Woo woo! My Blogiversary Day! Yippie Huzah! Have some more cake! How about that weather? Do you like my fancy new blog threads? (I'll explain more about that later.)
Thank you for all your wonderful questions. I'm going to answer them all in the next couple of days. Today I'll start with the first two:
From Scott & Lorie:
How did you come to Oklahoma? Are you planning on staying there?
When Chris and I got married, we both agreed that we would go wherever we felt like God wanted us to go.
No matter what.
No matter where.
No matter when.
We believe that if God had called us to live in a homeless shelter in the most undesirable place in the world, we would never be as happy or content anywhere else in the world as we would be in that shelter. Because we believe that God is the life. Your surroundings should have nothing to do with it.
Before Ezra was born, things started to change in the community we were in at the time. Our spirits were not agreeing with the change, and we found ourselves deeply hurt and confused. Our hearts were broken and our hands were tired, and we felt like God was preparing us for a drastic step. We knew it would be a painful change, but it would be one that would set our hearts free and lead us into more faith and trust than we'd ever known before. The community we were in had become a family to us, but we also knew that we had made a promise to follow God's leading before anyone else's. And we also knew that just because God calls you elsewhere, it doesn't mean you have to stop being a part of your old family anymore... When a child moves away from home, they don't stop being their parent's child. Family is family no matter where you live.
When all of this started surfacing, I was very, um, pregnant. I was about to have my first baby, and Chris and I had only been married for a year. Everything in me wanted to just hunker down and get comfy in our tiny little one bedroom apartment in California and forget about all the things swirling around in my heart. But God doesn't often go by our watch, does He? So, when Ezra was only 5 months old, He called us to go.
Our friend Joel had moved out to Oklahoma a year earlier, and was connected to an amazing group of people out here who were providing the freedom and opportunity for him to lead worship and play music on a scale that he wasn't able to do in California. Chris had always played music with Joel in CA, and Joel wanted Chris to come out to Oklahoma and be a part of all the exciting things that were going on out here.
So, we jumped.
Things were (obviously) hard at first. We'd never lived so far away from our family, and we had a brand new baby. We felt like we'd jumped out of a boat without any life jackets on. I was frantically trying to learn how to care for my child and Chris was trying to provide for his new little family, and all of this was taking place on foreign soil. But God is so faithful, and we did learn to trust Him more than ever before.
He was our life jacket.
Now, we've lived here almost two years, and we are so very happy and content and blessed beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Chris has a very successful painting company that he started from scratch... (a dream he'd always had but could never see happening where we were at before). We bought our little house and I am able to stay home with Ezra without having to stress about crazy rent and bajillion dollar mortgages. We've found an amazing community here that has been so healing and refreshing and beautiful for us to be a part of. Chris is able to take time off and play music whenever he gets the opportunity... And if you know my husband at all, you know that music is like raw LIFE pumping through his veins. He was born to create music. He was born to play music. He was born to worship and lead others to worship. When he plays music, it's like seeing all the dreams he's fought for for so long being released from his hands into the drums or the viola or the piano or whatever instrument gets in his way, and it catches your breath in your throat every time because it's so beautiful and passionate and somehow unearthly...
I'm learning more about myself than I'd ever thought possible as I write and watch with amazement as I morph from a girl into a mother. My son is thriving and incredible and has such a sweet spirit in him that I am constantly astounded by him.
(side note: Yesterday, after I put Ezra down for his nap, he was in his bed babbling to something, so I peeked under the door and I saw my son hugging each of his stuffed animals one-by-one with a HUGE smile on his face. Then he started kissing them all one-by-one and setting them up in a line against the wall. My heart melted in my chest and I sat there curled up by his bedroom door crying my eyes out because he makes his mommy so very, very proud...)
Anywho- we will be here wholeheartedly until we are called elsewhere. And if we're never called elsewhere? We'll be Oklahomans until the day we die.
Question 2 is from Britt:
What do you hope to accomplish in this life?
This is not an easy question for me. I have never been the kind of person who knew what she wanted to do since she was 5 years old and planned her life towards that goal from the get-go.
I STILL have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
I guess it sortof goes hand in hand with what I was saying in the last question... I will do whatever I feel that God wants me to do. If I can do that, and live in grace and forgiveness for the times when I fall short, I will be as happy as a REALLY happy clam at the end of this life. I really have no desire or strength to do anything more than that.
In other words, I know what I don't want to accomplish way better than I know what I do want to accomplish. Does that make sense? Like, I know I don't want to try and build something with my own hands only to find out in the end that I wasn't meant to build it... that I was laboring in vain because I was afraid I wouldn't "measure up" to someone else's standards...
I know I don't want to live by rules, but by heart.
I know I don't want to store up material things and wealth just so I can spoil myself and stay stagnant all the days of my life...
I want to be a fresh stream- giving and receiving enough water to always be moving... never pouring out more of myself than I have to give, yet never ceasing to give away what I'm given so that I don't turn into a stinky, moldy, gooey, green pond.
Did that metaphor get away from me there? hehe.
In short: I want to accomplish the beautiful 'Give and Recieve' in this life... If I can stay in that, I will have accomplished much.