Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Years...

The Past Five Years

Change has been the theme!

What's Happening

The past few days have been a whirlwind.  
Last Saturday, we went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Homecoming game against Georgia St 
(the tickets were one of Mark's Father's Day gifts)...and we WON!! 
It was the first game we've attended {but won't be the last!} and we had soooooo much fun!    It was a long day though. We left home at 5:30a, and didn't get home until 9:30p.  
The heat was intense, 90+ degrees, & we walked over 5 miles.  
The kids, although they didn't walk it all, did so well with all the walking & heat!

Last week, we put our house on the market.  
We put a 'for sale by owner' sign up over a month ago, but hadn't really had any interest, so we listed it with a friend, not sure how quickly we'd get people looking, much less an offer. 
While we were at the game, a family looked at the house AND placed an offer.  
This is the second house we've sold but the first time we've sold through an agent, so we had lots of questions about what's next, is this for real, etc. It was such an unexpected blessing that Mark & I were brought to tears right there in the stadium.  We love our house & don't really want to move, but the weight of our finances caused us to evaluate some things & made us look at all our options. We did not realize the equity in our house and know this is a gift from God. 

Sundays are always CRAZY days!  This past one was no exception.  
Rehersal, setting up for Children's Church, service, lunch with people from church....
This week kicked off our first, FALL BREAK!  T has been so excited to be out of school.  
We, Dad & Mom, have been excited too, but unfortunately, work had to continue for us.  
We did set Monday aside though, to spend the day together and just have fun.  
We went to the Atlanta Children's Museum, Centennial Park & Starbucks for a sugar-free hot chocolate, *Trenton's request!  (There are pictures below)   

Sunday & Monday we spent a lot of time driving around as well, searching for a house to rent, because we have to be out of ours by the end of the month.  It's so funny this has all happened right at the five year mark of moving to Georgia.  It's fitting, because this move is really different for us.  It's a big change and it's bringing about an even bigger change.  

The Past

The past 5 years have been all about change.  When we moved here, we had a yorkie and a 10 week old baby.  We had been married a little over 2 years and had been very healthy during that time - only going to the dr once or twice over those two years (except for prenatal visits).  
We had both been in ministry for a number of years, but hadn't really had any difficult or challenging situations.  Our life was good and had been fairly easy up until that point.  

We've experienced a lot of physical problems over the past 5 years.  Mark's unknown heart disease is one of the major factors - when it showed up, it really showed up.  Finding out we were expecting baby #2 while he was recovering from heart surgery & a heart attack was not easy.  Both of our children have struggled with digestive problems that no one has been able to diagnose & recently Sissy's seizure-like episodes have really been a mystery & again brought us to our knees over her health as well as being able to afford testing, etc.  
There have been plenty of church challenges as well - financial, relational, locational.
As well as something I prayed we'd never experience, a church split...they are heartbreaking.
We've also had financial strain that our medical expenses have pushed to the limit. 
BUT, through a lot of stress, heart ache, uncertainty, worry & pain, we've seen God do some really special things.  Many of those blessing have been tangible, but there have been many that haven't... things like great relationships He's blessed us with, encouragement in our darkest places, and certainly emotional & spiritual growth. 

The Change

Over the past 5 years, we've grown & changed so much.  
God has used even the really hard stuff to mold us & prepare us for things only He knows are ahead of us.  Some of those things have already happened & some may still be ahead.  
Most importantly, God has been far more faithful to us than we have deserved.  
We don't know what the next 5 years holds, or really even what the next 5 weeks holds, but we are confident in this, God will never be farther from us than we allow Him to be, because the Bible says that as we get closer to Him, He comes closer to us.  We have also experienced the truth in the verse that says, He is near the brokenhearted!  
He won't let us down, even though we let Him down, usually, daily.  
We believe that we are about to begin a new season of our lives... one big piece of that puzzle is going to be paying off {hopefully} all of our debt!  We are overwhelmed beyond words at the blessing this house has been...we now see that God led us here, when we weren't even looking, just to bless us, October 2013, and bring us out of debt...
something we've been working towards for some time now.  

Easy is great!  
I love it actually, but it doesn't bring about the growth & trust 
in the One who holds tomorrow, that change & uncertainty usually bring.  
Change is still certain in our future.  
But whatever comes, we know that walking with the One who created this world 
will assure us of a few things - 
we are loved, 
we can trust Him, 
no challenge on earth will last forever,
 we are winners in the end.

Your Life

If you have challenges that rocked your world, know that you really aren't alone.  
There is someone that has been through what you're going through. 
But an even greater assurance is this, God will stay by your side even if no one else knows the struggles going on in your life, even when you don't look to Him until you've looked everywhere else, even when you've exhausted yourself in trying to find the answer, make it work or fix it all, Jesus will be right there, ready & willing to wrap you in His arms 
& carry you through the places where you can't carry yourself.  

Centennial Park...the weather was beautiful!

 Kamdyn @ the Atlanta Children's Museum

 Trenton @ the Atlanta Children's Museum

 Our family...we are so blessed!

My Love!

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