a break or a breakthrough

Moses can’t seem to catch a break.

I’m working my way through the LifeJournal Bible reading plan, and Moses has just led Israel (650,000 men and their families) out of captivity, out of Egypt, out into the wilderness. He’s faced down Pharaoh, court magicians, and an elite army bent on his destruction. He’s wrestled with fears and doubts, naysayers and obstacles. He’s literally seen God part the Red Sea and deliver Israel, drowning all those Egyptians who tried to follow them through the sea. Just after this God sends quail and manna to sustain the wandering tribes.

Now Israel is on the other side of the Red Sea, still wandering in the desert. People are thirsty. They begin to complain against Moses, calling for his head. Moses reacts by asking, “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”

In yet another episode of ridonkulous provision, God gives Moses the authority to smack a big honking rock, and promises to give Israel water from the rock. Sure enough, everybody drinks their fill, and their anger passes.

Just when you think Mo’s going to catch a break, the warriors of Amalek attack Israel. Moses now has to coordinate a national defense strategy, run a feeding program, and navigate through the desert to a destination yet unknown to them.

Moses can’t catch a break.

And do you know what I learn from this? God’s not really interested in me catching a break, either. In fact, he likes to let us wander through deserts of desperation. He knows something we don’t: When I don’t need him, I live like I don’t need him.

And he knows that my life is better when I am connected to him. So he lets me (us) go through difficult days to make us grow, to make us lean into him, to develop a trust and a dependence and a hope that endures.

God doesn’t want me to have it easy. But difficult days can still be good days.

Maybe it turns out that I don’t need a break; I need a breakthrough.

a low-key birthday party

If you said that you had 10 people in your living room for cake and ice cream, folks would probably think you had a pretty big shindig. That’s just dessert for Team Sublett.

We’ve been planning to have a night of authentic Chinese food to celebrate Annabelle’s adoption anniversary, but we’d like to have all/most of the fam at the table. Since she was supposed to be playing basketball and staying after her game to watch the State High jv and varsity, Kim opted for one of her favorites–meatloaf and mashed taters.

We thought we’d have most of the kids around the table. Then Annabelle called to say that she got permission to come home early, and the party was in full swing. As we chowed down on some deelish loaf d’meat, we all shared something(s) that we love about Kim. No cards, no flowers, no presents…which seemed sort of like a let-down, yes. But we got a chance to say thank you to the one who holds us all together, who sets the tone and temperament of the the house, who keeps us all moving in the directions we’re supposed to go, who runs a seemingly nonstop shuttle from work to practice to rehearsal to church to friends to blah blah blahhh.

Kim and I met on her birthday in 1989. It seems kind of crazy to think of all the things that have happened in the last 25 years. Happy birthday, babe!
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5 years ago our life changed

5 years ago today we stood got the gift of a lifetime. Annabelle walked out of a waiting room and into our hearts.

The crazy thing is that on the way to the meeting our translator/guide told us to expect the worst–that Annabelle would be unhappy to go with us, that she would likely cry a good bit and want to stay in her homeland with her friends. For the first time Kim and I had to consider that Annabelle might not want to be our daughter. We prayed and walked in, hoping for the best.

You can imagine our surprise (and see it in Kim’s eyes!) when Annabelle greeted us with a smile and a kiss and a “Mommy! Daddy!”

5 years have passed so quickly. And we’re more in love with this young lady now than we were when we first met her.
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my brother-in-law, the prophet

We kicked off a series on dating tonight at XStream. Some of the students have been dating for years; some of them think, “Dating? Ew. Gross.” But it’s a topic we need to discuss. Plus it gave me a chance to tell some of my dating stories.

The series is entitled Obsessed, and we looked at how Samson jacked up his life and future (not to mention that of his nation) because he allowed his obsession with the ladies to get in the way of his calling and devotion to God.

Have you seen this?

One of my favorite parts of the Kim & Stac story is the day we met. I actually met Kim’s brother first. He rode with the fam down to GA to drop Kim off at college (Hey Toccoa Falls!). We were already playing baseball–outside–on January 20, and he tagged along for a little batting practice. He borrowed my glove and was shagging balls in left field when the family conversion van rolled up. He hollered, “Gotta go!” and tossed my glove to another guy, and I didn’t give it another thought. Months later I found out that he hopped in the van and told his parents this stunner:
“I just met the guy Kim is going to go for.”

Can you believe it?!?! I’m so glad he was right.
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a full heart

Kim and Charlie have this thing between them. At some point they watched Disney’s Tarzan and heard Phil Collins sing “You’ll Be in My Heart.” Kim explained it to Charlie, and he’s taken to saying it to Kim. It’s a pretty sweet thing.

Years ago I bought Kim a heart pendant with the birthstone of each Sublett child on the heart. Then we started adopting, and all of a sudden the heart was too small to hold all the gemstones. I bought a bigger heart (as if that were even possible!) and added a few stones to the collection, thinking we were finished adopting.

Then Jase joined Team Sublett, and the heart was once again outdated.

So for Christmas/New Years I took the heart back to our good friends at Miska Jewelers (they know me by name) and made the correction. Charlie noticed that Kim’s “heart” was gone, and he asked about Mommy’s heart repeatedly. (The boy can focus like few other Sublett kids.) He could hardly wait til the heart was back in its proper place.

8 children. 8 stones. I don’t know if it’s complete or not. (Kim says it is!) but it’s a full heart. I love our family.

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the best part of the game

Tonight we watched Ohio State whup up on Oregon. I didn’t really have a favorite in the game. I like to see Big 10 teams play well and represent the conference with dignity. So while I didn’t think that OSU would pull it off, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

But the BEST part of the game for me was having a full house for the viewing. Team XStream was in the house! Not everyone showed up, but we had a blast catching up, being silly, telling stories, and building relationships. There were conversations happening all over the place.

This was a night of community being built, and I love what God is doing here.

Team XStream is the name we give our adult leadership team for youth ministry at Calvary. They are the folks who invest in middle school and high school students, who model what it means to live for Jesus, who invite students to walk with them. Kim and I have been praying and keeping our eyes open for young men and women with leadership potential. We’re looking for folks who display the following characteristics:
Faithful–to Jesus, to his teachings, to his call
Available–not too busy doing other things to make a difference
Responsible–they understand commitment and are growing in maturity
Teachable–They want to learn, are hungry to grow

If that sounds like you or someone you know, drop me a line. I’d love to talk to you about joining one of the best teams ever!

hello blog, i’ve missed you

It’s been a few silent months around the old blogosphere while we got things sorted out with Baby Jase. As of today, he’s officially the newest member of Team Sublett!

We weren’t sure how things were going to work out. We actually headed to the courthouse today expecting a hearing about the birth-father’s paternal rights. At some point in the morning things went in a different direction. We scrambled to get all of our young’ns to the courthouse and finalized the whole shebang this morning around 11.

We are incredibly grateful for all of the prayers and support over the past few months. Team Sublett continues to ride this crazy/wild/wonderful wave that the good Lord has seen fit to set before us. We’re thankful to have friends who have shared the journey with us, lending support and encouragement along the way.

A few months ago we believe that the Lord gave us a verse for Jase. It comes from Isaiah 27:6

In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.

We’re believing that God has a plan for this boy, and that he’s chosen us to play a significant role in his development. And we couldn’t be happier!

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best foot forward

Tonight while the students of XStream were meeting, talking about what it means to FLOW with Jesus in what he calls you to do, Kim and I were meeting with lots of the parents of those students.

We chatted about the vision and values of our student ministry, how things are going, and how they can get involved. Some of the parents had great questions, and it was fun answering them. A few of the parents wanted to know what they could do to be more involved, which is stinkin’ awesome!

It’s my hope to meet with parents on a regular basis. I think we’re gaining momentum, seeing some good things happen with students, leaders, and parents. I believe that our best days are yet to come, and that we’re moving in the right direction. I’m excited about the way the school year has started! Best foot forward, indeed…

photo courtesy of Josh Cone
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100 years of married life

Both my parents and Kim’s parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries this year. My parents hit the mark back in July (we’ll celebrate at Thanksgiving) while Kim’s folks reach the milestone tomorrow. Kim’s parents’ friends threw them a big shindig down in Florida this past spring, but since most of the family couldn’t get down to the Sunshine State, we’re having a family party in Beautiful Bedford tomorrow night.

We have learned so many good things from our parents. They’ve modeled what it means to pursue Jesus as a family, radical generosity, perseverance in the face of adversity, a solid work ethic, parenting with grace, the “blessed to be a blessing” concept, and how to live a life built on the foundation of prayer. We’ve absolutely been blessed to have these four as our parental units.

If you see Rusty and Judy or Ken and Darla, give ‘em a big hug, and tell ‘em that their kids are grateful.
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