May
01

Part 2: Arizona

This is the second of 5 posts!  If you haven’t read the first one, please do so first.  You can find it here:

Part 1: First Furlough

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I remember driving up to the house that night after being in the car for about 15 hours.  My sisters’ families share a house at the moment.  Opening the door, seeing them for the first time in almost a year and half, both moms, each with a one year old on their hip, it was so bittersweet!  I don’t think I realized how much I’d missed them!  I hadn’t been there for their deliveries, for my nephew and niece’s entire first year of life.  It was incredible to meet these two new little people, and at the same time realize I’d missed so much.  But holding and kissing them all, the “look how tall the boys are!” and “Oh my goodness, they’re beautiful!”  I felt it all and landed on gratitude.

The next week and a half seemed both full and a good kind of slow.  We didn’t have much planned ahead of time, and every day seemed to bring it’s own activities.  My sisters showed us some of the things they’d discovered and liked in the Phoenix area, and we spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine.  We’d missed the sun so much living in Cork!  We ate lots of food we’d been missing, played with babies, and just hung out together.  It seemed normal and easy, and yet I knew we were all trying to really be there, to soak each other up while we could.

My sisters had asked Branden if he would do a dedication for the babies – a simple ceremony at the house with food and a few friends.  They’d also asked Branden and I if we’d be god-parents for both my niece and nephew – what an honor!  We had food and beautiful cakes, and Branden read from the Word and spoke about what it meant to raise up a child in the Lord.  I’m thankful for this place we have in their lives, no matter how far we are in distance.

I honestly miss them so much, more I think, than I did before we left for our furlough.  Before I’d seen pictures of their little ones, smiled and talked with them on video chats.  But now I’ve held them, been a part of their day to day routines.  I know their laughs and seen their personalities, the things they’re learning.  While we were with them, both babies took their first steps!  Which I consider just a gift from the Lord to me!  And although I don’t at all feel like we’re supposed to live there, part of my heart is with them, and it does feel torn.  Following the Lord to Ireland, the cost I feel the most is definitely the distance from family.  The Lord knows…

Branden and I also got to attend a pastors and leaders conference before heading back to Denver.  Several pastors and overseers were there from our sending church, Calvary Aurora.  This was the first time we really got a chance to catch up with them since we arrived in the States.  Having a few days, listening to great teaching, spending time with people and each other – it was really refreshing before going to Colorado.

28 & 29 / 52 – Chris and Redemption
Jul
21

28 & 29 / 52 – Chris and Redemption

This is Chrissy – passionate, gracious, real  – and one of people closest to my heart in this world.  That might sound dramatic, but Jesus has allowed us to walk together through a lot of life’s crazy.  One thing I’ve found to be true, if you let them, the fiery trials of this world will forge two people together.  It’s a bond that comes through time, heartache, victory, joy, and pretty much everything in between.  I got to see Chris for the first time in about a year last week!

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  Did I mention she’s Branden’s youngest brother’s wife?  We joke sometimes that the Lord put both our marriages together with our friendship in mind, knowing that she and I would have this relationship :)

Something cool about really being in someone’s life for an extended period of time, is that you end up being with them through entire processes, seasons of life, watching God take them from point A to point B.  Nathan (Branden’s brother) and Chris have been through a lot in the way of having kids/growing a family.  After having two on this earth of their own, difficult days, even years came.

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Heartache is heartache, and there are times when it feels like that’s all you have.  You wonder Why? and Why me? and Is there any purpose in this at all?  In the pain, Jesus is always working.  And His answer for so many questions is Redemption.  For this I am grateful.  For a Redeemer who takes the broken things of this world and makes something beautiful.

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Part of Nate & Chris’ story is foster care.  What a beautiful thing, a picture of the Father’s heart.  Saying yes to what’s hard, impossible sometimes, what looks broken and finding something worth saving.  Why?  Because that’s what Jesus did for us.

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I’m so incredibly blessed by this family!  So thankful I get a front row seat as the Lord works in their lives, drawing them, making them more like Himself.  He is binding up the brokenhearted and exchanging beauty from ashes.  Redemption.

22 / 52 – Safety
Jun
04

22 / 52 – Safety

I can’t get enough of this image – a real reminder that safety is found in the Father’s arms.  No fear, just comfort, rest, enjoyment.

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And this song.  Been playing nonstop, singing truth and faith into our hearts, reminding us where true life is found.

I’m running to the secret place, where You are, where You are

I’ll sing to you of all the ways You stole my heart, stole my heart

Better is a moment that I’m here with You than a million other days away

I’m running, I’m running, I’m running to the secret place

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