Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

The girls bounded out of bed on Christmas morning and were not disappointed to find their stockings filled. For another year the magic of Santa filled our lives. Morgan loved her Secret Password Journal (voice activated)...she played with it all day and Sarah was excited to get her Candy Jewelry maker and enjoyed making candy necklaces during the day. The morning continued as we opened presents with grandpa and grandma, in their new cozy and spacious living room. Two Wiis were opened, and we laughed as we created our Mii characters. The girls also got marionette dogs which went everywhere with them... well except when we were untangling the strings! Later that day, my sister's family arrived and we enjoyed opening more presents, visiting with each other and had a spaghetti dinner for Christmas... yummy. We got lots of stuff for our boat, so now we will be anxious for boating season to arrive! :) My sister also knitted me a new scarf! My day ended snuggled in Mike's arms... my heart so full of love that the tears spilled out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Exclamation Mark

Looking back, I wish I would have had more faith when we picked up and moved 18 months ago. I wish I would have had confidence that God would provide. Instead I worried. I fretted. I cried. I complained. I wondered.

Yesterday, was like the exclamation mark for me.

You see, we loved the church we left, and I didn't think we could ever find a home again, when it came to church. But, yesterday, it felt like 'home' know, that place where you can be yourself, relax. That place you are meant to be. So I just wanted to pause (even though I have TONS to do during this Christmas season right now) and write down about yesterday. I don't want to forget yesterday.

The day began with what our church calls "2nd Saturday". During the 2nd Saturday of every month, our church partners with local justice organizations and physically serves others in our community. No strings attached, just seeing a need and putting love in action. Yesterday, 500 volunteers showed up to help as we provided over 1,000 people in our community with free toys, haircuts, medical services, a visit with Santa and carnival, and free groceries for Christmas dinner, all on campus of our church. Mike, I and the girls all helped...along with our entire group.

After that, our group gathered at a home for pizza and laughter. Following that, we concluded our bible study "pursuing spiritual transformation". What an encouragement it was to hear how God is meeting us and speaking to us about areas of our lives to transform and change. Amazing how when we pause, read the bible, reflect on God's truth, and gather with others who are pursuing the same journey, change begins to happen. I was also encouraged by responses to the question "what can other group members do to move you forward in your spiritual journey?". Some things included...They appreciated the honesty of the group, so we don't feel alone in our struggles. Letting go of independence and focusing on interdependence (letting others help us in our journey). They spoke of how the realness and authenticity of the group encouraged them. And of how growing towards speaking truth and sharing accountability were beneficial. How can life change not happen when you are sharing life's journey with people like this!?!

Our day concluded with another amazing Christmas service. In a church of 4,000, with 5 service times, there are often weekends we don't see anyone we know. But yesterday, our entire group came at the same time and we all sat together and enjoyed the Christmas service together. The quality and excellence that North Point Church values and puts into their services week after week amazes me. You know what else I love is that most weeks, I laugh, cry, ponder and am moved in my soul by the service. It's powerful. God is active, living and touching lives through North Point Church. No wonder it is the 9th fastest growing church in America right now (I think it's only 7 years old). And if all that wasn't enough, after leaving Family Theatre with our kids, what a joy it is to hear "Mom, we loved church tonight!"

Church is all these things...serving others, enjoying relationships, and gathering together to worship and grow closer to the heart of God on this journey called life. Thank you God for the exclamation mark yesterday! And thank you for bringing our family to North Point Church...a place to call home!