Wednesday, November 20, 2013

darling daughters

(Sisters. Best Friends.)

My darling daughters. It's late. I should be sleeping, but I cannot rest. My heart is sad, because your hearts are sad, and it's a fact that mama's hurt when their babies hurt. In three days we pull away from the only place you have both ever known as home, and tears are falling daily at the thought of saying goodbye to all that you love. To all that is comfortable and familiar to you.To all that has made you, you. And it's scary.

And my secret is that I'm scared, too.

I have NO idea if we have made the right decision. All I know is that I see God's hand everywhere, and I felt more pain at the thought of saying 'no' to God, than I did when I thought of saying goodbye. So we go, and it feels like your lives are over, but I promise you that they are not. In fact, your lives are really just beginning. In Ohio your roots dug in deep, grounding you to your God and to our family. But in Kansas? In Kansas, I pray that you learn to fly.

Because here's the thing.

You're still you. No matter where you go, you are still you and we are still us. And God is already there, so what is there to fear? And even though it looks like nothing good could possibly come of the next three days, when you feel despair my darling daughters, I want you to remember the cross. Remember that once the entire world lost hope, too. And when it seemed like everything was darker than dark, really, the miracle was just beginning. Because on the third day, Christ ROSE from the dead! And it was nothing the world could have ever imagined, but it was EXACTLY what this broken world needed. It took death for the new life to come, and it's the same for us. We are saying goodbye to the old, so that God can create something new. But we have to go all in. No holding back. We must give our all, if we desire God's hand to be over all.

And I am thankful, my darling daughters, that God gave you the gift of each other. The road is so much more bearable if we do not have to travel it alone. Lean on each other. Support each other. Make each other laugh when you only feel like crying. And when you think you might have lost your way, just reach out your hand. Your sister will be there to grab on tight.

Girls. Remember where you came from. Remember the people that you love, this place that you love. Store the memories up in your heart. Memories of porch times and frog catching, learning to ride your bikes around and around the circle and cookie baking with the big girls. But remember to leave room for new people and new places, too. I promise you that your heart is big enough to hold it all, both the old and the new. Remember that God KNOWS the plans that He has for your life and remember that God is good. He can be nothing else.

My darling daughters, a new chapter is beginning. And with this new chapter comes a new setting, a new cast of characters. But your story remains the same. God is only adding to it, making it more rich, and more beautiful, and more vibrant than the chapter before. One day you will have the pleasure of looking back and seeing how God has woven your story together, page after page, but today is not that day. So today we just grab hands, and press on. And we remember that the miracle is just beginning.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

the one on hats

For 31 years I have worn hats.
Many years and many hats. And it's funny, because I'm not really even a hat girl. Sure, some of the hats I wore well for awhile before tossing them to the side. Some of the hats I tried out were attractive and suited my personality, but others were a complete bust. A totally wrong fit. Not the look that I was going for at all. And some of the hats I timidly tried out in the past, I still wear today. Now a completely comfortable fit, they are a part of who I have become.

I wear the hat of 'wife', and I do believe that hat suits me well. Sometimes wife looks attractive on me, and other times not so much, but I am learning as I go that it is not really about how I look in that hat anyway. It's about him, the other half to my whole. My partner. I don't wear the hat of wife to make myself look good. I wear my wife hat for Boss. To bring warmth to his life.

I wear the hat of 'mother'. Definitely a hat I tried on timidly at first, but now you couldn't pry that hat from my head if you tried. And sometimes my mom hat is frumpy, and it flops to the side, and certainly there are times it has seen better days. But sometimes my mom hat is so colorful and bright and I know in my soul that the best years are still to come. I love both versions of my mom hat because they are me on this journey, and I will wear that proudly all the days of my life.

I wear the hat of 'Christian'. You notice that I place this hat third, and not at the top of the list where it rightly belongs. This in the name of honesty. Because the truth is that my Christian hat gets pushed down. Every day. All the time. It's somewhere at the bottom of my increasingly crammed closet, but I do make sure and pull it out for special occasions. Like Sundays. And when I need something. I definitely wear my Christian hat when I need something. And it fits awkwardly, like it's not actually sure if it belongs on my head or not, but I slap it on anyway and hope that it fits 'good enough' to fool the masses, without ever really stopping to consider the fact that it does not fool God.

I wear other hats, too. I wear the 'homeschool mom' hat and the 'mom of a big(ish) family' hat. I wore my 'foster parent' hat for seven years. I have tried on the 'photography' hat and the 'runner' hat (that was perhaps the funniest hat of all), before deciding that neither hat was for me. I have worn the hat of both 'nursing mother' and 'bottle mother' and honestly, I liked both looks (gasp, to admit that in written word). I have never worn the 'have your child on a schedule' hat. I should wear the hat of 'homemaker' and 'cook' more often than I do. I wear the hat of 'reader' quite often, because other's hats always seem to be better looking than my own. I dream of wearing a 'writer of words that people read' hat. And if nothing is looking quite right on any given day, in any given season, at any moment of the year, then I go shopping for new hats. Because heaven forbid I should leave the house with a naked head. Because then people might see the exposed me, and then they will know. If I don't have a hat to hide behind, then people will know the truth: that I have no clue who I am.

For 31 years I have worn hat after hat, all in the name of finding myself.

And then yesterday, this:

"I stopped trying to find myself and decided to seek God." - Mark Batterson from his book All In.

To think that it really could be that simple. That there really might be a divine reason that I actually don't look good in a variety of different hats. To think that less really is more, and God really is more than enough. To think that in the releasing of the hats is where I would find God, and in Him is the very me I have been searching for all along. Oh, goodness gracious, the freedom I think I could find if I could really let it all go.

And simply seek God.

It's worth a shot, I do believe.

Lookout, Kansas, my naked head just might be coming your way.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

the story of kansas

(Image found HERE)

So. Have you heard? Our family is moving to Kansas.

Oh, goodness gracious. Kansas! Three weeks from today, our family of six will pack up this darling duplex and head west to a state that never before existed to me outside of the Wizard of Oz (one of my girlies favorites, thanks to their Grandma).

I wish we could go to a cute corner coffee shop, grab a cup of chai tea, and I could share with you all of the incredible ways God has made himself known in this move. For sure and for certain, I've never known His presence more than I have in these past several weeks. It's a crazy peace that I have, despite the sadness of saying goodbye to our home and our family who will remain in these Ohio hills. But the way that I see it.... is that sometimes you just have to jump. In order to make room for God to work, in order to chase a crazy dream, in order to be obedient to God's call, sometimes you just have to jump and trust that He will catch you on the way down. So, we're jumping.

The crazy dream began nearly a decade ago.

 Boss and I were newly married, our oldest was then a one year old baby, and we were already tired of climbing this worlds never ending ladder. We were tired of the long hours spent on things that held no meaning, tired of spending our days, hours, minutes on gaining possessions we are promised will pass away. We longed for purpose. So, we flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico and there we found what we were looking for. We flew to Albuquerque to become house parents, to live with children who were not our own. Children who had been handed a rough lot in life and who needed the love and structure that only God's design of the family can fill. We served in Albuquerque for two years under the direction of a good man. A quiet leader with a sparkle in his eyes. Ivy Harper taught us what it meant to be selfless, to spend your days giving away the best that you had to offer to a hurting world. Ivy has passed on from this world now, but I wish that we had told him how his leadership greatly impacted our lives. How he shaped our vision for the future. I wish Ivy could know how he touched the life of my husband. From the very first time that Boss sat across from him in his home office, he knew that one day he wanted to lead like Ivy. And when he came to bed that night he told me as much. But we were young, and restless (and more than a little bit foolish), and after almost two years we moved on. We moved here, to our home in Ohio, where we have served with Mid Western Children's home for the past seven years. Mid Western is more 'home' to me than anywhere else on this earth, and our years here have been some of the best of our lives, I'm sure. But the dream of leading never left Boss' heart.

Fast forward to the middle of this past September, and a few crazy connections and one Christian Chronicle ad later and Boss had applied to be the CEO of Carpenter Place, a Christian children's home in Wichita, Kansas. Two days later they called for a phone Interview and two weeks after that we were heading down as a family to visit Carpenter Place in person. And all I can say is that God was there. We saw Him all over the campus, in the faces of the people that we met. And while our hearts literally broke at the thought of leaving 'home' and the life that we have built here, there is no denying that God was saying GO. So when they called to offer Boss the job, we said YES.

During his interview they asked Boss 'why Wichita'? And Boss answered, why Houston? Why Albuquerque? Why Pleasant Plain? Because we go where God calls. We try and follow His leading. We jump and trust that He will catch us on the way down.

That's the story of how Kansas came to be. That's the story of Boss' dream come true. And we are confident that right in the middle of the United States is right where God wants us to be.

So, we jump.