Friday, June 4, 2010

Jared, Maci, and Kent in Naples, Italy


Italy

Kent, Jared and Maci made it to Naples, Italy along with the rest of the team from Tennessee. I'm not sure if Kent will be blogging on here or not, but Jared is blogging. You can see them at www.jaredshingleton.wordpress.com Please pray for them as they share the love of Christ with those they meet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Following, One Step at a Time

(I'm not really sure why I'm writing this on my blog. As I wrote this in my journal today, I thought of others who are hurting, yet following Christ at what sometimes seems too great of a cost. I do not write this for others to see our struggles, but for others who struggle to see that they are not alone. We serve a God who is mighty, trustworthy, and holy. He is good.)

Following Christ is not the easy road. It is painful at times. It DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT come without a cost. We are called to give sacrificially. I don't believe we understand "sacrifice" today. We think our tithe is a sacrifice. We think teaching a Sunday school class is a sacrifice. We think not hanging out with the cool people is a sacrifice. Those aren't always the gifts God asks of us. Sometimes it requires unnatural steps of faith. It requires walking the path that others see as foolish. It requires giving the part of yourself that you have taken the most pride in.
MINE IS MY CHILDREN.
The one area I am good at. The one thing I can do is be there for my children and help protect them from emotional harm. Notice how often I say "I"? God calls me again-to trust in Him, and give them to Him. I don't want to. The first time He spoke so strongly to me on this was in Experiencing God. Jared was about 18 months old. I finally "gave" Jared to the Lord. Again in 2003 when I had a life threatening brain lesion that was bleeding in my brain stem. He told me He didn't need me to raise my children. He loved them. He wanted me to give them to Him. I heard Maci, at 10 years old, pray and ask, " God, please heal Mommy, but if you choose not to, thank you for giving me a mommy who taught me about Jesus." I was at peace and knew God loved my children more than I ever could and I trusted He would take care of them.


Today, I find myself asking God to take away their pain. To return to them the joy that we have had as a family. But even more than that, I'm asking Him to grow them in wisdom and in faith. To teach them to trust in all situations; even when life gets hard; when friends don't understand their pain; when their mom seems to have changed from the fun, layed back mom into the one who must be firm and distracted from them so often. I trust the Lord. I believe He will pour out His blessings on ALL of our family. I know I must wait on God's timing. Today, I pray Psalm 5:3, This morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; this morning I lay my requests before you and WAIT IN EXPECTATION.


Today, Lord, I give you my children. Forgive me for taking them back again and again. I give you Jared, Maci, Molly, and Sarah. I trust you. I ask for peace as I wait in expectation for the mighty works you will do in and through them.

Following God is a gift we give to Him. The gift He gave to us came at a great cost, why should ours be any less?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mission trip fundraiser!

$15.00 t-shirts S-XL add $2 for XXL
$10.00 flip flops XS (5-6) S (7-8) M (9-10) L (11-12)
add 2.50 per item if we need to ship


Naples, Italy! Did you know that only .5% of the people in Italy, attend church anywhere? Although most of them claim to be Catholic, only half of one percent actually go to church! I recently met a woman whose daughter went to Italy on "Semester Abroad" through her college and stayed at a monastery. The nuns who lived there were from the Phillipines! They said they didn't have many nuns(if any) in Italy. Anyway, Kent is taking a group of teenagers, again this year, on a foreign mission trip thru Tennessee Baptist Convention. This year we are trying to raise enough money to send Jared and Maci (hopefully Molly and I will get to go if they go back in two years). They will be staying in hostels and working in small villages with families who have never been around teenagers who have a passion for following Christ! We are excited for this opportunity, but it is going to cost about $1500 each. Sooooooo........Need any flip flops or t-shirts?

The flip flops say, "Beautiful Feet- Romans 10:15" This verse says "Beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news."

The t-shirts say, "Mission Napoli 2010 Matt. 9:37" This verse says "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

Italian missionaries usually only last about 3-4 years before they burn out. It is very tough to do ministry in a country where you have so few Christians working along side of you. We are excited to have the opportunity to send people to encourage our missionaries who live there and walk beside them in sharing true relationship with the Christ that they have only heard of.

If you can help with this fundraiser, that would be great!

We ask most importantly that you pray for Kent, Jared, Maci and the other 50+ teenagers who will be going on this trip. They leave on June 3rd and will return on June 14th.

You can send a check to: The Shingletons
1112 Poplar Hollow Rd.
LaVergne, TN 37086


Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Too many cars!




Okay, our family has now outgrown our driveway! Of course, Kent and I have always had cars. Our garage was always too messy for us to park both in the garage, so my sweet husband allowed me the privilege to get in a warm and dry car for many years. We had one car, Kent's, in the driveway. Then, Jared got a car. Then Jared sold his car and got a motorcycle. Then Maci got a car. Then we turned half of our garage into a bedroom for Jared (so Sarah could have his room), and I lost my parking space. Then, yesterday, Jared got another car. Now we have 4 cars in our driveway. Clinging to Molly's comment that she doesn't want to start driving when she turns 16 (next January). Our neighborhood has a "silly" law that you cannot park in the street!
Therefore, if you come visit us, plan on REDNECK parking. The front yard will now be filled with cars as well. We love company, we'll get over loving a front lawn.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Seasons!

Wow! I'm not sure if you can see it or not, but I'm getting out my Easter and spring decorations and it is snowing!! Crazy! I love all the seasons! If you ask me in the summer, what my favorite season is, I'll probably say, "Summer!" If you ask me in the winter I'll say, "I love to get in my pajamas early and cozy up by the fire at night, so WINTER!" Same goes with seeing the new growth in my garden in the spring and the excitement of the changing colors in leaves with autumn! So, this is okay with me. I love all the seasons!

This all probably reminds you, as it did me, of the verse in 1 Timothy. "Be prepared in season and out of season." I was thinking of how we never would have known a year ago, where we would be now with our family. We are to be prepared to follow Him when life takes such a radical turn. I decided to look up the verse and ponder on it for a bit. I guess I wasn't realizing what else was there and what God was going to speak to me. The whole verse says,

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct , rebuke, and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

This was encouragement to me. I was pretty much in the "encourage" stage of parenthood. You know, when you have taught the Truth, and now you are at the point where you "influence" and "encourage" them to make wise choices. There is still some correcting, but not as much rebuking. Then, the season changes. When a, now, nine year old joins your family, you must go back to the basics of parenting. Because of Sarah's situation and background, we MUST be very intentional with our patience and "careful" intruction. Encourgement comes easy for me. I am thankful that God has gifted me in that (although service would have been my preference:). Sometimes I grow weary in having to be the "bad guy". But...everyday, I see her growing in confidence and security. The boundaries she has found were oppressive at first, but now I see joy in her eyes as she obeys and finds so much excitement when she tells me the truth. It's funny to hear her say, "Are you proud of me, I told you the truth?" I am very proud of her.

Pride doesn't even express how I feel about my teenagers right now. They have grown in ways that I would never have enough time to share with you. The pruning has been, and continues to be, painful at times for them. My heart breaks when they are hurting and grieving the loss of "the way things used to be". But as I see them growing closer together as siblings and learning to trust God more and more, my heart overflows with joy. When one of them says, "I really see why God did 'this or that'" I am blown away by God's Glory! He shows himself to us daily and we are seeing Him!

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of my children, including Sarah:

Psalm 1:3
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Thank you Father, for the seasons.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Santa Kent and Sarah and a Year of Change

So much is on my mind this morning. So much has happened in the last year. A year ago our country voted for change. I wasn't one of those. I am a pretty spontaneous person, but I had gotten pretty comfortable in my little corner of ministry and family. Then Change happened. I remember spending the Sunday before Valentine's Day, praying and holding a woman who needed assured that her Jesus was faithful and that her Father held her in the palm of His hand. She loved Jesus so much that it was hard for her to believe that He could love her in return. So often we have it backwards. We think we are worthy of Him and that we deserve His love. She got it, that none of us our worthy, but His blood covers us in spite of who we are. I believe she found comfort in Him that day. I spoke with her a little bit that week, and then on Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, we received a call to come to the hospital. Teresa Frank's home had caught on fire, and by the time we arrived, she had passed away. After we left the hospital, we went by to check on her 7-year old daughter, Sarah. That was the beginning.

Now a year later, Sarah lives with us. She has become a precious part of our family. Change is always hard. A close friend reminded me, "When God calls you to something, it's not always comfortable." It hasn't been. Sarah is such a survivor. She has been through so much in her short life. As we think of our changes and voice them in family conversations, we think of the changes that Sarah has had to deal with and doesn't voice.

My heart breaks for her. It is hard to remember the things she has been through, when I'm having to be stern with her for misbehavior. As I am teaching her to call out to Jesus for help when it's time to choose right or wrong, I am reminding myself to call out to Him when I feel that change is overwhelming. My favorite time with Sarah is at bedtime. That is when I lie down with her and we pray. She cuddles and loves with all she has. I hold tight during this time. Some nights she really opens up about her feelings. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there are giggles, but during that time, never anger or frustration.

Peter went out on the water and began to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me." IMMEDIATELY, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. Then all who saw it worshiped him saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matt. 14).

A little paraphrasing, but all to say that when we call out, He hears us. My prayer for all that we have been given at this time, is that Kent and I, Jared, Maci, Molly, and Sarah, and all those who see our struggles as well as our triumphs, will worship God and that HE will be glorified! We call out to Him for help, and He is faithful, and we rejoice.

Please join us as we pray for Sarah during this next week and leading up to her birthday on Feb. 27th. Whether she is able to express it verbally or just show it through her actions, we know that we are seeing the emotions come out. They are there and in so many ways, are still raw. Pray for her family, as I know they are grieving this week. They loved their little sister, Teresa. Pray that we will follow Christ step by step. Not going ahead or trailing behind what God calls us to do.





What are you going through that involves change? Change is hard. Change is not comfortable. Because He first loved us and gave His life for us, we too can give of ourselves and we desire to praise God is the opportunities to do so.





1 Peter 1:6-7: In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.





Praising our Savior!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our Life


So sorry I haven't posted in so long. We may have lost all of our readers, but Kent says I need to update anyway!

In September we made the decision to file for custody of Sarah. It was an easy decision in some ways and the hardest ever in others. We truly believe that God has called our family to do this. We believe it is what is best for Sarah. The hard thing is that it creates conflict with others. I hate that! I feel that this is God's plan and want so badly for the others involved to feel the same way. There is conflict with her aunt now. Although we get along with Sarah's grandparents, they feel that they should have her living with them. For several reasons, we feel this is not the best place for Sarah to grow up. November 23rd we went to trial. By then, the petitions were between us and her grandparents. They had only allowed 3 hours for testimony and we didn't even get half way through. The judge gave up one of her administration days to continue the trial on Jan. 8th. Unfortunately, the grandparents weren't able to drive in the snow to be here. The date is now set for April 21st.
Back up a bit to say that we got a call from Sarah's uncle on Nov. 16th asking if we could pick Sarah up at school that day. He said her suitcase would be on the porch since her aunt didn't want to see me. We don't really know what happened there, except that their attorney felt it was best. She has lived with us since. We were glad to have her home.
We had began turning half of our garage into a room for Jared so that we could turn his room into a room for Sarah. We quickly got that finished, and now she has a cute little girls room of her own. Jared is really enjoying his new room. I am missing my car being nice and warm and dry every morning. haha. We are so thankful to friends, Mike and Buffy, who put in so many hours to build this new room. God has truly blessed us with them. We could NEVER have done this without them. SERIOUSLY!

Right now we are driving Sarah back and forth to school in Donelson. It takes at least 45 minutes to get there every morning. It is wearing on her and us to be in the car so long. We are hoping we can get her school changed soon, but only if it would not be too much change for her. She seems to want to do it. I wonder if it would give her more security to feel "home". My fear is if she has to go to Illinois (where her g-parents live), will it have been one more change that she could have skipped? Praying about all of that.

Jared, Maci, and Molly have been amazing. I know that it has been tough on the girls. Sharing Mom is hard. Lots of changes when you add an 8 year old to a house full of teenagers. I'm so proud of them and their willingness to seek God in this and follow Him. I'm so proud of Sarah who has more changes than any of us. We've learned that when God calls you to something, it's not always comfortable. We've learned to not look to the future and try to plan. We take one step at a time. We've learned that TODAY, we will do what God wants us to do TODAY. We've learned that we are to strive to fit into His plan and not our own plan.

Isaiah 5:9-11:
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I am seeing each of my children, including Sarah, bud and flourish.

Please continue to pray for all of us. Please pray for our relationship with Sarah's Aunt Sherrill and for her grandparents. We continue to pray for God's will.