Easter Bunny

You know that moment when you wish you could respond to someone with a poignant and articulate answer, but nothing comes out? You look at them with a dazed and confused expression and awkwardly wish you could rewind and try again? Or fast forward your way straight out of there?

Yeah, I had one of those moments last Thursday.

One of our sons had the joy of winning a prize in an Easter colouring contest, and we went to the city sports facility to pick it up. He had no idea what he had won, only that it was going to be epic, because he won a colouring contest! Truly, when you are seven there are few things that compare!

We approached the desk and informed them why we were there, and she retrieved a cellophane wrapped basket of delight for my eager boy, congratulating him on winning.

Then she asked him if he was excited for the Easter Bunny to bring him treats on Sunday.

I would love to tell you that I responded, “Actually, no, we’re Christians. For us, Easter is about celebrating the fact that Jesus rose from the grave!”

Instead, he and I looked at each other in stunned silence.

…I sort of chuckled nervously…

“Well… thanks!”

When I told Clay about it later I was just so appalled at my utter lack of ability to share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone lost and in need of the gospel. 

The gospel is the truth that gives me joy for today, and hope for tomorrow! “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) If not for Jesus, my life is meaningless. Yet when the ball was lobbed at me for an easy hit, I didn’t even swing. I just watched it cross the plate and awkwardly walked back to the dugout.

It was an opportunity for humble repentance on my part. I have good news and I kept it hidden. Lord, forgive me. It was an opportunity to ask myself how much I actually care that so many people around me are lost and don’t know how what Jesus did for sinners? Honestly, too often this fact does not bother me like it should. Lord, forgive me. It was an opportunity for me to wrestle with how atrocious sin really is. Sin is not about minor infractions like white lies, sin is the deadly sickness of a heart that is in absolute rebellion against the God who made us. Each one of us has chosen to serve ourselves rather than God, and declared war on his good and perfect plans for us. Lord, forgive me.

I am so very thankful that my record of righteousness before God does not depend on how well I share the gospel. I am righteous because of what Jesus did. I am so thankful that on Good Friday, Jesus took my place. He hung on a cross, dying a shameful death on behalf of every wretch who couldn’t clean themselves up, but before the earth was formed were purposed to be saved and brought into the family of God (Ephesians 1:4). It was the will of the Lord to crush him, (Isaiah 53:10a) and lay on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6b), so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).

I am the criminal who deserved the punishment that was unleashed on him. I lived a life of rebellion against God. I acted like his design for my life was restrictive, and I foolishly followed my own will and desires. I put my glory ahead of his. I served myself instead of him, I loved myself instead of him. For this and so much more I deserve to be separated from him forever, without hope. There is nothing I could do to fix the situation I put myself in. I deserved to die alone and apart from God. I was by nature a child of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  (Ephesians 2:3)

But God,
being rich in mercy,
because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ
-by grace you have been saved –
(Ephesians 2:4-5)

So…no! Easter isn’t about us looking forward to a bunny bringing us treats! We get to look forward to something so much better on Easter morning! We have a living hope and an eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus who defeated death and sin! Easter is a day set apart to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is alive! This changes everything about my life. God, give me boldness to give a reason for the hope that is in me! (1 Peter 3:15)

I got my first library card when I was around 10 years old. We lived in a small town that didn’t have a public library, but every 3 weeks a bus filled with books would roll into town and park at the local high school.

Book Bus day was always a good day.

I’d get home from school, dump my backpack inside, and grab my library card. After a 3 block walk I climbed the steps of the Bookmobile, and was transported to another world. The smell of old books lingered in the air, and I’d inhale deeply as I made my way to the children’s section at the back. I’d grab a step stool to make sure I didn’t miss any titles hiding on the highest shelves; yellow hardback Nancy Drew books were always a good find. I’d find a number of books I knew would be great, and a few new ones to round things out. When my selections had been made, I’d slowly amble to the front of the bus to have my books signed out.

The driver/librarian was a stout, gruff looking man; but he always had a ready smile for kids whose books would take them somewhere beyond the Canadian prairies for the next 3 weeks. He’d remind me of the due date and stamp it inside the front cover.

I’d walk home based on muscle memory, rather than sight. My eyes were focused on the books in my hands, rotating books through the stack in order to decide which one I would jump into first.

Sometimes my mom and I would make the 30 minute trip and spend the evening at one of the city libraries. I loved the thrill of searching the shelves. I had unhurried time to browse and choose books that appealed to me. I brought things home for no other reason than they looked interesting. Driving home with a pile of new books broadened the horizon of my world. I travelled to places through those pages that I never could have otherwise.

One day my mom and I were washing the car in the city and who came around the corner? The Book Bus Guy! I was stunned. What was he doing here? It was like bumping into a teacher outside of school – my brain couldn’t compute that this person had a life outside of the four walls I usually saw him in. Mom said hello and discovered he worked at the car wash. It turns out that driving the Book Bus is not a very lucrative career path, and he moonlighted at the car wash to make ends meet.

Everyone has a story. Every time I followed the characters in my books I was learning to see the world through someone else’s eyes. And sometimes it took seeing the Book Bus librarian at the car wash to make me realize the people around me have stories too.

My library card allowed me to travel and meet so many new places and people. It gave me a taste of freedom and independence. My mom didn’t bug me about what I was learning, and if I didn’t end up reading something it was no sweat off her back. She just took me to the library, and reminded me when the book bus was in town.

My kids all got library cards last week.

I wonder where they will take them.

The baby is napping. The kitchen exhaust fan is humming. This is my attempt at white noise to keep him sleeping; a buffer between dreamland and an active household. Hoping our sweet baby will remain asleep for a while longer, I attempt to sit down to enjoy my afternoon coffee. But he hollers through the baby monitor and the silence is cut short once again. My coffee remains sitting in the sunshine, while I leave my warm window perch to gather my smallest son in my arms.

The boy who made me a mother blew out 12 birthday candles today. It’s been twelve years since my first tiny son was placed on my chest. I looked at that eternal soul bound up in a helpless body and my heart cried silently to the God who gave him life: full of wonder, awe, and love, “Help me Lord, I have no idea what I am doing.”

I still feel like that.

I am regularly confronted with feelings of inadequacy, doubts that I am enough, fear that I am doing it all wrong. And it’s true that I am not adequate. It’s true that I am not enough. But my fears are silenced by a still, small voice. In my weakness, Jesus is strong. Despite all the times I mess up, my children and I are held tightly by a God with big hands. He is more than adequate; more than enough. And he loves my kids even more than I do.

In the crucible of motherhood I am learning to trust God when my task is too big for me. Because it is. That’s the point. Whatever we face that is beyond us is there for the purpose of making us run to Jesus, not to look deeper into ourselves.

Being a mom is hard. But by God’s grace I yell less than I used to. I am learning to be more thankful for the people that surround me. I’m growing in kindness. I’m learning to give of myself more readily, and grumble less when I don’t get my way.

Having fetched my sweet boy, I let the coffee cool. My hands are occupied holding something much more important. I’m busy holding onto things that matter while they’re still here for me to hold, and learning to let go of the times I get it wrong. Resting in the capable hands of grace.

As our baby’s birthday looms larger on the horizon, I’ve been trying to order my thoughts about childbirth and make sense of how to have a biblical view on the subject.

There’s not a lot written from a Christian perspective when it comes to the topic of birth, which is unfortunate because it’s an amazing time for women to see the power of God at work in their lives. Instead of setting our gaze on Christ as we nurture a new life and prepare to welcome them into the world, we’re encouraged by worldly voices to look inside ourselves.

The topic of childbirth generally separates people into one of two camps: a mainstream medical approach, or a “crunchy” natural approach. While they seem very different, they boil down to the same basic focus because the culture we live in prizes self-fulfillment. People are obsessed with themselves, and make decisions based on how they will benefit.

Some think they’ll get the best experience from a painless delivery with an epidural, and some think they’ll get the best experience in an unmedicated environment without intervention.

I’m not here to argue the merits of either approach. It ultimately doesn’t matter.

Whatever approach I take, if my approach to birth is centred on me, I’ve missed the mark. It doesn’t come down to medical or natural – that should not be the measuring stick of success. A Christian’s philosophy of birth can land in either camp, but there’s more to consider.

I’m not the hero of the birth of my children, God is. Birth shouldn’t be focused on self, because childbirth is not about me. The purpose of my life is to bring Jesus glory.

Consequently, that means the purpose of the birth of my children is to bring Jesus glory.

My life as a Christian is shaped by the gospel of Jesus. Confessing Jesus as Lord means he has authority over me, and I want to live differently because of who he is and what he has done. Knowing God and being known by him is not an ethereal idea that has no practical application. My theology must have an effect on my everyday life, otherwise it’s not much use.

So here are few principles that I feel give practical application to living out my faith in Jesus Christ as a pregnant and soon to be labouring woman.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)

My baby has been forming and growing over the past 9 months, no thanks to anything I do. The eyes of the Lord are on every unborn child, overseeing the microscopic details of their growth and development. He knits them together with wisdom and love.

My body was designed to nurture the life of each precious child God ordains to grow in my womb. It was designed to give birth: the Creator of the universe created my body for the task. Childbirth is a normal part of life that has been happening since Eve gave birth to Cain. The female body did not evolve to obtain this ability, it was purposely made for it.

The world is corrupted by sin. (Romans 5:12)

The world we live in is not as it should be. The curse of sin, brought on by the rebellion of mankind, has made what should be a perfect place very imperfect. Bad things happen because of the corruption of sin. People get sick, and in childbirth, I know that things can go wrong. My hope is not in a philosophy of birth, but in God.

I don’t trust birth: I trust Jesus.

Giving birth is painful and joyous. (John 16:21)

Birth is not easy: it is difficult and strenuous. It takes work, but it is work that women are capable of. Jesus talks about a woman giving birth being filled with sorrow and experiencing anguish because her hour has come, yet this sorrow is quickly forgotten in the wake of the joy that comes when a baby is born. He compares this to the sorrow we experience as we wait for his second coming, and the joy we will one day know when he returns. How amazing is it that he allows us to experience this comparison to the joy that is coming our way?!

I am commanded not to fear. (Psalm 27:1, John 14:27)

The Bible is filled with commands not to fear, and declarations that we have nothing to fear because the Lord is on our side. When I consider the God I worship, knowing his steadfast love and faithfulness, I know that I have nothing to fear when the time comes to give birth. He made me, he is with me, he won’t leave me, and I have nothing to fear.

God is sovereign over all things. (Proverbs 19:21, Ephesians 1:11)

The God of the universe holds my life, and the life of my unborn child, in his hands. He determines the day a child will enter the world, the circumstances surrounding their birth, and their health when they are born. He is sovereign over every detail. It is God who gives life and sustains it. He numbers our days and has determined when our baby will be born.

Birth is often referred to as an empowering experience. I disagree. There’s no goddess hidden inside me, waiting to show her strength. Instead, I believe birth is humbling. I am a weak woman loved by an amazing God, who welcomes me into the miracle of bringing new life into this world. He is glorified in the welcoming of new life, because he’s the one who makes it happen. We get to be along for the journey and marvel that he would allow us to experience the joy of it all.

The purpose of birth is not to make me amazed at my abilities and my strength to get through such a physically demanding and painful experience; it’s to put me in awe of my Saviour, and cause me to worship the one who endured more pain and suffering than I can imagine so that he could bring his people into new life.

The obstetrical circus that surrounded Bailey’s birth was a tipping point for me, and seeing firsthand the care a friend received from her midwife after her son was born opened my eyes to a model of care I hadn’t known existed. I began reading everything I could about natural childbirth and midwifery, and became convinced that if I had another baby I wanted to give birth at home with a midwife.

Registered midwives in Canada are trained medical professionals. They have university educations that have equipped them with the knowledge and skills that make them experts in normal, low-risk pregnancy and birth. Like a doctor, they order routine blood work and ultrasound, and can prescribe medications throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Patients under their care receive personal and holistic attention, with prenatal visits that allow time not just for answering your questions, but really getting to know you and your family as well. Midwives allow you to make informed decisions regarding your prenatal care, which includes whether you will give birth in hospital or at home. If you choose to give birth at home, they come prepared with the same medical equipment found in a hospital delivery room. In short, they know what they’re doing. Should complications arise, they know how to respond and when to transfer care to someone with expertise in higher-risk situations.

The demand for midwives in Saskatchewan far outweighs the number of midwives available to provide care to mothers in this province: about half of the women who want a midwife in the Saskatoon area are unable to receive midwifery care. So when I found out I was pregnant with Deacon, I was probably on the phone with the midwives’ office minutes after sharing the news with Clay! I was on pins and needles for weeks, waiting to find out if I “got in”. I did, and it was a wonderful experience. One I was eager to repeat with this baby!

Over the past 8 months I have been blessed to be under the care of two amazing midwives. When the time comes, they will both come to our home to attend the birth of our fifth baby. I realize that home birth is far outside the scope of normal for a lot of people, and I wanted to clear away some of the mystery surrounding it.

Why give birth at home?

A big part of what makes birth progress normally and without complication is the labouring woman’s comfort and feeling of safety. In the hospital, everything is foreign: I did what I was told when I was told to by nurses I had never met, and was routinely monitored by an unfamiliar obstetrical intern until my doctor arrived (if they did at all). Plus it smells weird. It can prompt a defensive posture, rather than one that is relaxed and able to give in to the work of birthing a baby. At home in a familiar environment, I am able to relax and surrender to the process of labour: I’m able to move where and how I want, manage pain how I want, under the care of women I am comfortable with because I have gotten to know them over the past 9 months (longer in this case, as my primary midwife is the same woman who was with me for Deacon’s birth).

Is it safe?

Yes. Under the care of a registered midwife, giving birth at home is no more or less safe than giving birth in a hospital.

What if something goes wrong?

A lot of complications are within the realm of a midwife’s ability to care for. If something is outside of her scope of expertise, she knows, and is able to transfer care when needed. If we need to get to the hospital, we will. We’re not here taking dumb risks and avoiding the hospital at all costs: if that’s where we need to go, we will.

What about your other kids?

Our kids will be home during the birth. My mom will be here to support them, and they are welcome to be present during labour and birth, and welcome to not be. We talk openly about what to expect. They know that it’s going to be hard work for me, but that it’s good and a normal part of life, not something to fear. Bailey is so eager to help that I’m thinking I may have a future doula on my hands! The boys are not. They might just hang out in the basement playing Minecraft until baby arrives. They’re all comfortable with what to expect and are looking forward to being at home to welcome their new baby sibling!

What do you need to have for a home birth?

The midwives bring all the medical equipment required for birth, and supply a list of other items for me to put together. I’ve been slowly acquiring what’s necessary:
-wash cloths
-garbage bags (for laundry and garbage)
-incontinence chair pads (those lovely disposable pads they put on beds in the hospital)
-large plastic bowl for the placenta after it’s delivered
-shower curtain to put between bedsheet and mattress, to protect bed
-clean sheets
-snacks and drinks of my preference
-for water birth: shower curtain to protect floor, new garden hose with adaptor for attaching to indoor tap, bucket (the midwives supply the birth pool)
-a bag packed for the hospital in case of transfer
-all the normal stuff you’d need to get ready for a new baby regardless of where they were born, like diapers, receiving blankets, baby clothes, pads


It’s easy to be afraid of something you don’t understand, and I hope this opens up the lines of communication on a topic that might be foreign for a lot of people. Midwifery is safe. Women who choose home birth have done their homework and are not making a careless decision. If someone makes decisions about something you are not informed on, be willing to ask them questions rather than make assumptions. You just might learn something new!

I think it’s fair to say that when we began sharing the news of our pregnancy, the general reaction was one of surprise. People thought we were done having babies. That’s fair! For a good while, we thought we were done too. We had 4 babies fairly quickly, and along with the physical demands of caring for small children, we had some growing to do in our marriage as well.

I was wrestling with things going on in my heart, dealing with sin, and praying to be a wife who does her husband good and not harm. When we’re wading neck deep in the everyday, it is hard to see what is happening beyond our limited sight. I was just trying to fight for holiness and praying for change in me. During this time though, I also began to hope and pray for more children. I prayed that if it were God’s will, his Holy Spirit would speak to Clay and align our hearts on the matter. I determined I was not going to nag, I would do my best to not even bring it up, and trust that if it were the will of God for our family to have more children, He would make it happen.

It was while studying Francis and Lisa Chan’s You and Me Forever (a book that I think is cleverly disguised as a book about marriage but actually is an excellent primer on basic faithful Christianity), we both felt strongly that God had plans to grow our family. There was nothing even explicitly about family and children, but this was the turning point for us. You could read the book cover to cover and walk away wondering, “What part did they read that made them think they should have more kids?” There was nothing specific to our situation, but the Holy Spirit spoke to us through the Chans’ desire to trust God in all aspects of life and to live their lives for Jesus’ glory and not their own.

In January, while women marched across the continent in an effort to stand up for the right to choose death for unborn babies, I was praying that life was forming in my womb. While the ongoing nonsense about babies in the womb simply being parasitic tissue is regurgitated by progressive thinkers, while science is denied because it doesn’t fit the selfish agenda to kill the weakest and most helpless among us, I was praying for the child I hoped was being knit together in my own body. While the world was celebrating the ability to steal, kill and destroy, a new body and soul was growing within me.

I’m pregnant with my fifth baby.
Some people think it’s wonderful.
Some people think it’s crazy.
Some people don’t care either way.
Some people say encouraging things.
Some people say stupid things because they’re awkward conversationalists.
Some people say stupid things because they actually think I’m stupid for having so many kids.

At the end of the day I choose to not let people’s opinions get the best of me. I don’t expect everyone to be supportive, because I know the world I live in is broken. I know children are not valued in this culture. But we’re prayerfully raising these kids to be counter-cultural because of our high and mighty King Jesus. In a culture of death, we celebrate life. In a culture of self-fulfillment, we seek to lay our selves down. In a culture that tells me I’m not living up to my potential by being at home with all these kids, I say this is exactly where I’m meant to be. These kids are not a waste of my time, they’re what I’ve been given time for.

Hi friends! I laughed when I looked back at my last blog post, because I actually haven’t done any of the things on that to-do list! I was so well intentioned – and tired. Very, very tired. With good reason.

We are expecting baby #5!

It’s common knowledge to those around us, but I have been asleep at the wheel of this blog so I thought it was time to show up, explain my absence, and get back to writing. Maybe you’ve been wondering how pregnancy has been treating me this time around. Wonder no longer!

I basically don’t remember the month of February. I feel like I slept straight through it. I slept at least 9 hours every night, and napped for a few hours every afternoon. My waking hours were spent dragging myself around not accomplishing much of anything except growing a human. Add to my fatigue the fact that I was quickly getting knocked out with NVP, and I was pretty much out of commission. We ate a whole lot of nothing good and just locked down into survival mode. (As an aside, let’s stop calling nausea and vomiting in pregnancy “morning sickness”, shall we? Where are the lucky women who only have to deal with it in the morning?)

Around 7 weeks into this pregnancy, I reached a point where my nausea was so overwhelming that I spent an entire morning in a walk-in clinic waiting room so I could see a doctor for a Diclectin Rx. I’m all for treating things naturally, but trying to treat my nausea naturally was like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Sniffing essential oils, eating ginger candies, and small, frequent meals only got me so far. I needed something stronger. I explained to the doctor in no uncertain terms why I was there. He laughed about me having done this before, and quickly wrote me a prescription. The Diclectin did help, but I still struggled with nausea for over a month.

While battling the nausea and exhaustion I lamented to Clay one evening, “Why didn’t anyone warn me it was going to be this bad?! ….oh, wait….I knew. I’ve done this 4 times already.”

I have to brag on my husband for a minute here. While I was busy sleeping and fighting to keep my food down, he was a rockstar. He made sure people were fed, kept the house relatively tidy, did laundry, or made the kids do any of the above things (also very helpful). On one occasion I recall tearily thanking him for all he was doing, and he acted like it was nothing. What a guy. I am blessed.

School was reduced to bare minimum requirements, and we have still not quite recovered. Now I face the usual struggle to get book work done when the weather is beckoning us outdoors, and the desire to try to catch up on what was lacking over the past few months.

Around 12 weeks I suddenly didn’t need to nap anymore and I could handle cooking and eating again. Sweet mercy! I felt like a human being again!

That about sums up the first trimester: sick and tired! I have a lot more I want to say about having this baby, but I’ll pace myself and be back with some more posts in the near future. Thanks for reading – see you soon!

When I was a teenager, do you know what the best time was to find my bedroom in a state of order and cleanliness? Anytime I had a big assignment due. Or finals week. I was a master of procrastination.

Apparently I have not changed.

I took the week off school so that I could reorient my thoughts and get focused for the second half of the year, but I haven’t done anything except clean my house. I started tackling our spare room/junk room, I laid carpet in the kids’ secret hideout, vacuumed, flattened and recycled an unreasonable amount of cardboard boxes, washed the floor, and cooked up a storm.

I’ll add blogging to the list of procrastinating techniques. After this I think I’m out of ideas and might have to actually get down to work.

I need to schedule math until the end of the year.
I need to catch up on my Good Reads reviews for a few FIAR books.
I want to make a plan for going through the Story of the World volume 1.
I want to write my summative report and periodic log for the first half of the school year.

It doesn’t look so bad when I break it down like that. I guess I should get to work.

I’ll do it tomorrow!

I brought something to Jesus in prayer earlier this week. I explained to Him why I should get what I was asking for. “I did this and that right, could you please just pull a few God-strings for me and make it happen? M’kay, that’d be great, thanks.”

The audacity of my attitude slapped me in the face.

Who did I think I was? Just what did I think God owed me? “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)

I faced two obvious options:

1. I could wait with an anxious heart for this prayer to be answered, fretting and pleading to get my own way. If the answer was favourable I’d be triumphant, and if it I wasn’t I’d be crushed. That’s kind of how it goes when you’re praying for your own will to be done.

2. I could truly put it into His hands and trust His judgement. Whatever answer comes, I would have peace knowing that it had passed through my Heavenly Father’s hands. I could ask for His will, not mine, to be done.

This was another grace-filled moment when the Spirit of God convicted me of my pride and selfishness. I have far more than I deserve. I was gently reminded me that He knows what I need. He will be glorified in my life and I just need to trust Him. Do I have enough faith to believe that whatever the answer to my request, He is good and loves me, and will work it all out for my good? “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) 

I opened my grabby hands and gave it up.

Open hands, and a thankful heart. That’s the posture I want to have, willing to receive whatever Jesus chooses to give me, knowing that He loves me. The peace of option 2 sounds way more fun than anxiety.

Church planting is hard. There have been some valleys, and my plea for prayer in September came from one. I tend to be exceptional at counting my burdens and often forget the blessings that surround me. But church planting is also awesome, and I don’t want to neglect sharing the good things. I feel like I’m writing from a summit right now. The air is clear, and I can see things that were difficult to see under the shadow of discouragement a few months ago.

There’s a lot to be thankful for. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are six things that stand out to me as huge blessings when I consider the church body I am a part of:

1. Servant leaders

When I look at the men that God has called to lead and shepherd the local church of Grace Fellowship in Warman, I see men that love Jesus. They came into pastoral ministry with empty hands offered to God with willingness to be used. They willingly and joyfully serve in so many different ways because of their love for Jesus. They’re committed to faithfully teaching from the Bible, welcoming people into their lives, and rolling up their sleeves to get things done. They’re among the first to arrive on a Sunday and the last to leave. While obviously not perfect, their leadership echos the words of Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

2. Scripture shaped people

Believing “all Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), it is clear to me that the people of Grace value and treasure the Bible. Living under the authority of scripture radically changes people. In its pages God is revealed to us; He speaks to us, and tells us who He is and what He is like. The Bible is God’s story, not a guide to being a better person, list of rules, or moral codes. By the grace of God I am surrounded by people who want to be shaped by Him, who spend time in His word.

3. Committed core

There are some who partnered with us to plant this church from the very beginning. I don’t know if they knew what they were getting themselves into, but they have been shoulder to shoulder with us through difficult times. They have shared their lives, they have opened their homes, they have encouraged their leaders, they have risen to leadership themselves, they have poured themselves out in an effort to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). The church IS the people, and without these people who are committed, core partners in gospel ministry with us, Grace Fellowship would not be what it is. I’m so incredibly thankful for every one of them!

4. Gospel community

Gathering on Sunday mornings is one way we connect as a church, but our call from Christ is not to attend a weekly event. The aim is that our Gospel Communities are where we live as a family of missionary servants, who are growing ever deeper in our relationship with Jesus and welcoming others to know Him. We share life together, build deeper relationships than can be built in a few hours on the weekend, encourage one another in Christ (Hebrews 10:25), and do the hard work of learning to be obedient to the “one another” commands in Scripture. As much as an introvert like me might prefer to live in isolation, I can’t “one another” myself. I need the church and I am so thankful for our Gospel Community.

5. A diverse body

One day people from every nation, tribe, and language will stand before the throne of God and worship Jesus as we were meant to (Revelation 7:9-10). The God of heaven and earth is so creative and and has been gathering a people here to reflect His beautiful diversity. Single. Married. Young. Middle aged. Grandparents. Couples without children.  Foster parents. Adoptive parents. Biological parents. Dark skin. Fair skin. Extroverts. Introverts. Believers. Not-yet-believers. What in the world does this mixed up group of people have in common? We are following after Jesus! It is a beautiful thing when we gather together and our conversation joyfully focuses on Christ – what else do we have in common, and what else brings more joy? (Nothing.)

6. The sovereignty of God

Jesus promised that He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Everyone with a hand in planting this church is hard at work as God’s fellow workers, but it is God who gives growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). He was here before we were, He lead us to this city, and He is the one building His church. I can and do rest in His sovereignty. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). The Gospel of Jesus changes everything! He is causing those who love Him to love Him more, and He is still at work saving people! I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be a part of His unfolding story.