Monday, March 11, 2013

Lest anyone think this "easy"…..

I'm not one to embrace the sad.  It's not me.  My friends cry, I don't.  There are seasons of tears, for sure, but typically nope.

Once, I asked God for tears (because I was so worried about the lack) and boy did He answer.  It was quite an out-of-body experience for me [and my husband].

I admire those that cry, honestly I do.  I think it's healthier.

The tough front does not minimize what I see and know though.

We are insanely excited around here for our upcoming adventure.  New and fun are abounding right and left!

But there is also loss….

You see, we have a pretty amazing group of friends that have turned into family here.  Our closest blood family member is 5 hours away.  God, in His provision, has filled those gaps ever so sweetly.

We have Doctors that I text when struggling with something.  Doctors that we have grieved with and celebrated with.  Doctors that encourage us towards orphan care every.step.of.the.way.  These people are not professional sterile appointments, they're friends with gift and talents.

My Dentist... I get giddy excited for our "girl date" cleaning.  [ya, where am I going to find that again??  no.where… ever… ]  A dentist that sends us on mission with boxes of toothbrushes because they too have joined us in this call to care.  A dentist that I hug when I see her out and about and leave with a, "can't wait to catch up."

We stand in church with people we have history with.  Good and bad, it's history.  We know things, ya know?  They know things.  Forgiveness has been exercised.  Family.

I look across the field and don't see neighbors, I see family.  I see Manny, our neighbor boy, bringing his girlfriend over to get approval.  I see my my boys riding their quads over to sell eggs [that I am pretty sure they did not "need" but bought anyways].  I see the time I was about to deliver my 4th baby and sent the kids running across the field to their house knowing they would care for them at this very last minute notice.  I see friends that are family.  They know us, ya know?

To the West of us, and only a few fields aways, lives one of my best friends and her family.  This friend and I have done some life together these last few years.  When I say "life" I mean liiiiffffeeee [said in a low tone].  These kinda friendships don't just come around… they are made… through the hard stuff of life.  Honest texts are sent and much grace and love has been exchanged.  She is the one I send things like, "today I am a rip for no good reason - pray for me" and I know there is no judgement, just prayers.  I have never been more transparent with another woman than this one.  This can't be replaced.

Standing to my right, at church, stands a woman that has been my kids' only active [local] grandma/aunt figure since they can remember.  She was one of my first friends here and not long after meeting we grieved the loss of her cherished husband together.  From that time forward there has not been a birthday, wedding, birth, homecoming, first day of school, softball game, ski day, AWANA moment, Stanford visit or any event separate from one another.  My husband has walked her daughter down the isle and I was there cheering, as her first grandson entered the world.  You don't just forget these kind of things.  There is a lot of history.

Our pastor is not a man that stands in front that we are disconnect from.  We are connected.  We know them.  Justin has counseled/mentored under him for years and years.  We know their hearts, we know their flaws, we know their children - they know even more about us.  You just don't build that trust in a fast fashion.

The youth pastors are not "our youth pastors" but friends who love God and we do life with.  There are no "roles" here but real relationship.  It all started over a few episodes of "Biggest Loser" and now holidays, the birth of their first born, tears over a miscarriages have occurred.  These are life changing intimate moments shared.

I could go on…..

Friends that we have arranged marriages planned, these things are thought through, ya know? ;) [totally joking no i'm not]  These are the kind of friends that come over after church and I watch their baby try to crawl for the first time on my rug.  This baby we prayed for fervently!  Being born at 29 weeks is not easy….. but now he's trying to crawl on my carpet!  These moments are earned through close friendship.  It takes time, history.

Grocery store runs are not quick stops but a social hours.  As much as I don't like it sometimes, when in a tough season of life [like when you are told your son has a brain tumor] this is the place you want.  This is the place where friends stream through the door with food, gifts and money to keep us afloat.  Friends that throw together garage sales and meal plans…. animal care… because they know us and know we can't take care of that right now.  Friends added us to every church prayer chain and healing came.  You want to be a part of this kind of community when things like that happen.

This place is home.

Not because of the building but because of the people.

Home is hard to leave… lest anyone think it "easy."

[now crying… bawling… go figure..]

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sharing the Journey

Want to follow our journey to Africa?

I am thinking it would be fun to share the steps it takes to take a family of 8, across the globe.

Details are kinda my favorite.  I know, I'm weird.  Maybe it's because I am married to a "big picture" kinda guy.  Details challenge me, drive me, excite me.

Where did we start?


May seem simple but getting a 2 year old to be expressionless after 2 years of learning "cheeeeessssseeeee…….."

Awkward winner:

That's right, passports are first and not as easy as one may think. ;)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Established Steps.

We are living in a world of raised eyebrows these days.

"Moving to Africa?  With your kids?  You're nuts."

My reply?  You're right.  I agree, we have lost our minds indeed.

Super done holding onto something we have never had one day of our life, control.  Control, that if we live a "safe" life full of the American Dream it will work out just right.  Are we still believing that?  I hope not.

We're not or don't want to anyways.

We want to live in such a way that others may see what we are up to and glorify our Heavenly Father [Matthew 5:16].  Now that is a life I can wrap my hands and head around.

For 3 years we felt that spending some extended time in Africa was coming.  Details?  

We are planning to be there for 3 months.

In that 3 months we are hoping to finish the adoption of #7.  We cannot wait to start the first bit of our new clan on "his turf."

In that time, we hope to find and obtain a piece of land for Redeemer House.  This has been an ongoing process for years and we will be pursuing it as much as God allows in whatever way it may look.

The verse I am holding onto these days is:

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of a man plans his way, 
but the LORD establishes his steps.

We have a notebook full of plans but we trust that it will be God establishing our steps.  

How will this look or be measured as successful?… I have no idea and really hold no expectations.  

Along the way there have been many, "you can't do thats" or "you shouldn't do that."  Recently we were told we could not even work with locals because of our lack.  

Part of what people are saying is 100% true.  

We have not known or even really understood each step of faith we have taken in the past.  This is no different.     

Will we fall?  yes.  No doubt about that.  We will do our best to seek godly wisdom and direction? yes.  Will we listen intently to others advice? yes.  We will seek to be grace filled and active learners?  yes.  Crossing the ocean does not exempt us from any that. 

There is beauty in the counsel of many and we have many beautiful counselors.

In the end we deeply desire to know Jesus more, not international missions more or even orphan care fully.  Those things are a byproduct, a bonus, a joy.

Please pray for the next steps.  May they be established by Him who hung the moon.