This is a post about our season of life, so it may not be for those we see a lot because you probably know what's going on, but for our family and friends who we don't see often. When I was in college, I would email family about every couple of months to give them updates and from what they told me, they always enjoyed it. They felt like they knew what was going on in my life even though they didn't get to see me.
So here is an update for our family, starting with Jeff: He was currently assigned a new project that is out of Canada. As much as we are very grateful for new projects and a job, a starting project can be pretty demanding. Like having to work from home on the weekends and over-time. I am also loving the fact that if he has to travel for this project, it's going to be to Canada and not overseas or South of the border. I told him, "I might actually travel to Canada with you if you have to go."He has been running with some friends and family a few nights a week so that's been good for him. I feel bad for him because I know he enjoys working out, it's just finding the right time to do it. He gets up pretty early to go to work and he's respectful in the fact that I like having him home by 6, so that eliminates working out before and after work. He sometimes runs during his lunch break, but that can be pretty toasty between the months of May-October. So this has been a good compromise. He is home for dinner, gets to play with the boys, helps with baths and bed time and then gets to go workout and be home by 10.
As for me, I have been pretty busy with the normal, "motherly" chores. I have also been in a Fall Bible Study that is on Wednesday mornings. I love love love love this day of the week. Even though this study has been pretty slow, God has revealed himself to me in a very loving way. I have recently started meeting with two wonderful girls on Monday nights to share stories, talk about our struggles, pray for and encourage one another. How God orchestrated this situation was perfect. When I was asked by Sarah to meet with her and another wonderful women of God, I was going through a rough season. A season where I was feeling abandoned, a season where I felt God was humbling me, which can be pretty miserable, so the timing of the invitation was awesome. I have only gone two times, but I have really enjoyed it and I now look forward to Monday evenings as well as Wednesday mornings.
Christian-boy is about to be three. He is officially potty trained!! I am so relieved. He got the pottying down really fast, but going #2 took a while. We were pushing almost two months of him not telling us when he needed to go. We tried prizes, special drinks, movies and popcorn, candy, nothing was working! I was confident that he knew what he needed to and how to do it, he just wasn't. It came down to where I had to get pretty firm for two days and boom, he's been successful ever since. He too, is going to be a ninja for Halloween.
Nathan is a week away from turning one and I want to go lay on the couch and get in a fetal position and cry. We talk a lot about having a fourth, but we don't know if it's safe for me to continue with another pregnancy, so the thought of my baby ALREADY turning one is very sad for me. I don't think I did a post on him when he turned 10 months or when he turned 11 months, but when he turned 10 months, he wasn't really doing anything different from when he was 9 months.
So to make up for that, Nathan at 11 months: You are in size 3 diapers, you are now crawling and pulling up on everything. Tonight, you pulled to a standing position on the side of the tub. You say:Mama, Dada, ball, doggie, more, m (for milk), and I am almost certain you said "Joe" the other morning. You can dance, kiss, clap and wave on command. You lovelovelovelovelove Joseph....ok, and Christian (a different kind of love ;-) ). You love your milk, although, we think you have had a little virus this past week, so we have taken the milk away and probably won't bring it back until next week. You love balls and the firehouse that is in Joseph's room. You wear 9 month and 12 month clothes, although the other day, I got you into a 3-6 month onesie. You wear size 3 shoe. You take two naps (10a and 2p) and go to bed at 8p. The morning nap is at such a convenient time *saying with a super sarcastic tone*, with running errands, having play dates and church. You are a pretty happy baby, but I don't think people believe me because when our friends see you, it's during your morning nap, which you tend to be grumpy gills.
And to conclude the update on our family, I would like to share that we have recently become members of a new church family.
When Jeff and I got married, we talked a lot about where to attend church. He was raised in a Church of Christ and I was raised saying that I was follower of Jesus, but attended different churches throughout my childhood, some being under the umbrella of Assemblies of God and some being Baptist churches. He had been a part of a church for at least 15+ years. His entire family went there, close friends went there, people that he loved and respected went there. So we thought, for the beginning of our marriage, that was where we needed to be. About 6 months ago, we felt God really pressing on both our hearts for a fresh start. Without airing all of our most intimate conversations here, what it came down too was that we both were in need of something fresh. We needed something fresh for our own spiritual lives, we needed something fresh for our marriage, and something fresh for our children. About a year prior to us making the difficult decision of stepping out there to see where God was going to take us, a vast majority of Jeff's family had departed and went to different churches around the area. That was a very difficult time for the both us. As much as I wanted to be excited for everyone and to see what God was doing in all their lives, I couldn't help but feel alone. When I think back to that time, it was actually a very good thing for Jeff and I. We began to sit down and talk about why we go to church, what we want to get out of church and how we wanted to be Jesus' hands and feet.
We prayed a lot, we sought a Christian counselor from Houston First Baptist, we sought scripture and Christian authors, like Hank Hanegraaff.
I can't speak for Jeff, but for me it really got to a point church was just about Sundays and Wednesdays and from what we have experienced these past 6 months, we have learned that church is beyond Sundays. Being a follower of Christ is living a daily life totally surrendered to Him (which I can/do struggle with). I once heard a preacher say, "that being a Christian isn't just knowing the facts, it's an experience." That was so convicting to me. Here I was learning about God, but I wasn't really going out into our community sharing, loving or reaching out. I think we at times tend to favor and make our decisions on what's familiar and what's normal to us. Even though we tend to favor normalcy, this quote sums it up for me, "I think the point is for us not to let familiarity with something make us think we don't need to give it our all." I really think that was where I was in my walk, not giving it my all.
Being a follower of Christ isn't always the most convenient, comfortable, normal thing to do. I'm in a bible study and this entire semester is on surrendering and getting rid of the old and going on with the new...."weeping forward". As hard as the decision was for us, we knew we had to do it even though it might hurt a lot of feelings. It also came to a point we had to stop trying to please others, but to exam our own spiritual lives, our marriage, and our roles as parents.
After many conversations, Jeff and I decided it was time to step out and visit other churches. We weren't searching for the perfect church, because that doesn't exist, and we weren't following a group of people, but we were looking for a place that we could see ourselves growing, our marriage being challenged and encouraged and a place we could see our kids growing and being taught. We went with an open mind and heart, so if we didn't feel like God was taking us anywhere else, and felt led to go back to where we were, we were going to do just that. One of the things we really wanted to try was going to churches in our community. We really wanted to start reaching out to our neighbors, people we met at parks, chick fil a, etc, and be able to invite people to church. Visiting churches was a much harder task than we thought it would be. We went to churches where people greeted us with hugs, we visited churches where not a single person approached us ,we went to a church that after about 10 minutes in, we were like, "we do not fit in here." It was a long search, but we have recently joined a new church home and we couldn't be happier.
We are at peace with our decision and super excited to see where God is going to take us through this church. We have already seen God work mightily through us since we stepped out in faith. It was very hard to leave a place that was normal, a place that was familiar, a place where everyone knew us, a place that loved our boys, but we have seen God's blessing. It's hard not to think about the feelings that were hurt, but like I said before, it was something we felt God was pressing on our hearts, and we felt like we needed to surrender. Even though getting to that point of surrender was very difficult, it feels so free now to know that we did what we felt led to do.
"God's ways are not always the most practical, popular, or unopposed, but they are the most blessed."