The Adventure Begins

It’s been too long since I’ve written, and the words feel jammed inside somewhere. As if I need to get a few cleared out, and thoughts might flow a little better.

Changes. Changes full of beauty and a deeper love than I could imagine.  Terrifying changes. Changes that drive me to Jesus in utter dependency and a fresh realization that there is nowhere safer to be than in Him.

Since my last post here, a lot has happened.

The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the morning and headed into what seemed would be a normal day. A bit later, I got a terse text that said “Come to the chapel right now.” I’m sure tires were screeching as I careened through the neighborhood. An hour later I was purchasing airplane tickets for my Dad and two other men to go international on a mission to protect the innocent. 7 hours later they were headed to the airport and embarking on a journey which no one really knew what it might involve. I prayed I would see my Dad alive again.

During the week he was gone, we prayed, we stood strong, we excitedly waited for any and every little update we could find.

And, unrelated to anything else going on, we received an email from someone about a little girl here in the States who needed someone to care for her.

A week after he left, I hugged Dad tightly in our living room, so thankful for the Lord’s protection.

The next day, I got another brief text: “It looks like she’s going to be ours.” So fast. What was happening? I wasn’t sure, but I already loved this little girl whose name I still didn’t know, and I was ready to do whatever God asked.

Two and a half days later, I looked for the first time at the beautiful girl who was to be my little sister.

As I looked in her eyes, tears filled mine and I had to turn away before they spilled over. Desperation. Hope. Terror. Emptiness. Trauma. Excitement. Desperate hope. I saw her story written on her face as she turned away from all she had ever known and got into our car. She pressed her face against the window and waved one last time as we drove away before turning forward and allowing a deep sob to escape her chest. There was no stopping the tears in each of our eyes and hearts.

So young, so vulnerable. And ours.

I helped her make cookies this morning. I posed for her as she drew a picture of me. I watched the Sound of Music with her. I sat with my arms around her, her sweet head in my lap. I went shopping with her. I laid on my bed and ate pretzels with her. I whispered “I love you” over and over. I hugged her goodnight. I promised to be right there with her first thing in the morning. I watched my parents fall in love with their new daughter. Tears spilled over again as she excitedly yelled “Daddy!” as soon as he walked back in the front door from the gym.

For nearly 25 years I have been the youngest child, and paradigms are shifting in our family.

This little one looks up to me like no one ever has before in my life. We love each other deeply, and every time she snuggles up to me and wraps her arms around my waist and doesn’t let go, my heart aches a little more. Ever since this little girl stepped into our lives just a short while ago, tears have either been running down my cheeks constantly or hiding just around the corner ready to show up without warning.  How can I already love her this much? How can I be a big sister to one so desperate for love and a rebuilding of trust? What do I do when I see the hurt well up and she closes down and acts in the only way she knows how based on the things she has experienced in her young little life–experiences I can’t even imagine. How can I show her the love of her Heavenly Father?

Jesus. HE is how. Jesus is Who I must turn to. His heart is the only one that can handle such love and such sorrow.

This past several weeks has been life-altering in ways I could never have fathomed when I got up that Friday morning. It has been difficult. It has been heart-breaking. It has been exhausting…

…and it has been filled with JOY. It has been filled with JESUS. I can’t deny the beauty in seeing my own weakness and His utter strength. I’m enraptured.

Seeing the heart of God in my parents through these past few weeks has touched something in me that hasn’t ever really been touched on before. I can’t express how honored and humbled I am to be part of their lives and learning from them the way I have for my whole life–but especially the past few weeks. Their given-ness; their endless love; their pre-decided “YES!” to anything the Lord may ask of them; allowing the door of their life–physically and emotionally–to be flung open to the most vulnerable. Thank You, Jesus. You had a beautiful plan when you scripted the lives of my parents.

And the proof that You know what You’re doing? It’s inescapable. I see it so clearly in the way this little sister of mine came into our family.

It is with great joy and expectancy that I can say my life has changed and it will never be the same. Oh! the adventures the Lord takes us on!

October 1st – giveaway!

To me, October 1st is one of the best days of the year.

…along with the 364 other days of the year.

(Yes, I’m one of those obnoxiously chipper people who think every single day is a wonderful day worth living and being excited about. Not because of what each day is or holds, but because of the God who created each one of those days. What blessedness is ours!)

And because it is October 1st today, I got the urge to send a fun autumn-y package to someone.

(Earlier today, I traipsed across campus–ok, so it was more of a slow waddle since I’m still recovering from surgery, but . . .details, details–with some apple turnovers and a “Happy October 1st!” note for some dear friends of mine in the dorm across the lawn. It inspired me to send a package, and the inspiration was not to be denied!)

The urge is not for any particular reason except the fact that I love sending fun autumn-y packages in the mail, and I am blessed with so many wonderful people to choose from!

Who shall it be?

I decided to narrow it down to the few readers of my paltry little corner of the internet world which has been collecting much dust lately.

Leave a comment and tell us what the best thing about today has been so far.

Perhaps you shall get a fun package in the mail!

Giveaway ends on October 8th, and the recipient shall be announced within a day or two thereafter. If your name is not drawn out of the pool of names, don’t worry–perhaps next time.

I so love sending packages in the mail!

*Disclaimer: The package will not contain a cozy orange kitten, unfortunately.

Ellerslie


(Ellerslie Chapel – photo not taken by me)

 

Each new semester at Ellerslie brings with it something so special and sweet that I can never figure out how to put it into words. This is probably why I don’t write much about it, even though it’s one of the biggest things happening in my life.

There just aren’t really words.

Some people ask me what my favorite semester at Ellerslie has been, and I’ve always deigned to not answer. But now I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t answer it. Or . . . if I do answer, it’s generally something along the lines of “the current one”. It’s true–at any given moment, my favorite semester of Ellerslie is the current one (or the latest one, if we aren’t currently in session).

This semester is no different. I love this semester.

There have been difficulties, there have been misunderstandings, there have been things that have to be worked through publicly–but all of these things have brought about an even greater sweetness. A closeness of fellowship. A deeper love for each individual as we all throw ourselves individually and collectively at the feet of our Saviour in acknowledgement of our own neediness and unworthiness.

I look around at the faces of each of these students here right now, and I am filled with such a love for each one of them. What a blessing and honor to spend each and every day with people whose heart’s one desire is to know Jesus more and more each day!

A Smattering Of Things I Love About Ellerslie:

  • gaining approximately 60-70 new siblings every semester
  • fellowship and laughter together at the meal tables
  • learning to be in the presence of God every moment of every day–whether through specific prayer times, or while doing the dishes. Continually practicing the presence of God.
  • the times of worship through singing every morning in the little chapel
  • iron sharpening iron
  • afternoons in the Everitt Center–playing music, talking, laughing, and drinking tea
  • the fact that picking up 3 6-foot subs at once at Subway is “normal”
  • lunch tables where all we do is talk about the greatness of our God and the way He has shown Himself great in our lives personally
  • interacting daily with a whole group of people who love Jesus more than life itself
  • spontaneous volleyball and ultimate frisbee games
  • the epic student life activities (I’m not going to give anything away here, because I know future students read this blog….but believe me, we’ve got some great ones!)

 

  • the constant and abiding focus on Jesus as the North Star–the compass point by which we are to live our lives, every moment of every day!

Winter’s Delight

I popped out of bed this morning at a little before 5:30.

I knew the Master Artist had been at work in the quiet hours of the night as the town lay sleeping peacefully. Making sure each snowflake was absolutely perfect and enchanted, piling a little more over there, sprinkling some snow dust on that perfectly formed tree branch, blowing the snow into the corners of the window panes just so, and perching the cozy cap of whiteness perfectly atop the lone street-lamp.

My breath caught as I hurried up the stairs to the largest window in the house. I was so full of expectation, I could hardly stand it. Oh! I felt like I was 5 years old again!

And then, there it was. I was sure I had been transported to a different land entirely. The world, in the haziest of early morning lights, lay perfectly still around me, wrapped in the coziest blanket of snow, whispering to me the secrets of the seasons. Sweet and perfect secrets which I in the past have been too busy to stop and listen to. Secrets of beauty and peace.

My hands found themselves cupped over my mouth in absolute delight. What a perfect morning this was!

I finally pulled myself away from my winter daydreams, set the teapot on the stove, lit the fire, and sought out my Best Friend. Thank you, Jesus, for mornings like this!

(You can expect lots more posts out of me regarding snow. I’m reveling in it to the fullest.)

(Also, no the pictures are not ones that I took…I stole them from tumblr.com)

Snow-Ridden Ramble

I’m up late tonight. But I have a very lovely and perfect reason for staying up late–I received a letter from my King, and I have been pouring over it and reveling in His every nuance, phrase, and promise. Promises that are true and unbreakable.

Also, on this late night, I am enjoying the soft snow falling outside the window. The weathermen are calling for anywhere from 4-12 inches tonight. To be perfectly honest, I’m hoping for a whole big pile to fall on our sleepy little town tonight while we all dream.

Instead of going to sleep and letting the snow pile up outside right now, though, I would very much rather go for a snow-ridden ramble. I want to pile on the scarf, coats, mittens, boots, and cozy hat and go for a crunchy, frosty-breathed walk out in the quiet snowflakes. And then when I returned, I would curl up in my snowman blanket, wrap my fingers about my favorite green mug full of hot-chocolate (with marshmallows!), and stare wistfully into the fire.

And I would ponder things. So many things.

I would ponder why flames are so many lovely colors. And how much work it seems must go into each and every snowflake–which is why snow is so special. And where do words come from? And I would ponder what exactly it is that makes some people kindred spirits. And what if I’m actually not real? What if I’m actually the result of some sweet girl’s imagination as she sits in front of the fire?

I love snowy evenings. And I love the fire that is burning wistfully in the hearth across from me. And I love the letter from my Beloved that will be waiting next to my pillow when I wake in the morning.

Good night, dear ones! Much love to you.