The Single Life – Guest Post!

Single at 30 is something I never expected to be.  Truly, I fully expected to be married with one, maybe two, kids in tow, a great comfortable job, and to be in escrow. But life is funny with its twists and turns and here I sit.  There are days when I feel like I should just get a cat (or some other pet because I think cats are the worst), learn to knit and accept my spinster life. While other days I feel like I have the capacity to move all the mountains and go where ever God calls because I have nothing tying me down. The single life is hard sometimes, especially when everyone seems to be coupling up and you feel like you’re lacking some relationship magic, but it’s also invigorating and full of beautiful potential.

Singleness is not the plague. It’s not something I want my married friends to see as something to comfort me about. It’s not something give me awkward encouragement about. “You just haven’t met the right guy yet.” or “He doesn’t know what he’s missing.”  The truth is, “single” may be a season, but it may not.  I do know, though, that my worth and identity is not wrapped up in whether or not I have a +1.

I think many of us have an idea in our heads that there is a large chasm between single and married.  Each one is kept to their side, and there is not bridge across, unless you’re engaged. Then you can have single friends and married friends until you say “I do” then you’re quickly swept across to the married side.

I’ve decided that we all need each other. Married, single, somewhere in between, we need each other. We need perspective. We need people to root for us, who see things differently. We need people who have “been there.” We need people who will love our kids in a special kind of way that we don’t. We need the friend who reminds us of our immense worth. Anyone would be lucky to have us, or that our spouse is lucky to be married to us.  The friend that reminds us that life is FUN, and wild and an adventure. We also need people who will jump in the trenches with us. Who will wade waist deep in chaos to remind us what’s worth fighting for. The people who can drop anything to be with us, who bring necessarily supplies when hearts get broken.

We need to laugh, and cry and put broken pieces back together because we were created to live in community. I love my marrieds. I have learned so much from them. We’ve gotten our hands dirty, and we’ve stood in the gap for each other, and in those moments, it didn’t matter what our relationship status was.  What mattered most was that we were there.

Do I want to get married? You bet. I want kids who look like their dad and laugh like me and who will love my community of people like family. I hope one day I’m in escrow for a cute house with a warp around porch with a swing.  That might not happen (especially the porch swing part). What I do know is that God if faithful and will use my life to tell a story about Love and who he is, whether I have a ring on it, or not.

So,spend time with everyone. Invite that college kid over for dinner. Offer to watch the kids for a single mom. Talk about the marriages that your look up to, that have set an example for you and tell those people. Root for marriages, speak truth about relationships because we need each other.

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

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Not Just Once a Year

It’s impossible to escape Valentine’s Day. Like it or not, whether you’re married, single or somewhere in between, like Mondays, it comes around eventually for better or worse.

While I don’t necessarily love Valentine’s Day, I do love loving people. I’m the person who sends random cards or buy someone a present because I was thinking of them. I go to plays, and concerts, and events that my people are involved in because I think rooting for each other is about the best thing we can do. I call to check in even when I don’t have much to say. I am grateful for the people who grace the pages of my life story, and I don’t think ” I love yous” should be reserved for ONE day in February when we feel obligated to say it…and also…it’s just COLD in February so I feel like everyone a little bit bitter, and no one wants a cranky, forced “I love you.”

“I love yous” should be given out freely and as often as possible.

One of the most beautiful things in this world is the bond you share with another person. Whether it’s your mom, your spouse, your best friend or your children, it’s special and rare and God put those people in your life to support you, to hold you up, and to see you though this messy life.

I’m acutely aware of how much goodness and love the people in my life radiate. I’m grateful for the love the show me. So I want to take the opportunity to tell them how much I love and appreciate them as often as possible.

I am also so aware that there are so many people in this world who have not known love like I have.  There are 21-36 million people who are caught in a life of slavery and violence. There are 153 million children from babies to teenagers who are orphans. So many people who don’t know that love doesn’t have to painful or earned.

I want to challenge all of us to love the people in our lives well. Call them. Root for them. See them in person. Let them know they matter in the way they will most appreciate it ( Oh hey, 5 Love Languages!.). Say “I love you” as often as possible. let the people who make this world feel like home know they are appreciated.

I also would love to challenge us to find away to love the people outside our immediate circles as well. Pray for them, Volunteer in your community. Pay for someone’s gas or coffee. Do something, even if it’s small because love will change the world.

We have some great ways to love people coming up! Our February GOment in Woodbury is taking gently used clothing and other linens for The Dwelling Place, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.  In April, International Justice Mission is hosting the Global Prayer Gathering in Washington DC. There are a ton of local organizations that need volunteers. Find opportunities in our GO catalog, here.

No act of love is ever a waste of time. God loves us so much he sent Jesus, and Jesus loved the world so much that he now sends us to love everyone. Let’s really be the type of people that love hard and freely, the way Jesus calls us to.

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

‘Tis the Season to Go and Love

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with some of the local mission pastors and leaders in Woodbury and Cottage Grove. I love this group!  It’s diverse and cuts across denominations. It’s made up of people who are a lot like me as we all have this passion to see the church change the world. From our neighborhoods to the ends of the earth. We each have different ideas and dreams on how it gets done, but we all know that none of it gets done without Jesus. And you.

Each of us can be a part of Jesus’ plan to change the world. As we begin to prepare for the holiday season, many of us think about serving others. Most serving opportunities for Thanksgiving Day are already filled. So if you, like me, are just starting to think about how to serve this holiday season, here are some ways that you can serve right where you are.

  1.  Consider inviting someone to your Thanksgiving Dinner. Maybe there’s someone at work who just went through a divorce and will be alone on Thanksgiving. Maybe you know a college student who won’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving. Maybe you have a neighbor who has been widowed and alone and would love to sit with a family and enjoy a dinner.
  2. Consider being extra kind and generous. There are a lot of stores that are going to be open on Thanksgiving this year. Tipping your barista double what you normally do or offering to fill a strangers tank with gas are ways of expressing gratitude and kindness in tangible ways. Compliment a stranger. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Pay for the last minute whipped cream and rosemary for the person in front of you in line.
  3. Consider being extra thankful to the One who gave us our lives. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you think you should and take that time to pray and read the Bible. Start your thanksgiving with a heart of gratitude which is sure to carry you throughout your day.  Make a list of things that you are thankful for and thank God for each and every one.

Imagine what a difference it would make in our world if every Christian did these things on Thanksgiving (or any other day for that matter). Imagine a flood of prayer, thanksgiving, kindness, generosity and hospitality! What a day that would be.

May this Thanksgiving be one where your cup of gratitude overflows and may we each open a floodgate,

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

Tags: Missions

Love Your Neighbors

Today is Halloween. Kids everywhere have been counting down the days to cool costumes and free candy since the beginning of October! If you’re looking for a fun and safe place to go with your kiddos this year, the Cottage Grove Campus is hosting Trunk or Treat today from 5-7 in the south parking lot. It’s Disney themed this year and the trunks will be fabulous! It’s also a great way to get out and meet the people of your community that you might not otherwise see!

If you’re sticking around home you have an awesome and fairly easy opportunity to love on your neighborhood kids. A friendly smile and hello at a door can go a long way. You might even have a chance to chat with those people down the street that you’ve been meaning to introduce yourself to. If you find yourself going door to door with your kiddos, chat with the other parents who are in the same boat: waiting and the curb and giving constantly reminders to say thank you! You never know who you’ll meet and where those conversations will take you!

Whatever you’re doing tonight, enjoy your time. Be ever present, count the number of Elsa and Anna’s you see, eat a little bit too much candy, say a lot of hellos, smile a lot. You won’t regret it and your kindness won’t go unnoticed.

Just a reminder, pick up a Missions Go Catalog (at the Adult Ministry desk or at the doors), spend some time looking through it and praying about where you could use your gifts. Come back next week Nov 8-9 to our Missions Weekend and meet the people behind the organizations. Ask questions, make connections and say your next yes!

It’s an exciting time at Crossroads and in missions! Excited to be on this journey with you!

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Nicole Case
Web Administrator 

2 Are Better Than 1

I like to do things that hard way. Well, I don’t really “like” it, but more often than not, that’s the way it goes. It’s frustrating for 100% of the people who love me. To add insult to injury, I also like to figure things out by myself. I have a very 2-year-old “I do it” mentality when it comes to new things, especially things that are challenging or give me anxiety. The reality is, that I’d rather do it myself, so if fail, and trust me, i do, no one else will know but me.

Much to my dismay, we are not designed to do things alone. God designed us to live in community with each other. The very reason God made Eve was so Adam would have a helper. Out of dust and rib the first intentional community was born, and it was good.

When I think about my community, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m especially grateful for the people who have paved the way into adulthood for me. My parents, and mentors, and older, wiser friends, who, when I am feeling very self-sufficient love me enough to keep me honest, offer advice (even if I don’t take it) and love me regardless of the outcome. They’re constant cheer leaders and broken heart menders, and I’m very thankful for that.

We all need that, don’t we?  People who come along side us, who pray for us, and help us when we need it most.  During days when live is ordinary and regular, they’re cheering on our sidelines celebrating every day victories. I’m so grateful that God created us to work together, to share heavy loads and big laughs, and ultimately to be tangible reminders of His love and provision. That is good, isn’t it?

At Crossroads, we feel privileged to pray for your prayer requests. We have prayer teams at each of our campuses that care deeply about you and pray passionately. We believe in the power of prayer and that our God is a God who hears and answers prayers. Week after week the most frequently requested prayers are for health-related issues.

In response to this, we are offering a Health care Directive Seminar on Saturday, October 11, 9:00-11:00 am at the Woodbury Campus. A Health Care Directive, formally known a living will, is a written document allowing you to name who would be in charge of your health care in the event you’re not able to advocate for yourself.  At this seminar, we will help address your fears, beliefs and other important values in regards to your health. If your family should face an unexpected tragedy we want you to be prepared.  Let’s face it making difficult health care decisions during such a time can be overwhelming for your family, and we want to help lighten your load.

Please consider coming to this FREE seminar. FREE childcare is also provided if you register by October 8, click here for details.

Additionally, a quick reminder that we will be having a Honduras mission’s trip meeting this Sunday at our Woodbury campus immediately following the 11:15 service, please come hear how you can be a part of this amazing mission team. No sign ups necessary, just come in to the auditorium and take a seat and see who God might be adding to your community of people.

Please join us for week 4 of our current series The Starting Point: A Journey through Genesis. It’s going to be a great weekend.

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Nicole Case & Lisa Renlund
Web Admin & Missions and Care Coordinator