July 10, 2021

July musings & some closure to this blog

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. -Ecclesiastes 7:8

I was just reading a closure statement on an old blog (I had just discovered) that a writer had outgrown years ago, and thought her point of adding an ending post being something important for if people stumbled upon her blog. Good for the soul too I think.

So here I am for a few moments at an old blog of mine that served me well in early marriage and family days, craft business pursuits, moves across the U.S., writing book reviews, and processing ministry life. My most meaningful reflections here are from AR baby days with Julia, and Five Minute Friday posts. Thank you God for those seasons, and for what you grew in my heart and faith then.

Much life has happened since my last post years ago. Wonderful days and very challenging ones too.

In June 2020 I was in a terrible car accident. I always assumed if I were in a car accident it would be due to bad weather--like ice or a snow storm. But on a clear and sunny Sunday, a truck pulling multiple cars drove dangerously into the intersection I was traveling through on green and for a few terrifying seconds as I tried my best to avoid head on impact (and I believe God helped protect us/stop us as we hit the truck, with our vehicle being totaled, but we are here), my thought was "that went by fast". Meaning life, my life went by fast. I truly believed it was a possibility we were heading heavenward in the next few seconds. I was okay for heaven. I just couldn't believe how much the worries of this life, the living here, how our very lives could be so quickly replaced with a new reality. Thank you Jesus for saving us that day from worse impact. For literally being our hope and our peace so that I did not fear death. For giving me a calm on the road I could not have mustered up myself. For being an ever present help in time of need. You daily bear our burdens. Some days are so heavy.

Two Easters ago, our lives changed dramatically too. Even now, there are still not the right words. It has been an enormous battle in life to go from being a church loving, ministry loving, young person (like heart on your sleeve) to a place of lost trust and disenchantment (through painful experiences with Royal Servants trip leadership, Young Life founding staff philosophies, Young Life Chicago and First Missionary Church). To explain to your daughters that no we are not going to church today--Daddy is baptizing believers solo--but also getting kicked out the church today--so we are going to worship at Hope (ironically) instead. Oh how I can remember every moment of that Sunday too...the freedom to walk into Hope...my mom and sister being such a support here...the questions I didn't want to answer to the community about why are we here now. Oy the things families/individuals in ministry go through. It is not for the faint of heart.

On the flip side, there has been so much good and surprising things I also didn't see in store for us. We homeschool. Like what? Tell that to my 15 year old self. I would NOT have believed you. Might have even laughed in your face. Even though my homeschool friends and their families were the sweetest, I just would have never chose it. But yep, we are fairly happily living the homeschool life at Loaves and Fishes Academy. LA-FA...jokes on me:)

Through the help of a good counselor, Nate, Julia, God, and the book "Lost & Found" by Micha Boyett, I made it through a horrible battle of post-partum depression and anxiety after Ella Grace was born. I found much more strength and joy after the dark days in which I left my last post in. Praise God!!!!

I joined Mama Talk and Mom Life for a few years, and met some sweet and supportive friends and made community with incredible women. I made some desperate prayers in post college life for friendships, and it has been incredible to see God answer that prayer in a big way while here in Indiana. 

When your husband works for a church it is such a bummer in the fact that you do not always get to choose the type of church community preferred for your family. I always said if we could, I'd go to Hope or Life. And yep, we've had the opportunity to become a part of BOTH in the waiting for our next calling. Like what?

The little library that we moved next to...well I ended up working there, with some truly great people.

We've built relationships with neighbors and have had them love on us, almost can't go anywhere in Bluffton without running into a familiar face or familiar Pizza Hut delivery car on the road:), have seen the coffee shop move closer (like what?), and have said more prayers and wait for what the future holds than we ever thought possible. We have seen God carry us through from one trial to the next, one blessing to the next, from one body of believers to the next, from one stage of life to the next, and so on. He is faithful.

I'm not sure my next writing move. Our next many things. But I'm surrendering this old blog, and will remain expectant for new possibilities. Grace be with you.

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December 16, 2016

Suffering produces.

It's another December post. Three years, with three different Decembers. There was 2014 spent working hard, waiting on the Lord and praying for a baby to be given to us. Then 2015 in the thick of loss of our life we were establishing in Illinois, also full of gain in the precious gift of a baby girl. All of this intensified as I began to fog and fight through postpartum depression/anxiety. And then there's now, 2016 a year of suffering-earned hope.

There's a verse in the Bible that quite honestly has felt frustrating for some time now. It was preached to me in the midst of another season of moving, trials, temptations and loneliness while I had transferred to a state university my sophomore year. The verse? Romans 5:3-5, which says, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. I questioned why does the hope have to be after it all. Why not suffering, then next hope? That seemed easier to me, the quick way to feeling good again.

In 2014, I was waiting on the Lord. One thing I was waiting for was another opportunity to worship, with my local worship teams at a multi-campus mega like church. Waiting for the joy of being all mic-ed up and in a group, singing for the Lord and leading the congregation into worship.

But the Lord cared more how I would worship Him with nothing, and nearly no one, and sometimes while in the deepest of pits.

In 2015 and early 2016, I was begging the Lord to take away my pain, grief, and hopelessness. To take away the weight of depression and the tempting thoughts of death. Oh the weight of it. I pleaded with the Lord to take it away, only to be met with an outstretched arm and hand of mercy.

So I could wrestle over hope being the 3rd thing listed or I could be reached for by Him.

In high school we took a spiritual gifts test and it taught me that I knew the least of mercy (and money). You want to know what God's being growing me in this year, many years later? Yes, those two challenging for me things. Because:

God wants to produce. In our lives. For His glory.

If that comes through:
desert times
enormous losses
uncomfortable journeys
calls to wicked places
being an outsider
personal dark battles
attacks of all kinds

So be it.

His plan.

His ending of hope.

--Happy holidays with love and faith y'all,

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