Category Archives: Calvary Church

I have two sons!

I have spent a lot of time talking here about Jonathan and my grief after losing him a year ago. That has been intentional.  I find it helpful to “talk” through this journey here.

However, in case you did not know, I have 2 sons! Jonathan was our oldest and Josh is our younger son.

Joshua Michael Sepetjian

I am so proud of this guy and I just wanted to brag on him for a minute! Currently 19 and a freshman at CSULB Josh is a man of depth and sincerity. He is one of the smartest people I know and he causes me to think deep. He stretches me and I am a better person for knowing him. What a gift it is to be his mama.

Losing your only sibling in the last quarter of your senior year in high school is enough to shake things up a bit, to say the least. Josh could easily have let his grades slip and just blow things off. Honestly, I don’t think too many people would have blamed him. Yet, Josh persevered. He finished his senior year with all the rights of passage including prom and grad night, and I think that is exactly what his brother would have wanted for him. We are so very grateful for the community who surrounded him during that time. His friends from OCSA and his youth group at Calvary were there for him, as were many of those kids’ parents. Sure, there have been and still are hard times – this type of loss is not something you ever really recover from.  We are figuring it out, though. That is not any less true for Josh.

Over the last two summers Josh had the opportunity to travel and  serve alongside other students at our sister church, Way of Peace in Lushnje, Albania. Josh first said he was interested in going on this trip while he was in his junior year. I was actually surprised, because even though he had done some local short-term mission trips to Arizona over the years, this kind of trip was way out of his comfort zone. He was accepted onto the team and it was an amazing time for him. He enjoyed that first trip so much, that he signed up to go again the next summer, even though it was a high school trip and he had since graduated. Josh was actually eligible to travel to Israel with the college group at the time, but instead chose to go to Albania saying that is where he felt God leading him to go. It was such a blessing to see him owning his faith, sharing it and really learning to listen to how God is leading him.

When I heard that the college group at Calvary is headed on a mission trip to Thailand and Cambodia this summer, I was sure that he would have no interest in going on that trip. Once again he surprised us. So, this June 16 -30 Josh and a small group of college students will be serving kids who have been rescued out of sexual slavery. They will be partnering with an organization called Destiny Rescue. If you want to hear about this trip in his words, you can read his support letter here: Josh Thailand Support Letter 2017 . If you are interested in supporting him and this trip financially, you can visit his personal fundraising page.

I am amazed at his heart to serve and love what God is doing in his heart.

Pain, Sorrow, Joy + Gratitude

Thanksgiving 2016

Today is Thanksgiving.  I have been kind of dreading this day for weeks. Jonathan loved the togetherness of Thanksgiving and the prospect of  marking our first one without him has been a bit overwhelming. We miss him terribly.

Then a few days ago God spoke into my heart through a devotional I’ve been going through:
Jesus Always.  The author, Sarah Young, speaking in first person as Jesus Himself says this:“Thanksgiving is not just a holiday celebration once a year.  It’s an attitude of the heart that produces Joy; it is also a biblical command” and “No matter what is happening, you can be joyful in God your Savior.”  That was a fairly powerful message for me and one that I obviously needed to hear.  Since then, Jesus has been drawing me in close to whisper all the things we have to be grateful for.  It’s true, thanksgiving is a choice and a position of the heart.

Every year Calvary Church has a Thanksgiving Day service where we come together as a church family and have an opportunity to share all the ways we are grateful. Due to our plans in the past, I have been to this service just once in my 14+ years at Calvary.  I had no intention to go today. My plan was to stay close to home, expecting the day to be hard and full of tears.  I guess God had other ideas, because I felt Him prompting me to attend and share what He had put on my heart these last few days. Mind you, I would rather do just about anything else but speak in public. My voice, knees and hands shake and if I am sharing anything emotional there is a good chance I will cry. Who am I kidding? Crying is basically inevitable for me.  I tried to push the thought away and rationalized all the reasons why it would be fine to stay home and ignore that gentle voice in the back of my head.  It didn’t work.  So this morning, Josh and I attended the Thanksgiving Day service and were blessed to hear people share their hearts and ways they are grateful. I jotted down some notes over the last couple of days, so that I would not forget what God had put on my heart (I also knew I would have to read it, because it’s hard to think clearly when your heart is pounding out of your chest).  This morning I texted one of the pastor’s facilitating the “pass the mic” format so that I would not chicken out, because I felt my resolve wavering as I was drying my hair.  Here is what I read/shared:

“Our 23-year-old son died this past March after a motorcycle accident. While I can’t quite stand here and say that I am thankful for that, as I lean into the love of Jesus I recognize that there is still so much to be grateful for.

I am most thankful that because of his salvation and ours we have the promise that we will see Jonathan again one day.

My husband Noah, our younger son Josh and I are thankful for the love and support of this church family that has held (and continues to hold) our family up in our darkest time over the last 8 months.

I have heard that losing a child is something that you never get over – whether you knew them for 23 years, 50 years, 6 months or even just minutes. That certainly feels true today. The additional layers of loss like a wedding that won’t ever happen, grandchildren that will never be born and an empty seat at all of our future holiday celebrations wash over us in unexpected and suffocating waves. However, in this moment I can say that as we trust in God’s perfect will, it is well with my soul.

So today I am thankful to know that pain, sorrow, joy and gratitude can simultaneously exist in a heart that even while broken is surrendered to Christ.”

And now this evening as our Thanksgiving meal is over and the dishes are done, I can honestly say that it was a good day.  I clearly see how God has carried us through today.  God is good and gracious. He deserves all of our praise.  #blessed

Crocodile Dock, Day 2

f_5064

If you are in 6th grade at Calvary’s VBS that means Tuesday is water day at Cabrillo Park. Look at this cutie… and more from today’s festivities http://calvarylife.zenfolio.com/vbs09-day2

VBS ’09 Day 1

Check out the happenings from the swamp: http://calvarylife.org/vbs/about/photos.html

Power Lab VBS

I love the first week of August. This has been my favorite week of the year for the last 6 years. Before I worked at Calvary I used to take vacation for this week. Now can you believe it – I get paid to help run it!  Children’s Ministires hosts the largest outreach of the year during this week: VBS (Vacation Bible School). With over 1500 people buzzing around Calvary’s 10-acre campus excitement is everywhere.
This year’s theme was Power Lab and Calvary’s campus was transformed into a mad scientist’s laboratory, complete with a Delorean in the lobby. Jonathan and his friend RJ worked in recreation while Joshua had a blast attending as a 5th grader. The whole Calvary family get’s invovled some work in the kitchen preaparing snacks for @ 1000 kids and 500 leaders, some help in the lobby with attendance while still others help with Bible Teaching and Worship. My boss and our Children’s Pastor Matt and Eric our XP got in to the spirit by dying their hair green for the week. It was amazing. The best part? 145 kids made first-time decesions to follow Christ. For a full pictorial and video wrap up be sure to check out the Power Lab pages on Calvary’s webiste. Here are a few pics from the week

 

There is still time to join us! Tomorrow morning we’ll have the Fusion Finale at 9:30 am. Everyone including the babies will join together for a Family Service to wrap things up.