Tag Archives: Life

The Listing

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For many years I have created lists of New Year’s Resolutions.  The goals varied from the fairly typical, such as eat healthier or maintain a consistent Bible study, to some that perhaps not many people would venture to accomplish, like completing a marathon (oh yes, I am that crazy person.  I enjoy it too…).

As the New Year came in 2013, our little family was busy visiting Chris’ family in Virginia.  While I had ideas rolling around in my mind regarding what I could strive to attain in the coming year, nothing actually was put down on paper.  Almost like a free ride.

There was one singular goal, however, that stuck with me.  Chris and I talked it over and decided that as a family we would try to accomplish one thing.

Simplify.

We both genuinely desired this for our family in so many ways.  We wanted to let go of material possessions that really weren’t needed.  We wanted to clear our schedules of all of the “extras” that take time away from meaningful relationships.  We wanted to get back to the basics and lead our family in an atmosphere free of distraction and clutter.  To focus on Biblical principles and application personally, as well as a family.  To even free our diets of much of the “clutter” of junk and processing

We made strides.  In all of it, though, I was shy to share our goals publicly.  I knew that once we voiced our hopes we would have to truly commit in ways that were challenging for all we desired of a simple life.

We began to de-clutter little by little.  After much research, trial and error, we truly have a healthier means of eating in our home.  But much else was left untouched in hearts that were struggling to release our own preoccupations and selfishness.  So in the meantime I have spent time thinking hard and praying about how to let go of so much that clamored for our attention without much action.

Well, friends, as the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for!

Eight months later and the Lord is giving us the biggest adventure and opportunity of a lifetime (so far) to downsize and simplify.  Due to recent events we are obligated to let go of much that we have held tightly in recent months and years.

Some of this is painful.  For me, the most difficult is certainly putting our home up for sale.  Our lovely place of belonging, comfort and family.  Where we have poured our hearts for the last three years.  A place I love deeply.  The home in which we have established our family.  Where we brought our first child home and hoped to bring our future children to grow and thrive.  My heart breaks a little.

Then I am reminded that the roof under which we gather and rest our heads does not define our home.  Home is established in the love and fellowship of our family and friends.  I believe we can have the same beautiful community in a tiny apartment as we have experienced in our treasured house.  Perhaps more so.  We will soon find out!

There are other belongings we will be releasing soon.  Some of them are almost comical to ponder.  Such as the couch we bought earlier this year.  It was the first time Chris and I had purchased a couch together rather than receiving a hand-me-down.  It brought us such excitement and pride.  But as we discussed moving into an apartment we realized that it was completely impractical to bring our nice, new couch when the old one with the unattractive pattern that sits hidden downstairs in the basement has a hide-a-bed. So while we have anticipated the day when we could let go of that baby, here it comes with us.  And the new couch will be sold in a garage sale…

As Chris often says, we need to hold onto everything with open hands.  That way, if and when the Lord requests us to lay it down it won’t be like prying it from our grip.  Rather, we can give it up as a pleasant offering.

The more we contemplate this era of our lives, the more we are convinced of how wonderful it can be.  Already we are immensely thankful because for the first time in our marriage there aren’t multiple jobs clamoring for our attention to make ends meet.  There is freedom in letting go.  Our family time is sweeter and our faith is growing.  The special “treats” we enjoy are delectable because they are more rare.  We are being refined in our perspective of necessity and desire.  So while I am certain that we will struggle as we pursue this new course of life, I am more certain that we will find solace in the providence of our Savior.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

As a side note, if any of you happen to know a family who is looking for a home in the North Spokane area, please have them take a look at ours!  We absolutely LOVE our neighborhood.  This is possibly the most difficult part of moving because we have such amazing neighbors.  Seriously.  Our hope and prayer is that the family who moves into our home will love it the way we have and truly bless the community with their presence, as we are certain the community will bless them.  Please be praying with us that our home sells quickly!  Here is the listing if you happen to know of anyone:  http://www.mlsfinder.com/wa_sar/kw_179/index.cfm?action=listing_detail&property_id=201322475&searchkey=75de57b5-ba1d-717c-0831-8b476aae0908

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‘Tis So Sweet

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’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Life is much like a mountain.

It is majestic. 

I think of my favorite mountain.  It is Mt. Rainier, as it should be for any girl from the Northwest.  Viewing it from the West side of Washington is breathtaking, if not rare considering the clouds that often crowd the skies.  But when the clouds clear you are brought face-to-face with the glory and majesty of such beauty that there is no other choice but to take a moment of silence and soak it up.  There is no other choice beyond that than to simply worship the Creator of such astounding art.

When we dare to tarry onto the mountain we are drawn closer to the beauty and fear that are contained in such a place.  For the glory of every flower, waterfall, tree and trail there is also a dangerous pass, animal, crevice or force of water.  We understand the danger and treat it with holy fear and awe.  We also understand that the mountain holds untold wonders, promise, places of unknown and adventure.  So we venture out to explore and live!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

As I have pondered our personal experiences and life lately I have noticed that it is very much like time in the mountains.  There are cleared trails to follow or trecks to be explored off the beaten path.  Either way, however, there is no promise of what will be experienced or found.  And while it may cause us to tremble, even in the depths of the darkness and unknown we find beauty.

Chris and I have come upon a completely new stage and place of life over the course of the past couple months.  We thought we knew just what was ahead.  We were wrong.  Totally and completely wrong.

In a very short synopsis, about a year ago we made plans to help plant a church locally in Spokane.  We gave a year notice to our church at that time that we would be leaving to launch our new church with Chris as a lead co-pastor this September (2013).  Chris tirelessly planned and invested in the blueprints for what we believed to be our upcoming place of home in ministry.  We knew things may be tight and that there would be unforeseen events that would occur as we launched, but we were excited for the opportunity to serve as long as the Lord made clear.

We had no idea how close our time was to drawing to a close.  Recently it became clear that due to circumstances and philosophy of ministry we needed to step away prior to the launch next month.  We found an impasse where we thought there would be a bridge.  So at this moment of life we find ourselves without a church home, a place to minister directly in a local body and without a pastoral position for my sweet husband.

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

So we are “here” now.  Though we’re not completely sure where here is.  We do know that in this time we need to set up camp for a while, gather our wits and go back to the map and our Guide to figure it all out.  We are praying constantly, asking the Lord to make clear what we are supposed to do.  Chris is continually applying to churches nationally.  Our utmost desire is to courageously follow the Lord wherever He may lead.

This has been a time of turmoil for me personally.  Between concern with where we will go from here, if we will be called away from “home” in Spokane, where we will live in the meantime, how we will provide necessities for our family, what our ministry is supposed to look like, the capacity in which the Lord desires to serve at this time and so much more, I have found myself overwhelmed with worry.  Oh, and let us not forget the pregnancy hormones.  I’m fairly certain that anything that seems hard in typical life is viewed as the end of the world when pregnant in the third trimester with a toddler who suddenly thinks bedtime and sleep are optional.

In this, however, we have been given such grace.  Already we have seen the Lord provide in ways that are absolute astonishing.  We are affirmed that as God cares for the sparrows and lilies of the field, He cares for us much more.  I am reminded that in life we must always be willing to listen to the Spirit. To trust God for our provision.  To live for His glory.  To lay down self and our personal concerns.  To commit ourselves and family fully to the will of the Lord.  He is the Author of Life, the Sculptor of the mountain.

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

More than anything, Chris and I are reminded that God is good.  In this time of wandering we are given the lovely and amazing opportunity to trust Him in His goodness.   To wait on the Lord for His time and place, whatever and wherever that may be.  We have a new opportunity to rest in His grace and build the testimony of Who He is in our lives.

I have been soaking my heart in the book of Philippians.  I am encouraged because I desire so much for our family to truly mimic the heart of Christ and the New Testament church.  Paul writes profusely regarding how many live for their personal interests, not the interests of God.  He spurs us on to rejoice in all circumstances and live a life worthy of the calling we have been given as believers.  This is my prayer.  My hope.  This is the legacy I desire to leave for my children.

I want to live in such a way that in the unexpected and pruning times of life I am found worthy of the call.  I want to follow Jesus, my Guide.  I desire to live with awe at the beauty of what He gives at all times.  That the majesty, reverence and glory of this mountain of life may to cause me to worship.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Our Little “Miss”

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Monday we found out.  We were delighted to have the beautiful revelation that come this November we will welcome a little girl into our home.  A “miss.”  A bundle of bows, buttons, ribbons, and pink.

We weren’t even scheduled for an ultrasound yet, but I had decided that I wanted to check and see if maybe, perhaps, they had something available.  I was doubtful since we were a three p.m. appointment and I’m sure any ultrasound tech would be chomping to get out the door on a gorgeous, June, Monday afternoon if they could.

Our nurse walked Chris and myself back to our “usual” room and asked about the ultrasound.  Chris quickly piped up that we would love to squeeze into their schedule.  Bev, the fabulous nurse she is, sat us down and went away to see if she could get us a last-minute appointment.  She came back and let us know that unfortunately there were absolutely no openings.  They were packed.  In my mind I was disappointed, but I also happened to have worked in a dental office and know how quickly a schedule can change with fickle patients.  To our delight, not even five minutes later Bev came right back in and let us know that a no-show appointment was available that moment!

We walked into the ultrasound room, sat in our respective chairs (or laid…) and took a peak at the miracle growing in my belly.  Chris and I each held our breath as the tech took a look to see what she could see.  And there she was.  She.  Only one letter off, however completely and totally different than he.
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I glanced over to see Chris’ reaction and I do not lie… he was shocked.  Like shell-shocked.  I think he may have said, “Wow.”  This man who hoped for a rowdy house full of boys is getting a sweet little daughter.  After the appointment we went to the store to pick out our sweetie’s first outfit.  Initially we got a couple pairs of sandals and a baseball hat for Noah and then went to search for the most adorable little girl outfit we could find.  And Chris stopped.  Right at the line between the boy’s and girl’s section he froze, like he wasn’t sure about crossing the line and entering this new frilly time of our life.  With a little laughter and teasing he came over, and suddenly he was pointing out pink pajamas and floral dresses.

That night it settled in Chris’ heart.  Let me tell you, it is darling to see how excited he is getting over our girl.  He’s bursting.  I’m sure he’ll be wrapped around her tiniest pinky by day two!  I think he already is.

Noah has quickly picked up the word “sister” and even went into our shopping bag, pulled out a piece of clothing and declared, “Dress!”  We didn’t even know he knew that word (he amazes me).  I can’t wait to officially introduce him to her and watch them grow into a new friendship.  My heart overflows just thinking about it.

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Our little girl will be named Alina Melody Pope.  We love the name Alina and it’s meaning is much of what we desire for our daughter: Noble, kind, beautiful, bright.  Melody, of course, is after my beautiful, amazing mother.  Her character is all I hope and pray that my daughter will become (what I hope to become!).  I would love our Alina to follow in the faith legacy that my mother has given to our family.  It is an honor to name her after such a simply fabulous woman.  This is only one way that I have the privilege to rise and call my mom blessed.  I cannot wait to hold my dear, sweet Alina Melody and introduce her to her namesake!

It amazes me constantly to reflect on where we are and the road the Lord has led us on to be “here.”  To think that by the grace of God a love and friendship with my husband has allowed us to experience so much fullness in our life and family.  We have an adorable, silly, sweet son who daily fills our home with endless energy and joy.  A daughter we wait to meet, excitedly anticipating her arrival in our family.  A baby we will only meet heaven-side, who has deepened our love and dedication to the Lord, our family, and each other in ways no words can possibly express.  We have each other, to laugh with, embrace, bury tears in shoulders, and grow further as one together.  We have the Lord, in all His omniscience, grace and mercy, Who pursues us, directs us and abides as the glue of our family.

We are full of contentment.  We are more than blessed.  We are consumed with the goodness of a God Who deeply satisfies.