Friday, February 26, 2010

I am not a church building hater

The subject of church has come up a lot lately. I visited my old pastor from 7 years ago and as I left his wife said, "So where do you go to church?" "You know you need to be in church."

Then one of my new and awesome friends asked me to come to a meeting where several churches are coming together to discuss building a multimillion dollar building and they want to brain storm what to put in it to attract the young folk. One of my old and yet still awesome friends said, "You just opened up a can of worms." I just smiled.

Fast forward a couple sleepless nights. I am not a church building hater. Actually, I have always dreamed of a building packed with clothes. So many clothes that you have to sit on them just to fit in the sanctuary. A kitchen with a hot meal always ready, not a trendy coffee shop. A food pantry opened 24/7. Beds and showers for those who need it. I have held on to this vision for 18 years.

I whispered to the pastors wife, "I DO church my own way." Yes, we ARE the church, it doesn't always have to be in a four walled structure. It can look like a group of friends coming over to paint. It can look like a conversation with my Alaskan friend via Facebook. It can look like the heartbreak I feel when one of my friends messes up. It can look like my friends from elementary school coming over for a "Just Dance" party.

I have a vision where the CHURCH takes care of those in need instead of the government. I have a vision of children being able to break the cycle of poverty. I have the vision where if someone is cold, hungry or wet then believers will step in and provide. I have a vision where churches stop putting their money into planting more flowers or repaving their perfect parking lot and invest the money into people instead.

This is the most personal blog I could have ever written.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I was once surrounded by to many kids in Africa. I had a break down. I ran for cover immediately. Obviously, I was not a kid person.

I just rocked my baby to sleep and I was thinking back at parenthood up to this point. We are doing something that our parents never did. Raising three children.

I started off my parenthood experience with many many bumps. With Stormie I endured over two days of labor, an emergency C-Section, pain for a year and depression that followed. I would not want to be left alone with her. My sister had to take over the mother role for a long time. I think I may have scarred her. I am still waiting on nieces and nephews.

Two years later I had my second daughter, Starr. She came early, my mom and sister were in Africa, my great grandparents were dying and she was in distress. My great-grandmother had actually proclaimed that she was done living just two months earlier. I asked if she could wait just a little bit more. I wanted her to see Starr. She did and past on just a month shy of her 100 year birthday. Her husband, Papa Payne, went on just a couple months after her. Neither of them had anything wrong with them. Mawmaw was just tired and Papa couldn't live without her.

Starr's first year is a blur to me. We had so many things that happened that year. Including my mother-in-law moving in. Don't worry, that was a good thing. ;)

Now, I have my son, Che. My little revolutionary. I can finally breathe and enjoy. I have complete peace with him and this flows over into my love for my daughters. Having three is actually easier then having just the girls.


Our home is filled with laughter, creativity, books and the encouragement that all five of us can shoot for the stars. We intend on doing just that.


Monday, January 25, 2010

....continued Bugs vs Bananas

Che, my nine month old, just tried to eat a bug. My mom-in-law thought a banana would be a better choice.

We moved to a new county, knew one person, but felt like God told us to do it.

It took months to fight through the hurt, that turned into anger that led to understanding.

During this time a pastor, whom I never had met, called me about every week for almost a year. He would call just to tell me that he believed in me and to encourage me. Very strange, indeed.

As time past we became friends and he told me about a vision he had. The vision was of Jesus standing on the bridge that connects Ohio with Ravenswood, West Virginia. Jesus had his hands stretched out towards our state. I didn't have the vision but I can see it so clearly.

We had moved our expanding family to be part of an enrichment center. My friend noticed that I would actually glow whenever I would speak with a scene kid or when I was booking bands for fundraisers. Very strange.

Time past, the center didn't work out, but the real reason we were brought to this peculiar conservative town was birthed, The Bridge.

It was a place where young adults could come and be accepted. Come as you are attitude. We gave local bands and artists an outlet. We provided a meal and gave clothes and books away.

The park became my church. The scene kids my congregation. The McDonald's orange drink and the hot dogs my communion.

My daughter was even dedicated by the original lead singer of Zao with a metal band leading worship. It was beautiful and strange, indeed.

There is so much more to the story. The Holy Spirit falling in a city council meeting and I end up on the floor. A congregation condemning me on a regular basis for mixing Jesus and Rock 'n Roll. The principal of my daughter's school coming out to support. Praying with men of God on a weekly basis in this small, conservative town.

I wasn't suppose to be eating bugs. God had another plan for me and bananas taste sooo much better.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dreams and opportunity come out of rejection

I had a dream. Well, I have lots of dreams. It seems that I am never satisfied. That may sound bad to some but it is motivation to me.

I didn't plan to go to college. My parents never really pushed us in any direction. They are both college graduates but they let my sister and I figure things out on our own.

We were even able to listen to secular music. Yes, this was a big deal on the hill that we grew up on. Once, my neighbor's father got a hold of my boom box and fixed it so I could only listen to the Christian station. My other neighbor's father banned her from coming over and listening to Steve Taylor. The song "Life Boat" was just wrong.

I did graduate undergrad, a couple times in fact. That was a dream that I didn't know I had. Then sitting at graduation beside a friend, because our last name's were both Wilkinson, she asked what I was going to do next. I was clueless and very scared at the thought. She asked if I wanted to go to grad school at Marshall and pursue a masters in communication studies. Shoot, why not!

I taught at Marshall for two years, completed the degree, substituted in the public school system and supported my husband and I while he began his college career. It took us seven years to rack up four degrees between us. These were dreams that we didn't know we had.

Many other things have happened to us in our fifteen years of marriage. So many dreams that have became realizations. So many things that at first glance looked awful but turned out to me amazing.

Some may have heard this story before but it had such a huge impact on us and where we are today. The church that my parents founded. The church that they gave away to concentrate on state and city ministry. The church that I was raised in and continued to attend for twenty plus years. The only church family my husband really ever knew. Told Bob and I that we no longer belonged there. We were post-modern and they were modern. (The term post-modern was the new buzz word at the time and I still don't think anyone knows what it means) I know they meant this as a good thing and hopefully spoke it out of love. However, it didn't feel like that at the time.

It felt as though the ones that knew me since I could walk were turning their backs on us. However, it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. It pushed us out. It gave us wings. It gave us the opportunity to risk it all.

I faced city councils repeatably. I faced protests. I faced rumors. I faced great love from pastors that I had never really felt before. To be continued....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My friend circle- Edward, Bella and Jacob

This time last year I was in a deep depression. First time this has ever happened to me. I completely isolated myself from everyone. Edward, Bella and Jacob became my friend circle. I was pregnant with my son.

I only mention this because of the response that I received from my first attempt at a blog post. The simple click of the word "like" on facebook really gives confidence and a feeling of "I can do it." My project this year will be something that I never thought I would do. Hence, the confidence is needed.

Facebook also brings up some stupid things that I did as a kid. With the "throw back" week it really stirred up some things. I was dumb in sixth grade and I told my friends that I was going to get new ones in Jr High. I paid for that for two years by being completely isolated. We really didn't speak again until facebook. That would be twenty plus years. If any of you are reading this, I am truly sorry.

I think about when we are all grandparents now and if we will still be networking. Remembering facebook conversations. My old elementary friend Jennifer helped me this year by giving me tips to get my newborn asleep. I was alone that night and she was there for me. I have gotten the chance to read Lori's posts about her sons and her youngest starting Pre-K. I know that he needs a little extra attention then her oldest. Through facebook I feel like I get to be a very small part in a lot of people's lives.

Through the Adopt a Jesus tour, which has completely consumed me and almost drove me over the edge more then once, I have gotten to meet a lot of people that I would not have otherwise. Ministries that I have only read about, clipped articles about, and never dreamed I would be connected, happened this year. First Church of the Living Dead, The Asylum, JPUSA, Hot Metal Bridge Church and so many more. I have even became friends with a Cornerstone legion, Momma Linda. She came through West Virginia on her way to North Carolina from Illinois and made it a point to stop and have brunch with me. Amazing!

Facebook has even opened the door to a relationship that I never thought would be. Someone who I wanted to be in Jr High and High School. I suppose everyone has someone like that in their teenage years. She got the guy, then I got the same guy, then I found out that he wasn't the guy I wanted. Funny, how those things work.

For this blog I just want to say how thankful I am for all of you who have touched me life, been part of my life and continue to be in my life. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In the beginning

I always said that I should write down what has happened in my life. I didn't grow up in the normal family. I am sure that is the reason I am who I am today.

I have a new endeavor that I want to pursue during this coming year. The first step is to catch up, share my life past, present and future. Then share the new project as it unfolds.

Day 1
I grew up in central West Virginia. Most of my relatives lived on the same mountain. I could find my distant relatives graves just by a short walk in the woods.

My parents were on the cutting edge of Christianity starting in the 70's. I was born in '75. I saw my parents as rebels. They brought in all of the contemporary Christian bands in the Charleston area when it was taboo. Yes, Amy Grant and Petra were edgy. They were youth pastors at this time and they found out that they had been dismissed by reading a goodbye to Ron and Nancy in their church bulletin. That is awesome!I get it honestly.

As a small child I spent a lot of time on the streets of Charleston with my parents in white face. We would travel around the city performing Christian mimes. We all had "Jesus Loves You Charleston" t-shirts on. Picture bright colors, balloons, and a man with a guitar.

(My 7 year old daughter just came in and told me she wants to create a game for facebook. She already has it all planned out. She is soooo my daughter. Always thinking and possibilities are unlimited.)

My parents organized a Christian music festival in West Virgina. It was to be huge and they had the top talent lined up. It rained and I almost drowned in a lake. Oh well, they tried.

As time went on my parents went through some really tough stuff. Most of it at the hands of Christians. My sister and I never knew about it all until we grew up. My parents were really good at making sure we were loved and shielded. I actually didn't realize that really bad things could happen to our family until my sister broke her back. I was twenty-something. I remember hugging my dad at our church and feeling vulnerable to the outside world for the first time. The abuse that I have felt at the hands of some Christians is nothing compared to what my parents went through.

Time keeps ticking and my parents start a church in our single-wide. That will be tomorrow's blog. :)