Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sunday was my youngest daughter’s very first gymnastics meet, and if you read my previous blog post, you know that there was a lot at stake that had very little to do with gymnastics.  It was my child’s day to face her fear.

Overcoming fear looks much more gritty than the movies make it out to be.  In fact, it happens to be a lot like childbirth…ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

If this was a movie, Kennedy would have bounded out of bed, took the bull by the horns and charged out on that gym floor to handspring herself to a gold medal.  However, facing fear isn’t that easy and it certainly isn’t that pretty.  It wasn’t pretty in our house Sunday morning.

The raw reality of this story is that when I told Kennedy it was time to put on her leotard, she began crying and screaming.  The kind of cry that is irrational and inconsolable.  It was real, wrenching, and painful to watch.  She was simply terrified of failing at her handspring and didn’t want to even attempt anything.  Tears rolled out of her eyes as she trembled from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.

As a mother, I was sad, angry, frustrated, and confused all at the same time.  Was I really going to have to FORCE her to face this?  But I already knew the answer…yes.  As parents, our job is to be the strong one when our child is weak.  Our job is to KNOW when our child is capable, but incapacitated by fear.  Our job is to know when to push and when to stand off.  It is a cruel calling on so many levels, but also is a profound lesson all in itself.  If you feel like God is “pushing” you face difficult things, it’s because He probably is.  This was one of those times when I was called to push as well.

After a treacherous few minutes of getting Kennedy in the car, the ride to the gym was silent other than the hum of the radio.  The song played, “I know who goes before me, I know Who stands behind.  The God of angel armies, He’s always by my side…”  I watched in the rearview mirror as Kennedy mouthed the words to the music.  I breathed a sigh of relief that she has the foundation of Christ in her life.  He can lead her where I cannot.  My own personal helplessness subsided a bit.

Thankfully by the time we arrived, she had gathered herself and put a smile on her face when she saw her gym friends.  That was the end of ugly part.  The beautiful part is that Kennedy ended up having an amazing morning on a gymnastics level and a personal level.  Without the option to quit, she did what she knew to do.  In the end, she medaled in all four events and nailed the handspring she so dreaded.  She took 3rd in her age group for the All Around score, and out of the nearly 60 competitors, she landed with the 8th highest score.  For her first meet, she knocked it out of the park.

But you all know that her medals are but dust compared to the step she took within her own confidence.  What mattered to me most was that she showed up to her life.  She didn’t stay on the couch wrapped in a blanket.  In spite of all of the ugliness of fear tumbling out in a haphazard and uncontrollable way, she persevered and made it happen.

For all of you who went on this journey with us, my hope is that you face your fear as well…even if that means you go in kicking and screaming.  Sometimes I wonder if greatness never happens because we are most afraid of the process.  So cry if you have to, scream if you must, but when that is all over, my hope for you is that you will do what you have to do to fulfill your dreams.

And to my Kennedy…I’m so proud of you, Baby.  You have always been one of my greatest teachers and my greatest treasures.  I love you!


Here’s a link to her floor video if you’d like to see the moment:


IMG_1438On top of ministry, I am also the mother of a Competitive Gymnast.  It’s been the trip of a lifetime as I went from absolutely no knowledge of gymnastics to developing a working knowledge of technique, apparatus, and scoring.  I am in way over my head, but loving every minute of the lessons I am learning!

At Kennedy’s level one of the necessary skills is a back handspring.  It looks pretty simple until you think about running full speed, doing a roundoff, and then flinging your body backwards end over end.  (I can’t even imagine!)

At first, Kennedy picked up the skill in good time and seemed to be going about it flawlessly.  She is a powerful runner and her movements are impeccably precise.  All in all, she looked like she was on the right track.

And then one day she fell.

As she landed, her neck took the brunt of the fall and the pain shattered through her little body.

Since that moment those pesky back handsprings have haunted her.  The soreness has long since subsided, and she could physically do a back handspring with no problem.  Her muscles are strong enough to do that and much more, but she continues to struggle.  Why?

It’s all in her head.  On the way down that day, she let doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty move in where boldness, bravery, and courage once lived.  She started renting the space in her head to fear.

At practice yesterday her coach had her do at least 30 back handsprings on the safety of a mat.  Then when she moved Kennedy to the floor, she said, “Kenny!  Can you do a back handspring?”

Of course she can.  She just did dozens of them.

But in that moment, silence filled the enormous gym.  I watched as that same fear bubbled up in her little heart.  There she stood alone on the floor, her shoulders fighting not to slump.  Her bright smile turned down into a nervous, uncertain frown.  She shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

My mother’s heart wanted to scream from my bench, “Baby!  You can do this and SO, SO much more!  You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you.  It’s all in your head.  Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”

And then that voice whispered from Heaven.  “That’s how I feel, too.  If my children believed what I believe about them, they would be fearless.”

Yes, Lord.  You do know that longing in a parent’s heart.  Not for perfect children, but children who UNDERSTAND how strong they are and use that strength to live out the miraculous.

But, Lord, You’re not just talking about Kennedy right now, are you?

I get it.  I have so many of those moments as well.  Moments where I should be brave enough, but past hurts, memories, and insecurities turn into a wall of fear within me.  Lord, let me hear Your voice and not allow fear to hold me back, either.  The lost potential is too much to bear…

And in that moment, I saw the benefit of Kennedy’s struggle.  If, at seven years old, she learns that the voice of fear is the wrong voice, then she can learn that the voice of God is the right voice.  And I bet that God’s voice sounds strikingly similar to a desperate parent, sitting on the side of gym floor, staring at the face of fear trapped in their child and wanting the breathless words to set them free…

“You can do this and SO, SO much more!  You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you.  It’s all in your head.  Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”

Congrats to the Seahawks!  We’re going to the Super Bowl!  Some of our staff and board are big Niners fans, so my condolences to you.  It was a great matchup!

We had an incredible Sunday as well!  I am VERY excited to say that we announced our new Battle Ground youth pastors, Mat and Janell Marbrey.  They will be heading up our youth ministry launch in early March.  I will take some time to blog more specifically, but long story short, this is an amazing opportunity for North Creek, teenagers, and our community.  More to come!

Over at Hazel Dell we had a packed house in both services.  Everyone is enjoying our new location and we are getting comfortable with our new systems.  Thank you for helping us at every turn!  We have such a great church that sees a need and meets it.  That is a healthy body of Christ and I love it!  Over the next few weeks we will be running on all cylinders and have all of our volunteers trained.

New to North Creek and want to volunteer?  Both campuses need a few things right now.  Hazel Dell needs Kid’s Checkin and Greeting help to accommodate the facility change.  Battle Ground needs Tiny Town and Media workers.  If none of that sounds like you, sign up for something else as we are growing all the time and want you involved!  You can sign up at

We are neck deep in the book of Ephesians.  Would you take some time and pray this Scripture over your family and friends:

Ephesians 1:15-19a NIV

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,

16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe….

By the way, if you are ready to get baptized, we would love to schedule a date to celebrate with you!  We have a hot tub that we set up, so anytime is the perfect time!  You can sign up for that as well at

Our Hazel Dell youth ministry had 114 people in the building on Thursday…WOW!  That’s awesome and we love teenagers!  Do me a favor and tell them hello on Sundays.  The world seems to look at teenagers as aliens from another planet, but North Creek sees them as one of our most valuable groups!  And let Kris Gray know how much you appreciate what she does!  Youth ministry is a battlefield like none other.  We love you, Kris and team!!!

We are still crunching the 2013 financial numbers, but we do know that we ended the year in the black with margin.  Thank you for giving to North Creek!  We will be having our Annual Business meeting soon to let you see where and how your money impacted lives in our community and world.

All cylinders are running at full speed right now with lots of exciting things in store.  Would you pray that God gives us favor and wisdom?  We love pastoring, but we covet your prayers as we do so.

God bless you…and the Seahawks! 😉




THANK YOU to everyone who worked so hard to make this weekend happen!  It was a mad dash to the finish, but Hazel Dell was up and running in their new facility!  It was smooth as butter all morning with very minimal adjustments here and there.  It was almost like we had been there for years…

Meanwhile at Battle Ground, both the hearing church and the deaf church had a great service to start the year.  We are so excited for what is in store for us in 2014!  We plan to take some of the creative design elements that we implemented into Hazel Dell and update BG next.  Can’t wait!

We have been seeing lots of new guests walk through our doors at all of our campuses, so make sure you meet someone you don’t know every weekend.  It’s the magic of North Creek that we have people who really care when families walk through the door on a Sunday.  We appreciate your hearts!

Our youth ministry had a wonderful start to their new home in Hazel Dell on Thursday, too.  They were just shy of 100 people in the building and it was awesome to see a packed house!  We love our teenagers!  If you are looking for a way to serve in that arena, email Kris at  She needs everything from small group leaders to people who will come and watch the doors on a Thursday.  Grab a book, grab a chair, and serve our teenagers!

Also, if you are interested in running media, we could use a few more people at both campuses in that ministry.  You can sign up to volunteer at

My highlight story is that my daughter got to give a Bible to one of her friends this weekend.  The Word of God is HOPE, LIFE, and WISDOM!  The gift of a Bible is the gift of understanding God.

I want to say a special thank you to those of you who financially give to our church.  NOTHING we do is possible without the funds to do it and we don’t take it lightly when you give your hard earned money to our church.  We added $1500 to our monthly budget with the purchase of the building, but we trust that we will continue without issues because of the number of people who have jumped in to make it happen.

Here are just a couple of pictures of some of the Hazel Dell foyer space.  I should have taken pictures of the Kid’s rooms, because they are OFF THE HOOK!  They are an unbelievable blessing as North Creek is a kid-heavy church.  They have PLENTY of room to play, learn, and grow in their church!



I hope you have a really amazing beginning of this new year!  It is starting off with a bang at North Creek and it will only get more exciting as we continue to trust in Jesus to guide us, provide for us, and show up in lives in miraculous ways.  Here we go!

Be blessed!


Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday was the LAST service for the Hazel Dell Campus at our old bar on Sunday!  It was a morning full of memories for me as I reminisced about stories of changed lives over the last five years.  I will forever drive by that building and thank God for some of your stories!

Over at Battle Ground we kicked off our first services of 2014 with a bang!  It’s going to be a great year in Battle Ground as we have some exciting things planned for that campus.  More to come soon!

We kicked off a mini-series at both campuses called Gonna Be Different.  What do you want different in your life this year?

And the big news…we picked up and moved an entire church full of stuff in a mere three hours!  By 2:30 in the afternoon, the former building was empty and clean from end to end.

I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like moving a church before.  I had mentally walked through it a thousand times, but it was amazing to watch people jump in wherever they could.  We dismissed service and dug into a potluck while we kicked off some packing.  Then suddenly it was like ants everywhere as people launched into action!

Over at the new place we got everything where it belonged and just have sorting/organizing to do over the next week.  Sound and media will monopolize much of the time over the next several days, but we will be ready to go for our kickoff Youth Service on Thursday and our Main Services on Sunday.  There will still be many details to do over the next several months, especially on the exterior, but we hope to be done with nearly everything by April.

THANK YOU to everyone who helped in whatever way you could in the last month!  We have had food, work, resources, money, ideas, and more work at every turn.  We appreciate you and feel blessed to be the pastors of such a generous church.

My favorite part of all of Sunday was how hard the elementary kids worked.  They were HAULING heavy stuff all over the building as teams.  There were groups of kids all huddled around various objects making sure they got safely to their destinations.  I am sure they all slept well last night!

To sum up my emotions at this point…Watching a dream bigger than yourself become real through the unity of God’s people is unlike anything else in the world.  This is a life I would not trade for anything and I am grateful for the journey that Jesus has us on.  I am glad to be on this journey with you.

Here’s to the future!