He brags

After class tonight at church, Brian and I were talking to a friend of ours from the Austin Stone Story Team.

When we finished with our Story Team business, Brian got really excited and wanted to share some news. But the news he shared wasn’t his news, it was mine. Brian was bragging about me.

Just when I thought he was done, he started up again, “Oh hey, did Lindsey tell you about…?” He just kept on bragging!

I don’t know why that’s so strange to me– I’m get really proud of him, too. My husband is proud of me. So proud he can’t keep his mouth shut ūüėČ It makes me feel so loved– he knows me, he knows my life, he pays attention. My joys are his joys. My successes are his.

I love this part of marriage, this part of being one.

Invasion

I’ve mentioned my Missional Community through the Women’s Development Program before. They are dedicated, intelligent, beautiful, loving, and crazy. And they have invaded my life in the best way possible.

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We group text a lot. We’ve had some group texts that I’ve had to edit on my phone because other eyes should never see them. We share our trial and triumphs, our needs and nuttiness.

Yesterday, we had another epic group text fest. I was home taking my temperature every half hour, so I got to participate at a level that I am not able to while teaching. What I loved most about it was that we went from the girls praying about my health, to dessert recipes, to hair stylists, to Super Bowl parties. It was wonderful and random and perfect– a lot like our group ūüôā

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These pictures are from our Winter Retreat in December. The second one speaks for itself.

These women invaded my life, but most importantly, they invaded my heart.

Story Team

Brian and I are both on the Austin Stone Story Team. This is a group of artists within our church that want to tell the stories of what God is doing. Photographers, writers, and editors collaborate to share these amazing stories.

Brian was already on the Story Team when I met him. He’s a writer– a pretty good one. I was so envious when he first told me about the team. It sounded like something I really wanted to be a part of, and the knowledge that he had been selected for it made me think it would be quite some time before I’d have the chance to join.

I was wrong. Thank goodness! The Story Team got to a point where they needed editors and Brian helped to get me connected. Eventually, I’d like to write, but for now, the blog entires and my own personal journal keep me plenty busy. With the wedding and end-of-the-school-year craziness, I wasn’t able to actually edit a story until June.

It was¬†marvelous– my own wondrous word puzzle to solve! Writers submit 650-800 word stories. Editors produce a 300 and 650 word edit from the original story. The 300 word edit was the previously mentioned puzzle of fun– literally removing more than half of the words and maintaining the writer’s original storyline– awesome!!! I was fortunate and my story was really well-written, so my job wasn’t that difficult. But it was still such fun! (Is my word-nerd, grammar-geek side showing yet? Hmm?)

Brian kept checking in on me to see if I needed anything. He probably hadn’t heard me that quiet all summer. I was a woman on a mission– I was going to edit this thing and I was going to do it well! I did run into trouble when I got to the writer’s feedback. I’m supposed to provide feedback to the writer about the changes I made. But I have the problem of knowing that a change needs to be made but NOT knowing the particulars or special language to articulate WHY I changed it. I need work there– maybe a mentor-editor for the next few rounds.

When I finished my edits and uploaded them, Brian gave me an enthusiastic high ten (that’s two high fives, for those of you who need some math practice). It was a shared success. We’re on this team together and serve together. It’s so wonderful to have this shared interest and talent, and then get to DO something with it together. And who knows… maybe someday I’ll get to edit one of Brian’s Story Team stories… mwahahahaha!!!

This past Sunday, the story was in the bulletin (that’s the 300 word edit). The longer version is up on Facebook now. Click below to check it out.

Here’s the story!

A take over

I know that I posted about this yesterday, but today I got to see it even more clearly than before.

Our missional community group split guys and gals tonight. We did that so that we could be honest about our areas of struggle in a way that we can’t with the mixed group. I was hesitant going into tonight because we haven’t done this really well yet. It just felt like conversation stayed mostly on the surface and that we didn’t trust one another enough. Tonight, the Holy Spirit took over.

Tonight we shared honestly and openly and asked each other hard questions. Tonight we loved and supported one another and prayed over each other. Tonight was real and authentic and beautiful. I’m so grateful for these women. They bring me closer God, which makes me a better wife. I couldn’t wait to get home tonight and tell Brian what God was doing.

It was a great example of why community is essential. We are created to live life with each other. When we have people in our lives who love us, care for us, and fight for us, it helps us to keep our eyes on what is important.

Serving our church body

The Austin Stone has a service once a month called First Tuesday, and it is one of my favorite things our church does. We meet, suitability enough, on the first Tuesday of every month for worship, group prayer and communion. It is a time where the presence of God is obvious, and the church focuses on Christ and His glory, not our own. It feeds my soul in a way nothing else does, and tonight we were able to serve the church in this month’s service.

Tonight Lindsey and I served communion1 with our missional community to The Austin Stone church body. It was a humbling experience and more affecting than I thought it would be.

Before the service we had a time of prayer with our community group and the stewards who coordinate this each month. Sharing prayers of confession, praise, humility and seeking God’s blessing was just as special to us.

Lindsey and I have performed communion at home for ourselves and for each other in our wedding ceremony, but never for other people. It was a moving experience, to stand next to my wife and hold the cup of juice2 symbolizing Christ’s blood for our church family. It was very emotional to see people come by one by one, take a piece of bread from Lindsey and dip it in the cup as I said to them, “This is Christ’s blood, shed for you.” It was truly humbling to be used by God to administer one of his ordinances of the faith.

It was a night full of blessings.


  1. In our Christian tradition any believer in good standing with their church can administer communion. We do not require a pastor or minister to administer the ordinances of communion or baptism. ‚ÜĎ
  2. We’re Baptists in the Bible belt, we have some traditions that don’t make sense. Actual wine is rarely used in Baptist churches in the South, but Lindsey and I use wine at home. ‚ÜĎ

The biggest problem in my marriage

Tonight and tomorrow morning Lindsey and I are attending the Austin Stone’s Marriage Seminar with Paul Tripp. It’s kind of an odd way to celebrate the start of her summer, but we had a great time of learning together tonight.

We’ll save a longer post for later, but Lindsey and I walked away from tonight’s session talking about one key point that Paul Tripp made. I am the biggest problem in my marriage. Me, it’s me.

No… it wasn’t a male bashing tonight. The idea we both really loved is this: in¬†your marriage¬†you are the biggest problem. Sure, there are all sorts of bad things that happen to us, without cause, and we can certainly be wronged. But, because we are imperfect, because none of us are without sin, we bring a self-centered nature to the relationship that, unchecked, will destroy the relationship. In a marriage, both husband and wife are at fault when there are issues, because we are all sinful.

Only when we can admit this, to ourselves, our spouse, and to God can we start to address this sin and the effect it has on our marriage.

It was a big insight, it had us talking. We are really looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions.

Radical Grace

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler from Crossway Books

Tonight Lindsey and I got to hear Matt Chandler preach at our church as part of the Explicit Gospel Tour. He has been traveling for the past few weeks promoting his new book and preaching in churches.

I have listened to Matt preach via podcast for the past several years and I was excited to shake his hand and hear him preach. The best part about Matt is how passionate he is about sharing the gospel, and how even on a tour to promote his book his only desire is to preach faithfully.

Tonight, he did just that.

Preaching out of Colossians 1:13-23, Matt laid out the full gospel and its implications for individuals, the local church, the universal church and the world. It was a great sermon, and Lindsey and I were both happy to be there.

Driving home, we talked a lot about the sermon and what we heard new, or fresh, tonight. In light of our tough day yesterday we seemed to both be drawn to the perspective Matt offered on Christ’s forgiveness.

The point he made that hit us both so strongly is that as Christians it is easy for us to see Christ’s forgiveness in our past sins, in the things that we feel regret over. It is harder for us to see his forgiveness in the sin that we are committing right now, or even all the sins we will commit in the future. We really spent some time thinking and talking about this.

In our marriage, if Christ is our model for how we show grace and forgive each other this is a very instructive point. We should always be forgiving, always be wiping the slate clean and saying, “it’s okay, I love you. I forgive you.” And, just like the love and forgiveness of Christ, we should not presume upon it and take advantage of it, but rather respond to that grace with even more love, service and forbearance.

If His grace is my standard, then my wife should know clearly, and I should be showing her, that nothing she could do would place her outside of my forgiveness. So it also follows that if she is using that same standard to motivate her grace, then I should know clearly how much she loves me, how much she will minister to me when I struggle. That kind of radical grace can shape a marriage into what it is supposed to be. And that’s exactly what we want.

Pre-Marital Counseling Series: Introduction

Today we start a new series about pre-marital counseling. We found our counseling so helpful that we want to share what we learned. Over the next few weeks we will have a few posts on the topic of pre-marital counseling, our experience with it, and how it has impacted our marriage.

Why was it such a good idea? As I told someone recently, we’ve learned that you need to plan for the marriage at least as much as you plan for the wedding. Getting married and being married are two completely different things.

We are committed partners of the Austin Stone Community Church so it was important for us to be married by our church and follow their recommendations and process.  It was one of the best decisions we’ve made. We would encourage anyone who is getting married to go through counseling, and we would recommend that you start with your home church if you have one.

We were very happy with the program at the Stone. It was pretty intensive, in fact more intensive than any other similar program I have heard of. We met with a mentor couple who facilitated the sessions, we had a good bit of reading each week and several sermons to listen to. I was skeptical going in, but honestly it was the best thing we did before marriage.

In this series we will not go through each week of material or try to re-teach any of it. Instead we want to give you a sense of what we learned that was really valuable. We just want to share the experience with you because it was so meaningful. We hope you get something out of it as well.