Saturday, November 15, 2008

Big Girl Blogger

So I've officially switched to a more "mature" blog...Ryan didn't know if I was ready but I think the time has come. You can now find me HERE!!

I'm still trying to figure out the design of my page and how to add all my "widgets" but I'm excited and you should be too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whose burden is it?

I've been trying very hard to not blog about the election. Now, I was a political science student and even worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, but this has been the most even-keeled I've been during an election. I've been really excited about what has been going on in my heart that has kept me from getting too fired up. I think I should thank my hubby, Ryan, for being an example to me of someone who can zoom out and see big picture of what is going on. He has taught me that God is still very intricately involved in restoring and renewing life right now, here on Earth.

I have noticed since the election that Christians are super worried about the causes of our faith now that Obama has been elected. First of all, McCain is no superhero savior. I'm not sure our causes would be any better off with him but that's not my point. Here is my point...

Proverbs 29:7

"The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern"

Matthew 10:42

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward".

Matthew 28:19

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

These are just a few verses that come to mind when I think about who's burden it is to care about the things God cares about. It would be AMAZING to have a president who had a faith that was undeniable, clear, and apparent in their policy but we don't have that. We wouldn't have it in either situation but even if we did, the call to protect the unborn still falls on our shoulders. The call to treat all people as equal in the eyes of God falls on our shoulders. The call to make sure mouths are fed and people have access to health care falls on our shoulders.

How do we do this? Matthew 28:19

What if Christians infiltrated our workplaces, neighborhoods, parks, grocery stores, Starbucks, malls, apartment complexes, post offices, DMV waiting rooms, doctors offices, etc? What if we lived lives so radically different but with such gentle loving-kindness that even the mailman knew there was something different about you? What if we were the ones having conversations with our daughters, nieces, students and friends about the sanctity of life and the importance of purity? We need to be the ones sacrificing to care for the needs of that man who supposedly sleeps in the "boneyard" of our church. These are God's people.

I know this is a bunch of ideological passion talk, but it is also what has been handed to us as a Church. I don't have all the answers. I'm still wrestling with how to do it all but but we've also been told "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" -Jesus

Lets pray for Obama. Lets pray for the men and women who he will appoint to his cabinet. Lets pray for the believers who are a part of our federal government. Lets pray that God would place people in the lives of the Obama family who would be the voice of Holiness. And lets not forget that God never allows anything to happen that doesn't fit in the palm of His hand!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Nicole to share 7 interesting things about myself! It didn't take long to figure out what I wanted to say...not because I think I'm THAT interesting, but because I'm constantly analyzing who I am! So here goes...

1. I eat french fries in twos. I don't know why, but I cannot eat just one fry at a time, nor do I desire to grab three or more. I like things in evens.

2. I am a rule follower. Perhaps its the need for order in my life, but I appreciate rules. The example that best reflects this is when standing in line for a Southwest flight. They now give you numbers so that we can all line up in order to board the plane. I seriously get so agitated when I see people lining up out of order so they can be closer to the front of the line. They give us numbers for a reason people!

3. I am maybe the most indecisive person you'll ever meet. I think about things so much that I rarely make a spontaneous decision. My mom would second this and tells people all the time that I was even so indecisive as a little girl that when she would take me grocery shopping, she would drop me off in the candy aisle, tell me to pick one thing out that she would buy me, and then go do her shopping. I would stand there looking at the candy trying to decide what I wanted for so long that she would come pick me up from that aisle when she was done and it was time to check out!

4. I was born tongue-tied. Yep, my tongue was connected to the bottom of my mouth and the doctors had to surgically disconnect so that I would be able to talk :) I have a little divot at the tip of my tongue because of it, I'll show you sometime.

5. I'm a recovering hypochondriac. It all started a few years ago when I was having serious stomach problems. I would just get intense stomach pain, nausea, and feel full after eating two bites of food. No doctor could find anything wrong so I started to think they were missing something. Soooooo...Dr. Lindsay discovered and started to diagnose myself. Of course, I picked the worst case scenario (I'm also a recovering pessimist) and it all spiraled out of control from there. I'm happy to say I do not have leukemia....just a super acidic stomach that I take Prilosec for every morning :)

6. I may be quiet, but I usually do have something to say. I would call myself an introvert. I internalize things and am uncomfortable in a huge group of people. Thus, I tend to be pretty quiet, but don't let that fool you. I'm probably just thinking of all the things I want to say, but don't really feel the need to compete with the people who love to talk. Also, a lot of the time, what I'm thinking might get me in trouble if I say them out loud. I'm a rebel stuck inside a quiet girl's body. Poor Ryan is the only person who ever sees that rebel creep out :)

7. I relate smells to memories moreso than any other sense. I love when I smell something that floods my mind with different parts of my life. I can look at a picture of Christmas at my grandma's house and be able to reminisce, but if I smell brewing coffee during the winter, I'm actually back at my grandma's house crammed in the living room with the rest of my cousins playing "hide the spoon". I love, love, love the smell of no bake cookies, my dad's Polo cologne, cut grass, magnolias, Curve perfume, cigarette smoke (I know, weird, but thats my grandma swain), and flowers hot from the sun.

So here are the next 7 victims, mwaahaha :) Katie Sterbenz, Libby Snow, Katy Lang, Alyssa Burgess, Katelyn Sherman, Michelle Doan, Kelly Burgess

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blog about my blog

It has been 46 minutes since I posted my last entry and I'm super stressed about it. There are a ton of people who I love and respect that would probably disagree with my post or feel like I'm perhaps attacking them or their churches personally. I just want to put it out there that my thoughts were primarily about simplifying things and seeing the beauty of Christ and this life he invites us to without distraction and wondering if the church could or should embrace that idea.

Simple and Pure

I'm not even sure how to start out this blog. Oh...I guess that did the trick. I guess I should warn you that this is going to be an honest post about some thoughts I have on my mind. I know as a pastor's wife, I can't share everything on my mind publicly without having to rack my brain about how I might offend someone or get my husband in trouble :) P.S. I think that's sad, but unfortunately necessary. So here goes...

In church today, a good friend of ours, Brent, was teaching on Nehemiah 6 and pulled out a verse that I had never caught before but have not been able to stop thinking about. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says

"But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ".

Maybe this verse hit me harder because my husband is in vocational ministry so church to us is more than just being able to attend, or maybe its because I am a woman and we are notorious for making things more complex than they need to be (ok maybe that's just me) but I'm consumed with these words of Paul. After church the high school team had a meeting and we ended up talking a lot about distractions that teenagers face, not just in life, but even while sitting in church. We contemplated how we can reach 14-18 year old kids growing up in Orange County, the mecca of entertainment and distraction. We discussed how we can title messages better to grab attention, how we can convince kids to serve hoping that develops deeper relationships with Christ, and what the heck to do with the kids who grew up in church and know every answer to every question. I started to get very overwhelmed with this list of things WE need to DO to make kids get it so that they come out of their complacency and into "life to the full". This got me thinking on a tangent that I think is running rampant in churches today. I'm not quite sure how to word this, so bear with me.

I'm kind of frustrated with pastors and church leadership having to be so consumed with making church "better" through means of new technology, state-of-the-art soundboards, big screens with sweet graphics, cutting edge programs to draw people in and grab their attention. My heart is pounding as I write this because I know all the arguments made for these things and a lot of those arguments sound pretty reassuring. However, I almost feel like these things are being used to embellish Christ and that just isn't sitting right with me today. I know I didn't articulate exactly how I feel in that last sentence so maybe the more I type, it will come to me.

One of the rebuttals to what I just said is that we are in a generation of technology and HD everything, so the church needs to be a place that is leading the way in that area and remain relevant to our culture. But didn't Jesus' ministry go against the culture? Does Christ really need us to remain relevant through "things"? (Remember, these are just my thoughts and not meant to start an argument...I'm trying to filter!). To be honest, I wish church could be the one last place people could go to and escape screens and sounds. Paul tells us that we can and probably will be seduced away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. Don't those words just make you take a deep breath and believe again that you can do this whole Christian thing? That things don't have to be so programmed? I think if we asked everyone sitting in the seats at our churches if they would rather be entertained and awed by the church or rather be known intimately and cared for by the people who make up the church....most would probably choose the latter and the rest of them might be too scared to be known that closely that their ok with just being entertained.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Last week I spent time back home in good ol' Westerville, Ohio. I absolutely love going home since I haven't lived there in over 6 years. No matter how long I have been away, it still just feels like home and I need that in my life. I need a place of familiarity and family. It was such a great week spending time with my family. My sister gave birth to the first grandson/nephew of the fam back in June so this makes going home even more special and exciting for me! I spent half of my nights at my sister's house getting up with Eli during the night to let my sister and her husband get some real sleep. Its such an honor for me to be able to do this for them and for Eli, I know that we bonded even more this week. Since I can't be home that often, I have started praying for God to increase the intimacy and closeness we experience while I'm there. Its a pretty heartbreaking thing to be so far away but I just have to remember that we are in the place where God wants us...and maybe some day that will be Ohio again ;)

One day of the week my mom, sister, Eli and I drove up north near Youngstown to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Gebhardt. They are both nearing 80 so I wanted to get up there during this visit and of course, they wanted to see Eli again! It was a nice trip, such a beautiful time of the year to head up north. My grandparents live on a semi-farm in a rural area across the street from cornfields. Its probably what most people who have never been to Ohio always picture when they hear that I'm from there. We spent many summers, Halloweens, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easters in Youngstown. I wish I could share all the stories I have tucked away in my memories of grandma and grandpa's. The sights of the seasons, the smells of burning leaves, brewing coffee, and grandpa's flowers, the sounds of the animals and my uncles' hunting stories. I'm nostalgic for those times but as my sister and I picked some of the last of grandma's raspberries of the season, we both agreed that we want to create those memories for our children. I'm all about traditions and passing down things that were special to me to my children.

All in all, it was a great trip to Ohio. Here are some pictures:

P.S. About one year ago this week my parents took a picture holding up an orange Halloween onesie that my sister gave them to tell them she was finally pregnant after 2 1/2 years of trying...this year they took the picture of them holding their first grandchild in that Halloween onesie! Such a cool moment!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How to love my husband

So lately I've been really interested in learning how to love people the way they best receive love. I have especially been paying attention to my husband who's main 'Love Language" is words of affirmation. This post isn't going to be any deep thoughts but rather a public commitment to put Ryan's needs first and be held accountable for the words I speak to him. I want to build my husband up. In our culture, I think its especially important for husbands and wives to pay attention to this considering the odds are almost stacked against us to have a marriage free from any serious stumbles or fall outs. I have loved coming to the realization of just how special marriage is and how much I want to protect it. How cool to know that while I'm loving Ryan the best way I can, he has his heart set on loving me the best way he can! Loving this :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Can God outdo himself??? You'll never believe this!!

If you have not read my previous blog post...please do so before reading this one!

Ok, so last Wednesday I wrote about our housing situation and asked for prayer. Let me tell you, this was not an easy thing as it allowed the blogging world into some personal information about Ryan and I's finances and mortgage decisions. Nonetheless, God has shown me that vulnerability and a little faith goes a long way. I left you with pleads to pray for the impossible. Well, Friday, only 2 days post prayer blog, our realtor called....


No stinkin way?!?!? I know, that's what I said! AND, not only did Countrywide, er, Bank of America?? accept one of the offers but as long as we agree to pay a small small portion of our loan over the next 7 years at a modified 0% interest they will file the sale as "satisfied" and our credit will not be destroyed for the next 7 years as we expected!!!!

Umm....I think I could cry just typing this out. Wow...I'm still stunned with this whole thing. Isn't it funny how we ask for prayer for something and then are surprised when God answers? Kinda sad actually. This answer to prayer becomes the second example of what God is teaching me in my life:

I have always loved the idea of God's new mercies every morning. I'm pretty sure I've always liked that because at the end of most mercies are exactly what I'm going to need to wake up to. Earlier this week I was extremely mean to my husband. I said very hurtful things that reflected what I know is not actually my heart, but rather the cleansing of a wound that I perhaps am not handling very well. We ended the night pretty quiet and contemplative on what was going on. I felt ashamed, he felt ashamed, we both felt scared. The next morning, he rolled over from snoozing his alarm and wrapped his arms around me. Grace... I felt wretched and he pulled me close. We didn't even need to rehash what had happened, there was just an understanding that we were both forgiven and needed to move forward. Ryan became the incarnation of God's new mercy. I believe God has taught me about grace through selling our house too. I thought it was about patience, but now I'm sure its grace. We don't deserve to be treated so kindly by our lender. Although the reasons why we had to move were out of our control, they didn't have to meet us where we were. We didn't get off the hook completely, and I'm kind of thankful for that. I know God disciplines to teach and because every good parent must discipline at times. That just shows me the brilliance of our Lord even more.

Thank you Lord for taking care of us. I know you didn't have to extend this amazing grace to us but you wanted to. You always want to. That is overwhelming to think about. Your grace is sufficient and your mercies never cease. I know you are teaching me this because you love me. I'm beginning to understand more what it means to be your child and depend on you and your provision. Thank you Lord for knowing me so well that you answered quickly ( I know, I know, we'll get to that next). You are good either way. If our house had foreclosed and our credit damaged you would still be good. Thank you that you chose to do things a different way. Again, your grace...

So, thank you all for your prayers. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, the support we've received during this time has meant so much to Ryan and I. I hope this encourages and excites you like it has me!