WHAT IF I WAS SINGLE- by Jesse

blog-graphicThis past Sunday, I took the last antibiotic pill I was prescribed to take by my doctor to overcome some insane congestion I had that was quite debilitating. We’re walking into the cold and flu season and it welcomed me with open arms. I hate being sick!

I was out of it for about ten days. Achiness, respiratory congestion, sore throat and coughing was my life during that time and it was horrible. The massive bummer of it all was the fact that I had to keep my distance from the rest of the family; seemingly quarantining myself for their safety and health.

It wasn’t cool not being able to connect with the boys over a game of basketball or to pick up my little girl and nestle a kiss into her fluffy little cheek. It was tough, but what had to be even tougher was the fact that my wife had to pick up all of my slack. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that when I’m sick, it’s harder on her than it is me. And I totally get that. We both carry responsibilities to make our home function (i.e., household chores, homework help, tending to a very demanding toddler, etc.)

She literally becomes Wonder Woman (which BTW opens in theaters nationwide next summer!)

There was a moment within that 10-day period watching Missy operate in overdrive mode where I thought to myself, ‘What if I was single? What if I didn’t have the blessing of having a partner to help with life and its responsibilities when I’m weakened or sick?’ Then I began to think about all of the single parents out there in the world.

Single parents don’t have the opportunity to ‘tag out’ of their family responsibilities and allow their spouse to play double duty until they heal. Single parents don’t have that luxury. They’re forced to find strength to push forward at all times, even when they find themselves in a 10-day congestive valley coughing their lungs out…they still have to help with the homework, they still have to draw the bath, they still have to be Wonder Woman or Superman.

I just wanted to take this blog post and send a gigantic SHOUT OUT to all of the single parents I know or don’t know in this world. You are true heroes, tasked with leading at a level that many of us don’t. Single parents, please know the investment you are pouring into your child is enormous and know your child will most assuredly see that…and in fact appreciate you TWICE as much as my kids will ever appreciate me. Because you did it for two! I pray you feel the power and resource of our God as you carry out your parenting in ways I and so many others truly appreciate you for.

In fact, let’s take a moment within the next day or two and find a way to encourage a single parent by grabbing them a cup of coffee at work, or bringing them over a KFC meal for dinner and telling them you love them, writing them a note of appreciation or simply just praying for them, because they are some amazing human beings and they should be honored as such.

‘Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong.’ Meg Lowery

Much love to you! Especially during this cold and flu season!

 Jesse

Heros vs. Villians -by Missy

Picture1I was driving in the car by myself just yesterday and in that quiet time I thought to myself that the core to all sin comes down to selfishness.  Deciding we want to do something to gratify or make ourselves happy in the moment.  Sometimes it can be a harmless decision and sometimes in our selfishness we don’t see or don’t want to see that it is hurting those closest to us.

Then I thought that’s what makes the difference between a hero and a villain.  The hero is someone who has dedicated themselves to help others; in the end they are the least selfish person, willing to give up their own wants and desires to help others achieve theirs.  The villain on the other hand is living for themselves usually seeking money or power; ultimately living for themselves and willing to sacrifice the relationship with those around them to get those things.

We are all born with the desire to fulfill our needs and desires.  To strive after those dreams in our hearts and usually they are good things.  Yet it’s always good to seek out God and to double check our motives that what we are wanting is ultimately in His plans.  We all have to continually fight the desire to put down our flesh and its desires and look outside ourselves to help and make other lives better as well.  If there’s any verse that shows the difference between a villain and a hero, it’s Philippians 2:3 (MSG.)

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Missy

Thoughts In My Head by-Missy

missy

I woke up this morning and walked into the living room as Jesse and our sons’, Micah and Javan, were getting ready to walk out the door to head for breakfast at McDonalds to celebrate the last day of school.  Micah’s face looked grave as he gave me a good morning wave; he had thoughts of four finals to tackle before he could enjoy his summer.  Javan on the other hand is not yet in High School so he was in full on celebration mode.  He had packed a large Ziploc bag full of sandwiches and another grocery bag full of fruit snacks that he planned to share with friends at school.  Saying with a big smile on his face “I’m gonna eat like a king.”

Then once they were out the door the house was again peaceful. I began to reflect on this past Sunday’s service where God took us in a different direction than was planned.  My thoughts rang with the words Jesse used to challenge us.  The main theme was to give God our willingness.  That challenge stirred in me the desire to continue to push forward, to again lay down anything that would keep me from going after God, and to show me that there are great things ahead for us to do as the church.

Even with all these great things going on I had to check myself as I thought back to yesterday. I had found myself having a really bad attitude.  I was being short tempered with my husband, who didn’t deserve it.  I was getting mad over silly things, walking around doing chores and cooking with a chip on my shoulder.  I realized last night before I went to bed that I didn’t even really have a reason to be upset and I was dampening everyone’s positive atmosphere with my grumpiness.  I saw just how easily and fast I can turn good things into something ugly if I am not keeping my mind on God and enjoying the great times with my family.

In my quiet time today I read in Proverbs chapter 2 that “Good sense will scout ahead for danger, insight will keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions.”  I am so thankful that as I keep close to God, He will make sure to show me when I make a bad decision or a wrong turn. I thought that if I didn’t have that soft heart because of my connection or that time to spend with Him, how would He be able to show me this?

Those are my thoughts!

Missy

Support Systems — by Jesse

SupportSystem_JQuirozWe just celebrated 7 months of Aisha a couple of weeks ago, and the difference between who she is today and who she was when she was first placed in our arms feels like night and day.

Her abilities for mobility are seemingly increasing exponentially. We took this pic a few nights ago while her brothers were compelling her to do something she really has never done before, move from a sitting position to an army crawling position. They were doing whatever it took to compel her away from the comfort of sitting on her can to bring her over to her pink owl.

I could see the psychological battle taking place in her mind as she compared the comfort of where she was to what she wanted that stood out of her reach. After about a half-hour of compelling, she finally did it. And she was rewarded with that pink owl wherein she showed it some intense slobbery love.

What an accomplishment! We all clapped and cheered as she watched with curiosity our loud claps and loud sounds and smiles. She seemed to really be proud of what she did. Support systems are so key to creating successful moments in our lives.

And I guess that’s my question to you today: Do you have a support system around your life?

Support systems are meant to be around all of our lives to do just that: support. The raw definition of support means enable (meaning to to impart ability). People that exist around you to pull and push you forward, away from where you are.

I honestly credit the support system I have placed around my life to the success God allows my life to experience. Because I can’t get there alone, like my daughter, I don’t see my undiscovered abilities until someone pushes me to attain them.

In short, my prayer is for your life’s support system. Who are they? And if you don’t have one, get one. I’m telling you, there’s a pink owl in it for you just waiting for you to slobber on it!

‘A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.’
– Robert Heinlein

Jesse

One Day At A Time — by Missy

Embrace_MQuirozTo Embrace means to “accept willingly and enthusiastically.” Today as I am writing this our daughter, Aisha Kay, is now 7 months old. I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since she came into our lives and has forever changed it.

Life with a baby is a continual adjustment but we are definitely trying to enjoy every minute! She is grabbing everything in her reach, she loves playing peek-a-boo with her brothers and she is being very clingy as many of you know. Having two teenage boys we now know first hand just how fast life goes by (I can’t believe they will both be in high school this fall!).

So each day that I spend with Aisha, I want to embrace the stage that she is at. I have realized the more I am here on this planet just how precious this life is and how we need to embrace the everyday moments. Those everyday moments seem so insignificant as we live them but it’s weird how as soon as we look back we can see just how much of a treasure they are.

This weekend as we saw those close to us lose someone dear to them it again hit me in the face just how fragile and precious life is. We can’t slow it down or speed past the tough parts; we simply just have to embrace it and try to enjoy every minute of every day we get.

Missy

“By living one day at a time you’re living all the days of your life.”

Memories v Dreams — by Missy

MemoriesDreams1_MQuiroz“Memories take us back but dreams take us forward.”

This quote is one that came alive to me this weekend. On Saturday, our family celebrated my Mom’s 60th birthday. (Mom, I hope you don’t mind I just told everyone your age.) It was a day to celebrate all that Bev Garner is and all that she has done for us as a daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandma. We looked back on our special memories of her, and we are so grateful for who she is.

For me, and for many of you that know her, she is a very giving person. She will do anything for you and never expect anything in return. One of my favorite qualities about her is that she isn’t afraid to try something and do it. Many times she has pushed me past my comfort zone and has shown me that I can accomplish and do things I never thought I could. It was so great to look back and honor someone who has lived a life deserving of honor!

MemoriesDreams2_MQuirozAlso, this weekend was the Youth Takeover service at Journey Church. It was such an encouragement to see the youth serving in so many capacities. The level of talent in our youth blew me away! Every aspect of the service was so strengthening to my life.

Of course, the moment when I saw my son step up on that stage and speak to our church was something that changed me. This past Sunday helped me to see into the future. I now see them as God followers that will step up and lead the next generation closer to God … Wow!

These two events have brought to my mind that it is good to look back at times. To remember the events and people that have made you who you are and to also continue to pray for our youth and to make sure they know they have a place as they follow God and look to find their purpose for their lives.

These things may seem far apart but they work together as the past is handing off to those in the future!

Missy

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