Saturday, September 21, 2013

a hot mess of a heart & a church that led me to jesus.

There are some times in life that you have adequate words to say and there are times when 140 characters just can't do, nor any blog, note of gratitude... words just can't express it.  but my heart is searching for the right way to say that I love and am so grateful for my church. Let's just let the story tell itself.

I was in eighth grade and as awkard as the best of them.  I had grown up in a local church where my dad had worked on staff and we had loved that church and are to this day grateful for it's impact in our life as a family; however, some circumstances left us looking for a new church home.  For some reason I was the one to go church 'shopping' with my parents.  I have to say, I love shopping, I love the thrill of the hunt but rather than exciting and thrilling... well yeah, if you've ever been church shopping it's not as much thrilling as it is frustrating... all you really want is a church home.  After much searching, we found our new church home in the beginning of 2000 and for thirteen years we've called it home.

Within a few years of joining the church I met with my youth pastor and a friend for lunch which ended up allowing me to go on a trip where my life truly changed forever.  I will never forget the missions trip to a po-dunk town in oklahoma...I was a freshman in high school who was caught up in who liked me and what I could be popular for but didn't really feel like the goals I was trying to attain like honor roll and cheerleading captain were the least bit fulfilling.  That week this new youth pastor of mine was preaching and it hit me like a ton of he was only preaching to me in a room full of students.  I thought to myself how does he know my story?  And it was because I was a mess that needed Jesus, I might have looked somewhat 'put together' on the outside but my heart needed Jesus and not just as a Savior to get to heaven but as the one who was leading my life and that was the grace I could live in.  No big deal either {lol} that that was the first significant amount of time that I would spend with this cute, red haired boy named luke macdonald a.k.a. my future husband.

Over the course of my high school days I learned how to love jesus in that church... to worship him in spirit and truth.  I learned to serve others and how much joy that brings. i learned the Word of God and how it's a shield for me but also how it's a sword and it pierces my heart for changes that are so necessary in my self-seeking heart. i learned that jesus never leaves me... that no matter what I do, or what someone else does to
me jesus is sooooo near me. i learned that i have freedom in Christ and i can live in that

there were so many lessons that i learned that when i went to college i thought i was so smart, it took two weeks to figure out that i was still a hot mess and that indeed i needed Jesus more than ever before.  those core things that I learned at Harvest stuck in my heart even though i was six hours away.  They helped lead me to a church while away at school and when my high school boyfriend & i broke up later that semester the things i had learned helped me to stay grounded and reminded me that no matter how sad I was that jesus was right there with me.

as the chapters kept unfolding that red-headed cutie and i ended up getting engaged and we started doing ministry together at the niles campus of harvest.  we learned together how to do ministry... loving those students both the saved and the lost - loving them in their beautiful messes and pointing them to Jesus and his amazing gospel.  that taught us so much, that we are desperate and in need of Jesus just as much as everybody we were trying to lead to Him.  So many lessons in perspective.

This is the very church that we got married in at the ripe old age of twenty-one.  I married into the pastor's kid's family, which is a great honor and i love them so very much.  I'll say this after knowing them since I was 14 and having been in their family for 6 years they are kind, generous, loving, godly people who practice what they preach with grace and authenticity.  That being said, almost every week we sit in the pews and listen to biblical teaching and worship Jesus freely... if that's not an amazing gift, I don't know what is.

And for the last several years we have transitioned to youth group at the rolling meadows campus.... and if you want to learn something about being fired up but Jesus... meet those students.  Their passion and their honesty is something that i, or i guess we have learned so much from.  You know, that's one of the things I've learned that often you go into serving thinking you are going to give something... and truthfully you get so much more.  We've been part of a few really authentic small groups that have led us to life-long friendships that we could never imagined we'd be blessed with.

And as if that's not enough we've been blessed with three little men who get to be part of the children's ministry, who have been poured into, prayed for and taught about jesus.  

My story is all about jesus.  But, God has used this church called Harvest Bible Chapel magnificently in my life.  Luke and I are giving our lives to it, everything we've got because we believe that Jesus Christ is what every heart longs for and needs.  My heart is full to overflowing today with all God has done.  Today is all about celebrating.  And I'm beyond excited... glitter, sparkles, shouts of joy.....

amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me,
i once was lost but now i'm found, was dead but now i see...
glory, glory, hallelujah!!!!

with gratitude, love, happy tears.... happy anniversary harvest bible chapel... to God be the glory!!!!!!!!!!!!

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