Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two and a half years ago...

Two and a half years ago the door closed on what we once thought was going to be a lifetime commitment to something huge in Central Florida. Two and a half years ago God said to my husband, "not now Tyler". Two and a half years ago we said goodbye to our friends, our family, our home and our ministry to move to Indiana and transition into what we thought would be another ministry opportunity, of course unknown at the time, but something we legitimately thought would happen. Two and a half years ago when Tyler said to me, "Kari the church has to close and I have to find a new job" I said to him, "I'm not worried about that, you'll find something before the summer is over." Two and a half years ago God had other plans. He had plans to break us. Teach us. Mold us. Move us. Shake us. He had plans for us but not for the Kari and Tyler two years ago, He had plans for the Kari and Tyler that are right now. As it turns out it took two years for Him to do a work in our marriage and in us as individuals before His plan was put into action. You see, around Christmas time we made a very hard decision to leave our current church in Goshen to church shop here in town. Goshen was just too far, we were unable to commit to things during the week because our work schedules and the 40 minute drive was just too much and it was just too far to build community in a community of which we didn't belong. We stepped out in true faith and what we found a mere four minutes from where we live is nothing short of amazing. A church whose vision is one we believe in and support 100%, whose people love Jesus and serve our community, whose chairs are filled with broken individuals that are searching for acceptance in Christ without feeling rejected by his followers, whose leadership is strong and focused. We found our place at Mission Point. We have never felt more at home in any church than we do right here and right now. But here's the best part ya'll... Two and a half years later? Our pastor sat in our home, in our living room with a potential job offer for Tyler. Director of Worship and Connections he said. Be creative and run with it he said. This potential opportunity was the furthest thing from our mind when we joined forces with Mission Point, not even a blip on our radar and to have it become a reality was utterly mind boggling. After he left we both just sat there in complete silence, soaking in all the goodness of the last two hours. It had finally happened. You see when we were going through this major transition over the last couple of years I kept telling myself (and sometimes out loud to Tyler), "when we're done with this, whatever THIS is, it will all make sense." That's what I told myself when we were going through the adoption process and so I decided to try it out on this one. I really did believe deep down in my heart that this would happen again. I believe that when God places within you the deepest desire to do something He will honor that. I've experienced firsthand what that's like and to follow it to completion but this time? This crap was hard. Here is what I do know. I know that we have never felt more at home and more connected in any church than at Mission Point. We have never identified with the vision of a church more than we have now. I have never been more in tune with what it means to be patient and wait. To hold on during those low lows because you know what, "are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31. I had a sparrow tattoo done four years ago based on this very Bible verse. Who knew that it would carry much more significance than I ever thought possible. So now what? After Labor Day my very dearest friend will begin the journey yet again, although I'm certain with a much different ending. To the current leadership at Mission Point, thank you for believing in him and trusting him with a very important element of ministry. Thank you for recognizing what I've always known to be true. An undeniable God given ability and immense passion.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mental images...

When they pulled up to the front of our house on a chilly Sunday afternoon I was spying on her through the front window blinds. I wanted that one last second to look her over for any obvious changes since our last visit seven months ago. Nope. Still the same leggy, confident and pretty teenager who happens to be an orphan and the mother of my child. This time ya'll? She ran. She swung open that van door and literally dashed across the street up to our front porch. Completely uninhibited by any "will she remember me's?", "will she like me's?", "will Kari and Tyler be weird with me?". This is one of the reasons why I love this girl so much. She's just such a freaking game changer and she doesn't even know it yet! The extrovert, the boldness, the necessity is so much my personality it's literally the coolest thing ever. This one image of her running across the street to our house brought tears to my eyes and I basically had to punch myself in the face to stop. I looked at Tyler eyes welled up and said, "Tyler...she's running to the door." These moments bring on so many thoughts for me. First, thankfulness then working our way towards happy, then almost always pride in how cool of a kid she really is and almost always guilt. It's weird though the guilt thing, because it's more like guilt that I don't do enough to maintain those large gaps by holding up my end of the "bargain". The emails and random photos sent through an emails, I mean heck I usually feel guilt in regards to the !,000 miles I just put between us when originally it was only supposed to be about 120. I almost always wonder how she really feels about us. I wonder what she says to the other girls she lives with. It could be that maybe she doesn't think about us that often I suppose. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. I can't wait until these kinds of stories have meaning to our girl although if I'm being honest the simple act of typing those words out gave me a nervous feeling in my stomach. Those future talks, the ones I know won't always be pretty. The ones that will leave my girl feeling a little less ok with being adopted at times, pining for someone who looks like her and has traits that are because of genetics and not because of environment. For now I'll remember the run to the door, still such an innocence even after all of her heartbreak. She's my hero.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To my big girl on Mother's Day...

It's Mother's Day today, our third one together actually. Do you know how amazing you are? Do you know how beautiful and smart and caring and intuitive you are? Do you know how lucky people are to know YOU? I know I'm lucky to know you. I know that out of all the kids on this whole earth God chose you for ME. He knew I'd need you. He knew that you'd need me. You see this works both ways pretty girl. I needed you to fill the void of mama which you have done above and beyond, I needed you to fill the need I had to parent a child whose own parents couldn't. I needed you to show me that I can make mistakes and flub this "mothering" stuff up and you flat out don't care. Eventually the reality of being adopted will make its way into our every day conversations. You'll ask questions. You'll feel the loss. You'll be confused and maybe even hurt. You'll need me then sweetheart. You'll need me to tell the stories of how we came to know you that Friday night in October. You'll need me to tell you that I constantly checked your breathing on the way home because you were so quiet in the backseat that we forgot you were there. You'll need me to show you the pictures of you in your first mama's belly and tell her super hero story. I'll eventually need you to tell me that you love me just the same. I'll need you to tell me that you get it, that even though it hurts you totally get it. These are my prayers for us on Mother's Day. Our need for each other will come and go in just the right moments because you and I? We're clutch like that. Sweet Emery, it's my greatest privilege and honor to have you call me "mama" every day. I can not imagine my life without you in it. You are the smartest, funniest, sassiest, most beautiful, stubborn and caring little girl I've ever had the fortune of knowing. May you always know that the most important thing is how you show your Savior's love to others.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Defining...definition...defined...

2012 was a defining year for us. Normally I'd be able to pinpoint a certain defining moment, that actual incident that was the definition of what was most certainly the hardest year of our lives but alas we were worked over pretty much nonstop. My silence on this blog recently hasn't been because I have nothing to say anymore in fact it's quite the contrary. I have a lot to say about what I've learned about marriage, rolling with the punches, parenthood, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, and who I really want to be as a wife, mother, sister, believer, and friend. Several times I'd sit down poised and ready to just let go of some things because writing/journaling is unbelievably cathartic for me but I couldn't follow through. It was too much. Too many topics. Too much complaining or too much offending (which generally the offending thing doesn't usually stop me). Instead, I'm going to focus on the fact that 2013 is a freaking "do over" year where things start fresh, we'll stop taking score, we'll mend, we'll break free, we'll actually affect change and maintain. ....So, I started this post on January 1st of this year. I didn't finish because I think I was interrupted or even sometimes I leave it alone for a bit until the juices that are flowing start to form a little more cohesion. Consider this. Cohesion formed. Juices now have direction. We've seen God bless us in amazing ways over the last few months and oddly enough very few of those blessings have to do with "stuff" or things we thought we needed but more to do with what we didn't realize was missing in the first place. He's cool like that. Sprinkling little bread crumbs in front of us leading down the path he had planned for us all along. Or at least for now. I'm very thankful and grateful for a Father who knows and meets my needs before I realize the need exists.