Accomplished Plans & Smiling Hearts

“I hep ya, Mama?”-
A direct quote from all 5 of my kids…
over the last 20 years.

I have pictures of them standing on chairs or little stepstools
in the kitchen, wearing an apron, stirring, mixing or just watching
with great interest. Now, back then I didn’t really need their help,
but I loved being with them, and they loved being a part of the action.

One time our oldest, Mariah, (about 5 yrs old at the time) was setting
the table. Her little sister Courtney was about 18 months old
and wanted to help, too. So Courtney proceeded to take a can of pop
from a box of 12, and one by one with your little toddler hands,
took EVERY single can to the dinner table… where all FOUR of us
would be eating! Her “help” may have added a little extra work on my
part, but she was so stinking’ cute and felt so happy to be doing her part
that it made my heart smile! ūüôā

On Friday when I opened my Bible, God said I should just make everything
I read my prayer. I’ve been reading in Isaiah, so I picked up at Chapter 25.
Verse one says…

“O LORD, I will honor and praise your name,
for you are my God.
You do such wonderful things!
You planned them long ago,
and now you have accomplished them.”

I started praising His name and thanking Him for all He’s done
and accomplished in Detroit and Courage Church.
Then He quietly said,
“My plans for you being in Detroit have been accomplished.”
Before I could even finish a nice sigh of relief
I stopped short & said,
“Lord I’ve made so many mistakes, how could it all be accomplished?”

He smiled at me ( yes, He does that) and said,
“Yes of course you made mistakes.
You’re a human child, but my plans have still been accomplished.”

Then I read on until this verse …
Isaiah 26:12
“LORD, you will grant us peace;
all we have accomplished is really from you.”

(I added the underlining!)

oh, Duh, Netta! Of course!
Everything is accomplished because HE did it!
Such a merciful God who lets us “help” Him carry out His plans!

Thank you, Daddy God, for allowing me to “help” you!
Perhaps I made your heart smile, too! ūüôā

The “H” Word – 10 years later

I couldn’t get myself to speak the word.
It was what I knew God wanted, but how
in the world could I tell Chilly?

That was ten years ago this month.
We were moving our young
girls to the city of Detroit. (previous post
here) But didn’t God know that the Detroit
City schools were… well… not the best.
Actually they didn’t even fall into anything
close to “Ok.” What is God thinking?

Chilly & I trusted God and of course
He had a plan. NOT the plan I wanted to
hear about, though. NOT at all!!!
For several days I knew that GOD had spoken
to me and instructed us to do the “H” word.
REALLY? “Oh, Lord. We hardly know any
good examples of kids who have been
schooled that way!? Really?”

I couldn’t do it. My mouth wouldn’t
speak the word. But then one night
when the girls were snug in their beds,
Chilly & I sat in the living room; he
turned to me and said it! HE spoke
the “H” word!
“Honey, God wants us to homeschool.”

“I know! Oh… ugh. I know! What in
the world!? What do I do? Where will
I begin? It’s so huge!”

God directs our lives. He calls the shots.
So we said, “Yes!”
Then something insanely crazy happened…
I wanted to to homeschool.
How is this possible?

You know that whole verse about God giving
you the desires of your heart? Well, I
didn’t think this WAS my desire (by any
stretch of the imagination!) But God
knew better. And when we said, “YES”
He changed our hearts! It became thrilling
to think of… scary, but exhilarating!
(That’s how obedience goes… just saying!)

A month later I was spending a few days
with my cousin in Ohio. She had homeschooled
her girls all the way through. They had
college scholarships and are gorgeous,
well-adjusted ladies now. My cousin
poured into me every bit of info
that popped into her head, and I frantically
took crazy-detailed notes. Thank you, Becky!

Later I attended an evening info session
at a local event… scribbling more notes
and then scouring the internet for all
shreds of info available. (There’s wasn’t
as much 10 years ago as there is today!)

With fear, trembling and joy we started
what would become a 10 year journey into the
“H” word… We became a homeschool family.

To be continued…

(If there’s a topic you’d like to
know more about, please let me know.)

That first drive – 10 years Later

Ten years ago (June 2004) Chilly & I, our three young daughters
and 8 young adults moved to Detroit. Over the next few months
I will be posting parts of that history – my history- possibly
your history, too. Each post will include “10 years later” in
the title. (If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any of
these posts you can have them sent directly to your email.
See the bar at the side.)

That First Drive

hamtramck MI

When Chilly first drove me into the strange and ever-so unique
city-within-the-city-of- Detroit known as
The City of Hamtramck, I was praying.
Desperately.
Franticly.
In a horrible panic.
“Oh, Jesus! Please hurry & help me love this place!”

Unknown

Oddly-shaped,unusually decorated buildings.
Muslim call-to-pray blasting over city-wide loud speakers.
Men in dresses.
Homeless & needy people in every direction.
More cultures and religions in one tiny place
than I could’ve imagined. (and I’d done my homework!)
“Help me, Jesus! How on earth can I possibly live here?”
“Is this even America?”

hamtramck MI

I dug deep and found positive things to say
to Chilly, anything besides what I was really thinking.
He knew. But how could we voice it. If God was sending us
here, to this pocket of Detroit to begin a new ministry,
then how could we do anything but look for the good…
to hunt diligently for it.

Chains & a gate on the building when we first saw it

Chains & a gate on the building when we first saw it

Walking into the building that had been “given” to us
did nothing to erase the panicked flipping of my stomach.
The once-Polish nightclub, turned church, turned abandoned
building would become a second home to us…
but at that moment we were greeted by mold, dirt
and fragments of what had once been something.
It was now “nothing.”
It would become a thing that would change lives.
But first Jesus had to begin that change in ME!

(To be continued…)

I’m not gunna lie

I’m not gunna lie. ¬†It’s true… I look.
As of Monday evening I totally take a close look…
at every person riding a bike in our neighborhood.
It’s because I’m instinctively looking for a bike that
looks similar to this one….

bike

Why?
Because my daughter’s bike (that looked similar
to this picture above) was stolen from our garage
during the night.  Then, as if the gashes in the
garage weren’t enough, the thieves returned
during the early evening (while we were away
for a couple of hours) and hacked away at the
garage door again. (fortunately we’d reinforced
the door).  But seriously!

Now some of you may be thinking, “That crazy
family just needs to move out of Detroit?”
(And we really do live right in the heart of
Detroit city… not a suburb.)
But move?  Really?

I bet you’ve had a missionary come to your
church and tell wild stories of danger from
the country they are called to, right?  You
probably sat there with awe and admiration,
thinking, “Wow, they are so obedient to Jesus!”
Why then, do you some of you get disgusted to
hear stories of a missionary in one of your own cities?

You have a choice… just like we do.
Proverbs 11:11
“Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper,
but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.”

God has sent us to Detroit to make it our home;
He sent us to share His love and the hope that
comes through His forgiveness and salvation.
You have to be where God has called you, too…
and if it’s in the city… yay!
(maybe He’s calling¬†you to our city!)
Or maybe He’s put you elsewhere.

Just obey.
And… speak well of those who are citizens of the
city… and Pray for us! (and other urban missionaries!)

 

Oh…
and a wonderful lady in a nearby area has given
our daughter another bike similar to the one that was
taken on Monday night. ¬†As I’m typing this, our friend
and daughter are on their way to pick it up!  THANK YOU,
Kind Lady who is “blessing the city!”

 

 

 

4 Days Detroit- recap

 

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Ministry Teams of teenagers & youth leaders came to
Courage Church, Detroit from Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and Indiana.
Each morning the students benefited from quality (and fun)
teaching followed by outreach ministry in the afternoon.

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The evenings services left HUGE and lasting impressions
on students and adults with the ministries of Reggie Dabbs,
Edgar Cabello, Richard Crisco, Sounds Good Ministries
and my favorite…¬†Chilly Chilton!

(Click on the pics below to go to their links)

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The final evening a rally was hosted at Courage Church
for the entire neighborhood of Southwest Detroit, also
proudly known as Mexicantown. (pictured below)

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Our building was SOOO full of people, and everyone
had a chance to hear about the love of Jesus and about
150 people raised their hands to signal that they wanted
to give their lives to Jesus!  SOOOO wonderful!

Nearly 25 of these new friends attended our regular
church service on Sunday morning and several of them
are taking their committment to Jesus so seriously that
they’ve asked to be baptised in water! ¬†YAY!
In the words of NOT-so-spiritual song The Hokey
Pokey… “That’s what it’s ALL about!”

Thank you for praying (if you did)!
If you didn’t… please start now!
Pray for these new friends who just beginning their
journey with Jesus!
Pray for our family & leadership team!

THANKS!
(Many of you reading this helped make this amazing week
possible!  THANK YOU!  You have made a nice spot for
yourselves in our hearts!)

Dictionary Headlines

Dictionary Headline = a fusion of two genre’s of communication in an effort
to explain all the life-changing things that are happening.

——————————————————————————————————-

Freaky Friday = realizing on Friday at lunchtime that your three youngest children
will no longer be homeschooled because God has miraculously made an opening
for all THREE of them in a wonderful school right in your own the city!
But…Now you must frantically buy school uniforms since they begin on Monday morning.

Satisfying Saturday= attending your oldest daughter’s
graduation from Xmin Academy where she’s gone through
Global University
, plus many other tests and the
memorization of over 400 scripture verses and will
continue to serve in Detroit where God has called her…
as a soon-to-be licensed minister.

PraisePrayPreachingParty = (sure, it’s a real word) when
you completely love your church and enjoy every
second spent with them on Sundays (and Saturday
in small group, and Wednesday in Bible Study and
any other days throughout the week!)

Reality Dream = when you take the children you’ve homeschooled
to a “real” school where they happily bounce into a classroom for the
first time in their lives and excitedly begin to made new friends, but
none of it feels very real.

Power Packing= helping your husband pack a suitcase before
he leaves on a three day trip called “Manuvers” with the current
Xmin students (who are from MI, MN and CA).

Xmin= X is from the first century letter that was an abbreviation
of “CHRIST,” and Min represents “ministry.”¬† (see details here)

Second First Day = the second time this fall that your children
have a first day of school because the first day was in September
when you started homeschool; the second is this
Monday when they started a Charter school.

A Nine Day*= A day that doesn’t feel like
any particular day of the week;
a strange one; the type of day that makes you
wonder around the house because you’ve
been at home with ONE or MORE small
children to care for  the last
TWENTY years
and now, suddenly, they’re
ALL in school. All day.
And you’re home… with no little ones.
(I had 5 Nine Days)

Hardcore Nap = when you sleep so hard that when
your alarm goes off you panic cuz it’s light and you think
you’ve overslept and made the entire household late for school.

Free Lunch= having lunch with a friend without having
had to find someone to watch
the children (for the 1st time in 20 years!)

Birthday Bonanza= when you bake approx. 8 dozen “monster” cookies for your son’s
6th bday so he can take treats to school and to church that evening; then bake & decorate his spiderman cake (with his help & instruction, of course!)

Perpetual Progress=
the constant commitment and hard work of my husband & a zillion other amazing people from Courage Church who
are working hard to finish a project only to begin
another one in order to have the 3rd campus of
Courage Church open by TOMORROW! (October 7th!)

 

 

Courage Church has campus locations in Hamtramck,
Midtown Detroit and now Mexicantown!
You can help us celebrate our 8th anniversary as a church
by attending the Mexicantown Grand Opening tomorrow,
October 7th at 3pm!  Or you can watch it live beginning
at 3:30 here!

 

*Nine Day is a phrase coined by Courtney Chilton a few years ago
that is very fitting on many days… for many reasons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer so Far (part 2)

July 4th we went to the Detroit Tiger’s Game. Right after this pic was taken it rained for 2 straight hours. But we stuck it out & had a blast!

Really hot days are good for staying inside & racing cars

 

Messing with the photo programs just never gets old, does it?
  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting a friend’s new, teeny baby girl when she was just a few hours old

Enjoying another sweet baby born to our church family

Swing Set water (and mud) park that got great reviews. (Notice the swin noodle hanging above their heads. It has holes cut in it & the hose is attached to the end)

Real Church became “Courage Church.” Check it out at www.couragechurch.com

It’s not every church that gets to hold it’s baptism on the “beer deck” of a local venue.

Courage Church is giving a beautiful new location & huge opportunities to reach a whole new area of the city with JESUS’ love! (it needs numerous repairs… maybe you have the ability & resources to help spread HIS love. Look here )

Lots & lots of board games & card games