on to the next stage

I remember that moment in June of 2013. That moment that I knew, I knew, that we were done having kids. That I could leave baby world behind. We got married young (at least in my mind) and chose to have kids soon after marriage. I knew the day would come when the babies wouldn’t be babies any longer, and I could walk down more paths that wouldn’t exactly work for our family while there were tiny people in the house.

And at that moment in June of 2013 I thought we’d hit that day.

Guess who was pregnant at that moment in June of 2013? Ha.

Don’t so many of us have that conflicting cry when we find out about an unexpected baby? Joy for the life, guilt for not being totally thrilled, conflict because you just thought you knew you were ready to walk down a different path?

I knew I didn’t want to struggle in some of the ways I did when Lenna was a baby. Simply put, I wanted to do too much. I was overwhelmed with baby world and wanted to have a place in the world outside of daily mothering. At one point I seriously started to explore what it would like to homeschool, partner in ministry with Omar, go get another Master’s, and be the mother to a toddler. I can’t even type that now without laughing. I am completely aware that for some that might be doable. For me? I know my limits, and I would’ve gone down in a blaze of (not)glory while dragging a family behind me.

So in June of 2013 when we found out that Asa was on his way, I think some of the sadness was that I had to just wait. Just be patient for another couple of years. That to fight it would result in misery. My misery and my family’s misery. I knew there would be little to no travel for us for a year and a half or so. I knew there would be little time for classes and outside commitments. Soon after I decided to consciously enjoy the season. I’ve always struggled with enjoying pregnancy, but I gave it my best shot. I have really good memories of my time in the hospital with this last baby. Of night times with him in the newborn stage. Of watching older siblings learn how to love on a baby.

And as a result I think we enjoyed Asa’s first year the most out of any of the kids. We didn’t love him any more, we just enjoyed him more. He’s been a textbook easy 4th baby, so I know that helped, but I’ve just not sweated anything (regarding him) this past year.

Omar has always been great at shooing me away to some other city once the kids hit about a year or so. This time was no different. A few weeks ago Omar brought it up and we started planning. I bought a ticket to fly out to the west coast. It’s still so weird to think that the time has come where I can do these things again.

That season I was so fearing of having to go through again is over, and I got a pretty amazing kiddo out of it. And perhaps more importantly I learned more about what it means to hold my plans and big ideas loosely. This is important because about a week after I bought my ticket to Portland/Seattle area, our calendar started to fill up: classes here, conferences there, weddings, Omar’s work travels. I don’t always want to be looking forward to the next big thing or the next time to travel. I want to enjoy the days filled with school and laundry and not be caught off guard if God decides to place everything on hold again. No baby jokes, please.

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sometimes a light

Sometimes a light surprises 
The Christian while he sings; 
It is the Lord Who rises 
With healing in His wings: 
When comforts are declining, 
He grants the soul again 
A season of clear shining, 
To cheer it after the rain
Sometimes A Light Surprises // W. Cowper & K. Twit

I love this hymn. 

I’ve been thinking about it lately.

I need to stop thinking about and sing it more. Out loud.

Maybe I’ll corner you and belt you out a verse.

This season? It is clear shining after a season of rain. A rain that made things and thoughts foggy. A rain that seemed to wash out our path except for the space a foot in front of us. 

This ministry thing Omar and I are a part of…it’s tough. And yet also good and beautiful. But it can be filled with hurt that runs deep. And confusion and doubt and the desire, at times, to just get out of it. Sometimes I think the life of an accountant sounds lovely. But even if our life revolved around the world of accounting, we would still be part of a body of believers. We would take vows to be part of a church family. And I am well aware that there would be many similarities with regards to the joys and hurts of life lived in ministry.

I write little about our church here, and on the whole, I think that is wise and it will probably always remain that way, but I realized the other day that there have been plenty of times where I thought if I could only share and write about some of the crazy that has come our way, then I would feel better (cause it’s all about my feelings…ha). And let me tell you, friends, there’s lots of crazy in this world. But it’s not so much that. There is crazy everywhere and always, ministry or not. We just get the (sometimes odd) privilege of witnessing some of the depths of it. 

But I was convicted that there have been few times where I’m dying to just get on here and share the good, the beautiful, the encouraging. So, here I am. 

I am proud of our little church. I am proud of the people who’s eyes are being opened to the changes that are so rapidly happening in our neighborhood. Anglos are the minority in our town, but our church is not a reflection of that. But that is changing. The people of our church are opening hearts and eyes and arms and time to people who are very different from them. I am proud that men and women in their 80s to their 20s are lining up to meet the needs of the immigrant, the poor, the struggling. We thought it was such a stretch – a dream! – to think that we could get 7 volunteers to start ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, which are desperately needed around here. God thought it would be good to bless us with at least 20 people who are seriously interested. ESL, immigration ministry, discipleship, teaching, community, worship – we are doing it or in the process of seeing it come to fruition. It is not perfect. Not by a long shot. It is not all happening quickly, and we have lost people because they think it’s not happening fast enough or to their liking. It is not what the world would call exciting or sexy. We are still a simple church. And I love this. And I love it. And I feel so thankful and privileged that God has called Omar and me to live here and raise children here and be a part of this family. Our God is a generous God. One who loves to lavish good and blessings on his children. 

Thanks be to God.