior year we had a collegiate ministry leadership seminar where a lady came and spoke about our life's mission statement and how to write your life's purpose statement.  I'm not usually the global big picture thinker so when asked to come up with this I wasn't good at it.  I prayed "Lord, give me a vision for my future," then I squeezed my eyes shut really tight and tried to see it.  Something came to mind after a long time, probably three minutes. I wrote that down and folded it up about ten times. I didn't think that I should share this at all, it was hard enough to write down and think that far, 10 years, in the future.  Then she said to share it with those beside you, which thankfully happened to be my roommates and closest friends.

I showed them.

It wasn't grand, it didn't have anyone's name in it, but it was kind of scary (meaning there were unknown steps) and a dream (meaning I didn't really know if it was literal or figurative).  But it was pretty unique and specific in a couple of areas.

Then the speaker said, "Is there anyone that would like to stand up and share what they wrote with everyone?"

I got dry mouth and had a quick one sided conversation with God that went something like this..."God you know it was hard for me to write something down without knowing if it will happen, that was courageous enough, right God? So you don't want me to share it out loud or anything right?"

Quick pause.

"Ok, thanks God, I didn't think so."

I stopped sweating and listened to people as they stood.  Keith stood.

I wasn't surprised. I already knew he was a dreamer, a visionary, someone who was moving forward compelled by love.

What he shared (things I promise we had never ever talked about before in any of our late night kitchen conversations in the past 3 1/2 years)...

Was suspiciously the same as what I had written down.  Specific parts of it.

My friends on both sides of me had their elbows in my ribs and in a strong whisper said, "You have to tell him!!!"

Tell him what?  That we wrote the same thing down?  Why would I do that?  Nope I don't think so.

Earlier that day we had planned for Keith to come over and grab a movie and hang out.  Not uncommon, because all of us were friends. When the seminar was done, Keith walked up to us and said, "Why don't we talk instead of getting a movie?"

While we were getting drive-thru take-out Chinese food my roommates convinced me to agree that if he asked me I would tell him.  Well, when Keith arrived my roommates mysteriously decided they wanted to go to bed instead of talking and they made their exit.

Smooth ladies. Thanks.

So we sat down and he asked me what I wrote.

My best friend and I talked for three hours.  Wondering if there was something bigger happening.

I asked a lot of questions to God over the next four months.  I was deciding what was next when I graduated, I was interviewing for internships in college ministry...I was asked to serve in Georgia, I accepted.

Keith looked different.  I know that sounds girly, but he did.  Not since our freshman year where we painfully flirted about three times then he asked out someone else had I thought about us being in a relationship.  Now he was truly my best friend.  It would be a big step and my best friendship was at stake if it didn't work.

I prayed for direction a lot everyday.  I prayed for peace, God's unspeakable, unexplainable peace.

June 20, 1999
While journaling my prayer that morning, I wrote these words down, "I know that I will marry Keith, please help him to say this before I move away in 6 weeks."  I re-read what I wrote, because I kind of didn't plan to write that.

August 1999
I moved to Georgia. Keith had not said anything about our future.
I left peacefully but prayerfully because technically there was no plan for us to ever live in the same town again.

September 1999
One morning I was praying and journaling and God gave me a vision of Keith and I married, working with college students, in a church that's really different.  I didn't know what all of that meant, but that together part was beautiful.

Since Keith hadn't lead any future talk yet, I didn't think I should tell him.  I wanted desperately for a man to lead in decisions and spiritually if I was to marry him.  So I hadn't told him about my prayer back in June.  I wanted him to say it first.

So that night on the phone Keith said, "Tonight during a worship service I had something really strange happen."

I was intrigued of course.  Then Keith wasn't sure he should share it.  I then quickly and almost quietly said I had something strange happen to me that morning.  We both vocalized it was about the future and after great deliberating, decided to share.

He said almost exactly what I had written down while praying that morning.  I said, "Let me get my journal and I'm going to read exactly what I wrote down this morning. "

Nothing we had talked about before.

I was shivering, but I wasn't cold.

We were quiet, silent actually.

September 18,1999
Keith had a flight arranged to come visit and a hurricane hit the coast of Florida and delayed him. He told me that he would drive if he had to.  For some reason he really needed to see me.

Then he read me the lyrics to "I could not ask for more."

We hadn't said we loved each other because (being such close friends) we knew that we both desired for those words to come closely to a specific important question.  But when I hung up the phone...

I knew.

He loved me.  I actually said it out loud to myself. "He loves me."

September 20, 1999
He came to visit.

He told me he loved me.

I said it back to him.  Then I found my journal and read what I wrote back in June.  I didn't want him to think that I was simply echoing his words, but God had brought me to that place too.

As we pursued what was next God affirmed three things to us...
We were to go to seminary,
work with college students
and move out of Texas.

We had an option in the Atlanta area, there was a seminary extension, a healthy church that would hire him as collegiate pastor but wanted to hire me as children's minister.

Almost right.

There was the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, seminary, college campuses, but that was Texas.

Then there was this large junior college in Vancouver,WA where we could work together and both attend seminary but with nearly no pay. Since pay wasn't part of what God told us but the rest was there we said yes!

We were engaged March 10, 2000 (that's a great story for another time, surprise proposal on a beach in's good I promise.  That was the day Keith proved he can never act like he doesn't know how to be romantic).

...and married September 9, 2000.
Had a wonderful honeymoon in Cancun, packed our life in a Honda Accord and U-haul trailer, and moved out of Texas, less than two weeks after we were wed.

God began the work on the vision He had given us.
We got married.
Then moved to Vancouver, WA, worked with college students.
Went to seminary, graduated May 2004.

And there was another piece of this vision that hadn't come to fruition yet...being a part of a church that's really different...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Community--The way we are made

The first day of school was last week for two of the K's.  This was a little hard for mommy, but the two K's were excited.  I listened as Little K told Princess K what to expect and how to do things as a Kindergartener.  He knows because he's already done that.  She listened intently and asked a few questions...then I heard him say, "Why don't we meet at the flagpole at recess and we can play together."  

Isn't that so cute.  

I loved hearing that even when they aren't at home and forced to be around each other they wanted to play together.  Little K has always been acutely aware of how people feel and what people are thinking.  This conversation brought tears to my eyes.  It made me think of how we are made to need community.  To need relationships.  God doesn't expect us to do life all on our own.  Thank God for that.  


Little K offered Princess K a safe, comfortable recess where she could play with someone who really knows her.  We all like that.  That sounds inviting.

The Lord reminded me of a verse that talks about loving each other.  Loving people is hard sometimes and these two kids definitely have their moments that are hard, but they genuinely love each other.  

Romans 12:9-10 says, "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
They often remind me how to genuinely love.  We want to provide that safe, comfortable place for those we love, regardless of if we like them at the moment or's what we are called to do as Christians.  When Little K was just barely 3 we were at a festival and Princess K was sitting in the grass (she wasn't able to crawl yet) and an ATV was driving around helping clean up.  Little K saw this (even though it was far away and Princess K was safe) He believed that she was in danger.  She was a plump little baby and he ran over and heaved her chubby body out of "harm's way."  He was so worried she was about to get hurt that he literally drug her across the grass.  True love, thinking of others more than yourself.
It's not natural, it's God given.
Throughout every morning thus far as Little K and Princess K have been at school, Baby K asks, "Where'd Karrrso and Kahwis go?"  In his cute little voice that mispronounces their names he too loves his community.  I thought he wouldn't miss a beat and maybe would enjoy the peace and quiet, but deep down he'd rather be in community too.  
It's really how we are made.
Our Church Plant, Resonate Church, just celebrated it's 6th birthday on 8/19.  We started this church with the extreme desire that life is better in community...we have seen lives transformed over and over through the gospel and community.  I'm thankful for my family community; me and the 4 K's and my bigger community of Resonate.  I've learned so much about love because of them.  
When I picked up Princess K from her first day I asked her what her favorite part of the day was.  
Without hesitation, she replied, 
"Playing with Little K."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Say what you mean and mean what you Say

I had a disgruntled moment and felt as though my life would never be organized again (I am packing up all we own in boxes right now, so this is a legitimate feeling of course)...

In the midst of my heart feeling chaotic and a little bit frustrated I said something I didn't really mean because well, it wasn't true.  But in that very moment it felt true, but it wasn't. 

I was picking up after one of the K's in my house (I promise I am teaching them to pick up after themselves, but I help out sometimes too) and I mumbled under my breath in my frustration.  

"Why, am I the only one who ever picks up anything around here."

Boy am I selfish.

I didn't know that little ears were listening.  Which is silly.  Aren't they always listening?

I proceeded picking up and walked into the next room to find my Conscientious Perfectionist crying with tears streaming down his sweet face.   

"Mom, you said nobody ever picks up and I do Mommy.  I pick up lots of my stuff and even help Princess K and Baby K pick up their stuff."

Why did I say that out loud?  Why did I even think that?  

Selfishness.  Desire for control.

I fall to my knees and grab ahold of Little K and give him a deep meaningful heartfelt hug that I hoped was saying I love you and I'm sorry and I didn't mean what I said.

Then why did I say it?

This is confusing to little people.  The little people I am teaching to tell the truth.


I was hurtful with my words that I didn't really even mean and that weren't even true.  ugh!

I apologized and sought reconciliation with my sweet boy who has always been more perceptive than his years when it comes to people's feelings.  

Little K taught me something about my words, re-taught me really.

Say what I mean and mean what I say.  I'm sure my Momma taught me that long ago too.

I need reminding alot.

Princess K, my Joyful Song, will randomly say, "Mom, I love you," or "You're my favorite mom."  (which is slightly ironic because I'm her only mom, but I get what she means because I tell her she's my favorite girl in the world)

Baby K, my Rambunctious Cuddler, will run full force as fast as his short little legs will carry him and grab onto my leg and squeeze really tight.  He also yells at the top of his lungs when I leave the room after putting him to bed, "I love you mommy" to which I yell back "I love you Baby K."  Then we yell our I love yous and our goodnights several times.

He's saying I love you.  In his own ways.

They are saying what they mean and meaning what they say.

Just honest.

I don't want frustration to rob my joy.

"A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back." Proverbs 29:11

I was a fool.  I want to hold back and eventually not even think those selfish frustrated thoughts.

I'm so thankful that my kids say what they matter what...

...and mean what they say.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who Knows Me?

After a visit back to the mother land of Texas I am left to ponder life a little bit differently than before.  My sweet, kind Grandma Beth who is approaching 85 years old is in a nursing home now.  She has been there since Dec 26, 2012.  I saw her the day she fell and fractured her hip and after hugging her when I had sneaked into the room where she was getting a scan we had to leave town.  I love my dear grandma.  She has taught me so much in my life, she influences what I sing to my kids and how I look at the world.  She read the Bible to me when I was a little girl, she always gave of herself for others…

I was able to visit with her several times and brought her to have dinner at my parents house one evening too.  She is quieter, frailer than I ever remember.  She’s still my grandma though.  The nurses refer to her Alzheimer’s as having  good days and bad.  She hasn’t been “diagnosed” yet, but she doesn’t remember anything for very long in the short term. 

My grandma and I have for years been taking pictures together sticking our tongues out.  The story?  Well, my mother was trying to get a good picture of us together at my college graduation, and Grandma and I whispered to each other (I cannot remember who’s idea it was??) that when Mom got to three on her picture count we would stick out our tongues.  So we did. 

It’s probably my favorite picture from graduation too.

Mom and I took my kids for a visit with Grandma in her room.  I so wanted her to call me by name and to go on and on about my kids.  But my sweet grandma, smiled and looked glad to see me but didn’t use my name…and of course, didn’t remember the kids names.  I knew she remembered me, simply by the way she responded and in her defense my kids have always lived 2500 miles away from her.   I handed Mom my camera and whispered in Grandma’s ear, like I have so many times before, except this time I explained what we should do for our picture together, just in case she didn’t remember.   We took “our picture” like old times.

Later, Mom (who I know wanted Grandma to remember too) told me she showed Grandma what to do while I was whispering it to her.  Did she remember or just copy?

While visiting my hometown, we went to my Grandma’s house, I walked through the rooms and remembered, smelled, and cried.  My Grandma isn’t with Jesus yet, so to walk through and choose things to remember her by felt premature.  I just walked and looked and cried.  More powerful than ever, I’m reminded how God has made us relational beings.  Nothing at my Grandma’s house makes us have a relationship, some of it’s special because it’s hers, but without the relationship it’s just stuff.  I chose a couple of small things like a scarf I remember playing dress-up with as a kid, and her sewing scissors.  I know if she could she would be happy that I try my hand at sewing a little.  I remember the 3 days she and I spent sewing a dress, petticoat, pantaloons, and apron for my china doll like it was yesterday.

I thought about how she has a small closet and a tiny dresser in her “new” room.  How she doesn’t need many belongings, how she left all behind and now doesn’t even realize it or talk about it much.  I thought about how materialistic things are really unimportant and how relationships last. 

I went back to visit her for the last time this trip, alone this time.  Over the course of the few days I visited, she hadn’t used my name.  I had asked God to allow me to see her for a moment like she used to be.  My heart wanted it so much.  It was late in the evening and I almost turned around because I thought she was asleep.  She popped up and said, “Hi Paige,” while moving her little body over in the bed for me to join her.  I put a pillow behind her head so she could lay back and she took my hands.  She said, “How are the little ones….how is Keith?”  I got tears in my eyes and smiled. 

She knew me.

We talked for about 30 minutes and even though she asked me 5 times when I had to leave, she knew me.  I told her about each of my three kids, Little K, Princess K, and Baby K.  I told her their names and why we named them.  I told her about their personalities and what they enjoy.  I told her how much I love them and how I wish that she could know them.  She told me something she used to say EVERYTIME we talked, “I know you are where the Lord wants you.”  She used my name again.    

She knew me.

I told her about how our church is doing and how we were recently invited to tell lots of people about what God is doing in our church.  She has always prayed for me, for my family, and for our church.  She was excited to hear about it.  She smiled.

Her eyes smiled too.

I knew I needed to say goodbye so I asked her if I could pray for her.  She said, “Why sure.”  I continued to hold her tiny hands.

I prayed for my Grandma.  I thanked God for her life.  I know there were angels crying with me.  (If angels can cry?)

When I finished, I had tears in my eyes.  Grandma stroked my hand with hers and said, “Now there.  It’s ok.  It’s ok.  It’s ok.” 

I know it is Grandma.

I am known.

Not only by my Grandma for a special 30 minutes, but by my Savior.  It’s a powerful thing to be known.  I allow people in my life to know me.  That’s powerful too.  I feel honored when others allow me to know them.

I use people’s name when I’m talking to them.  It shows I know them.

In a little room in Lufkin, Texas, my sweet Grandma began to forget again.  But she reminded me of something.

God knows my name.

We hugged and I left the room and before the door closed behind me I was sobbing right in the hall of that nursing home. 

Because after we hugged she said,  “I love you a bushel and a peck.”

And I replied, “and a hug around the neck Grandma.”

She has told me that as long as I can remember.

I say it to my kids every night. 

Being known changes everything.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

More than the Golden Rule

The K's and I are memorizing scriptures for each verse of the alphabet, at a very slow pace.
Some of them are familiar when talking about how to treat each of them being, "Be kind to one another and build each other up." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

We say this all the time...

Someone steals a toy right out of another's hand in mid play....
Be Kind to one another.

Someone sneaks a fruit snack from another's bowl while they aren't looking...
Be Kind to one another.

Someone looses control and says something not very nice...
Be Kind to one another. (sometimes the someone is mommy)

After focusing on letter B a few weeks ago, we saw the rest of the verse...and build each other up.

It's adorable to hear the things that a 7 and 4 year old say to "build each other up."

"You're a good builder."

"You're a good cleaner."

"I like it when you do ballet."

"You're very smart for a one year old."  

(actual words from the kids)

Throughout my normal day I often feel like I have to correct and redirect the majority of the time.  God has been reminding me about the "build each other up" part recently.  Doesn't it feel good when you are encouraged?  

For Valentine's Handsome K and I wrote dozens of compliments/encouragements on little hearts for the kids.  Simple things.  Easy to do.  

You should have seen the smiles and how they wanted to read them as fast as they could.  God is right it matters when we encourage one another.

I sat down this morning with a magazine I gifted myself, popular one we women know.  This month's Q&A was..."What is the greatest compliment you've ever received?"  

Yep a grown-up magazine allotted two pages for readers to submit the most encouraging thing they've ever been told.  Comments ranged from what a teachers, bosses, children and strangers have said to others.  Some of the memories decades old.

What am I saying to my kids?

What am I saying to strangers and friends?

Even the world notices what God has been telling us.  This compelled me to write.  So today, I want to "Be kind to one another and build each other up."  

My husband.

My kids.


God's ideas are the best.