Sunday, March 29, 2015

He's NOT the Man I Married

Do you ever look across the dinner table at you spouse and think "He's/She's NOT the man/woman I married!"

Well, I do. Often. Because he's not. And it's a good thing he's not, if I'm being really honest. Not that he was "bad" when we married, but God is really doing an amazing thing with Jeff...and I'm just along for the ride.

Growing up, I had this image of what my Prince Charming would be like. He'd be tall, dark-haired and handsome (as was just about every girl's dream, right?) and he'd surely be a doctor or maybe a lawyer. As I got older and learned about more professions, I added Wall Street Stock Broker or maybe CEO of a Fortune 500 company to the possibilities of Prince C's occupations. Hey! A girl can dream!

Anyhoo. Two things I was adamant about my Prince NOT being? 1) A coach and 2) A preacher. Those were just two lifestyles I did not want to live. Too busy. Too much moving. Too chaotic. Too visible. Whatever. I just knew I didn't want to be a coach's wife OR a preacher's wife.

And then Jeff Walton happened.

He was a college men's basketball coach when we started dating and when we married, almost 11 years ago, he was transitioning to high school boys basketball. I knew what I was getting into, or so I thought. And I still had one thing I could dig my heals in on, right?

Enter 2007. Jeff left coaching and became the Director of Youth and Children's Ministry at FUMC Louisville (And how that went down is a story in itself!). It has been an amazing eight years of ministry! We have seen members of our first group of youth graduate college, get married and some even have children of their own. We have loved being a part of their lives and seeing them grow into amazing young men and women! We have been loved well by the FUMC Louisville family and it's the only church our boys have ever known. However, we have known our time there was coming to an end as Jeff nears the completion of his Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Today, we are excited to share that we will be moving to Noxapater, Miss., where Jeff will be the Pastor at Noxapater FUMC. We are excited to join this church family and look forward to meeting all 419 people in Noxapater as we make it our new home! We are thrilled that God has given us a few more years in Winston County and are grateful to the UMC for this opportunity. The move to Noxapater is an answered prayer for me. As we have neared the time for Jeff's initial appointment, I have prayed (often feeling selfish about it!) for just a little longer with our people here in Winston County. While the boys will be moving schools in the fall, we are just 9 miles from "our people" and can't wait to add new people to those we are so blessed to do life with here!

So the moral of this story? Don't tell God what you're NOT going to do! It might be the very thing He calls you to do - maybe not immediately, but very possibly down the road. Let Him be the author of your story and quit trying to write your own. Because if you're like me, you'd just mess it up anyway!

Next time you look lovingly across the table at your spouse and think, "He/She's not the man/woman I married" be grateful that we're ALL a work in progress and that His plans are way bigger and even cooler than anything we could ever imagine.

So, if you're ever in Noxapater or even just passing through, stop in and see us! Our door will always be open and there will likely be sweet tea (and Dr. Pepper!) to share on our porch swing! I might even learn to cook...Wait. Nope. They'll just have to love me anyway!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Humility...A BIG Word

Humility. What is it? What does that even look like? How do you "act humbly..." (Micah 6:8)? How do you live a life that reflects your constant acknowledgement that without Jesus you'd lost and wandering? It's something I wrestle with daily...ok, minute-ly (Yes, that is a word! Ok. No, not really. But this is a blog post, and we'll let some things slide for emphasis here!).

Humility is something I desire deeply in my life - both in myself and those around me. Whenever I start to feel a little pride building up, I'm so grateful that just a few minutes in prayer can bring back reality like a smack in the face: Without His grace and mercies afresh each day, I would really be a hot mess. Any accomplishment or achievement that I have attained in life is a GIFT FROM GOD and nothing that I could have done in my own strength or abilities. I'm a train wreck, people, when left to my own devices. I refer to "Exhibit A: My College Years" as proof. And if that's not enough, see also "Exhibit B: Three Years Post College."

I need His guidance and His power and let's be honest, His energy to make through each day. Because for real - no combo of Dr. Pepper, coffee and chocolate could get me through some of the days we've had recently. I need His voice in my head - ok, sometimes it takes a billboard, because let's face it, I'm a bit hard headed at times. But I need His direction and provision for my life. I need to lean into Him and His love and grace to get through the difficult times. I need His reassurance and praise in the happy times. And I also need the constant reminder that...
I am nothing on my own.

The words of one of my favorite songs, Give Us Clean Hands, have become a nearly constant prayer of my heart. I *might* change the plural pronouns to singular personal pronouns and sing it at the top of my lungs driving down the highway. Might.

We bow our hearts.
We bend our knees.
Oh, Spirit come make us humble.

We turn our eyes from evil things.
Oh, Lord we cast out our idols.

And while I don't really have little Buddhas sitting around in our home or a bobble head Buddha on my dash (Although that might be cool! No? Ok.), I do often set up little idols in my heart. My handsome and charming husband. My adorable and hysterical boys. My amazing and loyal friends. My church and community service. My jobs (now down to two! Whoop Whoop!). All the social media scrolling and perusing. Anything really that distracts me from focusing my heart and my energies on Christ. Those become my idols. (And I would be remiss not to take this chance to recommend Kelly Minter's No Other Gods if this is something you want to dig deeper into!)

But I have come to understand, oh-so painfully, that when I turn my eyes away from the Maker of Heaven and Earth, that's when the pride and jealousy and comparison sneak in. And drag me down to place I don't want - or need - to be.

So...(in my best Most Interesting Man in the World voice)...

Stay humble, my friends!