The Lenhart Family

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


What I Want You to Know About Being Disabled(or living with chronic pain)

Today has been a rock bottom place for me. There is this adorable little girl dressed up as the cutest Minnie Mouse and I have begged God for weeks that today would be a "good" day and I could take her trick or treating for the first time in her life... But today I'm stuck in bed, on medication that makes me sleep, and trying to find beauty even on the ugly days.

Many of you know that my back/ spinal injury has caused my health to be up and down since I fractured several vertebrae back in 2006. Two spinal fusions, three operations, numerous epidural injections, countless physical therapy sessions, 2 pricey TENS units, hours and hours of massage therapy, and lots and lots of prayers has brought to a place right now where my bad days outweigh my good ones. Where hopelessness has unfortunately taken root and I'm literally holding on and claiming the promises of God because that is all I have.

So why write a depressing post? Believe me the last thing I desire is your pity or to be THAT negative person but what I do desire is to be UNDERSTOOD. 

I want my kids to know when you look up in the bleachers at your football game and I' m not sitting next to your dad, there is NO place I'd rather be than cheering you on (because I am and always will be the biggest cheerleader in you life both on and off the field). I want you to I miss being your taxi driver, because if I could get those dang head phone outta your ears, we always have the BEST conversations in the car. 

I want my baby to know it breaks my heart to not be playing on the floor with you (building blocks and crashing them down, playing with your little people farm, playing babies or having tea parties with you)! It rips my heart to shreds that when you come home from your day with daddy that you run into our bedroom "Mommy! Mommy!" because you know that is where I'll be. It also hurts more than I could have ever imagined when I have to shut my door because we can't play right now, and you wiggle the knob/ bang on the crying for me, shouting "MOMMY!", holding whatever baby or toy you've brought us to do (seriously THAT is the hands down hardest part). 

I want my husband who fasts and prays and picks up the slack that "appreciation" doesn't describe what I feel!! That I'm sorry when I lash out in anger and I'd give anything to have our lives back.

I want my best friends to know that every time I can't follow through with a lunch date or a promise to babysit your kids, IT KILLS ME! I want you to know we would love to have dinner, a coffee date,  or my personal fav a game night but "good days" are usually spent loving my kids first and foremost. I want you to know whether it's been weeks/ months/ or years since we hung out I love you dearly. True friends can pick up right where they left off no matter how long it's been since you've seen them (we just have more to talk about to catch up). I need my friends more than I ever have before and yet they are because of my inability to "do stuff" are more distant than before.

I want my church and the people who I minister to that parts of my soul feels deadened because I can't do what I love, be as connected in your lives as I want, and serve to my greatest potential in the role as pastor's wife right now. Truth be told, I cringe when people ask how I'm feeling because telling the truth makes me feel like a Debbie Downer or Negative Nelly... That's not who I am naturally so avoid the question or put a positive spin on it when I can.

I want my nursing students to know I miss them like crazy. They have all the potential in the world to make amazing RN's and I will be there to see them walk across that stage receive their diploma and pin them! (I also miss my paycheck but God is teaching us dependence on Him like NEVER before)

My family, my friends, my church family deserve more than I can give in this current season.  

Jake and I have always embraced a transparency in our ministry and we will never ascribe to a fake it til we make way of doing "church" .... 

So I have to confess that right now I feel like an epic failure and like I'm constantly disappointing people and not being faithful to my commitments. I have never struggled with depression and hopeless like this but part of my healing means bringing into light that which has been in darkness.

I believe that there is a spiritual element too to it all. The enemy wants to make me ineffective and unable to accomplish what God has for me. 

All this to say.... God is faithful and we are already praising Him for the healing that we know is coming. We are fighting to get our life back. Please in the meantime, be praying for our family and be patient with us and the "new normal" we are trying to adapt to!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where else do you get court side seats to see lives changed?!?!?!

I know I've said it a hundred times but after investing decades into youth ministry... It make my heart burst to see former students live their faith out loud in adult life!! Right now several of them are training to be missionaries, some are at bible college training to into vocational ministry. One of previous young ladies is a senior literally counting down the days until MCC's move in day. She is oozing excitement about the next chapter in life!!

What started out as an Instagram comment on a picture of her standing behind a pulpit... Turned into this blog post because the last thing I am is brief and to the point when it comes to writing. Who knew that there were word limits on the comment posts?!

So here is my advice to her, to other soon to be bible school grads about to begin their careers, or even those currently in vocational ministry but in a funk! This is my Instagram completely unsolicited advice column/ post: 

1. It's not "my" pulpit, your pulpit, or anyone else's but God's. God loves his beautiful bride the church, regardless of who is the pastor, elders, etc... God's the head, foundation and the center of the church and everything in it.

2. If He gifts and chooses you to share the word, understand the immerse privilege and responsibility of that always. Don't take it lightly, you may he the only 'Jesus' some will ever hear or see. 

3. Those in full time ministry have great influence. That puts a huge bulls eye target on your back. The enemy wants YOU because if he get you to stumble and fall so will those you are influencing. 

Vocational ministry is hard, exhausting, can leave you typing resignation letters that never get sent. But it is the most amazing "job" you will ever have (we would work for free shhh don't tell the elders).... 

Where else do you get court side seats to see lives changed?!?!?! 

4. "You can not give what you don't possess".... In other words, if your own relationship with Jesus isn't on fire/ thriving/ growing, you can not FAKE it on the stage or your platform. No depth in your relationship with God= no depth to your teaching.  

Get fired up on stage, yell when you need, cry when you need to... Not to force emotional decisions but to show you're not afraid to be PASSIONATE

5. Teach genuinely and with vulnerability out of the well spring of your own current walk. Everything you experience is a sermon illustration waiting to happen. (Once you have a family get their permission FIRST before using an embarrassing story about them for your sermon illustration)

Speaking of having families and being in ministry... remember they are FIRST. God will hold you accountable for how you led them. You are the ONLY mommy, daddy, husband , or wife that you loved one has. Love them. Don't make them a make priority make them THE priority! 

"No one's opinion of me matters, if my children do not think I am genuine, no amount of success in ministry will make up for my failure at home."

"My desire is that the people who know me the best respect me the most."

 6. Gods word is alive and active! You don't need awesome programs or flashy entertainment to bling out the story of Jesus. The gospel stands alone, no fluff needed. 

7. Preach with complete humility. One the most passionate preachers /teachers I know will not take to stage/ platform/ step up to the pulpit without falling to their knees FIRST (begging God to show up and show off because if He doesn't we all might as well go home). Spend as much time (OR MORE) praying about your lesson or message as you do preparing for it!

 "As a Christian minister, I have no right to preach to people I have not prayed for." (A.W. Tozer)”

8. You are just the vessel or the messager. The message is always the same even though of methods of delivering that message might change.

9. Be ever in tune with the holy spirit. Let it be Gods words, not your own. His agenda, not your own. You will fail (maybe even bomb) a lesson or two but God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Hang in there.

10. The best lessons/ sermons are CAUGHT not TAUGHT! People will more about who God by watching you rather than listening to you! Is your life radically different than those around you because you have been CHANGED by the love of Christ?

I'm been a pastors wife for almost 15 years... Have heard more messages than I can count. And I can name less than a dozen that really stood out to me. That's not because I'm sitting under forgettable mediocre teaching....


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou

Love well! God has big plans and I'm so blessed to see them fulfilled! Keep you're eyes on the prize!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Make the most of every moment"

For the last 17 months I have had the absolute honor of parenting and being "mommy" to one the most amazing human beings on the planets. Since the day we said "yes" and the case worker brought her into our homes (most importantly our hearts) one late Friday night in June, I can not count the ways she has made our lives so blessed.

From day one she has been a constant source of sunshine and joy  (even as we quickly approach the infamous "terrible twos").

People talk about people who have this illusive smile that magically lights up any room in which that person walks into. Before I met her, I thought that it was some cheesy cliche people use to describe overly happy people.... Now I know better.

She has a smile that melts hearts of stone and makes women's uterus' leap. It is physically impossible to be in her presence and be in a bad mood! IMPOSSIBLE! Her laughter is the sweetest sound I have ever heard and when she says "mommy" my heart physically with swells with so much pride and love, it could physically burst! Needless to say I'm beyond smitten and completely head over heels with this precious baby girl.

 I guess I'm a lot like most mommies... I think the sun rises and sets in my daughters eyes. I have an indescribable bond and connection that words fall short in explaining the depth of my love.

But unlike other mommies, I daily live with the reality that although God has called me to be her "mommy" for a season that forever and ever probably isn't in our cards. Unless something unexpected happens, I will not be there to hold her hand as she starts her first day of kindergarten. I will not seen her hit her first home run, rock her ballet and hip hop dance classes, see her giddy with her first school girl crush, dry her tears when she gets her first broken heart, prom dress shop with her, see her walk across the stage to receive her high school  and college diplomas, visit colleges with her, or even see her walk down the aisle as the beautiful bride I know she will be as she marries the Godly man I have praying for since the day she stole me heart.

I am a foster mom. Although if you were to open my heart, you would see no difference in the amount of unconditional love I hold for her or my other children (both adopted and biological).

Daily I am reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed! DAILY!

This reminder drives me to live in the moment. Cherish each precious moment I have. Smell her, lots!!! Memorize her beautiful face and the sound of her giggles and the way she says "mommy"! Watch her sleep (goes back to the memorize her face). Put off "things" to create memories. When she asks me to read the same book that we've already read 36 times today, read it again. Blow bubbles (even inside on rainy days). Forget the mess. Sing. Sing. Sing. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Go to the park. Look at rocks, flowers, and bugs. Play in the dirt. Paint her toenails. Teach her the importance of shoes. Talk about Jesus as much as I can. Love her tummy mommy (biological mommy). Watch "yo gabba gabba" and  "tangled" as many times as she wants to. Ignore well meaning people who tell me to let her "cry it out" at bedtime and not rock her to sleep. Kiss her more times than humanly possible to count. Whisper "I love you" in her ear all day long. And pray that even when I am distant memory she will KNOW to the core of her being that she has value and is loved more than she can ever fathom.

 Experience and heart break as a foster mom painfully reminds me that one day my lap will be empty (as will some places in my heart). One day I would give anything to watch "Tangled" one more time with my baby girl cuddled up on my lap. Whether its because you are a foster mom, due to unexpected loss/ death, or an unforeseen medical hardship around the corner.... Life is lived best when we are ever mindful that each day, each moment, is a gift!!! Unwrap every beautiful one you've been given... Before its too late.

 In the wise words of Ferris Buehler, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Tick tock hear the clock countdown
Wish the minute hand could be rewound
So much to do and so much I need to say
Will tomorrow be too late
Feel the moment slip into the past
Like sand through an hourglass
In the madness I guess I just forget
To do all the things I said
Time passes by
Never thought I'd wind up
One step behind
Now I've made my mind up

Today I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
 'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it
 Today I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
 Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late
One day too late
One day too late

Tick tock hear my life pass by
I can't erase and I can't rewind
Of all the things I regret the most I do...
Wish I'd spent more time with you
 Here's my chance for a new beginning
I saved the best for a better ending
And in the end I'll make it up to you, you'll see
You'll get the very best of me
Your time is running out
You're never gonna get it back
 Make the most of every moment
Stop saving the best for last