Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's a feeling in the air...

This morning I opened the windows. Such a small act, but after running the central air all summer it felt momentous in some way to have all that fresh air invade and cool our home. I sorted closets, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed and swept floors, folded laundry... all before 11am. Autumn is my season.

I know you're probably thinking, "um ok, but it's not autumn yet..." and you'd be right... and I'd be happy because you just said... "yet." I can feel it coming, I am starting to get the itch, nights are getting colder, bonfires seem more imperative, stores are stocked with bouquets of pencils and school supplies, and Ezra's closet reeks of that "new tennis shoe" smell. It's almost here!!!

Some of you are "spring lovers"- and I'll forgive you for that- but hear me out. For me, fall has always evoked a sense of inevitable change. In some ways that's terrifying, but in most ways, at least for me, it's drenched in possibility. In elementary it was the question, "will my teacher be nice?" or "will any of my friends be in my class this year?" In middle school it was more along the lines of, "are Swatch watches still 'in'?" or "are my stone-washed Guess jeans tight enough?" (yeah, I just dated myself- I don't care). By high school, most of the possibility for me revolved around sporting events and guys... "is this the year THAT guy will finally notice me?" ("that guy" never did)

Now? I don't know. I'm looking forward to the return of a predictable routine- even if it means I have to set an alarm each day. I'm excited to see the ways in which my children will stretch and grow in new environments this fall. I'm prayerful about our foster son and what the next leg of his journey may consist of. I'm borderline giddy about summer vacations ending and what that means as far as attendance at Praxis... I've been missing so many people and I love the energy in the room when everyone comes back together in the fall (and although I'm happy that they've had time to get away and enjoy their families, I'll be glad to reconnect)! I'm excited to head to Catalyst with my husband in October! He's gone a few times and I am SO HAPPY to be able to experience this conference WITH him this year. (and I admit, I'm looking forward to a few days away as a couple- sans kiddos) ;)

More than all that, change/possibility brings with it hope. If you follow this blog, you know I've been struggling to shake the grief and cynicism that settled in my heart following the loss of Brooklynn and the resurfacing of Nevaeh. I could use some hope. I desire to hope, and my heart feels as though its just about ready to risk again. I LOVE this time of year... and I LOVE a Creator who knew there'd be people like me who would need it to feel Him near.

So, in a month or so, if you see me parked along the side of the road staring at a particularly gorgeous display of color in the trees, singing "This Time of Year" by Better Than Ezra, with an odd grin on my face, just know I'm getting my groove back. BRING ON THE FALL! :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

What story do you want to live?

So, I follow Donald Miller on twitter and he recently posted a question on his blog and asked that people answer it on theirs. The question was: "What kind of story do you want to live?" I almost did nothing with it because that's a ridiculously daunting question and at that moment I had FIVE children 9 and under running around my home like maniacs! (just in case those numbers aren't adding up for you and you're curious, that's Ezra-7, Malaki-4, our foster son Evin-6, and my sister's kids Keagan-9 and Lexi-4) Good times were being had by all, but it was a little less than conducive for deep thoughts. ;)

That said, if you do answer the question on your blog, you are entered to win tickets to a conference called, "Living a Better Story" (click on that title for more information) I think Cody and I could get a lot out of a conference like that since our "story" has been so much about transition in the past few years. I think we could really benefit from a pause that allows us to entertain the idea of and listen for God's direction as to what the next era of our story should entail. So... what kind of story do I want to live? Do I even know how to answer that in a condensed manageable format? I'm thinking that's a question better asked at the beginning of an evening with someone you intend to stay up all night talking with...

  • I want to live a story that is drowning in risk and truth and grace and life.
  • I don't care if anyone ever knows my story, but I want to know that as many moments as possible I find myself squarely in the center of God's will.
  • I want to chase every God-opportunity I am given, I want to love recklessly, I want to speak truth and be true, and I want to respond to everything- everyone- every situation with an abundance of grace.
  • I want to teach my children how to embrace their lives and live them fully and deeply with God, and I want to encourage my friends and the gals in my church to feel fully engaged in their lives instead of just surviving life as so many of us do.
  • I want there to be more to my story than there seems to be sometimes, and I want to stop waiting for "someday."
  • I want to expect miracles and be depended on to believe God can and will do amazing things in my life and the lives of those around me.
  • I want to learn to see the "everyday" as extraordinary moments and opportunities.

On a more "what might that look like or mean for your life" kind of level, or an "if I were to begin telling your story what might be the big adventures" kind of level... hmm??

I want to finish the family God has blessed me with through the process of adopting again, and convince as many people as possible to join me in this amazing journey. I want to be a mom worthy of the trust my childrens' birthparents and God have placed with me. Long ago we desired to adopt one or two little girls from Africa (I was blogging about that on here back in January of 2007!) That desire is still there, but at some point we felt as though God was saying, "I don't care how you adopt, just that you do it." So since then we've attempting to go the foster care route for financial reasons. It's been a crazy ride, but we have sensed God in it. I think there will always be a part of me that longs for Africa and the possibility it holds in my heart, but more than that I am overwhelmed with the desire to find and know my children, and to have them home with us.

I want to find a way to purchase abandoned homes, renovate them, and donate them (or sell them at or below cost) to families who are struggling and homeless in our community. In a county with the highest poverty level in Michigan, I want it to matter that I lived here. It's a strange passion I have that I just can't seem to let go of, and I have no idea how on earth I will ever get it done. I've written about this before (click HERE to read about it).

I want to be (and I think I am) my husband's biggest fan as he attempts this adventure called church planting, as well as the greater adventure of LIFE! I want to anticipate his needs and support him in ways he might not think to ask of me. I want to keep him feeling young and respected and desired. I want to have weekly date nights and a romantic getaway at least once a year (and at this point in life, romantic requires very little other than no kids... ha ha ha!). I want to have adventures together, risks together, and build a real LIFE together.

I want my children to fearlessly stretch themselves, at risk, to grasp the hand of the One who made them. I want them to know the depth to which they are loved. I want them to trust the story of the prodigal son... believing that if they screw up, they do not need to hide, but that God is waiting with open arms to embrace them, forgive them, and celebrate them. I desire to model that more than I do, and as often as humanly possible. I want to give them experiences in life, more than I want to provide them with things. I want to make memories together and I want home to always be a safe place to land and an extension of themselves.

I want to learn to sit and listen for God's whispers in my life, carefully chasing His every whim, in whatever direction He aims me, whenever He asks me to. This means I have to make time to get away from it all and be alone with my Creator for more than just my devotion time. I may need to go off by myself for a day or two from time to time so I can quit being "mom" and "wife" and just be "child of God."
  • I want God. I want a story that oozes the possibility of, and desire for, MORE of God.

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.