Opting-In To Your Life

A little over a year ago, our city was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Our house wasn’t flooded, but 4,000 homes in a 5-mile radius of us were. We stayed and rode out the storm, we housed friends that lost power, picked up friends who got evacuated from their homes by boat, and did whatever we could to help. Once the water receded, the clean up and relief efforts were in full swing.

At the time, I had a 5 year old, 3 year old, and 18 month old. Due to the ages and sheer volume of my kids, I didn’t think there was anything I could do with the relief efforts. I couldn’t help gut a house when I had my 18 month old with me.

My husband, Clint, was going to be busy mucking houses and spearheading relief efforts for the foreseeable future. I decided I was going to drive to Kansas City to my parent’s house for a week or so with the kids so we would be “out of the way.” I packed our suitcases and was prepared to leave the next morning.

But then I saw a text message on my husband’s phone. It was from one of our friends and it said, “It would be helpful to have childcare so more adults could help.”

I started thinking about what providing childcare would look like. I talked it through with my friend, Whitney, that was living at our house during the storm.

At that moment I decided, I’m staying here and doing this.

I sent a text message to the nursery director at our church, Jane, and asked if we could open the church nursery the next day for people that were flooded or were assisting with relief efforts. Jane had just gotten off the phone with her daughter who had asked her if she was going to do that exact thing. Truly, the Lord had this whole thing planned out way before we did.

So we did it. We opened up childcare to our community, served over 500 kids and had over 100 volunteers over a 5 day span. We even had an impromptu fire alarm at nap time on the day we had 195 children.

Hands down, it was one of the most impactful, exhausting, and meaningful weeks I’ve been apart of.

Every night I walked past my packed suitcases on my bedroom floor and was thankful I stayed.

I was fully prepared to do the thing that made the most sense, the easiest option. I had to choose to live into the purpose that was right in front of me.

When you have young kids, the excuses to not do things outside your four walls are plentiful. Babies are hard. It’s exhausting, draining, and at times can feel all-consuming.

So as a result, we opt-out of our own lives. 

We watch Netflix instead of talking with our spouse at the end of a long day.

We say no to every social gathering.

We say no to every service opportunity.

We have another drink to destress.

We tells ourselves that “it’s just not my time to make a difference.”

We avoid hard conversations because keeping the peace is easier than broaching difficult subjects.

We take the easiest option presented to us, every time.

Opting-in to our lives requires us to do things that are hard.

The hardest things in life are the ones that shape us the most.

So say yes to things that sound hard, require more coordination, sound crazy on paper…because most likely, those are the things that are going to change you.

Opting-in is always worth it.

All too often we think our purpose is going to come eventually or worse, we think we don’t have one.

We can’t live a life that we don’t have, so live the one you do fully.

The hard lesson I’ve learned is that my purpose is exactly where I’m at, with who I’m with, with what’s in front of me. If we spend our lives waiting for some grandiose calling instead of pressing into the life that we are in, then what’s the point?

The life stage you’re in? The place you’re in? The people in front of you?

It’s what you’re called to at the moment, so opt-in to your own life.


7 Reasons you should work at Summer Camp.

The College years are a selfish time.

It’s all about you. Your schedule. Your major. Your classes. You. For 4(ish) years the only thing people are going to ask you about is you.

But they don’t have to be.

You see, you have time during college that you won’t have in any other season of your life. You have the longest summers ever; use it well.

The natural inclination for most college students is to find an internship to get a foot in the door for jobs down the road. But you know what, you are probably going to work a 9-5 for the rest of your life so why start before you have to?

You should work at a summer camp instead. Here’s the reasons why:

  1. The focus is off of you. For that week/month/entire summer you aren’t worried about yourself or your needs. You are solely focused on pouring into your campers or the task at hand, not you.
  2. You learn to be flexible. With your diet, your exercise regimen, your comfort level, your limits. There’s nothing comfortable about sleeping on a wooden floor in 100 degree temperatures surrounded by nature. But if you can adapt here you can adapt anywhere. This is a life skill that is useful in whatever you do with your life; parenting, the work force, etc.
  3. You learn to truly depend on the Lord. You reach the end of your strength after about 3 days. YOU can’t do this job but HE can. He will give you the strength, the energy, and the words to say when you let him.
  4. You learn to work with different types of people. In any work situation there are going to be people you do not see eye to eye with, people who you would never be friends with in any other context, or people that get on your last nerve. But you learn to make it work. Not by being fake but by the grace the Lord provides.
  5. You learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Would you run around your campus wearing jorts, an oversized sombrero, and painted on freckles? Probably not. But at summer camp if you aren’t doing this you are the weird one.
  6. It will make you a better parent down the road. You have had a small glimpse of the pride parents feel when their kids excel at things, the frustration of when they fall short of expectations, and the selflessness required to be a Mom/Dad.
  7. When you go back to your campus you are different. You run extra with the teammate that is struggling to finish a workout, you start asking your friends deeper questions because you are still in counselor mode, and you find yourself looking for ministry opportunities because the normal selfishness of college drives you crazy now.

So work at summer camp, it will change your life.

Annoying your readers

There are a lot of people and people groups in the bible that drive me nuts. Seriously. The Israelites, the tribe of Judah, Jesus’ own disciples, the list could go on and on.

I just don’t understand how you get bread from the sky, water from a rock, or literally SEE God on a mountaintop, and then you turn away. There is such a prevalent pattern throughout the bible of God’s people turning away, God reveals himself or does something big, these people repent and come back to the Lord and then 15 minutes later they are building another golden cow.

Sometimes I just want to be yell ” JUST FIND NEW PEOPLE GOD!” These people are the worst and obviously can’t get it together.

But he sticks with them. He continues to pursue their hearts. He loves them, even when it doesn’t make sense.

He does the same thing with us.

I mess up all the time. I’ve seen God work in HUGE ways in my life yet I still keep trying to do things with my own strength.

One of my favorite verses in the bible (purely because of the image it evokes) is Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” The people of Judah ate a lot of vomit. The people of Israel ate a lot of vomit. We eat a lot of vomit. How often do we walk away from the feast that God provides at his table and instead say, “No thanks, I don’t want that prime rib. I’d rather eat this pile of regurgitated Alpo and grass.”

If someone wrote a book of the bible over your life, would the people reading it be annoyed?

I know mine would. I am just like the Israelites in that I continually see God answer prayers and work in extraordinary ways then I keep going back to the pile of dog vomit.

Our flesh will never be enough. I can’t problem solve or plan my way through life without eventually reaching the end of myself and realizing that I need him.

So let’s try to stop annoying our readers and seek strength from Him alone.



Learning on the job

When I became a Mom 4 and 1/2 years ago I had NO idea what I was doing. I legitimately had never changed a diaper in my life until Kate was born. My google cache’ the first two months of Kate’s life was nothing short of terrifying/hilarious and she pretty much only wore a diaper for her first few weeks of life because I did not know how to put clothes on a tiny human. I remember going to Kate’s one month check-up at the pediatrician (for which she received the best bath of her life) and when Clint asked me how it went afterwards my response was “They didn’t say anything about CPS or taking her away from us….so good, I guess?”

Becoming a Mom was/is the most terrifying and surreal experience of my life thus far. Sometimes I look in the rearview mirror in my van (cool is gone forever) and think “there is no way all of these small kids belong to me.” Turns out, they do.

So here is my not so sage advice for anyone about to become a mother, thinking about it, or for those that are overwhelmed by it…if I can do this, you can too. Here’s the things that make it possible:

  1. Coffee. This is real. I seriously have NO idea how non coffee drinkers function in society. I’d say my intake went up 150% upon having children.
  2. Jesus. Because I don’t have the love/patience/selflessness required to take care of someone 24/7, but he does.
  3. A smart phone with google. Everybody needs some web MD to reassure them that if their baby hasn’t pooped for 4 days that it isn’t going to start coming out their ears or something.
  4. One medical professional in your circle that can tell you off the books that it is just a rash and not the Ebola virus or malaria. (This will also save you a bundle)
  5. The assurance that everybody else is as clueless as you are. Being a parent has made me realize that even though I thought my parents knew what they were doing when I was growing up, they were just making it up as they went along like I am. If someone you know thinks they have it all together and knows how to be the perfect Mom they are LYING to themselves and you. I’ve come to the conclusion in my life that if you think you have your sh!% together then we have NOTHING in common and nothing to talk about.
  6. They don’t remember anything before they are 4 (at least in long-term memory). So if your baby cries it out for 20 minutes while you are in the shower or attempting to take a nap yourself they WILL NOT be able to talk to their therapist about it when they are 30! This is what I tell myself on rough days at least.
  7. Have an outlet that involves no children. Whether that is nights out with friends, going on long runs, bible studies that have childcare, etc. I have become a distance runner purely because no one is touching me when I am running.


Do It Afraid

Do it afraid.

This past weekend I went to the Belong Tour in Dallas. Of all of the truth and encouragement I received over the weekend, those three words hit me the hardest. By nature I am a planner. I want to know the next step. I have a plan B, C, D, E.  I like to be in control. This is why I hate to ski (nothing about strapping two sticks of wood to my feet and throwing myself down a mountain exudes control in the least to me) and why I am our family’s driver when going down a windy mountain road with no guardrail (I may be the worst backseat driver ever).

I’ve been ignoring an incessant whisper in my life to start writing for some time now. There are too many unsure things for me: What would I write about? Who would actually read it? What if people think I am too ______? So this is me doing it afraid. I have NO clue how to do this, what this is going to be about, if anyone besides my husband and my Mom will read this. But here goes nothing, feel free to follow our somewhat crazy life with 3 kids 4 and under, and the trouble I get into when being a Pastor’s wife with no filter.