Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On Motherhood

I love kids, always have. I started babysitting when I was in 6th grade and have been taking care of kids in some form or fashion ever since. I even majored in Early Childhood Education and taught kindergarten for a couple of years. My most recent adventure involving children has been launching BayKids, the children’s ministry of South Bay Church.

Before having Caedmon, kids were pretty much equal in my eyes. There may have been some that I was naturally more drawn to than others, but overall there wasn’t that big of a difference.

But now. Now there is an infinite difference between the way I feel about Caedmon versus any other child on this planet. Every time I look at Caedmon’s face my heart melts. I think he is the most adorable and endearing child in the world. I cannot keep myself from kissing him hundreds of times a day. Just the thought of him brings such intense emotions to me heart. My mind is filled with a million snapshots of memories that we have, many that no one else will ever know because they were shared just between us. Memories so mundane, and yet at the same time, sacred.
People who don’t have kids can’t understand this. They just see them pitching a fit in Target or throwing their food at a restaurant and feel thankful that their lives aren’t complicated by children. But they don’t know what it’s like to go in that same child’s room at night and watch him sleep. To rest your hand on his chest and feel that little heart pumping life through his body. To put your cheek up against his and feel the rhythmic breathing on your skin. They don’t know what it’s like to snuggle on the couch or to understand what he’s trying to communicate when no one else can. They don’t know what it’s like to have that child prefer you to anyone else in the world…to know that the sound of your voice and the touch of your hand have the power to calm that child’s every fear and relieve any pain.

Children are a gift from the Lord. Expensive little gifts. Lots of assembly is required. But one of the very best gifts anyone could ever receive. Motherhood, perhaps more than any other single experience in my life, has unleashed a capacity to love and feel deeply that I never knew was possible.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things I love about my husband...

* I love how he checks to make sure the doors are all locked at least twice each night.

* I love how he sings really loud in the shower.

* I love that he can never turn Caedmon down when Caedmon asks him to play.

* I love that he devotes so much time to personal prayer and is unashamed to pray out loud with great passion.

* I love how he sets out everything to make his coffee the night before (even grinds the beans) so he won't be loud in the morning.

* I love that no matter how hard he tries to be quiet, he is still one of the loudest people I know.

* I love that when we go to Chuck-E-Cheese, Andy has every bit as much fun as any child there.
* I love that he tells me he loves me about five times before he walks out the door and at the end of EVERY phone call, no matter how brief.

* I love how he takes Caedmon to Starbucks for "Boys' Club", pretending it's for Caedmon's benefit but we both know he just wants another latte!

* I love how he often accidentally leaves his keys in the front door and our neighbors stop by to tell us.

* I love how he never asks me to it clean up when Caedmon poops in the bathtub.

* I love that he takes a day off each week to spend time with me and Caedmon.

* I love the way he makes up songs about whatever he is currently doing that do not necessarily rhyme and have no tune or rhythm.

* I love that I am the one woman in the whole world that gets to be Andy Wood's wife. That makes me special!

Monday, February 9, 2009

And we're off!

WOW! Yesterday was an amazing day. South Bay Church is officially "launched" and our Grand Opening was so exciting. We really had no idea what to expect. We had done everything humanly possible to get people to come to South Bay's Grand Opening so that they could hear the gospel and get connected to a community of believers. We sent mailers, we hung door hangers, we displayed banners, we advertised on Google, we made phone calls...and we prayed.

In fact, many people joined us in praying, perhaps like they've never prayed before. For the 48 hours leading up to the Grand Opening we had a prayer chain of people all over the world praying around the clock. My husband devoted between one and two hours EVERYDAY to prayer. That is a huge time commitment with everything else he had going on. But we knew that we were completely dependant upon God. If God didn't show up, then our man-made efforts would fall horribly short.

But God did show up! In the SF Bay Area 95% of people do not go to church. This area has had many attempted and failed church plants within the last decade. People have warned us that our church is likely to take a long time to grow because the people here are so turned off to church. But, I think God has something else in mind when He looks at the Silicon Valley. He sees a place that is bursting at the seams with the need for a new church. A church that will break down the religious stereotypes and love people where they are. A church with a message that will be relevant to people's everyday lives instead of some far removed liturgy. A church that offers hope and joy and peace through the life-changing message of Jesus Christ! God's going to propel that type of church onward to advance the Gospel and bring glory to Himself. That's what he did yesterday!

Here's an overview of our numbers:
279 people in attendance (our highest attendance at a Preview service was 180)
61 first time guests
9 people indicated a first time decision to follow Christ!
68 people expressed interest in small groups

Today has been a busy day as we have been working on following-up with all of these people! It's crazy to think that we'll do this all over again in SIX DAYS! I am so excited to see how God is going to work through South Bay Church in the coming months. There is nothing more fulfilling and meaningful to see than life-change. I'm thankful that I get a front row seat!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Work and Worship

We are on Day 17 of South Bay Church's 21 Day Prayer Challenge. I can't believe the Grand Opening of our church is only 4 days away! Everytime I think about that I have simultaneuos feeling of excitement, panic, and a touch of nausea...I'm sure any church planter's wife can completely understand. It is going to be incredible! Anyway, below are my reflections on John 17. If you'd like to view the full blog, click here.

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4

This verse tells us two things:
1- God gives us work to do while here on earth, and
2- We give God glory by completing it.

Have you ever been dissatisfied with your job, frustrated with the current circumstances in which you find yourself? A lot of times I have wished that my "work" would be something really noble...that mine would be a life of significance punctuated with exclamation points instead of question marks. I have this intense desire for my life to count for something far greater than who I am, to make a difference and thus bring God glory.
The fascinating truth this verse teaches, though, is that God receives glory when we simply complete the work he has given us!
But what if my "work" is cleaning up after a halfway-potty-trained-child? That's certainly not very noble. What if my "work" includes doing laundry, cooking meals, playing Lego's, and trips to Target? Sometimes it's so hard to see significance in the mundane tasks of day-to-day life. But that's my work, and it gives God glory when I complete it with my whole heart and a good attitude. It gives him glory when I work as if He is my authority and not some slave-driving boss.
Let's just be honest...a lot of what you do doesn't seem very noble either. Where's the significance in selling this product, or inputting data into this spreadsheet, or filling out this expense report? You find yourself working for a paycheck, not for a cause...and that can become unfulfilling really fast. Do you need a new job? Probably not. You need a new perspective!
God has given you work to do. It includes your occupation, but it is so much more than that. Part of the "work" ordained for you is that conversation you'll have today with your colleague, the ways you show love to your spouse, the time that you invest in your children, and, yes, the mundane, day-to-day tasks of life. Part of bringing glory to God is by doing the next thing...with a heart that recognizing the call to work comes from God.
So you can drive to work for the glory of God. You can send that email for the glory of God. You can fold those clothes for the glory of God! You can do the next thing, all for the glory of God...even if the next thing is cleaning up after your potty-training-impaired 2 year old!!!