All posts by Becky Rosty

A Rosty Family Update: Looking back at 2016 (AKA The Christmas Card Letter That Never Got Mailed)

We have experienced heaps of Gods grace this past year. We are learning the art of intentionality: to stay present with one another, and more importantly, to connect deeply with God and the world He created and loves. Here are a few highlights of His goodness to us in 2016: 

Shine On…

Titus and Evi turned two this July. The first year of their life felt like it lasted forever, but this second year flew by! We celebrated with a galaxy of excitement and a verse that has become our family theme for the year: to shine like stars for Jesus (Philippians 2:14-16).

The Watchman…

At 2 years old, Titus is one strong and solid little boy. If being particular is a sign of intelligence, we have a genius on our hands. His playtime is important work, and please don’t interrupt, thank you very much. He is the first one awake and often last to go to sleep (sigh). For all his resolve, Titus can’t resist a hearty belly laugh when being tickled or playing chase. He looks up to his daddy and mimics Shane’s guitar playing with surprising accuracy. Both grandpas tie for second place in Titus’s heart, with our dog, Mr. Darcy, following in 3rd place. He enjoys camping, playing with the cousins, and wrestling. He has a tender side and helps Evi keep good care of her baby dolls. He is quick to thank Jesus and bless friends and family in prayer. He keeps his “guy” and “tickle” (guitar and blanky, respectively) close, which warms his mama’s heart, knowing he is still a little boy, for now. 

The Princess…

Evangeline is blooming as a cheerful, nurturing, beautiful girl. She sing-songs her way through the house cooking “Muppins” and caring for her baby dolls. She has her baby “Gigi” potty trained already, even though she prefers to take her time in that arena. We have decided to call it “potty experimenting” for a while. Evi is the articulate voice of compassion and is always on the quest to connect on a personal level. She keeps us on track, reminding us to “read Bible” and take our vitamins every morning. Our adorable girl is also quite clumsy: she will trip over thin air then blame it on Titus. Still, her squeaky giggle has charmed us all. We truly believe her obsession with all things “princess” will give her a vision for God’s kingdom now and for eternity.

Upward Adventures…

Shane is enthralled with dad-hood. Now that the kids are, well, kids and not babies, it’s a lot more fun! He teaches them kindness and quirky ways to eat chili and how to hum the Star Wars theme. Through it all, Shane keeps Becky swept off her feet. We survive winter together with lots of candlelight and hit the mountains and lakes early when the weather warms up. We topped off 6 years of marriage with a romantic adventure in Paris, Montana (seriously, check it out). 

Shane is now in his third year of full-time youth ministry (& 7th year of BCM!), mentoring and shepherding students from 6th grade through college age. His passion for music keeps us all dancing and singing together. This summer was packed with many favorites: Shane lead worship for Summit Camp, spoke as camp pastor at camp Bethel, served on the Wind River reservation with his First Baptist youth group, and relaxed with family and college students in Glorieta, New Mexico. We stay heaven-minded and always strive to SYMOTA (set your minds on things above).

Stay-Present…

Becky is turning over every blade of grass in this new season as a stay-present mama.

I am finding my passion for creativity is keeping me engaged and thriving as a mom. I enjoy teaching the kids to see the world in a unique way, to get excited about small things–like colors and songs, and big thing–like how Jesus loves everyone in the grocery store. We daily affirm what is true about how God made us: I am Kind, I am Brave, I am Joyful. The kids know this back and forth and are quick to say it to get out of time-outs.

God provides for my extrovert heart as I continue to mentor young women, coach figure skating, and study God’s Word with other mommas. In October, I was invited to speak at a local women’s conference, which again sealed the deal for my passion for communicating God’s truth and hope to others. 

Shane would like to add that my smile continues to light up the room. He quotes Proverbs 31 to me often as a reminder of how he sees me. Which floors me because most of the time I feel like an exhausted mess who cannot keep up with the toddler pace X2!

Through it all, I am discovering new depths of love and sacrifice as I learn to die to myself and serve, love, and train up Titus and Evi to have hearts after our Lord.

 

Look-Out!…

It is official! The twins have stolen our hearts, and our home. These growing two-year-olds both got their own room this fall. When we added college-student dinners, visits from our beloved family, and a desire to expand our family in the next few years, we started to feel a little boxed in. We have loved every moment of building and living in our home, but it is time for a good change. In November, we began working with a local builder to create a new house with room to grow. Also, God provided a beautiful family who fell in love with our little place on this hill. We closed the sale of our Osprey house in January, and are renting until the summer when our house on Look-Out Point Drive will be finished! 

And now we worship…

[Full Disclosure: I began this post in December, but it has taken me till the end of April to finish and post it. (#toddlermomproblems)]

As 2017 approaches, As we continue on into 2017, we hope to invest less in screen-time and a lot more in meaningful connections. Other than this annual update, I try to keep posts and pictures of our kids on social media to a minimum. They have an incredible amount of beauty to offer this world, and I believe it should be experienced first hand.

So please drop by or give a phone call (we like old-fashioned). This year is full of promise and LOTS of transition. After such a year covered by Gods grace, we are confident He will carry us on in hope and joy. So in worship of our Savior, we welcome each day. We appreciate your prayers for us always.

With Love,

Shane, Becky, Titus and Evangeline Rosty and our trusty pup, Mr. Darcy (who apparently is not photo priority anymore. Another thing to work on in 2017)

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White-Knuckle Motherhood (And How To Trade It For Something Beautiful)

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”*

At what point did I stop seeking? Asking? Knocking? At what point did I decide I needed to ride out the storm instead of cry out to the one who cares?

Last weekend, my 2-year-old daughter locked herself inside her bedroom. I had heard stories of this happening to other moms, confident this tragedy would never happen to me. I know how to open a locked door. My bobby pin skills are strong.

Only this time it didn’t work. The lock was jammed. The screaming half-breaths peppered with “mo-m-m-my” were enough to rip my heart out. But I made a decision not to join in the panic.

I resolved to stay calm for my daughter’s sake. To stay strong even when I wanted to crumble with empathy. This was the time she needed to know she was safe. Having a meltdown on both sides of the locked door would have leveled-up this experience from scary to traumatic for everyone.

It was probably less than 20 minutes. My husband worked at the doorknob. My neighbor, like a heavenly warrior disguised in her Saturday morning sweatpants, brought over a “key” thingy and words of courage. My fingers stayed pried beneath the crack of the door as a small effort of being present with my girl.

Finally, the doorknob clicked. Out rushed a sweaty, exhausted heap of tears, pink pajamas, and swirly blonde hair, into my arms for immediate calm. We snuggled on the couch, just quiet, together.

At last, I uttered a half-hearted, “Thank you, Lord,” and it hit me: I didn’t even think about praying. Through that whole fiasco, I didn’t cry out to God for help, or comfort, or peace, or wisdom.

Of course, He was with me, but I didn’t notice. His presence is more than a couple fingers under my emotionally closed-off door, but I didn’t care to reach for them. My resolve was to endure the storm.

Looking back, I have been this way for a few months now. Just get through it, I tell myself. Get through the packing, get through selling our house, get through the potty-training, get through winter, get through the tantrum years. Focus on surviving the storms.

Mark 4 tells the story of another storm:

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:37-41)

How long did the waves beat that little boat down before the disciples cried out to Jesus. I imagine their thinking “we can handle this on our own,” while Jesus rested, waited, unfazed by the storm. I can see their white-knuckles, gripping the boat, riding it out.

After all, logic tells us the storm will cease…

Locked doors will get open…

Stubborn toddlers will get potty-trained…

Bosses will reward hard work…

A friend will come along…

…Eventually.

Unfortunately, this expectation of eventually keeps us stuck in the determination to endure. Get through one more week, one more hour. It will all be fine in the end.

Or it won’t, but then at least it will be over.

What if we, like the disciples, grab a lightbulb moment of SYMOTA and remember that Jesus is Immanuel: God with us.

Not only was Jesus present through the storm with the disciples, he also had the power to calm it. More importantly, as our pastor reminded us last Sunday, Jesus cared about the disciples.

Without a doubt, Jesus always provides, even when we ignore his presence. And clearly, endurance has its place in the Christ-followers journey. However, these truths cannot substitute the beauty of embracing the presence of Jesus. 

He is with us and he cares.

This relationship with Jesus is so simple on our end: seek! And Jesus meets us with His beautiful, fulfilling, awe-inspiring presence.

At last, color is returning to my knuckles as I release the grip on survival and cling to Life Himself.

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6 Ways To Make Reading The Bible In A Year Work For You


Our church has decided to read the Bible in a year. 

I’ll be honest, even as a pastors wife, this seems daunting to me. I would probably not do it on my own. But the prospect of reading it as a church family—in communion with God and His people for one full year—definitely motivates me. 

  • What revival within my own heart could this journey provide? 
  • What power could God display through a people pressed in, searching Scripture together? 
  • What spark could ignite through the conversations, the accountability, the vulnerability we present when we are all, literally, on the same page? 

I can’t wait to find out!

If I am going to say YES to this intensive time in God’s Word, and reap the benefits of it alongside my church family, then I need to have a game plan. 

Perhaps these ideas will help you too!

1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier: Studies show its amazing what you can get done if you wake up a half-hour earlier each morning, particularly to accomplish a specific goal. 

2. Skip a day, and let it go: Life happens, and most of us will fail to stay on track. Instead of racking up the missed chapters and lagging behind, stay on track with the group. Its unconventional, but it has power. Briefly scan the missed chapters to catch up, the read the Scripture of the day as planned, along with the rest of your group.

3. Listen to it: Put an audio Bible on in your headphones at the gym, or your car stereo on the drive to work. Hearing names or foreign locations pronounced can simplify how your brain digests certain passages (the book of Numbers, for instance).

4. Bring it up in conversation: Use the readings to spark conversation and pursue great vulnerability with others on the Bible in a Year journey. Share what you are learning, ask tough questions, brainstorm application, and celebrate the wonder together!

5. Replace screen time with Scripture: Download the Bible app on your phone or iPad and click it first before other apps steal your attention (Candy Crush, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) Think of the go-to screen time moments: lying in bed trying to wake up/fall asleep, waiting in the grocery store line, killing time between classes, on the porcelain throne (oh come, on let’s all admit it!) are great opportunities to read a quick chapter from the Bible. 

6. Make it a habit: Sometimes, we don’t feel like reading Scripture. So we don’t, claiming it has no meaning if our hearts aren’t in it. But, we still brush our teeth, eat vegetables, work out, go to jobs, and clean our homes every day, even when we don’t feel like it. These are non-negotiable for our health and citizenship and well being. Why should our spiritual health and heavenly citizenship be any less? 

I am finding so much energy as the New Year approaches! With heart wide open, I pray for the presence of Jesus to flood our awareness as we pursue Him together. 

Download the YouVersion plan ‘CCV: The Bible in ONE Year’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/m 

For more tips on conquering the most convincing reasons for not reading your Bible, check out my post, “10 Go-To Excuses to Avoid Studying The Bible.” 

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Jesus: The Rainbow Baby For All Creation

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My sister is now 2 days past her due date for her first baby. I cannot WAIT for my niece to arrive. However, I believe my anticipation is far less emphatic than my dear sister and her husband who have waited over a year for this baby’s birth.

No, she has not been pregnant that whole time, but there exists a long and heavy load of expectancy in the timeline of a rainbow baby. My sisters story is similar to many: After miscarriage comes healing, physically and emotionally; in the midst of that—and sometimes before healing has done its full restorative work—two pink lines come into view, along with the shadow of anxiety and uncertainty of this second pregnancy. Mothers often call this their rainbow baby.

It is a long time to be in expectancy.

I can’t help but think this is how our world felt 2000 years ago. Adams choice miscarried our relationship with God right out of the garden of life. Beautiful and heartfelt attempts at new life ensued, but the law, the building of a temple, the unending bloodshed of innocent animals could not provide the heartbeat required for restored relationship with our Loving Creator.

Humanity, in longing and expectancy, was over due… past the due date by a million moments… and eager, yet hesitant, to finally see the birth of true salvation. True eternal life Himself was born, literally born! The metaphors of pregnancy and expectancy associated with the coming Messiah are not just a play on words. It is, in fact, the Word made flesh, humbly entering the time and space of spiraling earth as a helpless infant who would redeem the barrenness of our wayward hearts.

In reflections like these, I realize I, too, am overdue for Christ’s coming to truly impact my heart. Too often I am nonchalant, unaware of Immanuel. My sister could not be MORE aware of her beautiful belly; I too want to swell with ready expectation for the presence of God-with-us, both for today and for his second coming to truly make all things new:

“The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—…And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow… Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.

Revelation 4:3; 22:1, 3

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The Difference between Good Friday and Black Friday: What Are You Really Searching For?

 

2ow2lfqqwy-alex-wongTonight marks the beginning of “Black Friday,” a more-than-24-hours event that brings sales and shoppers together. I am pretty nuetral on this day, having risen early one year to shop and another to #optoutside. My favorite part, however, is when I hear the Good Friday/Black Friday mix up and get to share some FREE (not just discounted) life changing truth:

On Black Friday, people stay up all night to stand in line for a deal. On Good Friday, Jesus was up all night, standing before accusers, and was dealt judgement on our behalf.

On Black Friday, crowds trample each other for gadgets. On Good Friday, Jesus was trampled for the crowds to have restored relationship between God and man.

Jesus didn’t just put salvation on clearance, he made it absolutely free.

Jesus didn’t give freedom from sin to the first 50 in line, He gives all-access to redemption to ANYONE.

Though the sky, indeed, turned black on the day Jesus died, we remember it as GOOD because it is the ONLY way humanity can ever be in the light.

When we search for fulfillment on Black Friday, we get a momentary thrill. When we search for fulfillment in Good Friday, we find true rest, redemption, and eternal filling of joy!

We might snag the perfect gift for that special someone at a once-in-a-lifetime affordable price on Black Friday, only to do it all again the next year. Because of Good Friday, we are counted as special to the ultimate Someone, who reminds us to pass the true Gift on and on. For some, its a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear about life-giving hope.

Because of this, I cannot keep from sharing His story, “as though God were making his appeal through [me]. [I] implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:20-21‬

Whether you enjoy the crowds and deals, or just go sledding with friends, I pray you continue in the spirit of gratitude and kindness from this Thanksgiving day.

With Hope,

Becky

 

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5 Ways to Practice Distraction-Free Worship (For The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Seasons of Life)

We need worship. I am convinced that worship is a gift. God does not rely on our worship to prop up his identity or stroke his ego. His glory is all-sufficient (which is why God is so worthy of our praise)!

In moments of rejoicing or times of anxiety, worship is Gods provisional avenue for us, his kids, to have joy and confidence in these days. The invitation to tell-God-how-good-He-is delivers us from self-centered thinking to freedom and joy. 

Like Peter, we navigate the stormy waves of our souls by keeping our eyes on Jesus. (Matthew 14) 

Worship is the corrective eye-glass that brings His image into focus when our eyes are dimmed and distracted by world-waves: despair, self-entitlement, fear, pride, consumerism, pain, bitterness. 
My family and church are entering a season of great potential for these world-waves to cloud our vision. Knowing these next months will tempt me to lose heart, I must proceed with holy intentionality. 


I have decided to choose worship over worry, to look at the healer instead of the wound, and to bask in his good light that leads rather than wallow in the valley of shadows. Perhaps you’d like to join me? 

Here are some practices to help: 
1. Make It Personal: Sometimes as we worship, we need to re-state a verse, a hymn, a song, or other truth that exposes Gods bigness, faithfulness, or goodness in a relatable way to our own souls. When we allow truth to impact with such intimacy, we respond with worship. 

In the last few years, I have sung the song “Oceans” a hundred times, at least. I have always appreciated the lyrics, however, only recently have I personally unpacked them. To me, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” was always about travel and missions. As I sang it recently, I realized that it’s less about “missions” and more about meekness. In other words, “I will submit to what you are doing even when I don’t understand. I will not put boundaries on your plan.” 

Contrary to my favorite Instagram accounts, the adventure isn’t in traveling beyond national borders, its in the advent of Jesus presence. When I think about his having come into to my mess to save me, I can’t help the shouts of exuberant gratitude. (Psalm 96 says sing to the Lord a new song!)

2. Go With The Crowd: Recently, Rend Collective delivered a foot stomping worship service that unleashed my inner wild-child [of God]. However, an unthinkable kill-joy snuck in during the concert: a couple who couldn’t be pulled away from their smartphones. They sat directly in front of us, completely disengaged from the atmosphere of joy and adoration. Every 45 seconds their screens changed from Facebook, to candy crush, to email. 

Discouraged and distracted, we abandoned our seats to stand closer to the stage where the audience was more engaged. (Ok, it was loud and rowdy and I loved it.) Turns out, expressed enthusiasm to praise Jesus can be contagious. Some of us need to make a move to be near it. (Practice a page from King Davids story in Samuel 6:12-23)

3. Call for Sanctuary: Some of us need the help of spacial and relational quietness to focus in worship. Sometimes, we embrace awkwardness and pour our offering to Jesus in public, like the woman with the perfume in Luke 7. Other times, we take our cue from Jesus himself and “go away to pray.” To be quiet and alone with God can be uncomfortable; however, to be alone with God is sometimes the only way we can truly be available. He can have our undivided attention when we silence the visual and audible noise. This often takes practice, but is so worth it. I am hoping to champion this habit more effectively in my own life this season. (See Luke 5:16 and Mark 1:35)

4. Clean House: Before we can lavish praise and odes of trust to our God, sometimes we need to first convey our doubt. In Christ, we are free, invited even, to express all the hurt, anger, disappointment, anxiety, exhaustion, weariness, confusion, and bitterness. God has proven he is big enough to handle our negativity. Hiding, swallowing, or denying the junky feelings in our souls not only hinders our worship, it inhibits our intimacy with God. 

Our Father beckons us to put aside the orphan mentality: the notion that I am acceptable as long as I am presentable. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself griping before the Lord. I then get annoyed with my tempter tantrum, and assume God feels the same way. But I must remember He is my daddy, and I am his girl. I am safe. My honest feelings are welcome. However, I don’t get stuck here. The emptying of my heart makes room for the filling of His joy. What follows is a natural and organic exaltation of my redeemer. (Psalm 31 displays this practice well)

5. Fake It Till You Make It: Say the words out loud. Raise your hands, or get on your knees. Let your actions convince your feelings, rather than your feelings define your actions. The times I am most likely to raise my hands in worship are often the times I feel most distracted or disengaged. Using nonverbal communication to express adoration, desperation, or surrender to Jesus can help liberate my actual feelings or words to agree. Our posture has power. (See Psalm 95:6-7)

Do you practice focused worship? Share your stories ’round the campfire by commenting below. 

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A Faith-Leap for Team Rosty

Today, I am enjoying the view for a quiet moment while the kids sleep. 
I’ll admit, this view can’t be beat. From my front porch or living room window, I get to drink this in every day. Sometimes the fog rolls in over the mountains, tucking the hills in for a slumberous morning. Sometimes the sun bursts in and wakes up every leaf and blade of grass to sing praises with their colors.
And today, I appreciate the view so much more, even in the dull afternoon shade. I am soaking it up because it won’t be mine much longer. We are embarking on another adventure. 

Four years ago, we put shovels into dirt and began to build our home. Two years later, we filled this home with twice the energy a brand new baby provides. This home has been our sanctuary, our place of ministry, and our place to play. 
Tiny fingers learned to crawl on soft carpet here. Toddlers in footsie pajamas have padded through the hallway and ’round and ’round the kitchen wall here. Handprints on windows might as well be a permanent accessory here. A Christmas tree took up way too much space in the living room here. Our pup has indulged on often spilled Cheerios here. Our marriage has blossomed here, as we fell in love with each other all over again when we became parents. Our hearts have sunk low at times here, and overflowed with joy at others here, as we have walked weary roads with young people into the presence of God.  

Our adventure on this boulevard has been filling, exhausting, sanctifying, and exhilarating. Our home has been ground zero for petitioning prayers and party-zone for many BBQ’s. And now it is the launching pad for a new journey. 

God has once again directed our attention toward adoption. We strive to stay in-step with Jesus in this process, not rushing ahead and not dragging our feet. The first step is to find a little bit more space.  

And in the steady motion of obedience, Jesus keeps providing for the big and small things, like…

  • -Planting peace in my heart as we planted a For-Sale sign in our front yard this morning.
  • -Coffee and perspective-bringing conversation brought by a lovely friend.
  • -Just enough light shed on the next life-steps to keep us grasping tight to the hand of our Guide. 

I don’t know how, but my breath comes easy today, with the reminder that He is good. This view and these memories soothe my heart. Only Jesus can redeem what could be a season of anxiety and grasping for control, transforming it into a epoch of blessing through the nearness of His presence.


Thank you, family and friends for your prayers for clarity and dependence on God as we keep walking, and sometimes leaping, in faith. 

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Pumpkin-Spice Quiet Time 

Pumpkin Spice Quiet Time: Delighting in Jesus in Response to His GoodnessThere is nothing like spending time with God in autumn.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
All around us, the world is preparing for cooler weather. However, as followers of Jesus, we must not let the migration indoors catalyze a hibernation of our hearts.
My suggestion: “Pumpkin-Spiced Quiet Times.”
In the wake of autumn, pumpkin-spice is returning to our favorite coffee shops and packaged food lines (pumpkin-spice Cheerios anyone?), and the fans are going crazy! The social media world has documented our delight over this fall-flavor for years. There is no doubt it–Pumpkin-Spice delights the masses.
I am reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman, which I highly recommend. This book challenges readers to have an intimate relationship with Christ–one which requires sacrifice, commitment, and a re-arrangement of the heart. Not just an excitement about Jesus kindred to our excitement about s’mores of pumpkin-spiced chai lattes. To be a Christian, Christ requires the Lordship of our lives, which means HE is in charge, not us.
Idleman repeatedly challenges the “Christian-culture” way of claiming Christianity. I agree, we need to stop being fans of Jesus and truly submit to Jesus as Lord.
However, I do think there is a place for the pumpkin-spice kind of delight we can receive from spending time in God’s Word.
Full disclosure here: I am DELIGHTED by Jesus! I am excited about Him, and IN LOVE with Him. Spending time with the letters of love and truth He wrote for us (Scripture), floods me with bliss. I cannot help but get giddy sometimes.
And you know what!? I actually really appreciate Instagram posts about someone else’s time with God too. Those pictures with the steaming cup of tea and the vase of flowers next to an open Bible… some may label them cliché or staged, but when I see them while scrolling, it’s like the mouth of my soul starts watering. Those posts stir my appetite for some intimate time with my Savior, much like a post about sweaters and s’mores makes me long for sometime cozied-up by the fire with a roasting stick in hand.
Maybe I am shallow (or perhaps I am just incredibly susceptible to advertising). However, I think there is value in the childlike delight over Gods Word that makes us want to document our time with Jesus and share it with others.
I think if king David could have downloaded a social media app, he would have occasionally posted something similar:

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.

 Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.
I am NOT advocating for a self-centered, attention-seeking, find-what-feels-good kind of faith in Jesus. I am not suggesting our quiet times should revolve around how “Instagram-able” the setting is. Delight in our Savior should never replace submission to Him. Rather, delight is a beautiful response to humbly surrendering our wills to our KING!  (Need an example of this? The 2016 film Risen inspired and humbled me with its portrayal of the disciples’ giddy delight in knowing the risen Savior. View it and tell me what you think!)
There is no shame in wrapping up a comforter and sipping a steaming cuppa pumpkin-spice-something-or-another while reading your Bible. You have permission to ENJOY those cozy moments with Jesus this season, filling your soul with good old-fashioned comfort food for the spirit.
And if you feel like sharing, don’t hesitate to document it all on Instagram! Use #campfiregrace to stay connected.
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Lame Church: What To Do When Your Teenager Thinks Church Is Less Than Appealing

Lame Church: What to do when your teenager thinks church is less than appealing

“It’s so BORING.”

“Why can’t I just sleep in?”

“But none of my friends go to youth group!”

“I don’t get anything out of the Bible study, what’s the point?”

“I have too much homework to go to small group tonight?”

“I would rather help in the nursery.”

“I forgot.”

Parents, we have heard it all (amirite)? Ok, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, but my husband is a youth pastor and I get the privilege to reach out to young people alongside him for the glory of God. And I too, have heard all of these statements about “lame church.”

I get it, personally even. I was the kid who “helped” in the nursery for countless Sunday’s because I didn’t want to sit through the sermon. As a teen, I didn’t go to youth group because I was the awkward homeschooled girl intimidated by my gorgeous older sister’s cool friends.

Statistics show us that at least half of students raised in a Christian home who at one point claim to have accepted Christ as Savior will turn away from the Christian faith after high school graduation. This number is not ok with me.

Thankfully, research shows us a significant factor for those that maintain their walk with God into adulthood: they have at least 5 Christian adults investing specifically in the student’s relationship with God. (source)

Churches used to employ the “bouncer” approach to youth–have one adult for every 5 kids at the pizza night. Now, we strive to connect every 1 student to 5 caring and Christ-centered adults who will walk the faith journey with them.

For example, Kadee’s 5 might be:

  1. Mom
  2. Grandpa
  3. Small group Leader
  4. Christian coach
  5. Youth pastor

And let me say, this is not easy. Especially when kids present the “lame church” excuses.

May I suggest that, often the kids who claim “church is lame” are truly “lame” themselves.

Hear me out. Mark 2:1-12  tells us the story of a lame man, stuck on his mat, unable to get to Jesus for healing and abundant life. Four friends were willing to hoist him on his bed, carry him through the city, dig a hole through a roof, attach some belay cables to the lame man’s bed and lower him down to Jesus. This was no small effort.

Adolescents are children moving toward adulthood. They haven’t arrived yet (have any of us?). However, they are still capable of a beautiful, intimate, world-changing relationship with God. But in order to get there, some teens will need a faithful 4 or 5 to help them get to Jesus. As a parent, you are the most influential one of those 5, and you have a significant amount of power in helping find the other 4.

Help for the Lame Teen

So how do you pry the video game controller from your teen’s “paralyzed” hands and usher her into a fighting chance at a relationship with Jesus? Here are a few practical ideas:

Pray:

I dare you to pray Ephesians 3:14-21, on your knees, every day for your teen, and see what God does.

Send a Message:

Does your teen see that YOU believe their faith is important? Do we encourage our daughters and sons to have a Bible study or time spent with God? Dowe sit down with them, not just to help with homework, but to unpack Gods word together? Have we put youth group on the calendar so we don’t forget, even when they claim they do?

Try it out! Ask your son or daughter the following question: “What do you think is the most important part of your life to me?… Why?”

If needed, adjust which priorities you promote for your child through conversation, social media posts, rules and expectations, or praise.

Model:

Make your own walk with God available for the watchful eyes of your kids. Our prayer times can be so intimate when we finally get a quiet, private moment. Unfortunately, our children cannot pick up on habits they have not seen in practice. They can only mirror or imitate what they have visual access too.

Phone a Friend:

Prayerfully invite 3 or 4 other faith-heroes to invest in the life of your teen. Look outside your own peer group. I have seen powerful life-changes through the relationships of senior women who disciple teen girls into Godly womanhood.

Shift the Power:

Is your teen still complaining about lame church? Place the power on their shoulders. One mom always reminded her teenage boys every Sunday night before youth group, “remember, it’s not fun unless YOU make it fun.”

It’s true, kids set the tone for “cool” long before the youth pastor can. And believe me, he is trying. But in the end, we are not here to entertain, we are here to facilitate closer relationships with the living and loving God.

So encourage your teen to be the one that “blows it up” by inviting friends, baking cookies, or simply just asking good questions. Remind them of their power and influence to make church “the” place to be. Encourage them to take ownership of their faith community and invest in it. We all need to remember: church is not for us, church is us.

I understand, no-where in the Bible does it say a student has to attend church or youth group to have a relationship with God. However, the Bible is clear that fellowship with God’s family is not only a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God, it is also a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God that lasts. If you think about it, it is easy to stray away when you are always on the fringes of community; however, it is more difficult to stray away when you’ve been sitting at the table of God’s family.

Ultimately, I am not suggesting you drag your teenager on his mattress to church this Sunday. And please don’t dig a hole in in the roof of the youth leaders house. But somehow consider how you might put in a lame-man’s-friend type of effort to escort your teenager to a closer walk with Jesus. For his sake, both now and for the next 10-50 years of his life.

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What to Wear on Your First Day of School

It’s time for a little campfire confession. 


After 6 years out of the classroom, I enrolled in an exercise class at our local community college this semester. Last Monday, I got to experience all the excitement of a “first day of school” again. 

This shouldn’t mean much to a 28 year old momma of toddlers. However, after hanging out all summer with some adventurous middle- and high-school aged girls, I have caught on to the first-day-of-school energy. 

I got up, got dressed, prepped the twins to spend lunch time with their daddy (so much fun), and even got to class EARLY (big difference between 18 year old me and 28 year old me). I was ready to embrace all that God had for my first day of school. 

Unfortunately, all that positive energy shriveled away when I walked into the classroom. Replacing it was a familiar combination of feeling intimidated, self-conscious, and oddly uncomfortable in my own skin.

As many of us would, I found a coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety: comparison. 

I scanned the room for someone who appeared less fit, less stylish, less something than I was hoping to appear. My superficial perspective gave me artificial confidence about my own impressiveness. 

I did not ask this girl about her day. I did not compliment her cute hair or comment on her tenacity in the class. To be honest, her courage to take the course inspired me, but I kept that to myself.  

I missed a beautiful opportunity to get to know a lovely image bearer of the most high God because I was too concerned with my own status. 

The irony is, I had consciously chosen to “dress down” to appear less-than-concerned with my appearance that morning (insert dramatic eye roll here). 

I spent more time in that class in comparison trap than in SYMOTA (set your mind on things above). My concern for self-preservation was out-shining my usual tendency to share God’s love. The biggest stranger I encountered in that room was myself. 

Had I set my mind on the way God sees me, and my classmates for that matter, I would have recalled this verse that I had once memorized:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 

Friend, I suspect you have had a similar experience. Whether you are a freshman in high school or a fresh new mommy at a park play-date, you have probably faced a similar temptation on your first day. We want to appear confident, cool, collected, but we leverage other people’s flaws to do so. 

Ironically, at the foundation of compassion for others is a settled and confident spirit. I don’t think one can show compassion without confidence. Rather than putting others down to appear that we have it all together, what if we dealt with our insecurities through Jesus Christ’s faithful love for us? This kind of love fills every void and bubbles over into compassion for others. 

What could happen if we found room for kindness in our daily display choices?

What if we primped our hearts with a readiness to be humble and selfless instead of self-conscious?

What if we concerned ourselves with the impact we could make on others instead of whether or not they make us feel good about ourselves? 

What if we dressed to bless, instead of dressing to impress?

Whether you face your first day of class, work, cross fit, or the senior center, I challenge you to learn from my embarrassing first day blunders. Let’s make room for some Christlike compassion in our concern for great first impressions. 

P.S. I am profoundly grateful for 20+ weeks of class to see how Gods grace provides a do-over for compassion. 

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