Looking Back

Tonight I’ve been scrolling back through this blog, looking briefly at posts I’ve written over the years.  It’s crazy to me that this sort of online journal started five years ago with a girl fresh out of high school and ready to take on the world.  Back when Belize was in the forefront of my mind and I sought to share God’s love with the friends I made there.  The disappointments that came with what I thought would be a fruitful time on the missions field… I still feel the ache and sting.

I learned much more than I’d expected, in areas I hadn’t thought of.  Came back to America and sat in shock for months at the realities of life and the differences in where I thought my path was headed and where it actually went.  How could it be?

Instead of returning to the field I waited, desperately praying for answers.  What next?  I pulled out of my funk and started applying for jobs, one foot in front of the other and God could lead wherever He wanted.  Many jobs passed by and I could only wonder why.

Then came the job at church, presented out of nowhere and I eagerly accepted.  Honored, to be a part of such service to fellow Christians and to our community who might not yet know God.  What a gift.

I knew by then that I’d be home in the States at least until I got married.  God had impressed that on my heart and I believed Him, not worrying about what would happen afterward.

My friendship with Josh turned into more and he eventually moved from Oregon to Ecuador to New Hampshire — to pursue me and see if God indeed was leading us toward marriage.  He was, and we got married July 18th, 2015.

My time at the church came to an end sooner than I’d hoped and I again was left asking why — so many whys.  I took a random job at a daycare and tried my best to love and serve the families there while I sought more answers from God.  Surely this wasn’t the end, was it?

We found out months later that I was pregnant, another unexpected mark on the timeline.  It was a rough season of coming to grips with the fact that we were now a family of three, and all of our “normals” would change and responsibilities would be added.

I left the daycare and focused more on my own business, working with my photography and trying to get organized before the baby arrived.  It was so lonely, so abnormal for people our age and I watched previous friendships start to fizzle out.  We’d entered a new stage in life and it meant two introverts needed to figure out how to make friends all over again.

Levi was born in April of 2016 and what a joy that day was.  It was strange, the sudden peace I had and knowledge that this was where I needed to be.  We’d set ourselves up from the start to live off of Josh’s income, and I was immensely thankful I could be home full time with our little bundle.

The next year and a half has been full of adjustments.  Learning this and that, shifting this and that, letting go of this and that.  Figuring out how to be [fairly] newly married with an infant; discovering and absorbing the stages of childhood and how to live everyday life with them.  Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and trying to meet new people and do new things.

We’ve moved a handful of times, traveled some distances, and added another little one who’s expected to arrive at the end of this year.

And now as I sit in the condo we’ll be leaving soon, with the birds still chirping and sun still peeking through past 8:00pm — I’m reminded.

Never once has God failed me.  Never once has He lead me somewhere and not provided for me every step of the way.  Never once has He gone against His character.

He hasn’t given me all the answers, and I’m sure there are some that He has given that I’ve missed.  But it’s okay.  He’s taught me how to be content where I am, to know that the missions field I’ve sought is literally where I am with the people in front of me.

“Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
 He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”

(Psalm 25:8-10, emphasis added)

Countless times over the years I’ve asked for humility, and though I have a long ways to go He certainly has humbled me.  He humbles me and He leads me as He desires.  And truly, there is no way more satisfying and peace-giving than His way.  Even when it doesn’t make sense; even when we question and shake our heads.  Even when we come to a pause five years later and still don’t completely understand.

He is still faithful, and He is still good.  Always.  Trust Him, friends.

Our Second Anniversary

It’s a beautiful life, isn’t it?  Not what we thought it’d look like, and not how we thought we’d get here.  Two years ago when we said our vows I pictured our life would be a bit different.

But here I am, standing at the kitchen table writing this while Levi closes himself in the bedroom and my belly looks bigger than usual.  And I know I won’t make it through this note in one shot.

IMG_8508-2

 

***

That was accurate; I’m starting again after going to the park and coming home to have lunch.  It’s a good thing your nose doesn’t work well, because it was hot and I might smell a bit sweaty — definitely like peanut butter.  But I know that you’ll come home tonight and still be happy to see me; sweat, messy hair, sticky hands and all.  And not just because of what day it is.  You love me on the clean days and the messy days.

It’s mutual too; I still love you when you come home covered in metal chips and smelling like a swell tank.  My nose works very well, and now that I’m pregnant… well you know.  I’ll still hug you and kiss you when you get home and let you go straight to the shower.

You’re so patient, Josh.  Becoming a mother so quickly has been an adjustment for me; you know I don’t do so well with big changes.  I need time.  And you’ve certainly given it to me.  You’ve waited late for dinner when I can’t pull myself together; you’ve taken Levi out after work so I can have even 30 minutes to myself; you remind me of the things that can wait and you never complain about things that aren’t done.

Your grace with me helps me give grace to myself.  God has taught me a lot in the last two years as I’ve become a wife and mother, and He’s used you to teach me much of it.  Thank you for all the mornings and afternoons you spend time reading your Bible and allowing Him to make you more like Himself.  He’s made you so servanthearted, humble, patient, understanding, and gentle.

I’m grateful for these two years we’ve had married.  The ups and downs, the changes and challenges, even the miscommunications and pain.  We’ve been so blessed, haven’t we?  I pray we have many more years together and that we don’t take them for granted.

I love you, Josh.  Happy anniversary.

Me

Dear Diary

Have you ever had a really good friend?  I have one, and his name is Bub.  See, this is Bub and me:

IMG_8485

He’s got a lot of colors, huh?  He’s really soft and I like his tail.  It’s curly like Mommy’s hair.

When I have to take a nap or when I go to bed at night I like to snuggle with Bub.  But sometimes he’s too big to snuggle so I throw him on the ground and Mommy says that’s not how to treat a friend.  So I snuggle him again, or Mommy puts him in my bed to wait for me.

And when I wake up a little in the night I like to hold Bub’s tail or his foot so I know he’s still there.  I like it when he’s with me.  And I don’t want him to escape, because he can climb.  (Mommy hasn’t seen him do that, so don’t tell her.  But he can climb EVERYWHERE and I’m trying to take lessons so I can get to my snacks and Mommy’s cabinets.  Shhhhh!)

Anyways, Bub is my friend and I like him a lot.

Sincerely,

Me

Thoughts in the Rain

0W2A6070-9

It’s pouring buckets here, and as I listen to the rain I’ve been mulling over this quote from Elisabeth Elliot:

“What is there to fear when Christ holds first place in our lives?  Where, other than in the will of the Father, shall we expect to find significance, security, and serenity?”

He gives us significance, security, and serenity.  When our hope is found in Christ and His power to save our souls, what do we have to worry about?  He is the only one able to save us from our brokenness, the only one who can make us whole and satisfy us.  If we can trust Him to our salvation, what else is there to fear?

I’m so thankful God is God; I’m so thankful He is the ultimate power and authority and not any human being.  What a mighty, wonderful God He is.

 

(Found in Elliot’s book, Keep A Quiet Heart.)

Dear Diary

0W2A0254-2

I know some new words!  Well, I know a whole lot of words but now I can say some of them too.  I can say “Mama” and “Dada” (I learned those a really long time ago) and I can say hi to lot of things too.  Like the kitty, or Grammie, or Grandpa.  And I can almost say “doggy”, I’m really close.

Grammie and Grandpa have two doggies and I love them.  Shelby loves me too and then Reece — Mommy says Reece is a grump.  He growls at me sometimes when I try to say hi.  But Shelby lets me sit with her and give her hugs.  She’s really soft.

Sometimes when we get home from seeing Shelby I try to tell Mommy and Daddy that I want a doggy at our house too.  I say “more doggy” and give them my big eyes and put my eyebrows up and they just tell me that we’ll see Shelby again soon.

But that’s not what I mean, I want a doggy at our house.  And maybe a kitty too, because they’re really fun to chase.  But I want a doggy, a big soft one like Shelby that I can keep at our house and sit with and play with and hug all the time.

I have to keep trying to tell Mommy and Daddy.  Maybe I could get Grammie and Grandpa to know what I mean.  Then they could tell Mommy and Daddy and I could get my own doggy.  Or maybe you could tell them?

Sincerely,

Me

Drone Photos

It’s Friday!  I came across this article today and was immediately intrigued by the photos — it’s a collection of photographs taken by drones, and wow!  They’re something else.  I love the perspectives and creativity.  Click on the photo to take a peek!  :)

DroneRoad

 

 

Also can be found here.

Be the Positive

IMG_6474

Lately there have been so many negative stories, articles and videos filling social media and our news; of course, it’s not only recently that things are negative.  But have you noticed them all?  Maybe been a bit overwhelmed?  I certainly have been.

This weekend as we celebrate the Fourth of July — Independence Day — in America, let’s try to focus on the good things.  There are always going to be sad, depressing news stories and horrible things that happen; sinful human nature is sinful human nature.  Maybe this weekend we can refocus a little?

Maybe you think there’s nothing positive in the world, or maybe you’re too discouraged to give the good things a second glance.  Maybe you don’t really care anymore, Jesus come back soon.  Or maybe you don’t give it much thought.

While we’re on this earth there’s still good that can be done, people who can be loved.  Discouragement can come but if we give in to that the positive things really will lessen and lessen.

This weekend, we Americans can celebrate and be thankful for our independence.  Yes, we still have it — we still have so many freedoms to be grateful for.

And regardless of where we live, we all have people in our lives we can love.  Family members, friends, coworkers, customers and clients — every human being is someone who can be loved on through kindness and thoughtfulness.

There are always ways to serve, always ways to counter the negative with positive.  Even if it’s making potato salad or mowing the lawn — find a way this weekend to serve with love and be thankful.  :)

Dear Diary

Mommy took me all over the world today.  We had to get groceries, obviously, and Mommy still wouldn’t let me eat anything in the store.  But I got a snack after and I was grouchy because I was tired.  (Mommy says I need to sleep more than 5:30 but a lot of times I just can’t.)

I took a nap when we got home but it was so short because then we had to go to another place where Mommy’s belly gets checked and it’s weird.  They have some fun toys though and there are a lot of drawers and doors that I try to get into while Mommy’s not looking.

She has to get on this table and then the doctor puts something on her belly and then we hear this wub-wub-wub-wub.  Mommy says it’s the heartbeat for my brother or sister.  I think we should put it on my belly and see if we can hear the wub-wubs.

And then we went home and ate lunch FINALLY and played.  Mommy chased me and I chased her too, and she made me laugh a lot.

That’s what I have to tell you about today, at least for now.

Sincerely,

Me

Lofty

Sharing a song Josh introduced me to this week; the lyrics are below to follow along.  It’s a good one.

Happy weekend!

God spoke and the formless earth was sculpted
His poetry producing populations, making constellations
With His conversations gazing at His own creation
Proclaiming it was good and there we stood
Fashioned from the dust
With authority He orchestrated organisms and every single cell in every ecosystem
Every creature that dwells
The planets, the plants
The whole expanse, the sky above your head
And the ground where you stand
The clouds and the rain, the soil that soaks it up
And feeds tiny seeds so they sprout and vegetation proceeds
Infinite wisdom intrinsic within Him, self-sufficient
Intricate systems begin and end with His decisions Lofty
Out of reach, how He procreated with speech
So it’s appropriate for us to be completely in awe

I don’t why, still I try
To wrap my mind around You
Your thoughts are higher, Your ways are better
And I’m in awe
So bring me up to where You are
Bring me up to where You are

It’s evident in creation that God is the primary cause
The origin of all scientific laws
Everything else is secondary
The very breath that comes from lungs is caused by the fact that God is involved
One must begin with the mind that was given to Him to even believe He’s evolved
I’m in awe when I think about quantum mechanics and the rotation of planets
And the exact calculation of the universe is permanently impossible to manage
How photosynthesis takes place to perfectly convert the vividness of light into chemical energy
For the purpose of maintaining and giving life
Intelligent design doesn’t even begin to define His creative craftsmanship
Any attempt to align the mind of mankind to divine is insufficient and inadequate
It’s too lofty and far beyond us that God would not remain anonymous
Correspond with us and out of all of God’s creation would become fond of us

But worth, value, and beauty is not determined by some innate quality
But by the length for which the owner would go to possess them
And broken and ugly things just like us are stamped “Excellent”
With ink tapped in wells of divine veins
A system of redemption that could only be described as perfect
A seal of approval, fatal debt removal
Promised, prominent, perfect priest
Brilliant designed system, redemption for our kinsmen
Can only be described as perfect with excellent execution
And I’m in awe, the only one truly excellent
The only source of excellence
We are declared excellent only by His decree with His system
The only accurate response is awe
So we make lofty art
See the presence of good art will unconsciously refine a community
And poor art will do an incalculable harm
Only accomplished in the light of His excellency
It’s too high, it’s lofty

I don’t why, still I try
To bring something of worth
My words are fleeting
They’re flawed, depleting
And you’re leaving me in awe
Bring me up to where You are, God