I am beyond excited to start sharing this ministry we call Character Builds Joy (CB&J) with you! As we get closer to the official launch I will be blogging about the story of how CB&J began, what it is, how we have made it a part of our daily routine and how I hope it can be a part of your life as well!
So, how did this get started?
My husband, Charlie, was in his second year of law school and I found myself in the role of Resident Director-a term I had NEVER even heard of, until I applied for the job at Pepperdine University!
I’ll be honest, the free housing on Pepperdine’s campus, with a Pacific Ocean view, was a HUGE draw, but that was only the beginning. This job stretched me in ways I never imagined, but I truly loved it, and the people were pure gold.
In addition to my job title, I also began hearing unfamiliar words, despite attending a Christian University for my undergraduate degree. Words like, Soul Care, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Disciplines. It was no coincidence that Chip, our oldest child, was born during this time and I began to see the world through a different lens. Each time I learned something new, my mind immediately went to thoughts about how I could use this knowledge to benefit my children. And so a seed was planted.
Fast forward to the fall of 2018. We had three boys, ages four and under, living in Nashville with no family around. Charlie was working extra long hours. The days seemed to creep by, yet somehow I couldn’t believe how fast time was flying with talks of Kindergarten already happening!
Would Chip be prepared in both heart and mind? He was attending preschool two days a week but on the other three, when we were all home together, I needed some kind of order and structure to my day. I thought having “Circle Time” would be a great way to help him prepare for kindergarten and my middle child could join in the fun while the baby took his morning nap. I have been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 10 years now but am no longer seeing “clients” while I am home with the boys. Therefore, Circle Time seemed like the perfect way for me to feed the part of my brain that loves coming up with creative ways to teach kids language development, which I was missing since staying at home.
One night after contemplating what letter we would focus on the next day, what kind of patterns we would target and how I would incorporate beginning math concepts, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit questioning me. “Is this really all you’re going to do to prepare your boys for life? What about their hearts?”
I continued planning for academic skills, but as I prayed for my boys to be strong warriors for His Kingdom, my heart was not content. Something wasn’t right, the daily schedule I was keeping did not line up with my prayer life or the desires of my heart. I knew to nurture the boys’ souls, a love for Jesus was foundational. I knew this required quality time and intentionality, but between Circle Time, cooking three meals a day, keeping our home semi-picked up, and a few daily games of “Good Guys and Bad Guys” there didn’t seem to be any time left for nurturing their souls…. So, I took a step back. What if I just picked ONE aspect of Jesus to focus on during Circle Time? I could do that! It didn’t seem too overwhelming, and I knew exactly what our first word would be…sharing!
If Jesus shared the greatest gift of salvation with us, surely we could learn to share our toys with our brothers. And, that is when CB&J was born! This project was all about my boys – Chip, Banks, and Justice and showing them that when our Character is like Jesus, that’s when we experience or Build true JOY. Although my plate was full, my mom reminded me, “Character is not one more thing on your plate, it IS the plate!”