Monday, August 19, 2013

A Place to Call our Own

Andrew and I have been blessed with a small three bedroom "fixer upper" to live in since we got married. It  was built in the 80s and still retained much of its original character. We have done some major updates during the time we have been here and have enjoyed making it our home. However, we have always known that our time here was temporary. We have dreamed about owning our own place since we were engaged. We actually looked at several houses in the months leading up to our wedding and came very close to making an offer on one particular house, but at the last minute, decided that it wasn't the right time. We have continued to look at houses since then but nothing has felt "right" to us... that is, until we started playing with the idea of building our own home and found this amazing piece of land in our favorite subdivision...

Could it be for sale? We didn't know at the time, we just knew that most of the land in this subdivision had already been sold to contractors for new construction. Andrew, being the dreamer that he is, had already started imagining us here. I agreed that it did feel right, but was hesitant to get my hopes up, not wanting to be disappointed if it was already sold. We contacted our realtor the following day who was able to find out more information for us and offer realistic advice.We prayed that if this was not where God would have us, he would close the doors altogether.

Our realtor was able to confirm that the land was for sale and a week later we made an offer which was accepted the very next day. We are so excited and tremendously blessed to call this little piece of land ours and to begin to dream about what lies ahead.

We took Avery out to the property for the first time last night and we are pretty sure she loved it!

We are going to wait a year or so before we start to build. Meanwhile, we are praying and gathering wisdom from our family and friends. Feel free to share any tips you have on building a house! This is definitely a first for us and we appreciate any advice you may have to share!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A New Adventure

My precious Savior never ceases to amaze me. He continues to guide me along paths and open up doors that I never would have chosen on my own, but always seem to lead right where I need to be. This past year I have been on a journey - discovering where my career would take me and where I could serve Him the best.  As some of you remember, I left my first full time job as a new graduate for a part time job working with children in a small private clinic. God opened the door and I simply walked through - and I haven't looked back since. There have been so many blessings along the way as I continued to walk through more open doors. I never once doubted that God had led me here for a reason, I just had no idea that he was using it as a stepping stone to an even bigger blessing.

Back when I first started college, I met several people who were very influential in my decision to become an Occupational Therapist. One of whom was a family friend who worked with children in our local school system. The very first time I was introduced to Occupational Therapy was in a school setting and I fell in love from the first precious face I saw that day.

As I walked into a classroom that morning a little boy with wide eyes touched my hand.

 "Wif dis wing, I dee wed."

"What did he say?" I asked, carefully.

"With this ring, I thee wed," his teacher said as she laughed. "It's a line from a movie he watched last night and it's stuck in his head today."

He, like many of the children we saw that day, was affected by a condition that created challenges out of simple daily tasks that you and I take for granted. To me, he was a child with a bright smile and wide set eyes who would never know how he had touched my heart with his innocence and carefree laughter.

By the time we left the school that day, my heart was full. It didn't take long for me to decide that I could choose  many different careers, but none could touch my heart the way those children had.

And so it began. I went through Occupational Therapy school and somewhere between the memorization of countless nerves and body parts, I lost sight of the reason I was there and the joy those children had brought me. Graduation came way too quickly and I struggled through my first several months as a therapist until I finally realized the problem. I was trying to do it all on my own. Feeling as though my brand new degree somehow should ensure that I knew what I was doing. Wondering why when I was working as hard as I was, did I not feel the joy I felt that first day that I had discovered that I wanted to be an OT?

And then the Lord gently started prodding.

"This is what the Lord says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord....'But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.'" Jeremiah 17:5,7-8

I won't say it was an overnight process. In fact, I still struggle with handing my fears over to God. But what did change immediately was the realization that I was not in it alone. That God created each of my patients with unique personalities and he knew them better than I could ever hope to. He loved each of them with a love that I could not even begin to comprehend.

And now when I look at my patients, I try my best to see them as God sees them. I have the amazing opportunity to work with a lot of children and their families and to show them each a little piece of God's love. Nearly as soon as I began my part-time job at a small clinic, God opened a door for me to fill in for a therapist in a school setting. While I had a fairly large caseload and was super busy managing two jobs, I chose to hear God's voice. I chose to see that my time with so many of those children was a blessing and that I could use that time to show His love.

And when, only three months later, I was offered a full-time position in the same school system, I raised my hands and gave praise only to God because I knew this was from him.

He brought me back, you see. He brought me back to the very place where it all began. He brought me back to that little boy's classroom on that very first day I was introduced to this amazing profession. He has restored my joy.

So on Monday morning I will begin a new adventure. Pretty soon I will walk into a classroom and I can only hope there is a little boy with wide set eyes and an innocent laugh there to greet me.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7