My Story Part 6

I think I am going to drop the part in the title, but would that make it too confusing?

Are you ready? So that night we sat around together and talked about what had been asked of us. We talked about the barriers and we talked about our hearts. We processed all this together, but the most important part was praying. We spent some time asking the Lord what he thought. Some really great things came out. For instance, it was made fully known that God had given me a heart and passion for missions. There was no getting around that. It was also clear that Adam was going to be the one to pull the trigger on where we were going to head. I was extremely blessed by these people that night. I walked away thinking, “we have some amazing friends and people in our lives.”

Africa

By the end of the night, Adam felt that we needed to pursue East Africa. Honestly, I was shocked, stunned. Is this for real? We skyped with our friends and began to figure out how to do this. We quickly learned that raising support was not going to be a good option for us. It was just too much and we wouldn’t be supported very well. We were encouraged to look into going with our denomination’s mission organization. Interestingly enough, our denomination mission organization was going to be in town that weekend. We made an appointment to meet with them to see what our next steps might be. We knew there were several real factors in preventing us from going. First, our oldest son was 11 almost 12. There is an age limit for taking kids onto the field and 13 is it. In order to make this happen we would need to be quick about the process. Second, our school debt is pretty high. PHDs are not cheap!

wedding with sawyer

We were both trusting God through this process. We were told to pursue not figure it all out. Around this time, we are also learning about another job opportunity for Adam. Really!? For two weeks we wrestled, got excited, talked ourselves down, and were just in unbelief.

So finally, we meet with two sweet ladies from our mission organization. I was anxious and excited. I wanted a clear yes or no from them by the end of our time together. (to be continued)

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My Story Part 5

So again, let me remind you that we are working with the context of my heart and passion to love on people who need to know about Jesus and have no other way to hear about him unless we go to them. I can see, now, that Adam and I needed to go through that big ordeal to be who we are today and who we are becoming so my thoughts were “Ok, God, we are now aware of these issues and can better serve. When is this going to happen?” But really it was more like “this is never going to happen”.

THUNDER UP!

THUNDER UP!

Life is funny because it keeps moving on whether you want it to or not. I was still teaching, Adam is at this point working part time at Sandals leading a ministry that is changing lives, and our boys were still growing.

Ready for the pool

Ready for the pool

#1 and I took a trip to Africa in 2012 (which I never thought I would ever go to Africa) to visit some friends who live there. It was a great trip. I began to think/dream about what it would look like if we did this. It was so natural for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know there would be trial and tribulations, but being there felt very right. Also, this family also has 4 boys so it gave me the picture of us a few years down the road. But more importantly, I imagined our two families working side by side. It was still a dream though.

Painting a kitchen in East Africa...So much fun.

Painting a kitchen in East Africa…So much fun.

This last fall this family invited us to come do life with them in Africa. I sat amazed. They wanted our family to come and start a similar ministry that Adam does for Sandals for those who have the same problem in their city, addiction.

Sandals 5K for our FIT 2.0 series

Sandals 5K for our FIT 2.0 series

We began to toss the idea around in our head, but honestly felt that the decision was a no. BUT this led to us starting the conversation of what ARE we doing and where were we headed. Adam and I value community greatly and knew we would talk and talk and never really get a clear picture. I desperately wanted God to speak. So we had a dinner party (Adam’s birthday just happened to be around that same time) and invited those who are our mentors or friends we have known quite awhile to come for an evening of food and prayer. Amazingly we had 4 couples over early November. It was such a memorable night and I was completely surprised at what happened…. (to be continued) (you knew the cliff hanger was coming) 😉

We were able to get to Candlestick and see the NIners play. A fun family memory.

We were able to get to Candlestick and see the NIners play. A fun family memory.

 

 

 

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My Story Part 4

Sorry for the delay in this post. I felt the need to share some of this info. to a few people in person before I shared it with the internets.

 

So 2010 rolls around. I remember in January Adam saying that this year was going to be a monumental year for us and well….it was.

So remember the context surrounding this story was my hope and desire for our family to be overseas serving those who don’t know about Jesus. Life had taken over and we were 4 kids in and I had now been teaching for 7 years. I had altogether given up on this dream.

I need to also put a disclaimer here. I am going to share a pretty vulnerable part of my story with the hopes of being encouraging. There are many of you who do not know this part. Please forgive me for not sharing. It has been a journey and there are times where I succumb to shame and guilt. Ok so moving forward.

On February 11, 2010, God stepped into our mess of a life and began to work. Adam had had a day of God speaking to him and telling him it was time to share. I on the other hand was completely unawares. We already had a date night planned so it was ordained to happen. That night after dinner, Adam shared for the past 10 years of our marriage he had had an on again off again addiction to pot. Even as I type this, it is hard to believe. In the moment, God gave me the grace to forgive and then we began to talk about the next steps. Thankfully, this was a beautiful confession and beautiful sign of God moving in both Adam and I, but that was just the beginning of a new journey.

This was Easter 2011...a little later than what we are talking about, but close enough.

This was Easter 2011…a little later than what we are talking about, but close enough.

I quickly found out that I too had a problem called codependency. It is a sneaky little problem because it looks really good on the outside, but on the inside I was just a sinful girl who needed a Savior to come in and perform surgery. (if you are curious to know the definition that I am using for codependency you can read it here http://www.christiancodependence.com/definecodependence.html )

seems appropriate

seems appropriate

It was then the hard work of refining began. I can honestly say though, I am so thankful for that moment. It set our family on the right course. Adam and I both worked/rested in the Grace of God. It also put some of the missing pieces of why we weren’t really going anywhere into place. Within a year, we had made some amazing growth thanks to an awesome church (sandalschurch.com) and some amazing community who mentored us and encouraged us.

momandboys

Adam began a ministry for addicts called Real with Recovery (now Real Healing). I for once led and did nothing. Well, that’s not completely true…I co-led a group for co-dependency for women. It was amazing how God continued to strip and mold me into the person he created me to be.

Even though things had drastically changed inside of me, I still had this notion that we were supposed to be overseas….(to be continued)

 

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My Story Part 3

So I think we are up to the final few days of college right? 🙂 And I decided this is just my story instead of being a back story. Again, my blog, I do what I want (hahaha)

Before we graduated Adam and I came out to visit So Cal to check out Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. I might have had a meltdown. It might have had to do with all the millions of people. It might be that I am from Oklahoma and have not experienced life at such a fast pace. It was hard to know this was what I was going to. Anyway, we visited some friends in Riverside and well, Riverside became where we were going to moved to. I mean, we were only going to be there a few years right?

On May 27, 2000, Adam and I were married.

We look so young.

We look so young.

The following week we loaded up the moving van and heading out to begin our lives together in So Cal. We came here without jobs and only a place to live. Talk about trusting God for what we needed. Thankfully I was able to get a receptionist position (my worst job ever only because I was not made to sit for that long) the very first week we were here.  Adam enrolled in Fuller and also got a job working first at a car dealership, then at a place about 45 minutes away. We were beginning the path.

And this is where I am going to try to squeeze 10 years of life in a short paragraph.

We got pregnant right away (not planned) and then I miscarried (a very hard time for both of us). We didn’t have the skills to relationally deal with our pain the right way. Then a year later we got pregnant again (planned) and had boy #1 in March 2002. At this time Adam had quit Fuller and I was working on getting my teaching credential. By the time I was student teaching, we decided that Adam needed to work closer to home and to figure out what was the next step for him. So he quit his job and then became the stay at home dad. Thankfully I got a job teaching in 2003. So after a year of getting life somewhat to a normal rhythm, we (Adam)  began working on a PHD. I worked to support and pay bills. In 2005 Boy #2 came, still working….still going to school.

family of four

All the while my heart was asking questions like:

when are we ever going to get overseas? am I just stuck here? what is my purpose for working? was this the plan God?

Slowly my dream and plans began to move the back. I couldn’t hold onto them without having a lot of pain and perhaps bitterness toward my husband. We did do a few things like help start a church plant that was missionally minded and go to Cambodia with our family of 4. That helped, but really my dream was no longer a thought.

Ready for our long trip on the plane to Cambodia.

Ready for our long trip on the plane to Cambodia.

2008 boy #3 came (planned) Still teaching and still working on PHD although we are now to exams (this is the phase right before his dissertation)

Yes, #2 has a black eye. I have no memory of why though.

Yes, #2 has a black eye. I have no memory of why though.

2009 boy #4 came (not planned) still teaching and still preparing for exams. I think at this point I had given up all together the dream of living overseas. We were up to eye balls in debt from degrees. We also now had 4 boys. That’s a lot of people to prepare to go overseas.

#4's first Christmas. He was almost 2 months old.

#4’s first Christmas. He was almost 2 months old.

 

Externally, I put on a happy face, sucked it up and kept on going. Internally, I was hurt and wondered if God even cared for me at all. Little did I know what the next few years were to bring…. (to be continued)

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Back Story Part 2

So high school was ending and I was preparing for my next stage in life. Remember that I had a very significant purpose and knew what I was going to do. The plan was to attend Oklahoma Baptist University, get a degree in multilingual communications and a minor in business and ministry. After college I was going to go somewhere (not in the USA) for 2 years and then come home to attend Golden Gate Seminary in San Francisco so that I could then return full time to serve people in another country (become a missionary).

OBU was going back to where I had started. My dad was attending there when I was born, and I was two when he graduated. It must have left a deep impression on me because I never had any desire to attend any where else. I was a bison through and through.bison

I jumped into the college life full force. I loved everything about it (except that I had to work…that seemed lame, but very much a reality) I was highly involved and met lots of people. Even as fun as it was I quickly learned that one language was going to be challenging enough so I switched to just a Spanish degree and after taking my first business class and getting halfway through I decided that business was not my cup of tea. I changed that minor to TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Other Language). The ministry(missions) minor never wavered even though there were some classes I thought were pointless. (like how to run a Sunday School)

boys and bison

Those years at OBU shaped me and molded me. I grew in new ways and began to learn how to follow Christ in a deeper way. I also was privileged to travel to Vietnam twice and to China once during that time frame. They gave me a deeper knowledge of why missions is central to the heart of God.

The plan still remained though. That is until a certain someone came into my life….The MR. Adam and I started dating at the end of our sophomore year. He had a heart for the orphans and for those in other countries. It was perfect! It changed my plan, but we had come up with a new plan.

By the end of our junior year we knew that this was going to be a relationship that lasted. We were engaged October 29th, 1999. Our plan for after graduation was to go to Fuller Theological Seminary and Adam was going to get his M.Div. Then we would head overseas to wherever God wanted us to be full time missionaries. (to be continued)

Two love birds ready to head out on a new adventure.

Two love birds ready to head out on a new adventure.

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The Back Story

Before I can even begin with the last few months, I want to provide a little back story. Why you ask? Because…. it’s my blog and I want to. 🙂

From a very early age I was in love with people who talked differently than me and who did life differently than I did. I attribute it to my parents who always had my eyes open to the BIG world and not my small town world I was living in. Oh, I am sure I was a kid who was selfish at times and couldn’t see past my nose too.

As a young child I was in a program at church called Girls in Action. It was there that my love for people of other countries grew. I met people who lived in far off places to serve and love on others. I was able to learn about the missionaries from the past. Lottie Moon was one of my favorites. By first grade, I knew what my purpose in life was, to be a missionary. (This is a person who decided to give their life telling others about Jesus and the hope we have in him) Granted this was before I said my “prayer” of salvation, but most likely I was surrendered already.

Not a looker, but she loved the Chinese well and paid for it with her life.

Not a looker, but she loved the Chinese well and paid for it with her life.

 

By the age of 13, which seems really young I know, I felt that God was telling me to surrender to be in ministry full time when I was a grown up. Again, the thought in my head was I was going to be in a different country ministering to people who spoke a different language.

In high school, I began to learn Spanish. I have always loved language and decided I needed to get better at one if I was to spend my life elsewhere. I took Spanish 1 through 4 and loved it.  It was a challenge for sure, but there was a purpose behind it. I also continued to be involved in mission minded groups.  (to be continued)

My crew as we walk toward the airport. #1 and I went to East Africa to serve the people who live there.

My crew as we walk toward the airport. #1 and I went to East Africa to serve the people who live there.

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Time to write

It has been awhile and there has been a lot of life lived. If I was a good blogger, I would have been documenting the emotional ups and downs of these past few months, but I’m not. Really, I haven’t been living life very well at all. Most days I am completely overwhelmed with life. Being mom, wife, teacher, friend, can takes its toll. So my hope is to begin writing again. It is time.

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