Wilderness Access

(Poem written during this Live Writing Session with Kingdom Writers) 5/13/17

(Poem written during this Live Writing Session with Kingdom Writers) 5/13/17

Wilderness Access

Heart race
Legs shake...
You call me out to the waters
Where the risk is great-er

I'd rather wear pretense
And pretend
like I've got it all together

These past few years have shaken me
Storm clouds appeared
out of the clear blue skies
Taking me by surprise

I've weathered the storm
Beaten as I may be
In the end,
You were always holding me
Throughout the entirety
of this seemingly chaotic journey

Safe now,
and now,
You're telling me
Share the stories of your wilderness
Cause freedom will come from your brokenness

Oh God, but they'll think I'm such an awful mess
Lets just embrace the Promise land, and
Deny the wilderness
But You insist,
Saying freedom will come from my brokenness
Share your heart and your experience

Vulnerability and honesty is a lost art
In Christianity
today

So God, I will trust You to lead the way
I look back and want to forget
But if others' chain will break
from my brokenness
Then let me share the story
of my wilderness.

Loved Them AS His Own: Grandpa Barber's Legacy

Grandpa Barber, Christmas 2016, at their house. The last time I saw him. Full of joy and love.

Grandpa Barber, Christmas 2016, at their house. The last time I saw him. Full of joy and love.

This is my grandfather.

Not biological. 

But he might as well be because he treated me like his own granddaughter. As if he'd known and loved me my whole life. 

He is my husbands' dad's dad. And Grandpa Barber is one of those people who, after just spending a few moments with them, always leaves you feeling more loved and accepted and cherished. He would leave people happier and lighter than before he spent time with them...

He used to give me rides to work sometimes when I was pregnant with Isabella. Whenever he'd pick me up, he'd always have an egg and bacon sandwich wrapped in paper towel and in a Ziploc bag ready for me to eat for breakfast. Got up early in the mornings just to cook it for me. Grandma helped with that too.

And after Isabella was born, any time we'd go see him, he'd ask her, "Bella, do you remember all those egg and bacon sandwiches? That's what made you so big and strong!" Chuckles. "Thats why they're still your favorites now!" Laughs.

And that's what he did: laughed and loved heartily, without restraint. He loved everyone in his family like they were his own flesh and blood.

Even those who were adopted or married into the family, you would have NEVER known the difference because in his heart there was no distinction. 

In his heart, he loved them all as his own. 

Im so thankful he and grandma adopted Lawson's father. My father in-law. In-love. I'm so thankful that he passed down this way of loving family like he does. I've felt this exact same acceptance from my in-laws. 

My in-loves. 

For love is what forms families, 
and Grandpa Barber lived that.

Grandpa Barber with Lawson (my husband) and our son Jonathan who was 9 months old at the time (2014).

Grandpa Barber with Lawson (my husband) and our son Jonathan who was 9 months old at the time (2014).

Most of all, I'm so thankful to have known him during this lifetime. He is with Jesus now, as of Friday morning..... but I cannot wait to see him again and hear him greet me with, "What's cookin', good lookin?!" like he always teased. 

I cannot wait to hug his neck and tell him I love him and how thankful I am that he loved us so well. I'm looking forward to eternity where you are now, with Jesus. There, we can spend all the time in the world. 

No distance, 
no busy schedules
-just life and love and family

in God's eternal presence.

I'm honored to be a Barber.

Love,
your granddaughter, Bernadine.
 

A Life Update: This Year So Far

Half the year is already gone. This one, so far, has been interestingly full. 

On the first weekend of January, Lawson, the kids and I drove up to Chattanooga for the very first time ever. We were to check out the church which was in transition to becoming The Ramp Church Chattanooga. We had the opportunity of becoming the youth pastors there, specifically Lawson, depending on how we felt about it and how Pastors Andrew and Brooke Towe felt about us possibly filling in the position.

There was not much difficulty with figuring out if this was where the Lord wanted us to go next. Sometimes decisions as big as this take a lot of time, waiting and confirmation. Not so with this one. We fell in love with the city and also "inherited" a burden from the Lord for the city. The burden to serve our pastors, the youth, the city and the places where it was broken and raging. This desire was certainly from the Lord, considering the thought had never entered our minds prior to potentially move up to Tennessee after Lawson finished ministry school. But when it's Him, it's Him. And you walk through the door HE opens. Willingly and obediently.

A few short weeks after our initial visit, it was confirmed and official that we would be filling the position. So started what would become six months of traveling up north every weekend (mostly on Saturdays) to arrive at the hotel that afternoon (or night). And to wake up Sunday mornings, check out of the hotel, put all our things in the car, drive to church for Sunday service, grab lunch, then have youth service from 2:30-4:30 pm, afterwards grabbing dinner and then driving back to Alabama around 5:30 or 6:00, arriving home anywhere between  9-10 that night (central time).  

It was busy, even exhausting, but exhilarating and fun as well. We always took our kids with us and that proved to be both a challenge but also a huge blessing. We are so grateful for The Ramp for making these trips financially and physically possible. Honor and deep gratitude to you! Our "country kids" got to experience a city for the first time. Especially Jonathan who was born and raised in north Alabama (Hamilton). It was super fun getting to visit simple places and special places, things we did not have in our area in AL. We loved being able to give our children these experiences, creating memories, even if they were sometimes last minute plans or rushed. An experience nonetheless.

We yearned to see our youth throughout the week and could not wait to see them again on Sundays. They seriously carried a lot of patience during this transition and we cannot thank them enough for sticking it through. I know it's been a journey for all of us...

Finally, Lawson graduated from The Ramp School of Ministry in May. Therefore, the real house-hunting could begin. After about a month or so of looking online, open-houses and stopping by apartment offices, making phone calls, filling applications and waiting to hear back from home-owners, apartments or realtor companies... we became a bit discouraged. Things were not falling through. Another weekend of squeezing in open-houses needed to happen. Especially more prayer for God to open THE literal door. 

Miss Karen was at Ramp Church Chatt the Sunday of Father's Day. After service, she asked about our current moving situation. After telling her a bit about it, she prayed for us and with us right then and there. We instantly felt a shift in the situation. That night, we got a call from a home-owner whom we've been in contact with on and off for almost a month, waiting for some things to fall through. After Lawson talked to him on the phone for about thirty minutes, Lawson comes to me and tells me that we got the house!! The house we wanted for rent was ours! 

We signed the lease and got the keys a week later. And about another week and a half later, we were moved up. We are in so thankful especially to a few specific family members, church family and friends who have been praying for us specifically for our "house search". You know who you are. May God bless you a hundred fold! We're here now. At our new house. Still setting up, trying to adjust the kid's sleep schedule, considering we've moved from central to eastern time. Not that big of a deal but still. We are adjusting to this new work schedule. Youth is no longer on Sunday afternoons but Saturday nights, bless God! New city, new grocery store, new bank, etc. 

The most interesting about all of this is that almost to the DAY, three years ago was when we moved from Texas to Alabama for The Ramp School of Ministry and The Ramp Church. July 3rd was when that happened, 2013. This year, on July 1st, we drove up to Tennessee (U-haul and all) transitioning to the new season God had in store for us. Just two days difference, three years apart. I am amazed. I am grateful. I am trying to slow down and soak it all in. This month of July is a month of settling in. Please say a prayer for us as we try to do just that. 

In a nutshell, this has been our year so far. I am interested in seeing what the rest of 2016 has for all of us. Just a not-so-little life update... (:

-B

The Status Quo // Poem

To all the deep thinkers
And answer-diggers

It's okay to reject
   The status quo
 Keep questioning
   The status quo.

There are so many
Who don't even bother
To ask
Those hard questions that you

Care enough
Dare enough
See worth enough
To seek after

Keep prodding the status quo.

Keep digging
       deeper
than the shallow surface
of what the rest of us
are content to think
we already know.

Keep diving
    swimming
       discovering
beneath the status quo.