Monday, July 7, 2014

LOVE and the church sign

A couple months ago I was driving down the road when I noticed a church sign that read, "Love makes everything easy."  It got me thinking.

Does love make everything easy?

In my life, I'm not sure that I have found this statement to be true.  In fact, it may be quite the opposite.

Let me explain.

Right now....
I know a single mother who is doing everything she can to provide for the emotional and physical needs of her four boys.
I know a beautiful couple who are incredible foster parents and after a long battle in court they had to say good-bye to a sweet baby girl that they had loved extravagently.
I know a teenager girl, who despite being barely a teenager, cares for the needs of her younger siblings.
I know a courageous mom and dad who work tirelessly to care for the special needs of their young son.
I know a grieving father who just buried his five-year-old after a long battle of cancer.
I visit a therapy office once a week and see countless parents who are advocating for the needs of their young children.
I know a couple who is fighting to save their relationship.

From what I see, love does not make things easy.

The areas in which I give the most love are most definitely NOT the easiest.
Parenting=not easy
Maintaining relationships=not easy
Loving people like Jesus did=not easy
Living a life of ministry=not easy

Living in Keller Park has taught me a lot about love, the kind of love that is a marathon and not a sprint.  The kind of love that sticks with it through thick and thin. Does this love make everything easy? Oh my goodness, no.  Some of the most difficult situations I have ever faced and some of the deepest hurt I have ever felt has come from loving others. All in all, however, I would say that love is worth it. Through love, Jesus is changing me.  It's not about making things easy,  it's all about being faithful to Jesus and loving like He would-making it worth it.

I can't help but think about all of the people I listed above, those who are loving radically as they face   difficult situations in their lives. I can't imagine that they would say their love has made things easy, but I feel like most (if not all) would say that because of love it is all worth going through.

I think love is worth it (but definitely not easy).  Hmmm....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Keller Park Christmas Store

Looking for a way to be a blessing to others this Christmas season?  We are hosting the 3rd annual Christmas Store at Keller Park Church on December 15th for families in our community.  Families are able to purchase new items at 80% off store prices.  We need your help to stock the store.  Here is how you can get involved:
1. Purchase gifts from "Wish Lists" at Target or by searching for Keller Park Christmas Store.
2.  Donate cash for us to purchase additional gifts as needed.
3.  Spread the word to your family and friends.  The more people we get involved, the more families we can serve.

We look forward to partnering with you!  Thank you for helping make this Christmas season a little less stressful for the families in Keller Park.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's All Worth It

Last night was really rough.  Really rough.  In the last blog post I told you a little bit about CREW. CREW is a weekly youth gathering that serves as Keller Park Church's youth group. CREW was pretty difficult last night.  I had to break up a fight, ask a student to leave(and actually get him to leave the building), do constant crowd control, and persuade students to leave after CREW while they had a giant cupcake-throwing war outside with some unwilling participants.  By the end of the night I was spent.  After CREW, I spent several hours brainstorming new programming and techniques to get kids to listen and behave.  By the end of the night I was feeling a bit sorry for myself....wondering if all of this was actually making a difference.  I sometimes find myself in a place where it all seems for not.  

Then today happened.  

I took Stella to ballet class and when we returned home, I found this on my front door.
The index cards read: Carrie Anne Badertscher, You have made a great impact on our lives.  All the things you have done for us.  We want to give something back.  We want to show you that you are appreciated and that we love you.  We have something for you at Michelle's.  We really hope you enjoy it.  This is to show you how much we care.

As I walked through my house, I noticed index cards taped in various spots.  One on the couch that read, "the first time we cried together."  One on the table that read, "first time you encouraged us on school" and another on a picture in the back room that read, "a place we call home."  So many memories written on index cards.  My heart was full and so were my eyes(full of tears).

After I finished reading the cards, David said it was time to go to Michelle's house, which is right around the block from our house. (Michelle helps me lead the girls' discipleship group.  She and her husband live in the neighborhood.)  When we arrived at their home, Nene and Asia were standing at the door.  As they welcomed us in, I noticed this poster on the wall behind them.  
I can't begin to explain how I felt.  It was all just so overwhelming.  We hugged and then they made fun of me for crying so much.  I must have looked like a hot mess.  They quickly ushered me to the back room where, soon after entering, people jumped out from behind furniture and from within closets and yelled, "surprise."  It was then that I started to cry the ugly cry.  Families from church, UME students, volunteers from CREW, my discipleship girls, they were all there.  We munched on snacks the girls had gotten together and watched the kiddos run around with great delight.  It was a rich time of fellowship. 

After the families left, the girls had a special dinner waiting for the five of us.  On the dinner menu was: taco salad, movie popcorn(they actually went to a movie theatre and just purchased popcorn), sour patch kids, and Pepsi.  All my favorite things.  We laughed and reminisced about that past two years.  

The evening ended with the girls reading letters they had written about our time together and memories we have shared.  

I have never experienced a night like tonight.  It was truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  The girls had planned it all and kept it all a secret.  They put a menu together, secretly got house keys from David, invited families from church, and taken time to write out their thoughts.  They blessed my heart in a way that it has never been blessed before.  

Every tear, every frustration, every late night, every knock and phone call, every difficult night at CREW.  It's all worth it.  Thank you Nene, Asia, Haley and Michelle for reminding me of that.  Thank you for loving me like you do.  I love you all desperately.  My cup runneth over.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Normal Week?

Over the past several months, people have often asked what a normal week looks like for us. I'm not sure there is a normal week, but from Fall to Spring we certainly do have a weekly schedule that is consistent from week to week.   

For about a year now, David has been working part-time as a stonemason.  He is currently working four days a week and stays home on Tuesdays with the girls while I work at the church preparing for CREW.  This schedule is working well for our family.  He is home in time for evening programs while being able to provide financially for our family.  His income is used to supplement the funds we raise as missionaries.  As we begin our third year in Keller Park, we have found a good rhythm for the neighborhood and our family with plenty of margin to stay emotionally healthy.  Whew.  We're happy about that.

Here are some of the programs that remain consistent from week to week, broken down by the day of the week.

Sunday-Every other Sunday morning we host a neighborhood breakfast before church. Neighborhood kiddos come at 8:45a and we eat breakfast at 9:30a.  Between 8:45a and 9:30a, the kids play Xbox, Nerf basketball, or just visit while we cook breakfast.  Their favorite things to eat are: any kind of breakfast meat, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, and breakfast burritos. After breakfast, we all walk to church together.  

Monday- On Mondays, I (Carrie) lead an all-girls discipleship group.  David is home from work by 5:15p and I leave by 5:20p to pick up three girls from a local high school.  Group is held from 5:30p-7:30p.  We work on homework at the beginning of our time and then dive into conversation.  This discipleship group has far surpassed my expectations.  The girls are diving into the Word daily and are memorizing Scripture like champs.  They have made themselves accountable to one another and are encouraging each other to take steps toward Christ.  We are currently studying James 3 and learning how to tame our tongues.

Tuesday-  Our church youth group, CREW, meets every Tuesday from 6:00p-8:00p.  CREW is designed to be a safe place where students come together, experience community and ultimately take steps toward Christ.  I spend the majority of the day on Tuesday planning and programming our Tuesday evening sessions. I really enjoy leading CREW.  Students are faithful in attending and we have a fantastic group of adults who serve as small group leaders. We are currently working through a series on Identity.  (Thanks to the generosity of so many, we serve a dinner meal to anyone who comes to CREW)

Wednesday- After Stella's weekly ballet class, which she absolutely loves, we host dinner for anyone who wants to come.  We work on lots of homework (lots and lots of homework) and then set the table for dinner.  We, as a family, really like Wednesday evenings.  It's a great time of relationship building and laughter.  What do we serve for dinner? Anything I can find in my freezer or refrigerator.  What are their favorite things to eat? Tacos, lasagna, chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes, and homemade macaroni and cheese. They also look forward to desserts on Wednesdays.  I try to make something special for dessert after this meal.

Thursday- On Thursdays, we hold a homework time/computer lab/open basketball/Bible study at Keller Park Church.  From 4:30p-6:30p, the students work on homework, use the computer lab and play a little basketball.  From 6:30p-7:30p we hold a Bible study, open to any 6th-12th grader who would like to come.  This is a new program and is gaining momentum. (We serve some kind of substantial snack during this program) 

Friday- Day Off.  We try not to schedule anything on this day unless something comes up.

Saturday- Random activities and events. 

This is how we spend our week! We love what we do and are blessed to do what we love.

People have also asked how to financially support our family and ministry.  Pastor Ryan at Keller Park Church set up an easy way for individuals to give.  In the right margin of our blog is a green DONATE button.  If you would like to give financial support to Keller Park Ministries, you can give through the blog and it goes directly into our account at Keller Park Church.  

A GIANT thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, given financial support, cooked a meal or cookies, or volunteered for various programs.  You are appreciated and are very much a part of what we do in Keller Park.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lessons from Children to Parents

I've been thinking quite a bit the last two weeks about the role of a parent in the life of a child.  Most of my processing has come after conversations with students.  Their words challenge me to be a better parent.

Here are some of the things I am learning from them:
  • Children want someone to care (even when they act like they don't).  Your children may tell you to quit nagging, to "not worry about it", they may even be pretty vocal about not wanting you in their business.  But from what I am learning,  no matter what they say, they need and want someone to care (i.e. Did you get your homework done? Do you have clean clothes? What time will you be home? Who do you think you're dating??)
  • Children need someone to listen.  I was cooking dinner at church a couple evenings ago and a high school girl came to meet me there directly after school.  She could not get words out fast enough.  At one point, she stopped and asked me if she was talking to much.  It got me thinking. How many times do I hurry my own daughter through what she is trying to tell me? How many times do I just not hear her at all?  No kiddo should feel like they are talking too much or that their parent doesn't want to/have time to listen.   Children are processing through so much, they need someone to listen (not always give advice, but to always listen).
  • Children need a parent who is emotionally available.  When we as parents have so much pain or chaos in our own lives, we become emotionally closed to those around us.  Unfortunately, this has a negative effect on our children.  Children need a parent or parents who have emotional margin to help their children navigate through this broken and painful world.  Parents, we must seek healing so we can help our children find it as well. (Jesus is the only one who can offer this  healing.  Not alcohol, not drugs, not sex, not money)
  • Children need parents who will not abuse or neglect them.  Parents, please don't abuse your children.  Please, please don't neglect their needs in pursuit of meeting your own.  This is what keeps me awake at night more than anything else.  Children are to be cherished, to be loved. 
  • Children need someone they can look up to.  When children look up, they see their parents first.  Are we as parents living our lives in a way we want our children to live?  Are we living out our faith in a way they can follow?  Would we want our children to model their behavior after ours?  We are creating cycles and patterns for our children that will be hard for them to break. What kind of cycles and patterns are we creating?  I need to keep asking myself that.
  • Children need to be tucked in at night, to feel safe. I once had a student tell me that their home was unsafe.  Another shared a story with me about numerous times they had to leave their home to escape some kind of imminent danger.  This lack of security is often too much for a child to handle.  Every child needs someone in their life who will tuck them in at night "snug as a bug in a rug."  They need someone who will always have their back. 
  • Children need to be reminded that they are not alone.  At the dance studio today, Stella came out of her ballet class just to make sure that I was sitting in the same place I was when she went to class.  On the way home I asked her why she did that.  She told me, "I was feeling lonely and I wanted to make sure you were still there."  Every week I reassure her that I will be there waiting for her, this time she wanted to make sure my words were true.  When our children are lonely, do they know where to find us? 
  • Parents, your presence at home is meaningful.  A child should have someone in their life they can count on.  A child should know to where to find their parent when they need them.  I know that there is a lot of debate over "quality vs. quantity" of time spent with our children.  From what I am learning, kids just want someone (specifically a parent) that will be there for them, spending time at home with them.  
  • Future lessons go here.
Parenting can be overwhelming.  It's scary to think that I have this much influence over any life, but the reality is...I do.  In fact, we all do.  Parents or not.   I am continuously thankful that I serve a God who is strong in my weakness, who fills in the gaps when I cannot, and is routing for me to be the best parent I can be.  Apart from Him, I fail.  With Him (and lots of grace and "I'm sorries"), I'm finding my way as I learn from those around me.

If you are a parent who feels like you are able to provide this for your own children, perhaps it is time to also find another kiddo who needs a strong, stable adult in their life.  For those of you who are not currently parents or your kiddos are all grown, the call is for you as well.  Is their a child that you can come alongside and offer support?  There are lots of hurting kids and each needs a pit crew.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to School Store

We will be collecting donations for school supplies, then hosting a store for families to purchase supplies at discounted rates. Proceeds from the store will then be given to a local public school to purchase any necessary supplies they may be lacking. Your donation will 1) bless you as you 2) empower us as parents to prepare our kids for school AND 3) resource a local school! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

i like adoption

What is your passion? Do you have that "one thing" you just can't shake? It's the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that aches for that one cause, people group, interest, hobby, etc.  It's often the subject that evokes an involuntary response when it is brought to your attention.

For me, it's adoption.  Several years ago I attended a leadership conference in Atlanta. During a session, the emcee brought a couple up on stage to share their story of adoption.  I'm sure everyone in the stadium heard me...I was the lady weeping in her seat. Not the quiet, lady-like cry. It was the ugly cry. I couldn't contain myself.  

Through the journey of adopting our Sugarbee and fostering others, those deep feelings have not lessened, in fact, they have grown all the more.  As I parent my four-year-old adopted daughter, I cannot imagine her being any more mine, and me hers.  I know I could not love her any more than I do at this moment.  It's makes me a little weepy even now as I watch her playing with her princesses on daddy's lap.  She is my wish come true.

In James 1:27 it says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Caring for the fatherless, for the orphan, was and is important to the Lord.  He even goes as far to tell us that "anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."-Matthew 18:5

Foster Care and Adoption Stats:
There are 400,000 children in foster care in the United States.
650,000 children spent time in out-of-home care last year.
Currently, there are 9,294 children in Indiana in foster care. 2,886 of the children in foster care are available and awaiting adoptive families.
There are a total of 153,000,000 orphans worldwide.

The need is great.  

Here is a great video of an adopted family:

At a Foster Care and Adoption Symposium today they showed a trailer for a documentary called STUCK.  The documentary highlights the way International Adoption is on the decline in our country because of various closed countries and the laws that coincide, while over 10 million children in orphanages wait for a family.  I felt so moved as I watched.  There are many children who need homes and yet it is so difficult to get to them. Please, take two minutes and watch this:

Yes, the need is great, but I believe we can make a difference.  Is God asking you to get involved? I'd love to talk with you more if you're interested.  Feel free to leave a comment or email if you'd like to talk more about adoption.

i really like adoption,