Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things that Stick

If you have ever had a conversation with me, I'm sure you've noticed I'm not a great communicator. It's just true. I have a hard time organizing thoughts and I talk fast and mumble sometimes. I usually have plenty to say and I don't think much before things start spilling out all over the place.

So plenty of the time I feel misunderstood and honestly plenty of the time I couldn't repeat to you word for word what I just said. Not because I didn't mean it, but because I probably said it as I thought it and retain almost nothing.

I have to say, my mom and I tease sometimes about some things that she said to me in my teenage years that she said lightly or in passing but I will never forget them. Like that I,"don't have a creative bone in my body" or "if you always say no when people ask you to do things, they will stop asking you to do things." or " your make up on your face doesn't match your neck! Take a mirror outside in the sun light!"
I guess life is just like that. Some things just stick.

Last week I had a moment like that. My son and I took my mom to lunch for her birthday and I had to get up to take him to the bathroom. As I was leaving the table, my mom said something like,"when you get back make sure you finish telling me about.. Or I want to hear more about..." Whatever it was that I was talking about.

I'm so thankful that those words stuck! or that the thought stuck i guess. I just keep thinking about it. It felt really nice to be heard. It meant a lot more than I'm sure she would have thought it did, that she cared about what I had to say. That, what was going on in my life was important and worth listening to, no matter how poorly it was being communicated. I guess I'm just like everyone else. I want to be heard acknowledged and understood. At that moment it was just really nice to hear that from my momma.

I want her to know that what she says matters to me, and I am thankful that what I have to say matters to her as well <3

Love you momma <3

Peace, LSL

Monday, July 1, 2013

Big C

I was on my way to hang out with my dear friends who live in Novi this morning so I had some time in the car. One of my favorite Third Day CD's was in so I kept it on. I don't remember which song was on first, but it made me think of our time at Metro South Church. I don't mean to put down any other church band. I would not attend a church just because of it's band, BUT if I did, I'd choose Metro. E.J. and I were just saying we would really like to find a day to get to Metro soon, because we just love to worship there. I love how I can look around the room and know the hearts of the souls singing around the room. God is doing some amazing things there. Pastor Jeremy Schossau and the Dorbands and the others on staff really have a heart to reach the community and young people! Their enthusiasism is INSANE and inspiring!!!

As I was thinking about the Big C, God's church, I was remineded of all the beautiful things that are going on in all of the little C's we have had the pleasure of being a part of.

Bethedsa Baptist Church, in Allen Park will always feel like home because we got married there and it is the church I was mostly raised in. The people I grew up with there will always feel like family.

I am so excited about St. John's Lutheran Church in Waltz. It is the sweetest little church. It feels so naturally simplified. It's not modern, they don't have a big loud band. It has stained glass windows and is so soaked with tradition it brings me to tears almost every time I enter. It just ooses love and respect for Christ. Also, the way they pour into the lives of the children at the school is just amazing.

Last summer we had the priviledge of going to El Salvador, with Living Water International. This morning I was thinking about the team at Agua Viva. Every morning they have devotions and  sing praises to heaven in English and Spanish. It is the most beautiful sound when you can hear both at the same time! Then they go and work their pattoties off in the name of Jesus and proclaim his name EVERY DAY!

Even thinking of our dear'Journey, friends. That chruch plant wasn't around all to long but the people involved will always have a place in our hearts and I know it had it's purpose in our lives for the Kingdom. Some of the people that were there have followed their call into the city of Detroit. I know God is doing some amazing things through them as well.

Currently we are attending Harvest Bible Chapel, in Westland. We are privilidged to hear the word of God faithfully and unashamedly preached, by an EXCELLENT communicator and man of God, Pastor Dan McGhee. It has been awesome to see our small group be challenged and serving each other and in the church and community. There is a couple in our group who is from Pennsylvania and it is so cool that it really seems like God has brought them here for the primary purpose to use them in a huge outreach called Hope For Western Wayne County. This year, faithfully they are heading it up again and could use your help if you are available. :) Another couple in our small group,and their son, are headed to Africa this summer on their very first mission trip!! so exciting!!!

I just wanted to share what a blessing and a privilege it is to be apart of such an awesome BIG C, and all the little C's too.

Love love love.... LSL <3 peace

Bull Horn Guy

Bull Horn Guy

Is that even what they call it? A bull horn? Any ways, I think you know who I am referring to. The last guy I saw, heard, yelling at people about the end of days was actually in Detroit, on our walk to Comerica Park to see a Tigers game.

I really am to a point where I don't give them much thought anymore. But I some how got going on a weird train of thought the other day and I guess I almost feel like I cannot blog about anything else until I get this thought out of my head.

The weird thing for me is how the bull horn guy came to mind and this turned into an Independence Day post. Honestly, I plan nothing, ok, except vacations, I never plan on what to write about.

Anyways, I have participated in a few conversations lately about places like China and India where Christians are not safe to talk openly to others about their faith.
I have prayed for pastors over seas as I am sure many of you have who have been taken prisoner or even put to death for their faith. I guess because of my distance from these men I never really truly hurt for them.
 A very scary situation occurred recently with some Christians that I know through a chain of church family, and I prayed for them harder than I have probably every prayed for anything or any one. All of sudden the reality of our freedom in the United States hit me like a ton of bricks.

 There are so many freedoms and luxuries I take for granted in this country. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are certainly up there on the list.

This somehow brought me to the bull horn guy. Do I like being yelled at? No. Do I like him yelling at non believers about hell and their need for Christ? No, and I don't thinks it's the most gracious or effective way to reach people and show them the love of Christ. However, I can appreciate greatly that he has the freedom to do so. Maybe he could even get in trouble for how loud he is, and that would be ok with me. But it got me to thinking. What am I doing with my freedom? I am certainly not yelling about Christ, I'm not even speaking about him to non believers most days.

So to the bull horn guy, I say kudos to you. Please yell away, shout it out, I bet he never regrets a word he says, or better yet, he won't go to sleep or die regretting what he didn't say.

On this Independence Day I will be sure to count my blessings and freedoms and praise the Lord that I live in a country where I can be safe and witness openly as a Christian. Please join me in prayer on our Independence Day for all of the believers in other countries where they are not free to live and witness openly as Christians, and I encourage you to exercise your freedom here in the US, while we still are free.

Mathew 5:16
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Happy Independence Day friends!!
God Speed! peace <3

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Detroit!!! IT"s the LAKE!!!!

Have you seen the movie Evan Almighty? Excuse me if you haven't, its a favorite at our house. I was in the car just now and had a light bulb moment and almost yelled out loud!!! ITS THE LAKE!!!!! It's the LAKE!!!

Translation, what if it's a school? What if Margie's vision, call from God is not just a community center? What if it's a Christian school in Detroit?

Is there a Christian school in Detroit? Is there one called Heritage Christian School? I don't know for sure about Heritage, that came later. I was just thinking it was kind of obvious what would be great to pass along would be our Christian Heritage.

Anyways, as Empty Buckets, we are reading the book BAREFOOT CHURCH, by Brandon Hatmaker. It is an AWESOME book that our fellow EB suggested. Some of us are currently having a hard time following the American dream, and really struggling with the American church. The consumerism and self service, and inward focus, to name just a few things.

We realize that we have our own city near by, not over seas that really needs to be redeemed. The city of Detroit needs Christ like San Salvador needs clean water. We are thirty minutes outside of the city and once inside, it feels like a third world country.

Last Friday the Empty Buckets went to visit a family that some of us had lost touch with over the past couple years, the Young's. They are a beautiful family that joined a church plant that some of us EB's were a part of. Even back then they had a call to plant a church in Detroit. They are in Detroit now faithfully following their call.

When we visited the other day, I know what hit most of us the hardest was that it is hard to serve the people in the city when you don't live there. Reaching in from afar is not as relational as any of us feel called to. Community is what most of us thrive on and are searching for what Christ has for us next.

I'm not saying that my family is ready to move into Detroit right this second. But what I am saying is that we are praying for direction and a clear calling on what to do next.

Back to the school idea that made me bust out the computer and start typing. E.J. (my husband) just called me about 2nd Mile Missions. It is a Mission that my sister in law's family started or helped start. They built a school in the Dominican Republic, I think it is actually several schools now, and I believe they are currently building a trade school. It's awesome!!!! You can even sponsor the children there just like you can with World Vision. They take mission trips there several times a year.

The more I thought about the school the more it seems like it could totally work. Margie could be the principle :) and lunch lady. Cesar could be the school counselor/ translator once he finishes school. Christy could teach music or something/translator. I could do landscaping/janitor/lunch lady/ something. Maybe Emily and Nathan Pergle could end up teaching there one day. Maybe SJ could teach? and Angela? Rachel could teach piano. Tricia, yes all the way from FL, just like Nathan and Emily....maybe GOD will call you, just saying. There are plenty of Christians around here, plenty of teachers, plenty of kids, and plenty for all of us EB's to do.

I don't know, I'm just dreaming right now but also, Detroit is a mission field just like any other city people are sent to. It would take some backing and support, but if a family can start a school in Bavaro, DR from Indiana. We could certainly start a school in Detroit, especially from Detroit.

Please just join us friends in prayer for Detroit, and for a clear call and possibly open doors. I don't know if it's a church, a school or just volunteering or a career with Habitat for Humanity or Blight Busters in Detroit, or partnering with the Youngs. Honestly, maybe it's not Detroit for all of us. Maybe it's some where else? But it is something. God is making a move of some sort, things are going to change, I can FEEL it!

I personally do not believe in coinsidence, I believe God in his perfect plan has brought us all together for a purpose, everone we know and love and support, who are trying to be faithful Christ followers. I appologize for calling some of you out and for those of you who we know who might get into this wonderful mess with all of us. Christ is King, he is in control and I will be praying that he uses you, yes YOU!

Also, please pray for the Young family living in Detroit. They are rockin the socks off Detroit city, honestly. What an encouragement they are. God Bless!

Peace <3

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Be Good To Each Other

A couple of weeks go my friend Jennifer and I met up with another friend of ours in St. Louis Missouri. Her name is Tamara. Once a month Tamara and her boyfriend, Jeff, head up something they call a Be Good To Each Other Drive.

They put a call out on facebook for donations and friends to help and they take sandwiches and snacks and personal hygiene items and pass them out to the homeless or needy people in downtown St. Louis. Jennifer and I were fortunate enough to be able to go with them the weekend we came to visit.

I'm writing about this because first of all I am proud to be friends with people who can love and respect people in need and second of all because it really touched my heart.

It was raining the morning we went into St. Louis. The good thing about that is that when it rains Tamara and Jeff know that the homeless people head into the library. We came across a few people just walking around and then headed to the library. Once you show up passing out bags of goods, word spreads like wild fire. More and more people started pouring out of the library. While in front of the library, a woman came up to me and I handed her a bag and she said thank you. Then she proceeded to tell me that her name was Jessica, and she asked me to pray with her. I just want to remind you that we were not with a church and not passing out any thing with religious connotations on it. I don't know why she asked me to pray with her, but to me it really just felt like one of those God moments.

I don't know about you, but I don't pray out loud with strangers very often. But I do know that when she asked I did not even consider being shy or unsure about it. I am very sure that the Holy Spirit took over and gave me the courage and the words to say. I don't even know exactly what I said, but I know I prayed for comfort, provision and peace, and that she would feel the Lords presence with her. What was super awesome was to my surprise, once I finished,  she prayed too. It was awesome because she prayed with such conviction and belief, it was obvious that she has spent time crying out to God. I'm not saying that I thought that because she was homeless that she must not pray, it just caught me off guard. Jessica was scared and was praying, pleading boldly, expectantly, for a shield of protection.

After we prayed, she apologized for smelling like alcohol and then told me about another homeless woman that she knew that was just killed a few days earlier. The woman had been raped, strangled and was found dead and naked in the street. My heart just broke for Jessica and the woman who was murdered. I cannot imagine an hour in either of their shoes. Jessica was scared, and rightfully so.

I can't forget about her, and truthfully I don't want to. That day plays through my mind all of the time. I don't remember as often the fun that we had in the city. Most often I remember Jessica and how scared she was. I think of all of the scared homeless people throughout the world and its heart wrenching. My prayer is that The Lord continues to break my heart and provide me with opportunity to share his love and comfort, hope and resources with as many people as possible.

I am so thankful to know that at least once a month there are people showing love and respect to complete strangers in St. Louis, with no agenda or personal gain. That Saturday we passed out 88 lunches. Also, the more often they go, the less strangers they meet, and the more friends they will make.

Matthew 25:34-40 says

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you gave Mesomething to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and youvisited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give Yousomething to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Love in St.Louis


Friday, March 22, 2013

With This Ring

     To begin, I have to say, that this is not actually from or about me. If at any point you get distracted and put a little halo or think anything negatively please just exit this blog. This story is about being obedient to Christ. I know I am supposed to share this with you. I also know you may not have this same call, but I pray that God uses this blog post to encourage you to be obedient and to give sacrificially in Jesus name.
     Also, it is long, but I don't think anyone will be inviting me to write book anytime soon, so, I'm squeezing all the thoughts and struggles of a year in one blog.

This past summer my husband and I went on a mission trip to El Salvador with some friends of ours, the Empty Buckets. We went to dig a well with Living Water International.

One day I was searching on LWI's website and I saw a link to a website called It is a website dedicated to spreading the love of Christ to the ends of the earth. People can donate their wedding rings or other jewelry to be auctioned off on WTR's website. The money is used to dig clean water wells in third world nations.

Right away God opened my heart and my eyes to know that this was a possibility for me. It was and opportunity God was handing me to live out my faith.

My husband and fellow Empty Buckets had been challenging each other and have been being challenged through scripture to be open to opportunities to give sacrificially. Also to simplify and to really live out loud what Christ has done and is doing in our lives and to share what he has blessed us with.

Being a stay at home mom, with no independent income, sometimes I don't really feel like I can give sacrificially. I do give of my time and possessions, but this really felt like a great opportunity. It felt like the Holy Spirit was saying, well.... If you really mean what you say, you DO have something YOU can give, if you are for real.

Honestly, it was quite a while before I told my husband about it. He was, as I knew he would be, very supportive and cooperative to the idea. As I said, we had been studying about radical giving together in our life group for a while. It has been in our hearts and in our minds for some time, that idea of radical giving. By the time I told him about it I was certain I wanted to donate my ring I just needed to know he was on board and would get me some other sort of wedding ring because I still wanted to look married of course.

I was thinking just a small simple silver band. One day while I was in the shower, the only place a mother can be quiet and think sometimes. It was almost like I got hit on the head with a moment of clarity from the Holy Spirit. Clear as day, and I have to tell you, most thoughts I have are foggy.  I knew that I didn't need just any simple band, I needed a cross. Because it isn't about me AT ALL. It is about CHRIST. I knew I needed a reminder of why I donated my wedding ring. I donated it to further the gospel and to sacrifice for Christ's cause. I donated it because having clean water saves lives in Jesus name, and through that clean water lives will be changed and souls will be saved. So, I hopped out of the shower and told E.J. immediately.

Remember how I said I needed to be sure, before I told E.J. Well, I have to tell you, I had honestly gotten to the point where I really felt like I would be being disobedient if I didn't donate it. I knew the opportunity was from Christ and I knew I was meant to take it.

It is AMAZING how God can change your heart! I'm not a total diamond hating monster, well to be honest, I almost am, but we'll get to that.

I remember not long after my husband and I started dating, we knew we were meant to be spend our lives together. We were shopping for an engagement ring and I picked out a descent sized gold sparkly diamond ring that I thought was a little over the top, but not outrageous. To be honest, he had been engaged before and for some reason, I knew how much he had spent, so I picked out a ring that I felt wasn't totally out of his range.

A few months later, we got engaged. I remember to this day, that night I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at my hand to be sure that ring was really on my hand and I was really engaged. I truly felt like a princess.

I was thrilled to have found the love of my life, and that ring meant to me that E.J. promised to love me forever. It put a certain value on our love, and I guess it felt like it put a certain value on me as a person too.

After I heard about With This Ring. I started thinking clearer and clearer. The well it self, that we dug in El Salvador cost $5,000. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to give life saving, life changing clean water to sick dying people. Fourteen years ago, my ring cost about $2,000. I have no idea yet what WTR will get for my ring, but I know that it will go to Living Water International and as far as I can tell it is certainly a God blessed organization, and I was starting to consider the alternative.

The alternative seemed to be such a waste. Let's say I keep my ring and I die today or in 30 years. What will happen to my wedding ring? Someone will probably keep it and put it in a box somewhere. Best case scenario, when they come across it they have fond loving thoughts of me and are comforted by it.

I began to clearly feel like I had been given a gift. I had been set free from and earthly trap, a weight had been lifted off of my soul. I believe all that I have is Christ's. I want to personally sacrifice for the cause of the gospel and I have a descent amount of money sitting on my finger. Money which will probably be buried in the ground or thrown in a drawer somewhere. What a WASTE. I got that guilty feeling in my gut and I knew God had better plans for that money.

I seriously wasn't going to tell anyone, except my husband, I especially was not going to blog about it. Slowly God has revealed to me that he didn't want me to be obedient in secret.
First I told my mother, because her ring finger hurt and it was weird that sometimes mine did too. I was thinking that maybe mine just hurt because God was gently reminding me that I had unfinished business. I still had not donated my ring. She was supportive but was thinking maybe we both had arthritis in our fingers, so she bought us magnetic rings. I lost mine in El Salvador.

Just before Christmas I had finally found the perfect silver cross ring, so E.J. went with me to order it. It was $35 and I was in love. I was so excited to pick it up in a few weeks.

I still was content to keep my secret the night I picked it up. We went to our small group from church where we were studying a book on sacrificial giving actually, called "The Treasure Principle". Someone closed in prayer that night and said some things about how giving is not about us but a reflection of Christ in us. The Holy Spirit almost nudged me off the couch. It  became very clear to me that I was supposed to be a real life example of what we were studying. It wasn't just ironic that my ring was ready to be picked up on small group night, and that we happened to be studying about the topic of radical giving. The second whomever stopped praying, I quickly shared a tad bit of what God was doing in my heart.

A few days later having told no one else, but recalling telling our small group about the rings, I was just listening to the music on my phone through my car on shuffle. Just thinking about all sorts of things and wondering what God might have in store. A song came on called "Pass It on". Some of the lyrics are, "it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing. That's how it is God's love, once you've experienced it. You spread his love, to everyone, you want to pass it on."

To me that meant God did not want me to be silent. I was supposed to pass it on, set the spark and he will keep the fire going. He has for centuries now and now is not a time to be silent. Christ is real and working in lives, he just wants us as Christians to be obedient.

Since I feel like I cannot clearly put two thoughts together, I have been writing this in my head since.

Last month, as I thought about Valentines Day. I was thinking about how I am such a sucker for love. I love love, and weddings and especially HUGE GESTURES of love.
It occurred to me that a wedding or engagement ring is sometimes one of the only huge gestures of love women sometimes get from their husbands, especially once they are married.

BUT if spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars on a diamond ring is a huge gesture, then how much more of a gesture of love is GOD sending HIS ONLY SON TO DIE ON A CROSS for our SINS?!?! THAT'S HUGE! I am thrilled to look down at my ring finger and be reminded of that every day!

I am now just dreaming of a day where Christian women can feel secure in their marriages in Christ and stand up to our culture and let them know that we know better. (insert growing hate for diamonds). So much money is spent on diamonds, money that could be spent on children, children sick and dying of thirst, literally and spiritually.

Here's the thing. Materialism, of all kinds is a trap. It is also commonly accepted in Christian communities. The size of diamonds and rings in the Christian church is literally nauseating. I get that God has blessed them, and that's wonderful, but I don't think the idea was to bless people so they could spend money on shiny rocks that some how put a value on the women or their marriages or how much someone is loved. Some how those shiny rocks get us girls EVERY time!!!!

I know a lot of people recently married or getting married and I am not suggesting every one gets rid of their diamonds. I am not actually saying anything, it's just what God is prompting me to be obedient to. BUT I am praying for a movement or revolution of marriages. We need it don't we. I don't want to get into legal issues of marriage, I do not believe we need the government to be our moral compass. BUT I do believe if we as Christians want to have successful marriages we need to start with and keep CHRIST first. What if when a Christian got engaged they set aside a certain amount of money to give to some Christian organization. Living Water International puts a plaque on each clean water well. It could even have the couples name on it. Celebrating love can happen all sorts of ways, why not start with a commitment to love others, the way that we have been loved in the name of Christ. Why not celebrate what love can really do? It can literally save lives. God's love can save us from an eternity in hell apart from him.

There are plenty of stay at home moms feeling like they want to give sacrificially and just don't have much to give, financially or other wise. This whole wedding ring thing, really turned out to be a reminder of what GOD really wants from us, our HEARTS.

I pray that he has yours.
PEACE and LOVE friends. <3 LSL

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Will Wait

I know it's been a while and trust me I have had plenty going on and will have more to say. Tonight I just wanted to share a song in my heart.
I just left my Zumba class and somehow spent too much time loathing myself in the mirror again. That hasn't happened for a while. I really enjoy zumba, it for sure is my soulmate workout.
I haven't been very clean with my diet and I am feeling it.
I was feeling discouraged and at the same time trying to gain some momentum thru some good music on the way home. I have heard this song, "I will wait" by Mumford & Sons, a million times. But tonight it struck me differently.
Tonight it turned into a prayer. I know The Lord hears the cries of my heart and I pray that he will give me strength to keep my diet clean and my mind focused on him.

It's totally awesome to me how God can bring together all the thoughts, worries and current issues in my life that are going on all at the same time and lead me back to his arms <3 praise God!

And I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of darkness
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun

And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step
And relent
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way
Shake the excess

But I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So I'll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So tame my flesh
And fix my eyes
That tethered mind free from the lies

But I'll kneel down
Wait for now
I'll kneel down
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

*Mumford and Sons

God hears amen wherever you are! And I love you! <3