Better Together

Better Together

Better together is a theme that has been a part of my life for over six years now.  Better together is what brought the Women’s Ministry Council into existence.  For six years now, Women’s Ministry Leaders from my local area have met quarterly.  Regardless of denomination or church size, we meet because we know that we can all serve the Kingdom better if we work together.  Small churches pairing up with large churches, connecting ministries/churches to local organizations, and providing training to an area of ministry that lacks support and resources that other ministries have access to.

Better together is what has prompted Pastor cohorts & leadership breakfasts.  Better together is what started movements like Christ Fellowship‘s “Church United”.  Bringing together church leadership in a way that is not only beneficial to the church & communities we serve, but something that is Biblical.  In Acts 15, we learn of the Council of Jerusalem, where all of the Apostles and Disciples who had gone out to fulfill The Great Commission gathered so that they could be better together.

They had recognized that as they went out into the various cities and towns, they were not all delivering the same details in the message.  It created confusion, disruption, and disunity among people.  By coming back together, and working through the details as a group they were able to come to a unified consensus.  They realized the value of working together, coming to a unified vision and message, and how unity would impact their credibility among the people.

Recently, my home church took a vote to join a network of churches within our denomination.  It is a church with multiple campuses, and we were given the opportunity to become part of the family & become one of their campuses.  I found this to be very appealing.  Why?

  1.  For six years, I’ve already had a heart toward the fact that we are better together.  We can do more, advance the kingdom more, reach more together than we ever can on our own.  We can move further, faster.  This partnership was exactly what I had done through the Women’s Ministry Council, on a larger scale.
  2. I’ve always recognized the value of shared resources.  Whether it be staff/volunteers, tangible resources, space, or experience … what we have, that can be gifted and shared with others, is a blessing to us all.   I experienced this outside of the church, when I worked for an international retail chain.  Many problems were solved in the ease in moving people & resources that were in excess at one location to a location in need.  It only make sense to have that in the church.  We’ve never been called to lead groups in isolation.
  3. Due to my research on the Jerusalem Council, this partnership felt like a return to a Biblical model than a departure from our identity.
  4. I could also step back and look at all the events & happenings that led to this moment, and I could see God’s fingerprints everywhere.  My spirit felt peace even among the uncertainty of exactly how and when things would unfold.

When the church gathered to vote, it was almost unanimous in favor of the partnership.  I wasn’t the only one who had recognized that we work better together.  Many were feeling the same things, and have the same excitement for our future with Family Church.  I am excited to witness not only what we glean from Family Church, but also what we are able to give to their leadership.

What God has brought together, let no man put asunder.

How can YOU be better together?

Start a cohort or group of other leaders in the same ministry field as yourself.  Determine how often and how long to meet based on what works for you.   Rotate who leads the meeting to take the pressure off one person doing it all.

Band together with other local churches to have regular leadership training, conversations, or meet local organizations in your community that could use your help in support, finances, or getting public awareness.

Be a mentor, seek a mentor, or both.  Find someone whom you can share your experience with, and/or seek someone who is willing to share their experience with you.  Being better together is not always about large groups but also one on one.

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When Your World Stops

This post is unaccompanied by any flashy graphics or glorious pictures.  It just is, what it is.  I’m ok with that.  I’m more ok with that today, than I would have been six months ago.  Six months ago, I worked with excellence and with a check list.  Things were systematically executed with precision.  Six months ago, my life was a lot different.  I can easily get wrapped up in the details, or trying to present perfection lest I find myself under the judgement of whomever stumbles upon this page.

Six months ago, I didn’t have 2 extra children.  Six month ago, I didn’t have a little girl in my home that was angry.  Not moody.  Not upset.  Not sensitive.  Angry.  Uncontrollably angry.  I had no idea when the call came, when we opened our doors, that I would end up tossing everything on my calendar aside and dedicating most of my time to a child who was not my own.

I’ve learned a few things during this time.

I’ve learned that I can say no, more often than I had in the past.  I’ve learned that I have more available time than I thought.  I’ve become keenly aware of how blessed we are that our children are healthy, both physically and mentally.  I’ve seen how I have taken them and time for granted.  I’ve learned that the furniture that sat in my home & at the time felt like such a “need” and is now displaced into the garage, is the least of things I need to be concerned about.  I’ve watched my budget shift and prioritize my spending, because we have two extra mouths to feed and bodies to clothe.

In one phone call, my world as I had known it… stopped.  And, guess what?

I’ll survive the lack of blog posts and social media shares.  You have survived with out my wisdom, humor, or teaching.

I’ve learned that my friends, my circle, my tribe… they are right there when we needed them.  The meals they brought, the conversations they sat through as I vented, financial gifts that we never asked for or anticipated… but came at the exact moment we needed them…. God’s continual presence & provision during this time…

My world stopped.  A new world begun spinning.  In the end, I believe we will be all the better for it.  God wastes nothing.

Giving Thanks for Friends

Giving Thanks

Right now, I’m in the thick of a trial.  I didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t expect it.  I was not prepared for it.  Any given day, if you were to check in on me, I’d waver between two responses.  “I’ve got this” and “I can’t do this any more” volley back and forth.

I do have a friend who checks in on me almost daily.  I sent her a text message a few days back, just a quick thank you for riding along side me on this roller coaster ride.  She knows me so well that the actual sound of my voice alerts her to what kind of day I am having.  She notices the little changes that others might not even catch, for her they are a radar to my emotional state.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,

and the pleasantness of a friend springs from

their heartfelt advice.  Proverbs 27:9

And then she will let me talk through it, whatever I am feeling.  She affirms me, or gets me thinking, or simply makes me laugh.

I am blessed.

Hashimotos Thyroiditis – Update

thyroid

For those who have been following my Hashimotos journey, there is a little update.  My protocol that I’ve been adhering to is still working for me, but I still feel like I could feel better.

So, I’m going to be trying these 3 new supplements starting this week.  They arrived just today, so I’ll begin tomorrow.

If these work it should greatly reduce the number of individual supplements I’m taking (since these are blends).  But, there are some additional supplements in these blends I’ve not taken yet and do show up in a lot of my research.

In the Thyroid Adrenal Reset Complex there is magnesium, which currently I’ve been getting via magnesium lotion.  I have already been taking Bovine Thyroid Powder (instead of synthroid) but this TARC blend also has Bovine Parotid, Bovine Thymus, Bovine Adrenal Gland, and Bovine Spleen.  That all sounds super gross, ha, and I never thought I’d see myself taking all that.  But, if it will continue my progress of healing and getting back to my old self… so be it.   I have to laugh, because on the package it says “vegetarian capsules” but that is literally just the actual capsules.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is not for you.  😉   And, there are some other new things in this that I’ve not taken before.  I grabbed this on Amazon.

In the T3 Conversion Booster, it has Iodine.  In my research, I have seen those who swear by the addition of Iodine and those who say avoid it.  I’ve been in the latter camp, just out of precaution.  We’ll see how this goes.  I am excited that this contains Ashwagandha root, which has been something I’ve been intending to add to my protocol but just didn’t want to take another pill.   Also equally interested in seeing how Rosemary extract & guggulsterones will impact my over all health.

In the Power B Complex, it contains a lot of the individual supplements that I was already taking.

The plan for right now is to stick with my natural thyroid replacement (currently taking Thyrovanz, just switched from Armor a few months ago) and take just these 3 other pills.  This would be a HUGE reduction from my daily pile.  It includes my Vit Bs, Vit D, Selenium, Biotin, Folate, Vit A, Vit E, Zinc, Vit C, and potassium that I was already taking in other supplements.

The TARC and T3 Conversion Booster are instructed at two times daily.  The Power B Complex is one time Daily.  So that means in the morning, I’d be taking just 4 pills!  Then, just 3 in the evening.  A HUGE REDUCTION.

I’ll report back how I’m feeling in a week.

Wrestling in the Desert

 

In the Desert Places.png

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

Genesis 32:24

A few days ago, I watched over a young girl pacing in our yard wrestling with herself.  The inner turmoil of what she was facing was evident in all of her mannerisms.  She paced back and forth, torn between two directions.  If she went one direction… she was in full defiance to my direction but still maintained control over her life.  If she chose the other,  she would be giving up her own will and submitting to the will of the one who was trying to steer her in the right direction.

She paced.  She argued with herself.  She would glare in the direction she wanted to go, would pretend to not hear my voice.  She knew what she wanted to do, but understood it would come with consequence.  The battle was consuming her at times.  She kicked at the rocks, balled up her fists.  She screamed at me.  She cried.  She fought.

As I reflect on that day, now, I’m seeing a glimpse of what it like for the Father to look down on his stiff necked people.

Wars waging inside of us.  The flesh battling the spirit.  Looking at the pathway that gives us our greatest desires that come with some of the deepest pains, or the pathway where we submit and lay it all down at the foot of the Cross and surrender to God’s will.

She screamed at me, “I hate you.”

I replied back, “But, I still love you.”

No matter how many times we fall under the pressures of the flesh. No matter how difficult the trials and the tribulations are.  No matter how difficult it is to understand and comprehend the things that happen in this life.  No matter how many times in our wrestling with God we cry out “I hate you”….

The Father says, “But, I still love you.”

 

Broken Pieces

steak night

Last night, I was on top of my game.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have some extra kids with us for the next few months.  One of my dear friends dropped off a meal yesterday afternoon… rotisserie chicken, homemade mac & cheese, salad, and cookies.  Just a day earlier someone from church had provided a bag full of fresh tomatoes and green peppers.  The kids were all home from school, and I prepped up a plate of chopped peppers and tomatoes to add to the salad.  I set the plate in the fridge, until I needed it later.   Right on schedule, I slid the chicken and mac & cheese into the oven to heat it up.  Tossed the salad into a bowl & went to the fridge to grab the plate of extra veggies.

CRASH.

As I pulled the plate out of the fridge, I knocked into a rock candy stick one of the kids put into the fridge.  In an attempt to catch it before it fell and broke, I haphazardly set the plate of veggies down … and then the plate slid before I could do anything to stop it.  It hit the floor and shattered.  We found pieces of the plate all over the kitchen.  It shot into the office off the kitchen, as well as out the other side of the kitchen.  Pieces of glass were found in the fridge, kitchen, office, dining room, and living room.

This was a shattering that is beyond repair.  I’ve not ever seen something break into such tiny pieces before.  So much so, that we have told all the kids to wear shoes the next few days until we are certain all the pieces have been swept up.

Sometimes we focus so much on encouraging people that they can repair the broken pieces that we forget that there can be a shattering that is beyond repair.  Things can’t go back to the way they were.   In those cases it can be easy to focus on how broken things are, to beat ourselves up over it, to mourn deeply over the inability to fix it…. to the point where we can’t even comprehend that God may have something entirely new for us.

I’m not suggesting that God is the cause of the shattering, but rather in the midst of cleaning up all the broken pieces…. you are not alone.

When the plate hit the tile, the sound was frankly incredible.  It was so loud, and almost thunderous.  My husband came running in to the room to see what happened.  He saw me sweeping it up, and he took the broom from my hands and said “I’ve got this.  Just worry about dinner.”

When the pieces of your heart are broken, scattered about, God says “I’ve got this.”

 

 

It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way

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Recently, I’ve been reading through a book where an author shares about a circumstance that affected her life and how God worked through it.  A common tagline that has risen from those who are reading the book is “it’s not supposed to be this way”.  I am not really sure that I know of a single person who hasn’t experienced an “it’s not supposed to be this way” moment to a certain level.  Some more severe than others.

Sometimes you get to watch the navigation of two different families experiencing the same “it’s not supposed to be this way” moment, but from opposite sides.

Emotions run high.  Everyone is feeling stress.  Some more than others.

Sometimes these situations require wading through the muck until things settle or resolve.  Others require action.  It’s so important that no matter what YOUR “it’s not supposed to be this way” situation is that you take your steps under the cover of prayer; and in His timing not your own rush to get it over with or sluggish attempt to avoid dealing with it.

Then, grab a journal and start writing it all down.  Get all the thoughts and feelings out.  Take your time writing through it, you may even need to come back to it a few times and add more details, feelings, etc.  Also, take some time away from it.  You may find once you have purged it all you will feel better, or that the distance has given you a new lens to view your thoughts with renewed clarity.  Then pray again over whether you are being called to let this event go, or to act… and also when is the right timing.