Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Grateful.... even for snow

Snow. Right now we dont need any other word to bring sighs, groans and slumped shoulders... just the word snow. We are so ready for spring, sunshine, warmth, signs of new life.... that the thought of another week in a winter freeze can be downright depressing. And its something that everyone relate to right now. Just yesterday I talked to at least 5 different strangers at the gym, and what did the conversation involve? Snow. All about snow and almost all grumbling. "Im so sick of snow", "April is almost over, what is this?!", "I cant wait for summer!", or the most common, "Im moving to Florida! No seriously, I really am!". Have you grumbled about it? I know I have, even if just a little. Last week during our Moms prayer group at school, we spent the first half hour talking about the weather, and then jokingly said that this was no longer a prayer group but a "Weather" therapy session. We all desperately crave warmth and sunshine, there's something about that happy feeling that it gives us. But in the midst of a snowy day, lets be grateful for other things.

I would have loved to wake up to a snow day with school cancelled, but I didnt. I would have love to have had my husband snowed in and have to work from home, but he wasnt. I would have loved to ignore the alarm clock and sleep in, but I couldnt. I could have complained about all of that, plus having to take our neighbors son to school on top of my own kids, but I didnt. And I really could have added a groaner to the fact that when I did drop off my neighbors son, another parent in that school backed into my van trying to get out of the parking lot. But I didnt.  I chose to have the peace only God brings. I chose to sing this morning to the kids, I chose to greet our neighbor warmly and with a huge hug. I chose to take in the absolute beauty of all the snow covered trees contrasting a bright blue sky. I chose to smile at the guy who hit me, look him in the eyes and tell him it was ok, that he was gonna have an amazing day and God bless him.

So I challenge you today. STOP IT. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, JUST STOP IT. Choose to see the good in your day. How do you want your day to go? Do you want it joyful, full of life and fun? Or moody, slow and long? Think about whats coming out of your mouth, or swirling around in your head and choose to make it positivity. Yeah I could have spent the morning in bed sleeping, but I got the chance to be a blessing to someone else in the midst of a cold "winter" day. Praise God for that!
Do you accept the challenge?

Philippians 2:14-15 "14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Life is not pointless

My heart hurts. The emotions are so mixed. And although there is a joy indescribable for my dear friends gain, the pain of the loss of such a gem in this world literally takes my breath away.

But thats not what this post will be about. Not about the pain or loss, but about the example that an amazing, very young man left behind. I will NEVER forget the day Nick Reed came into my life.

In September of 2011, our brand new church plant hosted a booth at the North Central University church fair. In the sea of college students, our team handed out Ramen Noodle and talked to lots of new people. Most of them asked questions like, "What kind of worship do you have? What kind of message do you give? How many people attend? Where are you located? Do you have a youth group".

 But not Nick. As I greeted Nick, my first thought was, "Wow, He is way older than most of the people here." We talked for a good 15 minutes, which is incredible considering most of the conversations all morning had been about 30 seconds long. After explaining some of the history of how God called us to plant this new church, Nick said he was willing to help anyway he could. I asked him what areas he was good in and he replied, "Just give me a brush and Ill scrub the toilets and the bathrooms. I want to serve." Then He explained to me that he was sick of hearing of churches using all these gimmicks to get you to come, that He wanted to find a place and just serve. Then He promised to be there waiting at 745am on our first launch day of South Oaks. He met our team that day, and as He walked away all of us marveled at such an amazing guy. We talked about him all week long, prayed for him and at our next meeting told everyone all about this Nick guy. We even debated on his age, because there was something about him that was so much older than the other students.

On our first Sunday, September 18th, 2011, Nick was one of the first, if not the first person to arrive. Ready and waiting to help set up and tear down. And He came every Sunday after that, bringing even more people with him every week, even with a limp.... and then eventually crutches. He served with all his heart. We didnt even know right away what a talented musician he was, or his amazing healing from the first bout with cancer. But we didnt have to, we knew from the moment He walked up to that booth that He was a one of a kind guy, someone unique and powerful. Adding in all that incredible testimony just increased our respect for him. If it wasnt for Nick, I wouldnt have met the awesome Brandon, or the beautiful Jessi, or any of the other amazing NCU people who are now a part of my life. And all the way up to the point when He had to go back home from surgery, He set the example and the bar for truly living for Jesus Christ in our church. Even from his hospital bed this past September, he sent a thank you video to the church for our 1yr anniversary. He never gave up, through pain and trial, through the toughest parts of life, Nick plowed through. Even more amazing to find out that He was only 19 at the time, He carried a wisdom far beyond his years.


I remember one time walking out the door at the same time He was, and he was on crutches. I tried to hold the door open for him, and he laughed and said "Im not paralyzed, girls dont hold the door for guys." And he put his crutch up on the door and blocked it, till he could get in front of me to hold the door for me and my boys. I remember giggling with Jessi as she crushed on him, and watching the two of them exchange glances.... I even gave up a seat next to Nick and forced them to sit next to each other. This was obviously before anything became official between the two of them, and Im pretty sure I made them both blush and very uncomfortable. lol But Im glad I did.

The church, My husband and I and our boys, just like everyone else, poured massive hours into prayer for Nick. I am overjoyed that He is now healed, whole and in heaven.

I have never met someone like Him, I believe He was a real angel sent her to show us how to serve with everything we have. The last words he wrote show his heart, "The seeds we sow in this life will be the crops we reap after we die. See, our bodies may die and all the things we worked so hard to get will be equal to nothing. But our souls will live on........ Life is not pointless. So live like it has a point."

The heart, the passion, the love for God, the way he treated Jessi.... all examples to live by. We call him the Warrior Nick... and his is a story I will tell over and over again my whole life. The story of a man, an angel, a servant... whose time here we all feel was too short, but was designated with a mission by God. I know that the evening of January 31, 2013, Nick Reed heard the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

The Beilke's love you Nick. Thank you for impacting our lives, by just being you. I am grateful to have met you.


1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,....
11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 11

Nick Reeds BLOG:
http://thepilgrimman.wordpress.com/





(Nick and the team at a babyshower)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do not grow weary in asking

My 5yr old son Elijah has already proven that He is quite prophetic. He has seen things, heard things and spoken things out that have happened. Its pretty incredible watching him grow up. Theres this silly, hyper, crazy little boy who is just like any other 5yr old, and then out of the blue He does something that make Sheldon and I take a step back and go, wow.

Two nights ago He had a dream that He remembered quite vividly. As far as I can remember, its the first time He has remembered a whole dream, and the night before was New Years Eve and we prayed special prayers over each of our children for 2013. He woke up slightly disturbed and told us all about it. He was in the ocean and a skeleton was teasing a shark. Well the shark ate up the whole skeleton and and spit out its bones and left. Thats it.

But the timing of the dream and the stuff in the dream is not coincidence. In the last week we have paid out over $1800 in vehicle repairs, and not one dime of it came from our personal pocket books. What we had need of, we prayed and the next day checks came in the mail. This van has been broken down since June! Would it have been nice to have it fixed before now? Sure! But God is always perfect in his timing, never late! We survived just fine with one car, it was tough and there was lots of switching, Sheldon taking the bus a two hour bus ride at 5am, and Elijah staying at school late, but even through the stretch and stress, we survived just fine. However, with our exchange student coming, we need the second vehicle, and God provided right on time for a situation we had given up on. Its so amazing that Sheldon and I have been totally in awe since last week. Then comes this dream.

To me the skeleton represents lack, starvation, emptiness, sickness. Well we have definitely struggled with sickness this month, and we have always been just under the cut for bills to income, even with the most basic bills you can have. But in all, we remain faithful to God and to giving to Him.

Now to the shark, He is the powerhouse of the ocean. He is the equivalent to the ocean, as what the lion is to land. He is fierce, Hes a hunter, and does not back down from attack. As He chews up and spits out the skeleton, to me it represents the destruction of lack and sickness.

For 2013, I claim that promise. Just as God has provided every cent needed to fix what the van, which we had given up on, He will provide for every need this year, as always. And I claim to stand as boldly as a shark in my walk with God. I will be bold, I will not back down in seeking and sharing Him, and I will fiercely love. 


'For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:8-11

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A fruitful Summer


Its been a long time since I posted an actual blog, I have had an amazing year so far! Definitely living up to its expectations!  When we launched with South Oaks Community Church, my husband and I had taken on the Men's & Women's Ministries. Well just this past spring we also took on Children's Ministries as well, merging them all together to create our Family Ministries! Its been such an exciting change, and we are growing in ways we never saw coming! 
God has truly been doing some amazing things! Back in June we were blessed to go on a week long Leadership conference with our Pastors, Cindy & Steve. What an INCREDIBLE experience! We did not come back to Minnesota the same! At the end of the amazing Dave Williams Leadership School we had a "graduation". We spent the evening in worship and prayer, praising God for everything He had done that week. I had sprained my ankle the weekend before, and that Thursday I was healed when one of their prayer warriors prayed for me, and not even for my ankle! I met some amazing people who I hope to keep in my life a very long time, and watched a girl with flat feet miraculously get arches! I learned so many things about honor and how to honor our leaders in the Godly way, I learned about Faith Goals, defeating fear, creating an atmosphere of praise and growth in our church and so much more! The coolest thing was that during the graduation evening the leaders kept saying "the portals of heaven have opened above Mt Hope church" which is where the conference was being held, the repeated it several times. I remember thinking it was kind of a strange saying, and I wasnt too sure about it. But when we walked out of the church that evening I remember looking at the clouds over the parking lot and thinking, WOW....just beautiful! The sun was setting the sky was a beautiful color, the clouds were these amazing shapes and they took my breath away.
 As I stood there gazing at the clouds I noticed that people in the parking lot were looking behind me with an even more amazed expression, so I turned around and there...coming right out of the middle of the building was a double rainbow. No rain anywhere in sight, none! Just this magnificent double promise that the portals of heaven had truly been opened by our intense praise and worship that evening. I wish I had my camera with me, but the cell phone photo will have to work as proof. Never underestimate God, He will always outdo your plans!


"And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires." 2 Peter 1:4







Thursday, January 5, 2012

Expectations

Well 2012 is here, and 2011 is gone.


Last year, at the beginning of 2011, our pastor challenged us to paint our canvasses. He handed out little paint brushes to everyone and said "2011 is a brand new year, God made the canvass, you paint the year!"
Well looking back on what my painting of what 2011 looks like, I am quite happy with it. There were lots of tough times, probably more than I have had in a long while.....but every one of them was worth it in the end.


With March's 21 day fast that led to some incredible awareness's, a free trip to Tennessee for a leadership conference, Sheldon's political campaign, leaving our old church and planting the new one, my boys a year older and the one started kindergarten, an amazing wedding season, leading my womens ministry and kick starting fun get togethers, leading my first bible studies, God providing new(used) vehicles, and sooo much more!
God really opened the door to some incredible opportunities that just cant be explained away.


2011, you have memories that will be tough to compete with, but with Gods help I go into 2012 with even higher expectations.


I expect tough times, they are learning experiences. I expect blessings, to be the giver and receiver. I expect expect to grow in ways I never knew I could even stretch. I expect to fall into an even deeper level of love for the almighty Father! I expect miracles, Gods hand is moving on this earth...watch out for it!


Coming up we have a Men's Advance, a Women's Retreat, a Marriage Weekend, a monthly couples Date Night, tons of different studies and social groups to get connected in and lots of worship!
And on top of all that I get to witness my sister marry the love of her life, who we already call our brother.


2012, I have expectations of you. Instead of making resolutions that will be broken shortly after making them, maybe you should have expectations.  What are your expectations?


I will bless those who bless you,
      And I will curse him who curses you;
      And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”Genesis 12:3

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gods Timing

People call a lot of things coincidences, Christians tend to call them GODinstances. Well tonight I had a Godinstance. 


About 20 minutes before we put the boys to bed, we found a really nice DVD shelf on craigslist for super cheap right here in Lakeville. So I ask Sheldon to go buy it, and He does. So instead of putting the boys to bed, I decide to wait for Him to come back home. While I'm waiting, I get the urge to let the boys run off any last bits of energy outside. 
So we put the shoes and socks on, jackets too because its so chilly outside and out we go! 
The boys take off running up and down our shared driveway in our town-home community. Laughing, giggling, screaming and just plain running like maniacs. By the time we went inside they were covered in an icy sweat.
But just a few minutes after we went outside, I look over and my neighbors little girls came running into the street. And a few things are quite odd. 
For one, they are the 2yrs old & 3yrs old(cutest little things EVER!) and they are alone. I keep watching as they come closer to me to see if a parent is coming out after them.
Second thing odd is that neither is dressed.... the youngest had on a diaper and a shirt, and the older sister was wearing nothing but pants. And when I mean nothing, I mean nothing. No shoes, no socks, no sweaters, nothing. 

So I say to these precious little girls "hi, wheres your mommy?" And I get a blank stare from both. 
So I ask, "Wheres your daddy" 
All the while looking around to see if there is anyone around. Nothing, and nobody. And these girls are NEVER without a parent. As I am trying to talk to them a car passes us and I usher them out of the street to safety.
I ask again "Hunny, where is your mommy?" And the older sister just shrugs. I say "Are you cold" (Now mind you I am in a sweater and I'm cold. And the reply is another shrug of the shoulders. 
By this point I realize that their parents probably don't realize they are outside...so I tell them to follow me as I lead them back to their house. And they obediently follow. Another neighbor comes out of her garage looking quite concerned, and before either of us got a word out the mother of these girls come flying out of the house calling the girls frantically. I call out to her "Don't worry, I have them! They are right here!" 
I saw an entire range of emotions play across her face in matter of seconds and she explains that they were suppose to be in bed and when they started calling her she hid so they couldn't find her. And somehow they managed to sneak out of the house into the garage, and because their garage door was cracked they crawled under the door and got out. She never heard them get out of bed though, and when she went to check on them they were gone. As she was telling me this I could see she was torn between relief, fear, embarrassment, anger, frustration and gratefulness to at least find them safe....but she gently hugged the girls and took them home, and I was grateful I had been there.
The thing that struck me though is that I had absolutely no intention whatsoever to take the boys outside. If it hadnt been for finding that DVD shelf, and Sheldon running out to buy it then the boys would have been put to bed. And we wouldn't have been there to help the girls.
Gods timing is immaculate. Only He can set up divine interventions like that. Only He makes you late for work so you miss that car accident, or allows you to get sick you so miss that flight that crashed, or gives you the nudge to call someone right when they need it, or while on a prayer walk puts you in the path of someones home who you just by chance know and they desperately need prayer, or urges me to take my boys outside to burn off energy and find these baby girls.
Lord I am so grateful that your timing is never off, its always right on time. I am grateful for Godinstances. 



For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of school, for both of us

This morning was Elijahs first day at school. And mine too. He is my oldest son and therefore this is the first experience I have had with the whole school thing(As a parent). We all see how those moments go in movies;
Kid gets on the bus
Mom cries

Well Elijah isnt taking the bus, Im dropping Him off, and I didnt cry this morning. At least not a real cry.
But last night, thats a whole different story. We went about our day as normal, had a wonderful day. A nice long 2 hour walk, came home and had pork chops, rice and green beans for dinner, then we put the boys to bed. The whole time prepping Elijah for today;
"Elijah if the teacher says sit down what do you do?" "Sit down Mom"(while rolling his eyes)
"Ok if the teacher says its clean up time, what do you do" "Clean up Mom" (are his eyes even in his head?!)
"If you have to go potty, are you gonna tell your teacher?" "Yes Mom"(add a head roll and a hand on the hip to the eye rolling as if to say "really mom?!" ) But I gotta cover my bases.
So off to bed my boys go, and then it starts hitting me. My first born baby boy is NOT a baby anymore, not even close.  Then when we go to bed, Sheldon and I are talking... and I said "Its tomorrow" and he sleepily replies "yep" and I choke.
See now Sheldon had taken some medicine for allergies and was already half asleep by the time He even got in bed....so really when I say "we" were talking it was more "I" was talking and he would grunt.
As I lay there thinking back to the time of his birth and all the uncertainty that surrounded his first couple of days I get kinda teary eyed. Then I remember him learning to walk, and eat, and talk and how stinkin CUTE he always was.
Im laying there in the dark literally holding my breath so that I dont start all out sobbing...tears are still streaming down my cheeks...now you know when you try not to cry when you are obviously crying you tend to squeak....you know what Im talking about. I try and clear my throat so that I can get rid of the sob stuck in my throat and I take a BIG deep breath... and then there goes my nose. Why on earth does your nose start running when you cry??!! Can someone answer this please?!
So now Im sniffling...after a few minutes of lots of deep breaths and lots of sniffling Sheldon finally goes "are you sniffling?" I say "yes" and He goes "why"... I say "because"... He says "because why?" and I say "because" after a few rounds of that I finally admit Im crying. He goes "why are you crying?"
Now you know that if you try and explain why you are crying, you will only start crying harder, and then no one could understand you anyway so I figured whats the point of trying.
I really didnt want to sound like this "ayyeemm chrrrieenngg(sniffle/deep breath) beeecchaausseee maaeeyyyy bbaa(sniffle)bbyyy iiisshh aaaahhhlll biiiiggg noooouwww!(insert wailing sound) (Did you even understand my attempt to translate the language of tears into words?
Pretty much I just tried to explain that I couldnt talk about it, and He accepted it. But I wasnt done..and now I was at a breaking point.... between the sniffles, deep breaths and crinkling up my nose to stop the tears I am trying to think of something else, ANYTHING else.... so I pick up my phone and get on facebook. And it worked, after a few minutes of reading peoples statuses I was past my worked up phase. Whew....that was exhausting and shortly afterwards I fell asleep.

Fastforward to this morning, well I didnt set the alarm and instead of waking up at 630am like I wanted, I woke up at 7am. Not too bad, but it didnt leave time for Ethan and I to eat breakfast, just Elijah. Which was fine because it was more important that He ate(we came home afterwards and ate so dont worry, Ethan eventually got breakfast). But fortunately that loss of a half hour of time left me with NO time to cry.... praise God! :)


Elijah took a shower, got dressed, ate waffles, I did his hair, took photos and out the door we went. Took more photos in the car, and on the way into class. He smiled from ear to ear all morning, He woke up on his own and happy!(thats rare)
And it was great!
EXCEPT, I forgot to send a lunch with Him...and in order to get a lunch at the school you have to order the week before. I had started doing it the night before but realized we didnt have any sandwhich bags....and then didnt think about it again till I saw all the other kids lunches lined up on the teachers desk. So after I dropped him off, I went to the store, bought baggies and took him a lunch. I knew I would forget something....but at least it was an easy fix.

Ive heard of kid who are scared to start school....yeah I just cant relate to that. Mine was practically screaming "LET ME GO!!" as He grabbed his name tag and ran into his classroom....He didnt even kiss me! And then I was kinda caught off guard, the teacher comes up to me and says "Thank you for that letter you wrote" and I kinda looked at her and drew a blank. She continues "Pastor Kindle read it to all the staff this morning at our meeting" then I remembered I wrote a thank you email to the school for such a wonderful experience at orientation last week... I had NO idea that everyone was gonna read it. So I got a little embarrassed, but in a good way.
Elijahs teacher prayed with Him as he walking in and then He was in class....and other than chit chatting with a few other moms standing outside the classroom.... there was nothing else for me to do. So Ethan and I left... and I didnt cry. I almost did....but I held it back. Now dont get me wrong... I am beyond excited for Elijah to be in school... in fact a part of me feels kinda guilty for being so happy that He will be gone for so many hours. A part of me feels relieved to have time alone with my youngest now, but theres still that tiny tiny part that is sad that He has come to this stage already.
And now its time to go pick Him up and hear all about his adventurous day! I wonder what stories I will hear....

I am grateful for the way life has a way of going so fast...even when sometimes its too fast. :)

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6