Friday, June 19, 2015

Eleven Years

Eleven years ago today, I married Dan Samms.  

Eleven isn’t a very interesting number.  You can’t find an 11th anniversary card in the store, and well its just kind of a boring number.  

Marriage is fun, exciting and adventurous.  At times it can be boring and mundane.  Among other things, true love happens when you can’t imagine spending your boring and mundane with anyone else.  

Dan Samms is an amazing man.  And let me tell you, my life did a complete turn around when I married him.  I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into my thoughts for my husband.

Here’s 11 boring and mundane reasons why I love Dan Samms.

  1. He cleans my stove.  You know those gas stoves with all of those nooks and crannies for grease to get into?  I HATE cleaning my stove.  He knows this…and every now and then I come home to a sparkling stovetop :).
  2. He brings me coffee every morning.  He knows that I have that half awake-barely coherent side in the mornings and coffee makes me much more tolerable.  
  3. He teaches me theology.  I don’t understand the Bible sometimes.  Or I struggle to explain things.  He is always patient with me and is a really good teacher.  
  4. He loves everything that I cook…or he just knows better than to tell me otherwise :).
  5. He never complains…it’s true.  He’s pretty optimistic.  Drives me crazy.
  6. He won't fight.  Our first fight was because he wouldn’t fight with me.  
  7. He’s a man.  He stands up for women and respects them.  He dresses like a man.  He is confident, but humble.  
  8. He knows me, he gets me, and he likes me just the way I am.  In a world and ministry where everyone wants you to change…this is refreshing. 
  9. He is unique.  You won’t find a man like him.  He gets an idea in his head and he completes it.  He wants chickens, so he built a chicken coop…he wanted to learn how to be a blacksmith…so he did.   
  10. He’s HOT.  I get butterflies…he melts my butter…okay so that’s all the G rated stuff that I can think to say on that one.  Let’s just say that I will never be tempted to look for another man…because he is all that I could ever want.  
  11. He picked me :)

I love you Dan Samms!  Happy 11 years

Until the next time :-), C

Monday, June 8, 2015


Our church plant, Restoration, just celebrated its first anniversary!  It's hard to believe that it's already been one year.  I'm reflecting on the year...and I have to say it hasn't been easy.  Everyone says that the first year of church planting is so hard so it wasn't surprising.  I guess I was expecting some action! Some big stuff...some huge moves of God.  Don't get me wrong, the church is great.  And, we've seen huge moves from the Lord.  We are continually seeing people being drawn to Christ, putting their trust in him, getting baptized, and lives changing!  We are seeing families's amazing and will always be worth it.  As silly as it sounds, because I know the work of the enemy, I wasn't sure how life could get worse. We had come through so many difficult seasons, I naively thought that we'd  weathered enough and that any trials would just seem like a nuisance when compared to what we'd been through.  I didn't think they'd bring me down the the level that they did.  

Daniel and I jumped into this scary but exciting adventure after a pretty intense journey of seeking God's will for our family and ministry.  It taught us a lot about dependence on him.  So we JUMPED!  We were all in...we had visions of great things...we were in this together for the first time.  We got to put together a vision of ministry that really reflected God's heart for the church.  It was great!  It was exciting.  Then I crashed.  With some fresh ministry wounds and some new struggles with my special needs son, I was landed...I was flattened...I was put into a cage.  Or at least that was what it felt like.  Everything had to stop for me...I was pulled out of the ministry that I helped to shape...I missed everything.  I was so discouraged.  I was mad at God.  I was mad at my son.  (Just keepin it real folks).  There was no way out. There IS no way out.  

Well, it's one year later...and I can say that not all that much has changed!  I think so often we beg God to take us OUT of the pain...knowing that he has the power to do so. And why wouldn't he want to protect his children from pain?  Doesn't he care?  The truth is that it's easier to plant a house church than it is to plant a mega church.  The enemy knows that what we're doing is HUGE.  And, I am the easiest discourage my husband, to mess up our family, and slowly to erode our church.  

I started reading this book called, The Cure, by John Lynch.  The book tells a story about a man who is forced to choose between two roads: the way that pleases God and the way that trusts God.  As he struggles to make choices on his journey, he eventually comes to a place where there is a banner displaying the message "Standing with God, my sin in front of us, working on it together."  This was so powerful for me...the image of sin/struggle being a barrier between Jesus and I...SHATTERED.  He's standing next to me...looking at the map...he's journeying with me as I have good moments and bad.  He cries with me as I watch my son struggle and as I say goodbye yet again to my husband and daughter...headed to church not understanding why our family cannot minister together.  It feels so isolating, but I'm not alone.  

There is no real happy ending to my story.  Not in the world's eyes anyway.  My story is continually being written, and I have to say that it is littered with so much blessing along the way.  And, Jesus has splattered good relationships all throughout my life to continually remind me of how good God really is.  I have a strong faith.  (It's probably related to how stubborn I am).  I will not give up.  I will not walk away.  I love too much and I take my calling seriously.  But it is hard...

 I got the chance to see singer/songwriter JJ Heller in concert and fell in love again with her song "Your Hands".  The lyric

is what I listen to in the darkest times.  

What does God say to you in the dark times? 

Until the next time :-), C

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a sacrifice of praise

Lately I've been learning more about the sacrifice of praise. What exactly is a "sacrifice of praise?" It doesn't seem like praise should be a sacrifice right? When I think of praise I think of something easy to do...when that extra money comes in, when you get the good report from the doctor, when you just miss a huge auto accident...EASY!  So what would make praise a sacrifice?  I remember singing a song in church when I was younger: 

"We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to you the sacrifices of Thanksgiving
And we offer up to you sacrifices of joy." -Kirk Dearman

I had no idea what I was actually saying. 

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  Heb 13:15

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thess 5:16-18

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor 4:7-9

What I've discovered is that a sacrifice of praise happens

in the darkest hours 
when you've been rejected
when someone has given up on you
when God seems far away
when the light at the end of the tunnel has gone dark
when your child just doesn't seem to be getting better
when your marriage just continues to fall apart
when that relationship just can't be worked out
when the bank account just keeps going further into the negative

We bring a sacrifice of praise…

It sounds like this:

Thank you God for my messed up situation because through it I will know you better.  I will not be alone.  You will never reject or forsake me.  I will be pressed but not crushed.  I will be persecuted but not destroyed.  By the way, God, this sucks big time and I don't even know how to say this and mean it…but I'm going to praise you because you command it, you desire it, and it changes my heart.

keepin it real

Until the next time,