I’m sure you all will forgive me for the gap of time between blog updates due to the latest addition to our family and all…..right? I actually wish there wasn’t so much time between them, because it is so hard to think about how to put everything that has gone on in the last couple of months into one blog, but I will give it a go.
I think the word “CHANGE” would sum up much of our latter summer.
Now if any of you know me very well, you know that I have never been a real fan of change. I have always liked adventures….the kind that you can plan ahead for and be completely prepared for, but always return after it to my safe little orderly haven. Being married to Andy has completely stretched this tendency in me considering we have lived in 6 different locations in the 6 years we have been married. All the while, taking on challenges and growing our family. It always amazes me how God works through taking you out of any form of security so that you can grow closer to him as you learn to rely on Him during times of trial and insecurity and this is certainly what has happened for me. It is only by God’s grace that I have been able to adjust to all the changes in the last 6 years. It helps that I have a completely passionate, loving, God-fearing, and strong leading husband who is taking me by the hand and saying “lets go”.
Some people might think, “Wow that is a lot of moves and it sounds like there have been mistakes made or lack of commitment to have lead to that many”. I probably would have thought this prior to meeting Andy, but he has taught me a great lesson in stepping out in faith and recognizing that every thing we do is just one step closer to becoming closer to the people God wants us to be. If you are truly seeking God’s will, then are there really any mistakes? Each stage in life we have been in together has served a purpose in getting us closer to where we are now, even the short stays here or there. We have learned so much and grown so much through each change God has brought to us and I don’t expect any less as we continue our journey together and head south to continue seeking, preparing for, and living the vision God has given our family.
All that being said brings me back to the “Change” around here. So of course, the arrival of Gloria was a huge change!! Going from 2 to 3 children has been a big adjustment, but God has been so gracious through it all and has given me patience and energy(most days) to at least keep my head above water. There have been sacrifices I have had to make however…like keeping up with laundry, quiet times at night, toys picked up, catching up with friends, hobbies, cleaning the bathrooms (yeah that just doesn’t happen these days),etc….. If you know me, you also know that I like to keep a clean, tidy house. I am slowly learning the “real” priorities in life and a lot of times the cleanliness of my toilets just don’t rank that high. The girls with their unique personalities and needs require a lot of attention and I can only hope that God directs us as we try to raise them the way God would want us to. They are after all, HIS. I know we will make mistakes just as my parents did, but hey, I turned out ok right?… ok, don’t answer that question. So we are adjusting to this change and welcoming the lessons being learned through the arrival of our sweet little Glo-worm. (For the record since people have asked why I call her that; “Glo” is part of her name, “worm” I guess is just a term of endearment, but put them together and you get Glo-worm, which happened to be the name of a toy they used to make that lit up. Gloria reminded me of one, especially when she had her little beanie on all swaddled up in a blanket.) The girls call her Glo Glo, Gloey, Glo-worm, Gloria, or just sissy.
So on with the change…..Andy started a new job the first week of August. Why would he do this being only months away from our move to Texas? Well, it was another great thing orchestrated by God. Andy had been working at an Allstate data center here in Rochelle for 2 years, which is why we initially moved here in the first place. This job turned out to be a huge blessing through the time it gave Andy to seek God for our family, be in His word, and ultimately through the lessons God taught Andy in the completely different work environment than he was used to. Then Andy met a guy through 2 different random situations who had a thriving business that was going to need IT expansion, which happens to be Andy’s expertise. This guy ended up contacting Andy in July and wanted to offer him a full-time position with his company. Andy then informed him of our plans to move to Texas in December and our hearts for mission work on the border. The guy was disappointed, but then asked if Andy would contract himself out for our remaining time here. Andy saw God’s hand on this and quickly agreed to it. He is now working for AG perspective back in Dixon. The awesome part of this opportunity is that not only is Andy enjoying what he is doing, but the owner of the company is a Christian with a desire to spread the Gospel to his clients, many of his co-workers are Christians, he will be able to do some work remotely from Texas once we move, and the owner also has shown interest in helping support us in this mission. This has been a great change, but yet still a change. Though it has had many benefits, it has also been a little harder for me as I have had to adjust to him being home less; this has been a little hard for me as I am still adjusting to having 3 now.
The next huge change will be our move to Texas….I mean this is “HUGE” for me. Besides college, I have never lived more than 1/2 hour from my parents and many of my friends and family. For the longest time I have been avoiding thinking about the people I love the most and how much I am going to miss them in efforts to avoid a complete emotional break down. But as the time draws closer, I am forced to come to grips with the reality of the situation, which is super hard to say the least. Now, I am sure many of you have probably gone through such a thing, but bear with me as this is a first for me and I feel the need to vent. I have always cared way too much about what people think and in this situation I worry about what people will think and how this is not only effecting my life, but theirs as well. The only thing that brings me comfort in this area is the fact that I know without a doubt this is the Lords will for our lives right now and I can only hope that those around us have also seen His mighty hand directing our steps all along the way as well. If you read our first newsletter or former blogs, you sort of have an idea of all that has brought us to this move. The call to live our lives simply, sacrificially, with purpose to spread the Gospel to those everywhere and show the love of Jesus Christ is what continues to burn in us and say “yes Lord” we will go where you want us to. So this is not just some grand adventure for us that we are choosing because we want to, but to us it is listening to the calling God has placed on our hearts. What will we do after Andy finishes language school? That’s a good question and one only God knows the answer to, but He has been faithful so far in directing our steps, so we trust He will do the same in the future. It seems as though whenever we are sure of something or make plans and feel secure in something, God takes us in the complete opposite direction; We are careful now to just take one step at a time in this journey together, praying that we can be used by God through our lives whether we are aware of it or not.
Paul’s says in 1 Corinthians 9:16 “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” Oswald Chambers says about this “Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains “…separated to the gospel…” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him.”
So yes, there has been much CHANGE.
Here are some highlights of the last couple months. This is a lot of pictures, but it was so hard for me to just pick a few when we have had so many memorable moments.