Every Day Joy

Isabelle Joy 

Rob started off the Glee series at GCC this weekend.  He spoke about finding joy.  He challenged everyone to look for joy throughout their day, and consider these sightings as signposts from God.  How often do we let these moments slip by without acknowledging them.  What if God is trying to speak joy into our days, and we are so overwhelmed with other stuff that we miss it?

I took this picture of our Isabelle Joy a few years ago in the retention ditch next to our house.  I had not planned on it.  She just happened to want to wear her pretty dress that day, and she just happened to want to go see the pretty flowers.  I ran in the house to grab my camera, and was lucky enough to get this shot of her. 

Every day joy.  Grab your camera, and wait for it.  Live with a spirit of expectation, because joy is coming your way.

Life Outside of the Water

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We celebrated about450 people committing their lives to Jesus in baptism this weekend at GCC.  What a phenomenal weekend it was.  The feelings of newness were fresh to us as a family.  Whitney was baptized last year, Maddie the year before. They both made grand commitments to Jesus, and at their young ages, decided on their own that they wanted to seal the deal by publicly displaying their commitment to Jesus.

At each of their baptisms,  I walked them through the line holding their hands, focusing them on what they were about to do, and reminding them that this was an epic moment.

Maddie's Baptism

They were both baptized by their daddy.  Both baptisms were a very pivotal time in their spiritual lives. 

But…what if I left them in the water when it was all done? What if I shook their hand and walked away wishing them all the best in their spiritual lives?  They’d call me crazy, and so would you. 

In real life after their baptisms, we walked out of the pool together, dried off, went home, and most likely I had to break up a fight between the sisters.   I had to remind them to talk politely.  I had to re-direct them in some way multiple times throughout that day.  That’s real life.  That’s life outside of the water.

In other words, their baptisms were a symbol of a lifestyle that takes a lot of work.  Day by day, minute by minute we make decisions that bring us closer to God, or take us farther from Him.  A life surrendered to Jesus means just that…surrender.  Life outside of the water is hard work.

Do you know someone who was baptized this weekend?  How can you help them take their next steps toward Jesus? Don’t leave them in the water.  Help someone take their next step toward Jesus today.

I Answered…

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You all certainly didn’t let me off easy with your questions.  I was talking to Rob last night, and he laughed and  said, “You asked for it!”  Yep, I did.  I hope my answers shed some light on what it is you wanted to know.

 

 

What is the biggest challenge your marriage has ever faced and how did you overcome it together?

I think it was the first year after Isabelle was born.  Belle was hospitalized at 2 months old, and had lots of early delays.  Immediately after she was born, I had some pretty serious complications which required  a few surgeries, and lots of rest.  Having 3 kids under 5 left no time for rest, so it took me a long time to get better.  Quite plainly, we stuck it out together, nothing heroic.   We just did it with all the love and grace we could, and came out stronger in every way on the other end.

 How has your marriage lived up to your expectations of what it would be like 17 years ago, when you were engaged?

We knew that our relationship was exceptional back then.  We got married knowing we were signing up to a life of ministry together, and we were in it for the long haul.  It’s what we were made to do.  We also knew family would be important, and that Jesus was the most important person in our lives.  We’ve grown a ton, but the basics haven’t changed much.

 

What advice would you give a couple considering marriage?

I would say to them that being married is awesome, but it is daily work that you’ve never done before.  It takes practice just like anything.  I would say that you need to go into a marriage realizing that “it’s not all about me”, and figure out ways to be sacrificial and giving to your spouse on a daily basis.  These small things are what keeps a marriage alive.

What advice would you give to a couple who has been married 5 years and has 1 toddler and 2 baby girls?

I’ve never had twins, but I did have 3 kids under 5, and it was the biggest challenge of my life.  Like I said earlier, just do it.  Do it with gladness when you can, but know that Jesus is in the mix with you , and his strength is perfect for the most trying moments.  You might not see that He was there the whole time until you are out on the other side of the craziness, but He’s there.  Just trust that He is.

 In what practical ways do you build hedges around your marriage?

  • We never go anywhere alone with a member of the opposite sex.  Never.
  • We say “I love you”, and “I’m sorry” all the time.
  • We try to go on regular date nights and at least one over night get away every few months
  • We laugh a lot
  • We don’t have any secrets

How are you able to keep your identity and not just be Pastor Rob’s wife?

I could most certainly fill an entire book with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the answer to the “identity” question.  The truth is that there are moments of each, so I’ll answer as honestly as I can:

  • The good:  I have a front row seat on the work God is doing in Granger and around the world.  I’ve been here since 1992, and have watched this movement of God unfold.  I wouldn’t change the past 17 years for anything. 

I’ve never felt pressure to be anything or do anything I’m not comfortable with.  I’ve been allowed to just be me, and everyone is fine with that.  There has always been room in our marriage and in our ministry for me to be who I am.

  • The bad: On the flip side, as the church has grown, there is less of a need for “average” people like me to help with the really exciting stuff.  I used to do drama, teach classes, go to important meetings, etc.  As time has brought a phenomenal amount of people our way, there has been a phenomenal surge in amazingly talented people.  To put it plainly, I feel left out a lot.  Part of my own perception of my identity has been squished because of this.
  • The ugly:  I’ve lost more friends than I can count because of Rob’s job.  It’s strange really. I am not sure of many jobs that make you lose friends faster than being a pastor, or pastor’s wife.  When someone disagrees, they leave or block you out of their lives.  It’s painful, and identity squishing also.
  • The great  With all the change at GCC, I have been able to refine my focus, and sharpen some skills that are important to me, which would be lost if I was doing all I was doing before.  It’s been a bad thing that really has turned great, but it’s still hard every now and then.

 How do you handle being the “neighborhood mom”?

I love it.

 

How have you been able to carve time out just for the two of you and keep the relationship strong with such such great kids?

It’s hard work, and it costs a lot of money.  Getting a babysitter is always a challenge, since we don’t have any family in the area.  Time away is so important for us.  It’s worth adding childcare into the budget to get out on a date together.  We also take advantage of the times when all 3 kids are at school occasionally to go out to coffee and talk.  Next year it will be easier to do this, since all of them will be in school full time.

 If you only had $15.OO to spend and it was date night where or what would you do??

We would probably go for a hike somewhere , then spend the $15.00 at Starbucks.

 Name one thing that you disagree on.

There are no major issues that either of us disagree on.  We get along very well on a day to day basis.  I think it’s the teeny tiny details that we disagree about, like:

  • laundry
  • where to put area rugs
  • where to hang towels
  • I’d rather play now, clean later.  Rob would rather clean now, play later
  • We don’t like the same kinds of movies

We agree on way more than we disagree on, and I think that’s a good thing.

Serving Together

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Every Second Saturday of the month, GCC families team up and go out to serve the poor and needy in our community.This morning, a few hundred of us gathered and split up to various community service projects.  (I heard that the team over at Feed The Children boxed 2,900 boxes… A new record!)  I couldn't be more proud. 

When our family pulled up to Monroe Circle Community Center, I gasped.  There was already a line out the door, down the block, and wrapped around the building.  The people from the government housing in downtown South Bend were waiting in 37degree weather with cold wind and freezing rainfor food and personal care items.  It was 37 degrees with freezing wind and rain.  I was struck with the desperation of these people.  That was all the incentive I needed to serve and give all that I had. 

Me and Maddie got to serve breakfast and snacks to the children of Son City Kids.  We offered bannanas, apples, carrot cake, pumpkin cake, and lemon bars.  Maddie thought it was funny because the children kept coming back for more and more FRUIT, not cake!  Fresh fruit is rare if you're a kid in the inner-city.

Whitney went with Rob knocking on doors, inviting kids to come.  Belle colored with the kids and helped her Daddy cheer up a lady who just lost her husband. 

It was an amazing morning.  I love doing stuff like this as a family. 

  • So,What does your family do to help the poor and needy?