My mom, part 2 – The Reverend

Last week ended up being too full to get this part 2 post wrapped up and sent out, but I didn’t forget about it! If you missed Part 1, check it out here – it’s a few snapshots of my relationship with my mom and is a great setup for today’s post.

I’ve been a pastor’s kid my whole life. Someone once asked me if it was strange that it was my dad up on the platform preaching, and my response was, “No, because it’s always been that way. It feels more strange when it’s NOT him.” When I moved away from home and those conversations came up about who we were and where we came from, I almost always answered that my parents were pastors. Many would exclaim, oh really?! They’re BOTH pastors?! And I would correct them and say, “well, technically, my dad is the pastor, but they’re both so integral to the running of the church that I see them as a unit, pastoring the church.”

IMG_8396This past week, my mom made it official – she is now an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God. In addition to her decades of real-life ministry experience, she took classes at night and over weekends to fulfill the requirements: classes on theology, biblical history, and leadership. She did this in addition to her full-time job and her role as worship leader at our church, all while still showing up as a wife, mother, and grandmother. My dad gave her the pulpit several Sundays to give her time to practice preaching and teaching and finding her own voice. Watching her pursue this goal and watching my dad support her in it has been life-giving to me as their daughter in innumerable ways.

I may write something a little later that fleshes out my thoughts in a more general manner regarding credentials and ordination of women and what it all means. There are interesting conversations happening around this subject, and I may dive in sometime.

But today – it’s really about my mom and my daughters. I’ve heard it said that “you can’t be what you can’t see.” It occurred to me last Monday that my daughters are seeing a woman step up into roles of leadership and pastoral authority and to them, it feels obvious. It is the next step. They won’t think it’s odd to hear their grandmother preach – they’re growing up with it. We adults all felt the gravity of the moment. There were tears through the smiles. In these days, in this society, with our history, my mom’s ordination MEANS something.

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Family row at the service – forgive the lighting

I tried to explain a little bit of the significance to my daughters but truly it was foreign to them that some would (and will continue to…) find this step offensive. They really didn’t get it – and for that I’m thankful. While I do want them to understand the history that we stand on, I’m grateful that this moment was one of simple celebration for them.

It was such a pleasure going to the ordination service. There were about 30 other people getting ordained that night and watching the diversity of age, gender, and race walk up to the podium was very meaningful. There were at least two married couples who had gone through the process together and were being ordained together. It is our network’s 100th year anniversary this year, so the service was extra special and drew national leaders to the stage. These new leaders were charged with some excellent (and challenging!) remarks by our General Superintendent Dr. George Wood. IMG_8390

As a participant in the service, I couldn’t help but feel hopeful for the future of at least our small corner of the church world. There is so much pain and brokenness going on in the church. Last week’s service didn’t change that and won’t heal the wounds overnight. But I couldn’t help but begin to see a rising tide of sound, strong leaders taking their place.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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Proud granddaughters. My little one wouldn’t stop hugging her! #allthefeelings

 

#WCW – International Women’s Day Edition

Well, I haven’t written in almost a month! Things got busy around here. I was going to skip today too because my head is just spinning a bit from other things going on, but then I saw that today is International Women’s Day! I have to highlight someone on this day!

So, today I’ll tell you about my daughter, who is rapidly becoming a woman in her own right. She turned 14 last month and today she had quite the milestone of getting her braces off! Ugh, now she’s even more beautiful.

Parenting is such a funny experience. It all happens right in front of your nose so you don’t really see what’s happening. Then you look at a picture from a baby album, or remember how old you are, or write on the invitation to the birthday party the age of your kid and the reality smacks you upside the head. She is growing up! She is not a baby anymore! All the things they said when she was a toddler are true! “It goes so fast.” “The days are long but the years are short.” “This too shall pass.”

22431_301334152450_5771074_nYep, we conquered teething and sleeping through the night, potty training and not eating poisonous things from under the sink. She does NOT still use her binky (phew!)

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I no longer worry about her having separation anxiety or whether she’ll learn to tie her shoes. She’s spent the night away from me too many times to count. She eats her vegetables and makes her bed. We’ve moved on from Dora the Explorer to Harry Potter. The milestones just keep piling up.

She’s an amazing daughter and I’m so excited to watch her turn into a lovely young woman. Next year she heads to high school and while I simply cannot imagine time going any faster than it already does, I know that it, too, will ZOOM. So, I’ll share some hopes I have for your future while I have this moment. (Your baby brother is currently very happily banging on an empty coffee can. This could go on for MINUTES!)

I hope you always believe the TRUTH about yourself – that you are talented, intelligent, creative, beautiful, full of potential, worthy of love, and loved immensely by your family and by God.

I hope you continue to surround yourself with friends who support you and who you support. Girlfriends are life – treasure them! Bring them over for dinner – we love your friends and we love a home full of girls’ laughter.

I hope you take time to pursue your dreams and passions. Go to school. Travel (just always call me when you get there, ok??) Try something crazy. Enjoy the adventure of your life. We’ll always leave the light on for you.

I hope you know you are more than your GPA, your transcript, your list of activities and accomplishments, your eventual college acceptance. Your achievements will be so important, but they’re not everything.

I hope you’ll remember you come from a line of strong women. We support you and cheer you on. Your grandmothers and great grandma are women who have not always walked easy roads, but who have gained resilience from walking those roads with dignity. Their legacy is an amazing one and I’m so glad you get to know them. I hope you keep up your own relationship with them as you grow older.

I love you my sweet girl. You and your sisters and brother fill me with such hope for our future. Happy International Women’s Day!

 

Bethany Anne – first in a #WCW series 

Last week I shared that I’m going to try to be more intentional in my blogging this year – to write more and to write something encouraging and positive.  This will be my first in (hopefully) a regular series for Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW. If you’ve been wondering what that hashtag is you may see on Wednesdays every once in a while – that’s what it stands for…you’re welcome)

First up is my youngest daughter, Bethany Anne. It was her birthday last week so I’m highlighting her. I know she isn’t quite a woman yet, but whatever. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to. 

It’s been fun in the days leading up to her birthday seeing my Facebook memories pop up. She was a week late (by some calculations, almost 2 weeks late!) and so there were lots of “nothing happening today!” And “still sitting at home…” posts. At first, I wondered why I was posting such random thoughts. Then I looked at the year and it all clicked.

Bethany has always had a mind of her own. She came into this world on her own terms and still walks around like she owns the place. As her mom, this creates just as many struggles as it does blessings.  To be honest, I’m in a phase where the struggles seem much bigger than the blessings of such a strong nature.

She was determined to play in the sand and make the perfect sand angel

That being said – Bethany has brought so much joy and laughter to our lives. She is a trip. She asks the best questions, thinks deeply, plays hard, and loves well. She adores giving gifts and writing notes. I’m always finding little notes around the house to one family member or another. Even before she could write, she was drawing or scribbling away at lists. She would make grocery “lists” to copy mine when she was little – then hand it to me and ask me to get the items on the list.

 

After the polar plunge in the Hilton Head pool

Recently she’s had some pretty deep questions about God. She’s struggled with nightmares and we pray every night for her to have sweet dreams. But sometimes she still has a bad dream and it’s left her wondering (like all of us have!) – Is God actually listening to me? It doesn’t seem like He hears. I don’t think He’s real! It’s not working.

Describing a life of faith to a 7 year old will force you to soberly consider what you really believe – platitudes won’t cut it for this one.  Being her mom challenges me to think beyond the pat answers and really fight for faith. It’s not easy for sure, but I’m so grateful she’s sharing her journey with me.

At school having lunch. Michael was so amazed by all the big kids!

 

 

 

She’s grown in to an amazing big sister and it’s so fun to watch her play with Michael and get his giggles going. I can tell he’s going to be her little shadow as he grows up.

I love my Bethany so much. It was fun talking about her on the blog today! I think this series is going to be fun 🙂