Monday, April 24, 2017

To My Sweet Girl on your 1st Birthday

How do I begin to tell you how much your first year has changed me- how being your mom has made me a better person? Made me feel things deeper, see things more clearly. How sometimes when I look at you or hear your deep belly laugh that I feel like my heart might explode? I love you from the little bit of hair on the top of your head all the way down to your cute little chubby toes.


This picture is dark and isn't at all the best picture that we have from your first days in the hospital but it is one of my very favorites. I snapped it on my phone during the middle of the night after a feeding. Your dad was asleep on the fold out chair beside us and everyone else had long gone home. The nurses had brought you to me and left. I was alone with you for the very first time and I felt the weight of what it meant to be your mom. I realized that this was no longer just a dream about one day having a daughter and getting to play dress up and teaching you how to bake cookies. This was the moment that I knew I would do anything and everything to take care of you for the rest of my life. I didn't realize that I had been waiting for this moment to fully grasp what it meant to be your mom. But so many thoughts and feelings washed over me all at once and I stayed awake just to stare at your sweet face and pray that God would help me to be what you needed and that when I fail, he would fill in those places. Because even on my best days when I feel like we have maybe gotten it right, I will never come close to being all that you need. I pray that your dad and I will always teach and model God's love and that you come to truly know him and have a relationship with Him that is more important to you than anything else. And that whatever you do and wherever life takes you, even if you mess up, your relationship with God will sustain you and always draw you back to Him. Because as much as we love you, I will always tell you that He loves you best. 

I pray all the time that you will come to love God and accept him as your Savior, but also that you would have a fierce and overwhelming love for other people, that you would put other people's needs above your own, that you would have a servant's heart. That you would understand from an early age that this life is not about us- but God uses our lives for his greater purposes if we allow him. You have such a joyous spirit about you already and I pray that never changes. I love watching you see things for the first time - almost everything makes you smile. I hope you always view life with such overwhelming joy - that no matter the circumstances, even on your most challenging days, you can still find a reason to smile. 

I don't always rock you to sleep because you usually go to sleep on your own, but for these last few days I have rocked you and held you long after you fell asleep. This first year has shown me how fast time goes by and I want to soak in these sweet moments as long as I can. I want to remember your sweet baby smell and how it feels to have your little baby hand touching my face. I want to sing to you and pray over you and imagine all the things you will do in your life. As much as I would love to keep you this small forever, I know we would only miss out on so much more. I can't wait to watch you grow and be a part of all the things that God has planned for you. So tonight I will hold you a little longer but tomorrow we will wake up and celebrate you. Your life is so special and I am so blessed to be a part of it - to get to be your mom is such a precious gift. We have so much more to learn but we will learn together as we go. I hope you always know that I love you and will always be your biggest fan. I love you, my sweet sweet Camille Catherine. Happiest of birthdays - the best is yet to come.






Saturday, September 3, 2016

Just a quick note..

I have started writing many times lately but for one reason or another have yet to complete a post. I love writing about things going on in our lives and there is so much to be said as there have been so many exciting things happen in this last year including moving into our new house and the birth of our precious blessing, Camille Catherine. I fully intend to continue writing and hope to spend some time reminiscing and documenting Camille's birth story and my transition into motherhood at some point, but for now, it is difficult to find the time and emotional energy for it. I am soaking up every minute with this precious little one because it is already going by too fast for this momma. For now, enjoy these pictures from Camille's baby dedication last Sunday. 








“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
Isaiah 40:11 NIV

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Home on The Bend part 1


Back in May we started building our house, but due to the record-breaking rainfall amounts in May we really didn't get started until June. We were so excited when our builder texted us a picture to say they were breaking ground and when we rode by later that evening to see that dirt work had been started. I'm not usually a fan of dirt, but that day it looked absolutely beautiful.


 
During the month of June we looked forward to going out to the house every night to see what had been done. The framework of the house came up so fast! They poured our foundation on June 12th and then by the 26th the framework was mostly complete. It was so fun to walk through and finally get a feel for the layout of the rooms after only seeing them on paper for so long.

Getting ready for the foundation - June 11th
We have a foundation! June 12, 2015
Framework Day 1 - June 22nd

Going fast! June 25th
June 26th
 

 


Outdoor fireplace

Stucco and column colors finished.. waiting on wood stain for door and ceiling



Roof going on - July 20th
Roof almost finished!
Right now, the house is getting electrical wiring (courtesy of my sweet husband), plumbing, air conditioning and they will soon be starting on sheetrock. The brick should be coming soon too! This week I have been choosing interior paint colors and looking at floor selections. Next week we should have a cabinet design meeting. Whew - so many decisions! But it hasn't been too bad so far, I am just taking it one thing at a time!

One thing we are doing is starting to pray over our house now - praying for God's protection and that our house would always be used for His purposes. That it would be filled with lots of happy memories and would be a safe place during tough times. I read a book earlier this summer, it was actually an interior design book but from a Christian perspective, and the author talked about praying over the rooms of your home and gave some specific verses to pray over each room. We actually wrote some Scriptures on the beams inside the rooms - they will be enclosed but we will always know that we have God's words within the walls. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.



Well, that's all we have for now - I can't wait until the interior starts coming together. Our expected completion date is the end of October, so it won't be much longer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Room

Just yesterday I sat back in The Room. The one with the tan walls and the painting of the brightly colored flowers, likely placed to give the otherwise blank room a little color and life. The one with the ultrasound machine that shows expectant mothers their babies’ heartbeats, and the same machine that delivers the crushing news that a heartbeat can’t be found. This time was different of course. I wasn’t expecting anything really. I had been back once since that day, a different room, a different machine, but I knew the facts. My body was still trying to hold on to what was left of the pregnancy. In my frustration over having to continue to deal with the loss, I told Andrew that I wished my body would get the message and just do what it was supposed to. That’s when he reminded me that my body was doing what it was supposed to, trying to hold on to life at all costs.

I had already signed all the paperwork, the consent forms that protected the hospital should something go wrong. My appointment for surgery had already been made. I was supposed to go downstairs to have my pre-op lab work done and then report back the next day at 11 o’clock. The nurse had gone through the details of the procedure and had answered my questions. I was nervous of course, I really shy away from any type of surgical procedure, especially ones that involve needles and being put to sleep.  Which really means I dislike every type of surgical procedure. Maybe it has to do with a fear of pain or fear that something could go wrong, but I have a feeling it has more to do with my fear of being out of control. I was willing to do it though. Three weeks on this roller coaster had been long enough for me and I was ready to get off. 

As I sat in The Room waiting for my doctor, I tried to be strong. I tried not to think about what it was like the last time I was here, and instead just focus on the facts. Going over in my head what the nurse had told me would happen. Andrew reminding me that it would be a quick procedure and then he would get to take me home. That this nightmare would be over soon, and I could start the long process of healing.  And then something happened. In the physical realm, it was simply that a nurse came and brought the ultrasound machine in the room and left. But something else. A nudging of the Holy Spirit. As I stared at the machine, I thought about the possibility of not having to have the procedure at all for the first time. Sure, I had been praying – prayers that everything would go okay, that God would be with my doctor to help her make the right decisions, that He would give me peace and comfort about it. But I had not been praying for a clear ultrasound. Up to this point, I had not considered the possibility. I had taken the medicine and it had not worked. I had waited the amount of time, taken another test, still positive. [Oh, the irony of it all. A positive test when I needed a negative. Knowing at some point all I would want would be a positive.]  I had focused on the facts, what the doctor had told me needed to happen, and had not. I had not thought to pray for something that felt out of my reach. But sitting there, staring at the machine, the reality of it all just before me, I begged God for it. I prayed fervently out of a desperation of my heart, not just with words, but with my spirit. I’m not so sure it had as much to do with not wanting to have the surgery at that point. I knew the procedure wasn’t that big of a deal, so many women have it done and I knew deep down I would be okay. But at that moment, I needed to know God was with me. I needed to know that he heard me, that he cared about the details. I needed to feel the loving protection of a Father. I was willing to accept everything else that had happened, but I desperately needed Him to show himself to me.

I have referenced Shauna Niequist’s book “Bittersweet” before because there is just so much in her book that has spoken to me in this season. I remember a part of the book where she talks about what the Celtics call “thin places.”
 “One of my favorite Celtic ideas is the concept of thin places. A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable – thinner, if you will. Sometimes they’re physical places. There are places over Ireland where people have said, if you stand here, if you face this direction, if you hike to the top of that ridge at just the right time of day, that’s a thin place, a place where the passage between heaven and earth is a short one, a place where God’s presence is almost palpable. Thin places: places where the boundary between the divine world and the human world becomes almost nonexistent, and the two, divine and human, can for a moment, dance together uninterrupted. Some are physical places, and some aren’t places at all, but states of being or circumstances or seasons.”
I’m not one to usually believe in mystical ideas, but to me, it isn’t so much about mystics as it is about a Holy God and a belief that He can show us a little bit of Himself in very tangible ways. Many people describe an experience where they felt God’s presence in different ways. But I like this idea of thin places and for me, yesterday, that examining room was a very thin place. You see, when the doctor came in and did the ultrasound, the ultrasound to confirm that I needed the surgery, it didn’t surprise me that she found nothing and gave me a clear report. As she told us “this is good news, sometimes these things just happen and we can’t necessarily explain it,” I knew that God had moved. He had moved in that room and I had felt His presence so close. As the doctor left the room I broke down into sobs and was so overcome by the Holy Spirit that I couldn’t even talk. I felt like Andrew was concerned because of my outburst and he kept reminding me that this was good, that I wouldn’t have to have surgery, that this part of the ride was over. But what he didn’t know and I couldn’t even  describe at the time, was that they weren’t sad tears. This time they were grateful tears, grateful that God had heard me, that he had showed me more of Him, that he had reminded me that he was very near, even in that Room. 

I never wanted to have to go down this road, to experience this pain. But God has taught me so much in such a short time and I am learning more every day. He is reaching down and showing me little glimpses of heaven in this broken world. He is teaching me to pray for the things that He places on my heart, instead of speaking empty words without faith.  He is teaching me to look for Him in the most unlikely places, to live in constant expectancy of Him. I have realized that in my life, the thin place wasn't just that examining room. I found Him there because that's where I looked for Him the hardest, where I took hold of Him and refused to let go. But any moment, any circumstance, any season of our lives can be a thin place. I now more fully understand the meaning of Jeremiah 29:13.


I don't know where you are right now reading this, what kind of road you are walking down, but I promise you if you look long and hard enough, if you take hold of God and refuse to let go, He will show you more of Himself than you ever thought possible. He will meet you there in that very real and thin place.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Struggle is Part of the Story

This summer I have been going through a Bible study with some friends from church. We are doing Angie Smith's "Seamless" study. I have enjoyed following Angie on her blog for several years now, so when I heard about this study I knew it was one I wanted to do. I just had no idea at the time what this study would mean to me and how it would come at a time in my life when I needed it the most.

In the first week of the study Angie asks the question "What experiences in your life have caused you to struggle with believing that [God] is good and that He loves you?" She asked us to write them down and seal them up - it was just supposed to be between us and God. I struggled with this question, not for obvious reasons, but because I couldn't think of anything specific. Nothing of significance anyway. I remember telling Andrew that I didn't have anything to write and how I struggled with it. How did I deserve to have had an absence of struggle when I have witnessed so much pain in the lives of those around me? I remember feeling guilty and a part of me longing to know God in a way that I had only heard others talk about - how you grow closer to God and how real he becomes in the midst of trials.

At the same time, about a week earlier, I had just found out I was pregnant. June 1, 2015 was one of the most exciting days of my life. There wasn't just one line, but two. Two pink lines told me that I was going to be a mother. I was overwhelmed with emotion, but I praised God for the life growing inside me, and instantly became wrapped around the idea of being a mother. In that moment I visualized the rest of my life and what it would look like. Excitement is an understatement. It pretty much consumed my every waking moment and thought for the next few weeks. We wanted to tell my parents in person so that meant waiting a couple of weeks. It felt like forever. That kind of excitement feels heavy, begs to be shared, needs to be divided among people so that it's easier to manage. 

Soon after we told our parents our news, we went for our first doctor appointment and saw the beat of a tiny heart on the ultrasound screen. Everything else melted away except for the image on that screen. Later I could not remember anything the doctor said or that there was even a nurse in the room. That moment changed my life. With every beat of our baby's heart, my heart was being shaped and molded, preparing to love in ways I was only beginning to understand. And I had no idea how that tiny heart would continue to change me in the coming weeks.

I have a feeling I will always think of my life as Before and After. I think tragedy just grips you and changes you in a way that you are never the same. But as I write this it was only two weeks ago that I heard those awful words "I can't find the heartbeat" and I know we have a long way to go on this road. I also know that at that very moment, in the examining room, I was faced with everything I have always believed to be true about God. And I had a choice to make in that moment. Either he was good and he loved me, or not. Simple as that. I realize that I could have gone either way. There's no way to know how you will respond in that moment. But despite my flesh, which was screaming to be heard with shouts of self-pity, doubt, and fear - I chose to believe in what I know of God's character over my circumstances. I chose to believe that He is ultimately good, even when I don't understand. I don't claim to have any answers, I know I never will understand in this lifetime. But as I have known my whole life, but am just beginning to learn, that truly trusting God isn't about having answers or knowing "why".. Rather, it's believing Him when we don't have answers and nothing makes sense. It's knowing that He has never left our side, that He is closer to us in our pain than at any other time in our life, probably because that's when we lean on him the most. It's feeling absolutely torn apart but knowing that somehow he is holding you together. And that the broken places of your heart are allowing Him to enter in.

Just yesterday I flipped back to the beginning of our bible study book. We are several weeks into the study now and each week there have been new lessons to learn and we have grown in so many ways, in our faith but also closer to each other. I will always be grateful for these sweet friends God has placed in my life. I know He placed them there because when I moved here a few years ago, that is what I prayed for. That's another post for another day, but what I am learning is that God always provides. Maybe not on our timeline, not in a way that makes any sense to us, but in His perfect time. So I went back to the very question that I stumbled over a few weeks back. I felt I had something to write this time, so I wrote it down, sealed it up. Gave it to God. It's too heavy for me to carry on my own. I know that we all struggle in different ways and what may not seem difficult to one person is for another like fighting a tide in the middle of a hurricane. And different seasons of our lives bring different kinds of struggles. I know that if I would have been completely honest with myself before, I would have remembered times when I struggled to believe that God had not forgotten me. And I could have written them down. But instead, I compared my struggles to others' and considered mine insignificant.  (In the future, this is probably not the best idea - the comparison trap is never healthy in whatever form it takes). But the truth is, the times of my life that I neglected to write down, those times that seemed insignificant, those were the times God had been using to prepare me and teach me to trust him. In many ways throughout my life, God has proven himself faithful. That is why when sitting in the doctor's office, hearing those awful words, despite the doubts of my flesh, I was able to choose to believe Him. That is why, when later that night I lay face down on the bathroom floor, crying out to him in my hurt and brokenness, I was able to find peace and rest. That is why, when every morning I wake up, when I am tempted to feel despair, I can choose to have hope.

At first, I struggled with the idea of writing about this, or at least sharing it. I am the most vulnerable I have ever been and for me, writing is the most raw expression of my heart. But writing is also healing and I am sure that the prompting I have felt is the Holy Spirit encouraging me that this is my story to tell. And when I was still hesitant about it, He spoke to me through a book I am currently reading. In her book, Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist writes:
"This is what I want you to do: tell your story. Don't allow the story of God, the sacred, transforming story of what God does in a human heart to become flat and lifeless. If we choose silence, if we allow the gospel to be told only on Sundays, only in sanctuaries, only by approved and educated professionals, that life-changing story will lose its ability to change lives."
I pray that God uses this part of my story for His glory, that my pain is not in vain and that He works it all together for His ultimate good. I was also hesitant to write because my story doesn't have a "happy ending". I tried to reason that this would be a much better story to tell later on, maybe after I had a healthy baby so I could share pictures and tell you that God redeemed my hurt and answered my prayer. But I write in faith that the best is still to come. I'm not sure what that may be, not sure I even believe in "happy endings", but I do trust in God's plan and in his character. I trust that someday my story will come full circle, even if I'm not sure exactly what that looks like. I also know that if I didn't share this part of the story - if I only told the happy and neglected to tell of the hurt, of the struggle, then it wouldn't be complete. To borrow from Shauna again, "when we tell the truth about our lives - the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts - then the Gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption.." I wish the struggle wasn't part of the story, oh how I wish I didn't have to write about the struggle. But without the broken parts, the beautiful parts wouldn't be as beautiful. And that is what I am clinging to. I know that God makes everything beautiful in time.

Recently, I came across a translation of a verse in Isaiah (chapter 66, verse 9) that I have never seen before.


This is a very simplified translation of this verse, but it spoke to me. Since I am not a Bible scholar, I read several commentaries on what this means. The idea is that Isaiah was referencing the Church. And that since God had, from the beginning of time, planned its increase, he would not abandon it. It's as if God was saying "would I begin something and not finish it?" In the context, the Israelites had suffered through exile, been cut off from their land and from their God. Then, when some were allowed to return in anticipation of the great blessings they had been promised, they found only further suffering. The writer assures the people the promised rebirth of Jerusalem was imminent. God had promised, and he was faithful to fulfill that promise, even though it was hard for them to see in the midst of their suffering. This is where I find hope. In this life, in this broken world, there will always be suffering, in whatever form that takes in your life or mine. But the same promise that was true then is true now - our Rescue is coming.

As I said before, I'm not sure what the end of my story looks like. I would love to take this verse literally and see it as a promise from God that he will allow me to have another child. That the "something new to be born" would be a baby in my arms. But until then, I simply trust and know that He is good.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

You Make Me Brave

As I mentioned in a previous post, God has used our circumstances from the past year to prepare us for a ministry opportunity at our church. God has been preparing me but that doesn’t mean that the enemy doesn’t still try to creep in and place fears and doubts in my mind. I am human and stepping outside of my comfort zone is a difficult thing. I know that God has to get me out of my comfort zone in order to help me grow, because only then I am forced to rely on him and he is able to work through me.

I have always been comfortable working with children. They are precious and they don’t judge you. They love unconditionally and speak their mind. They don’t hold grudges or talk about you behind your back. If they are mad at you, they tell you. If they want to be your friend, they just ask. You get my point. Us adults? Well we are a little more complicated. That’s why when Andrew told me he felt God calling us to be involved in some type of ministry with couples our age, I was a little hesitant. I tried to convince him that they probably needed help in the children’s ministry at our church and that we should check into it. He was pretty adamant that he felt God’s call to work with young couples. He reminded me that sometimes it’s good to be out of our comfort zone (he knows how much I love working with kids). And so I agreed to pray about it.

Andrew recently got a call from a pastor that he knows at another local church asking us to pray about working with their youth group. I could handle that, I thought. Leaving our church would be hard but if God was calling us to work with youth, that would be awesome! Deep down they really are just big kids. (I am just walking you through my thought process here. My self-centeredness was still in full force as I was hoping to avoid the one area of ministry I feel the least equipped for. I’m not professing that these were very “spiritual” thoughts at this point). But after talking to the pastor about the opportunity, Andrew told him that he strongly felt God calling him to work with couples our age. The pastor was very encouraging and told Andrew that he would be praying with him about where God was leading us.

Since before we were married, Andrew and I have been involved in a Nearly/Newly Married Lifegroup (Sunday School) at our church. We have been ministered to by some awesome teachers and this has allowed us to develop relationships with other couples in our church who are going through a similar phase of life. So in thinking about ministry with couples our age we had thought about continuing to participate in this class and maybe start another Bible study for young married or un-married couples. We would open it up to anyone, even outside of our church. We felt peace about this but were still praying about how it would all play out. And then two weeks ago one of our teachers from the Lifegroup we are in now approached Andrew and asked if he had ever thought about teaching. They were wanting to step down from teaching our class and asked if we would be willing to take it over. Wow! We were immediately sure that this had been God’s plan all along and the promptings of the Holy Spirit that had been placed on Andrew's heart. And I was glad Andrew had been talking to me about this for the past few months because I have had time to pray about it and God has had time to work on me and my willingness to step outside of my comfort zone. 

We are so completely humbled and in awe of God’s willingness to use us. As I said earlier, I feel so unequipped in this area. So it does not surprise me at all that this would be where God is calling us. God tends to use our weak areas because only when we are weak do we allow him to fully take control and work through us. A verse comes to mind. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9 

I know that God is faithful and we have already seen him moving in our small group. I see it in the spiritual gift of teaching that he has blessed Andrew with, the willingness of others to help us lead and the relationships that we have developed with others in the class as we do life together. Our vision for this class is to create a sense of community where people our age can come together and invest in each other's lives and encourage each other's spiritual growth. As proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

As I was praying about all of this yesterday I heard a song on the radio that resonated so deeply with me. It is called “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook & Bethel Music. The lyrics to this song are just so beautiful and have already begun to encourage me as we begin this next season. 

“I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore into your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made"

Please be in prayer with us as we begin this journey. If you are in our area and would like more information about our class please feel free to contact me at laurayoung922@gmail.com. We would love for you to join us as we learn and grow together!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Difference a Year Makes... A New Season

Last March, Andrew and I began a different kind of season in our marriage. I almost used the word difficult, but in retrospect, although it was difficult at times, that’s not what stands out the most. It was one of those seasons that changes us for the better even if we can’t see it at the time. It was a season of growth.
 
Early last year Andrew was asked to manage a job for his company which would require him to be gone out of town for the majority of the time. He would get to come home on most weekends, for which I was so grateful, and we knew it would last up to a year. { I want to stop here with a quick disclaimer: I realize that there are couples and families who are separated for longer than this and don’t have opportunities to even spend weekends together. I know that our situation could have been much harder. This post is simply about our specific situation and what we learned from it.}

I went through a period of denial at first as I didn’t want to think about spending most of our second year of marriage apart. But then there was the fact that a camper was parked in our driveway and the next thing I knew we were putting sheets on the bed and adding picture frames here and there to try and make it as home-y for him as we could. It was no longer possible to ignore the fact that he was really going.

I processed it the best way I knew how but that first Monday morning getting ready for work after he left around 3 a.m. was hard. I was just going through the motions and wishing the day away. I wish I could say that I handled it really well, but in reality I had myself a big ‘ol pity party. I tried to keep the perspective that it could be much worse, but honestly it just stunk. It was just one of things that at the time I didn’t understand how anything good could come from it and I didn’t think it was fair that we were having to put our marriage on hold for his job. You can say I was just a little spoiled and self-centered. But then, the weekends starting coming around quicker than I realized and we spent incredible quality time together and didn’t waste a precious second. And the weeks turned in to months and we got into a routine that worked for us.  

Although I still missed him terribly, I learned how to make the most of my time. I got involved in a girl’s bible study group, joined a mentorship program at our church, ramped up my quiet devotional time – which were all opportunities for spiritual growth that I could have done, but probably wouldn’t have had as much time for if Andrew had been home in the evenings. I also hadn’t expected how much we would grow together during this time. Yes, I knew that we would survive it – but growth? I had only thought of what would have to sacrifice, not what we would gain. But God has an awesome way of using the tougher parts of our lives to shape and mold us. We grew as a couple because we depended on each other and knew no one else understood what we were going through. We prayed together on Sunday nights and we trusted God to protect us. We prayed for physical safety as well as the health of our marriage. We prayed for God to use us where he had placed us and trusted that it was for a reason.

Well, it’s been a little over a year since that first early morning good-bye. We are settling into a new routine with Andrew able to be home most of the time now. We look back and can’t believe how much we have grown this past year. A lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same too. We are so thankful for an ordinary night together – of coming home and just cooking dinner or sitting on the back porch and getting to have face-to-face conversations about our day. We are now getting to see how God was working all along. How he was shaping both of us individually and teaching us to depend on him in preparation for what would come. It is amazing how God works. He can use everything for his good. We have been praying about how God would use us – use our marriage for his kingdom.  And just as always, God’s timing is perfect. We have just been offered an awesome ministry opportunity that I will write more about later. I can’t wait to share how God orchestrated it in his perfect plan. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

This time last year I could not have imagined where we would be right now. I am so thankful that God was able to take my self-pity and turn it into something good. To take my loneliness and turn it into spiritual growth. To take my fears and give me peace in its place. It is a continual process and I still struggle with these, but God uses the past to remind me of what He can do. I’m so thankful that he doesn’t give up on me. I am excited to see where God takes us and how he uses us in this next season!