launch

Well, this blog is meant to challenge us, and let me tell you I have been challenged in my mind and heart for months by my sisters and mom. Right now vulnerability is staring me in the face. So Kindred, I’m all in.

For a while I had a deep struggle in my mind and heart.  I had this feeling in the depths   of me that something horrible is going to happen to my daughter.  I have been struggling with being spiritually dry for a couple years now.  I mean like riding a camel for days in the Sahara kind of dry. My times with the Lord have not been what I am used to, and they are not as often.  I felt like a broken or dried up cistern because I have not refilled.

I have been struggling through the sin of worry and not trusting God, mixed into this feeling of inadequacy in discipleship. I want my kids to know Him. There have been nights of lying awake, crying and begging the Lord to save my kids.

Then one night when rocking my daughter to sleep she requested I sing, “Jesus Loves Me.” The Lord in His everlasting kindness sang to my soul. It was like Psalm 42: 7-8: “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.”

Here in my little Sahara I was diving under this wave.

Jesus loves me this I KNOW, for the Bible tells me so

How quickly He brought to mind so many Scriptures of His love, sovereignty, loving-kindness, authority and the truth of Scripture.  My Creator does not love me because I come to Him. I love Him because He first loved me. I am saved and have relationship solely based on His grace. And you know what?  My Father loves deeper than I can ever imagine.  I can trust His plans, even if that means something hard happens. He loves me.

Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong

My children’s souls are not resting in my adequacy as a discipler, but in the very hands that created them. He is the one that saves, and holds them. He is the one that is strong.

So as I rocked my precious daughter with tears streaming down my face, I felt true rest. I was singing to my heart. Yes, I will continue to plead with the Lord to save my kids, but I do not ask in worry or anxiousness. I ask trusting the Father that loves them more than I ever will. Because “little ones to Him belong,” I will point them to Him as much as I can, and I will pray that the Lord takes my weaknesses and shows them He is strong.

As He reminds me “Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Cor. 3:4-6

I cannot tell you have many times I have had to learn this lesson in my life. I am so thankful that the life the Spirit gives is incredibly freeing. I am not stuck in my struggle, and weakness, I am full of LIFE. Because “Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.”

 

-Allyson

  1. Rachel Marshman said:
    Ally, Thankful for this post and for the ways God is bringing you comfort along this journey. I was greatly encouraged! Love you, friend.
    March 2, 2015  2:24 am
    Reply
    • Ally said:
      Thank you so much Rach! I'm so thankful it was encouraging, you encourage me greatly.
      March 3, 2015  2:53 am
      Reply
  2. Tessa Woolstenhulme said:
    Thanks allyson for your vulnerability... I can totally relate to your feelings. I sing Jesus loves me to my daughter Corrie before every nap (mostly as a way of trying to train her like Pavlov's dog, ha) but now I think I will start using that time to really think about what I am singing and thank God :)
    April 13, 2015  8:44 pm
    Reply

10900221_739913492771878_2866956515267181698_o10847639_739913502771877_4458439189558965659_oTo My Precious Son,

  As I sit here feeling you move inside of me I am already overwhelmed with how much I love you. You are more precious to me than you will ever know. I can’t wait to hold you, kiss you, and love you. I can’t wait to watch Mercy love you. I really can’t wait to watch your Daddy love and teach you. There are so many people that already love you.  I want to tell you about a couple of them.

We have chosen a name for you. It is special and I pray you will see that.

Caden Price Joseph Wilhite

Your first name is after your Baba, Walter Price. Your Baba is a man that we pray you will be like. Everything in me prays and desires for you to love the Lord and His word like Baba. There is nothing greater to live for. I pray you will get to know him well. To see the example and reflection of Jesus that he is. You will see what his life and leadership have done through your aunts and uncles as well. I also pray you will be the kind of man that looks for a woman like Grammy. She is a woman that is a like a tether to Christ for everyone around her. I pray you wear the name Price well, and that through you, Jesus will be proclaimed to the next generation, like your Baba. We will have many years of talking about Baba.  All of it is wrapped up in your name.

Your middle name, Joseph, is after your Papa, Joseph Holder. Your Daddy also has this name. Your Papa is a very special man. He is one of the kindest men you will every know. I pray that your heart will be filled with this kindness. Papa also invests in the people in his life deeply. He is the one everyone looks to for encouragement, help, love, advice, and so much more. I pray you will intentionally love and serve those around you like Papa. One of the most special things about Papa is how much he has influenced your dad. It was Pap who told your dad to read the scripture passages that brought him to Christ. We will talk about Papa for your whole life as well. Both of your namesakes have proclaimed the Lord’s wondrous works to the next generation.

Even to you my sweet son (Ps. 78:6). I pray that you will rise up and tell your children as well. I love you more than you will ever know. Baba and Papa love you as well. I hope you will grow to see the depth and love in your name.

I love you,

Your Mama (Allyson)

I just gave birth to my second child, a son, Caden Price Joseph Wilhite.  I wrote this when my husband Shawn and I announced his name.  Our friend Hayley took the most wonderful family photos too!

  1. Donna Kilbreath said:
    Love writes a BEAUTIFUL story.
    February 14, 2015  3:13 pm
    Reply
  2. Merea said:
    @Donna Kilbreath Yes it does! Thanks for reading friend! Love my Sandals Church family!
    February 15, 2015  6:06 am
    Reply

I am more (probably much more) than halfway through my time on earth. Even as I write that it feels a little ominous. In fact, the perspective of that statement is both scary and convicting.  I know I’m not that old yet. I still have lots of energy and see myself as ready to face whatever. As I reflect I am blessed to say I’ve had the privilege of being a shoulder, a listening ear, mentor and/or a bible study leader to many thru the years. I hope that I’ve encouraged a few along the way. I gave the predominance of my life to my family and I don’t regret that.

But at this point in life, I have to admit that I wonder if others still see me as relevant.

I know it’s not about me. I don’t want to waste my time on emotions or thoughts that are useless and discouraging.   Yet, sometimes it’s hard to ignore cold, hard facts. It’s hard not to be discouraged when numbers are down on your watch. It’s challenging to hear that change is needed and all the ways that “everybody” else is doing it. It’s hard not to believe that you’ve failed when someone thinks it’s time for you to move on. Discouragement is a tough one to fight sometimes.

cb50dbd43db7344a9146e325f3e71dc0But the Lord does not want us to live there. He holds our future.  

I wish I could say that I have walked faithfully. I have at times, maybe even more than less. BUT I know the numerous times I’ve wasted or misspent my time and emotion on things that really don’t matter at all.  Things can seem so monumental until you get a dose of reality. Then, you realize that if you really have died to yourself as the Bible teaches, you are not enslaved to these things. Taking up offense would be non-existent.  Anger would probably not even be a part of your life because most things we get angry about are petty or about self.

I am moving on. This will be my last year of leading the women’s ministry at my church. I’ve done so for a combined 20+ years. It feels a little strange. I have to admit I wonder if I will have to go looking for ways to be used. This has been my focus for a very long time. I’m not leaving because of discouragement. This decision was the best for the church and me.  It’s time for me to get out of the way so that God can raise up His person for the next season.

Retirement looms in our future, but for a Christian that doesn’t mean ministry stops. There is no such thing as retirement from serving the Lord. My husband and I do not want to live our lives for travel and our own pleasure. We love to do those things like everyone else, but if that is our focus then we’ve lost total perspective. So, we look to the Lord for a new adventure—whatever that may be. I want desperately to be used of Him in people’s lives, but He is in charge of that. How and when He uses me is up to Him. My part is to be available and alert to opportunities He brings.  Results are His domain.   I need that reminder often.

Here’s what I hope for the next years of life on this planet. I pray for a heart that is consumed in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. I have come to see that most sin would be averted if we truly let our hearts be filled with His pleasure. He emerges victor over our humanity when we let Him have His place of supremacy in our hearts and minds.

A heart full of HIS Truth does not have room for lesser things.

God, I pray for redeemed time. I want to be faithful with the days and hours given. I want to love immensely and share HIS Word as much as possible.   Oh God, I ask You to help me not waste this most precious gift of time. I want to strive the right way. LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND and STRENGTH. Oh God, let it be in me, wherever You take me.

-Janet

 

  1. Rachel said:
    Janet this spoke to my heart. I love your wisdom and grace that you have earned through many hours, days, and years of being a faithful servant. Fear grips me that I have waisted much time on my own ambitions and I have not died to self in the slightest sense. Thank you for your true words and dose of reality in my life. Please keep me in your prayers for this desire to change but habits of old that are hard to overcome. Those that seek physical activity over the quietness in the word. It's hard to settle but I know that is when you learn the most. So grateful for your family's influence over my young life.
    February 14, 2015  6:29 am
    Reply
    • Anonymous said:
      Thx so much Rachel! You are a continual blessing to me! Keep seeking Him and rest in His amazing love. Love you!!!!
      February 14, 2015  3:48 pm
      Reply
  2. Melissa said:
    "A heart full of HIS Truth does not have room for lesser things." Oooh. Yes. Needed that.
    February 15, 2015  5:33 am
    Reply
  3. Kimmysun said:
    Wow. I loved this perspective. Can't wait to hear more from you.
    February 17, 2015  6:44 pm
    Reply

This weekend was my jam.

Most weekends are,but this past one was like blackberry perfection on my crispy buttered toast kind of jam.

837ab1a0684e15b0d5efceab91798294

The sun was shining, the winter temps were at 70, and I had friends on my porch eating quesadillas and guacamole. What better way to spend the afternoon than with friends around the table, right?  It took me back to Sunday afternoons at 1280 Orange Avenue…

1280 Orange Avenue is a plain Jane, true-to-form California stucco house on a not so striking street, yet it’s home to over 20 years of memories for this family of ours. We spent many Sunday afternoons with family, friends, food, football, fires, and fun in that home. I can’t tell you how many people have taken THE nap of their lifetime on my parents retro, turn down for what, awesome couch. Who remembers that thing??

I’m still mad at them for getting rid of it… Anyway, back to the jam.

Those Sundays and that house hold a special place in my heart, but it wasn’t all glamorous. There were also times when I remember quiet afternoons, where tears were shed and life was hard. I can remember sitting in the living room alone or with friends sharing goodbyes as they continued to set sail on the journey the Lord had for them.  Sometimes even quietly sitting and missing family members who had passed away. We ate together, cried together, sang together, laughed together. I also remember having friends over who didn’t have family of their own. Hearing them talk with my mom, joke with my dad, and even seeing them take a nap on our couch was a blessing. It was in those moments that I began to learn the importance of community and hospitality…and honestly, I didn’t even know it.

The simplicity of open hearts that loved God and loved people changed me.

Fast forward a few years and you find me on the porch of an apartment I currently call home. It’s very different from 1280 Orange. I’m single and living on the wrong coast (also affectionately known as North Carolina), nowhere near my biological family. Sometimes the reality of those specific things set in and I get discouraged. There are days when I struggle with the fact that I’ve not yet had the opportunity to live in a house that I call “home” with a husband and kids. I grew up in such a lovely home and family, that was fought hard for by my parents, and I want to do and be the same.

→ Enter in the Author of my life, the One who writes the better story, and makes the best jam.

He has shown me what is good. God has granted me the sweetest home in Christ. He’s the dream, not a house or a relationship. You see, the 1280 Orange memories are really good because God was present and working, like He always is. In the midst of that season, He was growing my heart for His Kingdom. God has taught me so much over the years through His Word and His people.

He is the most hospitable. He has welcomed me into His eternal family and He wants to welcome all into His family. I’ve been given a great responsibility as a child of God to invite people in to the family. Here on earth, it’s not about the material but the eternal.

God in His kindness and faithfulness has granted me the sweetest family and I’ve found that to be so true in Imago Dei Church here in NC. Though I don’t have a house shared by a husband, I currently have an apartment I share with two friends. I have the privilege to steward what God has gifted me with for the sake of others and His kingdom.  So yes, one day I want to love Jesus fiercely and partner with a spouse to make Christ known, but for now, take out the husband + kids and I want to do the same. Love Jesus and make Him known. It’s the dream!

One simple way I aim to do this is by opening up my apartment, aka Club 208, to love on people and serve them in any way that I can. So come on over. Club 208 is open.

-Jenni

PHOTO: http://yummysupper.blogspot.com/2011/09/bolinas-blackberries-jam.html

 

  1. Amanda said:
    i wanna come hang out at Club 208! I miss you Jenni and your hospitality :) and I miss that stinkin couch too. It was the best. I think what I miss most was piano music drifting over from across the street. The sweetest sound :)
    February 11, 2015  2:13 am
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      Amanda, you KNOW you're always welcome! We need to get a piano and then we can jam like the good ole days;)
      February 15, 2015  10:54 pm
      Reply
  2. Colleen Chao said:
    I'm almost in tears, my heart is so happy at seeing this website live and reading your poignant, beautifully lived words. You are a deep encouragement in my life, even from all this distance.
    February 12, 2015  9:03 pm
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      Right back at you, Colleen, except that I am usually all in with the tears as I read and am encouraged by you. Thankful for you!
      February 15, 2015  10:56 pm
      Reply
  3. Rachel said:
    That was beautiful Jenni! I remember that house well and though I cannot recall sleeping on the couch I do remember falling asleep in the back yard:) such great memories were formed for me at your house and at Fellowship in the Pass. It molded me into the woman I am today. You have grown into a unbelievable woman. All the Price girls have. I love watching your lives unfold into His beautiful unique plan He has for you individually. Miss you girl! And know how thankful I am for your family and our youth group for some of the best times of my life.
    February 14, 2015  4:03 am
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      Miss you too, Rachel! Thank you for the encouragement. I'm thankful for the many memories we shared together at 1280 and beyond. It's encouraging to see where the Lord has brought us. He is so good!
      February 15, 2015  10:57 pm
      Reply
  4. Lindsey (Harris) Mills said:
    Jenni, I love this post. I have so many wonderful memories of your house, but my all time favorite was when I fell into your toilet. I was probably 6 and for whatever reason, my bum was still that small that I just fell straight in the toilet. On a better note- I have wonderful memories of little girls playing dress up, dolls, birthday parties in your backyard, and lots and lots of laughter and fun. I'm grateful for those wonderful memories and for your friendship!
    February 14, 2015  1:09 pm
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      Lindsey!! Thank you for commenting. It's so fun to hear and think back on all of our young memories. They were full of laughter and joy! I would love to see the memories being made in your home and family.
      February 15, 2015  10:58 pm
      Reply
  5. Amy Hofschroer said:
    Making the things of God a priority in your marriage and your parenting is easier when it starts with being grounded to have those as a priority in your character!! Keep it up girl!!! He makes the sweetest jam! It's easier when you have good ripe berries to work with!!
    February 14, 2015  11:56 pm
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      Thank you, Amy!!
      February 15, 2015  10:59 pm
      Reply

 

Myla and Reese

Myla and Reese

This morning, my youngest decided she needed to eat at 4 am then my oldest decided that 5:45 am was her wake up call.

These are both strictly against house rules!

  Anyways, thankfully my husband got up with Myla (the oldest) while I cuddled with   Reese in bed because she needed more sleep no matter how she was going to get it. I also needed to not be upright just yet or have my eyes fully awake.

Then after awhile I got up to feed Reese, changed dirty diapers, made breakfast, and played as best we could til naptime. It was so much fun and I love hearing my girls laugh.

What I probably shouldn’t tell you is that I fought off feelings and thoughts like “what am I doing with my life?” “I feel insignificant.”  These girls are gifts of grace and my heart aches with love for them. I love being their mom. I love feeding them, cleaning them, and tickling them,

but I struggle with my sense of purpose.  

Everyday we do our best to raise them to be “sweet, kind, gentle, and listen then obey!”A phrase I whisper in Myla’s ear several times a day.  We are raising them to be good and caring humans, but that is not enough for me to get through the day with a joyful heart.  The book “Treasuring Christ” by Gloria Furman (highly recommend it) came to mind this morning after the 4 am feeding with one and 545 am wake up with the other to start the day of battling my mind. I sit down and the author reminds me of their eternal souls. She reminds me that raising children is much more than seeing them as mature and capable adults.

“Being a mother is wildly fun, yet because of eternity it is a serious joy at the same time… we miss the rising sun that signals another day of grace in which God has entrusted us with nurturing his little image bearers to love and honor him first and foremost and forever.” I often forget these things because the “mundane looms larger than eternal life.”

I want and need to keep eternity in view.

 So today I am fighting for purpose through the eternal perspective.

Anyone feel me?

-Hannah

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

  1. Amanda said:
    whew I needed this! Life seems very mundane in light of the 'important' things others are doing. Playing cars on the kitchen floor all day long hardly makes me feel accomplished as a person but it's the little moments that last :) I need to read that book!
    February 11, 2015  2:17 am
    Reply
    • Jenni said:
      I love learning from you young mothers. "Playing cars on the kitchen floor" is most definitely on the list of important things! It's there that your children learn the heart of our Heavenly Father, who delights in our joy and well being, who cares for our deepest needs, and who grants our heart's desires. Keep playing hard! Love you Amanda.
      February 15, 2015  11:02 pm
      Reply
    • Hannah said:
      Amanda, yes the book is so encouraging and gospel centered! You are such a great mom to your boys, keep up the good work!
      February 16, 2015  6:26 am
      Reply
  2. Alisha Jenkins said:
    amen Hannah -- we've got to keep that perspective in mind because it's so much bigger than just a diaper or 4am feeding it's not mundane!
    February 11, 2015  4:07 am
    Reply
    • Hannah said:
      It's true, so much bigger! Sometimes it feels mundane at this point in life but it's so sweet and good as well!
      February 16, 2015  6:28 am
      Reply