Monday, August 29, 2011

New Stuff and Stilllll Waiting

So, Jonas and I have been back in Garland for 3 1/2 weeks now.  Is that all?!? It feels much longer than that for some reason.  Our life for the most part is still packed up in boxes and probably will be for a while longer.  We are so very thankful for Jonas' mom.  She has graciously opened her home to us.  We will be living in this little room for a few more months probably.  What a blessing this little room is to have! As far as our social  We have something  to do almost every night of the week.  It is amazing.  

I have been looking and looking for jobs.  I had an interview at a church.  However, have decided not to pursue the position.  After a lot of prayer and conversations with Jonas, we have chosen another path.  I have recently been hired as a substitute teacher for Vista Academy in Garland.  Most of you know, I have a teaching degree but I did not pursue my certification because my heart was not in line with the states political agenda.  However, I LOVE TO TEACH.  I always have.  I feel like it is in my nature.  Vista, is a charter school. best explanation I could find.) "The key differences between charter schools and regular public schools lies in three elements that help define them: they are held accountable, not just in general, but to achievement goals embedded in their charters. Their student body is made up of children whose parents chose the school, and the school is tailored to the student body’s needs. They are given freedom from certain bureaucratic procedures with the idea that this will give them a greater ability to focus on creating academic emphasis."

I know several of the teachers at Vista.  They are all friends and members of our faith family.  The reason I chose to apply as a sub to Vista, is the hopes that I may eventually be able to teach on staff there.  I have heard from more than one employee that Vista is one of the most uplifting teaching experiences they have had.  I am so excited about this new journey.  This will make for an easy transition back into the classroom.  Jonas and I both truly believe that this opportunity is straight from God.  His hand has been very evident in the last few days.  Although substitute teaching isn't the best pay, it will definitely pay off in the long run.

As far as Jonas goes...we are STILL waiting on the TSA.  As you might remember, he received a tentative job offer back in March.  He is in the ready pool waiting to be picked up by DFW or Love Field.  It is also time again for another FAA hiring panel.  Jonas in the meantime has been commuting from Garland to Denton for work at First Baptist.  Needless to say, he is already exhausted from all of the driving and it keeps him away from home two nights a week.  We ask for continued prayer on his career journey.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Journey for a Faith Family

Whoa. This is longer than I thought it would be.

When I joined my first church, Northlake Baptist, in September of 2001, I was 14 years old.  As a 14 year old, it is pretty hard to step out and join a church by yourself.  No one else blood related to me was a member.  The weird thing is I can't remember ever being scared. Never Ever.  The reason being, is because my church was my home away from home. They were like family to me.  My faith family.  I had "moms and dads" and "brothers and sisters" and even "grandparents" there.  Always freely giving hugs, advice, and even correction when needed.  I spent as much time as I could there.  I felt a passion and a desire to go to church.  I loved being able to show up and serve along side people I adored.  I trusted them whole heartedly with my spirit and my well being.  Still to this day there are SEVERAL people, whom I met at Northlake, that I know I could call at a drop of a hat and they would pray for me! 

When I moved away to college, I was programmed to go an find a church home.  Britny and I searched and visited multiple churches but never quite felt at home like we did at Northlake.  As a last resort we visited First Baptist Denton.  Right out of the gate we were greeted with warm smiles.  Right after church we were invited to lunch with several of the other college students.  Immediately, we felt like we had made friends and made a very easy transition to a new church home.  I got plugged in as soon as I could.  After about a year, I had prayerfully joined the college leadership team.  The college ministry was really focused at discipleship and strengthening faith.  There is a very large turnover rate in college groups due to everyone being from all over the state and sometimes country.  With that comes new people. After about 2 1/2 years, I started feeling very secluded and judged for no apparent reason by people whom I considered my friends.  The atmosphere of fellowship and discipleship started turning into an outreach numbers competition.  Cliques were immediately formed and down went that family feel.  I wasn't being encouraged by my peers.  Politics and conservative beliefs were bleeding from the walls. I did not feel spurred on by my church.(Please know this does not include everyone from FBCD.  There are several of you who are very near and dear to my heart!! I have tried to make it a point to tell those of you who are still so special to me.)  Including the pastoral leadership.  

I doubted my motives for leaving over and over and over.  Was I being petty?  Was I being selfish? Was I really trying to make new friends?  I was becoming bitter.  I was gossiping.  I was beating myself up.  My feelings about the church were hindering me from my relationship with Christ.

Ultimately, I kept coming back to this scripture:

Hebrews 12:1"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,"

I felt a conviction to step away from the church body and I did.  I kept very near to the people who spurred me on and leaned heavily on my sweet sweet mentor Kay Trull.  I started visiting The Village on occasion but never felt a draw to connect.  I never felt  unwelcome, but I did feel very small.  The Village has THOUSANDS of members! Of course I felt small.  My first faith family, Northlake,  had 600 members attending regularly.  One thing I learned from The Village, is how I needed to be fed as a Christian.  I learned that I do not learn from or crave the same topical sermon with pieced together scripture taken completely out of context.  I needed to be fed scripture in its raw form. I LOVE learning how to break scripture down in context and apply it to my life. Walk me through an entire book of the bible.  Tell me how and why it was written.  Tell me where else in scripture it references to.  Leave the politics out of it and feed me the word! 

Which brings us to the present. Connection Community Church in Rowlett, TX. FINALLY, a faith family that WE could worship and serve beside.  After visiting one Sunday, Jonas and I both agreed we had found what would be our church home.  We felt a huge desire to pray over this church and its leadership before we even moved back to Garland. They are solely based on the bible.  They always point back to scripture.  Every decision has a biblical grounding not a political point to make.  We are whole heartedly fed by scripture.  I am for the first time grasping.C3 is so incredibly welcoming.  We immediately felt loved and wanted.( It helped a little that my bestie, Brianna Malone, told EVERYONE our life story before we even started coming regularly!) We officially joined this past Sunday and we CAN NOT wait to start serving! Not only did we join but our closest friends( Austin and Jennifer Aldrich, and the Trahan Clan ) joined as well!  C3 is only 9 months old and we are so eager to impact our community.  We are ready to live out scripture and do life together. We are already sooo very blessed by our faith family both spiritually and physically.  We want to shout it from the roof tops and spread the love. I have never been more eager to invite people to church and not feel like the politics are shining through more than the sheer relationship of Jesus Christ. 

We are so excited for this phase of our life and the new friendships and relationships that are ultimately going to further His Kingdom.

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