Life After The Black Hole

Today is October 10. I checked my blog today and the last date I posted was June 28. I mean… hole much?

For years we have had friends with school age children tell us that their summers get crazy when the children aren’t in school and Jared and I have never understood that. Can’t you put them in camp? Aren’t they visiting grandparents? Don’t you let them watch TV in the summer?

And then I became an instant mom to a 4-year-old who completed preschool this past May and all of a sudden my world halted. I had him scheduled every single week this summer with some sort of activity. So what happened to me??
I spent the whole summer managing his schedule only to realize that was all I had time to do – if I was going to also see my husband, clean my house, get some of my own work done here and there, and feed my family – The only thing I had legitimate time to do was manage my child’s summer schedule.

I just now (after he has been in kindergarten for two months) feel I am shaking off the black hole dust of summer. I honestly have no idea what happened, but I do know that as my priorities have needed to shift since becoming a mama, I was right on point to have been wrapped up in his little universe for his summer break.
We were both ready for school to start, but it was a good first full summer home with him.

Aiden at Disney (he went to Disney World this summer. Swoon!!)

Since getting my feet on the ground again, new things have been happening in the Ribble household. I can’t specify at the moment ALL the things, but I want to mention one of them.

Last year, I felt very strongly God asking me to become involved in the college ministry my church supports with a group of Belmont University students. I was able to write a bible study for the gals of the group and go through it with them. I was so excited for this time with them and greatly appreciated getting to know them.
As God would have it, the beginning of this school year brought about the current college minister moving on and the church approaching me about being the new College Minster for our church.

Because of the size of our church and the current involvement of the college students, this is a part-time position. I have a lot on my plate with my adoption work, writing, and wife/mom life, but it was very clear that I had already set my life up to be involved with these students and that God was carving a path for me back a year ago.

I accepted the position and my sweet husband jumped in with me. We have been going non-stop getting ourselves accustomed to this new ministry and adding new activities for them to be a part of/serve in. There’s a million times in my life being on staff at a church made sense (and was a reality at one point) but I never expected to be a collegiate minster.

I love it. These students are amazing. I don’t feel old enough to be their elder, but I am and I just have to deal with it and appreciate that they tell me I look like I’m still in my twenties and I am cool. Thanks kiddos. I will cherish those words. 🙂

I leave you with this, which is something I will write about again soon :

Bob Goff Quote
I have been taking the students on a journey this semester of looking at Jesus in different circumstances throughout the bible and dissecting his temperament and his compassion. I want to teach them to look for the character of Jesus and to emulate it to those they come in contact with. If they learn nothing else while under my leadership, I want them to know how to love others in a way so fitting of the King of Kings. It’s the least we can do.

My challenge to you my readers… If you haven’t jumped ship over my sabbatical…. Is this :

Pick up your bible. Find a story about Jesus (there are a lot of them by the way). Read about how he interacted with those he came in contact with. Why did he speak the way he did? Why did he love the way he did? Why did he stop his world for certain individuals?

The very first story I presented for the students to look at about Jesus was the story of the paralytic being lowered through the roof to him.
Bob Goff said this, “We are throwing people off of roofs we should be lowering them through. We’ll be remembered for our love, not our opinions.”

We need to love well. We need to bring people to Jesus at all costs. And we need to be the Jesus who will stop for them when they need us.

Can we be this Jesus to those around us?

Let’s try.

It’s good to be back friend. I love you all.


Promo for Sisk Memorial’s Women’s Conference on May 14th

The promo video, for Sisk Memorial Baptist Church’s Women’s Conference being held on May 14th, is posted below. If you are at all in the area near Fort Mill, SC, please come by and attend this conference. I would love to see you!

Church Address : 115 Massey St. Fort Mill, SC 29715
Conference Time : 12 pm
Soup & Salad Lunch Provided
{be sure to call the church and let them know you are coming. Phone : 803.547.2537}



Slow Down; Take Time {As seen in Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their April 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway Journey Magazine April #2

Slow Down; Take Time

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

I am a rusher. I rush through life and way too many important moments.

Now, if I tell you I have a 4 year old, do you believe that I always get from Point A to Point B very quickly? If you have any experience at all with a 4 year old (especially a strong-willed one) you know that your timetable doesn’t match his or hers.

The other day I was working around the house, doing laundry and cleaning up, and I had decided I was going to head to the grocery store at a certain time. My son had been sitting on the couch watching one of his favorite cartoons when I swept in and said, “Put your shoes on. We have to go to the store.” He looked up at me with eyes almost fully closed. He was tired.
I continued to gather his shoes and socks, and as I approached him, I noticed a look in his eyes that screamed Stop! I took a deep breath and asked him if he needed “Mommy Time.” This is our code for, “Should I hold you for a while?” He nodded yes.

He fell asleep on my chest for 45 minutes. As he began to sweat on my shoulder and his gentle breath slowly swept in and out across my skin, I noticed his peace in my willingness to put on the brakes. He asked me to stop for a minute and when I did, peace filled his little body.

How often do we rush past our loved ones, never actually seeing them? Never actually meeting them where they are? How often do we drag our children along on our everyday errands when all they need is some attention and connection?

I love the message David gives us from the Lord in Psalm 46:10; “Be still, and know…” Have there been times when you’ve had a revelation from God when you’re rushing from one task to the next? I don’t think it works that way. It’s when we are still that we know who God is and what He has for us. When we are quiet He has room to speak and reveal who He is to us.

Take heart my friend. The Lord desires for you to rest in Him. Find some moments to breathe today and seek the face of our Lord. He may just reveal His will for you through your children.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me slow down and see the needs of my loved ones around me. Help me to learn to stop long enough to hear from You and act upon Your will.

Painful Sacrifice {As Seen in Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their April 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway's Journey April 2016
Painful Sacrifice

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested him, offered up Isaac.” (Hebrews 11:17)

The story of Abraham obediently leading his son up the mountain to be sacrificed has always struck me as a superhuman test of faith, a faith I was unsure I would ever have.

How can I reconcile a God of so much love with a God who would force me to give up things I hold so dear? is the question I often wrestled with.

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve felt God urge me to let go of something. In the past, this meant a long-term boyfriend or a bad habit, but in my adulthood, it means greater sacrifices.

Oftentimes, the thing God is asking us to give up is not something we see as bad for us, and we’re afraid to let go for fear of never gaining that particular thing back again. But do we really want the same things given back to us when God actually has something better in mind for us?

I recently saw a cartoon picture of Jesus kneeling down in front of a little girl, asking her to hand him her teddy bear. She appears to be trembling and unsure. The picture shows that Jesus has a much larger teddy bear behind His back, one she can’t see.

This is the story of all of our lives. We hold on to things we feel we can’t live without because our vision is so limited. But God’s vision-His thoughts and His ways- is so much grander than what we can fathom. Daily, we have the choice to either relinquish our plans to the Lord, trusting in Him, or to keep clinging to our tiny, feeble plans.

I remember a season when I was praying about something God had asked me to sacrifice. I was lamenting about how difficult it was for me to sacrifice this particular thing and asking for Abraham’s strength to guide me through. As I was praying, I was hit with what felt like a bolt of lightning in my soul. I realized the same God who gave Abraham strength thousands of years ago would also give me strength.

I challenge you to sacrifice the things you feel God is leading you to give up. Walk that mountain to the altar and lay before God what is already His anyway.
Trust that God knows the end from the beginning and that He always has your best interest at heart.

Open your hands and let go of your feeble plans.  Let God fill your palms with His blessings.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me to see the parts of my life that You want me to offer back to You. Give me strength to let go.

The Cornerstone {As Seen In Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their March 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway Journey March 2016

The Cornerstone

“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22).

Throughout my life, I have struggled with self-worth despite having a very supportive and loving family. Oddly enough, I did not struggle with my beauty but with my brains. It wasn’t my family who brought me down; it was some of my childhood teachers.

There was a lot of emphasis put on education in my family and as a result, I put pressure on myself to be perfect when it came it academics.

While many of my teachers were amazing, I had a few bad apples that led to my negative thinking patterns.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came for me in eighth grade. My band teacher was sponsoring an event that I didn’t fully agree with. When I told her that I wouldn’t be participating, she laughed at me and said, “I hate to tell you this, but one person will never change the world by standing on stupid beliefs.”

I was crushed. It was heartbreaking to have one of my educators tell me what I was taking a stand for was stupid. I never wanted to believe her, but I carried her words with me for a long time.

Then the time came for college, and I had an incredible English professor. He introduced me to topics and ideas I fell in love with. One of his assignments was for us to write about someone we believed made decisions that changed history. When our grades were given to us, my professor approached my desk and laid the paper down. He looked at me and said, “The greatest thing about your paper was, I could see you being the person in your story. You will make a difference in this world. Keep it up.”

My English professor had no idea the impact his words would have on me. He was a willing vessel for God that day and delivered redemption to my wounds.

I love the wisdom Psalm 118 gives us: “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust a man.” Sometimes people of influence in our lives tear us down with words rather than build us up. However, God reminds us the “stone” others want to throw away is actually the rock He wants to build His kingdom on. The qualities we see as inadequate are often the qualities God gave us for a specific purpose in His kingdom.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me find my worth in you and not in the words of other. Help me see myself as You see me.