Family Picture

Family Picture

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Story of Jesus-Matt and Vicki Style

*****Disclaimer:  This is our PERSONAL story.  I am not casting out judgement on other's lives.  Just using our experience to tell OUR story.******

This should have been the very first post I ever wrote on my blog.  I felt like it was time to share our personal journey.  Matt and I started dating in highschool.  We have been together 17 years and we are only 33 years old.  We always joke about this.  Being together over half of our lives.  It is a sweet thing!  We had lots of fun in high school.  There were many drunken parties and well nothing else, just lots of drinking and partying.  It was fun, I ain't gonna lie to ya.  Then I went to college and Matt and I hung out on the weekends.  The partying continued as we would go to bars with our older friend who bought beer for us.  Again, good times and sweet memories.  Matt and I got married in 2002 and we lived life to the fullest.  We bought new cars, hung out with friends, had a nice house, went shopping, went to parties, lived the American dream.  We went to Catholic Church every once in a while.  While we were doing this my sister had moved to Des Moines and had started going to church and falling in love with Jesus.  Whenever she would come home she would tell us about books she was reading, activities she was involved with.  We could tell her life had changed.  But we didn't want none of it.  Blah, blah blah.  Jesus stuff, whatever.  But she continued on.  And slowly I started reading some of the books she mentioned.  But still, hardcore for Jesus, no way.  In fact I was very bitter about her constant joyfullness and her no worries attitude.  I didn't get it.  I didn't understand passages like this:
"For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkeness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry."  1Peter Ch 4 vs 3

We were living for ourselves, solving our own problems, making our own way.  And we were doing well.  We had a good business, nice stuff, why did we need Jesus.  I remember one day I was on my way to a doctor appointment and I was praying.  I clearly remember my prayer being one of asking God why I was so blessed and what was I supposed to do about it.  I remember fervently praying because I felt an emptiness inside.  Like I had so much goodness but yet I wasn't fulfilled.  His answer was very clear, you see I was on my way to a doctor appointment because I was 16 weeks pregnant.  I had been pregnant right before this and miscarried.  So this was a hopeful thankful wonderful pregnancy.  I got to the doctor and found out the baby had died.  His answer to my prayer, DEPEND ON ME!!  YOU NEED ME TO FILL YOU!!  Not stuff, not parties, not your husband, not your job, just ME.  This happened in November, this holy spirit conviction stuff and then in February we stepped foot in our church.  And guess what 2 months later I was pregnant with my Mayzie.  God is alive, God is real, God is working!!  We started going to church and experiencing Jesus in new ways.  We started living differently.  Our lives were wrecked for Jesus.   He had gotten into our hearts!  We got very involved with everything in the church.  We were soaking up all we could. We got baptized in July and gave our lives to the one who gave his life for us.   And well, the rest is history.  It is the transforming work of the spirit.  We started to read the bible, pray, and attend church regularly.  We started to understand how Jesus gave his life for us, how he died on the cross for us to take away our sins and how this was far more important than just praying a prayer but that it required us to be ALL IN for Jesus.  And we were done, wrecked for Jesus!!  And so that led to plans for adoption and eventually 3 new kiddos in our home!  I have to say that our whole journey was in part decisions we made but mostly it was God's spirit working in us.  He works in all of us even when we don't know it.  He was working in Matt and I and we had no clue.  He is always working.  Always.  And we are SO glad that Jesus wrecked our life.  We are amazingly blessed.  We have passion, joy, faith and hope that fills us up in ways nothing else can.  We love Jesus-Matt and Vicki Style!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Do you call yourself a Christian???

This is my heart the last four months since we have arrived home from Africa.  I can hardly stand to live here in the US in such abundance. I can barely breathe because I know the needs of the poor and the orphans, I have seen it, I live it daily with my boys, yet the selfishness of this country and of the " church" makes it hard to breathe. How can we say we love Jesus if we let a child die every 30 seconds of malaria, an easily preventable disease? How can we let there be millions of orphans?  My heart says that going to church every Sunday, praying a prayer to be saved, getting baptized and reading your bible every so often is not enough. I think Jesus describes that as being lukewarm.
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes so you can see." Revelation 3 15-18. My favorite part is the salve on the eyes. When you can see your life changes!!! When you see you cannot close your eyes to the poor, the orphan, the widow. I pray that more eyes would be opened, that more people would live their lives in reckless abandon to Jesus. So if being a Christian is all about getting dressed up to go to Church, driving my fancy car their, giving tons of money so my Church can have bigger and better music, bible studies, and buildings then I don't want to be a Christian. I want to be a FOLLOWER of JESUS. I truly believe in my heart that Jesus calls us to give it all for him. To give it all serving the poor, the widow, the orphan and preaching his name boldly. We are called to make disciples and love the least of these not to live selfishly in our pretty "churches." It is hard to breathe when 20% kids in the DRC do not make it to their 5th birthday. It is hard to breathe when most of the world struggles to stay alive and we are so worried about getting everything perfectly perfect that we fail to get out of ourselves and see the bigger picture. I want to be a follower of Christ who serves him with ALL of myself. I do not want to be lukewarm. I want to be ALL in. And I pray everyday that more and more people would adopt, sacrifice for the poor and go to the ends of the earth to make disciples. That they would make the radical decision to live sacrificially for our God. Because I look at the faces of three sweet boys every day and I see Jesus and I have to keep fighting!!! I don't want to be swept up in the cares of this world but to be swept up in serving Jesus with ALL I have. I want to breathe easy because people's bellies are full, there are no more orphans and everyone has heard the name of Jesus. Until that day I will keep fighting with everything I have!!