Friday, August 31, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 11

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story

Back together at last! 
But this time was different.  A few months before our second go around I was at a young adult’s bible study with a few hundred people.  Roger was there.  Now that he was back working in Southern California on a cop schedule, we didn’t see him much and he started going to a new church.  I had gone on a few dates since Roger had broken up with me and left for the CHP Academy.  Nothing too serious, but I ran into all those guys that night!  In my journal I wrote:

 August 7, 2001
“I walked away tonight having so many fun conversations with awesome guys, but I can only think of Roger.  He’s the only one who still makes my heart race when he brushes up against me, takes my breath away when he looks at me and smiles, brings me to tears as I watch him worship our  Lord.  My heart loves this man for all that he is, even on bad days, he’s the only one I’m attracted to and the only one that I’m still left remembering at the end of the day.”

 With that, I did something I’ve never done before.  I made the first move.  I prayed about it for a few months and then sat down with Roger and asked if there was ever a chance of us dating again?  I just needed to know once and for all so I could move on.  After a very long conversation and a few days to think and pray, we started dating again – October 26th, 2001.

 Now our worlds were different – he was a cop and I was in a pastoral role and we didn’t see each other as often.  His work schedule allowed him to pop in for lunch every now and again, but we tried to spend his days off together.  It felt very different than 2 years ago.  We were different.  I realized that in our first dating experience, I romanticized everything about him.  I just loved loving him!  His faults or differences, well, I didn’t pay too much attention!  But 2 years apart helped me grow and mature and this time I knew a little more of what I was getting into.

 The holidays were upon us once again and his job schedule didn’t allow for much holiday play.  Then he got a call that there was a job opening in Sacramento at the Capitol.  Roger’s family was in Sacramento and the job at the Capitol was exciting and interesting.  He flew up for an interview.

On February 4th, 2002 I spent the morning at the beach reading and praying. 
“Genesis 22 – God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  This is the son he’s waited for, the son that has been promised.  The son they conceived at 100!  The son of the covenant that God promised Abraham.
   Now God tells him to give him up, kill him!  What is more amazing is Abraham’s radical trust in God.  He totally trusts and takes Isaac up the mountain to obey God and kill him.  He totally trusts God!  Even in horrible, crazy, “you’ve got to be kidding me” circumstances!  Abraham obeys and does what God says.
       He is radically obedient.  To no end.  At any cost.  He obeys.
And God provides, God blesses, God is trustworthy.
I am going to receive this as my message today.
  God I want and I need to trust you like Abraham did!  I need to trust you in my “you’ve got to be kidding me” circumstances with Roger.  I want my reaction to be that of Abraham – radical obedience and worship!”

 God was preparing my heart.  4 days later Roger returned from Sacramento.  I was at his house to greet him and he gushed over his time up there.  They offered him the job.  He accepted it.  When I asked about us, I’ll never forget his response.  “At this point in our relationship, you should play a bigger role in my decision making, and you don’t.”
I was in shock.  We talked, cried and I left, for the last time.  It was over and he soon moved to Sacramento.

 My world was changing.  The college ministry I was leading for now 2 years had grown measurably and I was feeling the weight of carrying it alone.  God gave me a vision for ministry on a trip to Poland and I was to be “#2, not #1” in ministry.  I was no longer to lead this large ministry, but support one who did.  My relationship with the man of my dreams was done for good.  My nest was becoming rather uncomfortable.  I never expected God would use that uncomfortable nest to shove me out of it and make me fly.

PS – only 2 chapters left!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Embrace The School Year

Yesterday was the little ladies' turn to start school!
First Grade


I didn't get a photo saying goodbye in the morning.  But here is an after school ice cream date to celebrate!  We all were exhausted!
PS - did you have to buy 48 glue sticks for your children's school supplies?
I did!
24 for each girl!
Found out it was a misprint on the supply list
when the teacher was mortified at the over abundance of glue yesterday!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


One little handsome started pre-school last week!

I'm not really sure if the photo fairy swooped down and took this or what!
But I'm in love with this picture!
And then the fairy flew off somewhere else! 
Me: Buddy, sit on the step with your lunchbox
Mack: Mommy, the one in the photo should choose the pose
Me: You're right

And just like that, he's off.
Yesterday should have been his second day of pre-school.
Yesterday the little ladies and I were going shopping for new shoes because they start school today.
Yesterday the little dude got the stomach flu and we didn't go anywhere.
My theme for this school year is SURRENDER.
God reminded me yesterday that I'm not in control.  I need to lay down my plans and surrender.     Everything.  Everyday.
We often see the cross of Jesus as a place where we take our sin, shame, guilt, mistakes, pain, problems.  But the cross of Christ demands more than that.  It demands All Our Everything.  Our children, our marriage, our family, our plans, our dreams, our running shoes, our blog, our whole life.
Surrendering everything to Jesus means laying it all down.
All to Jesus, I surrender.
All to Him I freely give.
Happy School Year!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

He Can Move The Mountains

We’ve enjoyed many beach days this summer.  This one particular morning I woke up to cloudy skies and knew it was yet another way of God telling me how much He loves me and that He’s got my back.  I don’t do well in the heat and going to the beach on a hot day with my littles can make me anxious.
 A dear friend joined us with her children.  As our littles played in the waves she shared with me a recent encounter she had with a missionary from India.  She was at a prayer meeting when this woman came up to her, and in her strongest Indian accent said, “I will move the mountains for you.  I will move the mountains.”  My friend has been going through some difficult transitions and circumstances of life and God was speaking right through this woman to her.  God would move these mountains in her life.
As she shared this with me, staring at the waves, tears began to stream down my face.  Throughout my struggle with anxiety, many have been kind to offer to take my children for a day so I could rest or bring us a meal or other thoughtful gestures.  Whereas I’m more than grateful for this love, I’ve felt that these offerings would be like taking a teaspoon to remove a mountain.  It just doesn’t make much of a difference because there is a huge mountain that will not go away with one day off. 
But as she spoke these words with force, “I will move the mountain for you.”  I was reminded – God moves mountains! Only God can.
On my days of being most overwhelmed with this fight against anxiety, this insurmountable mountain in my life, I am clinging to the promise that my God can move the mountains!  And this mountain of anxiety I’m on is no big challenge for my God.  He’s bigger.
No matter what you’re going through, no matter what mountains are ahead of you,
God can move the mountains!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 10

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story
Summer is coming to a close…. How am I going to wrap this up?!!

 As our dating relationship ended, I continued to volunteer in the college ministry, so I still spent a lot of time with Roger.  We were still very close friends, there simply were no more dates or romance.  It was confusing to me – I thought we were so great together.

 With change in the air, I sat down and did some soul searching to find that my true passion was college ministry and I was ready to pursue it full time.  I had been in a long term temp position at a beautiful hotel on the beach and knew it was time to say goodbye and pursue my passion.  Shortly after I decided this, a new position at my church opened up.  The college ministry had been steadily growing and Roger felt that he needed another full time staff member to assist him.  Being a single man in college ministry, he was growing increasingly uncomfortable with counseling college women, so he specifically was looking for a woman to partner with him in ministry.  Now that our dating relationship was over and I was determined to go into full time college ministry, this opportunity seemed perfect.  I told Roger that I was going to apply for the job.  He made it very clear that if I were to get it, we could never date while working together.  I in turn made it clear that if I got the job and he decided that he wanted to date me again, he’d have to quit because I was confident that college ministry was where I was supposed to be!

A few month later I was hired.  I absolutely loved everything about this job.  As new opportunities came up, I discovered different parts of myself and gifts God had given me that I knew nothing about.  I remember the first night I got to speak to the college students at our weekly service.  I had grown up singing solos in church, doing musical theater and dancing, so I was comfortable on stage.  But getting to speak and share my heart was new to me and quickly became one of my most favorite things. 

It wasn’t awkward working with Roger as some thought it might be.  We didn’t have a messy breakup and truly, we worked very well together.  We were both very different in our personalities, approach to ministry and gifting, so together we made a great team.  But that team wouldn’t last long.

Towards the end of the school year Roger announced that he would be leaving Malibu Presbyterian Church to pursue a chaplaincy with the California Highway Patrol.  I knew this meant he would be going away to the academy for training and then perhaps be working in a different part of the state.  I was excited for him and for the opportunities that might come with his leaving.  Shortly after his resignation, I was hired as the interim Director of University Ministries.  Later that position would be permanent.  I was over the moon.  I was madly in love with college students and although my dream man was moving away, I had something to pour all my time and passion into.

I kept in close contact with Roger throughout his time at the academy and was very excited to travel up to Sacramento with some friends to celebrate his graduation the following year.  I also was thrilled to find out that he would return to Southern California to work and live.  It wasn’t long before we were once again dating.  It was about 2 years after our first time dating.  October 26th, 2001, our second, first date was back at the Happiest Place on Earth – Disneyland!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapters 8 & 9

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story

Chapter 8
Before I quit my job at E! and moved all of my belongings into storage, I lived in an amazing penthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  It was beautiful.  One evening, Roger came over to hang out and we walked across the street to take a stroll on the beach.  The sun had just set and the stars were coming out to visit.  We sat on the sand and looked at the sparkling diamonds and I said, “make a wish.”  We both did and immediately he asked, “what did you wish for?”  I wouldn’t tell.  Just like the wish I made in Snow White’s wishing well at Disneyland – if you tell a wish, it won’t come true.

Now that Roger and I were officially dating, he told me, “Remember the wishes we made on the stars at the beach?”  “Yes, and I’m not telling mine!,” I said.   “Well, I wished that one day I’d date Raeanne Jones,”  Roger said.  And now his wish had come true.  I smiled and inside laughed to myself, “if only he knew what I wished for!”

We had a blast spending the holidays together, exchanging gifts, getting dressed up to see Miss Saigon in San Francisco, and then he came to my parents’ house for New Years Eve.  I just couldn’t believe all this was happening to me.  I absolutely loved falling in love!  What an amazing rush of emotions and how incredible that I was falling in love with that handsome man I saw for the first time about 4 years earlier and didn’t even know his name.  As the clock approached 12 midnight, we danced in the entry way of the house and he whispered in my ear, “do you think we’ll ever get married?”  WHAT???  In my girl mind that was as good as a proposal!  “I hope so,” I answered back.

The new year brought new adventures which included little day trips to Catalina Island and then my first Valentine’s Day having a boyfriend!  I surprised him and took him up to Yosemite for the day – it was adventurous, romantic and a dream coming true.  We spent late nights talking, weekends going to movies and new restaurants, and we spent countless hours on the phone.  I just couldn’t be happier and imagine a better man for me.  I always dreamed of marrying a big man, tall, broad shoulders, big hands… I always wanted to feel small and protected.  Roger was just that!  Tall, broad shoulders, muscular legs, nice hands, he was so handsome and I just couldn’t believe that he was my boyfriend!

 Our relationship was easy.  We were so compatible and hardly ever argued.  It was so wonderful that I never expected the surprise I got on April 1st.

Chapter 9

Our church held a Maundy Thursday service which is the day before Good Friday.  In 1999, Maundy Thursday fell on April 1st.  It was a beautiful, haunting service as we prepared our hearts for what would happen the next day, the crucifixion.  After the service, Roger and I went down to his office to talk.  It was then that I received the shock and it’s wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.
Roger told me that God was taking him on a journey and he felt that he needed to go alone.  His words were cryptic, disguised, unclear and confusing.  A journey?  Alone?  What does this mean?  I replied, “I’ll wait for you.  I’ll encourage you.  I’ll support you.”  “No,” he said.  “God is calling me to go alone.”  In a very strange and uncertain way, he was breaking up with me and it just didn’t make sense.  Perhaps it was my inexperience with break-ups, or the complete disbelief, but there wasn’t much conversation after that and we were no longer dating.

In the months to follow, I began to process April 1st and journaled in a beautiful, wooden journal that Mr. M had given me as a gift when I graduated from Pepperdine.

 October 8, 1999
It’s funny, I received this book as a gift from a dear friend over 4 years ago.  Even now, the last time I’ve written in it was over a year ago.  I thought it was so precious when I first got it, I didn’t want to ruin it.  I thought that I could only write in it if I had something huge or profound to write.  I didn’t want a worthless book, filled with trivial entries and inconsistencies.  I didn’t even want to vary in colors of ink or writing styles.  SO protected, so guarded, too high of standards.  I feared messing up this precious gift of a book.  As you can see, in my fearful efforts to maintain the purity of this book I have succeeded in only one thing – to keep it empty.  So afraid of ruining my desires and intentions for this book, I’ve chosen to set it aside, buying many cheaper ones in it’s place and freely writing in them.  All the while, this one has remained empty.  Too special, too perfect, too important for me to perhaps ruin.

 Yet this was a gift to me.  I didn’t buy it, I didn’t look for it.  It was given to me with the intention of having it hold testimony to God’s faithfulness in my life.  I elevated those intentions so high that this book became untouchable, unapproachable.  Quiet, alone, empty.

 This book was intended to be written in.  Good things, bad things, truth, wishes, mistakes, errors, different ink, different styles.  This book was made to be written in.

The life that God has given me is much like this book.  It’s precious, it’s perfect.  Life was free, I didn’t go looking for it, I didn’t buy it.  It was free, it was a gift.  God said live!  Live abundantly!  Enjoy life!  Enjoy relationships.

 I took those intentions and elevated them so high that they became untouchable.  I became untouchable.  My standards for relationship exceeded the intentions God had in giving them to me.  Time and again He told me that relationships were gifts.  They were free!  The intention is to glorify me through relationships!  Fellowship and enjoy!

 The idea of dating was precious.  Like this book though, I thought I could only date someone if they were perfect, promised glorifying God with me and wouldn’t vary in style.  As My standards for this gift were elevated it only served to bring me on thing.  Fear.  Fear that I’d start a relationship and mess up.  Then the gift would be ruined.  Like if I wrote nonsense in this book – it would lessen it’s value.  With the fear of messing up and ruining the perfect pages of my life, I put the pen down, eliminating any chance for error.  I never dated anyone.  Not so much because my standards were too high, but truly because no one asked!!

 Well, one did come along.  Offering the hope of bringing glory to God, I allowed him to pick up the pen and begin to fill the pages of my life with relationship.  Everything was new, everything was fun.  I knew this was what I was meant for – relationship.  Just as the book was meant to be written in.

But then my fears were met with reality.  Mistakes were made.  Spelling errors, changes in the colors of ink.  The relationship didn’t meet my untouchable standards.  My spotless pages had been written on with profound, yet now meaningless words.  The value of me was lessened.  Ruined.  I couldn’t go back and recapture my pure spotless life. Now there was hurt and stain on the pages.  What went wrong?

Then Jesus spoke to me.  “Live by my standards, not your own.  Use my gifts with the intentions that I give them, don’t create your own unattainable reality.  If you experience the gift of relationship that I give you, in your humanness it won’t be perfect.  BUT – I’ve given you grace to live through and I can take any error and bring glory to myself through it.  Don’t be afraid to allow people to write on the pages of your life, to love you, to know you.  I’ll protect you and I’ll extend grace at any needed moment.

 Don’t waste life with empty pages, so afraid of making a mistake.  Experiencing grace is one of the most wonderful joys in life and the sweetness of it usually comes through sorrow.  Here is life.  Here are relationships!  Enjoy!  Bring glory to me through them.  Use them as I’ve intended.”

I learned so much through my dating relationship with Roger and God transformed me in great ways.  Although the break up was seemingly unfounded, I had peace about it and trusted that God knew what He was doing.  It was a tough pill to swallow.  A broken heart.  But God, in His master craftsmanship, rebuilt my broken heart and made it like new.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Romance

For those of you tracking The Summer Romance series, I apologize for the lack of a post on Friday.  Tuesday there will be 2 chapters up!
Thanks for your patience!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Art Show

One little lady lost a tooth and the tooth fairy brought her a book - Fancy Nancy Aspiring Artist.  In this cute little book Nancy has an art show in her backyard, so.....
We set up an art studio

I told the children that all artists wear hats.  So they picked their own!

Crayons and Pens

Bubble Art

And then we set up the show!

 I loved all the creative things the children made!  It looked so fun hanging around the yard.

We also set up a lemonade stand with homemade lemonade from all our lemons!

The art show ended with swimming!
This might be a new summer tradition!
*and check out the new simple recipe on the right - it's amazing!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 7

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story

The celebration for our church was amazing.  I loved seeing everyone again, enjoying the Foster estate and most of all, seeing Roger.  I was staying with girlfriends for the weekend, but Sunday night, Chris and I stayed at Roger’s house because we both had early morning flights and Roger was taking us all to the airport.  Roger owned a nice 3 bedroom home with a roommate.  Chris took the guest room so all the guys were upstairs, and I was on the couch downstairs.  We all stayed up late talking and having a great time.  As everyone retired for the night, Roger put sheets and blankets on the couch for me and then it happened.  He kissed me.
It had been 3 years of me falling in love with this man from afar and now he was kissing me.  I was 25 years old.  It was my first kiss.  I clearly remember Roger saying, “I can’t believe I’m kissing Raeanne Jones.”  I couldn’t believe it either!  It was a whole different kind of goodbye the next morning.  I was flying back to Nashville as a girlfriend, the first time I had ever held that title.
After the Point of Grace tour wrapped up, I quickly made arrangements to return to Southern California.  Some girlfriends had a spare room open and I moved right in.  I started looking for a job and found a temporary position at Shutters on the Beach, a boutique hotel in Santa Monica.  I didn’t really care that I was sleeping on a futon or working 2 floors underground (hotels don’t waste good views on offices!), I just wanted to be close to Roger and enjoy this new relationship!
The holidays were approaching and Roger and I would be traveling to Northern California to spend time with our families.  I drove 2 extra hours to Sacramento to see him and really meet his family.  I was a bit nervous.  I arrived at his parents’ lovely home and they were kind and welcoming.  I remember after dinner one evening, we were sitting around the table, about to play a game, and Roger’s father said to me, “What are your intentions with my son?”!!!  I was shocked and stuttered and stammered and then he laughed wildly and then I knew… I’d have to get him back!
Roger and I exchanged gifts before I returned to my family’s home for Christmas.  Roger was very thoughtful and creative.  He was so romantic.  His card was beautiful, his words intentional and his penmanship impeccable!  As I began to open the gift my heart stopped.  It was what every girl dreamed of… a turquoise box!  You know the one… the robin’s egg blue box with a white bow?  Yes, Tiffany’s.  And inside…  a real porcelain turquoise box.  I was in love.
I gave Roger tickets to Miss Saigon which was playing in San Francisco on December 29th, so I ensured that I’d see him again over the holidays!  It was a wonderful first Christmas together and I couldn’t be more in love.  At last, I was dating Roger Newquist.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Only God Can Make It Rain

We woke up Saturday morning to thunder and rain!  Something that is extremely rare in Southern California in the summer – but oh so fun!  I love the rain.  Some get sick of it, some get depressed, but I am filled with joy when it is cloudy and rains.  I hear God’s power in the thunder that shakes the earth.  I see God’s control and timing in when He chooses it to rain – like on a Saturday in August in Southern California.  And I see God’s amazing love for me because He knew I needed to see the rain on Saturday.
I had another anxiety attach last week.  I have been doing so well and although I feel like I’m holding off anxiety at arm’s length, I’m making progress and feeling more like myself.  That’s why Tuesday totally took me off guard.  I was taken to a new doctor who prescribed me a new medication and I had a horrible reaction to it.  After several days of taking the meds and feeling worse than my craziest moment, I started to feel totally hopeless.  Then it rained.
As I ran outside to watch the rain drops in the pool I heard God say, “Only I can make it rain Raeanne.  Only I can make it rain.” 
I felt like it was God’s love for me, telling me all was going to be ok and He would bring the rain in my life when I need it.  He is all powerful, more than doctors or medicines and He will bring the rain in my life when I need it.
And remember the verse my children memorized last week?
"The Lord Your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Oh how those words have repeated in my head over and over again these past few days. 
I am loved.
Saturday night the doctored ordered me to discontinue the medication – my body was not tolerating it.  I immediately felt a weight lifted off me and returned to “normal” within a few hours.  Now a new journey begins of what next?  But more and more I’m traveling with confidence that only God can make it rain and He will bring that rain exactly when I need it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 6

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story

With all of my belongings in storage, I drove my white Ford Explorer up to Northern California where a new adventure was waiting for me.  I spent that summer working at a Christian camp as the Head of Staff for the women.  It was awesome!  I loved having this full time ministry position where I got to challenge and encourage college women daily as they shared Jesus with the campers.  I also loved being outdoors and getting to enjoy the majesty of God through His creation.  It’s impossible to go to Yosemite, see Half Dome, the falls and the meadows and not see God!
 I remember calling Roger here and there on the camp pay phone!  I didn’t want to call too much because we weren’t dating!  But I missed him.  Now that I had left Southern California, and my job at camp would come to an end in September, I had no idea if I’d see him again.
Camp came to a close and I was assured more and more that full time ministry with college students was what I wanted to do with my life.  The tough part was where?  I didn’t have any job leads when camp was over so I did what most young adults do at some point in their life – I went home.  I moved back in with my parents who were about to leave on a European vacation for several weeks and asked if I’d keep an eye on their business while they were gone.  Easy enough!  And it was during those weeks that I got the call for my next adventure.
A dear friend of mine was the road manager for a female Christian singing group and they were about to leave on their fall tour.  They needed someone to come along and sell merchandise at the concerts and Cliff thought of me.  All expenses paid, live on a tour bus and travel the country?  I’m in!  So once my parents returned from Europe I was once again on a plane, this time for Nashville Tennessee.
Before I left, a large manila envelope came in the mail.  Inside were many individual cards with the instructions to open one every couple of days on tour.  They were from Roger.  He missed me!

I touched down in Nashville, or Nashvegas as some call it!  And soon met up with my new road family in a Kroger grocery store parking lot at 11pm to board the bus.  We drove all night to our first city and I didn’t sleep a wink.  On a top bunk, third high to be exact, I heard the pounding rain on the roof and was certain that the driver was going to fall asleep at the wheel in this massive storm.  I felt it my duty to get up and sit and chat with him through the night to keep him awake!  It wasn’t long before I learned that these drivers were professionals and they slept all day while we worked!
The tour with Point of Grace took me through beautiful Midwestern and southern states and I loved watching the change of seasons through the fall.  Roger was going to be at a pastors’ conference in Texas the exact same time we were there, so I actually got to meet up with him for an afternoon!  It was really special to see him and thank him for all the special cards that only fueled my budding love for him.

When the bus stopped in Orlando for our gig, I got a phone call from my parents.  They had a surprise for me.  They wanted to fly me back to Los Angeles, just for the weekend, to take part in Malibu Presbyterian Church’s 50th Anniversary celebration.  There was to be a wonderful celebration at David Foster’s house (yes, THE David Foster – music producer of the biggest and greatest) and my parents wanted me to be a part of it.  I was over the moon and got permission to leave tour for a few days and let me just say, the celebration of the church was nothing compared to the celebration in my heart because of what happened that weekend. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...