Learning about God’s plans through parenting

Learning about God’s plans through parenting

Shared at Pathway Church August 12, 2007 

Good morning! I am pretty excited to have the opportunity to share a portion our family’s testimony today. I would not have dreamt that I would be standing up here a couple months ago when I sent our story to Rich Dykstra. I would just like to say thank you to the leadership team for this opportunity.

I’m sure for everyone else here the leadership team did not know how dangerous it is to give me a microphone!

By way of introduction to the rest of my family, my wife is Dee, and our Children are Ryan, Aaron, Peyton, and Amalia. We have been coming to Pathway for a number of months, and are thrilled to have found, and become part of such a great church family.

“How have you seen God at work in your life, or situations around you?”

To get everyone thinking, I would like you to internally answer the question “How have you seen God at work in your life, or situations around you?” Unfortunately, if you are like me, there are many times when you may even have to change that question to “Have I seen God at work?” Not because He isn’t doing anything, but because usually I am the one not paying attention. I end up missing so much of what God has in store for my life by getting caught up in thinking it’s all about me. The reality, of course is that God is it work all the time in every situation.

Have you ever just stopped, and wondered in amazement how God uses the most unlikely situations or people to show his power or do His work? I always think it is something how you can look through the Bible and see example after example of God using what absolutely should not work, and making miraculous things happen.

We sing the song about the potter and clay in church. I always enjoy sermons about that topic and the question that invariably comes of how can clay question the potter on what He is doing? The truth is the clay can’t! We can’t! We have to accept it, and work to become what He is forming us to be our whole lives.

I like that word I started out with, “Testimony.” I looked up the definition and saw that it means “The statement or declaration of a witness under oath or affirmation, usually in court OR evidence in support of fact or statement of proof.”

I would like to give testimony, or provide my declaration of a witness under oath this morning to the faithfulness of God the Father to my family. I would like to give testimony to God’s miraculous power, his ability to heal, and amazing plan that has become evident over the past few years. I would like to give testimony to what I have learned about God through parenting.

Well, what I can state, or “Give testimony to,” is that God’s working is an awesome, powerful, incredible, and mysterious thing. There is no way I can try to take credit for any of what has happened. What I have seen when God wants to get my attention could only be described as miraculous.

I am going to share a bit of how we came to adopt our daughters Peyton and Amalia.

This story is not about me, it is about God and growing in understanding of his loving faithfulness

I do not really believe this story is about me, the Barnes family, or even more specifically about the events that I am going to described here. It is, on a broad level I believe, about God, and growing in the understanding of his loving faithfulness and his plans. It is, on a more specific level, about me continually needing to grow in my own faith, trust, love, and witness of God my Heavenly Father.

There was a quote recently on the Nascar website, of all things, made by Dale Ernhardt, Jr. after a crash during a race where he said afterward, “It felt like the hand of God grabbed the right front tire.” We had that happen in our family a couple years ago. God grabbed our right-front tire.

I need to go back 6 years and provide a little background. We were at that point your typical little family of 4. We were a family pretty much on cruise control. All things of course were not perfect, but we really thought things were going our way. God had already given me a fantastic wife! Anyone who knows Dee would probably agree with me that she is a real catch. She is a strong Christian woman, intelligent, faithful, good looking, loving, a great mother, an awesome cook, and my best friend. She has also put up with me for over 17 years, and that is saying something, believe me! Anyone in this room would be fortunate to have God set them up this well.

God had also given me two boys, Ryan and Aaron. Both of whom are absolutely fantastic.

Dee was always very proud of the fact that she was good at making babies! Pregnancies always went smooth. Dee had that “pregnant woman glow” thing going for her. And, while I may be biased, I believe wholeheartedly that our boys are pretty good looking, and I could not be more proud to be their dad.

I would like to spend the rest of the time this morning sharing with everyone how God has used a couple parenting situations in my life for his glory. How he has used situations to show me that my plans are not his plans. How these situations have taught me that even though I try to box God in with what I think he is going to do, He has the ability and in my opinion seams to get a kick out of blowing that box to shreds to show me his awesome power and plan for my life.

I try to box God in with what I think he is going to do

Remember I said “Cruise Control” in 2001. To put it bluntly, that would be short for completely taking for granted everything God had provided for us. That would be short for never really considering, or asking, what God’s plan was for our family. That would be short for, God needed to wake me up in a big way.

In 2001 we decided we really wanted a girl, and had our family of three children all planned out. That is really where my story starts.

Dee became pregnant in the fall of 2001. In January, she was scheduled for her first ultrasound. We thought it would be a fun family event for the boys to see pictures of the baby in mommy’s tummy so everybody went. I had been at Dee’s ultrasounds for Ryan and Aaron and pretty much knew the drill. 5 or 6 pictures, doctor tells you everything is OK, out the door. I can’t really see much on the pictures anyway, but hearing the heartbeat is pretty cool.

Well, Dee and I started looking at each other after about 30 pictures had been taken. The ultrasound technician kept focusing on the babies head and would not say a word. Finally the doctor came back and told us there was a problem. She told us our baby had a birth defect called anencephaly. She continued to tell us that our baby’s skull and brain would not fully form, and that it was 100 % fatal to the baby. After laying that little bomb shell on us, she stayed in her matter of fact tone and asked us when we wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

When would you like to terminate the pregnancy?

The doctor was pretty surprised when we shot back and said there is no way we could do that. We had to see this through to the end. In fact, she told us she would not be able to care for us and sent us to a different set of doctors. We went home that day pretty much shell shocked. We prayed to God that day for a miracle, and turned the situation over to him. We absolutely knew it was out of our control.

Being that this situation was a pregnancy, it was pretty hard to do the old sweep it under the rug thing. This was quickly a very public situation. Dee had to go out and face the world every day with the knowledge and constant reminder that she was carrying a child that would never come home to live with us. One of the biggest things we probably learned was just how incredible it is to be part of the family of God. It is something I will never take for granted again.

We have even ended up becoming very good friends with a couple who went through a similar experience we had, through another church that had been praying for us. When we first got to know them she said to my wife, “You’re Dee!” I remember praying so hard for you through your whole time.

We found out a little later during Dee’s pregnancy that our baby was a girl and decided to name her Hope. She was born and died on June 27, 2002. Five years ago. Pastor Lester indicated last week, during Amalia’s baptism that he got to know our family during a crisis. It was during this crisis that he was such an important part of our lives. He was at the hospital with us when Hope was born, and presided over her funeral a couple days later.

God did not perform the miracle that we had prayed for

God did not perform the miracle that we had prayed for. Instead, He had a different plan. He knew that I needed to get to know him better and understand that his grace is sufficient.

He knew I needed to learn a lot more about James 1:2-4 that tells me to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds because the testing of my faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Pure joy, that is a pretty tall order when your world comes crashing down around you. Pure Joy is not the first thing that comes to mind. But I think we all know that God does not leave those He loves hanging. He keeps working on you for that maturity and completeness. In fact He promises in his word that if He loves you, He is going to test you, doesn’t He?

Remember in Job where it talks about “Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” OR, in Malachi where it says “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”.

He was not done testing us with the death of Hope. By summer of the next year, Dee and I were ready to try again. She became pregnant in August but started talking about how she was feeling some pain in her belly in early September.

A few days later, I was getting ready to leave for work. In fact, I was standing outside the house waiting to be picked up and realized I forgot something and went back in. I am so glad I forgot something that day!

I heard Dee calling for me and ran upstairs to our room. She was curled up in a ball on the bed in pain and could not move. We rushed to the emergency room that morning. It turned out that she had an ovarian cyst that ruptured. She ended up needing surgery and we had lost another baby.

Pure Joy?

Still pretty hard to find that joy. Still pretty hard to look at all this and not just start screaming. Still pretty hard to understand God’s purpose in all this. But I knew I had to keep trusting God.

The doctor told us after Dee’s cyst there was no reason Dee and I could not still have children. We should feel free to try again. So we did! Practice! Practice! Practice!

And by December Dee was pregnant again. This time, she decided not to tell me about the pain in her belly that started in January. Everything would be fine she thought. When she finally did, it was because she had to. I couldn’t help notice how she would hold her hands on her stomach. But she did not want to go to the doctor.

Dee called me at work a couple days later on Monday in the afternoon. “I know I need to go to the doctor. Something is wrong”, she told me. I asked her if I should just call an ambulance, but she said she could make it. In fact, she had to pickup Ryan and Aaron from school before she went. I immediately headed to her doctors office to meet her there.

As she was walking into her doctor’s office, she collapsed in the foyer. Ryan went up to the counter to get help and Aaron stayed by his mom and held her hand. When I got there they were sitting by themselves in the waiting room behaving better than I had ever seen them.

It turned out Dee had a tubal pregnancy this time and it had ruptured. She had bled over 2 liters of blood into her abdomen. She got an ambulance ride with lights to the hospital from the doctor’s office immediately. While we were still in the emergency room she lost consciousness.

So here we were again. Dee having surgery for the second time in 5 months, now I had almost lost the love of my life, and another baby was taken from us.

That was January 2004. Both of us were having a pretty hard time with this. Dee was upset because she felt like she was letting me down. I was upset because she hurt so badly and there was nothing I could do to fix it. And yet, we still both felt a strong desire to have another child. We just knew our family was not complete.

Through all this, Dee and I had been high school youth group leaders in our church. We needed to make plans that year for a mission trip. In February, we met a missionary named Karen Scheeringa

Karen has a growing mission to Guatemala and beyond helping people with many things such as medical care, food and clothing, construction, bringing difficult medical cases to the states and arranging for donated surgeries. Her organization is called Hearts In Motion and is headquartered right here in Griffith, Indiana.

I think Hearts In Motion is a pretty cool name. The acronym is H.I.M. Karen told me this way she can always just say she works for HIM. I Love the saying from Albert Schweitzer on their website:

“I do not know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve!”

Well Karen came to our church to give us an overview presentation about the mission trip planned for that year. During her presentation, there were a lot of pictures of Guatemalan children. Dee and I did not talk much until the ride home. It had been a busy night asking a lot of questions of Karen and trying to get as much information about the trip as possible.

Little did we know that night would really be the genesis of an entirely new direction for our family! On the ride home we talked about what we both had thought throughout the entire presentation. We were supposed to adopt a baby from Guatemala. We both felt it. We decided to talk to Karen a little more. She had, by the way, adopted eleven children of her own from a couple different countries.

Karen encouraged us to come on the trip and see how we still felt. So we went on the trip at the end of July. The whole thing was a fantastic experience. It is a whole other story how God provided for our needs, what was accomplished, and how lives were changed during that mission trip.

In the end, we knew for certain that we should adopt. We felt it was God’s plan, and we decided the risk to Dee was too great to try having another baby.

I need to stop and talk a little bit about Hearts In Motion here for just a second. You may have noticed in your bulletin that Pathway actually just became a supporting church for this mission. A pretty neat thing about this mission is that it is not just about the mission trips, or what is going on way over in Guatemala. God is working in everything and it is just so obvious!

HIM is also something we can get involved in many ways locally right here. There are as many ways as you can think of, to get involved in this mission and impact people locally and globally.

They have a thrift store in Griffith that is always in need of volunteers. They have many different activities locally to get involved in and ways to provide support through gathering donated relief items, loading containers for shipment, participating in HIM events, or even doing our own fundraiser if we choose.

What I have seen with my own eyes is that stepping into a situation where you really need to rely on God for everything and you are totally outside your own comfort zone is that it is a real eye opener! That first trip we had to raise close to $ 20,000 in about 5 months. Wow! Did God ever come through!

Wow! Did God ever come through!

Every trip is different. Every activity has some element of new surprise or catastrophe where suddenly God has the chance to step in and show his power in amazing ways. I have seen car washes go nuts after we had teenagers start praying for cars we were so slow. I have watched garage sales double the expected amount, and have so much donated stuff left over that we were able to fill 2 trucks to send down to people in Cary, Mississippi. I have heard of donated trucks canceling right when they were needed most and a fax was found in the fax machine from hours earlier by someone who just happened to be passing through and had already offered their trucks if they were needed. And, I have watched individuals come to know Christ for the first time, and others grow so much closer to Him, just because they got involved.

Missions is awesome. You don’t have to be a full time missionary, go to another country, or be some super “Holy Person” to help God’s love spread. You only need to step out a little and watch what God does with it. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

OK. Back to my story!

After all was said and done with that first trip, we started down the adoption path. I had half thought we would be able to bring a child home from Guatemala when we went! Little did we know it takes 18 months to 2 years to adopt a baby! What an eternity to wait. Elephants are born quicker! We began the process anyway and started the paperwork jungle that is part of an adoption.

I started praying right away in November of 2004 that God would bring our baby home by Christmas of 2005. Just a little over a year away. I had this idea that it was a little shorter than the estimated time frame, but something God could probably make happen. I had a nice little box for what I thought God should do, including how and when He should do it.

The adoption paperwork was going along smoothly and Christmas 2004 was only a week away. We were at my uncle’s house for a Christmas party that Sunday afternoon. Before I could go in, my dad pulled me aside. He told me that my mom had gotten a phone call from a friend. This friend was a mentor to a girl that was pregnant and looking for a Christian home to adopt her baby. She had heard about us wanting to adopt through my mother.

I didn’t say a word to Dee until we got home and the boys were in bed. Then I sprung it on her. I had been warming up to the idea all day. When I told Dee about it, she said, that she had been thinking about a second daughter maybe a year or two after we adopted Amalia from Guatemala. And two babies actually sounded good to her. So we decided to check it out.

Before I go any further, I need to tell you about Dee’s Sunday School lesson that Sunday. She had shared it with me on the way home from church, before we went to that Christmas party.

They talked in Sunday School about a preacher who had been struck with an incurable throat condition that was steadily taking his voice from him. He remained faithful to the Lord and even kept teaching Sunday School while his voice diminished. He had to use a special microphone to be heard by his class his voice was so soft. I remember being impressed at how he was faithful to God and kept praising him even as the main tool he had been given for ministry was being taken away.

It was in that Sunday School class that God showed his power to heal. Dee’s group had listened to a tape that day of him teaching his class about the great physician and about not putting God in a box, because he liked to surprise people. He was reading a passage from Psalm 103 that says who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit.

As he read the words “Who redeems your life from the pit” you could hear his voice return. The problem that the doctors could not fix, God could. And did!

Wow! Did God ever come through!

Well, that night after Dee went to bed, I opened up the Bible to see if something would pop out at me. I really wanted to know what God was telling me. Should we do this? Were we setting ourselves up to be hurt again? I didn’t know if Dee or I could handle it.

I really like our Study Bible. It gives references to other verses so you can try to better understand the meaning of passages. I opened it randomly to Ezra 3:11 which led me to Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning.

This was pretty encouraging. I felt like we had enough weeping and was ready for rejoicing. But the verse didn’t really clinch anything for me, so I kept looking at other reference verses. Finally I turned back to Psalm 30 and decided to read the whole chapter. Well, where I had been looking in Psalm 30 was at the top left hand corner of the page. So I turned back and started reading.

I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord My God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave. And then I stopped. I saw the last sentence on the page and almost dropped my Bible. “You spared me from going down into the pit.”

Almost the same words from the Sunday School lesson! At that moment I thought they were the same ones! I felt something come over me and I knew! I absolutely knew right then and there that this was right.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You want to talk about unbelievable power? You want to talk about unbelievable planning? A former preacher of mine always loved the phrase, “God does not share glory.” God does not like people trying to take credit for his wondrous, majesty. God wants to make sure that when He steps in, you know it was Him.

Well, 6 weeks later Dee and I were taking Peyton home from the hospital. We were there for her birth. Throughout the pregnancy, Dee had been able to go with the birth mother to the doctor and had found out it was a girl.

God stepped in and gave us a complete miracle. He took over a situation and made sure he got our attention. From an almost two year wait down to six weeks. Believe me, these types of things just do not happen.

A friend of ours calls this a God Stop. And that’s exactly what it was. God stopped us in our tracks and rocked our world.

It was great to walk into church that Sunday with a two day old baby. It all happened so fast, no one knew what was going on accept our youth group that we had told the previous Wednesday. That morning Ryan bumped into one of the ladies in our church that had not seen us yet. He told her that his mommy had a baby and she thought he was lying!! What really floored me was when Dee told me later that same lady came up to her, with tears in her eyes and could only say “Joy comes in the morning”.

Dee had such a crowd of people around her, the pastor came over and asked me if we would please go sit down so that everyone else would go in and we could start church!

What an awesome thing it has been to be able to bring Peyton into our home and become part of our family. God absolutely not only got our attention, but provided for our needs. He knew we needed that miracle, because our next adoption was not going to go so smooth, or so quickly.

You may remember I said earlier that the estimated time frame was 18-24 months. Some folks may be shocked to find out that I am an extremely impatient individual, so I was pretty focused in on that 18 month time frame. Dee is much wiser and thought she would be pleasantly surprised for anything shorter than 24 months. It may surprise you, but I will publicly admit that I should really listen to her more often!

Dee and I had known we were supposed to adopt from Guatemala. We absolutely knew we were not to give up on Amalia when the opportunity to adopt Peyton came.

Cruise Control at this point - long gone! We had learned repeatedly how we need to trust God. We had been given an awesome miracle, and testimony through that experience. But God was not done with us yet.

Picking an adoption agency is a big deal. We had scoured the internet and referrals provided to us by Karen. Finally we had found what we knew was the right one.

I’ve told you a little about Hope. I don’t think even a handful of people would know that had our first son Ryan been a girl, he would have been named Hannah.

The agency we landed on had an orphanage in Guatemala. They had an awesome program that expecting mothers could stay in their facility and not only receive excellent care, but also most ladies ended up becoming saved through their ministry.

The name of their orphanage? Hannah’s Hope!  When Dee first saw that, the decision was made. God continued to point us down the path he had already prepared for us!

Anyone remember Psalm 139: 15-16? It Says:

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Or maybe another one of my favorites:

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Amalia’s adoption process went to the opposite extreme of Peyton’s 6 week little quickie. The typical process is you get your paperwork done, and get put on a waiting list. We had actually gone to get the final paperwork the Monday after Peyton was born. We needed most of it for her adoption anyway.

We hit the 18 month time frame and we were still around number 12 on that waiting list. Things had been speeding up, but I was ready to be done at this point. We finally get our referral in May, which is to say we finally knew who Amalia was, 20 months later. We new from that point it was a 2-4 month downhill slide. Should be a piece of cake!

We actually got to go see Amalia in June of last year and spend a couple days with her. Holding her the first time was the best. We didn’t know how we were going to come home without her, but would not have skipped that trip for anything. Her favorite toy even now is the little purple bear Dee brought down and left with her last June.

That 2-4 month downhill slide turned out to be another 9 months. Paperwork setbacks and other delays even forced us to get our congressman’s office involved twice for different situations.

One really interesting note: Our family had just begun coming to Pathway before Amalia came home. Many here may not know, but Doreen Davids was a mentor mom to Dee through the Peace Church MOPs program during the time she was pregnant with Hope. That relationship was immediately rekindled when we started coming here. Doreen even knew some of the higher ups in our adoption agency and mentor mom stepped right in and helped get some much needed extra attention on our case to speed things along when we were about at our wits end.

We finally received word that we had our appointment to head back to Guatemala and bring Amalia home. We were overjoyed! Plain tickets were quickly booked and reservations made. Many people were already praying for us and our trip.

The day before we left a huge snow storm was forecast for the Chicago area. The storm was supposed to begin during rush hour the night before we were supposed to leave and continue well into the following day. My first email that morning was a friend telling me he was praying for no snow. Many others quickly joined in that call.

I watched weather.com like a hawk all day. Every time I checked the start of the storm seemed to forecast for an hour later. We had turned everything over to God a long time ago, and now was not going to be the time to get all worked up and stop trusting.

We headed for O’Hare at 2:00 Tuesday morning. Flurries were just starting to fall by our house when we drove out. We drove through some pretty slippery expressways, but got to O’Hare on time and finally boarded the plane. Sitting next to the window I saw a snow drift on the wing, and just kept praying, “Please God, let us take off!”

Well, we made it. My uncle called me as we were walking off the plane in Texas and was amazed we got out at all. We had to be one of the last flights out, as they had already cancelled over 400 flights that morning and by the end of the day over 1200!

God provided. Not only had he given us the strength to come this far, but made sure that even the weather cooperated enough to let us go bring Amalia home.

Time and time again I can point to examples of His power and planning throughout everything we experienced.

What have I learned as a parent about being a child of God? What have I learned as a parent about God the father?

That everything is out of my control. That everything is for his purpose. That my father in heaven knows what I need, and what my family needs and HE WILL PROVIDE IT. That even when things seem difficult I need to have that pure joy in Him because I do not know what is coming around the corner. But God does. God knows it because he made it so. If I am to glorify my father in heaven, I absolutely must continue to trust and praise him.

I am an absolute hypocrite if I don’t.

If I say I am a child of God, then I have to say I believe his word. If I say I believe his word but do not get to know it or understand its promises for my life I have scoffed at the very God who laid all this out for me. I have to not only accept it, but I have to continue to trust that God will live up to his promises.

One thing I think is really neat is how adoption is similar to how Christ brings us into his family. You start by going to a couple hundred web sites and learn what paperwork is involved. Then, select an adoption attorney, adoption agency, social worker and start writing checks. After that you lay your life out on paper, get personal, psychological, and financial examinations and hope that in the end you are approved to adopt. You spend 3-4 months going through this process and then you wait for that magical day.

I’m sure everyone can see it’s almost identical to the salvation plan! Actually, it’s closer than you think. And the paperwork is not really all that bad. Just do your homework and know what you are getting into up front.

Here is my favorite portion of Peyton’s final adoption decree:

It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that from this day the minor shall, to all legal intents and purposes, be the child of the petitioners and, for the purpose of inheritance and all other legal incident and consequences the same as if born to them in wedlock;

It is further ordered that the name of the child be, and is hereby changed to Peyton Maria Barnes.

Peyton and Amalia are not my children through blood. Previously, they had no legal right to be part of my family. But, because we stepped out of our little comfort zone and accepted God’s will and plan for our lives, it is now legally as if they were born to us.

Our salvation plan is identical. The legal way of the old testament was that it was God’s promise to Abraham and the Jews way back in Genesis that it would be his seed that would be the heirs of his kingdom.

Christ changed the legal requirements of becoming part of His family through his blood for each of us on the cross. Because of what Christ did for us when he died on the cross and rose again. He stepped out of his comfort zone and accepted God’s will, even though when he asked for the cup of the crucifixion to pass him by God said no. It was all about God’s will. It was all about God’s plan.

He changed it through grace. I love that word - GRACE — the favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves

My children are unimaginable gifts I have been given that I know I don’t deserve. We as Christians have all been given an unimaginable gift we absolutely do not deserve. And that gift is free. When we accept it, our names are changed, written in the Lamb’s book of life, and it is now as if we were born directly into God’s family. That gift does not get taken away. It is ordered, adjudged and decreed that after we accept that gift we are his and are to be given an inheritance for all eternity.

I’ll end with Romans 4: 16-17

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

So what about my plans? How I knew I wanted to get married, have a family, and a job? What happens if my plans of who I think I am and what I want, don’t coincide with these, my ordained days?

Big trouble! That’s what happens! I have to be reminded every day and would warn anyone listening watch out for that worldly trap of thinking things somehow have something to do with you. We are here because God wants us here. We are here to do what God wants done. We are here for his glory, enjoyment, and to fulfill his purpose in our lives.

Did Dee and I do everything right? NO WAY
Did we mess up at every possible opportunity? Absolutely!
Does God work through it anyway? You better believe it!

We have situations right here in Pathway church where people we know are going through extremely difficult times. I would put a couple paychecks on the fact that there are probably many more situations where an individual, family, or friends are going through something that no one knows anything about.

Praise the Lord! We serve a living, loving and very real God!

I don’t know what God’s plan may be or the reasoning behind situations anyone may be going through. I also do not know how he is going to show you what that plan is, or what will come because of a situation. It may be something that happens in a big way, or it may be in a small little thing. You may not even get to know that plan until we get to glory.

My only advice to anyone is either get to know him for a first time, or continue getting to know Him through a deeper knowledge of his word and through prayer. And then watch for what He has in store for you every day.

Pathway prays, we say! I am standing here in front of a sign that says we are going to help people take their next steps with Christ. If I could pass on anything it would be encouragement to continue building up the family of God and those who don’t even know they are supposed to be part of it yet. Each of us can do that through spoken witness, and by witnessing with how we live our lives every day.

Don’t wait for the wake up call

Don’t wait for the wake up call. Know that in each situation you really do have that pure joy in him because of what lies ahead for you. Give thanks for all He has done, is doing, and will do. Start asking him to show you his plan. But then watch for when he opens that door and be ready to go there. God will blow up all those little boxes and rock your world.

The Barnes Family




Worshiping At

Illiana Christian High School Commons

10920 Calumet Avenue, Dyer, Indiana
Sunday 10:00 AM

Enter through the North Entrance of the school  


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St. John, Indiana 46373

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