Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seven Years & God's Fingerprints

Seven years.

Two people, born on opposite sides of the world.

A young man, wondering when he would meet his bride.

A young woman, waiting for her husband.

God brings them together to meet online.

They fall in love through letters, emails, instant messaging, Skype, and phone calls.

Six years.

Boy meets girl in the Atlanta airport. Girl's heart skips a beat when she sees her love running towards her for the first time with a bouquet of roses in his hand.

He proposes, a month after she arrives. She says yes. (They forget to take engagement pictures together.)

They say goodbye once again...this time for 3 months as they attend school in separate states.

More letters, emails, Skype and phone calls, oftentimes using a borrowed cell phone since she did not have her own.

They reunite for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and spend lots of time growing together as a couple.

She is unexpectedly accepted into his school as a transfer student, when there were no anticipated openings for two years.

Five years.

They marry in a beautiful chapel in the Ozarks, with family and friends in attendance.

Month 1: they spend their wedding gift money on rent.

Months 2-6: he is unemployed, and she is not legally able to work.

Month 3: car breaks down.

Month 4: miraculously buy another car, totally debt-free. (God math is pretty amazing stuff!)

Month 6: He is given a wonderful temporary part-time job.

Month 9: He finds another part-time job to help supplement income since job #1 is ending soon.

Month 11: God tells him to quit his only job.

Four years.

God gives them a new job, paying significantly more than what he was making before.

The day they move in to their house, they discover that the water is turned off...and it's the weekend.

A few days later, the stove and refrigerator full of food go out.

Buckets filled at the neighbor's are carted in to use for water needs.

Their paycheck doesn't come in for four weeks.

They go without water for 3 weeks. When the water gets turned on, the hot water heater ends up being broken.

Three years.

They move to Alabama for flight school.

They go through infertility testing.

They decide to pursue embryo adoption.

Lots of fundraising ideas, crafts, and saving every penny towards adoption.

Excitement, knowing God is preparing to do something big.

Two years.

Finding out they are pregnant when the doctors said based on certain test results it was impossible that month.

Moving states twice during pregnancy - from Alabama to Georgia, then from Georgia to Kansas.

Moving in faith that God would be take care of them, with no promise of work.

Finding a landlord that would rent to them, with a house that perfectly fit the things that they had been led to pray for in a home.

Going six months with no income.

Looking for an OBGYN at 28 weeks along.

Living in a hotel for 2 weeks...and having their dog live in the car all that time because no pet units were available.

Moving into their new home a little before Christmas, and then discovering their furniture and all their belongings wouldn't arrive til the end of January.

Driving from Kansas to Georgia on her due date for a family funeral, and touring a local hospital "just in case".

Delivering a healthy baby girl (in Kansas) and getting to use a name they'd had picked out for almost 3 years before her birth.

Our Kansas girl :) Photography session was gifted to us - a big blessing since it was not something we could afford.

One year.
Facing deployment #1.

Lots of time away for additional training related to the deployment or career progression.

Moving again, this time back to Georgia after the job in Kansas ended.

Lots of good family memories made, both here and in Missouri.

These seven years have been kind of crazy, I have to admit. We lived in one home for two months, with our longest record so far being 15 months. We've done seven moves in five years of marriage, and have lived in four states in that time. Caleb has done five different jobs in five years, plus his military commitment. In many ways it has not been the "stable" life that I had always envisioned. But you know what? God has been so ever-present in each moment, in each place that He has taken us, and so it has been "just right."

In times of plenty, He has been faithful. 
In times of little or nothing, He has been faithful. (He has provided for us more times than I can count!) 

In hard times, in easy times...
In times when we have an idea where we're going next, and when we have no clue...
In times when we have money in the bank, and when we have none...
In times when my husband is in a war zone, and when he is safe beside me...
In times when I am resting in God, and when I am struggling...
In times when it's easy to smile, and when it is not...

In all of these times, my God is faithful to me. My circumstances may change, my environment may change, my feelings may change, but God is my ever-present Rock, the one that I can cling to in all of the change.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Too Much To Do

Again...all I can say is how grateful I am. This week has been kinda crazy busy, very overwhelming at times, and Selah has not been sleeping well for almost 2 weeks. BUT, I serve an incredible, mighty, loving God who cares about me.

Since beginning school, I have really tried to set aside Shabbat (Sabbath - Saturday) as a day of complete rest. I don't have housework scheduled for Saturdays, but up until now I've just done whatever. If I notice a job needing to be done, I'll do it. But, when I began school, I felt like I needed to set that day aside completely from homework and housework - not because I legalistically "can't" do anything on Shabbat, but because I knew I needed some dedicated time in my week that I knew I would just be able to breathe, relax, recharge for the week.

I've been doing this for the last two weekends, and it has been amazing! It is so nice to look at projects I really want to be working on throughout the week and know that they will not sit there forever. On Friday night, I love shutting all my school-related Word documents and internet tabs, knowing that I will not have to think about them until Sunday. I love to put away all the everyday things and know that Shabbat will be truly my day of rest.

This week, however, I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to "do" Shabbat the way I have been. There was so much homework this week. I'm not really sure why - I know I'm pushing myself to get ahead in classes and that's taking up some time, but it has felt like there was double the work this week than there was last week. I really hope it's not an indication of how the next 13 weeks are going to be;  time will tell! Anyway, I was kinda sad about it because I really do love to fully rest on Shabbat. Last night I was feeling so overwhelmed by everything that I wasn't sure how I was going to get everything done. So much to do.

As I went to bed I looked at a little verse I have in the bathroom and just meditated on these words "The LORD will give strength". And so He is. He is the only reason I've made it this far, and the only reason I'll make it through these very busy 13 weeks. This is too much for me in myself, so I must let Him take over and give me strength when I am not strong enough.

That huge, overwhelming pile of homework? Smaller than my God. :) That physical weakness due to lack of sleep? Nothing in comparison to His strength. He is good. He is God. He will take care of me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gifts in the Moment

Can I just say how *thankful* I am? This has been a rough week or so with sleep, and of course with sleeplessness, it becomes harder to function. Nerves are on edge, it's harder to get stuff done...and it doesn't help when school is getting into fast-paced mode.

On Monday night, I got all confused about what day it was, and I honestly started to think it was Friday night. I thought, "Wow, I'm glad it's Shabbat (Sabbath) tomorrow, because I sure need it!" There is something about services at Beth Yeshua that just make you stop and put your stresses and just plain ole' life aside and breathe. Breathe in more of God and less of me. And somewhere in that service, all of a sudden my problems don't feel so big and my God seems even bigger. I guess you could just sum all that up by saying every service at Beth Yeshua is one in which I encounter the presence of God.

Anyway, I have to admit, I was rather disappointed when I realized it was not Friday, but Monday. That meant it was another 5 full days before service at Beth Yeshua, and I was bummed. I was so thirsty spiritually - thirsty for fellowship, for community, for more of God.

Then I remembered - this week kicks off the fall feasts with Yom Teruah starting Wednesday night. I was excited...right until I looked at my homework load for the week. Ugh - too much to do, not enough time.

Insert God into my week...

Tuesday, my busiest day of the week, normally consists of me leaving home around 8.30am and not getting home til around 6pm. This Tuesday, everything on my schedule just got cancelled one way or another. Instead, I was able to talk to my hubby on the phone, spend time resting, got a good chunk of homework done, and Selah took a 4 hour nap. The whole day was such a gift and a reminder that God intimately cares about my needs and knew that I needed the time at home to get caught up.

Today, I got everything done that I needed to, my Biology lab for the week is getting underway, and Selah behaved SO well in all the different places we had to go this afternoon. We were able to spend some time with family over dinner as well. Tonight, I was able to participate in the service at Beth Yeshua from home via live streaming, since I didn't want to go out around Selah's bedtime. It was awesome.

It's been a tough week sleep-wise. But God has reminded me again and again that He has gifts in the moment - even when things are hard.