Thursday, February 27, 2014


A middle school girl does poorly on a math test and thinks to herself, "I'm so stupid! How did I make that mistake? I just can't do math."

A middle school boy does poorly on the same math test and thinks to himself, "My teacher sucks. She can't explain anything. This test was ridiculous!"

The scenario above is a middle school example that totally captures the difference between how men & women (stereotypically) cope with difficulty. One turns the frustration inward and one turns it outward.

My whole life, every mistake and failure has felt incredibly personal. Like a reflection of my worth. And the fear of failure has crippled me from attempting great things. I prefer low risk/high probability of success options. I tend to be a mid-course adopter of any new idea or initiative...let those crazy risk takers roll the dice and, once the chances for success look pretty good, I'll jump on board too.

I can get in horrible, downward spirals of negative self-talk. Especially while doing laundry. (Anybody else?) Satan feeds me a whole buffet of lies and I stuff myself by tasting each one, often going back for a 2nd portion.

  • My whole life is wrapped up in menial tasks. Nothing I do counts for anything worthwhile.
  • I'm no fun at all. I feel sorry for my kids. I wouldn't want to have me as a mom either.
  • There's never enough time in the day. I am living in survival mode.
  • No matter how much I get done today, I'll have to re-do it all tomorrow. 

And on, and on that ugly, well-trodden path.

But no more. This is the year that I change the sound-track in my head. This is the year I start speaking God's truth louder than the lies that Satan tells me.

  • God has called & anointed me for this.
  • God has given me everything I need to do this.
  • There is more in me.
  • I can get better.
  • God is going to help me. 

I once heard Craig Groeschel say, "My language will not reflect limitations. My language will reflect nothing is impossible with God."


I've let my insecurity hold me back too long. This year I will lead with courage. I will believe that God can use my life to do things that seem so far beyond my capacity right now. I will do the hard work of removing obstacles in order to pursue dreams. There is more in me. 

David encouraged himself in the Lord. 
2 Samuel 30:6

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunnyvale Campus Launch

Yesterday was a historic day. South Bay became one church in two locations as we launched our Sunnyvale campus! After years of dreaming and months of intense planning, the day had arrived!

Andy preached an awesome sermon as we began our new message series called, "Overloaded." Over the next five weeks we are asking God to teach us how to "escape marginless living." Click here to listen to his sermon.

It was a PACKED house at the Sunnyvale Community center. There was standing room only in the auditorium as we all squeezed in like sardines to be apart of the excitement. The total count was 496! Pastor Filipe announced at the end of the service that we will immediately be starting a 2nd service NEXT SUNDAY! The new service times will be 10:00 and 11:30.

BayKids really showed off yesterday. Every child was greeted with balloons and tons of friendly volunteers. They had music, Bible stories, crafts, and snacks. The kids also loved the bouncy houses and goodie bags! What kid wouldn't have a blast and beg their parents to bring them back?!?

The space for elementary kids was amazing. So big and bright. They even had 4 games stations for the kids to play with before and afterwards!
My heart was bursting with pride as I saw all of the volunteers serving so diligently with such joy. There is SO MUCH joy and life and community in being on a team serving in ways that truly make a difference. God used these people (and many more not pictured) to pull this off! I pray they feel a deep level of fulfillment and the smile of Jesus as they offer their heartfelt service to Him!

I can't wait to see all that God does through this Sunnyvale campus. Unending potential!

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with JOY!
Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Picking Up Steam

2013 was not my favorite.

It felt like running (mostly walking) against the wind with a parachute on my back. Like living with a low-grade fever or chronic headache. Still functional, but definitely not my best.

I started the year off in a dark place. I was still deeply grieving the miscarriage we had suffered a couple months prior. And I hated that I was still grieving. I wanted more than anything to feel better, but I didn't.

When we lost the pregnancy, I felt smothered in grief. Like someone had wrapped my in a huge, dark blanket and I couldn't see a thing. I kept hoping and praying that one day it would suddenly be lifted and, aha, there's the light again.

But I discovered that healing from grief is not like that at all. At least not for me. You don't wake up one day and just feel better. It wasn't one thick blanket that I was smothered in. It was more like a thousand layers of chiffon. And day by day, layers were slowly lifted so that what was all darkness slowly gave way to hints of light. It takes a long time to see life clearly again, without a veil.

The darkness that I began the year in lingered on longer than I would have ever wanted (or predicted), but layer by layer, light returned to my eyes.

When we found out in March that I was pregnant again, I thought for sure that would lift the grief. But instead I felt very guarded and fearful to receive the pregnancy with pure joy.

The pregnancy was more difficult than Caedmon's. I was 24 years old when I had Caedmon so my young body just thought it was born to birth! This time round I had more nausea, more complications, and a lot less sleep. I've never wrapped Christmas presents at 3 AM in October, but I did this past year.

In the midst of pregnancy woes that forced me to slow down my pace, I felt such deep gratitude and joy over the gift of being pregnant.

  • Nausea? Worth it.
  • Sciatic pain? Worth it.
  • Insomnia? Worth it.
  • Contractions beginning in the 5th month? Worth it.
And then she was here. My JOY had arrived. Karis Joy.

We walked around for the final 2 months of the year like happy zombies. No sleep and total chaos. But she was in my arms and it was pure joy to me.

It's strange, though, the grief thing. Even after Karis was born, grief would surprise me at unsuspecting moments. Driving down the road one day my mind wandered back into the treacherous territory of our miscarriage. I tried to reason with the tears on my cheeks that there was no need to cry because my precious Karis was riding in the carseat right behind me. But, even so, I guess we carry a piece of our losses with us always. 

2013 was grief and pregnancy and life with a newborn. I didn't make a lot of personal least not towards my goals. But I have a feeling that God was growing something IN me that will one day shine THROUGH me.  

So 2014, I'm comin' for ya! I may have been in a sleep-deprived fog during January, but I'm like a freight train leaving the station. And I can feel myself picking up steam! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sick Day

Thermometer. Advil. Water bottle. Banana peel.

That's what's sitting beside me on my bedside table right now. Sick day = no fun.

I went to bed feeling crummy last night. Achy & chills, but no fever. I thought I was just exhausted from a long Sunday and not getting enough sleep the past few days. But as I slept fitfully for a few hours I could feel the achyness increasing and by 3:30AM I had a 102 fever. Bummer.

When mom gets sick, life gets complicated. Especially when mom is the sole source of nourishment for a 3 month old baby.

My husband is a rock star, and a saint, and an awesome example of what a husband/father should be. Not only did he totally readjust his morning to be able to stay home and help with the kids, he did it without ever giving me the slightest hint that it was an inconvenience for him. Love that man. I stayed quarantined in my room and just passed bottles out to him every 3 hours. Praying God protects the rest of my family (ESPECIALLY Karis) from this sickness!

Random side note, I wasn't sure whether or not I could give Karis my breastmilk while I'm sick, so I Googled it, of course. And wouldn't you know, that miracle liquid from God is exactly what's best for her even when I'm sick. In fact, the immunity that my body is building to fight off this sickness is being passed to her through my milk to protect her from getting it! Amazing. (The older boys are on their own though because I do NOT plan on passing out cups of my milk to everyone else in the fam. That's a little weird to me!)

So thankful my friend, Darlene, could come this afternoon to help with my kiddos so Andy could get a little work done. Thanks, Darlene!

I would totally appreciate your prayers as I feel like the timing of this sickness is less than coincidental. We are launching South Bay's Sunnyvale campus this Sunday (SIX DAYS!) and three of the people (2 staff members & me) who directly support Andy are sick today. Does anyone else see a pattern there? While your at it, please cover our whole staff and the Sunnyvale team with your prayers. Satan does NOT like to see the Kingdom of God gaining ground in the Bay Area.

That's all I've got for ya today. Nothing too spiritual or profound. Signing off, in my PJs in my bed!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Prayer for the Princess

Our family shared a really special moment a couple weeks ago as we formally dedicated Karis back to God. 

At South Bay Church, we celebrate Child Dedication as an opportunity for parents, extended family, and close friends to publicly commit themselves to raising their child in a way that honors God. By no means will perfection be attained, but we vow to live our own lives according to the life-giving model of Scripture and to train our children to do likewise. 

As part of the dedication, each family had a chance to share around the table a special prayer for their child. Many of the parents had written something down to read to their child so that, in years to come, they can show their child the prayer.

I wrote Karis a poem that I wanted to share with you (see below). It will be framed and hang in her room so that we can pray it over her often as she grows.

We had the great joy of having Andy's mom, Marcy, and brother, Jon, with us to celebrate this special evening.

Karis was clearly quite excited about all of this!

Mi corazón.

Dear Daughter of Mine, 

You are the answer to a thousand prayers,
The fulfillment of desire so deep.
My heart dances with joy to watch your face
As you lie in my arms fast asleep.

You’ve done nothing to earn my affection
No mold to which you must conform
This rapturous love bursting out of my heart
Is yours simply because you were born.

You came wrapped in grace and tied up with joy
But you are more than a gift just for me.
You’ll bring grace and joy to the world God loves.
You were born with a sure destiny.

May you be a lover of Jesus
Following hard after the King.
In Him may you find everything that you need.
This world offers no greater thing.

I pray that you love without limits
Seeing others the way Jesus sees
With compassion and grace, believing the best
People are His priority.

I pray that your life sets the standard
Pure of mind and body and heart.
In this crooked and depraved generation
May your purity set up apart.
 May you be a woman of courage
Not buying in to the Enemy’s lies.
Dare to dream and think big and believe that He can
Your God has an endless supply.

The calling you have will take work to fulfill.
You’ll be tempted to settle for less.
But I pray that you are never content
With anything but God’s very best.

Keep yourself yielded to the Holy Spirit.
May your life overflow with His fruit
His power and anointing will rest on you
As He guides your every pursuit.

May you be secure in who you are.
You’re designed by the Master’s hand.
Uniquely crafted and sealed with His love
As apart of his Sovereign plan.

We will watch with anticipation
Of all God will do with your life
Your Daddy and I are cheering you on
And praying with all our might.

So today, before our family and friends,
We dedicate you back to the Lord.
May Jesus always capture your heart
For He is your great reward.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Bad Do You Want It?

Recently I started attending staff meetings at South Bay Church. Not so much because my role at South Bay is changing, but more because South Bay is changing. You see, in the early days, staff meeting was in my living room during Caedmon's naptime. I knew the ends and outs of everything that was going on with South Bay and felt very much a part of the team.

But as South Bay has grown and our family has grown, I've begun feeling a little disconnected. My desire to be a part is as strong as ever, but we're a far cry from staff meetings in my living room these days!

Andy invited me to start coming to staff meeting and I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner. I absolutely LOVE being there! I really don't contribute much, but I am learning a ton by sitting under Andy's leadership as he takes our staff through leadership development. (He's a pretty remarkable leader, by the way!) I feel so much more connected to our staff and I have a much better understanding of what's going on in the organization. Staff meeting is one of the highlights of my week. Win! Win! Win!

HOWEVER, it is not at all easy for me to get there! No, no, no. Quite the contrary.

For example...

Last week my childcare fell through the night before because her son got sick. So I was scrambling to find a friend who could help me out on short notice. I spent the morning texting back and forth to work out the details.
The meeting was scheduled to begin at 11:00. No biggie right?
* Shower? Check!
* Breakfast? Check!
* Homeschool? Check minus!

I began packing the car around 9:30. I'd get the boys rolling on some schoolwork and then go stick a bag in the car. Help with a math problem. Another bag. Sound out a word. Put mascara on. Practice sight words. Soothe my crying baby. It was controlled, productive chaos.

Might I mention that it is no small feat to get myself and three Littles fed, clothed, and somewhat clean? I just recently got back in the routine of daily showers for crying out loud! But, somehow I did it AND found matching shoes for everyone. WIN!

The thing that blew my mind was how much I had to pack for a 3 hour outing!

  • unfinished schoolwork
  • picnic lunch for the boys
  • toys (my friend doesn't have young kids at home, thus no toys)
  • milk for Karis, bottle, bottle warmer
  • bassinet & swaddling blanket so Karis could nap
  • diaper bag fully packed
  • breast pump
  • storage bag for milk, insulated bag, frozen cold pack to keep milk cool
  • calendar, journal, bible
  • snacks leftover from a party to take to staff
I was practically panting and in a dead sweat by the time everything was loaded in the van!

But, by golly, I got there. An embarrassing 15 minutes late, but you better believe I enjoyed every single second of it. Something to challenge my brain and stir my heart. It is WORTH the effort to me. 

Don't we all have things like that? Something that seems like a ridiculous amount of trouble to someone else might make perfect sense to you. Because some things in life are not worth the hassle, but other things most certainly are!

It's all comes down to: how bad do you want it?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, South Bay Church!

It's hard to believe that it was almost 15 years ago that Andy & I met each other at a small college in South Carolina and began dreaming about what it would look like to start a church on the West Coast of the United States. As I stood on stage yesterday during the final song looking out over a sea of people worshipping Jesus, my heart was about to burst out of my chest. 

A dream becoming reality. 
God called into existence the vision He planted as a seed in our hearts. 

It's hard to believe that in just five years, we've
  • grown from 3 families to 1500 in weekly attendance
  • moved from meeting in our living room to 5 services every Sunday
  • seen over 600 people indicate a first time decision to follow Jesus
  • had over 300 people be baptized

Yesterday was such a fun day at South Bay Church! Our goal was to have a blast celebrating all that Jesus has done in our midst over the past 5 years. So many memories. So many lives changed. So, so much to celebrate!

I wanted to share some pictures with you, but wouldn't you know, I forgot my phone and my camera at home. No worries, though...I just hijacked a bunch of my friends' pictures off of Instagram (without asking permission, ahem!).


As people arrived on campus, they were greeted by smiling faces, crazy glasses, and party hats. Everyone knew right away this was no ordinary day!

We had a cool lights show with an app called Wham City Lights where everyone's phones lit up in syncopated rhythm.

What's a birthday party without cake? We passed out cake pops in every service!

To me, there is nothing like watching people be baptized and to see the emotion on their face. Some pumping their fists. Some with tears streaming down their cheeks. A changed life. Every time someone comes up out of that water, I thank Jesus that I get to be apart of this! It's a picture of why South Bay exists and it NEVER gets old! We celebrated 10 baptisms throughout the day yesterday.

We blasted the crowd with confetti blasters during the last song. So fun!

There were balloon arches at every entrance and bouncy houses for the kiddos.

Yummy food trucks invited people to hang out for a bit after the service to enjoy a meal with their friends and family.

So much joy! So much to be thankful for!

We showed several videos from pastors of our partnering churches congratulating South Bay on five awesome years, and they almost all concluded by saying "The best is yet to come!" We believe that with all our hearts. As we are on the brink of launching our Sunnyvale Campus in less then 2 weeks, we know that God has so much more in store for this church. Let's continue to trust Him and keep in step with Him, because there is NO LIMIT to what He can do in our midst! He loves the people of the Bay Area so much more than we can imagine!

Yesterday we sang a song that says, 
"I will look back and see that You are faithful.
I look ahead believing You are able." 

That's what the day was about...celebrating His faithfulness because His FAITHfulness fills us with FAITH as we look to the future. He is able to do more than we can imagine! I look forward to seeing it unfold.