{Seminary Journal} Our Spring Creek Send-Off

We spent our last northwest weekend at our annual church campout, and it was one of the most special several days I can remember. On Saturday night, the church had an informal send-off for us. My dad shared some sweet thoughts and prayed for us, which was very precious. Afterward, others from the flock added encouragement. We’ll remember all those kind words and memories for years to come. It was an amazing way to close off this chapter of life–we are so blessed by the support our church family is showing as we embark on this adventure. You will all be tremendously missed!

More on the past week to come later. We hit the road at 4:30 AM tomorrow!

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Wrapping it Up in Bellingham

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Saturday night we went to my very favorite spot in Bellingham, Zuanich Park. Ate Menchies and stared at the water. It was perfect.

So many goodbyes and lasts to get through this week. But I can’t think of a more fitting way to end this chapter than spending our last weekend at the church campout. It’s been such a treasured tradition for most of our lives and it will be a great way to spend time with our church family before we move.

It’s hard to believe that we’ll finally be hitting the road a week from today! I can’t wait to write about the big road trip and moving into our apartment. There will be so much to discover and learn and figure out as we settle in. Stay tuned for that, and other news. =)

My favorite thought right now:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

Brand New Niches

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Last Sunday School class after 2.5 years of teaching precious 3rd &4th graders.

As the move draws ever nearer, I’m starting to transition a little bit from thinking only of all that we have to do before we go to considering what life is going to be like once we start settling into our new home. That might sound pathetic, but I’ve let myself get so busy with everything we have going on now that I haven’t paused a whole lot to think of what lies ahead.

Today I learned that the church we’ll be plugging into in SoCal has a robust special needs ministry!

I cannot begin to communicate how thrilled I am about this. I have long felt a tug on my heart toward working with mentally and physically disabled people, specifically adults. A summer or two ago I did a fair bit of online research to find a local ministry I might be able to jump into, but came up short. Grace Community’s program sounds absolutely ideal. They provide general support at church functions as well as specific, tailored activities for special needs adults, with a strong emphasis on the gospel and quality Christian fellowship. It’s yet to be seen how their volunteer needs will fit into my schedule, but at this point I am dancing for joy at the thought of any small ways I can get involved in this beautiful work!

For several years now I’ve looked forward to the weekly seminary wives meetings.

It will be such a blessing to gather with other ladies who love Jesus and are excited about supporting their husbands through each semester. I anticipate Wednesday nights as one of the most effective ways I can get to know like-minded gals on a deeper level, and I hope to pick up some volunteer babysitting opportunities for sem wives who have children! I’m excited for this as an opportunity to learn from the experiences sisters in Christ, a swell as share how God is growing and stretching me through the experience of seminary.

These are just two things I’m eager to begin with our fresh start. I’ll trade in Sunday School teacher and IT helper hats for new ones. It will be stretching and fun to watch God direct me to the niches He’s specifically fashioned me for. When I think about it that way, I can hardly wait!

An Opportunity to Stand Up for Life

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Abortion is very real and it is very terrible. I am not as appalled by this travesty as I should be. Unborn lives are being murdered right here in our country every single day and I do precious little to fight it. My familiarity with abortion’s long-time legality has created a callous.

The staff and volunteers at the Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic have taken biblical action on the horror they feel toward abortion. Since at this time I am not personally involved in fighting it hands-on, supporting the clinic’s efforts financially and prayerfully is a great, effective way to stand up for the unborn.

The thing I love most about the people at this clinic is their strong emphasis on the gospel in the lives of the women who visit for ultrasounds, counseling, and classes. While they are giving many babies a chance to experience life outside the womb, they recognize that the ultimate issue for every human being is where they stand with God. With that in mind, they faithfully present the good news of Jesus to the ladies who come for help. Physical lives are being saved, but even more importantly, spiritual rebirth is happening as the Holy Spirit works through the gospel.

Because of their biblical perspective and the way Jesus’ love spills out of them to the people they minister to, I am wholeheartedly behind the work that the clinic is doing here in our county. Their annual fundraiser run/walk is coming up on May 18, and unfortunately I have plans that cannot be changed. However, I know a number of wonderful people who are walking or running for the clinic. Please consider sponsoring one of them…all of the proceeds go toward funding the vital ministry of the clinic. Here are a few of my friends who you can sponsor.

Kelsey & Family
Cindy & Family
Crystal
Roxana/Corina
Annie
Gary
Carolynn

Fervent Love: Benefit of the Doubt

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I’m convinced that just one way we can show fervent love to our brothers and sisters is by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t you appreciate it when others do the same for you? It’s a simple concept that simply means not jumping to the wrong conclusions about another’s behavior and instead, choosing to think the best about them since you don’t know the situation. Here are some hypothetical scenarios. (By the way, most of these cases are really none of your business, but since as fallen people, we often stick our noses where they don’t belong, I’m using these examples anyway.)

Situation: You run into someone who you’ve heard complain about financial problems eating dinner at the nicest restaurant in town.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume they were given a gift certificate for their birthday.

Situation: You spot a movie containing explicit sexual content sitting on your friend’s entertainment set.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume that someone lent it to them and they aren’t planning on watching it, or they’ll be fast forwarding the inappropriate scenes.

Situation: Someone makes a doctrinal/theological statement that could be taken one of two ways.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume they meant it the correct way.

Situation: Someone says something rude or insensitive and doesn’t apologize.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume they have a lot on their plate and accidentally took their stress out on you.

Situation: A child is throwing a temper tantrum while his parent tries to calm him at the church softball game.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume that the parents faithfully discipline at home, and recognize that even well-trained children still disobey and act willfully.

Situation: A friend is holding a book that you know to contains heresy or false doctrine.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume they are reading it for the purpose of having an educated conversation with a weaker brother.

Situation: A sister in Christ is dressed provocatively at church.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume that her heart is right, but she has not been taught on the subject of modesty and does not realize she may be causing issues for men round her.

Situation: Someone tells you they’ll come to your recital, show, or game, but they don’t show up.
Benefit of the doubt: Assume that unavoidable circumstances prevented them from making it.

You get the idea…when you don’t know a situation, choose not to jump to conclusions and assume the worst about your brother or sister. Give them the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that you would appreciate it if the same were done for you. It’s a small thing, but it can have a big impact on your attitude and thoughts about others. Fervent love comes in all shapes and sizes!

Dress to Protect

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Dressing modestly.

I bet I scared some of you off just with that incomplete sentence. But for those of you who were brave enough to stick around, here are a few thoughts on this extremely important subject. Summer is coming and I don’t know about you, but I find it much more difficult to stay trendy and modest in the warmer months.

Modesty is (to a certain extent) a subjective and relative idea. There is no absolute dress code. I have friends who dress more conservatively than I do and friends who dress more liberally. Compared to most of our culture, I’d rank very conservative. But what decides what is okay for me to put on each morning?

My theme verse for choosing my wardrobe may sound odd.

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:28

Wow, that’s pretty serious. But it’s written to guys, so no worries. Not so fast! Did you ever consider that you can make it harder or easier for men to obey this verse? Sure, there are guys who will lust over you even if you walk around covered head-to-toe under a parka. But let’s consider godly men who are truly working to control their thoughts and respect your purity. Do you really want to make it easier for them to struggle in this huge area? Do you want to be the object of them committing adultery in their hearts because you just didn’t think about what you were revealing, or simply didn’t care? Ladies, there are plenty of girls flaunting it all; consider being one that men can enjoy being around without having to keep their guard up and “look away”. That has to get exhausting in today’s culture.

First and foremost, modesty is a matter of the heart.

It’s about dressing with deference and respect for the men you’re around with the goal of helping to protect their purity, not to mention yours. Although it is about the heart, please don’t dress provocatively with the excuse, “My heart is right and I’m not wearing this to attract attention, therefore it’s okay.”

In my next post I’ll offer some specific clothing suggestions, but for today, here are a few broad guidelines to consider following when choosing your attire.

  • Don’t wear something you wouldn’t want another girl to wear around your husband/brother/dad/son. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If another woman wears something that makes you jealous around your man, that’s a good indication you shouldn’t dress similarly.
  • Consider the point of clothing: concealing, not revealing. Does your outfit reveal more than it should or needs to?
  • Why do you like this clothing choice? If it is because it draws attention to your figure, reconsider it.
  • Ask the men in your life for input on a clothing choice. It may look different from their perspective. (Not all men are honest when it comes to this area…ask someone you know will give you the truth. I’d also suggest asking a couple of guys. For some, one particular area may not be a struggle, while for another it is a huge problem.)

A few notes to guys…

  • Don’t let your wife walk around in something that turns you on because it is revealing. Do you really want other men to feel those desires for her, too?
  • Don’t let her wear something that you’d struggle with if you saw another woman wearing it. This goes for your daughters/sisters, too.
  • Play the man and protect your wife/daughter by helping her make wise clothing choices.

Ladies, are you inadvertently acting as a stumbling block for the men in your life?

It’s very easy to do in today’s day and age. Their purity is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. I encourage you to examine your heart and clothing choices and seek the Lord in this important area. I have to do this myself on a regular basis, and have no means reached the perfect balance. My desire is to consistently, humbly go to the Lord and the counsel of my husband as I strive to grow in this area and protect the purity of the men in God has placed around me. May you be encouraged to do the same as you endeavor to glorify God in every area of life. To Him be the glory!

Going-Away Roses

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Today the pastors took the church staff out for a goodbye lunch for me. Next week is my last one as a receptionist in the office. It’s kind of the first big change we’ve made in preparation for the move this summer. I’ve been on staff for almost three-and-a-half years and feel blessed to have been a part of the behind-the-scenes work that helps to keep our church’s ministries flourishing. Answering the phone to cheery friends’ voices, drafting announcements for classes and potlucks, working under my dad and one of our dearest friends, Pastor Mark…in a lot of ways, it’s been a “dream job”. I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to serve Him in such a unique and rewarding venue. I’ll truly miss it.

The roses are from my dad. He also gave me a beautiful hand-written card and a gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants as a thank you gift. I should have been giving him presents. How many gals get to work for their dads? That aspect of the job was nothing but 100% positive and rewarding, and it’s easily the biggest thing I’ll miss.

With my church position coming to a close, I’m increasing my work hours as Program Administrator for the company I work for from home. Lord-willing I’ll be taking that job with me to California. It offers some schedule flexibility, which will be helpful as we grow busier with general wrap-up here before school begins.

Now to buy a car, prep and put our home on the market, and do all the other million little things on our before-we-move checklist! =) School starts in 178 days!