Coming up on our ten year anniversary and I can't believe how the time has flown by. I am not the same woman who said I do ten years ago. My husband is not the same man. I know we have sharpened each other into better human beings. Our differences and perspectives have challenged and forced us into improved spouses. We have also added three children as passengers to our life. That has defintely changed our journey in beautiful, but exhausting ways. The more and more I think about it, the more I compare marriage to a car. Marriage is the vehicle that embodies our journey.
As most people know, driving with children in the car, is completely different from the days where it was just the two of you going for a weekend road trip. In the beginning you share navigation and driving responsibilities more equally, but then patterns develop and needs change. Mom has to crawl in the back to nurse a baby, Dad has to drive and navigate simultaneously, and the children have to learn to get along or the driver will pull the whole vehicle off the side of the road. Like any good vehicle though, there are times for required maintenance and preferably this happens before tires are bald and the engine seizes. We don't want to put everyone at risk! Safety is key to a fun road trip!
Hopefully we are always on the alert for the low oil or check engine light to come on in our relationship. Being aware of the state of our vehicle is important, but even more so in our marriage. There are some people that never learned to check their oil, but when you pay tens of thousands of dollar for a car trust me when I say - better learn quick. The same goes for our relationships; we can learn! We made the vow and maybe added passengers to this vehicle; we better learn the value in regular tune-ups, before the flat tire happens. Got premarital counseling? That is great! Should be good for the first few thousand miles. Those date nights are like checking the oil, or putting air in the tires. Those late night heart to hearts are like a tire rotation and alignment. Don't know what that is? That is okay, but let's not stay ignorant to the fact that a healthy marriage takes continual, intentional education. I can show my spouse that I value them, by learning how to keep them running - running well!
I can't tell you how many people that have helped put a little air in our tires. I know we wouldn't still be cruising along if we hadn't had a lot of road side assistance. Even with regular maintenance there will be a nail or two that you can avoid and that is when it is time to phone in help. Parents, friends, pastors and counselors are there for a reason. It is a sign of intelligence not weakness to do regular maintenance.
Sometimes I get a little film on the headlights; makes it hard to see. Happens slowly over time, sometimes I don't even know its there! Friends have helped me shine a light on things, restore perspective, so I can see the others properly. Sometimes I just need to drive and let Dad deal with the kids. Sometimes I get vehicle envy. Someone else has a spouse that does such and such or I berate myself for taking the long way around. Sometimes we just need to pull over and take a vacation!
I am extremely thankful to the many couples who come to my husband for counseling. They keep him having to practice what you preach. That has been a huge help in our own marriage. (And here is my shameless plug for my husband's counseling practice - Clarity Counseling.)
Without GPS (God's Positioning System) aka the Holy Spirit we would be totally lost! May He get us through another decade without too many bumps and bruises. I will continue to take all the road side assistance I can get!
Tips for Regular Maintenance
Our Relationships affects more than just us, so maintain better than a car!
Our Core Team has graduated the Celebrate Recovery Step Study! We have launched and more and more people are coming each Friday night. We have different worship groups leading each week from many different churches! We are praying the Lord provides financially as we grow. Josh is seeing clients as well as working full time. We are praying for wisdom of when to take a step of faith and leave behind the lawn work. Praying for more clients, but already reaching that point of how to take on more in a healthy way when the spare time isn't spare. God is good and we are trusting Him to move us as He sees fit.
We are getting closer to the Launch of Celebrate Recovery and Josh has opened up the Counseling Service of Lifeline. We have been able to raise up a leader for the Lifecoast Nursery ministry so we can step out of direct leadership in that ministry. This will allow us to concentrate more fully on the Lifeline Celebrate Recovery Ministry and Josh's Counseling Practice. We have several fundraisers in the works and are praying for God's continued provision as we move forward.
Joshua has finished his thesis for his MA in Christian Counseling! Thank you to God, our Pastors and several key friends for their support through this process. Can't believe this day is finally here and we thank you for helping make it happen!! <3
For the last two years, we have tried several programs to lower our mortgage to what they told us it would be when we bought the house. At first with no children and both us working we could afford the mortgage, but add two kids and me only working part-time from home, and it is a lot tighter.
We were denied the first round after months of resubmitting paperwork. Then in March, we heard of another program so we applied. After several attempts at closing, we finally got a solid date this week. An hour before closing we got the call that we needed additional funds to close, which we did not have.
We didn't feel any peace about the situation. We didn't feel right about taking funds from Josh's schooling to pay the closing fee. We were extremely frustrated and angry at the last minute turn of events. Instead of allowing them to pressure us, we went to a friend in real estate to talk about other options. She called to check out the situation and 5 minutes after we would have signed the paperwork, the lenders had a new hud that had just arrived. This hud said they gave us money instead of us coming up with additional funds. Our friend came with us to our closing half hour late and verified the figures and walked us through the signing which brought way more peace!
It turned out the lender was a Christian agency. We chatted with her about church and ministry and also talked about her son who was also pursuing his Masters in Counseling. The man who had set up the old paperwork never showed, but having our friend there made us confident with the new paperwork.
I know God really blessed us because we did not allow ourselves to panic, be pressured into signing, or be rushed into a decision. Our mortgage is now at a lower fixed rate. It is now about what they told us it would be when we signed for the house 5 years ago. We even have a month reprieve from our mortgage payment. We are so grateful that God walks before us, especially as we prepare for Josh to move into full-time ministry/counseling this Fall.
We got our confirmation email today! Yesterday we had our re-evaluation virtual interview. We have been accepted into the Launch Training program now that our vision for a Celebrate Recovery Campus is clear.
Conferences are lining up to prepare us for the next 6 months of intensive training. This has been a huge encouragement! A year ago we went to launch. We were approved but were waiting on God to clarify his vision so we could proceed.
It took some heart work, since starting a Celebrate Recovery is not an easy path. We are excited to see God placing things before us to reaffirm that this is indeed the path He has called us to.
The last year of team building opportunities through other ministry has been a challenge. The time has strengthened both of us to be more resilient. (Nursery Ministry & Counseling)
So we feel ready to say, BRING IT ON! :D
I got a job working for Trades of Hope! I get to be with my girls and work from home on my computer as their technical support specialist. I get to bring in some extra income but still be home doing what is most dear to my heart - watching my girls. I feel so blessed and grateful!
It is a year old organization started by my aunt, Holly Wehde and a friend of hers, Gretchen Huijskens. They sell fair trade products made by women all over the world and help women stateside support their families as well, through party sales and becoming compassion entrepreneurs (representatives) in their region.
All of the products go to support keeping children with their families, giving clean water, and getting women into better circumstances. It is a cause I can really get behind having seen my share of women here and abroad who need to be able to support their families in a healthy, better way.
Also, as my girls get older and the company grows I can grow my hours and take on more responsibility, but for now it is the perfect amount of time.
I still get to be mom (my most important job!) but I get to use my brain and get creative doing something I love! I feel really blessed and hope this is the start to a cool career that will work alongside my dreams of homeschooling my children and supporting my husband in ministry!
Recently, we have been praying for provision. Having two girls and a house to pay for on one income hasn't left much left over for Josh to finish school.
The other day a friend answered our prayers by funding Josh to finish his studies! <3
Keilah Abigail was born on May 19th at 2:19 pm.
I prayed for:
shorter birth, less pain and no tearing and to go sooner than my due date!
A shorter labor by 7hrs!
Still had excruciating pain but only officially 7 minutes of pushing!
She was born 8 days early!
She was 1/4" smaller head but 8 ounces heavier than Dassa-Beanie, and the same length. Her belly button fell off at only three days and she is perfectly healthy!
We feel so blessed and content with our two beautiful girls :))
Yesterday I received the LeapFrog alphabet system for Dassa-Beanie along with the Word Whammer and the magnetic alphabet. I know it may seem trivial to some, but I had wanted to get this for our daughter for almost a year now.
She knows her letters from playing Starfall, but she has to be on my computer for that. I almost bought this LeapFrog learning kit for her several times but couldn't quite bring myself to spend the money. LeapFrog is great but not cheap! A fellow mom gave hers to me because her kids had outgrown it.
I am always amazed at how God cares about every little tiny want as well as providing daily for our big needs.
Thank you, God, for showing again how deep your love for me really is. May this journal of miracles help keep that message sunk deep in my forgetful brain. <3
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....