Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I stumbled on an entry I wrote on 11/11/08. As I read it, I was re-living the passion I felt as a young single woman who was ready to conquer the nations in the name of Jesus. I knew that my God didn’t give me the “spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline”. Looking back, I definately lacked the “spirit of discipline”. But I knew I had the spirit of power and the spirit of love because the duo kept me sleepless & begging God to send me! Somewhere, anywhere outside the US. A year later, he sent me…. to Muskegon, MI. I can look back and laugh now because I see that God’s ways are so much greater than my ways. He knew exactly what He had prepared for me that year.

I still love Jesus…deeply. I am passionate about this calling he’s given Justin & I here in Muskegon. I want to be faithful to everything He’s put before me. But a part of me does long for the passion I felt for making His name known among the nations. Only He knows what that will look like for the Thorntons. For now, this nation needs him plenty!

11/11/08 “Break my heart for what breaks yours”

“So many things excite me about the future. I’ve always had the desire to travel the world, meet people coming from completely different walks of life , experience their culture, hear about their values, dreams, desires, fears, and have my eyes opened to their needs.. There’s a whole world out there filled with people God created. People that He loves just as much as he loves me… it’s doesn’t make sense for them not to know this. I want to start praying for them more often. I know that my Father’s heart breaks for these people. People who are lonely, starving,thirsty, sick, and cannot understand the concept of love because they’ve never experienced it. I want my heart to break for these people too.I don’t want to just “feel sorry or sad for them”. At the very least, I want to stop thinking about myself long enough to remember to lift them up in prayer. I want to get to the point where I’m so burdened for their causes that I want to set aside my own wants and needs… Just in case God decides to use a nobody like me to somehow meet theirs.

I’m most excited about being able the idea of medical missions…. If I could go to any country, I choose Uganda. I read about their child abduction issues in high school and since then, I’ve felt a special connection to this country. I hope to meet Max and Christon one day, our compassion children. <3 Is it possible to love people you’ve never met? MmHmm. After finishing nursing school, I wanted nothing more than to join a team of church planters excited to introduce Jesus to the forgotten people in the ends of the earth. I started feeling this way this way my first semester of school when all my patients were either homeless or sharing homes with ten other families. While we gave their shots, hung their ivs, gave them their bed baths, they were so relieved to be at the hospital. Most of them weren’t even sick. They needed to get out of the cold. They needed food.. a bed to sleep on… warm sheets…someone to talk to them and show them that someone in their empty world cares for them!!! They had no home, no one to call family or friend. I remember feeling so grateful that I wasn’t them, but so troubled because after they were discharged, I’d never see them again. How do you begin to introduce God, and love, and new life?? I wanted to tell them everything I knew. I wanted them to know that someone created them.. And that their creator is madly in love with them…And that he gives hope and new life to those that believe and choose to have a relationship with Christ.

I get a bittersweet feeling when I think about not being able to work as a nurse. I would love nothing more than to show people God’s love in this way. To go to countries where hospitals don’t have flat screen tv’s and fluffy bed sheets. But I’m learning that there are lonely, empty, hurting people outside of hospitals, inside this country, and inside my circle of friends and family. And they need God just as much. I’m still excited about what the future with God holds. Excited that he might decide to use an ugly person like me to help build his kingdom.
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Want to know a secret?

I really admire ministry couples who are in their 60's, 70's, 80's and still going strong. I love hearing stories about how they met, their first years of marriage/parenthood, first ministry adventures, and all the hardship they endured in ministry and marriage. With age definitely comes much wisdom. And much revelation! There is one couple in particular who I ADORE! "The Greenes" Justin and I just smile when we think of them. They've been changing people’s lives for Jesus for years! They are humble, WISE, compassionate...I can go on and on. Their secret...
1) Jesus
2) Family
3) Ministry
In that exact order! They always remind Justin & I to hold on to this order very closely and as God wills, we will be in ministry, together for the next 60-70 years.

As a woman, 1 & 2 can get rearranged pretty quickly. In the attempt to be the perfect wife & perfect mom, I'm reminded that I cannot even be called "good" apart from Jesus. I want to love my family but when I think of what love looks like in His eyes, it's impossible to do apart from Jesus!

Love= patient, kind, not self seeking, not easily angered, forgives, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. These days I am impatient, self-seeking, easily angered, unforgiving, untrusting. This leads me to believe that I've gotten the order all wrong and I need to refocus. In order to serve my family & church diligently, I need more of Jesus.

My husband LOVES his Jesus time. There is nothing & no one that can keep him from that. The first day of being married, he grabbed a cup of coffee, his bible, and found a quiet corner to start his day. 2&1/2 years later, not much has changed. (Except now, he has a baby girl waiting to sit on his lap and be read to every morning). I am grateful that he does 2(Family) SO well. He truly loves his family time. I love knowing that Tuesdays are especially for Anabelle & I. We start the day with Jesus, turn our phones off (sorry world) & enjoy our beautiful baby girl together. Every other day he eat, sleeps, breathes 3 (ministry). He loves Jericho Road.

I can't imagine the weight of being a husband/father/pastor. I can't imagine the internal battles he faces daily. I do believe that his love for Jesus helps him to be a great husband and father, and his love & dedication to his family helps him to be a great leader to Jericho Road (his extended family).

1) Jesus 2) Family 3) Ministry....Now share the secret!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Psalm 51"

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

God's way of purifying one's heart isn't just putting a band aid over past pain, hurt, and sin. He purposely brings those things to light so he can forgive, restore, & take away every hint of shame & condemnation those memories carry. As I pray this prayer, God is peeling layers upon layers of unconfessed sin. He is digging up painful wounds buried deep in my past in order to bring complete healing. The devil wants us to believe that we can keep these things hidden without repercussion. The truth is, they manifest themselves daily in our behavior and habits and affect how we treat our our spouse, kids, and friends. More dangerously, they distort our view of God & prevent intimacy in our relationship with him.

Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". How great is our God who longs to purfiy us so we can "see" and know him intimately. The process is hard for me because I am realizing how dirty my heart is before a holy God. But through it, my spirit is being renewed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Me of little faith"

Two years ago Justin & I were sitting in the parking lot of his "dream building". I listened to him ask God for this building and from that moment, he believed that God was willing & more than able to give Jericho Road (a congregation of 40 at the time ) this 1 MILLION dollar building. My reaction reminds me of Sarah when she was also eavesdropping at the conversation between her husband and God. God promised Abraham at 99 that he would grant them a child. Sarah laughed. Even though I didn't laugh at my husband's prayer, my faith was as small as Sarah's. Faith is a weakness for me. Not faith in the existence of God, but faith in what He is capable of doing & His willingness to do it.

In Mark 9, a desperate father asks Jesus to heal his son. Jesus responds "Everything is possible for one who believes". I don't know the anguish of this man whose son needed healing. But I can relate to desperately wanting to believe in Jesus' promises. I can relate to how he was hanging on to Jesus' word because it's all the hope his family had. With a weak but surrendered heart he cried “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” That is my cry this morning as I am asking God for the "dream building" and for personal needs for my family.