Managing a Ministry or Leading a Movement

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As a Family we are excited about heading out to Greenville today to spend some much needed time with our family.  Spending this particular Friday getting ready to rest and abide.  Reflecting on the season of lent as we wind that down.  Feeling the heavy burden today of what HE did for us years ago and looking forward to celebrating the good news of the resurrection and the life we now live freely.

Dave recently posted a blog on our 3DM Leadership Blog.  Wanted to share that with you today.  Even though this post is about Managing a Ministry or Leading a Movement, As it relates to our context of being the Rhodes family  - It’s not about Managing our Family but it’s about Leading our Family on Mission.   Being part of an extended family is that we choose to never do anything alone. It’s a matter of closing the gap between our intention and our practice. Which is why as a family on Mission if we hear God speak to something we make sure it’s reflected in our weekly practices and disciplines  as we seek to bring the Kingdom of God to all places as weShow and Tell people Jesus.

So here is Dave’s post.  Enjoy!

Love – Rhodes to Anywhere…

Managing a Ministry or Leading a Movement

Life is full of choices.

Some choices come and go and very few things are really affected.

Other choices directly affect us not just in the moments we choose them but also in every moment after. In fact, some of choices we make today are directly related to the kind of lives we live tomorrow. And never do we really know that more than when we make the wrong choice.

For me, one of these moments happened when I was around six years old. My mom had dragged me to the grocery store to run errands with her, as moms often have to do. But moms can’t go to the grocery store to just get what they need, like normal people. So I was being dragged up and down each aisle, slowly but surely making our way through the entire store. I questioned the meaning of life more than once in the frozen food section.

But then on aisle nine, I found it. My purpose for being at the grocery store turned the moment my mom looked at me and said, “David, it’s your turn!” Here’s why I was so excited: aisle nine was the cereal aisle, and that meant I got to pick out one box of cereal for the week. I remember as a kid running up and down the aisle looking at all the different choices. Cocoa Pebbles, Life, Cheerios, Trix, Cookie Crisp (my personal favorite), Fruit Loops and so many others. These are big choices in life.

On this particular grocery store run, I had made my decision. The box of Cookie Crisp was already in my hand. That’s when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a box of cereal called Fiber Bran, or something like that. Now, no kid really wants to eat Fiber Bran—that’s a cereal for old people who have issues in their lives that we don’t really want to discuss here. But the reason I noticed this box of cereal was because there was an advertisement on it that read “Free Spider-Man Action Figure Inside!”

I loved Spider-Man. So my six-year-old brain started thinking… I knew that if I asked my mom for a Spider-Man action figure on this grocery trip I probably wouldn’t get it. But here in this box of cereal was the opportunity of a lifetime. My mom would think I was getting cereal but I would really be getting a Spider-Man action figure! Quickly I turned the box of cereal over to see the HUGE portrait of Spider Man on the back of the box. And again, my six-year-old mind raced into action, thinking, “If the Spider-Man figure is that big there can’t be much cereal in the box of Fiber Bran.”

Spider-Man won out. I handed the box to my mom insisting that Fiber Bran was my new favorite cereal. The next morning I raced down the stairs to open the box of Fiber Bran and claim my awaited treasure. As I dug my hands in the bottom of the box, I’d like to tell you that I was delighted, but the truth is that I have never been more disappointed in all of my life. The Spider-Man figure was two inches tall and it broke the second time I played with it. To make matters worse, I was now stuck with a whole box of Fiber Bran. You don’t want to know all the things that cereal did to my body (just kidding).

I learned a valuable lesson that day as a six-year old kid. It’s easy to get distracted by toys. It’s easy to see the back of the box and end up missing the substantive things in life. It’s easy to choose the wrong thing.

Never is this more true for the heart of the leader than when it comes to the choice of managing a ministry or leading a movement. The truth is, I know very few people who dream of managing a declining ministry. Most of the people I talk to dream of cultivating and leading a dynamic movement of faith. But it’s what we choose to do on a daily basis in discipleship that makes all the difference.

In classic Mike Breen fashion, I now have been trained to see the way of Jesus in places in Scripture I once would have overlooked. That’s why this year John 4:1-2 has caught my eye in a way it never has before. Here’s what it says, “The Pharisees noticed that Jesus was baptizing more people than John (although it was not Jesus who was doing it, but his disciples).”

It’s that last parenthetical statement that has owned me these last few weeks. Jesus didn’t just “do” his ministry and let his disciples tag along. No, Jesus invited his disciples to do his work with him–even before he commissioned them to do so, and because of this, Jesus started a movement instead of managing a ministry.

I’m not making any assumptions about John’s ministry, but what the Pharisees noticed about Jesus was that his movement was outpacing John’s ministry, and what the Apostle John fills in for us parenthetically is that it was all because of discipleship.

The lesson is clear: if you want a movement tomorrow choose discipleship today. Invite your disciples to do what you do. Do your best to never do anything alone. It’s a matter of closing the gap between our intention and our practice. We all want a movement, but desires alone accomplish nothing. If we want a movement we will have to choose it, daily… one disciple at a time.

You can read more amazing things on Family on Mission and Discipleship on the 3DM Leadership Blog.

A Family Journey of Lent

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At the start of lent our family sat down and talked about this season of Lent and what it would look like for our family to step into that.  With now our youngest bumping up against 7 years their understanding and participation has awoken.

One thing we do as a family is have a visual around the house. Not only is it FUN, but it’s an important way to help our children learn.  I ordered this last year to use over the Christmas Season and it also can be used for Lent.  It’s called the Cradle to the Cross Wreath and you can order it HERE.

Wreath

We began asking each person in our family to ask God what is something that they could give up for 40 days as a symbol of remembering what HE gave up for US.  And the bigger question to the kids was… “What is something that might be a part of your life that you might be depending on a little too much?  And what would it look like if you decided to not have that be so much of your life right now?  What would those things be?

And so A FAMILY JOURNEY OF LENT began…..

Dave is giving up Soft Drinks.  If you know Dave, you would have heard the gasps in the room by all three kids.  This is NOT something that will be easy for him.  But what I realized is it set the tone for all of us to really press into what it was that God was saying to all of us.

coke

Emma (our 11 year old) went next.  Emma is giving up “unorganization.”  She’s one of my children that did not inherit the desire for things to be neat and orderly.  Which is great and we love that about her.  As she listened to His voice she said she needed to step into the discipline of making space orderly around her.  That would mean how she approached her work and space at school and also her space at home.  As her orderly mom, this was wonderful news to my ears.  But also realized this would be a big task for her to take on.

Izzie (our 7 year old) followed. Now this might not seem like something to most of you but for her it was straight from her heart.  Lately she has been obsessed with Beanie Boo’s.  I’ve never seen a kid attach to something like this.  She loves stuffed animals.  Whenever Dave returns from trips he always brings her back a small stuffed animal.  I personally think it’s crazy to bring home stuffed animals but to her it’s this massive act of love and affection.  She said she is giving up the desire to want more Beanie Boo’s.  The need to want to keep getting more.  And for her this will be something hard for her to step into for sure.

beanie boos

Then I went.  Feeling like I needed to follow Dave’s lead I told the family I was going to give up coffee.  I’m not sure if I can actually do this.  But it’s something I drink 1 cup of every single morning that gets my day started.  To be honest I’ve not really pressed into what this would look like and wasn’t really sure if this was what I was to do but in the moment it sounded like this was where I needed to press into. (See update below for the reality of what happened)

And then Frankie (our 6 year old) – Sweet Frankie.  He immediately said he’s giving up playing the Wii. Everyone immediately started to give him other idea’s that might be more atainable.  This boy LOVES the Wii.  He works his day around having some access to it.  If we step into discipline many times it’s time taken away from the Wii that works for him.  So this was HUGE for him.  But as we suggested other smaller options for him, he was very annoyed and said, “No.  I want to do the Wii.  So we honored his heart and affirmed his decision.

frankie wii

I think for all of us it was such a good family exercise to discuss and do together.  To be able to hear each others hearts and to know places in our lives that we have become dependent on other things.  I’m thankful that Lent lead us into this and want to engage in this conversation more often as we journey in these conversations as family.

So the beginning of lent was a while ago..  Here is our update on HOW we have been doing:

Once again, our children have blown me away.  After hurdles of deciding if a Sonic Limeaid is a soft drink, and day 2 of having to drink a cup of black coffee in the morning just to get by I was especially reminded of the discipline it takes to go without. Dave continues his commitment to avoid soft drinks.  I on the other hand realized very quickly that cutting caffeine to start the morning would not be something attainable cold turkey.  Since I’ve decided to give up sweets and still press into the Kairos of the dependence on a cup of coffee each day.

The girls are pressing through.  I love opening the door to Emma’s room and seeing things in order and know she’s going after it.  And NOT hearing about Beanie Boo’s day in and day out has been pleasant change as well around here.

BUT THE BIGGEST JOY HAS BEEN WATCHING OUR SON….

To our Son Frankie who I thought would in no way be able to be without the Wii.  Each day he has come into our home as if it has never even exhisted. I am utterly in shock and awe at him.  He is showing all of us in this family what little Faith we had in him. He is showing us all how to sacrifice without complaining, without asking.  And truly teaching us when you hear from God and actually walk in Faith and Obedience that anything is possible.

So the question leads us all to ponder…  Regardless of if you step into lent or not, what are things in your life that you may be becoming a little too dependent upon?  And do you trust HIM enough to listen to HIS voice and step into releasing some of those things? Let Frankie encourage you today. By taking time to Listen to HIS VOICE and Obeying it… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE… Right Frankie?

Love –   Rhodes to Anywhere…..

Rhodes to Anywhere… I’m/We’re Back!

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I've missed you photo

I’ve missed you!  We’ve missed you! How crazy is this?  After almost 4 years in Hibernation we were having a family conversation a few weeks ago and I decided for all of us that we should start blogging again, but this time as a family.

I actually just hit send on a book of Frankie’s Blog I used to keep.  Reading through the posts I was reminded how as an introvert it’s important to take the time and actually write.  It’s really a spiritual discipline not only for me, but for Dave and now as our children as they grow older and begin to share their story.  And I feel like along the journey we have learned so much.  The process of Discipleship requires us to look at the life of Jesus and to learn what He did, learn how to imitate Him and then look at ways to innovate in our lives in a way that causes us to ask who would Jesus be if He were us.. with our life, with our family dynamics and the giftings that he has given us?  When you live that way… He will take you anywhere…

So welcome to our new adventure “Rhodes to Anywhere”

We have certainly traveled many “Rhodes” over these past 4 years of blog hibernation and what an amazing adventure it continues to be.  One of the fun traditions we’ve taken on is collecting snow globes of the places that our family is coming and going from.  Each represents a story, a community, a people, a mission, a culture, a breakthrough, a barrier, a family, a mission. They are truly more than snow globes as they sit in our home.  They represent the pictures of the Kingdom to us.  They represent ways our own family is trying to live into our Family Mission: To Show and Tell People Jesus.

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So what have we been doing for the past four years?  Well I’m glad you have asked.  It’s really simple.  We have been dying.  I guess that sounds a little harsh… but it’s what we have been doing.  Daily coming to the cross.  Dying to ourselves, our plans, our wants, our needs, our dreams in hopes of being reborn into something new.  Dave just tweeted today.. “There is no issue in life that the cross does not address. And there is no struggle in life that resurrection does not teach me to conquer.” 

Just last week someone dear to us said she had been praying for our family and was given the verse John 12:24 to share with us.  Little did she know that I had already penned these words you are about to read. “When you lose your life you will find it…  When you try to hold on to your life, you will lose it.  John 12:24 – “Very Truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” So we as a family press into knowing it’s all His, we daily lay it down to die in hopes of multiplication and daily trust to follow His Voice as we seek to lose our lives and go “ANYWHERE” the “RHODES” we walk lead.

We are pretty excited about where we have been and where we are headed.  The amazing thing about dying is that is when the fun happens.  It’s the most messy beautiful process to get to walk through. We have never lived in a time filled with so much joy, fruitfulness and blessing.  Never as a family have we been more passionate about living and being a Family on Mission.  I hope all 5 of us can share parts of our story here to encourage those of your own pursuit as you live out all you are going after in your life and your context in the Mission he’s called you to.

Excited to be back.

With Love,

Rhodes to Anywhere…

frank ad blog

Thoughts from the Battle

It’s a Tuesday and for the first time in a LONG time I sit in a quiet house.  Dave is off in Dallas, my children have been dropped off at 3 different schools and I sit here as my feet are still a little sandy from an early walk on the beach and some time to “be” and “abide”.  I plan at some point to take a bike ride as well and continue to ponder.

It has been just about a year that we have lived here in our new little town.  The place my heart now calls home. I remember as if it was yesterday, selling most of our furniture and cleaning our home in prepping it for the next family that would be living in the place we dwelled for the last 7 years.  Feeling the grief of lost relationships and hard goodbyes of family.  Wondering why on earth I decided to leave most of our stuff with Dave saying he wished he left behind even more of it. But stepping in confidence that we were listening to HIS voice and following as we heard him whisper.  And I remember the point of looking in the car mirror.  You know how you do that from time to time.  But I remember that moment of taking the last glance at what was on the side reflection of the car and then choosing to look ahead into what I know would be.  A moment of honoring and celebrating the past but at the same time continuing to walk and take faith ground in the future.  It was not an either or for me but a both and…

It’s really hard for me to put into words what has happened over this past year for me personally.  I’ve been encouraged and challenged, I’ve seen amazing provision that only he could give and I’ve been asked to sacrifice in ways that only he can sustain. And it has played out like an amazing harmony on this steady playing beautiful note that is called my life.  Some days it can sound out of tune or a bit off beat but for the most part I continue to hear this beautiful song and melody that continues on in the sacrifice or the blessing that comes.

So having some time to reflect this morning and hearing his Voice call me back to blog and write today I felt compelled to share something with you that I have staked this past year on and have been processing a bit over the past 3 days.  You see, when we made this last move I came to personal decision.  I chose to embrace the voice of the Good Shepherd in that I recognized and confirmed that I knew what it was God was calling our family to in this next phase of our Family on Mission.  And then I think I did the next thing that has allowed me to walk in the most freedom ever.  I acknowledged and surrendered that  IT WOULD COST ME EVERYTHING.  So to state that even simpler…  “I know God has called me, and I know that it will cost me everything.”

I’m smiling a bit right now because when I articulate that to people, especially the it will cost me everything…people get REALLY uncomfortable and look at times as if I’m crazy.  And I get that.  No one likes to hear that something should or will have to cost you something or everything for that matter.  Our natural instinct is to avoid discomfort, loss, pain, sacrifice.  We live in a world that tells us on a daily and hourly basis that we should be entitled to things.  And people will literally tell me when I share that…But your kids?, But your family? But your time? But Dave traveling so much?  And I hear their concern in what they are saying.  But there are a few things I’ve learned in this process… In the It will cost you everything… there is the joy of the most amazing blessing that is balanced perfectly with the struggle of the hardest sacrifice that can only begin to be experienced in act of living into it.  And at the end of the day there is one thing you need to understand about me and what I am doing and daring to take possession of…

I’m a Warrior. :) I’ve spent the past year and continue to prepare and orient myself first as a warrior.  And each day I wake up and recognize that I’m not just living another day of life but that I’m engaging in a battle.  I recognize that our King is near and that He wants to do Good things and He wants to Win.  So I take on each day putting on my armor, helping my family and children put on theirs and then head out to take  possession of his promises and take ground he has given us to take.  And he wants to Win and so do I. So everything I do is INTENTIONAL for battle.  From our family rhythms, to what I invest time, to how I handle and see Dave being gone, to how I process things happening, to even understanding my capacity… everything is filtered in light of the battle.

The War we are in.  And yes it’s a war.  There is a battle raging for your time, ability, competence, courage.  Many are battling wars of sickness, enemy attacks, bombs going off in our midst here and there.  But the WAR….It’s already been WON.  God is Good and He WINS.  And here is the thing I love about our King and the Kingdom we fight for…  It is HERE, as in now.  It is NEAR, as he will continue to break into our lives and speak to us and guide us in the battles.  It is COMING, one day all debts will be settled. And It’s DELAYED, as we wait we MUST fight and take possession of everything that has been promised to us.

And that is what I am trying to do each and every day.  Some days are massive breakthroughs.  Other days you can find me wounded on the field with my doubts.  Some days I sit in the amazing blessing and wonder and awe of His provision and care and other days the sacrifices I know he requires leave me wondering if I might have anything left to give. But at the end of the day for me, there is nothing more that I want to do with my life than submit and bring honor to the King and go after all that He has for me and our family while we are here on this earth.  Anything less than that would be a disappointment for me.

One last thing I wanted to leave with you as I was processing this, this week at the Sr Pastors retreat we had going on here in Pawleys.  When waging in a war, It’s those that decide before hand that something won’t stop them will win.  Those that find themselves dead already will always win.  I refuse to enter battle holding on to things in my hand.  I won’t be a casualty of this war because of that.  Which is why I always recognize daily that it’s all His, and daily I give it to him.  And if I one day I become a casualty in this war, it won’t be because I was not fighting or because I was holding anything back.

So maybe I was supposed to write this today to encourage you or maybe challenge you to ask yourself if there is anything you are holding on to that might be preventing you from having the breakthrough the King is wanting you to have?  And what would it look like to take a step in trying to release that from your grasp and see what He can do with it?

And just as I am teaching my kids this week this verse from Joshua 1:9

He will be with you wherever you go.

 

 

 

March….

I went to the beach yesterday and it took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot on what is usually a desolate space.  Something so bare is now starting to be packed with visitors and others flooding in.  I’ve been told season has started to begin.  I’ve heard stories of how things are here during busy season and have tried to imagine it, but starting to experience it brings reality of what is to come.   I’m realizing my normals will have to change a bit to adjust with the current of people arriving.  My quick run over to the beach and back won’t be as simple.  I’ll still get to do all the same things, I’ll just need to take on some different Rhythms to be able to accomplish them.  And thus, as I reflected on the town of Pawleys and the flow of the season here… I realize how God is doing just the same thing in the life of our family.

We have been in an amazing season of breakthrough.  In life, family, ministry, mission.  Not a day goes by that I don’t see his abundant blessing as it keeps lapping into our lives like the waves gently rolling onto the shore.  The breakthrough times come through the normal process of life… Beginning with Abiding, then Pruning, then Growing, then Fruitfulness…  And the fruit, it’s there now and is needing to be picked and harvested and the baskets are flowing over and I just want to be sure I dont’ drop any of it.  And so just like you do in breakthrough at least for me.. I go back to the abiding because it’s in that moment that I’m able to “be” so that I can be useful in the breakthrough.

If you have had a glimpse at all into the things that make up our days and months you are aware that we have lots going on all the time.  We really love it and it’s great to be busy and have schedules intentionally full with things you know you are to press into and accomplish. It’s part of our joy of being a family on mission. We love the “doing” part of our life and now living in Pawleys we also really enjoy the “being” part of it as well.

So wanted to share some recent photo fun from over the past month of our Being and Doing times….

Blessings friends…

Hammock Hangouts…

Visit from the Nana and Gma

Lots of Hosting and Entertaining…

Broadway at the Beach…..

Frankie’s 5 year old School Party……

Family time at the beach…..

My parents in for a visit….

Lots of communities going on.  Love our team and love what we get to be part of.

Visits from Friends….

Brookgreen Time…..

Morning Breakfast Rhythm…

Weekly play dates with friends…

Girls Nights Out… Love the ladies I get to do life with….

More Beach time Fun…..

Sunday Oikos Time….

Saturday Breakfast at our favorite Hangout…

Valentines fun with the best dad ever….

Reminder of His Provision and Faithfulness…

Simplicity

As I continue to plow the land that is present and constant and as I fall asleep and rise I realize that land is so much easier to tend to when the life and noise around you is very simple.  Simplicity brings a centering and a calm that allows us to truly have the capacity to dig in and spend the hard work of continuing to plow the ground so that the seed that is there can take root and grow.

The Rhodes family has been hibernating in that lately.  Sifting through the many area’s of our lives and getting back to the core of finding the simplicity in all that we are being called to do with our time, ability, access….

Rhythm is one of those things that in anything you do needs to be present and consistent in order for everyone who encounters your life or your families life to be able to find access and a place that they can revolve around.  I’m till trying to find that personally and also within lens of our family.  I think anytime you uproot and move into a different place so many rhythms about yourself and even the functioning of your family have to be evaluated and changed in order to sustain the new area, relationship, capacity and even calling upon your life.  I think someone once said it takes a good three years to really feel established in a new place.  I pray that is not true.  I hope it’s more like a year.  I feel we are almost there.  Almost….

One decision when we uprooted almost 7 months ago was to “shed” a lot of our personal belongings.  We knew we needed to relocate from the upstate to Pawleys.  With a home still not making any progress in selling we began to search for a place in Pawleys to rent.  In our search we found a furnished home that seemed to be the perfect place for our family to function out of for the next part of our journey.  Thinking we would put our things in storage for a while we agreed to rent this house.  A few weeks later our home finally had an offer on it.  One exception, the couple wanting our home also wanted to purchase almost every piece of furniture  and decor in it.

Take a look around your home, and ask yourself  – would you be willing sell it all if given the choice? That was the question I was faced with.  Of course I live with a visionary who see’s 5 years down the road at all times and really does not like to think much in the present. He was willing in an instant to leave it ALL  – clothes and toothbrush included.  But for me it was a harder thing to process through.  So much of our “things” were pieces I had been so intentional about gathering.  Many were purchased out of years of time and sacrifice and love and waiting.  And no doubt each piece had so many memories of our family associated with it.  Again, would you sell it all if given the choice? In the end, we did sell it all (with exception of a few pieces that were too personal to part with)  And in the moment as hard as it was to let go I never really understood what the Lord was truly teaching me then and even today as I continue to walk to His voice and chose to willing follow and obey where He leads.  He was teaching me how to Let go of so many area’s of my life, even down to the things we owned.  And He was preparing me to begin to have the capacity that He knew would be needed for me and our family in the life in Pawleys He was sending us to and the things He had planned for us to be part of.

This morning I sit in an abundant, crazy, and outfitted home.  A home that has met every one of our needs as a family, as a community. And the physical blessing has cost us very little.  Our act of obedience in simplifying our lives has allowed our lives to be in turn blessed with the most amazing detailed extravagance. I’ve never lived in a place I call HOME that encompasses many things that are not mine.  I never knew what it would feel like to live on borrowed things.  Today, I must say that I’ve never lived in a physical place that has ever felt more like home to me or more free.  In the odd irony, even though I know the things in my house are really not mine as in “We don’t own” them, in every way they are ours and our family functions in the space in such an amazing way.  We love and that we get to call this place home.

Dave and I and our children are learning so much about what it means to live a simple life.  Where we function on His provision to us.  Where we have set ourselves up free of “things” to where we are really available and willing and able to ACT when we hear his voice calling and stretching us.  Living a simple life has increased our capacity in ways I never imagined possible.

I’m not suggesting everyone sells their stuff and lives off the things of others… But I am suggesting that everyone do what it takes to Live Simply.  Whatever that means for you and your family.  And as you walk in that simplicity, enjoy the amazing extravagance that only the Father can lavish on those He calls His Children.

Hello 2012

Woke up this morning to saying Hello 2012.  This year it’s pretty simple for me.  I’d ask for a word about a month ago for 2012.   It came rather fast.  Not a single word but rather a phrase. “Plow the Land”

It makes a lot of sense to me.  We have been given new territory to settle on.  Amazing Land. But now it’s time to start plowing, tilling, unearthing the soil to ready it for…..  well I did not get that far.  Just know I’ve got to Plow the Land right now.  So this year is about doing that.  I’ll do it physically, spiritually, emotionally, missionally. Plowing is never easy.  It’s an act of work.  Work I know that sometimes does not give immediate results.  But I know by doing this that things that need to be planted and harvested on this land  will in turn be different because the land where life and substance grows has been prepared.  So there you have it.  Bring on 2012!!!  Plow the Land!

Side note:  I think this is worth sharing.  Yesterday in saying goodbye to 2011 we decided to take a walk on the beach.  It was the most beautiful day here yesterday.  You could have fooled me with it being 70 on December 31 and the sand warm to the toes. We even met up with friends and I tried for the first time ever this…..

Paddle boarding.  Doing this up and down the Marsh area…  This is something I know I would really enjoy.  Can’t wait to go out again!  But I’m digressing….

Before we left I wanted our family to partake in an exercise.  I make us do these things a lot.  Dave rolls his eyes half the time but for me it’s a physical act of doing something that normally we can just verbally say and move on.  I had the idea after reading Jo Saxtons post yesterday about her walk on the beach and drawing a line in the sand.  So the exercise was to stand on one side of the line and decide what things you wanted to let go of or take from 2011 into 2012.  And when you were ready, you shared with the family what it was and then walked over the line that was drawn in the sand.

Izzie goes first because if you are wanting someone to volunteer to share, she’ll be the first to do it anywhere.  She said she wanted to leave behind the sores on Frankie’s head he had a few months ago.  I agreed, and said “yes, Izzie let’s press into good health for 2012.  No sickness.”  She crossed the line.

Frankie went next and said, “I want to take the Wii” and he jumped over the line.  We all had a good laugh over that one.

Then Emma sits down in the sand and starts literally crying…. “I don’t want to leave behind Nana or Greenville.” “Why are you crying Emma?” I ask.  “Because leaving things behind is Sad and I don’t want to do that.”  Dave has stepped in by this time and has assured her that we can take Nana and Greenville into 2012.  And then he implies let’s ask that this be the year that Nana moves here with us. :)  She’s better now but still not happy about having to think about 2011 and crosses the line.  By this time Dave and I just cross and start heading to the Van.

Then Izzie who I’m helping into the van, has a moment of revelation.  “Momma, we can also leave behind our sin.  We can always leave that behind.” Yes Izzie… you’ve got that right.

Anyway, it was interesting reflecting a bit as a family yesterday.  This year was full of lots of Change for us all and change often requires of us a loss of some magnitude.  The loss of our family living in the same town has impacted us all this year but we Hope that sometime in the future we’ll live close together once again. :) Or at least that is part of the hope we are taking into 2012.

Goodbye 11 – What Was

I  love last days of a year.  I love times of reflection.  I reflect A LOT right here in this spot. Probably most because this spot itself is a physical representation to me of Faith and Blessing.

I love the time of pondering  WHAT WAS before you can dream of WHAT WILL BE.  I remember my hopes for this past year…  I wrote about it in CAPACITY to CHANGE as I reflected on 2010 with hopes of what would come in 2011.

I wrote, And 2011 – I can only dare to dream that this new grown capacity was given to us for a reason.  2011 I believe is going to be a year of lots of change for me and our family. I believe it will be good change and hard change.  A change that I hope not only impact our family but will give us the opportunity to “lay all our cards on the table” and give all we have to a movement we believe in with all of our heart, soul, and spirit.  A movement that has carried us for our past years in ministry and one that will continue to allow us to keep going after it. As you will often hear us say, “we have come to play and play to win.”  I really believe it is possible to win.  So much so, that I’ll give my life for it. And who wants to win alone?  Not me.  I’m so thankful for the people that are in our lives that are going after the same thing.  Their wins become our wins and vice versa.  It’s just an honor to be playing on the same team with everyone.”

In the midst of playing and winning you find battles of great Faith.  2011 will always be marked for me a sweet journey in my life.  A time where Great Faith was required almost daily.  I wish I could say it was really simple.  But the honest look at it was that in moments of my biggest breakthroughs, there was much doubt that lead up to it.  And in that struggle, and receiving a grace I did not deserve, I found something so profound for me personally.  In the midst of all the mess that leads to Great Faith, I found the Father took and did what only He could do.  He worked all things for HIS good and in return, giving me not what I deserved in my doubt but rewarding me with incredible blessing I’ve yet to be able to fully understand.  And He did not do it only one time.  This year he has done it time and time again.  The only requirement from me that remained consistant in the process was that I had to step into the future without knowing it would work out.  And in those steps of doubt, fear, excitement, joy… He always was Faithful, and always blessed in more ways than I could ever imagine.

2011  – The year of….. “Faith and Blessing.”

I will ponder that today.  I will reflect on the journey He’s lead us on this past year. I will remember.  And then as I sit tonight and ring in the new year, I will let all of that BE and will press into the NEW that is in store for 2012 and the DOING it will surely require.

2012. -The year of ……… will have to share more of that tomorrow.

Frankie’s Adoption Day

What a BIG moment for me personally.  One of the most memorable in this whole process.  Frankie’s adoption day.  Dave said it best that day, “What was already family is now official.”

Jeff Hall took our pictures when we first arrived home in Greenville.  He captured our first family photo’s and it only seemed fitting that he as there as we ended this part of our journey.  If only I could book him now for Frankie’s Graduation and Wedding (which is already pre arranged with a sweet little Haitian girl named Bella from PA.) :)

These are a few of my favorite:

My Sweet Boy on His Very Special Day:

Waiting BEFORE the hearing..

With The Judge:

Celebration Shot Afterwards:

First Official Legal Family Picture:

We had a Canvas for the day that everyone signed that Frankie will always have to remember this special day.

I will never forget when the Judge announced his name:  Franklin Joseph David Rhodes.

Our Family is OFFICALLY and NOW COMPLETE.

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