Category Archives: Family

Lake Providence-Our Second Home

 

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Colorado is my home.  I love Colorado.  I love the mountains, the wide open views, the sunsets, the smell of Colorado air, the four seasons, the people, my church, and so much more.  There is much to do, see, and experience. I am thankful that I live in the flourishing town of Loveland.  Colorado is a wonderful place to live!

We now have a second home.  This past Spring my family purchased a lake house known as the “Fish Camp” on Lake Providence in the town of Lake Providence, Louisiana.   I have a special love for our new home and the town it is located in.

Lake Providence is beautiful! I love the Cypress trees surrounding the lake.  I love the lake.  I love the changing colors of the water, a wide variety of vibrant greens during day and then gentle pinks, lavenders, and blues at sunset.  I love the green farmland surrounding the town.  I love the humidity (yes, I actually do).  I love the mist rising over the soybean fields at dusk.  I love the quietness and peace I feel here.  I love the people.  People here are kind, extremely kind.   They are generous, whether or not they have a lot or a little to give.  They are welcoming all around.

How did we get here?  Why Lake Providence?  Why purchase a vacation home in a town that’s been labeled the poorest and most unequal town in America?  Why invest time, money, and love into a town with no movie theater, no public swimming pool, no mall, no Starbucks, no Walmart…..?

Let me take you back a few years.  My  husband Eric had dream that we purchased a house in a city with black people outside our front door.  It was a two story, green house, with wood walls in the interior.   Our church’s involvement with this town was the reason we were there.   One of the pastors was sharing the vision for this town outside of our house.  In the dream Eric was crying because he knew that the hand of God was on this town and the work that was happening there.   He woke up, shared the dream with me and then wrote that dream down.  We prayed about it and forgot about it.

Our senior pastors Jonathan and Amy Wiggins are from Louisiana.  They moved to Colorado about 6 years ago and became the senior pastors a little over 4 years ago.  They have a daughter named Madelyn who dances in the Rez Dance  ministry and who has a huge heart for Lake Providence.  I remember hearing about her love for Lake Providence and wanting to go there to see why she loved it so much.   Long story shortened, Eric and I decided to take a dance and art outreach trip to Lake Providence summer of 2013.  Around this time our senior pastor, Madelyn’s dad, presented our church with a vision and dream to adopt the town of Lake Providence and over time show the people there our love and commitment to them.   Through a series of sermons, many people’s hearts, including ours, were stirred for this town and we had no trouble putting together a team to go to Lake Providence.

On this outreach trip we were able to lead a dance camp at the local community center. Black children and white children participated in this camp.  We got to build a parade float, and dance in a fourth of July parade.  We ate A LOT of delicious southern food!  We had a wonderful experience making friends, and feeling so much love from the people in LP.  My husband Eric had the privilege of starting a mural on a big building that sits on the main highway that runs through town.   Our oldest son, Josiah, felt a deep love for Lake Providence the moment he arrived.  He felt like he was home.  A feeling he had never felt any where else we’ve been.

Over the course of this past year our son Josiah went to LP on two more outreach trips.  Eric went there with the deacons.  We took an art team to finish the mural,  took another dance and art team this past June and we bought a fish camp.   When we entered into our contract on the fish camp I remembered Eric’s dream.  He pulled it out, we read it, and we were amazed by God’s divine PROVIDENCE over the past few years and how He knew and prepared us before hand for HIS work in LP.  Wow!  God is awesome!!!!

We believe Lake Providence  is a town marked by God for His good and glory.   Just think about it’s name. Providence means the protective care and nature of God. This is God’s plan and destiny for LP.   This is a town named after Him and His character. The words Worth, Hope, Change, Love, Vision, Unity, Respect, Impact, Courage, Forgive, Serve, and Believe are painted on the LP Mural.  These are the words God is speaking over this town! This is why we love Lake Providence and why we are here.

Destiny Words Mural

We have met so many amazing people in this town:  Brother Don and Miss Linda Boyett who pastor Providence Church and run Jehovah Java (a coffee shop and cafe that puts Starbucks to shame!),  Andrea of My Dream Eatery, town historian Larry Brock and his author and Prayer Pastor wife Ann,  Shellie Tomlinson of All Things Southern, Sucletter Brown leader of Morning Star’s Power and Diversity Dance Teams, just to name a few and we think about how much good is in and has come out of Lake Providence.

When people heard that Jesus was from Nazareth they said, “What good can come out of Nazareth?”  The GREATEST Good there is came out of Nazareth!  People today ask what good can come out of Lake Providence?  I say, look how much good as ALREADY come out of and is currently in Lake Providence right now!   I want to be, my family wants to be, a part of the work that God is doing in Colorado, and also a part of the work God is doing here in LP.  It’s huge!

We love Lake Providence! We’ve been vacationing in Lake Providence for the past two weeks. I am thankful for our time here.  There’s been nothing to distract me from doing what I really want to be doing, and that’s spending quality time with my husband and children.  We’re playing in the lake, putting together a puzzle, watching movies, reading, writing,  playing board games.  We’ll be here for a few more days before we head to our Colorado home to get ready for the new year of school and dance.   Before we go, we get to be a part of a fundraiser called LA Delta Field of Dreams.  The money for this fundraiser is going towards building a new sports complex for the community.  Si Robertson and Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty will be there!  I am hoping to get my picture taken with Uncle Si:).  People from our church in Colorado are coming to support this event.

There is so much hope for Lake Providence!  It’s a city named by and after God!  It’s beautiful here!  The people are kind, generous, and welcoming.   I am so happy to call this place my second home.  I am excited to see all that God is doing here and all that He is going to do.  I look forward to meeting more and more wonderful people who are a part of this community.

I encourage you to visit Lake Providence.  I encourage you to experience the beauty of this town marked by God and to serve this community in some way.   For more information as to how you can serve Lake Providence watch this message from our Senior Pastor and check out Hope for LP.

Please also feel free to ask me personally how you can get involved.

Last, but not least, please pray for Lake Providence.   Pray for unity.  Pray for blessing.  Pray those destiny words I mentioned earlier over this town and community.  Add Lake Providence to your Prayer Box.  I have a feeling you’ll draw it often!

Here are some pictures that bring me joy from our time here in Lake Providence.

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The whole fam having great fun on the Lake.

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Eric’s Fish Camp.

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We are renting our fish camp out as a vacation rental! Please let me know if you would like to stay here sometime:).

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This is how we ride the dog!

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Lake Providence is great for all sorts of water sports including paddle boarding.

Me and Tirzah having some fun.

Me and Tirzah having some fun.

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Date night. Eric and I took a drive in the boat over to The Dock restaurant. Delicious food and a beautiful sunset. Time together alone is always a good thing….:)

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Crawfish Etouffee and Catfish Margaritte from The Dock. Yummy! This town has some seriously delicious food.

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View of the sunset from our boat. The house came with a boat!!!

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I got to celebrate my birthday here in Lake Providence.

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The girls melt my heart.

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Plenty of fish to catch in the lake. Judah discovered the joy of fishing during our vacation.

Josiah and Judah.

Josiah and Judah.

Bald Cypress trees line the lake.  I pretty much adore these trees.

Bald Cypress trees line the lake. I pretty much adore these trees.

My Dream Eatery.   You can't get more delicious food than what Miss Andrea serves here.

My Dream Eatery. You can’t get more delicious food than what Miss Andrea serves here.

There are beautiful horse pastures and horses in Lake Providence.  We were delighted to see this newborn horse and it's mama.

There are beautiful horse pastures and horses in Lake Providence. We were delighted to see this newborn horse and it’s mama.

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Emmanuelle and Isabelle.

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Lake Providence at sunset.

P. S.  If you are interested in renting our Lake Providence house, please comment below and I’ll give you my contact information.

 

 

 

Prayer Box and Bible Time

Our children picking names from our Prayer Box.

Our family has evening and morning Bible (devotional) times together almost every day. During the school year, I lead our kids in a Bible time during breakfast. We read a passage of scripture, work on a memory verse and often a hymn, and then pray for our day. During the summer we aren’t so consistent and we feel this lack of consistency.  By the end of the summer (like right now as I write this) we are ready for those regular morning times together again.

Throughout the whole year, almost every night, Eric leads us in family Bible times together. Eric reads a story from a children’s Bible and then asks our children questions about what he just read. Then we open our Prayer Box and pray together as a family. After our time of prayer, we all praise the Lord together at the same time. We will speak out praises like “You are the kind God.” “Lord you are strong.” “You are wise. You are loving. You are fun.” We end our spontaneous praise by singing the songs “Praise the name of Jesus” and “Jesus loves Me”.  Sometimes we may sing another song.  We end our Bible time with listening to the Lord. We all get quiet and ask the Lord what He wants to speak to us. Our little ones usually get an instant word or picture from God while it takes the rest of us longer. We often have to make Tirzah and Judah wait to tell us what they heard from God so the rest of us get a chance to listen. When we travel, we add high point/low point to this mix. Everyone shares the high and low point of their day. Then it’s time for bed for the littles.

Why do we do this? We want to put God first in our home. When we daily spend time in God’s word, pray, and worship together, we grow closer to Jesus and to each other. There is more peace in our home and we feel connected.  Deuteronomy 11:19 tells parents to teach children the Word of God at home, on the road, and when you get up and when you go to bed.  Our children, oldest to youngest, do not like it when we miss a night of family Bible time together. If it’s a super busy week, we will even do Bible time in the van, sharing verses and doing “imaginary” prayer box.

What is Prayer Box? Our Prayer Box is a box filled with names of family members, friends, missionaries, pastors, and random people God puts on our hearts. Every night, each family member draws a name out of the prayer box and that person prays for the person or family name written on their piece of paper. We all love prayer box! Prayer box is FUN!!! We get to see how the Holy Spirit orchestrates who we all pray for. It’s no coincidence when we draw names of people from the same family, or we draw the same person’s name night after night, or when one of of us draws my name after a really exhausting day and I need prayer. Prayer is not boring and prayer box teaches our children the value and fun of prayer. I got the idea for our prayer box years ago when Josiah and Emmy were little. I cannot remember exactly where, but I think it was from an Above Rubies book or article I read. We been having family devotional times since Josiah(13) was a baby and using the prayer box since he and Emmy (11) were very young.

Here is what your need for your prayer box:
A small box with a lid (can be a shoe box, or a pretty wooden box, or plastic container)
Small pieces of paper (we use colored 3 by 5 cards cut in half then folded)
A pen

Write down names of family, friends, and anyone God puts on your heart onto those papers and then put them in the box. Each person in your family can pull out a name and pray for the person they drew when you have your family Bible time.

Over the years I’ve had some women ask me how they can help their husbands be the spiritual leaders of their home. Family Bible times are a great way to do this. I encourage wives to pick out a simple children’s bible story book and/or a simple devotional book.  Ask your husband if he would be willing to read one of these stories to you and your children each morning or night or whenever works best for your husband (if your husbands schedule makes this difficult, even once a week is better than never!). If he says yes, wonderful, if not, pray for him and start doing this with your children yourself. If your husband does decide to lead in this way, don’t criticize his reading or add a whole bunch to what he reads or does. Let him lead! Simplicity is great and sufficient. Prayer Box takes the pressure off of him to pray “perfect” prayers. Have fun as you spend time with God as a family.  Our kids often get seriously goofy during Bible time. For the most part we let them, laughter is good, and we’re not trying to be religious. We are putting Christ first and prioritizing our family.

If you have teenagers who grumble when you start this, don’t let them stop you, and don’t be offended by their grumbling. They need family Bible time and will thank you eventually!

Statistics show that couples who pray together stay together and I believe the same is true for families who pray together.

So…..start having Bible times together as a family and make your own Prayer Box!   See what God will do!

 

Who’s Your Daddy?

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My daddy is Kerwin Glenn Stover.   He is a good man.  He is a kind and hardworking man.   Growing up I heard him tell me that he loved me every day.  He sang “Jesus name above all names” to me every night.  He played with me, cuddled me, and took care of me.  I have memories of laying my head on his chest while sitting next to him on the couch.  I would listen to his heartbeat and think how blessed I was to have him as my dad.   For many years of my childhood I actually thought that my dad might be Jesus.  I laugh to think of this now, but it’s true.  As a young girl I never saw him lose his temper, never saw him sin.  My dad was the visible image of Jesus to me and so, I thought, maybe he was Jesus, come down to earth again as my father.

As I entered adolescent years, I came to the realization that my dad had sin like everyone else. He wasn’t perfect.  He wasn’t Jesus.   This realization actually brought a lot of hurt with it.  My super hero, Jesus, father, wasn’t as super heroish as I thought any more, but, he was and he still is a good daddy.  I am thankful!

Who is your daddy?  As I ask this question, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes because I know that some of you have a daddy who hurt you, abused you, lied to you, or withheld affection from you.   You may not even know who your dad is.

How do we have an intimate relationship with Jesus if we don’t trust the Father, or we don’t fully know His love for us?   How do we get to the secret place and hear the Holy Spirit’s voice if we are afraid of what the Father is going to say?  We all have an earthly daddy.   Some of us have good daddies, some of us not.  We ALL have imperfect fathers. And we ALL are asked to forgive our fathers for whatever they did or didn’t do.

When we receive Jesus, we also we receive His Father.   God, King of the Universe becomes OUR dad.   HUGE!   We are now ROYALTY in the kingdom of God.  What does this do to our identity?!  What should it do to our identity?!  Did we have to clean up our lives to be called a child of God?  No.  Jesus’ death gave us this.  Do we have to clean up our mess now in order to be intimate with Jesus?  No.  He wants us to come just as we are.  God is a good dad. He IS a perfect dad.   He is a kind, safe, strong, providing, listening dad.  Our Heavenly Father wants to hold us, comfort us, strengthen us, and send us out to do his will.

Jesus was so trusting of the Father.  Jesus did and said what He saw His Father say and do, even to the point of doing crazy things like spitting on the ground, mixing his spit with mud, and putting it on a blind guy’s eyes.   He let a sinful woman wash his feet with oil and tears, not worrying about his reputation but receiving her love because he was so connected to the Father’s heart.   Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place just so he could get alone with his Father. God wants US to have this kind of relationship with him too.  WE are God’s children and WE are the visible image of Jesus to those around us.  YOUR DADDY IS FATHER GOD!

I encourage you to listen to the song The Anthem (all 10 minutes of it) by Jake Hamilton.  As you do, ask the Father to show you that HE is YOUR good daddy!  Ask him to help you forgive your earthly father if you need to.  Ask him to show you who you are as HIS daughter or son.