Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Which Voice are You Listening To?

These days we are getting up EARLY in the morning. It's quite the hike from Hendersonville to Nashville Christian and Mercy Ministries. I actually tracked it the other day and for me to go from home to work, pick up the girls, and back home again and nowhere else is 91.6 miles. I just got my oil changed and it's already time to do it again! But it's worth it. That time in the car alone is some of the only time I get alone. Ever.

So, a couple of days ago, Daddy went upstairs to wake Big Sister and Little Sister. I do the follow up about 5 minutes later and Big Sister was still in the bed. I "encouraged" her to get up and get going so Daddy wouldn't be "frustrated" that they were running late. I use the terms "encouraged" and "frustrated" loosely of course. She showed up downstairs after a few minutes and once they were in the car, Daddy told me about their conversation on the way out.

Big Sister: Dad, you know what I did this morning when I was deciding what to do?

Daddy: What?

Big Sister: I used my conscience!

Daddy: Really? That's good. You should always listen to your conscience.

Big Sister: Yeah. That's the first time I've ever used those guys.

Daddy: Really? (Thinking..."those guys"?)

Big Sister: You know the bad conscience tries to get you to do the wrong thing.

Daddy: Yeah. You should always listen to your good conscience.

Big Sister: Yep. I just flicked the devil one right off my shoulder. (along with the visual of her flicking an imaginary devil off her shoulder)

Maybe she's beginning to understand the Holy Spirit. Maybe she's watched one too many cartoons. Either way, as long as she listens to the "good conscience", otherwise known as the "God conscience", and keeps flicking the devil off her shoulder, she'll be doing better than a lot of us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Been Wondering Where I've Been?

Well, I know, I said I was going to be blogging again and then...nothing. But I have a really good reason. Something amazing has happened. It has been a year long process for us but I thought you might be encouraged to know how trusting God has been so worth it. His plan is always best. But here's the background.

2009 was a tough year. It is truly by the grace of God that none of us realized just how tough it was until we were clear of it all. Basically, The Coach had it pretty rough for the last couple of years. I won't go into details but suffice it to say, it was hard to see my husband so miserable and feeling so powerless to change the very things he was being held accountable for. We would often quote James to each other saying, "Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Eventually this got shortened to, "Pretty soon, we'll not be lacking anything."

As for me, I knew I had one more year with Little Sister at home and was wondering and praying about what God would have me do. Although I believed that God had spoken to me that I would one day be a writer, I was certain it was something I would do for free and on my own time and that maybe one day, someone would read my words. I also felt a calling towards ministry. I began to wonder if I should go to seminary and if maybe God would allow me to write Bible studies one day. I felt pulled in so many directions and I couldn't see how these things could happen so I started to think about going back to teaching. I began substituting in January of 2010 for a Mother's Day Out program and figured I'd better get back in the swing of things. My thinking was that I would teach, and in the summers, I would pursue writing.

Then in the spring of 2010, when we were at our wits end and feeling very discouraged, the call came in. A new opportunity for The Coach. We saw real ways the Lord used our trials to move us in a new direction. He was offered the head coaching position at a new school that seemed to be the perfect fit for us. The school is K-12 with a great 5 day a week PreK so to my amazement, Big Sister and Little Sister would be able to go to school with Daddy! I suddenly found myself free to work a year earlier than I had planned and I wasn't sure what to do. I thought I had another year to figure out what God had in store for me, but I put together my resume and started the job search...for teaching positions.

One of the things I included in my newly updated resume was my volunteer work at Mercy Ministries. Mercy is a free-of-charge, biblically based program for young women ages 13 - 28 dealing with life controlling issues like sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, unplanned pregnancy, self-harm, eating disorders and most recently, sex-trafficking victims. The unwed mothers at Mercy Ministries spend six weeks deciding whether to place their babies for adoption or to parent and some of those who decide to parent don't have the resources that most of us do.

When my friends and I became mothers, we decided it was time to reach out and help mothers in need so in 2007, we started volunteering with Mercy Ministries. We had each other to throw baby showers and make sure we had everything we needed to get started but many of the girls at Mercy Ministries have been abandoned by their families and friends. We decided to be "stand in friends" for the girls. We call ourselves "Blessed Beginnings" and we have about 3 - 4 showers each year where we provide food, cake, flowers, full travel system, diaper bag, clothes, and all that other fun stuff. It has been such a blessing and I have loved being a part of Mercy Ministries in this way. About a year ago, one of my girlfriends with "Blessed Beginnings" even went on staff at Mercy in the Development Department.

So back to the story... I had been searching for jobs, contacting former employers and such and...nothing. But I have to say, I was so encouraged by what God had done for my husband and how it was so clear that all of the trials had been preparation, that I believed the same for myself. I prayed over and over, "God, I didn't see this coming, but it was no surprise to you. I don't know what I'm going to be doing this year, but you do. After seeing what you did for my husband and children, I can't wait to see what you have in store for me."

On June 5th, I was at Mercy for a baby shower when I overheard my friend who works there talking about a job opening. Somewhere in there I heard the word "writer" so I wandered over to ask what she was talking about. She told me they were looking for a writer at Mercy and suddenly her eyes opened wide and she said, "I forgot you were looking for a job, you should apply! I think you might be a perfect fit! You have that blog!" While the job sounded amazing, I didn't really think of myself as a "writer" and was pretty sure no one else would. I felt wary but something stirred in me and the picture started to come into focus. Could this possibly be where God was leading? It seemed too good to be true! All this time, I could have never imagined that God might allow me to be a paid ministry...with a ministry I already loved! Even if I could have thought of that, I would have never had the guts to ask Him for it!

Well, in the end, I got the job! I am now the Coordinator of Marketing and Media, more often referred to as "the new writer", and I LOVE it! I collect news, photos, and video from the four Mercy homes across the country and write stories for the main website. The job has evolved some since I started at the end of June and I'm learning lots of new skills but the writing is my favorite part by far. Needless to say, while writing for Mercy makes me think of a million things I want to blog about, I'm often too tired to get it out by the time we all get home.

But...I can't wait to tell you more about this new journey God is taking us on. It is a LOT of change. The Coach has a new job, I have a new job after being home for seven years, the girls are at a new school, Little Sister is at school five days a week, and of course, it's football season! Praise God we are 3-1 so far! It's all change for the better, but it's still a lot of change at once and we are all adjusting. Pray for us as we make this transition and be sure to check out Mercy Ministries. You won't see my name's not about me. My job is to learn to be the voice of Mercy Ministries. But I think you will understand how blessed we feel when you understand the amazing work that God is doing there.

I plan to write here more often too. I MISS YOU! Let me know how you're doing and I'll write back soon!

P.S. If you would like to get involved with Blessed Beginnings, leave a comment here or look for us on Facebook!