It was so kind of the Lord that our canvas photo just arrived today, much earlier than the Dec. 20th I was promised. (Yay for Black Friday but it looks like the 85% off deal is the same today if you’re looking for something!)
So during the kids’ room time, I had a little pounding therapy and put up pictures.
We got off the plane with our 18? bags and my internal Angie started to turn blue.
My heart signed an invisible contract.
I’d figure things out. I’d get us settled. I’d navigate roads and grocery store aisles and a new-of-sorts language.
And then I’d breathe. And our story would begin.
I started driving. I figured out how to interpret the dairy section and the seemingly 8 different types of cream. And I started differentiating between a trolley and a cart and entree and a main and to ring and to call and learned that women here get clucky.
But the buts inhibited full breaths from coming.
But Joshua’s speech. When he starts talking more…
But Lizzy’s perpetual illnesses. When we figure out what’s wrong…
Well, Joshua’s speech is miles (kilometers) better and growing steadily. Lizzy’s never been more well. They love kinder (preschool). Scott’s thriving at his role. I love my recruiting job. My heart has made good, deepening girlfriend connections.
More recently than I want to admit, I processed with a friend (read: free counseling) and heard myself say how I felt like our story was finally starting.
And like a wave of sound that rips through a crowd, felt in every chest, God spoke to my heart.
Your story doesn’t start now when things are well and you feel more in control. Your story has been going on for years. Your life is your story. And I’m behind each act of every scene.
Life is now.
I have to laugh that God’s given me a daughter with an oft-daily passion to decorate for/celebrate something or someone almost daily.
So I am renewed to live fully in the now. It’s where God’s put me. Adventures behind and adventures to come. Days when everything seems to be blooming. Days when I’ve chosen tasks over people and I’m exposed in my lack of loving well.
Days when we just have a picnic on the bathroom rug.
On the off chance I’m not alone in this holding-your-breath-until-_____ happens, can I encourage me/you to breathe today?
Our story is amidst the good, the hard, victories, failures and the not-yets. And my story (and yours) has such great hope because of Jesus. My story is too big for it to be about just me. And that is very good news to be part of The Big Story.
Scott and I sat together during church for only the 2nd time in 18 months. I have a newfound appreciation of what I’ve taken for granted so often before having kids.
Our church, like most Aussie churches, doesn’t offer any options for children under 3, so Scott and I have been taking turns in a back room with him for all these months.
But Sunday–oh blessed Sunday!–Sunday school resumed for the new school year (it’s late summer here and school’s now starting) and Joshua’s 3 so can finally go to class with the big kids and Mrs. Taylor!
As I sat in my car after the event and started recounting the evening to Scott, my voice began to sputter into the phone. As we continued to talk, my voice continued to crackle.
And then I realized, for the first time, that God allowed me to speak the 20ish minutes at the mic with voice that hadn’t broken up.
Until now, after it was all over. Holy cow. Thank you, friends who prayed.
To look at my bloodshot-and-extra-wrinkled-and-tired eyes, you’d think I had a newborn at home, not that I have pink eye in both eyes and had been (up until the night before the event) averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night with coughing attacks.
Did I mention that pink eye=no makeup? Can I be honest and confess how that has made me feel naked this week (yes, going on a week) but a bit more on a night like this speaking. More opportunities to have identity in Christ, right?
A new friend and kindred spirit, Cathie, invited me to speak at her church’s Christmas craft evening. God used Cathie as she spoke at a conference I attended a few months ago to stir my heart and mind to the idea of making space to actually listen to God more often.
After 2 hours of mingling, eating and serious crafting (even non-crafty me got into making this beautiful Christmas tree out of twigs and wire), I got the mic at 9pm. And God gave me the voice!
Most of the women were believers already but, in that sized group (150+) there were likely non-Christians, too. I loved the opportunity to point us all to Jesus at the beginning of the Christmas season. (With no Thanksgiving here to usher in the Christmas season, it seems to start earlier here.)
I spoke on how abiding in Christ (John 15) could make the difference in how we experience this Christmastime. I had so much more to share that God had been teaching me than the 15-20 minutes allotted, but my American-accent/speaking-quickly self got in as many words as I could. Haha!
Pray with me especially for the women who heard about a personal relationship with Jesus last night who have yet to make a choice to respond? May their hearts be good soil for that life-changing message of grace!
So, the Christmas season started…and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) ended. I felt like a kid on the last day of a great school year. So very sad! What a rich year of studying the life of Moses and the first 5 books of the Bible.
Lizzy and her BSF teacher, Pat
Joshua and his BSF teacher, Ai Lin
I’m not sure if I’m more grateful for my own time studying the Word with these women or the fact that my kids both got to study the same lessons (!) as I did, contextualized for their age. I’m so grateful for Mrs. Pat (left) and Mrs. Ai Lin (right). What love and grace and truth you’ve invested in my children!
One more new start–Joshua will begin kinder (pre-school) in February when school starts here. This week he went to the free-play time for them to get a chance to meet teachers and get comfortable with the idea. I love how Aussies do school here with such a focus on play. Makes me want to be a kid all over again.
I’m struck how much he’s not a little toddler anymore! Who is this big boy ready for school?
Two more cute pictures, speaking of play. (Left) Lizzy’s beloved baby, Joy, gets a non safety-first ride to show-and-tell at BSF on the last day. (Right) I came out of the shower to see this picnic already underway in my room. Everyone was lined up and feasting on things ranging from yogurt to grapes to…Legos.