Kyle’s dad, pictured here with his grandsons, unexpectedly passed away last Saturday. As we’re grieving, we’re taking great comfort in having tangibly watched his life change in the past few years, due to his faith in Christ. Although you don’t know him, I think his story might encourage you: My father-in-law, Ray, liked to go for drives. Every year, he rode his Harley to Michigan from Texas and back. He had an old Jeep he’d drive on two-lane Texas roads, away from the city. One Sunday evening he pulled into a church parking lot in that Jeep and just sat there. Knowing him, I imagine he was curious but also uncertain if he wanted to put himself in a social situation, much less a CHURCH social situation. He’d pulled into this particular church because Kyle had mentioned it in passing to him, telling his dad he knew a pastor on staff there and that he might actually like it. Why not give it a try? That was likely years before, a long forgotten suggestion. That particular day, a service was in session. Everyone was inside, and Ray sat outside, waiting for who knows what. A man came outside and noticed Ray sitting there and, thinking he was waiting for someone, engaged him in conversation. When Ray told the man his name, the man said, “Do you have a son named Kyle?” I can imagine Ray’s smirk of a smile as he said that, yes, as a matter of fact he did. That Kyle, the man said with great excitement, had been his college pastor! This, it turned out, was Cory, the pastor at the church Kyle had told Ray about years before, a “chance” meeting that changed everything. Cory invited him in and became an important player in Ray’s story. I don’t know why Ray went there that day. I don’t know what he was thinking about as he waited outside. All I know is that Ray soon started talking our ears off about Cory, the sermons, the people he was meeting at church, and about things we’d never heard him speak about. We saw him soften and become more generous. We saw Christ in him. Cory messaged Kyle later that night: “I met your dad tonight!” We couldn’t believe it, an answer to a long-breathed prayer. I want you to know this because I want you to be like Cory. And Ray.
Summer was such a gift to us as a family, but today starts a new season as our boys start 11th, 8th, and 6th grades. I love these boys!
Hi there, new friends and not-so-new! I’m Christine, wife to Kyle, who is the lead pastor of the church we planted, and mom to three boys, ages 16, 13, and 11, who surprisingly don’t like me to kiss them. But I do it anyway!😘🥰 I love words and have slowly carved out a job around my passion. I’m the author of 4 books, with one on the way in March.🤰🏼People ask me which is my favorite, and that’s like asking which child is my favorite. I love them all for different reasons, but if you’re really wanting to get to know me through my writing, you should read From Good to Grace and Messy Beautiful Friendship. I love one-on-one deep conversation, and if I could sit down with you, I would ask you a jillion questions about all the things. I actually got a counseling degree that I use in unconventional ways, like asking a jillion get-to-the-heart-of-it questions and interviewing guests on my podcast, By Faith, which is returning September 10 btw. 🎉 I also love teaching the Bible, 80’s music, guacamole, two-stepping with my love, rearranging furniture, watching documentaries, and playing board games. I do not like being cold, chocolate, looking at people’s feet pictures, sitting anywhere but the last row in movie theaters, and going to the dentist. Now that you know a little more about me, introduce yourself! Tell me who you are, where you are, what you’re passionate about, and yay or nay on feet pictures. 🤪 #fridayintroductions #fromgoodtograce #messybeautifulfriendship #byfaithpodcast
Cville friends, come join me for a deep dive into Galatians this year! Registration is now open for our @cvillechurch women’s Bible study, with two time/day options to choose from: Sundays from 4-6 pm and Wednesdays from 9-11 am. I’ll be teaching with a stellar team of teachers at the Wednesday study and would love for you to come grow and learn with me. The study is open to anyone in the community. All the details and registration information can be found at the link in my profile. 🤗 #charlottesville #biblestudy #charlottesvillecommunitychurch #galatians
If I could sit with you over coffee today, and if you said you were scared to say yes to God, here’s the story I would tell: It’s been years now, 11 to be exact. My husband and I were sitting in a coffee shop in College Station, Texas, with a very real choice to make. We could stay where we were, a place we loved with people we loved, or we could obey and move our little family states away where we knew no one. Through many people and circumstances and perfectly timed scriptures, he’d made it clear: we were to start a church in Charlottesville, Virginia. The choice was ours: yes or no? By this time, we’d visited Charlottesville. We could not only picture the reality of what we were leaving; we could also now picture the reality of what we’d go to. And what we worried about most was our kids. The biblical story that God used consistently in our lives in those months was Joshua and Caleb’s response when they returned from spying out the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb said, “The Lord is with us. We shouldn’t fear.” But their friends refused to go, saying, “What will become of our families?” God said that Joshua and Caleb would see the Promised Land, and, incredibly, that the very children those parents worried about would experience it as well. But the ones who shrunk back, unbelieving, would not. Kyle and I read that and we knew: God wasn’t just calling us. He was calling our family and would therefore provide for each of us according to our need. We just had to obey. So we did. We moved. And here’s what happened: these years have been harder than I ever thought possible. I still grieve the losses and count the cost of leaving our old life behind. In other words, obeying God doesn’t erase discomfort and challenges. I STILL HAVE TO SAY YES TO GOD EVERYDAY. But these have also been the sweetest years of my life. I have learned what it means to walk in faith in ways I’d never known before. We’ve been given the gift of people. I’ve tested and proven that God is faithful so I STILL CHOOSE TO SAY YES EVERYDAY. So, friend, do not fear. Count the cost, yes. Prepare to continue saying yes. But know that there is a specific joy that comes in obeying God.
Today is August 12. Yesterday was August 11. Do you know the significance of these days? Although these dates are probably not imprinted on the minds of the nation, we know them well here in Charlottesville. And it’s likely just right there—mentioning Charlottesville—that you know and remember. I remember today, but here we remember every day when we walk by the statues whose removal sparked a rally that in turn sparked violence and hatred. We remember when we see “Heather” scripted in purple hearts in storefront windows. We remember when we go out of town and answer, “Where are you from?” and see the recognition across a face when we answer. And that’s ok. I want to remember, and I want others to remember, because it changed us. It changed me. When what is normally national news that you can turn off or away from at will happens in front of your local library, it changes you. I’d hoped it would change the nation. I pleaded in a viral article for the church to awaken and listen and love alongside the truth of the gospel. It was only the beginning, I wrote, and I could not have foreseen how that would play out in places like El Paso and Christchurch. But a movement starts with one, and I personally have to admit that I’ve stumbled and bumbled my way relationally here in Charlottesville after those days. I remain committed, however, to speaking and engaging with the message of reconciliation—both to God and man—that Jesus has given us. Two years later, I see small points of growth in our community. And I praise God for those, one specifically being that the pastors and churches in our community have built relationships across previously held manmade lines. We know one another now. We serve alongside one another now. The pastors are swapping pulpits and continuing to have discussions that stemmed from horrific days. What was meant for evil, God has used for good. We have so far to go. As believers, with God’s help, we will continue to seek the good of this community. That is my prayer for all of us who live in the U.S. in this current day and climate. May we be ambassadors from the future kingdom to come, when every tribe and tongue gathers around our King.
And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me...” I stopped right there in my Bible reading, hearing something all too familiar. Sarai’s sentiment is one I may not say out loud but certainly have believed: God doesn’t always keep his promises. He doesn’t always know what he’s doing. For Sarai, it was children. She believed God was preventing her from having a baby—a baby God had explicitly promised would come. So she took over for God, mapping out a surefire plan, forcing the situation, dead set on getting what she wanted, how she wanted it, and precisely when she wanted it. For me, it’s not children. For me, well, I could show you a long list of things I’ve believed God has prevented me from getting, things I’ve believed I’ve needed and others that I’ve felt I deserved. I see how laughable Sarai’s bitter lament is, only because I know her whole story. I know that Isaac will soon be on his way, and Jacob after that, and then an entire nation built from the fruit of Sarai’s womb. I do not, however, see what’s funny about my own unmet longings, not one single bit. I can’t see ahead to know what will become of me, so I consistently hedge my bets and make my self-reliant plans, believing I can stay one step ahead of any of God’s “preventing.” But all along Sarai’s story, and all along mine and yours, is a repeated phrase: “I will.” GOD WILL. He WILL keep his promises to his people, and no human wisdom, misguided plan, or flagrant sin can thwart him. So whatever “prevention” we think God is doing, he’s really only preventing us from anything less than his perfect plan and his perfect promises. And sometimes He’s preventing us from ourselves. Come trust him with me, dear one, for he is GOOD. #goodnewsindeed #joyfulallegiance #undividedallegiance #withallyourheart #withallyourheartbook #seekfirstthekingdom
7.29 HBD to my mom! 🎉🎂🎈
Grandparents know how to do it up right! Thanks to the generosity of my parents, while Kyle and I snuck away for a few days of R&R and a birthday celebration in Annapolis, my kids have been living large @pinecovecamps with their cousins. They look forward to this week every summer. (And we do, too!) Thank you, Gram and Papa! @danaflem @ldf_1950 #pinecoveranch #pinecovetimbers #pinecoveshores