Since before our children were born, Josh and I have prayed that they would come to know Jesus early, but not too early. I have heard so many stories from teenagers who became Christians as very young children and then doubted their salvation once they got older. I didn't want to pressure my kids into making a decision just because their dad is a minister and they know all the answers and are in church every time it is open (and sometimes when it is not). So as we have had many conversations about what it means to follow Jesus with your whole life, I have never asked them if they wanted to be Christians. I have always prayed that the Holy Spirit would work in their lives and that they would come to us wanting to make this decision. God is so good and answered my prayer this summer.
At VBS this year they talked a lot about people in the bible who knew all the answers about God but how you still have to make the decision to follow God for the rest of your life and make Jesus the boss of your life. Isabel filled out a card saying she wanted to talk to someone about being a Christian. A few days later the card came in the mail and Isabel was explaining what it was to Will because it was only for 3rd graders and up. As she was explaining Will looked at me and said "oh yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about all that. I'm ready." Before I could even form words to respond Isabel said, "yeah I've been waiting for that card to come in the mail so you would ask me about it. I'm ready too." Trying not to cry, I talked with them both a little more and then told them that we would wait for Josh to get home from Guatemala. A few days after he got home, Will refused to go to sleep until we talked about it. Josh asked him a lot of questions just to make sure he really understood what he was doing. After praying with him we walked into Isabel's room who asked what we were doing with Will. When I told her she wanted to do it that night too. It was an incredible night full of answered prayers.
On August 7, 2016 both kids were baptized by their daddy. Isabel had been terrified of baptism for years but the fear was completely gone after she made the decision to follow Jesus. She was beyond excited about being baptized and she and Will counted down the days. It was such a special moment with so many of our family and friends standing there with us.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
The kids and I joined Josh and about 80 teenagers for beach camp in Daytona this year. I knew Isabel and Will would love the worship and the beach but I was not sure how they would handle the 10+ hour drive. After much thought and discussion we decided to ride with the group in the charter buses even though they were leaving at 4AM!!
They did WAY better on the bus than I ever imagined. They watched movies (the teenagers were nice enough to pick movies Iz and Will could watch too), did stickers, played on phones and kindles way more than I've ever allowed in one day, and even used the bus bathroom!
Once we finally got to Daytona, got everyone checked in to the hotel and ate some pizza the students headed to the first session but we headed to the pool. I knew I couldn't expect them to sit still any longer. Plus an early bedtime was needed since we had been up since 4am!
The view from our room was beautiful. All of our rooms were on one hallway in the hotel. One side faced the ocean and the other faced the street. We walked in our room to see the view and the kids were devastated to see that ours faced the street. Luckily a sweet chaperone and her girls insisted that we switch rooms with them so Isabel and Will could have their ocean view!
Each morning started with squad wars. Their were 4 groups and the kids had crazy cheers and played crazy games. Isabel and Will loved watching it! Then we would stay for worship and a quick talk.
After lunch each day we all went to the beach and pool. There was a long area of the beach with very shallow water that Will loved playing in. The riptide was very strong so we didn't get in much further.
One afternoon when the riptide was especially bad, almost our entire group ended up in the same pool. They decided to throw/flip everyone! Isabel and Will refused to be flipped but we all watched. It was hilarious. The students gave Josh no choice and did end up throwing him!
Isabel and Will loved Chris Tomlin leading worship the most!
Depending on how close we sat, I usually made them wear earplugs and even headphones one night! It was LOUD!
The kids and I went to the worship each night but left before the speaker. We usually got ice cream or donuts from the stores across the street and walked on the beach some before going to sleep!
No one was ready to leave! I know these are memories that Isabel and Will will have forever!
Saturday, September 10, 2016
One of the sweet families at our church had a few of the 9th grade girls over to their lake house and invited us too. Although we basically lived on a lake for 5 years in Hendersonville, Isabel and Will and never gone on a boatride. They were a little hesitant at first but quickly decided they loves it! Their favorite part was watching the teenagers tubing!
Swimming in the lake!