Saturday, July 27, 2013

Update from Husband!


Hi loved ones! Here's a bit of an update for you :)

LA THRASH!! 
We don't shower as much as we'd like; we don't have comfy beds to sleep in; we pack super light everywhere we travel, and we always stay up late into the night- But it's all worth it because we experienced the living God break through in our hearts and break out in the LA streets and skateparks everyday and every night. Designed to provide the rawest Calling All Skaters experience possible, LA THRASH was an intense 2 weeks of discipleship, evangelism, and vision, where high school age skateboarders lived and traveled with the Calling All Skaters crew and learned what it means to live a life completely surrendered to Jesus as a young skater.  Three days into the program many of the participants said that their lives had already been changed forever.  God united us as brothers and sisters in Christ more than we knew was possible in such a short time. He also used each one of us as ministers of the gospel- whether in front of a crowd at a skate demo in Hollywood, on the stage of a church in Tujunga, on the curb at a skatepark in Westchester, at a crosswalk in Compton, or around a bonfire in Hermosa Beach. All of us, staff and students, were stretched out of our comfort zones. As a community of skateboarders, surrendering our lives to Jesus daily can sure get uncomfortable, but man is it fun! 

A bunch of the skaters from LA THRASH got baptized on the last day at Venice Beach. It was beautiful. I've included a video of the baptisms :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHRxP-NeWsk

STORY TIME 
Speaking of baptism, Let me share a little story from last night...   

My good friend in ministry had just arrived to LA from Barcelona late night, so of course we had to hit the local Denny's for a midnight meal. As we were checking out, a crew of 10 college age guys and girls came loudly stumbling through the entrance door, hungry after a night of drinking. As I was paying my bill they were waiting to be seated and strategizing as to how they could eat pancakes and still have time to hit the liquor store for more booze. 
I felt intimidated but I knew that I pretty much had a 5 second window to either open my mouth and interrupt their clamor or to just quietly walk past them and out the door. In that instant I realized that if the Holy Spirit lives inside of me then I have no excuse not to share the gospel with them. So I opened my mouth, 
"Hey, guys...I have a question...and If one of you can answer it right I'll buy you a stack of pancakes." 
As soon as I said 'pancakes' I had their undivided attention. So I proceeded with my question, 
"What did I do on my 21st birthday?"  
They immediately started rattling off answers 
"Went to the bar!...got wasted!...drunk!...hammered!..."  
I let them go on for a while before I piped up revealed the right answer,
"The bible says 'Do not get drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit'. I got baptized on my 21st birthday!"  
They were all shocked. The whole mood completely changed and they told me that they all graduated together from a Christian high school. Having their attention I simply testified of the power of what Christ did at calvary, the reality of the transformation that he did in my heart and the joyful experience it is trusting in God and being intimate with Him on a daily basis.  
It's awesome to see God's relentless love, that He would interrupt this group in the middle of their drunken night to remind them of his love for them and continue to invite them into his grace.  

NEW STAFF 
Jessica and I have recently added 8 new full time staff to the roster for Calling All Skaters and Beauty Arise! These are all guys and girls that we know intimately and trust. We also like them all a lot, which is good because those who join staff with us also move in and live with us. Emma from England has also been interning with Beauty Arise for the last 6 weeks and is getting ready to head back to England next week.

SHAUN COMING TO MICHIGAN
I am coming to Michigan August 6th through the 15th. If you live in Michigan lets hang out! 

KEEP UP WITH US
We post photos daily showing our lives and our ministry on instagram. If you have instagram you can follow us @shaunhover and @jess_hover
or you can view it all online at www.instagram.com/shaunhover and www.instagram.com/jess_hover


We love you and we thank you for your support! :)

God bless!

Shaun Hover

Shaunny in his element. Using skateboarding to change lives in Hollywood. 

LA THRASH Baptisms Venice Beach




Thursday, July 18, 2013

a backpack full of marshmallows.

When my friend was a little girl, maybe 4 years old, she ran away from home. Her mom had withheld something that my friend REALLY WANTED and so in a fit of little-girl-rage she packed her backpack and took off out the front door. Her mom stood by the door watching as she ran. Barely making it past the neighbors house, she plopped down in someone's front lawn and decided that she was too tired to keep running. Her mom gently walked over to her, scooped her up, and carried her home. Together they unpacked her backpack... which was filled with marshmallows... and that was the end of the story. She ran away. She was carried home. And she realized that being home with mom, even in times when mom said "No"... was better than being alone in the world with a backpack full of marshmallows.

Profound right?

I think so.

I feel like I'm not so different from that 4 year-old little one.

It's not my mama that is telling me "No", its worse, its my God. And when I hear it, I'm tempted to take off running... my backpack is not full of marshmallows, but I can assure you that my "bags" are so heavy my shoulders ache from their contents. I end up running from God, bearing the weight of my desires, my pleasures, my feelings, my past choices, and my ideas of what is best for me.... I stuff them all in this weary heart of mine and head for the door.

Like the little girl, it doesn't take long on the journey until exhaustion sets in.
Doing life alone is hard. Escaping from the love of my Maker is even harder.

There are times when I don't even want to look back at God. I don't want to pray. I don't want to go to church. I don't even want to hear about Him.... because I know that just like my friend's mother standing at the door as her little girl ran away... He is watching me too. I haven't left His sight. All it would take is for me plop down on the neighbors yard, give up control, and wait as He comes close, scoops me up, and takes me back into His gentle care. And THAT feels scary. Because it requires surrender. Laying down my pride. Trusting His best for me.

And trusting... that even if he tells me "No", or withholds something from me that I DESPERATELY WANT, it is still better to trust Him than to take matters into my own hands.

As a 4 year-old girl, alone on the streets, with just a bag of marshmallows, my friend would not have survived. She would have quickly become sick of marshmallows. She would have become tired. She would have realized before long that she really doesn't know much of anything about how to take care of herself.

All the while her loving mother was actually overqualified to care for her daughter. She had already raised my friend's older siblings. She knew my friend, better than my friend knew herself. She knew her favorite things, her allergies, her bedtime, her wakeup time, she knew her gifts and her weaknesses... she knew that 2 marshmallows was enough, and that 3 would give her a tummy ache. As a mother it was her delight to give my friend her favorite things, and in her love it was also her responsibility to protect her daughter from things that would be harmful for her.... even if it was the ONLY thing her daughter wanted in that moment.

Not so far off from me and my Father in Heaven.

As a 24 year-old girl, fleeing from Love, I would not survive. I would destroy myself with my desires. I'd become exhausted. And it wouldn't take long to realize that I really don't know much of anything about how to care for myself.

All the while my loving God is supremely overqualified to care for me. He is the Maker of Heaven and earth. Creator of my inmost being. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows my favorites, He knows my fears, He knows my gifts, He knows my weaknesses... He knows that a coffee in the morning is a blessing, but if I drink too much throughout the day I'll end up restless and anxious. As my Heavenly Father, it is His delight to give me my favorite things, and in His love it is also His responsibility to protect me, His daughter, from things that would be harmful for me.... even if it is the ONLY thing I wanted in that moment.

So I'm writing this from the arms of my Father. He found me on the neighbors yard where I plopped down in exhaustion after running away. He already helped to me to unpack my bags. Now I'm just resting.

That is the end of the story.
She ran away. She was carried home. And she realized that being with Jesus, even in times when He said "No"... was better than being alone in the world with everything she ever wanted.


Sadie and Lily being beautiful little girls. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

hit by a car.

Jen & Paul being wonderful.
My sweet friend Jen's husband was hit by a car three years ago. It was a nightmare.
I just read this message from him and am SO encouraged 
 that I had to share it with you! 
Have a happy Tuesday!!

"Three years ago, I was hit by a car and thrown 60 feet landing on my head and my back on the asphalt . The police report anticipated that the accident would be fatal. I left the hospital 3 days later in a wheelchair. 

The following 1.5 years I was almost entirely bedridden.

One and a half years ago, I was taking narcotics everyday to make it through the pain, ambien every night to sleep, and seeing doctors 3 times a week. I was depressed and hanging on to a fragile thread of hope that God had a plan for me through all of this.

Seven months ago I was weak and frail
.

Today I completed my first triathlon.
1000 meter swim +(100 meters because I went the wrong way)
18 mile bike
4.5 mile run

Today I overcame.

Looking back, I still don't know why I had to go through all that but now I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when Jesus told me in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" He meant it. He was an empathic best friend, a coach, and a shoulder to cry on as He helped me and taught me to climb the mountains in my life.

And I know He wants to be the same for you.

Thank you to all of you that were there for me and helped me make it through."


--Paul Nagaoka 

in the hospital after the accident.

beautiful Jen. such a role model to me.
aren't they gorgeous together? 

&& these are just because I love them :) 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

because photos make life more fun.


Drove to Colorado with my cute-as-a-button sister Meredith. 

In Colorado for just a couple days but still managed to squeeze in time with some of my favorite friends on earth!! 

Family dinner on the back porch! 

Attended Melissa's bridal shower AND celebrated getting her braces off! FINALLY! No more jaw surgery!!!

Out && About in Colorado Springs. 

Porch time with beautiful Kristen. Finally met precious Ellis. && much needed fun with my sweet "twinny" Tara!! 

Breakfast at mom's in Cascade & the ever glorious Denver. 

Airport people-watching && delightful surprise reunions with old friends!! 

Back in LA just in time for the 4th!! 

Somehow managed to score an invite to sleep at a beach house in Malibu!!  

Beauty Arise meeting with Carrie & Emma! Tea party style! 

My beloved God-daughter Lily melting my heart first thing in the morning. 

Snuck a photo with this guy in church. Just because I fancy him. 

And a movie night with these beauties! Hooray! 

Dissatisfaction.

It's amazing isn't it? How life can be going so well and yet somehow you can still feel unsatisfied?

Today as I was uploading photos onto this bloggie of mine I was realizing (again) how stinkin crazy I can be.

I'll break it down for you...
My life is ridiculously blessed.
I have a dream husband. Literally. He is the best man I've ever met.
I live in sunshiny southern California.
I work a job that I love.
I have the best friends that life can offer.
I eat and drink like a queen.
Materially speaking... I am rollin.
I have an iphone with a pink case.
I am typing on a laptop.
I drive a car.
I wear adorable clothes, that most days, have all been given to me from my incredibly generous friends.
Physically I am healthy and lovely... not that I always feel the lovely part... but I know it is true.
I travel A LOT.
My family is awesome. Unique. And awesome.
Spiritually speaking, I am blessed as well.
Intimacy with the Creator of the universe. Saved by grace.
The LIVING God has taken up residency in my body!?! Are you serious?
Even Moses, Joseph, and David didn't get down like that.

Now forgive me if I have gagged you with my boasting. That's not at all my intention. I can ensure you that life is not all butterflies and rainbows over here. But I am just pointing out that something very strange has been happening in me, and I have a feeling it has been happening in some of you as well.

I'll call it dissatisfaction.
Symptoms of dissatisfaction can be, but are not limited to:
boredom, depression, hopelessness, lack of motivation, laziness, and irritability.

It causes us to focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do.
It steals our joy.
It invites us to hate things that once brought us fulfillment,
AND if it is not dealt with,
dissatisfaction is capable of deceiving us into forfeiting the very things that are most precious to us, in search of something "more satisfying".

The only reason why I know this...
is because I feel it.
And quite frankly, its wearing me out.

C.S. Lewis said,

“If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world.”

Makes sense to me.
It's so easy for me to put my hope in things on this earth. Success. Location. People. Career. Family.
As if my deep desire for happiness will finally be met once I have conjured up the ultimate combination of perfect circumstances.

Oh if only that were true.

But its not.

If only I would learn from King Solomon who figured this out WAY before I did. The Bible says that he was wise, wealthy (the MOST wealthy man in his time), and basically attained everything he could ever dream of.

So what did he discover through acquiring every "good" thing available to him?

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecc. 2:10-11)

Sounds depressing. I know. But honestly beauty, to me it is completely encouraging. If I continue living as if my happiness is dependent on things outside of myself, I may end up a mess one day. Because I will think that change is the answer to my dissatisfaction. Change of husband. Change of career. Change of location. Change of friends. Even maybe... change of the God I serve. But Solomon had everything we could ever want, and he determined it all to be "meaningless, a chasing after the wind".

What freedom comes when I realize that satisfaction is available right here. Today. Because it has nothing to do with outward circumstances and EVERYTHING to do with my inward heart. It's about my perspective. Sure I may not feel happy right away, and I really may need to change up some of my circumstances. That is okay. 

But I am resting in the beautiful truth that nothing on this broken earth will ever meet my deepest needs for love, security, hope and fulfillment. People will let me down and circumstances will leave me empty. My needs can only be met by the One who is perfect. The One who died to save me. 

I recently heard a song that said something like, 
"We are no longer chasing shadows. We have hope beyond tomorrow." 

That's it. In Christ we have true hope. Beyond money, that comes and goes. Beyond people that fail and eventually pass away. Beyond homes that burn and cars that break down. Beyond jobs that are lost. Beyond our relationship status that changes and babies that are or aren't in our wombs. Beyond beautiful bodies and flawless skin, that are both fleeting. 

Christ offers hope beyond tomorrow. Hope beyond next year. Hope forevermore. 

In Him we find strength to pick ourselves up from our puddle of tears on our bedroom carpet (...I just gave you a glimpse into my life a few evenings ago...) and begin looking for ways to appreciate our lives, right where we are at. It takes faith. It takes gratitude. It takes courage. 

Self-pity stifles creativity. 
It is nearly impossible to improve our situation when are focused on our losses. 

So we begin with gratitude. What is there to be thankful for? There may be a little. There may be a lot. Even if all we can think of is the fact that there is air in our lungs, go ahead and start there. That in itself is a gift. 

Next we set some goals. What is it that is bothersome to us and what can WE do to make it better. Unfortunately we can't change others. But we can change ourselves. That is a wonderful thing.

For me I began with a bit of home improvement. May sound silly, but for me it is significant. I was focusing too much of my energy on desiring a life OTHER than the one I have. So in an effort to change that, I settled into my own roles as a woman and a wife. I cleaned. I painted. I bought some fresh flowers for the jar next to my bed.

Start small. Start anywhere. 

I also confessed some of my struggles with my friends. That's helpful because it goes against what we feel. We would rather isolate and perhaps eat or drink our feelings away. Numbing ourselves into paralysis, rather than taking responsibility for our lives. Sharing with loved ones opens us up to receive love. Friends can pray more specifically for us, and encourage us in our journeys. We need that. We were not made to do life alone. 

Lastly I recommend exploring the depths of love available to us in our relationships with God. It might sound difficult, but its so important. Most important really. I suggest you open up your Bible. Reading the Bible for me is a lot like drinking water, I know I need it, whether I am thirsty for it or not. If you need help knowing where to start, maybe try the book of James. Its short and extra good. Listen to worship music too. Lately I have been listening to "All Sons and Daughters". Attend a church. Plug in with other believers. Connect authentically. When people ask how you are doing, try not to just say "Good," and move on. Be real. How are you really doing? An awesome thing about God is that He works through people. He will use other Christians to strengthen and encourage us in our walks with Him. Don't resist it. Even if it is awkward at first, it will get easier.

I share this with you as a friend who is wrestling through it myself. I don't have it all together, but I'm hopeful. Not in myself. Not in my circumstances. But I have put my hope in a God that promises to be everything I need. He is faithful. Life is hard. It will always take us places we don't really want to be. But we will be okay. Because this is place not our home, we were created for eternity, where Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain."

All that we experience, both good and bad, are simply pointing us towards deeper intimacy with Christ. It is in that place where we find true contentment, and the satisfaction we are looking for. 

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the wander years blog.

Because when you find something wonderful, you have to share it! 

Kenzie and Pete are friends of mine. I met Kenzie a couple years ago in New York City on an outreach to Fashion Week. They are YWAM missionaries, and currently live in Kona, Hawaii.  

They are adorable.

So... Kenzie is preggers! And she has a fantastic blog that I think you should know about. 


Here is the link!!

Pretty pictures. Pretty clothes. Pretty amazing DIY stuff. 

I think you'll be into it. 

Here are some photos to help you understand what I mean.

They look like this...

They love each other. It looks something like this...

They are having a baby girl. She looks like this...

She is crafty and makes wonderful things like this...

She even teaches you to do this...


So beauties, do yourself a favor and wander over there.
I have a feeling you will blessed, encouraged, and inspired by their lives. 
I definitely am.

I really shouldn't have this blog.

I really shouldn't have this blog... 

If anything Mary should have it. 

I talked to Mary yesterday in the kitchen at the church. She was volunteering her time to help with the gardening outside. Honestly I usually try to avoid Mary because she is a chatty lady... and when I am in a rush it is extra difficult to get away. Yesterday I set aside my selfishness and decided to talk. 

I'm so glad I did. 

Mary is a mother of 2 and a widow. When her sons were in 4th and 6th grade her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given between 3 months-3 years to live. He passed away 18 years later. 

During those 18 years Mary's husband became a quadriplegic. 

quad·ri·ple·gi·a  (kwdr-plj-, -j)
n.
Complete paralysis of the body from the neck down.

So while Mary was busy raising her two boys. 
She also became the full-time caretaker for her suddenly paralyzed husband. 

Mary told me that her husband had moments where he wished, for Mary's sake, that they had never gotten married. She said that he felt like it would have been easier on her if they would have separated. She relayed this to me as if I would understand how much that idea surprised her. Mary was reminiscing to me, "Where else would I have wanted to be? We said 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…" 

I wanted to understand, but truly friends, I don't have the faith that Mary has. I love my husband to the moon and back, but to be entrusted with a task like she had… that seems beyond me. 

Mary went on to tell me that though her husband's body was failing, his heart and mind remained strong. He praised Jesus and loved his family faithfully during those years of being literally helpless. 

His goal was to make it through both sons' weddings. 

And he did it. He passed away within 2 weeks of attending his youngest son's wedding. People told him not to attend it at all, because if his body was exposed to ANY sickness, even a common cold, he was guaranteed to die from it. But this had been his dream, and even the risk of death wouldn't keep him from celebrating his son. 

Sure enough the day after his son returned from his honeymoon, he breathed his last breath. 

Mary said that he had already helped to plan his funeral and had some specific requests for how it would go.

First, the dear man asked the nobody wear black to his funeral. He wanted people to celebrate that he had finally entered heaven. The day of his passing, he said, would certainly be sad for those who missed him, but he sincerely hoped that people would look past their sadness to see the true joy of him finally being in eternity... healthy, whole, and with the Lord Jesus. 

Second, he wanted songs of celebration to be sung. His favorite was "It is well with my soul".

Finally, he wanted this scripture to be read:
 "I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race, 
and I have remained faithful." 
2 Timothy 4:7 

It's true.
He had remained faithful.

Mary said that before he passed away they both agreed… "Even though we wouldn't want to go back and do it all again, we also wouldn't change any of what we went through during these 18 years. Our relationship with Jesus would not be what it is today if it weren't for all we have experienced." 

I won't avoid Mary anymore. This woman is a hero. Her husband is too. Most people will never know Mary, but I know her, and I pray that as I grow up I am able to live a life of love and faithfulness the way she has. 

Faithful to the people God has placed in my life. 
Faithful during circumstances that are darker than my nightmares. 
Faithfully trusting my Lord, the always faithful lover of my soul. 

I am not there yet. Which is why I feel like I really shouldn't have this blog. 
There are people far more qualified to speak into your lives than I am. 

People like Mary.

But since we are here. And since I do have this blog. 
And since you are trusting me...
or at least trusting me enough to read what I have to say…
You should know that it is truly my honor to have this time with you. 
I am praying for you and I'm thankful for you.
God bless you today. 
From an early morning walk in Malibu a few days ago. It is a gift to be alive.