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The Next Chapter

For the past several months we have been thinking and praying about the next step in our lives. We have known for a little while now, but we were waiting for the perfect time to make this announcement. We are moving!

It was back in May of last year while on a road trip (we always have our best conversations on road trips) that we started talking about what was next. We knew that Jeremy was nearing the end of his time in Seminary, and we both just sensed God moving us, and telling us that it was time to enter the ministry. Seminary has been a 5 year journey where we completed one Masters degree together and Jeremy has been working on his second. It has been a season of preparation that we are so grateful for. We have learned so much and been taught and mentored by some amazing believers. But, as we talked on that long car ride we both expressed that we individually felt that God was showing us that it was almost time to move on to the next chapter.

It was an exciting conversation, but we didn’t really know what it meant. We left the conversation saying that we would continue to pray about it, and be in Scripture, and we would look for the Lord to open doors. Over the next few months we continued to pray and talk things over periodically. We saw some opportunities for ministry positions and even started pursuing a few of them, but in the end…we didn’t sense God leading to any of them.

Rewind to the months shortly after we got married almost five years ago, and our hearts have been led towards church planting in an area of the country without many churches. God placed a strong burden in Jeremy’s heart for this shortly after we got married and he felt the call to pastor. I grew up in the northeast, in an area where there are not many churches at all, and for a good part of my life my family drove an hour to church. Jeremy grew up in a highly churched area and then we lived in the South so he was shocked to realize how few churches are in some parts of the country. When we first got married we knew that church planting was the long term goal, but we did not know when it would be, or where it would be.

thegospelisourpurpose

October is when we started talking more about the “when” as we realized that Jeremy was almost finished with his degree.  During a random phone call with my parents they mentioned the fact that they did not have a church to attend, and for some reason after that conversation we started thinking about the possibility of moving back to Pennsylvania, where I am from to plant a church. It was kind of funny that the place that had opened Jeremy’s eyes to the need for churches in the United States was one of the only places we had never really considered when thinking about where we would plant a church. We began praying and talking about it a lot and even asked for prayer from some godly counsel.

Over the next few months God continued to open doors, and we soon found ourselves telling our families that we felt that this was the direction that God was leading. One of the doors that was opened was with a man that came through Jeremy’s school that works for NAMB (North American Mission Board) specifically in Pennsylvania. Jeremy listened to him speak, and even got a flyer that he handed out that listed some towns that needed churches in PA. Jeremy was disappointed when all the towns were over an hour from where we were looking at, but decided to talk to him anyway. When Jeremy mentioned the name of the city that we had been praying about the man started to cry,and told Jeremy that he had been praying about that exact town for over a year. He asked Jeremy to come with him over to his briefcase and handed Jeremy a CD of over 70 pages of demographic information about the tiny town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania that we thought no one knew about. We asked God to make things clear, and He has done just that, in so many ways.

When will we be moving?

We will be moving in the middle of August, after Jeremy finishes his summer classes. Jeremy will finish his remaining eight credits online this fall and he will graduate in December.

Will we still be shooting weddings?

Yes. We have a few weddings that we will be flying back to DFW to shoot, and we will continue to book a limited number of weddings in TX, because we have family and friends here. Our Associate Photographers, Michele + Hope, will continue shooting weddings in DFW as they already previously have. We will also begin booking weddings in Pennsylvania, though we are not sure yet how many weddings we will take on each year.

Can you take our family pictures before you move?

Though we usually only do family sessions once a year, we will be taking a limited number of family sessions before we move because we know that many have shown interest in this. We will also be returning in the fall to do mini sessions. If you are interested in a session feel free to email us for details so we can get it scheduled.

When will the church start?

We are not 100% sure. We will begin leading a Bible study and focus on evangelism and discipleship, and wait for God’s timing in showing us when that first service should be.

The truth is, leaving is bittersweet. We are so excited about where God is moving us, but there are people here in TX that we will miss. Some of the sweetest moments of our lives have happened here in TX. Both of our sweet daughters were born here, and one went to Jesus while we were here. But, the truth is that we know that this world is not our home, Heaven is. And because Heaven is our home, the gospel is our purpose, and we feel blessed that God has chosen us to make the gospel known.

S023

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Hooray!! And you know, Pennsylvania is a lot closer to Boston:)!

Very happy to hear that God is making things clear for you two. Elizabeth and I have been through several transitions (jobs and locations) since we’ve been married, and God has always been faithful! I completely understand the bittersweet feeling, but I believe you’ll be leaving something great to go to something even better–that’s how God works :) We’ll pray for your family.

Your passion and love for the Gospel is always so encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

Kristin, your blog has been such a blessing to me and I will be praying for your family and your move to PA! I would love to hug you before you leave!

Kinzie Marie Harvell

We are going to cover you guys in prayer. So proud to have met you and call you friends. Love your hearts and ability to always trust in God.

Jamie K! Photography

I’ll be praying for you guys! :)

Lara Casey

I am so inspired by you and excited for what God has in store!

Emily Beth

This brought tears to my eyes as I will miss sweet Stella! But I am so proud of you guys and will be lifting y’all up in prayer as you make preparations and plans. May He guide each step! <3

Kristin Ungerecht

That’s so amazing, Kristin!

Amanda Jameson

Jeremy and Kristin, praise the Lord! So thankful to read this and see the ways you are following the Lord in faith and obedience. What an exciting new adventure for your sweet family and ultimately to bring glory to our Savior. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”Isaiah 52:7

Karen Stott

This just makes my heart so happy for you all. I laid here crying reading it. It’s so wonderful when God makes things so clear and I’m so excited to see how He continues to use you!

Ashli Brown

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

Rachel Nordgren

Kristin! This is amazing news! I am in awe of your earnest desire to follow the Lord, and so excited to follow your journey as you and your husband plant a church! Be blessed, friend!!!

Bethany McDonnell

Such an exciting step in your lives! Ministry is great!

Ciera Chante Knabe

So awesome and super excited for you guys! <3

Barb Thomas

I am so sorry and sad for you and all the family and friends you are going to be taking a vacation from I say vacation because it sounds like you have quite a few trips planned to go back there and all are certainly welcome to come here too..I do not want to sound selfish but I am soo happy that you will be coming to our area, our home, Your Home..I love to read your thoughts and writings and enjoyed what Jeremy had said during Sophia’s service and can’t wait til you are up and running here.Thoughts and Prayers to everyone involved.

Jari Butler

Hey!! I am a new follower of your blog. I follow you on IG and I love your blog!! So encouraging!! I am praying for you and your family for this new phase in life. I pray that where God leads you, he will give you the strength to handle it all!!

Jeanette Rowley-Photography

Kristen I am so happy for you and so proud of you for listening to God and following him where he is leading! Stop in Greenville PA on your way and say hello =D

We will miss you guys tons!! Excited for you too!

Motherhood Sanctifies

Each day I am reminded what a blessing children are. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we never have our trying moments…we do. But, because of those moments I have realized this…motherhood is sanctifying. It calls us to look past our own desires, and put our children’s needs and wants above our own. It calls us to be the people that we want our children to one day become. It reminds us that we are their first glimpse of Jesus.

Motherhood points out so many flaws, it points out our self-centeredness, our pride, our temper, our busyness .Being a mom points out flaws, but it does more than just point out our own weakness. It points out Christ’s strength and His perfection. Our failure points us to Him. Being a Mama points us to the gospel. It is easy to wonder what the gospel has to do with our daily lives once we have already accepted Christ. We know the gospel, that Jesus was born as a man, that He lived a sinless life, that He died for us, and rose again. He did what we could not do. And every day, even after salvation, He does what we can not do. The gospel displayed the most perfect love, and everyday Jesus loves us despite our failings as mothers. He reminds us that we can’t do it all, only He can do that.

We are weak, but He is strong. When we hide our weakness, we hide His strength. When we are honest about our weakness, we let Christ’s grace and strength work through us. When we are honest about our weakness as mothers we preach the gospel to our children, and to those around us, that Jesus will do what we can not do. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

mygraceissufficient

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Em Cotten

Wow. Thank you for sharing these encouraging thoughts! This perspective is a great alternative to what I have had.

Sunday is Coming

It’s been just over two months since we said goodbye to our sweet girl, and I have to admit that I have been anxiously awaiting Easter. I have always loved Easter, there is something about celebrating the risen Savior surrounded by spring flowers and little girls in pretty dresses. But this year it is so different…

I remember singing songs about resurrection, songs that asked questions like “O death where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”.  I could sing that song from a spiritual standpoint, feeling so grateful that Christ was risen, but this year the words will mean so much more to my grieving heart. Jesus’ resurrection means that we have eternal life, it means that He suffered for us, but that death could not hold Him. It means that he conquered death.

This year I know a bit more about what the sting of death is. I know the helpless feeling that the disciples must have felt on Friday, and on Saturday. My hearth can almost feel the pain that Mary, the mother of Jesus felt in those days as she doubtless wept uncontrollably. I know she felt the pain that only a mother who has lost a child knows. But, there is one thing that I know that they did not…Sunday is coming!

Even though I know I will feel the pain of Friday this week, I know that Sunday is coming, and that the pain will only last a little while. I know that weeping may endure for a night…but that joy will come in the morning.joycomethinthemorningWhen Sunday morning is here and I stand in our church and worship our risen Savior I know my emotions will probably be all over the place.  A sweet mixture of sadness and joy. I will feel sadness because I will wish I was holding my sweet Sophia dressed in a matching Easter dress as Stella as we sing the songs that I love, and worship Jesus. But, I will feel joy…because He is Risen…and she is with Him today. I will feel joy that in the same way He conquered death on Easter morning,  someday He will conquer death completely. I will feel joy because it will be a sweet reminder that someday I will be with them too. I will feel joy because in that moment when I worship my risen Savior, and sing with all my heart, I know that she will be doing the same thing.

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Tammy Damore

Absolutely beautiful!!!

Paige Edwards

So beautiful, such a heartfelt perspective! God bless sister!

Suzan Severn

As a grieving mother, I SO share your words, your emotions, your heart…thank you for speaking so beautifully for each of us who desperately longs to be reunited with our child in Heaven. The praises of mother and child are entwined, and narrow the gap of separation, as they bring honor and glory our Risen Savior and Lord. Hallelujah!

Marilyn Schmucker

Wonderful and beautiful perspective! Inspiring!

Bethany McDonnell

So thankful that our Lord has risen and that we have hope! Keeping you both in our prayers as you go through this healing process. -Rick & Bethany

Modesty of the Heart

For some reason I have been thinking about modesty a lot in recent days. And I keep coming back to having a heart of modesty above all. I looked up the definition of the word modesty and this is what I found:

mod·es·ty noun \ˈmä-də-stē\     The quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities
 
modestyoftheheart

I keep coming back to this thought. The whole point of modesty is to not be prideful by showing off our bodies in an inappropriate way, but the very concept of modesty can lead to us being prideful about the way that we modestly dress. It is equally as wrong to dress in a way that is provocative or in way that makes us fit in, as it is to dress in a way to please people for how modestly we dress, or look down on those that don’t dress the way that you do.

C.J. Mahaney says, “Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or a low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride on display by what you wear.”

Modesty is not just a way that we dress it is an attitude of the heart that flows out into everything that we do. Dressing   in a frumpy way to draw attention to how modest you are shows just as much pride as dressing in a way to attract the attention of the men around you.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4

These verses talk about where a woman’s true beauty lies. True beauty is not about what a woman does or doesn’t wear, it is about what is in her heart and spirit.

I don’t want this to come off as though I don’t think dressing modestly is important, I do! I think we as women need to take a good look at our closets and make sure that the things that we are wearing are honoring to Christ and to our husbands (or future husbands). This probably means taking a look at how tight, low cut, and how short the things that we wear are, but most of all it means taking a look at our hearts and why we wear what we wear.  I do not think that modesty means that we have to look frumpy or that we can’t wear clothing that is trendy and in style. It just means that we need to examine what we are wearing and why we are wearing it. I think we should dress in a way that is polished and feminine. I think that we should dress in a way that represents Christ well. I think that our clothing should be an outpouring of what is in our hearts, and in our hearts should be a desire to please the Lord above all else. Above all Christ should be glorified by what we wear, not ourselves for our attractiveness, or for our “modesty”.

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Well said, Kristin! We should respect our bodies for ourselves, God and husbands/future husbands. I love being reminded of this verse and how God takes delight in us in all areas of our lives.

refiningthewildgrapes.blogspot.com

dawn

What a great topic this is and much needed in this world today. I have 3 girls and it is a tough subject for us, they see it their way and what they deal with at school. I am teaching them about this very thing and even had my daughter go out change out of the dress she was going to wear to school today. It was bought last summer and she has grown and it didn’t quite fit as loosely and covered as last year, it only last 5 minutes and I almost didn’t say anything but knew as her mom I had to. She found another dress that fit better and made it out the door just in time for the bus, double win!
I feel this way about boys too, my son is 12 and thankfully doesn’t wear his pants hanging down like the others do. Hoping he won’t go in that direction as he gets older.
This was beautifully written and is so true. I try to live and teach this everyday. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Tammy Damore

Well said and very interesting! I just saw an add, (an experiment) that Dove did this am on the subject of women and how they feel about themselves, it didn’t of course speak on modesty but it did however prove a powerful message that what we believe in our heart we project! Check it out!

Rachel Stephens

So much of what you said is what I want to teach my kids. Modesty begins in the heart. LOVE. Thanks for these great reminders!

Laura Moore

Beautifully said!

Rachel Nordgren

“True beauty is not about what a woman does or doesn’t wear, it is about what is in her heart and spirit…I think we should dress in a way that is polished and feminine.”

Amen! I think you’re so right…the heart of modesty is to make more of Christ by making less of ourselves. Love this! Thank you for sharing!

Shannon Walker

Yes! Totally agree!! Thanks for sharing! :)

Victoria Steiner Clipper

Very well written, Kristin. “Dressing in a frumpy way to draw attention to how modest you are shows just as much pride as dressing in a way to attract the attention of the men around you.” Pride sometimes manifests itself in very ‘religious’ ways. Always enjoy reading your blog.

Jennifer Brown

Yes!!!! I couldn’t agree more! Hugs!!!!

What is You Passion?

What is your passion? I checked out dictionary.com to see what the definition of passion was, and the first definition grabbed me right away. “Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling.” The word “compelling” grabbed me right away. It is easy to say that we are passionate about something, but the proof is in what we do.

whatisyourpassion

We always feel like we don’t have enough time for certain things, but the truth is that we have time for whatever is most important to us. “I don’t have time” and “I am too busy” are really just the excuses that we tell people and even ourselves when we don’t want to do something, or it just isn’t on our priority list. I am in no way saying that you need to start saying yes to everything you are asked to do. I am actually kind of saying the opposite. We have to actively say yes to the things that are really important to us, and we also have to actively say no to the things that aren’t.

So in practicality what does this look like? For me it means…

Saying yes to studying Scripture, and no to mindlessly scrolling Facebook.
Saying yes to reading life changing books, and no to novels. (Novels aren’t bad, they would just suck too much of my time)
Saying yes to quiet nights at home, and no to too many activities.
Saying yes to simplicity, and no to clutter.
Saying yes to playing with Stella, and no to too much tv time for her.
Saying yes to encouraging women to love Scripture through social media, and no to using social media to fuel discontentment.

I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. I am not perfect at that list…not even close, but thinking through what we are really passionate about and what is just sucking our time helps identify what we need to change.

So what are you passionate about? And what are you going to say no to in order to make it happen? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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rachelle

I love this. I love the practical steps. We so need to see things in black and white sometimes! Say yes to this, no to that…Thanks for sharing :)

Caitie Sheppard

You. are. amazing. I love you…going to make my list now! :)

Jessica Schugardt

Fitness…photography and teaching. Thank you for sharing this. Its always a great reminder to stop making my excuses and make time for what I love. ❤❤

Ami Adams

I am passionate about reading and writing, and encouraging young girls who are struggling with who they are and being godly young women. But I don’t spend as much time writing as I should or could. I tell myself that other things are more important instead of saying no and taking some time for me.

Rachel Nordgren

Yes, yes, yes!! This is so good and so full of truth, Kristin! Simplifying our concerns enables us to amplify the passions that God has given us, and the things that are important to us. I definitely agree – saying no to what doesn’t matter enables us to say yes to the things that do. Like studying Scripture and not being overwhelmed with activities!

I recently wrote a blog series about Simplifying that you might find interesting – http://ouryellowdoor.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/the-simplified-series-intro/

Thank you for sharing your heart, Kristin!

dawn

I love this word and actually feel this way about so much now that I’m older. Once I turned 40 I just dived into the art journaling world and sharing happy mail and inspiring others and making time for me and what I love. My passion after God/family/friends is my Project Life and then all my art stuff. I’m trying to do more reading this year and writing and my camera is always with me. I’m so lucky to have many passions and later on hope to add some knitting, sewing, quilting to the list.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I loved your list and am so happy you make time for what really makes you happy. That is hard to do and especially with a little one. Oh and being a early bird helps me to have that quiet time to do these things. So if it matters to you then you have to squeeze it in somewhere.

Kelly A. Kantola

I’m passionate about watching my son play sports, raising him to be a good citizen, teaching him to be a good student. Studying Scripture….less scrolling the internet, including Facebook :/. Decluttering, Letting Go of things I no longer use.