Monday, May 23, 2011

It's our birthday!!

Happy marriage day to my handsome groom!!! We are two years old! Would that make us toddler lovers? Does that mean the terrible twos are upon us? Just joking!

As days like today are usually called wedding anniversaries, allow me to explain why I also liken it to a birthday: December 6th is of course my birthday, the day Emily Mandes was born and May 23rd is my wedding anniversary, the day I became Emily Fontenot. Two years ago a wedding took place, vows were swapped, God was present, and our lives were positioned in a completely new direction, together.

Like toddlers, Jon and I are learning to share our toys, to play nicely in the sandbox, to say please and thank you, and (of course) not to talk while the other is still speaking. And, like toddlers we are easily amused. Laughter comes easy and often between the two of us. The list of things to do and see is long and the energy to tackle the list is deep.

Last year on our anniversary we decided Jon would attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As expected, that decision placed us in a sea of unknowns. We did not know much about our future but we were expectantly hoping that God would use this season of change to draw us closer to him and to each other. And PTL, it has done such!

To my groom:

You bring me great pride, more than any words I've written or acts I've accomplished. You are my prized possession. Being away from Texas has been difficult, yet it has added to our strength as a couple. I am still learning to identify how you show love and how you need love, but it is a lifetime lesson I am committed to seeking. If your love for me is reflective in the way you have diligently pursued your studies, then I am a fortunate woman! I have been in awe of your aptitude and endurance this past year. I appreciate that you are sharing your MDiv experience with me, and that it is not something you are doing on your own. I look forward living life with you here in Deerfield and I pray that God will provide opportunities for you to leave your studies for us to be together. You are often in my prayers and praises. May we go forth into another year, filled with the patience and endurance that God calls us to exhibit. And may we never say no to what God has for us. I love you with God's love.

Thanks also to our family and friends that helped make our wedding happen, and whi continue to support us!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Confessions of a PK

Mom, dad, and me at Seaworld

I write ‘PK’ –Preacher’s Kid– because my father serves God in a pastoral role. But since I’m 25 I wonder, does the K in PK still apply? I don’t think I will ever shake it! But let the record show that I have grown leaps and bounds in maturity since I last sat on the receiving end of a flannel-board bible story lesson.

So much of who I am today is a result of who my parents are. I think that is the case of any person, no matter their parent’s calling. My parent’s calling had a particular influence on my life because the arena in which my spiritual formation with Christ and with the Church directly intersected. 

Lately I’ve been asking myself, what do you wish you knew then (as a young PK) that you know now (as a older PK)?

I’d like to know as a young PK what I am beginning to understand today as a seminary wife, what it means to be entrusted with the Gospel. Not entitled, entrusted. Full-time ministry is a burdensome call, yet a humbling one too. My parents loved the Church. They genuinely were excited to go and worship God at church. Their friendly faces at church were (and are) real. Which was not always the case for mine, but as I grew older God opened my heart and I went from respecting their passion to sharing it.

Sometimes I was confused by my parents, especially since their boss, God, is a mysterious. It is hard to comprehend God’s timing. I am sure there were times I said things like, “You did what?” and “I’m not doing that!” I was also  confused by the conflict in our church and hurt by judging eyes directed toward my family. Our church was small and those that attended were not just congregants, many became (and are) intimate family friends. I think it was good for me to experience confusion, conflict and judgment, because later when I experienced such unfortunates in the para church organization I was leading, my parents knew just how to comfort me. All my dad had to say was, “sheep bite.” It’s been neat to share similar experiences, its helped ease the inflicted pain.

My most treasured perk as a PK was the willingness of the congregation to know and love me. They were burdened for my parents and therefore became burdened for me and my sisters. As a PK, community was handed to me on a silver spoon. The opportunities to make friends, be encouraged, and be pursued were endless. This treasured perk sometimes resulted in pride and self-entitlement. But God in his grace took extra measure to ensure I stayed meek and humble. And I’m thankful for the grace the congregation extended to me.

I did not realize the depth of my shy nature until I was a college freshman on the hunt for a new community of believers. Before college began, God impressed on my heart that he wanted me to get more out of my college experience than a diploma, he wanted me to know him more. And in order for this to occur I knew I needed to step outside of my comfort and seek a new community of believers. This challenge resulted in feeling the weakest and most insecure that I had ever felt before. I had never met so many people that did not know me! It was a good learning experience and grew my heart for the strangers that had stepped into my father’s church. It also opened my eyes to see people on the fringes of society.

Advice for PKs: Carry your cross and deny yourself, don’t deny Christ and/or the Church. I believe PKs are more prone to flying the coop, moving out of their childhood home and leaving the Church. Why? Because I was quite close to doing such! It takes courage, initiative, faith, and trust for a PK to continue living in Christ after they stop living with their parents. They’ve seen the good, bad, and the ugly. Ministry in messy, but since we all are sinners I'm not sure we can escape that messiness...unless we live in a cave. A visit to the dentist will always be painful, but its needed. I could go an visit a new dentist office, but the tools (especially the needle they use to numb your gums) will likely be used by that office too.

Satan tried to hold me back, he tried keeping me hung up on the past, and he tried to usher in habits that led me away from Christ but Christ was patient, faithful and strong. Christ helped me appreciate the good, bad and the ugly I saw in the Church. And now, I understand my past better and appreciate it. All the while, God put a personal twist on my relationship with him, which was so need after my parent’s faith felt so large. Church, being a part of the body of Christ, became more than a family tradition, it is a personal conviction.

Sharing my parent’s spotlight was great! But now, as an older PK, I want my own spotlight! Not for my glory, but for God’s. I want his light to shine vibrantly out from me. I want to experience God pouring out his blessing upon me because I choose him. (Yes, choose, because God has much more planned for us than our conversion).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Top reasons why my mom is the best

I had a fabulous internet free weekend and therefore was unable to post this untill now.

It has been interesting living the seminary life and reflecting on what it was like for my parents, as my Dad attended DTS. Walking in their shoes has helped me have an even greater appreciation for them.

Top reasons why my mom is the best

1. She just wants what is best for me.
This most recently showed during my wedding season, but has always been the case. Whatever needs to be done, if God shows her its necessary, she seeks after it.

2. She takes good care of my dad.
This is especially important becuase I am a child of two people, Julie and Alex. And many of these apply to both my mom and dad.

3. She does not compromise when it comes to seeking God.
Rather doesnt matter, she'll do it for He who matters.

4. She gave me four sisters
Which makes Your Mom jokes four times as funny!

5.I know Jesus because of her.
Her example provided for me to be who I am today, a woman in love with Christ.

6. She thinks of everything!
Case in point, she sent me a May Day box of cady! Bet your mom didnt do that!

7. She is the best and doesn’t even know it or claim it.
She will likely read this post in disbelief. Then may say, "Well, I guess so."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It is time to put Time in its place!

With each tick of the clock time reminds us that we are indeed only human and constrained to walk to its beat.

Planning a wedding helped me realize how little control I had over time. Never had I felt so rushed, pressed, and pushed by time. In addition to my usual workout of squats and sit-ups, I was getting an additional workout from time. Each day had moments I couldn’t wait to be over and moments that I never wanted to end…sometimes the same experience brought a combination of the two!

Has anyone heard a bride say, “My wedding day was such a drag. I thought it would never end!” No! Most brides comment on how quickly the day passed.

It seems like the moments we spend the most time planning for are the moments that speed by the fastest. It doesn’t have to be a wedding day, it could be any occasion that has aroused a deep concern or particular interest.

We are hardly ever comforted by the presence of time, yet God – time’s creator – is our Comforter. In 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 Paul writes that the Lord is “the God of all comfort.”

The LORD is your keeper
The LORD is your shade on your right hand
The sun shall not strike you by day, 
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil
He will keep your life
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. (Ps 121:5)

Rejoice! God, the keeper of time, is on our side. It is time (no pun intended!) to put time in its place. With God on your side, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31)

Do you fear how quickly time seems to be passing? Are you so anxious that looking at your calendar takes much courage? Maybe it’s the opposite. Are you so excited and filled with anticipation that the present day feels dull and meaningless?

Whatever you are feeling, take it to the Lord. Ask God to help you see that time really is on your side, and that you two are more friend than foe. The number of minutes in a day may not be added to (or subtracted from), but don’t forget that God’s ways are beyond ours, and time bends to his command. And his command is the best!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.

The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. 
(C.S. Lewis)