Thursday, November 10, 2016

Chosen Highlight: November 17

Looking forward to another evening with you all. We will be crafting and having a devotion and small group discussions on a topic that we can all learn from: children! 

I think that we can all agree that being a mom is such a gift. What a blessing it is to fully appreciate unconditional love, just as the Father has for each of us. However, being a mom is not always a walk in the park. Can I get an amen?

Some days, my boys are so precious with each other. They share, they giggle and make weird jokes that don't make sense. It makes my job easy. Other days, I may as well put on my white and black jersey and gear up for a day of being a full-time referee. The whining, nagging, constant "you're not my friend anymore" know, it's sometimes all I can take. Somedays, I just need a mommy time out; a chance to take deep breaths and pray for God to steer my ever sinking ship! 

I've always considered myself a patient person until I had kids. I've had plenty of occasions where I literally sit and ponder "who is this person who is so quick to anger and even quicker to speak in an unloving way?" when dealing with a strong-willed toddler. You are not alone my sweet sister, or at least I hope that I'm not. I cannot do it on my own. I need Jesus to sweep in and remind me of that in every moment of the day.

Although I am by no means a "tenure" mom, every season of mom-hood has had its ups and downs. While their little minds are learning how to navigate the world, I'm learning how to flow through some of my own emotions and self issues.

In our devotion next Thursday, we will be touching on motherhood and specifically appreciating our children's personalities and the things they love to do with their moms. It's so important to build up our children because we live in a world that has so much hate and negativity. Some seasons with our children seem to last eternity, some only a few days or weeks, but altogether, the moments are fleeting. Let's make homes our kids want to come home too because life is too short!

I love this little snapshot I found on Pinterest. We need to be reminded of this daily by our Father and in turn, showing our precious babies that these are things they can always remember. Even on the bad days, our love will never stop or end for them.

Come next Thursday and let's encourage each other in our walks with Jesus!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

November Speaker Spotlight - Susan Lear

I love having speakers come and share their stories of faith, redemption and hope. This week, I can't wait for you to meet my sweet friend, Susan Lear.

Susan was born and raised by parents with deep faith in the "bayou country" of south Louisiana. She and her husband, Don relocated to Wichita and here is where they raised five children. They are now both retired and are enjoying the blessing of nine grandchildren!  

Susan served as Director of Children's Ministry at Wichita's First Evangelical Free Church for 8 years and then as the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Crisis Center of Wichita (recently rebranded as "Embrace") for 14 years. She then decided to become a full-time volunteer in the community.  

The Lears attend Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita where both are elders, teach Sunday school, lead small group and where Susan actively serves on a World Missions committee.

I promise that you will be tremendously blessed by Susan. Her God-story has so many ups and downs, but one word that I believe describes Susan is: faith. She has incredible, stand-strong faith that I hope each one of us is inspired by on Thursday.

Can't wait to introduce you to her!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Speaker Spotlight: Jessica Yourdon

Hello friends!

Our evening meeting will be just like last month, but instead of a devotion and craft time, we will be listening to a guest speaker.

I am so excited to highlight our speaker for the evening, my sweet friend, Jessica Yourdon.

Jessica grew up in a Christian family that lead her to Jesus at an early age. She accepted Christ and was baptized around the age of 8. She went on to attend Kansas State and graduated with a degree in Family Studies. Soon after graduating, she married her college sweetheart, Joel, in 2002. Jessica and Joel now have seven children: Brodrek (10), Wyatt (9), Quincy (6), Izabella (4), Naomi (4), Deacon (3) and Everett (2). Their family is in their sixth year of homeschooling and love it. They live in the country on a piece of land that has been in Joel's family for generations, near Augusta. In 2015, their family built a barn-house on the land and are enjoying the country life! The Yourdon's enjoy adventure and travel, but say that they always love coming back home. Jessica says "the way God has grown our family has been an adventure in itself..."
Jessica has had a passion for women and adoption that erupted after she worked in the Crisis Pregnancy Ministry for five years. She worked with women who placed their babies for adoption. She saw the love that both a biological mother and an adoptive mother has for their baby. This struck a spark in her heart that is evident to anyone she encounters.

This is why I've asked Jessica to come and speak. Joel and Jessica have three adopted children, but I wanted her to come and tell us about their most recent adoption story and how God had His distinct fingerprints on every detail. Little Naomi is from China and a little ray of sunshine! She is precious and fits in perfectly with their fun-loving family. I can't wait to hear the details and how she describes the journey from start to finish. It's a true picture of letting go..and letting God. 

We should have time after Jessica speaks to get in our small groups for discussion. We will then do a few housekeeping things and some giveaways and our night will be over. 

Can't wait to see you and hear another story of God's faithfulness through adoption. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chosen Highlight: October 6

We are excited to be back with our morning Chosen gals and anticipating a great time together one week from tomorrow!

We will be meeting over snacks and fellowship and enter into a time of worship and then teaching and discussion in our small groups, ending with an awesome craft. We started our “No More Perfect Moms” devotion at the last Chosen (PM meeting) and will continue on to Session Two.

This Session, we will be encouraged by scripture from Ephesians which says:

“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

How does one successfully “put off your old self?” Is that a concept you think about regularly? I have known Jesus and His love my entire life. I decided I wanted to follow Him and got baptized when I was eight. I’ve had many encounters and trials that have brought me closer to God, so sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what was my “old self” and “new self." I think there’s been times that I struggle to realize that just because I say I’m a “new self” (i.e. a Christian) doesn’t mean I won’t deal with human suffering and selfish desires on a daily basis.  Is my character infused with the Holy Spirit? Or, am I just a good, moral person because that’s how I was raised to be? Everyday, God’s calling us to “put off our old self,”  regardless of where we’ve come from or how we were raised. Man, sometimes changing the way our personality is bent is just plain hard. 

I think that sometimes its just easy to coast through life. You can get complacent and happy with the way things are; you’ve got a great husband, support system, the kids are getting along. Until…struggles, conflict, jealousy, hurts, pains and the like, which we all know will happen. Who will you be then? The old self or the new self? It’s easy for me to run to the “old self” because that’s safe, thats easier; it’s what I want. But, is that what God has called me to do? According to Ephesians, I think He’s telling me to be renewed in my mind. How I may want to react may not be the way He’s ASKED me to react. I believe God is so pleased when we seek righteousness and holiness that His son, Jesus showed us so many times in the Gospel. New self brings transformation with new eyes to see, a new heart to feel and a new mind to be enlightened.  

This overflows into so many things in our lives. Just recently, I’ve felt God has been asking me to take an inventory of all my interactions and thoughts and align them with His attributes. Ugh. Let me just say that is a humbling experience. I’m glad I’m not God and you can be grateful that I am not going to tell you all my woes because there’s just not enough space on the blog. But, what I can tell you is that when I begin to transform my thinking, my plans or control and my heart, God grants me so much peace. When we are aligned in His overwhelming love and Spirit, it’s really hard to not have the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phillipians 4:7) regardless of what may come. Doesn’t mean it’s easy or I wouldn't just prefer the easy way out, but there’s something about giving over our control that makes the weight on our shoulders subside. 

Be thinking this week about what “putting off your old self” and “putting on your new self” as a true model and ambassador for Jesus would look like. Transformation. Girlfriends, it doesn’t need to be fancy and perfect all in this spic-and-span, all ducks in a row order. We are who we are, but Jesus can take our flaws and make them a beautiful creation. He can take our old selves that are likely tarnished and rotten and help us find redemption while influencing others on our way. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? So, don’t hide under a blanket of cultural norms. Be who Jesus wants us to be: imperfectly perfect; a “new self” resting in His loving arms.

See you Thursday.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Chosen Highlight: September 15

Welcome back to all the evening moms who we've been missing all summer! 

This will be our first evening Chosen meeting of the semester. We ask that you arrive a little before 7 p.m. to get your children checked-in (if you're bringing them). Afterwards, you can grab your name tag and pay your semester dues if you haven't done so yet. We will enjoy snacks and drinks and a time of fellowship before we enter into worship.

We are excited about the devotion we will be learning from this year called: No More Perfect Moms. As women, we often struggle with our "selves"...I mean have you ever thought:

I wish I was...skinnier, more fit, had better eating habits, more organized, more laid-back, more outgoing, more soft-spoken and patient, had curly hair or had straight hair, had a child that wasn't defiant, had a child that was more outgoing, had more money, had a better wardrobe, had a nicer car, had a bigger house....

I mean, I could make a list two miles long because that's (typically) what women do: compare and wish for something other than what we've got. It wasn't until after I had cancer that God began showing me that it truly doesn't matter what our outside looks like, but our inside. What we have on the outside will fade. Most of you know, I battled Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for nine months nearly two years ago. I lost my hair while on chemo and gained a ton of weight, mostly due to heavy doses of steroids and the inability to be active (I had a tumor in my spinal cord, which caused me to have limited mobility). I had no control over my outside anymore. All I could do was focus on the inside and my relationship with God. He has shown me over and over again that what I tell myself I am is what I will be. I had (and continue) to keep seeking the Lord to give me guidance on who HE tells me that I am. Although I can tend to be a perfectionist and expect a lot out of myself, Jesus tells me that I don't have to have that mindset because He already sees me that way. What a humble freedom we can have in knowing that nothing we can do would separate his love from us:

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Our devotion will talk about how we should never compare our insides to others outsides. How we should try to just be who we are instead of trying to keep up positions. Jill Savage will encourage us to look at life through a new lens and to leave perfectionism behind. Preach, sister.

Now, does this mean we shouldn't strive to be the best we can be? No. It just means the pressure that we can sometimes feel bombarded by is intercepted by the changing and loving grace of God. We really have no control of our lives, in the sense of what will happen to us and what circumstances will come our way. All we can do is be who He's called us to be in the situations we are put in and learn from our mistakes. 

I am excited to take this journey with you and watch God continue to transform our hearts, thoughts and overall purpose for our walk down "Motherhood Lane." 

After we watch our video and discuss it in our small groups, we will enjoy instruction on an awesome craft that I know you'll love. Not crafty? Don't worry, I'm really not either, but Beth is (she's in charge of crafts) and she'll show us how! I love having crafty friends. 

See you Thursday. Walk in grace.

Love you all.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Welcome Back and Speaker Spotlight: Shonda Kooser

Greetings to all our long-lost (and newly found) Chosen moms! Summer was a blast, but I know we've all missed our "mom" connections. 

Our leadership team is so incredibly excited to have our first meeting next week. Our morning will consist of mingling and reconnecting with each other over coffee and brunch, followed by a short time of worship. We will then welcome our speaker, who I'd like to highlight in our blog. Getting to listen to the heart of Shonda is something that I have personally been so excited to hear. 

Shonda tells me that she is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, Children's Minister, book lover, Bible Reader and "school supply hoarder." She has 41 years of life experience, with the last 11 years as a follower of Jesus!

Shonda and her husband, Ken have been married for nearly 19 years, in which she says "I grow more deeply in love with my husband as the years pass. We are stronger together because he isn't perfect, and thankful he puts up with all my imperfections too!"

Together, Shonda and Ken have three individually incredible daughters who keep her on her toes.  Erin and Allison are her twins, aged 15 and Rebecca, aged 12 and attend school here in Derby.  Shonda says that each person in her family shows her daily how to learn more, love better and be who God made her to be. Shonda is the Children's Minister at South Rock. If you have a child in the ministry at South Rock, it is very quick to see what a gift Shonda has with children, amongst other wonderful and insightful qualities. 

Shonda intends to speak to us about what God's been burning up in her heart in hopes that we can be inspired to turn to God for our answers. She says:  "Our world is in chaos. I am frequently shaken up by news and posts or comments I read on social media.  I feel boundaries have shifted, expectations have been blurred, right and wrong is being redefined. I find myself feeling very unsettled. What the world looks like through my relationships, my spiritual growth, my plans, and my purpose is constantly changing. Is it okay to be this UNSETTLED so often?"

I know we will be richly blessed by our time listening to Shonda. 

We will briefly meet with our small groups and then have some closing announcements and giveaways and close our time in prayer. 

I hope you'll join the leadership team in praying for our first meeting and specifically lift up Shonda as she prepares. 

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."    Colossians 3:16

See you Thursday!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fall 2016 Registration is CLOSED

Hello Ladies!

This is a bittersweet post.  I am writing to let you know that Registration is now closed.  UNLESS you do NOT need childcare.  We want to ensure the safety of your kiddos and will be happy to have you if you do not need childcare.  If you DO need childcare, I ask that you please go ahead and register but you will be notified that you will be put on a waitlist.  If we have room or if someone doesn't need their spot in childcare we will contact you again and let you know.  Again this is a great problem to have!  We are so excited to have so many moms come together in community and walk through motherhood together! 

Also we are hiring childcare workers!  So if you know someone interested in working Thursday mornings, evenings or both send them our way!  Have them email us at and we will get them an application and more information.

Thanks again ladies!  We are praying for each of you as we approach our first meetings and can't wait to connect with new friends and reconnect with old ones!

God Bless you all!