When the Heart Squeezes

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This morning as I spent my morning habit of scrolling through the different blogs I follow in my reader, I read from Ann Voskamp. The grace that emulates from her words bring me to tears often. This morning was different though. She had a video clip at the bottom of her post that was 34 minutes long. At first I thought, that’s too long today, I have other things that need to be done (but what other things truly do NEED to be done).

I clicked on the video and out came a vivacious woman who spoke the words of truth and justice and grace….and my heart squeezed. You know that feeling when your listening to something that you’re passionate about and your whole body wants to respond with a resounding “YES!” That was my moment.

I’ve been a “housewife” for five months now and it’s been the best and hardest job change I’ve ever made. This woman who always needed to be on the move, talking with someone, helping someone, doing something…all of a sudden STOPPED. Yes, I still do a lot of things and I keep busy, but no one notices and no one applauds every time I clean the floor or finally get to the bathrooms. I feel like it’s been the best move and the hardest move all for the same reason. God made me pause. He allowed me to take a look at what I was living my life for, more like who was I living my life for…

I’m still on that journey of fighting to pause and learning how to be still before my Abba Father. I’m still learning how to listen to HIS call on my life. One of the questions that Christine Cain (founder of the A21 Campaign) posed in the video was “Are you willing to stay in the anonymity and obscurity of life so that God can prepare you to be used for the future generation?

Part of the “future generation” will by my children. I know that God is using this time to mold me into the woman, wife, and mommy He wants me to be for His glory. I also feel that God is using this time to shape how He wants me to use this next year and beyond, as I wait for our babies to come home. Will I battle my pride of being a “doer” or will I daily rest in the grace of Christ and say “Yes” to His kingdom work and “No” to the busyness of the world?

Do you feel like you are in a season of anonymity? How are you viewing this God-given season? Do you feel like God is squeezing your heart for his people? Know that I’m right there with you…

And here’s that video I mentioned…

Christine Cain-Liberty University Convocation

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29 Reasons…

Today my handsome husband turns 29! In honor of his last birthday in his 20’s I want to list out the 29 reasons I love my husband (in no particular order):

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1) His heart for knowing and loving Jesus more each day. I’m so blessed to have a husband who honors God with his life and with his words. I’ve loved watching him grow more like Christ over the past three years of knowing him!

2) He makes me smile and laugh every day-no matter what may be going on 🙂

3) His passion to help homeless. Two weeks ago, Jason came home after a late night grocery run with no shoes. He had met a homeless lady that wanted him to take her to the dollar store to buy some shoes, but Jason decided that he was just going to give her his. And they fit! At least once a month, Jason comes home with a story about how he has prayed with a homeless man, bought a homeless man a dinner, gave a homeless lady money or bought a bus ticket. His generosity and love for all people astounds me.

4) How he takes me on a weekly date night consistently. There has not been a week that we have missed connecting over a yummy dinner, either prepared by him or at a nice restaurant. He loves to pursue me and that still gives me goosebumps.

5) His love for art. I am not an art enthusiast, but I love watching Jason’s eyes light up when we go to the art museum. I find it endearing when he tries to explain to me different aspects of photographer in a way that I could understand it. I love that we can put his art up in our house to make our home even more personable.

6) His desire to stay healthy. In the past three years of knowing Jason I have seen his determination to stay healthy and active. Knowing his determination towards this goal ensures me that our family will always make healthy food choices and stay active.

7) His love for the outdoors. I love that we both share a passion for camping (even though we’ve only done it once together!). I’m excited for the memories we will make around a campfire as we camp with our family.

8) Who doesn’t love Jason’s beard?!!!

9) Jason is a great provider. I know that where ever life takes us and what ever job/career path he goes down, Jason will always make sure that our family is provided for.

10) He’s handsome 🙂

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11) He is my own personal chef! The one thing about marriage that terrified me prior to meeting Jason was that I was going to have to cook every night. I hated cooking with a passion. God was merciful and gave me Jason as a husband. Jason loves to cook and I only cook maybe once a week. His food is so good…you should come over and try it some time!

12) I love that he wants to learn how to build and fix things around the house. When we remodeled our bathroom last month, I enjoyed watching him problem solve and figure out the plumbing!

13) Jason is the chief editor of this blog, in case you didn’t know. I run everything by him before I post it to make sure that my grammar is decent. I’m not showing him this one, so if they’re are typos you’ll understand 😉

14) Jason encourages me to pursue my passions. He is my number one encourager with my blog. He gives me resources to help hone in my skills and he also encourages me to try other creative avenues, like sewing. He often pins sewing projects on Pinterest for me so that I can try my hand at a few things (still need to do that…)

15) I love going to the gym with him. It makes it so much easier to get my butt out of bed at 5:30 AM when I know that he’s going too.

16) I love that he is an extrovert and highly relational. I love people, but if I had it my way-I would be home reading a book with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine every night, but not so with Jason. He makes social gathering easy for me and usually quite enjoyable because he is by my side and can help me meet new people. He is also my “buffer” if I don’t want to talk too much, but still want to go out.

17) Jason can meet someone for the first time and make that person feel at “home” with him. I love that about him. It was one of the first things that I admired. He had to meet A LOT of people when we first started dating and he took it all like a champ and EVERYONE of my friends adored him. I liked that 🙂

18) I love that Jason is a great leader. Over the past year, he has grown leaps and bounds as a leader. Watching him lead our Missional Community makes me one proud wife 🙂 I’m excited to see the other opportunities that will arise for him to grow and be used.

19) I have loved walking this journey of infertility and adoption WITH Jason. There’s no one else I would want by my side as we went through a year of failed pregnancies and negative tests. Outside of my relationship with Jesus, Jason was my rock through that season. Our relationship strengthened last year through that struggle, and that is grace.

20) I’m excited to see Jason as a dad. He is so good with our friends’ kids. They all love him to pieces and I know that our children will be blessed to have him as their daddy.

21) Have I mentioned that he’s hot?!

22) I love that he prays for me and that he leads me spiritually. Talking with him about theology and the way we live our lives because of it blesses my heart.

23) I’m so thankful he became a coffee drinker! I don’t know how I would have lived if he didn’t convert…

24) I love hiking the Tucson trails with him. I love biking the crazy Tucson roads with him. I just love doing things with him because he makes my life so fun!

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25) I love that he’s really smart. And I mean wicked smart. I’m so glad that he will be able to help our children with math homework, otherwise our kids would have been doomed!

26) I’m so thankful that he is a good decision maker. I’m terrible at making decisions, which I think drives him a little batty, but he’s gracious and helps me problem solve and come to decisions…even when it’s over what type of ice cream!

27)  Jason is a good friend. He’s a good friend to me and he’s a good friend to some men in our community.

28) Jason is kind, faithful, trustworthy, a hard worker, a strong believer in Jesus, loving, considerate, generous…I could go on and on-thankfully for you I only have one more reason 🙂

29) I love my husband, Jason, because he loves me. I couldn’t have imagined having a man like Jason to live the rest of my life with.

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Legacy

I spent the weekend celebrating the life of a great man whose life impacted my husband and his family with far greater reaches than I will ever know.

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This weekend caused me to hit the pause button on life and really think about what we leave behind in this world. All of us will some day die and at the end of our days, what really matters? The time I spent with the Wood family this weekend taught me four valuable lessons that I want to hang on to.

1) A man who leads and loves his family through every season will see the fruit of that in his old age and even after death. Jason’s grandpa, Sam, was a man who loved his family so deeply and that love poured out into his children and grandchildren. The conversations we had around their dinner table were filled with laughter and sweet memories of time they spent at the cabin or just in regular day life. This family held a bond that even though many of them live hours away from each other, there was a love and compassion that transcends the distance. Do I live with the end in mind? Is our small family forging a legacy that will transcend our death?

2) Laughter is good for the soul. The Wood family knows how to have a good time! There wasn’t an hour that passed that someone wasn’t making a joke or telling a funny story about Sam or another family member. Laughter was so very good for our souls this weekend as we remembered how much Sam loved to bring happiness to people’s lives. Where do I find joy in life and do I share that joy with others?

3) The legacy of how you live your life lasts longer than anything else you may have accomplished. Sam had many, many accomplishments in his 83 years of life, but what was spoken of him was not what he did, but the man that he was. The way he lived his life made the biggest impact on the people who meant the most to him. How am I living my life today that will last into eternity?

4) Listening to people’s stories is the best way to show you care. Jason’s family is a story telling family, but they also listen with care and with deep compassion. This weekend, Jason and I had something happen in our personal lives that was completely unrelated to Sam’s memorial, but his family listened and grieved with us. None of his family know me very well, but I felt like one of them this weekend as they listened to the crazy journey that Jason and I are on. I felt so loved because they listened. How well am I listening to other people’s stories?

What I find interesting is that this week our pastor preached on living with the end in mind. We are going through the book of Ecclesiastes and I found Josh’s sermon on chapter 7 very pertinent to the questions and thoughts I came away with from this weekend. Here is the link to his sermon.

So I end with asking you those same questions that I asked myself this weekend. Are you leaving a legacy that you want your children and your children’s children to celebrate after you’re gone?

You Keep Loving Me

Ever feel like this?

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That has been how I’ve felt all week. This morning when I woke up and finally felt less like a zombie and more like a human being, I thought back on the past few weeks and recalled my goals for this year. I wondered what happened to all of those good intentions of being “intentional” and “present”. They had definitely NOT defined the past two (maybe three) weeks. I fell back into my old patterns of staying too busy, worrying about things that needed to get done that were completely not in my control , I did not love my husband well and I didn’t put my  relationship with God ahead of the urgent.

All in all, I felt like a failure. This song came on while I was spending some time talking with God about all these things. So, I’ll leave you with it today. He loves me through the days I feel like a failure and reminds me that He is enough for all of the days. How do you “push through” on your rough days/weeks?

An Easy Way to get Involved!

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In a previous post, I mentioned a website that highlights our story of adoption and donates half of the proceeds to our adoption (if you put our names in the notes section). This week Once Was Lost is having a grant fundraising contest!

The fundraiser is two-fold. The GRANT will start at $100 dollars and for each new Facebook “like” and twitter follow (@oncewaslost) a dollar will be added to the grant up to $200. Right now they are closing in on $140!! This contest started on Friday and will end Thursday evening.

The second way this fundraiser works is how the winner is chosen. The grant money goes to the affiliate who has raised the most money on their store. For example, if you purchase their infinity scarf-you would put our name in the notes section and that  $20 would be marked for us.

Right now we are tied for first place!! Which means you guys are helping us in HUGE ways!! Thank you!

If you haven’t “liked” Once Was Lost on Facebook-do that here and then go check out their store here.

Tonight we have our first of four visits to complete our home study! We are praying that by the end of February we will have the necessary amount of money to give to our agency so that we can begin working on our dossier!

Thank you again for all of your prayers and encouragement! They are definitely felt!

CrAzY week at the Wood House!

I feel like this week has just flown by and I’m barely catching my breath! I don’t even know where to start with all of the things that happened over this week!

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Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • Renovated our bathroom last weekend (still working on the finishing touches, but love it!)
  • Submitted our first payment to our agency!
  • Submitted our paperwork for our home study!
  • Scheduled all of our home study visits in February (with hopes to be certified to adopt by mid-March)
  • Paid for our home study!!
  • Took Nora to the vet for her annual check up, which is always an adventure!
  • Attended a friend’s vocal performance for her doctorate (fantastic!)
  • Finally had long time friends over to OUR home for dinner (rather than theirs)
  • Baby-sat some adorable children
  • Spent time with some girlfriends
  • Went on a beautiful morning hike
  • Had an amazing night of fellowship with our MC family
  • Checked off ALL 5 steps of our first stage in bringing home our little ones! Tuesday I should have all of it mailed off!
  • Spent Friday getting passport photos, blood tests, chest x-rays, and a physical-all thanks to one of my old clients from work who is a doctor and fit us in!

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That last highlight could have easily been one of the most stressful points of the week for me as I was making phone calls to different doctor’s offices looking for SOMEONE to get us in for a simple physical. No one was taking new clients at this time and wouldn’t have been able to get us in till March or April at the earliest! Thankfully Jason reminded me that I had friends in high places and so I pulled in a favor. Sure enough my old client got us in this morning without a problem.

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We got news yesterday that our wait time for our kids to come home may lengthen a little bit. Initially it was sad, but the reason they are slowing down the process is because of how many people are adopting from the country which is such a great thing! As we were going to all of our random appointments today, it was a reminder for me that we are making time and making sacrifices for our children to be in our laps. Today I’m so thankful that we are making small steps to bringing home our little ones, whenever that may be!

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This weekend, Jason and I are helping out at our student ministry’s retreat weekend. We are tired from an emotional week, but we know that God has been moving in the hearts of our students and are excited to be a part of what the students will be learning! Pray for energy for the small group leaders and soft hearts for our students!

And my new favorite chocolate dessert (just for fun):

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I hope you all have a wonderful, restful weekend! Enjoy the Super Bowl (Super Baugh?!)