Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Out Of That Pit!


We started a new Bible Study in our Monday night Bible Study.  We are doing Beth Moore's Get Out Of That Pit.    We usually have a group on Monday nights of 6-9 women...last night we had 20!

I'm excited to be getting into another Beth Moore study...the last one we did (Jesus, The One and Only) , I learned a lot!

Friday, June 13, 2008

VBS...Finale'

Last night was our VBS Finale'!  It went GREAT!  We had those big blow up jumpy things (yeah...I don't know what they are called), a tent for dinner, and a cotton candy machine!

I didn't get a chance to eat...I had so much stuff I had to do...so much running from inside and out!  When I got inside, they were having trouble with the cotton candy machine and since I was the only sucker one to learn how to run it, I had to go over and actually work the machine!  I had cotton candy EVERYWHERE!  I went home singing...I'm hot, sticky, sweet, from my head to my feet

Anyway, the children LOVED everything, I only heard good comments from parents and kids were asking where they could go for the next Power Lab!!

My staff...what can I say about a wonderful group of men and women who pour their whole heart and soul into doing God's work.  They were great, I couldn't have run the week without them!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

VBS...Day 4

88 Children in 1 week went through our VBS.  Let me just say, if your church is doing Group's Power Lab, it will be a success!  The children were absolutely loving it!  I have heard a number of children talking about what other church in the area was doing Power Lab and which church they were going to next!

Last night was the Salvation message.  I haven't heard if any child was saved, however, I know the seed was planted.  All the children knew the answers to the questions that our "characters" were asking them!  They are getting it!!

I have been truly blessed by the volunteers and helpers!  I couldn't have done this without their help!  Not to mention the Children's Ministry Director...even if she couldn't make it to Power Lab for more than 30 minutes a couple nights, it was great to have her support over the phone and throughout the process of getting things together!

Tonight is our last night...it's Family night, so my job is very simple.  We will have the normal opening and then have our "closer" come up and do an experiment (or 2) and then send the children outside for food and games.  Our church had lined up those big blow-up bouncy things!  The kids are going to love it!!

VBS...Day 3

15 more children!!  We had 83 children Tuesday night!  Not to mention we had quite a few volunteers missing because Tuesday is church softball night and swim meet night!  Talk about crazy!!

Things are still going smoothly...I'm so impressed at how my volunteers are not only excited, but getting into character!  It's really great to see!  I have only heard wonderful things from the children and from their parents.

Even though I'm thoroughly exhausted, I'm having a great time...don't tell the Children's Ministry director, or I might have to do this again!  LOL

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

VBS...Day 2

Last night was so much easier than the 1st night.  Things went smoothly...registration didn't take much time, children knew what to expect, their anticipation was up.  I didn't need to run around as often as I did the 1st night.

We had 68 children last night...I was glad to see it grow!

I feel like there was a life changing moment that happened last night at the registration table.

I just happened to walk up to the registration table to give them more pens.  A family with 2 young boys came up to the table to register.  Let me remind you that we are running an Elementary only VBS.  These 2 young boys were 3 and 5.  As they turned away from the table to go back to their car, I had one of the registration people turn to me and ask if it was possible to bring in 2 preschoolers.  I said Absolutely!  We have a few crew leaders without a crew at the moment.  The family was called back to the table, I looked at the mom (who was visibly upset) and said, "We'll make room for them".  She thanked me over and over.  She had told me that her boys were looking forward to this VBS for some time!

After they got the boys settled into the crews we chose for them, I went and pulled the registration papers to see if they had been to our church before.  No church was listed on their papers.

I'm so glad we didn't turn them away...who knows what type of seed had been planted into that family and how the adjustment for their children will affect them.

I talked to our pastor that night and informed him that I went ahead and put the 2 preschoolers in the VBS.  He told me..."You saw a need and you filled it."  I just explained to him that I put myself into the mother's shoes...I would have been heartbroken and bitter had my children been turned away from VBS!!

VBS...Day 1

Ok, so I'm a day late, but wanted to get this down.

Sunday was such a long day!  I was at the church by 8:15 am to help the Children's Ministry Director make sure all the teachers were in place.  When I get to church, I usually park far away from the door to allow others to park close, not this week.  I parked right in front of the door...I had lots of items to unload from my car.

After I make sure everyone is in their class, I make my way to the sanctuary for 1st service.  I'm tired already, but know that I have a long day ahead of me.  Since my wonderful husband was running the sound board today, I had to find a place to sit by myself, so I see a wonderful man who had at one time been a minister and has this gifting of knowing what to say when you need to hear it...and seeing past your front.  Little did I know at the point I sat next to him that he was giving the message.  He looked at me and asked how I was doing (which was a familiar question that day).  I didn't hesitate and looked straight at him and said "I'm scared to death"...when I realized that had come from my mouth, I was shocked!  I was telling everyone who asked me that day that I was fine.  He looked at me and said it would work out fine, and to catch him between services so we could chat.

Wouldn't you know it, his sermon was on David and Gollith and how David faced his giant and how David was someone else's Hero.  He reminded everyone that we are someone else's Hero, you may not know who, but you are.  That hit me.  Something I needed that day at that moment in time.

I did catch him after service and told him that I was going to be ok...and VBS as going to be fine!

After making sure all the teachers were in 2nd service, I sat in the cafe and talked to a few people who needed me to answer questions for VBS.  I felt like I was the interviewer who was giving lots of interviews for a position.

After church, I had to deal with a HUGE set issue.  I hate confrontation, my stomach was churning, I had a huge headache.  I talked to the decorating crew, I talked to the VBS Worship team.  A decision was made...people were upset.

I then took my children to the grocery store (my husband rode his motorcycle to church, so he followed).  We got our groceries and came home so I could get some other things done for VBS.  Grab lunch and head back to church.

At around 2:30 pm, I showed back up at church to finish getting things set up and ready to go.  Can I say, I was in the ZONE!  I was belting out orders and giving directions to people like it was second nature.  I know it was God working through me because I've never considered myself a leader...I'm a follower!

VBS started and my main focus was getting the registration set up properly so we didn't have children just entering the sanctuary without registering.

I missed the opening, I was bummed about that, but I know she'll do the same thing on Thursday night (Family night).  I ran around the sanctuary talking to the crew leaders who didn't have a crew and instructed them to team up with a bigger crew to help them out.

Things ran smoothly Sunday night...we had 60 children (Elementary only)...with only a couple bumps in the road, but the only ones who noticed the bumps were the ones I had been working with.

We left the church a little after 9:30 pm.  I was exhausted.  I got home and went to bed right away!

Friday, June 6, 2008

VBS

I am up to my eyeballs in VBS stuff!  I'm swamped with all the little tasks and trying to pick up those dropped balls get last minute things all cleared up.

I'm so happy to say, I'm not really stressed...I may change my mind when all the children show up on Sunday, but right now I'm not.

I am co-directing this year (my 1st time doing that) and the person I co-direct with just had a baby 2 weeks ago, so I'm not sure how much she will be doing.

I keep telling myself it's only 1 week of my life how much this will mean to all those children.  I know I was chosen for "such a time as this."  Everything will fall into place, I have no doubt about that!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

He was there...

Heather over at Desperately Seeking Sanity is hosting a He Meets us Where We Are Carnival & Contest.   I was so touched reading her story and all the others who have signed the Mr. Linky on her site.  So I thought I'd join in on the fun!

God has met me so many times in my life.  I have been trying to figure out which story to share with you, so here's your warning...this may be LONG!

I was raised in a Lutheran church.  My mother was a Sunday School teacher and my dad (although he didn't go), made sure we went to church every Sunday (unless, of course we were sick).  I was a "good girl" growing up.  I wasn't really part of the popular crowd, but I was friends with everyone and included in all groups.  God was there.  I learned a lot in church.

When I was 15ish (sad, I can't remember), a friend asked me to go to a Chrysalis weekend.  I thought it would be a lot of fun, so I agreed!  I don't remember a lot about that weekend, but I do remember all those wonderful letters from friends, family, and people I didn't know.  People all stating how God loved me (something I knew) and that they did too...that struck me as odd.  How can people who don't even know me, love me...but I accepted it and moved on.  God was showing me his love.

During one of the nights there, I remember them having an alter call.  Being a Lutheran, I had no clue what that was all about, but something compelled me to go forward.  I cried...a lot!  I prayed with my table leader...I knew I was changed, somehow, but not exactly sure what had just happened.   God Showed up, and started working on my life.

After that weekend, I went on about my life...but I did something a bit different.  I actually started reading some of my bible.  That was short lived though.  Having no one to hold me accountable, I went back to not reading and just living life the way I had always lived.

I was your typical 16 year old who knew EVERYTHING.  I was grounded often for some reason or another.  I was asked to be my nephew's Godmother...I was so excited! My sister's niece is also his Godmother and we are the same age, so we hung out all day.  That afternoon, the church my sister went to (she left the Lutheran church to go to a non-denominational church after she got married), held a baby shower for her.

When we got home, a friend of mine asked me to go out driving with her.  I had my license, she had her permit, so I would be her licensed driver.  We went cruising in the town we lived in, however, being as it's only a mile square, we ventured out to neighboring cities.  Since I was grounded and it was a school night, I thought that I should be home around 9 pm.  Although, if I was obeying my parents in the first place, I wouldn't have left the house.  I left her house in my cute little sports car little red Chevette and headed back into town.

As I crossed the tracks and started slowing down to meet the speed limit (and yes, I was that type of driver...obeying the speed limits most of the time) at 35.  I see a car coming toward me and crossing over the middle line.  I slow down even more and get close to the cars parked on the side of the road.

In a split second, my car was spinning and the realization that my car was hit.  I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, I tried getting my driver's door open so I could get out and look at the damage, but the door was jammed.  I looked at my passenger seat and was shocked to see the engine.  It took the EMTs quite some time to get me out of the car.  This was even after yelling at my dad who was trying to help.  God was there...most of the impact was in the passenger side of my car, if that guy would have hit me on the driver side, I wouldn't have been here to tell you about it.

Once I was at the hospital, they had discovered that my right femur bone was broke and the bone was laying on the main artery in my leg.  They had to get traction in my leg and put a rod in the next morning.  God was there...that bone could have punctured my vein and caused me to bleed to death.  You know God was there when the hospital I was brought to had just hired an Orthopedic Specialist and he was in his 1st week there.  I was one of his 1st surgeries at that hospital!  Had he not been there, I would have been transferred to another hospital.

Due to the extent of my injuries, I was told I probably wouldn't be able to have any children.  So, when I started dating my husband, I told him that I may not be able to have children.  He said "that's fine, we'll just adopt."  God was there...showing me that things were going to be alright.

While we were engaged, Kevin started going through the Lutheran classes and my dad joined him.  God was there, using Kevin to bring Dad to him.  Shortly after we were married, we started attending the church my sister attended.  We liked it so well, we decided to become members of this non-denominational church.  And if you thought God was there in my life before, let me tell you, he was about to alter my life forever!

Kevin and I were born again on the same day at our new church, and a few weeks later my parents started attending there too!  The time came to be baptized and I am so blessed to say that I got baptized on the same day as my husband, my mom, AND my dad!!  God showed up that day in a HUGE way!  It changed not only my life forever, but the lives of many in my family too!

A year went by and Kevin and I had talked more and more about wanting children.  I prayed and prayed for a child.  We prayed together for a child.

I was at our Praise and Worship practice and the Guest Hispanic Minister we had at the service was there.  However, his interpretor wasn't.  So in his very broken English, he began to pray over each of the members of our Worship team.  When he got to me, he asked about a baby.  I looked at him and said, "Yes, I want to have a baby"...he prayed, looked at me and said "It's not your fault"...he prayed, looked at me and said "boy"...he prayed and looked at me and laughed saying "boy".  God was there...he healed me that day!

A few months later, I was pregnant with my 1st child!  I knew from the beginning it was a boy, no doubt in my mind!  God showed up and answered my prayer!

3 years later, I got pregnant with my 2nd boy!  God showed up there as well.  We lived in another state and my mother was able to come out at the right moment to be there with me before I had him, during my labor, and after delivery.  Then got to see him 2 weeks later when we moved to yet another state.

Those moves across the country (from OH to CO and from CO to MN) God used those times for Kevin and I to become closer to each other.  We didn't have family to rely on, just God and each other.  Our marriage is solid, would it be if we hadn't moved?  I don't know, I would hope, but it's hard telling.  We grew so much living in CO and MN for those 6 years!

God answered my prayers when Kevin was asked if he wanted to be transferred to OH!  Oh how I had longed to be back in OH with my family, how I had prayed for it.  Shortly after we moved back (we are talking within a month here) I got pregnant again.  Something unexpected, because we thought we were done after having "M" & "N".  God had other plans for us.  The pregnancy caught us off guard, but we were happy.  We knew it wasn't going to be easy since we sold all of our baby items before moving back to OH (Praise God that "N" was still in the toddler bed, which was converted from the crib).  I specifically remember calling my sister telling her and crying because I wasn't sure how we were going to do this and start all over!  We just moved into a 3 bedroom duplex, how are we going to add another baby.  She calmed me down and said not to worry.  God will take care of you.

Fast forward 4 months...my pregnancy was going well, I hadn't gained any weight (apparently since I was overweight before, the doctor's weren't concerned).  The only thing that was causing concern was I was getting bigger (or yet the baby was getting bigger) and I was measuring 4 weeks ahead of where I should be.  So I went in at 18 weeks to get an ultrasound to see if my dates were off.  I took my mom since she had never seen an ultrasound on a baby, and since I was going to be having her last grandchild.  We were shocked when they said twin boys!!  My doctor never once hinted at a multiple!

I would love to say I praised God at this point and it was such a wonderful day...but no!  I freaked out...cried...had a bit of an anxiety attack!  How could I have twins...we weren't even expecting to have 1 child and now I have to have 2!

After about a day or so to process this fact, we were excited.  I was still scared, but excited, nonetheless.  The next couple months I did start gaining weight (funny how I didn't gain an ounce until I knew it was twins) and things started getting a bit rocky.  My blood pressure started rising, I had Braxton Hicks contractions daily, it hurt to walk, I started getting sick some mornings...all normal pregnancy symptoms multiplied.

At 31 weeks, I went in and they couldn't get my blood pressure to go down, so they sent me to a hospital for observation.  Once there, I was informed that I had HELLP Syndrome and my liver and other organs were starting to shut down.  The only cure...Deliver the babies!  God was there...in the midst of this.  He knew Kevin wouldn't make it through a c-section...Kevin had the flu and couldn't come back to the hospital until he was better.  My mom was able to take off work and be with me through the c-section.  God was there because my boys were early and so much could have been wrong with them...immature lungs, learning disabilities, even death, but they are 2 healthy happy boys.  God was with me throughout...God took care of all the little things too.  Our boys were cared for in the NICU for 4 weeks by wonderful caring nurses.  Our boys came home to a houseful of gifts, clothes, beds, etc. from people who cared.  Their mommy came home...God saved me from death yet again!

Want to read others' stories?  Click here and see how God met them!