Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to Love

After several years in the limelight, we (particularly me) have enjoyed a season of relative peace and privacy. 

Chris and I are convinced that both are good. 

Sharing the story God is writing in and through us is a good thing, no doubt. But taking a step back for introspection and enjoyment of all He's done has also proved to be good and right for a time. 

We've been feeling the nudge for a while, though, that maybe we should consider reentry. So, with hearts that are open, if not a little bit tentative, here we go public again. 

I've missed you all. This blog has been something of a holy place for me, providing a reason and a place to process and remember God's faithfulness. I've seen His faithfulness through you, too. Through your love for us, your generosity and camaraderie. There's been such beauty in sharing life with you in this way. My prayer is that this new chapter will bring more of the same.

During my time away from the blog, life's thrown us many an opportunity for stretching and learning. And redefining things I was certain I already understood. Like how to love. (Married folks, was this true for you in your first year of marriage, too?) 

With my sin ever before me, marriage is teaching me to dig deep and offer love that is vulnerable and without condition. To serve when I want to fight. To listen and work hard to understand when everything in me wants to shut down or walk away. Even more so, to receive and accept a love that is way more than I deserve. 

Ours is a love I didn't expect. 

I sure do. I remember how I felt as I wrote it, and for weeks after as I heard from so many of you with whom it resonated. It was the pep talk I needed myself, and knew I had to share with all of you. 

So maybe you can understand when I say I wasn't sure this day would come. The day when I'd put metaphorical pen to paper to give words to my new journey as a wife. Someone's other half. In that post, not so long ago, I was coming to terms with the reality that marriage might not be in my future, and that that was ok. I would follow God with my whole heart anyway.  I remember clearly holding onto hard-fought contentment with white knuckles like it was my job. Squeezing the life right out of it. 

And of course, that's when he walked in. (Single girls, please don't hear me offering this as instructions on how to meet at man. I promise you, no matter what anyone says, no amount of contentment will make a man appear on your doorstep.)

Actually he'd been in my peripheral line of sight for a while. I'd been preoccupied, and ...well, scared. But there he stayed. Until I was ready. 

Three months from that very day came a ring. And one month later we promised forever. Just like that. 

I'm convinced God must have had this man on hold for us. You should see the way he cares for our kids. The way he leads me. (I'm a stubborn old ox, but he can handle me.) The way he teaches by example. He loves and corrects. He prays with me and for me without fail. He shares my heart for vulnerable children. He has great empathy and compassion. And he loves the Lord with his whole heart.

Our marriage is yet one more blessing from heaven for me to marvel. And another chapter for us to share. 

Well, there's actually more to this chapter that we're excited to share with you. 

Some of you may already know, but for those who don't, Chris and I are happy to announce that we'll be bringing another little life into our fold. Together. A byproduct of our love for one another, and even more so, of God's great love for us. 

Meet Hannah Joy.

My friend Michaela and I met sweet Hannah girl two years ago when we were in Bulgaria picking up Tony. Her smile lit up the whole building. She loves purses and baby dolls and all things girly. She laughs loudly, has the most perfect, darling ears, and has great determination, learning how to walk independently at age 12. Now, at 14 years old, we're told she can even run!

It is our absolute JOY and privelege to bring Hannah into our family. We think she'll fit in just perfectly and we can't wait to bring her home!

We look forward to sharing our unfolding story with Hannah as we plan to fly overseas to visit her before the end of the year. 

Until next time.

Lots of love to all of you.