Celebration Train

Today we will have a memorial to celebrate the life of my father-in-law, Larry Furtick (also known as the L-train).  After a very long, hard battle with ALS, L-train went home to be with the Lord this past Wednesday.  He loved me like his own daughter and I am a better person because of him.  Thank you all for your prayers and condolences over the past several days.

A special day



Today is a special day in the Furtick household.  It is Steven Furtick’s 33 birthday. These pictures were taken this past Sunday morning before he left for church. He knew the snow would be gone when we got home.  I wish you could know him the way we do.  You would love and respect him even more.  He is an incredible husband, an amazing father, a brilliant leader and a man of God.

12 from 12

I hope you had a wonderful new year and a very merry Christmas!  I have certainly enjoyed a break from blogging but also excited to be back.  2012 was an incredible year for us.  Our ministry and our family has never had a bigger year than we did in 2012.  Here are my 12 favorite events from 2012 (in no particular order)…

1.  Code Orange Revival.  Although it feels like a lifetime ago, this did, in fact, occur in 2012.  It was a whirlwind 2 weeks that had a significant impact on my life personally and on the life of our church.





2.  Elijah’s baptism.  There is nothing like seeing your firstborn express their own belief in Jesus.  What an incredible moment.





3.  Trip to Hillsong Australia.  I was so proud to accompany my husband to Australia and hear him preach at not only one of the most influential churches in the world, but also one that has impacted my life personally.





4.  Banner Years.  Elevation is filled with moments where God came through.  Banner Years is one of those moments for me.  Our church believed God for something big.  My husband and I gave sacrificially along with the people of our church and God multiplied it.  My faith grew yet again.




5.  Greater, a NY Times bestseller.  When my husband released his 2nd book this fall we had no idea how it would be received.  We were blown away at the response it got as the book made it’s way to the New York Times bestseller list.




6.  An incredible vacation.  Halfway through this crazy ride, we took a family vacation.  The trip was a breath of fresh air for all of us.





7.  Abbey turned 1.  The first birthday is significant because you realize that you made it and if you can make it through the first year, you can make it through the next 17.





8.  7 Mile Miracle.  Our team wove the most unbelievable Easter worship experience and many people came to know Christ.





9.  Graham’s birthday trip.  Our Graham Graham turned 5 this year.  We snuck away for three nights with just him and had a blast.  It is always so special to spend time alone with one of our kids!





10.  Best Christmas ever.  Because of our amazing weekend support team, I was able to sit and hear my husband present the gospel 10 times that added up to 34 worship experiences city wide (plus one in Toronto!) and I got to do fun stuff with my children in between.  There is nothing like watching people stand and give their lives to Christ and there is nothing like doing church as a family.




11.  10 year wedding anniversary.  My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this June and we can honestly say we not only still love each other but we also still like each other.





12.  I officially took up tennis.  I began taking lessons this summer for the 2nd summer in a row, only this year, I kept it up.  I have played tennis almost every week since July and am loving it.  If you know anything about me, you know this is huge for me as it is the longest I have ever played a sport (and actually the only sport I have ever learned).

6 ways to help your kids focus on Jesus this Christmas season

Everybody child loves Christmas.  It is so exciting for kids to see a Christmas tree in their living, their neighborhood lit up at night, and Santa everywhere they look. I love all the joy surrounding fun traditions like Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf and gift giving.  These things are great, and there is no shortage of ways to remember the Santa part of Christmas.  But today I thought I would talk about a few ways to keep Jesus at the center of your children’s Christmas…

1.  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  I have read this book with my kids for the past 3 years.  It is not necessarily a “Christian” book but it has a great message centered around the story of Christmas, and a super funny story.

2.  Teach your children Christmas carols and talk about the meaning.

3.  What God Wants For Christmas by FamilyLife.  This is a little activity our family has enjoyed for the past few years.  (See this old post).  We like to do one or two a night leading up to Christmas.

4.  Have a Happy Jesus Party.  When I was a kid, there were a few Christmases where we would have a cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas day.  You don’t have to have the party on Christmas day but this is a great way to remind your kids why we celebrate Christmas.

5.  Read the Christmas story before Christmas.  Talk about the different characters in the story.

6. The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie.  This is a book about a family who decides they want to give a gift to Jesus for Christmas.  The book is a way to talk to your kids about helping others less fortunate during the Holidays.

Brick by brick

Proverbs 14:1
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

I love this verse in Proverbs.  I want to be a wise woman.  A woman who is proactive in building my house, one brick at a time.

I can build into my relationship with my husband.  This means I focus on what I can do to improve our relationship rather than the things I wish he would do.  When I place my efforts in my own change, I have less time to be worried about his.

I can build into my children.  I know that every ounce of effort I put into disciplining them and teaching them to be responsible is worth it, even if I cannot see the results today.

I can build our day by getting up early enough that I do not have to rush out the door.  Or planning ahead of time what we will eat for dinner so we have a healthy meal to eat.  (Boy is this an area where I have lots of room for improvement).

I can build into the emotional atmosphere of our home by making sure my soul is filled with with Word of God so that I am not running on empty, a ticking bomb waiting to explode on someone.

Am I perfect at these things?  No way.  I don’t even come close.  But a healthy, God-centered home is not magically built.  It is put together one brick at a time.  And while some days I lay more bricks than others, my goal is to make sure I am working to build my house, not tear it down.

Special Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law.  Faith, you are a brave woman and I am proud of you.  Thank you for loving me like your very own daughter.  I am praying God will bless you socks off this next year.  We love you!

My beach days

Somewhere in my past life, the beach was a place for peaceful reading and sunbathing.

The beach could not be any different for me now but yet I love it.

I love how Elijah likes to fight the waves.  I love how Graham sticks close to me and Abbey, not quite brave enough to venture out as far as his brother.  And Abbey is fearless.  She doesn’t stop til a wave knocks her down.

It’s hard not to wish away each season of my life.  But I know in my heart, when the day comes that I can go back to peaceful reading and sunbathing, I will wish those sandy little children were begging me to play with them.