Abigail’s Day

A little share sesh

 

Hey hey friends! I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day weekend celebrating the mothers in your life. We headed to our home town to observe our nephews being baptized. It was the sweetest. Does anyone else love a good baptism?!? There really is nothing better! Also, if you’re a follower of Jesus and you haven’t been baptized…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! Let’s do this!! I definitely want to talk to you personally about what might be holding you back…

To hear my nephews David (9 yo) and Levi ( 12 yo) share a little of their testimony watch the video below….bonus Justice cameo at the end.

In other news, I’ve been struggling with some lovely health stuff this week making me move just a little slower, but that’s meant that I’ve listened to a few really good podcasts and dug out some old songs that are dear to my heart.

This little biography of the missionary Amy Carmichael was great-but the BEST part was when the guy talked about what a strong willed child Amy was…rise your hand if that’s helpful perspective with your own kids….just me?! Surely not! haha!  Incidentally, this is the first of a whole series on missionaries and giants in the christian faith- you might have to sign in to listen to the Amy Carmichael archived podcast, but its worth it! Then stay a while and listen to some of the other great little bios! My kids and I have really been enjoying this series a lot!

 

Also, if you haven’t already subscribed to the Glorious in the Mundane podcast from Christy Nockels, you really HAVE TO DO IT! The latest left me in the tears on my bedroom floor ( ok, I was actually already laying on the bedroom floor *see previous health issue above*…but still….so good!) . Listen to it!! 

 

Then today I pulled on my dusty Shane and Shane CD “Carry Away”  so many of these songs do my heart so much good. Yearn, Be Near….They are so good….but Beauty for Ashes is my absolutely favorite, favorite. Its a on repeat type of song, people.

 

 

 

Now, one last thing before I go…last week I did a little recon mission for my cover designer, to my local bookstore and took notice of book covers. Now we know we aren’t suppose to judge a book by its cover! But, WE ALL DO!!!! So I spent some time taking note of the book covers that popped out to me and then I took pictures of the ones that I not only noticed but the cover was such that I actually wanted to pick it up. Have you ever paid attention to the books you automatically pick up?! I’d love to hear the types of books that catch your eye! It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you’d end up reading but I think it says something about us, don’t you? I think I may even do it with Brett on our next date night.  (Because you all know we end up at book stores half the time). Here are some of the covers that I liked. *spoiler alert* turns out I like very simple covers where the words are the focus. Go Figure.

 

Book news

calendar-bannerIn the last month or so I’ve gotten a lot of “WHEN’S YOUR BOOK COMING OUT ALREADY?!” messages. Ok, so no one used all caps and no one yelled the question at me. But at this point, I interpret everything book related to ALL CAPS. I’m just that excited.

So, here are the long awaited deets for those of you wondering. My book, The Day Between: A Memoir of Miracles, is slatted to be released in paperback and Kindle  Fall 2017. 

The book is an account of our families journey with twin-to-twin transfusion. It is the story of my pregnancy with our daughters Priscilla and Tabitha, and all that we learned from our girls fight for survival. We saw miracles, we saw tears, we saw many many lessons from Jesus. I’ll be giving you the in-depth scoop on everything we learned in that season. I promise you will laugh ( unless you’re one of those un-funny people, in which case, I don’t know what I could do for you). I promise you will have at the very least the feeling of tears. But then I’ll try really hard to make you laugh immediately afterwards because crying always makes me uncomfortable because I come from a family that is uncomfortable with outward signs of emotion. I promise that you’ll come away with some good Biblical truths relating to grief and change and struggle and faith and hope and love and…wait, now I’m just quoting scripture.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. This book I believe will help so many who are struggling with the loss of a child or even just those recovering from a tragedy of any kind. In a lot of ways as we work get to the end of this publishing journey I can HARDLY WAIT to share some of the things the Lord taught me and that I’ve written in this book! I truly believe that it will be an encouragement and a help to many. I really hope that I’ll be able to do some speaking engagements in conjunction with my book release because as luck would have it, I’m continually learning more on these topics or inevitably I had to leave out some great little nuggets from this particular book that I still really want to share with some of you! GAAAAHHHH! I want you to read my book, already! This is like waiting for a surprise party!! I’m dying over here!

So, I’ll obviously be giving you more exact dates as I know more, but as of right now we’re very much on track. And you’ll have my book in your hot little hands in time for Christmas, in time for Thanksgiving, in time for you to drink a PSL while reading it. Well, maybe not the last one, the way Starbucks goes, they’ll be releasing pumpkin spiced lattes in September this year! That, said, hopefully by the end of the summer I’ll have some concrete dates for you to mark on your calendar! I’ll be booking speaking events and even a book launch so get excited! And if you want to be a part of all this fun stuff, message me and keep checking my book page for all the latest and greatest details.

 

Its FriYAY!

I can’t believe its Friday came around exceptionally fast this week. It’s probably because I’m dreading next week. Brett will be on night-shifts and if my accounts of previous night shifts give any forewarning of what we can expect…then it’ll be a doozy. And not in a good way… , I mean, it happens A LOT. 

OK, but since I’m preparing for the worst, maybe it won’t be so bad?! I mean, I’ve got all sorts of modern conveniences to help me… I mean, I’m still in.love. with Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up. I’ve been using it for over a year and I still get positively gitty every time I go and they load my groceries into the back of the car like I’m a princess or something ( because that’s the definition of princess-don’t you know) and according to my super nice Wal-Mart personal shopper they are adding hundreds of new locations across the country…so do a little double check to make sure you’re not missing out. AND if its you’re first time, get $10 off on me!  ( P.S. I also attribute me lowering our monthly grocery budget on this service, as well. It turns out I was buying a lot of things “off list” when I went grocery shopping and this service has helped with that in a huge way!)

But since I’m preparing for an epic week of something going terribly wrong, I’m considering giving Postmates a try as well…apparently they’ll deliver just about anything to my door including one of those ridiculously disgusting Unicorn Frapps that everyone is talking about…but only if I’m REALLY wanting to feel a strong sense of self-loathing.  I’m more likely to have them deliver allergy medicine for my kids or something epically boring. hashtag mom life. That said…if you could have anything delivered to your door, what would it be?!

I do have an extra $14 sitting in my pocket that I DEFINITELY could spend on just chipotle alone- thanks to selling some things on Poshmark. And now I’m continually adding random things from my closet! Its like having an ongoing and incredibly easy garage sale! It turns out its easy-peasy to print off the pre-paid labels slap it on a free box from the post office and ship off the item once they sell.  And once it’s delivered the money magically shows up in my account! I’m a super fan! And if you want to go ahead and purchase something ( not necessarily from me! haha!) than feel free to use this code UNIKJ to get a discount on your first order!

Alrightly!! I’m gonna bounce! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

Loving your neighbors

 

Friends, I’ve been meaning to tell you about this for a few weeks now, but I’ve been pretty busssssy with…oh, you know, LIFE.

BUT I’ve got a minute today and I’m running on a Easter Candy sugar high so let’s do this!

So, one of the things I LOVE about Ransom being at our local public school is that it gives us opportunity to get to know and love on some people who maybe wouldn’t normally cross our paths. One such group of people is the substantial population of Afghani refugees that live near the elementary school. In fact, as I was registering Ransom for school last year I ran into a gaggle of muslim mommies leaving the school and I immediately became mildly obsessed with becoming friends with them.

Now this is seriously a story of how you must often wait for the things that the Lord puts on your heart because I had to pray for SIX MONTHS before I finally was able to make friends with one of the Afghani ladies. It turns out that every time I tried to make introductions with any of them they spoke absolutely ZERO English and they seemed down right scared of me.*  But finally, the Lord answered my pleas and I found a friend who spoke some English, “K”. She, in fact, was SO excited to meet me that “K” asked for my number and told me that I was now her 3rd American friend!**

Our friendship made me SO excited, and we’ve been texting back and forth and seeing each other when we pick our kids up from school. But, she was in the middle of moving apartments and understandably busy so we haven’t been able to have any long interactions. In the mean time, this happened:

Now, the Afghani ladies walk from their apartment complex a few blocks from the school to pick up their kids. And on this day it was pouring down rain so the moms had piled their kids into one of the husband’s taxis and they were now walking home in the rain. So I did a major U-y and Ransom and I picked up these ladies and took them home. Now, it was super awkward because they spoke so little English but when we arrived at their apartments one of the ladies invited Ransom and I in for some “lunch”. The whole experience was nerve-racking  and waaaaaay outside my comfort zone, but I was also SO excited because my prayers were being answered! After shoving food down my throat ( it was super yummy-too bad I wasn’t the least bit hungry when I arrived!), the lady “N” asked me, through her daughter, if I would come back and teach her English.

And so, that is how for the past 3 weeks I’ve been going once a week to her apartment and trying my hardest to help “N” and her neighbor “M” with their English.

Now keep in mind that I’m quite clueless on how to teach English as a second language! And we aren’t even talking romance language to romance language here! I am SO incredibly impressed with these ladies persistence and willingness to learn. And thankfully, N can read a little and M knows her letters and most of her letter sounds, so we aren’t starting at the VERY bottom, but WHEW! I’m in over my head! The first week, I had a moment of genius ( probably the Holy Spirit!) and grabbed Justice’s book “Babies first 100 words) and we spent our time pointing at the pictures and saying them. And last week we worked on some cursory “conversations” like introductions or how to ask someone for help.

That said, I am already learning so much myself. I think the biggest thing so far is that to bridge a cultural gap you have to be willing to get uncomfortable. You have to put yourself in positions where you might even mess up. I’ve already been challenged in my way of thinking, for instance, I thought that I was pretty open-minded but then as I was giving N a ride to the school the other day after our lesson she mentioned that driving made her scared. I then thought about how most of the ladies walked while their husbands would be the ones to drive and it hit me that somewhere, deep inside, I’d always thought it wasn’t by choice! That somehow these ladies were being “kept back” but in reality they are feeling protected! I’m sure I will be challenged over and over again as our relationships continue- not least of all how to love my neighbors in tangible ways! If you think about it, please be praying for me as I continue meeting with these ladies.

*this is probably for good reason…don’t get me started….

** Now, to put this in perspective, she’s lived in the US for 3 years and she’s calling me her “friend” and we’d only just met, so I don’t think she’s the one who’s a particularly hard nut to crack. This made me super sad because it shows how great the divide is in our country.

Things of interest

Today, I’ve written several parts of several posts that I promise I will be sharing in the nearish future, but since I couldn’t hit publish quite yet I thought I would do a little “Things I’m into right now” post-which I haven’t done in a while….

 

Pause while I help my daughter problem solve on a blanket for one of her play mobile people….we went with a square of toliet paper. 

 

OK, where was I? Ah yes.

I own 2 crockpots, and a rice cooker do I REALLY need an Insta-Pot too?!? You’d think so if you were on social media for any length of time…I admit I’m starting to save my pennies.

There is a family of 7 walking the Appalachian Trail together to help heal the effects PTSD has had on their family. Their journey is happening right now, and they have faithfully posted every single day! I cannot look away from their journey and it hits so close to home since we know so many who suffer from PTSD.

 

So, I am waaaay late to the party, but lately I’ve found a lot of enjoyment listening to podcasts while I wash dishes, clean the house and when Im driving in the car to any number of child-related-activites.  My current favorite is Glorious in the Mundane ( Thanks, Miranda!) by Christy Nockels.

 

I’m currently in love with skirts with pockets. I picked up this one on Amazon  and its the softest thing ever!

 

I love my friend Renee’s blog all the time, but recently she posted a list of great graduation gifts and I had to confess that I wanted all the gifts for myself! Go check it out if you’re looking for a functional and fun gift for a friend or graduate ( or me…whatever.)

 

And have you seen the Kid’s Bible series I’ve been working on with our friend Chuck Wood?! I’d love your feedback!

Super Mom

IMG_3516You guys. I’m clearly the reason people are successful with their at-home-businesses. I am a SUCKER for poorly made stretchy pants ( *ahem* leggings) and I’m DYING to try that stuff that supposedly makes your eyelashes reach down to your cheek bones. Thankfully I am not made of money and therefore I withhold from trying every single product that slides through my social media feed. That said, last week I took a nap on a Wednesday. At 4:45 in the afternoon. When I should have been doing dinner prep. I just COULD NOT go another step. So when my sweet husband walked through the door after a long day at the office I handed him the baby ( not really, Justice was probably busy going through the recycle bin right about then) and ran to our bed for a few winks. I woke up feeling gross and also annoyed that I couldn’t even make it through a normal Wednesday without a nap.

So that evening, I remembered how I’d had several friends rave about these nutritional supplements from THRIVE^. I knew I probably couldn’t afford them, but I went on an internet research binge anyway and came across a lovely lady on Instagram who was giving way not 2, not 3 but SIX days worth of the supplement for free! Whaaaaa?!?! Now six days was definitely a long enough amount of time for this skeptic to know if something really works or not, so I sent her two frantic private messages and waited to see if I’d won one of her freebies! ( seriously, you guys should follow this chick on Social Media, she has a lot of opportunities to give these products a try and to me that’s invaluable). It was such a great opportunity to give these supplements a shot- the simplicity ( do this one thing in the morning and then be on your way) was appealing because while I KNEW that if I just ate better, made sure I was getting all my greens etc, not eating as much sugar etc etc. than I’d probably get all these benefits myself. But sometimes I forget to eat until 11am and then I’m so starving that I’ll eat a giant bag of goldfish out of desperation. Please tell me I am not the only one?!?!

IMG_3489So cut to this week….I waited to start my 6 days on Monday-probably the most intense of my weekdays- I had just come off of a weekend where Brett worked 12 hour shifts, which meant *I* had worked 24 hour shifts single parent style ( shout out to my single parents! You guys amaze me!) and I was now going into my day where I would be running two miles with a double stroller, doing grocery shopping for the week, doing laundry, preparing and packing up dinner, getting one kid ready for ballet and the other ready for soccer and then heading off to ballet, picnic dinner at the park ( read: run after kids begging them to eat in between jungle gym sessions), and soccer practice ( read: chasing after the other two kids so they wouldn’t run into the middle of practice)…also all of this was without Brett. He was working late.

I’m telling you all of this so that you know what my days are like. Sure, Mondays are particularly rough with after school activities, but tuesday-friday aren’t much different. So when Thursday came along and I was chasing my kids around the house in a superhero mask at 7pm at night, after a very long day of various parenting and such obligations, I KNEW that these supplements worked.

But here are the stats. Thanks to my Apple Watch I have very real numbers that show I had more energy and felt better this past week. On average I burned about 150 more calories a day. I guess that isn’t THAT much, but when you’re trying to lose a few pounds. That essentially means at least a pound of loss a week, without changing anything else!

But the REAL kicker came when I looked at my “active” time. My watch some how ( don’t ask me how, its apple magic) figures out how many minutes you are “active” during the day. The previous week I was “active” ( as in workout level) about 21 minutes in a day. This past week? 41 minutes a day!

That’s crazy! I seriously DOUBLED my active minutes without making any couscous effort other than taking my vitamin supplement pill, drinking my supplement shake* and sticking a little patch on my skin! WHAAAA!?!

But really the very best part was playing with my kids this week, I felt like I was much more involved with them, not zoned out on my phone on the couch because I was so tired and zapped of energy, but actively playing with them. I really, really loved that feeling.

So, like all these business models. If I can find 2 people who are willing to give these supplements a shot, then I will get it for freeeeeeeeee! I’m not gonna lie! I’m hoping one of you will find the idea of tons of extra energy and the peace of mind knowing your nutritional gaps are being filled, so appealing that you’ll want to try it for yourself! You can check out my website here and, don’t worry, I asked…signing up for the much cheaper “subscription” version so you can save money, is not signing your life away. there is a button to cancel said subscription right there if you immediately regret it. ( But you won’t!)– and I have a feeling if you try it, you can probably easily convince two of YOUR friends and family to do it too ( and get your OWN free supplements) because everyone wants more energy and better nutrition right?!?!

* I found the mix super nasty and sweet tasting, but adding just one drop of OnGuard essential oils and it was totally bearable.

^ This helpful review gave some insight into just WHAT I was putting into my body. Worth a read if you’re wondering….I personally was worried about the seemingly large amounts of “caffeine” that was probably in the green coffee bean extracts- BUT I can tell you I slept well every night this week! So guess it wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m SUUUUUPER sensitive to caffeine.

The time I got beat up by Beth Moore

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I make no apologies for my title, even though we all know its a gross exaggeration of what happened this past weekend at the LIT conference I attended with my friend Lindsay.

Instead let me just say you would think I’d gotten beat up considering how much I cried. Now, you ALL know that I am NOT a crier. So it was kind of disturbing to my stoic sensibilities just how much my eyes leaked during the worship time…Christy Nockels was such a blessing and I’ve currently got this song on repeat:

But I think the real tears came during the publishing breakout session. It was kind of then that it hit me just how much dying to self I’ve got ahead of me. I know, this probably seems really obvious to you reading this, I wish I was as wise as you! But let me just say, I thought I’d done my “laying down of self” way back when I decided to self-publish instead of trying to get a book deal with a major publisher. As I sat on the front row, with that major publisher standing over us, and she ever so bluntly laid out just how I had slammed the door on that possibility ( she clearly didn’t know she was being so personal!). For one thing, I’d written my entire book before pursuing  publication-something that she stood there saying, “no, no, no, no, no, NO!” about ( Friends, apparently you want to have the input from your major editor throughout your whole writing process!  That way your book is actually “marketable”. Don’t just sit at home, you and the Holy Spirit, and expect anyone to throw confetti when you get done writing!). I also don’t have thousands of followers on social media and therefore I don’t come to ANY table with a “following” that will most definitely buy my book. So yeah. I’m not really a contender.

I knew this.

I really did.

But, somehow having someone just a few feet away slamming the door and locking it was a little different. Later after I’d stopped crying. I was able to gather my thoughts and realize that my pride is still there. As much as I hate to admit it, I DO want thousands of people to read my book. I want people to find it out the shelves of their local, albeit struggling, book store and not just on Amazon.  I want the work I’ve been doing for years, the things that the Lord has laid on my heart to be shared… I want it to matter. I want it to make a difference on a large scale.

But the bottom-line is that this book is not mine. It was always His. From the beginning.

I must decrease and He must increase. This will have to be my choice ever single day. Because the world we live in, even the nice Christian world here in the West, tells us that “success” is measured by certain things. Certain things that I must not pursue.

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One of the main takeaways I got from Beth Moore’s sessions was Galatians 3:3…turns out it’s the perfect verse as I begin the task of taking my Editors edits*, and going through each one and making my choice of how to make my manuscript better:

How foolish can your be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your Own Human Efforts?

Oh Lord! Help me! That after all this time, of pursuing something the Lord laid on my heart…the story that He allowed us to live through so that I might share from it… that I would not now ruin it with my own human efforts! Whew! So convicting! SO SCARY!

So, I come away from this last weekend feeling a little beat up by my own pride, my own selfish desires. But I’m also excited. I’m excited because the Lord loved me enough to teach me this hard lesson now, and if I take heed to it than things will be so much better than if I struggled with my own deep seeded desires for a best seller. Instead, I will pray over my book each day, that it would find its way into the the right hands. That it would find its way to those hurting or those confused, that it would bring Hope and Life where there is none. If it can touch the heart of even one: That is better than a best seller made by human hands.

*My book is back from the editor! WHAAAAA!?!? Of course, now the real work begins! Going through, line by line, and making my book better with the editors suggestions and my own elbow grease. Its gonna be harder than I thought! But today in my quiet time the Lord gave me this verse:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” (Is 29:14) 

A good conviction when I struggle with what I might think is the right way, but what might not be best for my message. Ugh! This is really like having a baby! These contractions are no fun!

 

Murphy is a jerk

img_2677This post is brought to you by an unplanned 30 minutes in the car when Justice fell asleep. This is not surprising since he allowed me about 3 hours of sleep last night and it’s not like he got much more than me… 

 

 

OK, but let’s talk about last night. Brett left for a work trip yesterday so I was not surprised that Justice chose last night to break his 1 month barf streak. Not one time but 4 times. I was not surprised that he threw up in his bed, my bed, his bed and then the extra bed in his bedroom, because 2 weeks ago when Brett was out of town for his grandmother’s funeral I nearly died of food poisoning. It should be noted that Justice almost died then too because I was so sick I would often not get to him until he was standing on a chair holding some sharp object. ( kidding, but only about the sharp object). Anyway,  the point is- WHY DOES THIS STUFF ALWAYS HAPPEN WHEN YOU HAVE NO HELP?!

I know you don’t have the answer because Murphy’s Law has been haunting people for years but I just want to throw my own complaint onto the fire. I’d also like to say that just because I’m getting to “get away” this weekend…DOES NOT mean then universe should get back at me up until then! It’s just not cool. Not cool at all.

 

 

According to plan

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Lately I’ve been watching events unfold before me with almost complete unbelief that they are actually happening. On Tuesday I got my notes back from my editor in regards to The Day Between: A memoir of miracles and it was such great news! Other than a suggestion on adding a small story into the mix that I had failed to give but only a brief mention- there was nothing else for me to do! WHAAAAT?! THIS BOOK IS HAPPENING, PEOPLE!

And on that vein I’ve been dying to tell you a cool story: When I first started to lean towards self-publishing, I had several wonderful people recommend that I attend writing conferences. Strangely enough my first reaction was a strong “No.” This is strange because we all know that I love a good conference and wouldn’t I just love to mingle with some fellow writers and glean from those already published?! But maybe its the season of life I’m in ( read: survival of the mommy fittest) or maybe it was just because I just knew those weren’t for me, but whatever the case I was resigned that I’d just have to rely on God to do all that particular work for my book. That somehow he’d have to point me to the right people and the right things. Sure enough that’s exactly what he did.

No sooner had I made the decision to self publish, start crowd funding and then just trust God with the rest, I got a message in my inbox. It was from one of Brett’s old college buddies.

That’s right! She wasn’t even technically MY friend! But, since we’d had babies on the exact same day and since I basically liked every single one of her pictures on social media for years ( because her daughters are just that cute, ok!? I couldn’t help it!) I felt like she was my friend and here she was messaging me saying, “I saw this and thought of you!” And there was a link and at 10pm at night I clicked on it and immediately knew I had to do it.

The deal was that Beth Moore had decided that her own personal application from her latest study on Second Timothy was to have a one day conference for women in their 20s and 30s, who felt called to teaching or writing or speaking. It was going to be in Houston ( right down the road!) it was just going to cost $25 plus your hotel stay and the tickets went on sale the day after Thanksgiving…

I had to go. I was sure of it.

And so on the day after Thanksgiving my phone reminded me tickets went on sale at exactly 9am. At the time I was saying goodbye to my parents after their Thanksgiving visit so I didn’t get to my computer until 9:06. And at 9:06 tickets were totally sold out. And not only that. I was 96th on the waiting list! WHAT?!

 

How could this happen?! I had been SO SURE! So in bewilderment I waited to see what would happen next. And sure enough, as what could only be called a miracle, late late that night I got in! I still don’t know how 96 people fell through, but somehow I got my ticket and I was elated. The only bummer was that my friend had not gotten a spot. The sweet friend who had thought to share this opportunity in the first place wasn’t going to be able to go! THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN.

Somehow I knew it. I knew that we were both suppose to go and even though all signs pointed to ‘no’, I just couldn’t let it go. So a month later when I got a notification that the location had changed to fit a “few more people” I knew without a doubt that she’d be one of the few.

And so it is, that two mommies who haven’t slept a whole night thru  in over a year are leaving their 15 month olds and their other babies behind and we are heading off to see what the Lord has for us!

Of course a few days ago when I got the form where I could sign up for one of the break out sessions and I chose “Publishing”  as my first choice, all of a sudden in true “Give a Mouse a Cookie” fashion I absolutely needed to have updated business cards ( or should we just call them “mommy” cards?! ) and then I figured I couldn’t get new business cards without having the website for my book news on there….and so THAT my friends is how I got business cards and a website all in one week.

 

Also, “abigailwilson.com” cost like a trillion dollars and so I went with abigailwilsonauthor.com  because I liked the ‘a-w-a’ symmetry of it, but then I had a crisis of identity because “author” seems very fancy. But, friends, if we can believe my editor than I actually WILL be an author very very soon.

SO there you have it! Check out my website, and be kind…because its still a work in progress…and on that note, if you are a wordpress savant then please reach out…I need your help.

 

Doing church with kids

I’ve talked a little bit about what Brett and I do in our ministry as part of the No Place Left Network in past posts. I mean, who would have thought I could talk about lice and church  in the same blogpost?! If we’ve ever doubted my use of a segue then we can stop now.  But yes, we’ve been leading small churches for a few years now, mostly because we’ve learned that, according to shocking statistics, about 60% of Americans will not step foot in a traditional church, but they ARE willing to meet with someone and talk about Jesus! We’ve found that by sharing the gospel with anyone and everyone and then being willing to be flexible, by meeting in homes, coffee shops and even park picnic tables, we’ve been able to see people baptized and sharing Him with their own friends and family, and involved in close accountability and fellowship. It has been a really mind bending ride and anytime I’ve thought, “We’ve got this! I’ve got it figured out!” Then we’ve learned something giant and new and equally mind-blowing. For me, the keyword was “flexible.” If you know me at all, then you know that’s not a Abigail descriptor at ALL.

And yet, when I think back over the last 4 years, we’ve seriously had “church” change its shape countless times. Now, don’t get me wrong, surprisingly with every shift it still held to what is biblically defined as church ( as we see it defined for us in Acts and through Jesus’ ministry), and sometimes it maybe wasn’t as healthy as it should be, but we were always striving to follow the commands of Jesus: to Love God, love our neighbors and to follow the great commission.

And turns out there are a LOT of ways to do that!

One of the biggest ways that the Lord has taught me to be flexible and open to change has been through my children. In those four years our family has added another human and all three of our children have grown and changed and had different needs, so even if we had WANTED to keep things the same, life just kept changing them for us!

So, how have we incorporated our children into our ministry?!? Good question!!! And people just keep on asking me about it! ( and P.S. I keep on asking other people about it too!!) I think for us Mom’s its probably at the top of our list of priorities- as it should be!! We’ve done just about every possible thing to try to meet the needs of our children’s spiritual health and that of our own personal ministry. You name it, we’ve probably tried it.  I listened to this awesome little video from our dear friends Chuck and Deb who have been discipling us for years and I think they hit on just about all of the ways we’ve incorporated our kids into church the last few years:

But for the sake of my own personal history keeping, I wanted to share what it looks like for us right now (it’ll probably change next week! Ha!) :

We are currently doing church together in our home, rather than in other places or homes, 3 times a week. This has taken shape mostly because of the season of life we are in-with a baby and two smallish children. We have our church that meets on Wednesdays that we lead and then we have church on Thursdays that we are a part of-this one is where Brett and I learn a LOT from some of the most committed and incredible Laborers for Jesus we’ve ever met. Both of these churches have graciously allowed us to meet in our home since we put Justice to bed pretty early and we have lots of toys etc for any other children (often just our own). We also do church again on Sundays. This one we call “family church” because its usually just our family and anyone staying in our home at the time.

On Wednesdays church starts at 6:30pm, our older two kids participate in the first third^^^^of church. Prayer, worship and vision casting ( usually a 3 or 4 minute mini lesson about what church is all about.) I usually have to make a quick exit somewhere in that first part of church to put Justice down, which at this point thankfully doesn’t take long. Then the older two kids head off to another room to watch a video for the second part of church. I then put the kids to bed once church is over and they usually are only late by about 30 minutes past their usual bedtime.

On Thursdays starts at 7pm our older two kids ( Justice goes to bed pretty much as church is starting so thankfully he’s a minimal hassle) participate to some extend during the first part of church again and then they are expected to sit quietly or play quietly in the room until they’re normal bed time. Because of the timing of this church ( it starts later than our wednesday church), it usually means they are expected to remain “quiet” and good for about 30-45 minutes. Ive found this is about their capacity ( at 6 and 4) and I really want to teach them the self control of being quiet and considerate and I also want them to at least hear some good teaching and what we are doing.****

On Sundays we have church completely focused on our children and it starts whenever we want! haha- in the past we’ve done “children’s church as part of our wednesday church-but when the needs of the church as a whole changed, we shifted the priority and made it a part of our weekend. So on Sunday our teaching, our prayers, everything is at our kids level ( mostly aimed at the oldest, but trying hard to get the 4 year old involved too).

**** A few weeks ago I was sitting in our thursday church and I looked down to see Ransom had made a “nest” for himself smack dab in the middle of the room:

I almost started crying because memories came flooding back…In fact, one of my strongest memories from my early years-I was probably as young as 3 or 4, was laying on the living room floor, falling asleep to the sound of my parents and their best friends Steve and Billie talking about God. As the pastors of a church themselves, they were always talking about Jesus and the need for a revival, and even when I didn’t understand a word of it, my own heart was soaking it all in. Those memories are some of the coziest, most important memories I have and I know they are part of the important foundation I have in my relationship with the Lord to this day. And there was my own son, soaking it all in having a very similar experience. Sure, what church looks like for us is always evolving to the needs of others, and the needs of our family, sometimes it involves crying and spankings and babies that refuse to sleep or your kid flashing their underwear for the whole church to see ( let’s just say” “hypothetically”) or any other incredibly UN-spirital thing, but I’m learning more and more that this life of reaching people for Jesus- ALL of us our messy and challenging and if my kids are the ones that teach me that it won’t be perfect and that I’ll need to shift and change and be flexible, than great!

^^^^ We use the same “Three Thirds Process” in all three of our churches, we’ve found it helpful to make sure that all the elements of what Church should be are happening.  This totally delightful video made my some great students in the Philippines does a great job explaining it ( how awesome are they?!? Isn’t it encouraging to see what the Lord is doing ALL OVER THE WORLD?) :