Saturday, July 23, 2011

Roses....and a ring!

This may be one of my most exciting blog sit back and enjoy! :)
I've grown up looking at this steeple. I remember feeling so special when I got to go on my first "tour" of the steeple with one of the church dads before the building was constructed. Little did I know just how much of my life would be shaped by this church and the people in it. Little did I know I would grow up with the man who would be my husband. Little did I know that I would fall in love watching him pray with our youth group, selflessly serve, and be a leader. But God did. And when He said that He had good plans for me, plans for a hope and a future, His promise was true. Why do I ever doubt Him?

I have dreamed and prayed for the man that I would walk down the aisle to someday. I prayed that He would bring us together when the time was right, that we would be able to further the kingdom better together than we can apart. Last night, Spencer took me on a "6-month anniversary date." So I got dressed up, we took a picture, and drove to a restaurant we had gone to in high school. On our way back, we had to stop by the church to drop off a letter. While we were inside, the steeple door just happened to be open, and he suggested we go up to take a look for old-times sake. I agreed, and as soon as I climbed the ladder to the landing, there was a Guatemalan blanket laid out on the floor with candles and a bouqet of roses. He got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. And, of course, I said yes :)

I now have a ring made with the stones of his great-grandmother's ring, and I couldn't be more proud to be representing that family. I would have been happy with a plastic one from Target so this is more beautiful than I could have asked for.

But the ring is merely a symbol. It's a symbol of the bonds that have been formed over the years through Christ. First by a friendship that was kindled into something deeper and long-lasting. It's a symbol of the new call that the Lord has added- wife (well, not quite yet. But next summer). The more I read about women, the more I learn that humans were created for marriage, as a representation of the Church as the bride of Christ. Our identity as women is founded in this, and it's a huge role to fulfill, one that I will fail at frequently. Yet just as we are imperfect, so is the Church- and God's grace is SO much bigger!
My mouth hurt from smiling last night, and it does today too. My heart is full of joy and expectation for what the Lord has in store for us. I do not deserve this gift, I do not deserve to be the bride of my high school sweetheart, a man who has grown to be so strong in the Lord. But yet, God chose to give it to me anyways, and I take it with open hands, ready to take this next step in this journey of faith!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Ladies, thank you SO much for your sweet feedback from my post yesterday. I am so excited to know I am not alone in this passion and burden for biblical womanhood. And I'm really eager to see what the Lord will do with this in the future. He is raising up a generation of women who love Jesus first- that is beautiful!

As a sort of "follow-up," I thought I'd post a couple things the Lord put in my path.

First, I had seen Elisabeth Elliot's Let Me Be a Woman this past spring when I was browsing Amazon for some books. So I ordered it, and just got the chance to sit down yesterday and read some of it. I just knew God was smiling when I opened that book. It is all about being a Godly woman in all stages of life- single, married, parent, etc. It was so encouraging to have that this week, as I feel like with every page I am being fed more truth from the Word about who I am and what I am called to be as well as being encouraged and convicted. This is a must-read, and I can guarantee you the entire thing will be underlined when you're done :)

Secondly, my youth pastor's wife gave me a couple blogs to look at when we were discussing healthy cooking. I love experimenting with yummy recipes that are healthy, and I also have a sort of a habit (some may call it an addiction) of reading blogs by moms with big families :)
So I've been perusing these 2 blogs, collecting some potential recipes, and reading inspirational posts on life, love, marriage, and family. Obviously, I'm not at the stage of life yet where these things are directly pertinent, but the Lord uses each season to shape and prepare us. So, I thought I'd share them with all of you lovely ladies as well:

You're gonna' love 'em! The only thing that could be better is if they'd adopted hehe :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Made for this.

God has slowly been impressing something on my heart these past few weeks, months, years. Last night as I was journaling, I felt like it all kind of came full circle in my head.

I grew up playing house (always the mom), hospital (always the pregnant wife), orphanage (always the caretaker). My barbies, polly pockets, and Playmobil had weddings, adoptions, and births. On a daily basis lol :)

I made our family's first chore chart when i was 10, and from the time I was 13 I spent much of my free time cleaning, doing laundry, or organizing things around the house. I delighted in bringing order to our home, and structure to our family.

The past couple of years have been full of making college decisions, choices of majors and minors. All with the goal in mind of getting a job when I graduate. I know that the Lord has provided the opportunity and the funds for me to get a college degree. And I know without a doubt that these things I am learning, these relationships I am building are going to put forth fruit for the rest of my life. I don't regret taking this path at all.

It wasn't until Spain that the idea of getting a job became a reality. And I freaked out. Realizing that the skills I am learning are going to someday be put forth to an employer. They will evaluate, and if they deem me worthy, they will give me a job. I will then perform these skills to their satisfaction, and they will give me a paycheck, which will help to support my family. For some reason, that idea really scares me. Maybe it's my pleaser personality, my constant fear of failure, which is a lack of faith and trust in the Lord's provision. I've thought about switching majors, or getting a Masters in something other than Spanish, something that maybe wouldn't be so much pressure.

Last night, we went over for dinner at my youth pastor's house. As I helped his wife prepare dinner, we talked about her new whole-foods cooking. She was telling me about grinding grain, making whole-wheat bread for only $0.69, budgeting her weekly menu, and her goals to provide healthy meals for her family while still living within their means. It was funny to see how in only 2 years our conversations had gone from high-school drama to housekeeping. Another conversation with a homeschool mom from our church turned to things they have done with their children such as having them stand up to pray for their meals, or reading the Bible at every meal. The truth of the matter is that these things excite me. The idea of going and getting a job does not satisfy that longing in my heart. But faithfully building a home for my family to live in that is Christ-centered, healthy, secure sounds like the best job that I could ask for. Providing a comfortable, welcoming place for my husband to come home to, and for guests to come into. Providing a safe place for both my birth children, and any foster or adopted children to come into, that they might heal and grow to reach their full potential in Christ. The challenge of using sales and coupons to cook meals. Doing laundry, reading countless children's books over and over again, telling the broken heart of the orphan one more time that I love you and you are part of this family. These are the things that find such value and purpose in my heart.

Now, before this starts coming off as some fairy-tale, romanticized scene of my dreamy future, I do want to acknowledge 2 things. First, work is a part of this life. Genesis 2:15 says "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." We were put on this earth to work, but the fall made that work a curse instead of a blessing. Therefore, it is impossible to avoid work, and it is sinful to try. Slothfulness is not of the Lord, and only by work is His kingdom furthered. Therefore, I absolutely believe that women have a place in the work force, and I have no plans to fore-go finding a job. Also, I completely acknowledge that the life of a wife and mom is not easy. It is far from the perfect scene I just wrote about in the above paragraph. While there are endless blessings that come from both of those roles, marriage and parenting do not save us. It is only by the Lord that we can find satisfaction, wholeness, and joy in whatever task He has set us to.

That being said, it has become more and more clear to me that women were made for this. I don't think there's a more beautiful image of womanhood than a mother with a baby in her arms. A mother who truly delights in her children, and delights in her role as help-meet to her husband will have peace and joy through Christ. All those years of playing house, and helping my mom with our home was not just a "little girl thing." It is a desire that is born into the heart of a little girl, that just grows and matures. Why? Because she was made for that. My Dad always told me that there is no higher calling for a woman to be a wife and mother, and I really believe that.

So how do we take this truth in light of the world we live in? How do we blend this high calling from God in a society that values careers, views children as a burden, and wealth as a blessing? How do we as young women prepare our hearts for the coming years when we will have the opportunity to live out this calling?

I don't have any easy answers. But, I am finding such peace and reassurance in the knowledge that our God made the heart of a woman, and He looks down with delight. As I've prayed about these thoughts, I have come to realize that the most important thing is to wait on the Lord's timing. He knows us better than we know ourselves, so He knows the cries of our hearts, the longing, the hopes, the dreams. He knows that we hold these dreams at arm's length, so scared that the hopes we have will be shattered by this harsh world. It gives me strength to hold onto the things that He instilled in me. It encourages me to go to other hurting women and challenge them to push on with the fight to Godly womanhood. We have a God who is trustworthy. We can marvel at His creation, marvel at the intricacies of our souls, and wait on Him. For we were made for this.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


It's 12:45, and everyone is asleep. It's just me, my fruit (i probably eat more fruit than all of your reading this blog put together), Rold Gold pretzels, 19 Kids and Counting, and my computer. Speaking of 19 Kids and Counting, Anna Duggar is about to have her baby so I can't go to bed until the show is finished. I'm pathetic lol.

I have been home for 4 full days now, and it has been wonderful. Time has been surreal, as in some ways I feel like I have been home forever, and in other ways, the time is already going too fast. There have been long walks with Spencer, all the familiar foods, sweet times with family,

sleeping in, and getting to work out again (i know, not exactly everyone's favorite but I do enjoy that).

I have been relaxing while scrapbooking my trip and watching movies. It's been therapeutic to sit down in the basement for hours at a time, letting my creative juices flow while reflecting on my trip. Seeing the pictures on the pages has reminded me again of the incredible opportunity I had the past 7 weeks. I saw so much beauty, history, picturesque sights of Europe.

I have almost exactly one month before school starts. I cannot wait to return to the community that I have there, and I have SO much to look forward to this next year. But I am not at all ready to start school, especially to start another Spanish class.

But until then, I have many more long summer evenings to look forward to, a week of family vacation, a trip to St. Louis to see friends, and more time to recuperate before falling into the chaos of college life again. I'm determined to make the most of every day that I have left of summer, so thankful for the growth the Lord has brought, the blessings He has given, and this wonderful place I call home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


If you are not familiar with the fabulous family at A Place Called Simplicity, I urge you to go to their blog and get to know them. God has used their journey of faith and trust to both encourage and convict me.

Their latest treasure is Miss Ruby Grace, who they announced they would be adopting here. Tiny Ruby stole her daddy's heart while they were in Uganda last month. And their latest trip, he did everything he could to take care of this precious girl. She weighed 6 pounds when they met her, though she was already 10 months old. She has hydrocephalus, a condition occurs where water collects on the brain. In this case, it is due to her malnourishment. This baby was starved. When they found her at the baby home last month, she was unable to keep any type of food down at all. This past week, they were able to feed her in teeny-tiny bits at a time.

They posted pictures of their precious new daughter, who was left to die- but destined by God to live. My heart broke.

Many ask why. Why would 50-year old parents adopt a baby at all, much less a baby with special needs? Why would parents of 14 children adopt again?

But here's the truth. We as Christians are not called to ask why. We are called to say Yes, Lord, here am I. I mean honestly, who are we to say or do anything but that? Somehow we HAVE to get out of this mindset that our lives are for us. Because they're not. We don't get to live this life for us, and then come back again and serve the needy, care for the orphan, and feed the hungry on Round #2. This isn't a game.

I don't know how to live like that. I don't know that I want to live like that. I write on this blog about how convicted I am, how challenged and encouraged i am to strive to live a life that reflects Christ. But when it really comes down to it, that's a scary thing to actually live out. When you surrender yourself to the Lord like DW and Linny have, BIG things happen. Yet- those BIG things have been beautiful. They have a huge, beautiful family. They have children who once lived in an orphanage, who now know the love of a family and most importantly the love of Jesus.

So as I wrestle through this issue, I want to say YES, Lord, here am I. And if that means adopting a tiny little girl from Uganda with special needs, then I will trust our big God to give me a huge, heaping load of trust and strength.

What big things, or what little things is the Lord asking you to say YES to right now?

He has Spoken

Broken, burdened, feeling lost

Wanting to serve at any cost.

Amazed by my selfishness, blindness, and pride

I act as if I’m the only one in this life.

And then I’m reminded, it shatters me still;

That the children are dying, hungry, ill

My eyes dart away from the face on the screen.

She just can’t be real, it must be a bad dream.

But this precious little girl was somebody’s daughter,

So sick and disabled is she that nobody wants her.

But someone has to love her, someone has to care.

Some has to choose, a jump of faith, a love dare.

This tiny body is perfect in the eyes of her Creator,

A normal life she may not live, but it will glorify the Savior.

What road will we choose? The one of safety, comfort?

Or will we choose to let go and live the one of joy, hurt?

I am crying to Jesus to show me the way

I want to walk the road that makes me trust him day by day

I so long to bring Him glory, serve forgotten, hurting, broken,

And I hold His hand with confidence, knowing He has spoken.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where I'm At

I am....
  • 4 days away from going home. God has been faithful.
  • Full of topics that I want to blog about. The Lord has really been placing some heavy stuff on my heart. I long for my life to glorify Him, and I also long for this blog to glorify Him. SO- when I get home, I'm hoping to get some of those thoughts from paper to computer screen :)
  • Totally and completely burned out on Spanish. Again, God has been faithful to sustain me, but I have never been so unable to listen to or speak Spanish like I am now. However, at the same time, I've never been so ready to fly to Latin America and use my Spanish.
  • So ready for Mexican food- Chips, salsa, queso, tortillas, the works :)
  • I should stop writing. ;)
Love you all and see you in 4 days!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Almost accomplished

My stack of flashcards and books
The list of some of the kings of Spain. Definitely didn't get those memorized!

1,000+ new vocabulary words

12 vocabulary tests

18 single-sided notebook pages full of notes on the Spanish history

20+ hours of studying for said history exam

1 entire notebook of Grammar and Conversation notes

4 compositions

1 6-page research paper

= 1 accomplished study abroad student.

Only 3 more days of classes and I'm DONE! :)

1 God of the Nations

I had the wonderful blessing to go over to a family’s house for dinner on Wednesday. I had met Jacqueline, the wife, at church on Sunday. She is a short, round-faced, brown-eyed passionate woman. Her face is always in a huge smile that radiates the joy in her heart. She is the most hospitable woman in the church, and she chooses to open her home once a week to students and young people. Upon meeting her, she handed me a pen and told me to write down my email, because I am coming to dinner on Wednesday! Alrighty then! I was nervous, and almost talked myself out of going. That next day, I talked with another student from the church who mentioned Jacqueline and how she has a huge passion for the orphans. What?! God could not have matched me up with a more perfect friend.

So I responded to the email and told her I would be honored to join her for dinner. I met up with another American, and we took a bus (where I saw the poor family from my previous post) to her apartment. Upon entering her apartment, I was surrounded by nothing but hospitality and fellowship. By the end of dinner, there were 8 people plus a baby gathered around their table from 5 countries, united by Spanish and a love of God. Jacqueline’s husband, Alfonso, was a delightful man. There was banter throughout the entire meal, and I was so happy to be able to participate and understand what was going on. It was really sweet to watch Jacqueline and Alfonso throughout the night. Alfonso would frequently address Jacqueline as “Mi princesa,” my princess. What woman doesn’t want to be called that?! There was obvious respect, love, and admiration.

At the end of the night, Jacqueline gathered us all around the living room. We held hands, and she prayed a blessing over us. Just a sweet, simple blessing to the Lord. It was beautiful. 5 nations, 1 tongue, 1 God.

Defining Moment

I feel as though this week has been rather distinctive. Definitely a defining week in my time here. I’ll try to sum up all of my experiences. But to start- a scene that has been heavy on my heart.

Last Wednesday I took a bus to a different part of Salamanca, and when I walked up to the bus stop, there was this little girl with darker skin and dark hair, and I immediately thought of Guatemala. She looked to be about 6, and just like any child, she was running back and forth. When she turned around, I caught a glimpse of her face and my heart skipped a beat. There was something about her features that looked so much like Claudia. Except this sweet girl had obviously lived a very hard life. Her clothes were worn, her teeth rotting, and her round, brown eyes were rather sunken. They were the same round eyes as Claudia, and her smile was precious. The innocence of childhood and the spark of joy were still lingering there.

I watched as she skipped back to her family, and my heart broke. They looked like they were merely surviving, just scraping by. The mom had a very long, dark face that was hardened by the world. It had an almost scary look to it, so full of bitterness were her eyes and facial expression. She resembled some of the Gypsies that I’d seen, and I wondered if perhaps that is where she got her unusual features. The dad looked to be South American. In front of the dad was a stroller with a little boy in it. He looked to be about 3, and there was something very, very wrong with him. He reminded me of the pictures I see of pediatric cancer patients in the hospitals. He had peach fuzz on top of his head, with the same beautiful big eyes that just popped out of his thin little face. He was smiling and shouting things at his sister, as his gruff dad stood with arms crossed, waiting for the bus to arrive. A second stroller held a little baby, and though I didn’t see much of him, he had the same beautiful skin as the rest, blissfully sleeping, still unaware of the rough world in which he had entered just months ago. I wrote in my journal the next day, “That family made my heart hurt. They made me uncomfortable, and even a little scared. I had not seen such an unhealthy, poor, desperate family yet on this trip. Their faces have continued to haunt me all day.”

THIS is why I am learning Spanish. To go love on children, to minister to families, to help broken mothers like that get on the path to hope. I so long to do that. Waiting on the Lord for His will and His timing has been so hard, so transforming, and so beautiful.

For whatever reason, that family brought out this deep love and burden even more. I don’t know what will come of it. Sometimes the Lord just desires to remind us of His call. Other times, He’s growing that seed a little bit more, for something special.

Dad, I don’t think our time in Guatemala is finished. Can’t wait to see what the Lord is doing J