Where Would You Like To Go?

November 27, 2010

Still thinking about being thankful

I do love the holidays...it seems to just be in the air.  People who may never speak are now heard wishing others a Merry Christmas.  How can that not put you in a great mood?  As I'm sitting this morning wrapped up in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate (one of my favorites), my mind is still focused on thanksgiving - not just the holiday that has past but continually having a spirit of thanksgiving.  In that light, I decided to make a list of things that I'm thankful for.  If you know me well, this makes you laugh because you know how much I do indeed love lists. 

1. My Father/Savior/Redeemer/Love - oh how my journey with Him has changed from day to day, but He always remains constant.  His love, mercy, righteousness, and grace overwhelms and humbles me.  I am honored to be His child and pray that my life is a reflection of that on a daily basis.  How can you not be in awe of who He is and what He has created?

2. Steve and Ryleigh - I never imagined that November 28, 2004, I would meet the love of my life.  Tomorrow will be 6 years later and my life has been forever changed.  The past 6 years have been such an incredible journey with a man who exemplifies Christ and how He loves the church.  He makes me laugh and smile when those emotions may be the fartherest thing from what I'm feeling.  His love is not based on anything I try to do or what I look like, but solely on who I am in Christ.  Steve's top priority is to be in love with our Savior, so that we can serve Him more effectively together.  All of this brings me to Ryleigh.  I know I have no way of knowing what the future holds.  However, the past 7 months have brought a different type of joy to my heart.  I cannot wait to hold her in my arms and see her being held by her daddy.  My prayer is that we will remember she is a gift from Him and that she already belongs to Him for His purposes. 

3- Family - My parents are the type of parents you just don't find anymore.  They are still in love with each other 28 1/2 years later and they even still like each other!  They both love the Lord and believe that it is only a daily walk with Him that will allow each of us to become who He wants us to be.  As a soon-to-be mom, I've realized even more how much I do desire to be like both of them in raising Ryleigh.  However, they would both be quick to say that they have made mistakes and our only role model should be the Heavenly Father that we serve.  I am thankful for the relationship that we have and even more the relationship they directed me towards with my Savior.  We are blessed by their love, support, and encouragement. 

My sisters are one of a kind - they are beautiful women of the Lord inside and out.  I love that we enjoy spending time together and seek out the time to do so.  I have noticed in myself that I am fiercely protective of who they are and what their dreams are.  My heart desires only the best for them and I want to shield them from anything in this world that is not necessary for them to endure.  Lately, seeing their love for Ryleigh only makes me more thankful for them.  The Lord has truly given us a relationship that only He could bless us with.
The Roberts - I will be forever thankful for Steve's parents, first and foremost because of how they raised Steve.  As I've gotten older I've realized the important role parents play in our lives and Steve is a reflection of 2 parents who wanted him to be just like his Heavenly Father.  When we are together, I feel as if I have been in the family my whole life.  Their love, support, and encouragement is definitely appreciated.  I am thankful that none of the "inlaw" stereotypes are present here!!

4 - Friendships - This one will encompass quite a good amount of people but I think you know who you are.  Our friends are amazing.  Whether they live in MS, TX, VA, or Madagascar - they love the Lord and pray for us often.  The Lord has given us relationships, no matter where we are, that challenge us to be more Christlike in all we do.  The laughter and fellowship that also results from these are just added blessings.  What a joy it is to know that no matter where we are in this life, that people love us and are interceding on our behalf.

This was a lot longer than I had planned but sometimes a girl just needs to type for a while.  Now it's off to spending some quality time with my sisters in Jackson!!

November 17, 2010

Fall - season of changes

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  I am a cool weather gal and love the cooler temperatures.  Granted, in MS these said temperatures often come and go, but I appreciate them greatly when they start arriving!  The leaves of those few trees that aren't pine, change to beautiful colors and just all around remind me of God's splendor.

We spent all of last week in North Carolina for our appointment week with the IMB.  The scenery was often breathtaking (atleast when we were outside of the hotel!).  The roads were lined with gorgeous trees, full of reds, yellows, and mixtures that fall in between.  We visited Old Salem and it was beautiful!  Take a look for yourself...

By the end of the week we had been appointed as official IMB missionaries to Madagascar.  People keep asking us how the week was and I'm still finding it hard to put into words.  It was incredible, worshipful, humbling, awe-inspiring, and lots of other adjectives that could fill up this page.  This is something we've known the Lord has called us to for so long - way before Steve and I had even met one another - so for it to finally happen...let's just say it brought tears to both of our eyes - and smiles to our faces!  One of the best things was hearing others share their testimony of how the Lord had brought them to the point of being appointed as missionaries.  The stories were vastly different, yet one thing was constant - the Lord's call.  When you hear it, you can't run or hide from it, you just have to say, "Yes, Lord."  We were blessed to get to hang out with a couple who will actually be in the same country as us, (they'll be headed there in January) and I think it's amazing how the Lord develops relationships so quickly when He is the common bond.  Speaking of friendships - our friends from seminary, (Katie and I actually went to high school together as well), are now living in VA.  They drove to NC for the service - with Katie being 37 weeks pregnant!!  Some people will come and go in your life but we know the Lord has blessed us with a lifelong friendship with the Starks.  VA is blessed to have them!!

We had friends ask us the other night - what's the biggest change - getting ready to have a baby or getting ready to move overseas?  It's funny because hands down most people would say the more "abnormal" thing would be moving overseas.  However, for Steve and I, we have always known that one day we'd be living overseas.  God has prepared our hearts for this move since we were children.  Last November if you had asked us where we saw ourselves right now - we would have both answered "Africa", never would we have said, "2 months away from having a daughter".  Nonetheless, God has prepared our hearts for this and has given us a love and excitement that is unlike anything we have ever known.  One of the most common questions we are asked is what we're doing with Ryleigh while we go to Madagascar.  While we are very well aware that either set of grandparents would keep her with them in a heartbeat, we just smile and explain that she is indeed going with us.  The Lord loves her more than we ever can and where He calls us - He is calling our little family.  I pray that our answer to His call, for the rest of our lives, will always be - without hesitation- "Yes, Lord".

November 4, 2010

Life Update!

Today we got to see our beautiful baby daughter again.  Words can not express the way seeing her face, feet, and hands makes me feel.  The sound of her heartbeat seems to stick in my head more than any great song ever has.  She is such a blessing to our family already.  The doctor gave a great report - she has a strong heartbeat, is growing well, and is even a little on the long side (who would have ever thought?)!!  :)  Don't you think she's beautiful?  I know we're a little biased!!  This pic is my favorite because she's suckling and her little tounge is sticking out on top of her lower lip.  For those who need help...she is facing the camera and her left side is on top...the dark circles would be her eyes!

We leave tomorrow for IMB appointment - crazy that it's already here - how time flies!!  So many personal prayers, as well as others praying for us, have led up to this point.  God has blessed us in numerous ways regarding our calling to Madagascar.  We have been able to build a relationship with the missionaries that are already there and have had the opportunity to meet with another family that's currently stateside.  During this next week, we'll get to meet with yet another family who is headed there in January!  We would have never thought that we'd have so many connections with people in Madagascar while still in the states.  It has been a blessing to already have relationships with those we will be serving alongside.

A friend who is currently serving in Belize through a missions/discipleship program, recently reminded me that our relationship with Jesus is just that - a relationship.  He is more concerned about our obedience and fellowhip with Him than the destination.  The journey, our daily walk with Him, is the most important thing.  Whether we are here, somewhere else in the States, in Madagascar, or wherever else He may call us - the goal is to love Him and to love others.  Period.  I pray that we are known by His love.