the last 3 months have been a roller coaster of varying highs and lows for us. they have been jam packed with information, experience, chaos, excitement, celebration, joy, loss, sadness, worry and confusion.
some of the lows have been; the death of 2 friends, a fire in our current rental home, the deal for the home we're buying hitting bumps in which it almost fell apart on multiple occasions.
some of the highs have been; jeremy got a book deal from a publisher to translate and publish his book, the longest bridge across water, into german. god prompting a generous friend to promise us the gift of a car that we should receive in the next couple of months. new friendships and business partnerships. seeing fruit and life change happening in some of our street friends that me and a few friends encounter weekly. creative and generous ways that the deal on our home has been salvaged at moments where we were about to throw in the towel and give up hope and pursue rental options rather than buying. some new projects and groups that we have been working on that are taking shape and starting over the next few months.
this multitude of experiences has not been easy along the way, but i can see fruit taking shape in my character as a result. 2 months ago we had a friend pass away at the same time that it was seeming the deal on our home was going to fall apart and i reacted to those circumstances with stress, worry, desperation and loss of hope. yet just last week we had another friend pass away at the same time that it was looking again like our deal on our house was going to fall apart and that we would need to find somewhere else to live by this saturday (when we are supposed to be out of our current rental) but i handled the unknown and unfavorable circumstances remarkably different this time around. this time i did not lose hope. i did not become irrational or frazzled. i was able to stay at rest and at peace throughout the circumstances. i was able to think clearly and unemotionally and to efficiently proceed forward to look for solutions. i responded in trust this time around. trust knowing that god is with me. that he is good. that he has good things for me even if they aren't the things that i had planned for myself. this last week has been a testimony that my peace, joy, security, strength and hope are in christ and not in my circumstances. it has been a time of living from rest amidst the chaos of life and complications along the way. this is the place that i always want to live from, dwell in, and inhabit all of my days.
that two of our "street friends" from our weekly outreach have decided to enter into long-term rehabilitation treatment programs and that 2 others that we've been seeing regularly for the last 6 or more months have been given housing. it makes my heart so happy to see god provide for these people. to see his work in their hearts. to see lives be changed.
answered prayers. god has poured out faithful answers to many of our provisional and relational prayers over the last couple of months. i am so grateful to know a present, relational god who i can talk to at any moment, who will guard my heart with his peace that surpasses all understanding, who has promised us that prayer is powerful and effective.
in spirit and in tongues more than anything this month. less with words, less with my mind but when i don't know the right path, or answer, or approach to a situation i'm letting my spirit and heart lead me and cry out to god knowing that he knows my needs and longings.
psalms, romans, 1 corinthians, savor, all the light we cannot see
god. the source of all hope, joy, peace and love. having a solid foundation upon which to stand when my circumstances seem to be chaotic. knowing that he is trustworthy. that he is with me, always. that he is working all things for my good. that his grace is sufficient, always!
a super fun week with family as jeremy's brother, his wife and their kids were in town. it made my heart so happy to see my kids enjoy playing with their cousins all day everyday.
the generous people in our lives that god has used over the past month to unexpectedly provide for our needs regarding a car and housing. i am humbled that we have such great people in our lives that believe in and support us.
friendships. i'm in a season of lots of gratitude for many unexpected new relationships that are developing as well as the ones that we've consistently had over the last several years.
how much our boys love each other and how well they get along and play together (overall, they of course have their moments of fighting over toys etc).
simple, delicious, fresh, seasonal food. an abundance of it easily available to us. god has been so creative in all of the delicious things that he gives us to eat. he could make fueling our bodies something boring, or unnecessary, but he has chosen to make it a rich, enjoyable process for us and i'm really appreciating that right now.
our church. becoming a part of our church over the last 7 months has been an increasingly life giving process for me. god has used this time and these specific people to heal some wounds that i've had, to reignite my hope and vision and belief in the local church. he has used this time to prune some of the weeds of cynicism that were in my heart regarding church as an organization. he has given me a great appreciation for the low pressure environment at our church and how well our body lives out the values of relationship, fun, celebration and enjoying life. he has used this body to give me a vision of how leaders can function together well while having good, healthy, thriving personal relationships with each other, sowing that into the body they lead.
huevos rancheros, whole wheat pizza with turkey pepperoni and jalapenos, grilled cheese and tomato soup, whole wheat banana bread muffins with chocolate chips, green well salad, white bean soup, black bean soup, curried chicken salad, greek salad, greek pasta salad, 4 cheese turkey sausage lasagna, white chicken chili, cornbead, sautéed butternut squash and kale, gumbo, veggie tray with curry dip, maple balsamic pork tenderloin, Korean beef, tacos, black beans rice and corn casserole
i'm currently 22 weeks pregnant. i finally went to the doctor and now have now confirmed that we have a normal, healthy, baby boy developing in my belly. i can feel him moving around all of the time and am savoring these moments knowing that this will probably be our last baby, and therefore the last time that i am pregnant. we have a name that we both agree on and like but i think that we're going to let it sink in for a few more weeks prior to announcing the name to the public. if you want a little teaser it's another old testament bible name (like noah and elisha). i'm still feeling great, growing larger by the day. i haven't had any new or different cravings this month although i'm still particularly drawn to fruits, veggies, orange juice, pho and sushi. a friend did give me a jar of her grandma's sweet and spicy pickles and they made this preggo lady super happy... there's something about sweet, spicy and tangy all combined together that takes me to my happy place right now. our third baby boy will be making his debut the first week of september and we are getting very excited to meet him. both noah and eli are starting to notice my growing belly more and giving their little brother lots of affectionate rubs and pats.
all the usual activities; weekly homeless outreach, monthly book club, radiant monthly ladies gathering, lots of playdates and dinners with friends. a week staycation as we had family in town visiting. i led a street outreach for our church as we hosted 30 bible school students and unleased to love on those in need in our city. lots of packing and de-cluttering as we will finally be moving this sat.
spending lots of time considering my passions, gifts and purpose as god continues to reveal to me who he created me to be.
if you know me in real life or follow me on facebook or instagram it is probably not a surprise to you that i love food. i love the diversity of it, the process of preparing it, the process of consuming it, especially when that process is shared with others and includes conversation.
along with food my greatest passions are friendships/ relationships/ community and conversation.
the place where these two categories of interest meet is my happy place, my sweet spot that gets me giddy and fills me up. i love hosting and entertaining. i love being hosted and learning about others through the food they serve and the ambiance they set. i love celebrating any occasion or day or person. i love gathering people together for a purpose, and especially love it when once we are gathered there is delicious food and interesting conversation. this is what i do naturally and effortlessly. this is who i am and was created to be. it's not an agenda that i set, a program that i create or a ministry that i'm involved in. this is a natural overflow of who i am. food and conversation (within the context of relationship) are the currency of my love language.
just this week god gave me the epiphany that this is why i love doing street outreach with homeless people. it's because nourishment of all kinds (physical, spiritual and emotional) is so important to me. it's because feeding people and listening to people and connecting with people is my priority. it's because i get to do this on the streets, with people who don't have their own home to relax in, their own food to nourish their bodies with, who may or may not have friends to connect with. i love being able to bring this atmosphere to those who need it most.
have you found your happy place, friend? do you know what fills you up and what naturally flows out of you? do you know the gifts and talents that god has given you? i hope that you do! and if not, i pray that you are receptive as god makes your path straight and makes those clear to you. i pray that you find your sweet spot and thrive. because i need you to, the church needs you to, the world needs you to. you are an essential part of the body of christ, uniquely created gifted and equipped and without you and your giftings the rest of our body is incomplete.