We Must Remember The Storm

Of all my most cherished photographs there is one that stands out.

There are pictures illustrating wedding day jitters, and another portraying a perfectly wrinkled newborn smirking in her sleep. There is one that captures the rare occurrence of me and my siblings embracing, and another of my daughter warily taking her first steps.

And then there is the picture I hold closest to my heart…

a picture of when I had nearly given up.

storm

The summer sun illuminating the smile I had purposefully painted on my face doesn’t fool me. At the exact time this picture was taken my husband had been sleeping on the couch for weeks, and the broken promises within our marriage easily outnumbered the wedding gifts we had received just two years earlier! We had run out of things to say and even worse, reasons to keep trying to make it work!

…And it was going to get worse!

At the time this picture was taken, I could have never known that there were more lies bubbling to the surface, more fits of tears in store (that were oftentimes so intense, I questioned whether my heart would physically give out) And even more difficult for me to admit, a bout of depression that would have me questioning whether I could endure any longer.

The picture that holds the most significance to me is one taken amidst a raging storm in my life. A storm that pains me to remember, but I am hard-pressed to never forget!

A storm much like what was described in the Bible…

“The waters of the flood came and covered the Earth…

All the underground waters erupted from the Earth and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky…

The rain continued to fall…

The floodwaters grew deeper…

As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface.”  

Genesis 7:10-12, 17-18

This violent storm that the Bible is referring to is the flood, and from the sound of its enormity it sounds much like the ’emotional storms’ I have found myself in!

…When bad luck seemed to fall ‘ in mighty torrents from the sky’…when my seemingly happy existence ‘erupted’ into something barely recognizable …When my trials got deeper… and deeper… and each new wave of trouble threatened to overtake me….

Yet, the Lord kept me safe.

After all I am here to tell you about it, aren’t I?

God tells us that our lives will be full of many seasons, “planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night…” but in Genesis 9:11 He clearly says, “… never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood.”

God made a promise to the world (via a rainbow) that He would never again destroy all life, and that picture of me smack-dab in the middle of my heartache proves He never did!

Even so, my heart will always break for the girl in that picture. When I look into her eyes I will always feel pressed to tell her there’s no need to disguise her pain because I know she cries every night in a heap in the closet. Oh, how I wish I could remind her that when she screams out in frustration like a raging lunatic, it’s not a direct reflection of how ‘awful she is’ but how hurt she has been!’

… And that no matter how unfair a hand life has dealt her if she can withstand the storm  just a little longer, the storm will settle ‘and she will not be destroyed!

Our God promises a life of varied seasons, so we can be certain that at times it is going to rain! Likely even that it will POUR!

But even when life seems most bleak… we will not be destroyed!

Even when we feel most weary… we will not succumb!

Because In God’s hands we will ‘float safely on the surface’ of every storm that comes our way!

Oftentimes it takes staring deep into the heartache of our past, to speak directly to the fear that is overwhelming us in the present. So this week: find a picture of yourself in the midst of the most turbulent storm in your life, and remind yourself that our God will overcome!

He did it before, He will do it again! ( and again!)

“[God] calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.” Psalm 107:29Krista Signature

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Misconceptions of a Godly Woman

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I realize that this post may offend certain people: Good people, who I would probably really get along with otherwise…

But for the record, I am not sorry.

Last week’s post Worthy of Rubies was me, buttoned up in my ‘Sunday’s best’ and smiling pretty. But over the last couple of days a fire has come over me and I can’t keep silent.

You see, I hate when women stand before other women and use their platform to hide behind facades of ideal marriages, perfect specimens of children and strong opinions on the likes of breastfeeding, vaccines and church politics…

I cringe when the Kim Kardashian’s of the world pose half-naked in an attempt to prove that they are still sexy, when any ‘real mom’ feels like anything but!

When friends on Facebook post statuses like “ …Made 6 loaves of banana bread, ran 12.8 miles, fed the homeless, and saved a cat, and was still able to get home in time to make homemade apricot pork loin and apple crisp for dinner tonight,” while the rest of us are left wondering how we even made it out of our pajamas today?!?

I don’t know when being sexy and domestically superior made us more of a woman, but let me challenge you with what I believe is the #1 Misconception of a Godly Woman…

Years ago I took a class in Bible College that still to this day gets my blood boiling. It was a class called Christian Womanhood.

Three times a week, hundreds of college freshman ladies piled into the auditorium, who if they were anything like me, anticipated by the name of the class ‘Christian Womanhood’ that we would come to understand what it truly meant to become the godly woman the Lord desires for us to be.

Most of the girls attending the class would one day go on to become pastor wives, missionaries, and christian school teachers; women who would have the potential to impact other women, communities and the World in POWERFUL ways!

And yet, THIS is what we learned…

– How to execute a wedding. Complete with rehearsing a mock wedding in which each of my peers played a ‘part.’ I however, sat in the audience (on the groom’s side if you want to be specific) uninterested, and unapologetic … I mean, seriously? 

– The importance of making dinner for our families each night, and the convenience of using a crock pot. …Yep, it happened.  

– Why we must only read the King James Version of the Bible. But I have no notes on that lesson because unashamedly, I tuned that one out!

It was also in this class that we did an in-depth study of Proverbs 31 in the Bible. Which wasn’t bad per se, but due to all of the above and the fact that I actually paid for this nonsense of a class, I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that still to this day I have a physical aversion to any of the topics covered in that class, including the beloved Proverbs 31 woman!

Interestingly enough though, my husband came to me last week and asked me to write a devotion for our church (on you guessed it – Proverbs 31!)  And in all honesty I fought him about it HARD, completely downplaying the significance of it in the Bible!

And yet as I pored over the chapter myself I realized something I had never seen before, something I can assure you was NEVER taught in my class all those years ago:

Who can find a capable wife?… She is energetic and STRONG…  She has NO FEAR of winter…  She is clothed with STRENGTH…

Proverbs 31:10, 17, 21, 25

The Proverbs 31 woman is a lot of things- domestic and lovely, successful and well-respected. But most repeated, she is STRONG! Not anything like the passive and weak woman we are so often encouraged to be! She has no fear of winter – the difficult times to come – and is not limited to planning weddings and using crock pots.

65 (1 of 1)It got me thinking go the times I have had to be strong…

When 2 years into my marriage, when we should have been comparing paint swatches for the living room and eating breakfast in bed (or whatever it is that newlyweds do) but instead we were battling it out in screaming matches and trying to decide what we would do with the house in the event of a divorce.

…When The Lord asked me to forgive my husband, and even more clearly, when I begged God kicking and screaming to let me move on. To give me permission to break ties with the man I was petrified would hurt me once again! But how the Lord never wavered.

How I was furious and shaken but STRONG when to choose to please the Lord above all else and embark on a journey to learn to love my husband again.  And for the record,  I am so incredibly glad I did!

How years later, we faced an unimaginable tragedy in our church while my husband was away at summer camp. How I wanted nothing more then for my husband to walk through the door, so I could immerse myself into the comfort of his arms, allowing myself to freely fall into a heap of tears with the one person who shared my mutual heartache. And how it never happened…

Because upon returning home, my husband made only one request: we not cry. How instead, he wanted to watch the news footage covering the accident over… and… over… and lay on floor and listen to worship music until late into the night. How he needed me there, and how more than anything he needed me to be STRONG!

How impossible it felt (how impossible it would’ve been apart from the Lord!) but how I sought hard to find my strength in Christ, relying on Him wholeheartedly for my comfort so that I could be strong for my husband so that in return, he could be strong for so many others as their Pastor!

In those moments, Oh, how my soul longed for a woman to have opened up and spoken to me as a college freshman about THAT! To have a woman stand before me, vulnerable about her overwhelming fears and unworthiness, but speaking on behalf of God’s immeasurable strength available to us in spite of it!

And so if I could teach a class on Christian Womanhood and if all of you reading were my exceptionally lovely students…

I would tell you that the most breathtaking picture of a ‘christian woman’ is not merely a sweet, modest, well-spoken domestic goddess, but the woman whose strength and unshakeable faith lifts up all those around her despite her circumstances or the ‘winter’ she has found herself in. (Prov. 31:21)

I’d tell you no matter how beautiful of a bride you make, that one day your marriage may feel hopeless. And to remember when that day comes: it’s not a direct reflection of the INADEQUACY of you, but the potential GREATNESS of God if we allow Him to restore the broken pieces left of our hearts, and our vows.

That one day, the strong men we marry may need OUR strength to – literally and physically – pick them up off the floor. And that it won’t be a damn crock pot that will save the day, but the fire deep within us to FIGHT for our marriages and for our husbands to be the godly men that the Lord desires them to be!

Because the truth is, EVERYONE can let us down. But by choosing to find our strength in Christ, there is NOTHING God can’t grant us, and NOTHING He cannot restore! We need only to turn to Him, for He is the only one capable of giving life to our broken hearts and the strength we need to keep holding on.

And it would be as simple as that.

Class is dismissed.

Krista Signature

Lessons Learned from a Beautifully Imperfect Marriage

image Crowds of our closest friends and family roared with excitement as we pushed open the door and stepped out onto streets of Downtown Portland! Gwen Stefani’s ‘Sweet Escape’ played out in the open air as we made our way down the steps, where a Volkswagen convertible waited for us -the backseat filled with beautifully adorned presents.
Just Married.

photoAfter last hugs and well wishes, we waved until everyone lining the streets behind us had faded into the distance. I let out a deep sigh of relief and grabbed the hand of my new husband. A perfect end, to a perfect day!

At the stoplight, a flood of panic ensues! He looks at me, You grabbed my bag right? The one with all my clothes?  I have no idea what he is talking about. WE HAVE TO GO BACK THEN! He persists. I instantly burst into tears at the thought! He turns the car around and I literally scream out to him, YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN MY EXIT!!!  I plead with him to turn the car around, imagining the embarrassment of going back to face our guests just to casually grab a bag, when we had just previously exited so dramatically- so perfectly!

He turns to see tears streaming down my face, his eyes soften when they make contact with mine. This is not how you envision your first moments together as husband and wife.

He ends up giving in to my demand and leaves his bag behind -And our wedding night is instead, spent searching for a gas station in an attempt to find toothpaste!

But I was happy-

because at least everything looked perfect from the outside!

Isn’t that how marriage so often is? We are content so long as we look perfect.

So long as our family doesn’t suspect anything has gone awry, and so long as our Facebook profile represents what a picturesque family should look like to all of our friends.

Though our tear stained faces, and nightly yelling matches may prove otherwise!

After celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary last night, I got to thinking about the most significant lessons I have learned over the last few years. And believe I am in no way saying that I know it all  in our mere 6 years, or that the lessons I share are ones that we have mastered. ‘I speak from scars and not theory…’

Lesson #1:  Practice Fighting

My husband and I were doing premarital counseling with a couple just months before they were to get married, when on the topic of ‘conflict resolution’ they brought up the fact that they don’t often get in arguments and even when they do, it’s always about something petty.

The couple then described their last disagreement which was about whether Sweet Potatoes were the same as Yams. We laughed with them as they described how the conversation actually got heated! They couldn’t agree, and it resulted in the both of them getting frustrated with each other!

Those of you who have been married for even a month, know that married couple have no problem finding MUCH more to fight about then just spuds! But I have found for my husband and I,  it’s not what we fight about or even how often, it’s how we fight that is most important!

If my husband and I have a differing opinion on who should take out the trash, and every time its brought up I shut down and he leaves the house in a fit of rage, then how do you expect we will handle a different – more serious – conflict?

In our case, we resorted back to what we knew – to the unhealthy fighting habits we had put into place from the beginning! And because of that, our lack of communication skills nearly threatened to end our marriage before it had truly even started!

I don’t care what you are fighting about potatoes, pa-ta-toes,  or who’s choice in carpet matches better with the curtains; Practice fighting each fight as if its a BIG one, because the truth is, one day it will be!

Life can bring deaths in the family, children, surmounting bills, and debilitating illnesses -all of which make effective communication more difficult. But if you allow yourselves to struggle in the beginning – doing your best to make a habit of good communication and problem solving in the small areas – when difficult circumstances arrive in the future, you will have already worked out most of the kinks that will help you walk through the most daunting disagreements a little more effortlessly!

heartLesson#2: Say Nothing Negative to your Spouse

Two years into our marriage, my husband and I were at a crossroads; He had hurt me, and I had forgotten how to love him. We didn’t have children yet, and were considering our options of walking away from it all and getting a divorce.

We wanted it to work, it just didn’t seem likely that it would.

It was around that time, that we picked up the book “Love Dare” from the movie Fireproof  (that I’ll admit, had me falling asleep due to incredibly horendous acting. No offense Kirk, my heart still skips a beat for you on ‘Growing Pains’)

The reason I bought the book though, was because it was a devotional that each day gave you an assignment on how to better love your spouse – which is exactly what I was struggling to do at the time!

The first assignment:  For the next day resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all.  If temptation arises, choose to not say anything.

I kid you not, it took me 9 whole days to sucessfully complete this assignment!!!!

For the life of me, I could not stop making biting remarks towards my husband!

“Don’t say anything negative….Don’t say anything negative…” I would think to myself, and then I’d nag at him about the dirty dishes in the sink.

“Don’t say anything negative…” and then I would bring up his past and why we were in our predicament in the first place!

Either way – whether justified or nit picky – the book clearly said “Say nothing negative to your spouse” -and I even more clearly, sucked at it! I could only wonder how long the rest of the book was going to take me!

But the truth is, once I got past the first assignment, I was surprised to find that the rest of the book – and the journey to learning to love my husband – got a whole lot easier!

Choosing simply, to not to cut each other down, laid the foundation to help us build our marriage back up!

In the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” they discuss a study conducted by Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington. ‘Gottman and his team of researchers have been studying marriages for more than twenty years, identifying which ones will improve and which ones will deteriorate. They are now even able to predict their results with an astounding 95 percent accuracy rate!! ‘

He says it’s all about how the couple can handle conflict within their marriage. And he goes on to discuss ‘the four ways of interacting that will sabotage you attempts to resolve conflict constructively’

The #1 way to sabotage your marriage: criticizing your spouse!

Saying negative things to your spouse is proven in this study to be a gateway for the other things that can creep in and destroy your marriage! (You can read more on that here)

Lesson #3: Admit Defeat

This might not mean what you initially think it means.

Admitting defeat to me, means finding someone you trust and being honest about what you and your husband are going through. Let go of the perfect image you are trying to uphold and reveal your true dishelved selves.

This lesson proved to be one of the most helpful steps we took in our marriage – I only wish, I would have done it on purpose!

I doubt I would have, if it wasn’t for a family friend who came up to me after church one night and asked how Ricky and I were doing, and when without thinking, I responded with a desperate plea for prayer. I can remember regretting my vulnerability almost immediately! Yet because of that vulnerability, God was able to use her as a pivotal piece to getting my marriage back on track!

She met me regularly for breakfast over the course of that year; relating to my heartache, walking with me through my uncertainty, and telling me of the miraculous ways that God had saved her marriage 15 years prior!

In Psalm 145:4-6 It illustrates this perfectly

Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.

I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.  

Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.

Find someone who can speak up when God seems silent, and remind you of all the extraordinary ways He has provided for them in their lives and in their marriages!

Someone who’s story gives you the hope to hang in there just a little longer – to give it your all until there is nothing left- so that we too, can proclaim His greatness when he transforms our most fragile relationships one day!

But in order to do so, we have to step away from the facade that we have been living behind, and admit we can’t do this on our own.

Lesson #4: Meet At The Cross

I had the privilege of hearing a Pastor by the name of Wayne Codeiro speak just last year in Orlando, Florida.  And what he would say in a room of thousands of other pastor’s and their wives would be a game changer for me and my marriage!

He spoke of a prenuptial agreement he made with his wife before they got married:

After asking her what she would do in a handful of different scenarios that could occur over the course of their lives, his wife always responded,  “I will follow you”

“What if it gets really tough?” he pressed

“I will still follow you!” she replied with no hesitation.

“We’re going to get lost you know…”

Confused, she asked what he meant.

“We are going to get lost, and there will be be times where you or I might drift… but will you make me a promise?”

She nodded.

“When we get lost and we can’t see the light of day -when we can’t find each other- would you promise that you would meet me back at cross?

He pauses, tears whelling in his eyes as he outloud recalls the conversation he had with his wife 38 years ago,

“And if I stray, will you wait for me?

I pledge that I will come back.

And if I get there before you, I promise I will wait for you.

Just meet me at the cross.”

The truth is, we stand with our spouse before God on our wedding day- dressed to the nines, giddy and clammy-handed, anxiously awaiting our future together- and yet along the way we do get lost, and our future together may no longer seem identifiable.

But I pray in that moment, each of us could stand together in the presence of the same God -badly bruised and broken maybe– but willing!

Expect to lose sight of one another,

but promise even then that you will meet at the cross.

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Krista’s Journey from Suburbia to the Big City- Part II

imageI had my dream job staying home with my baby girl, my husband had his dream job as a local youth pastor in an amazing church. We owned a beautiful home, had all the friends you could hope for, and we were excitedly trying for another baby…

But then God threw my eggs in the creek.

I’ll explain…

I had been reading a book called “Scouting The Divine” By Margaret Feinberg. The book is about a woman on a journey to bring to life some of the Bible’s greatest analogies that often get dismissed due to the fact that we aren’t able to fully comprehend them in the modern world we live in.

One of the analogies is one in which Jesus refers to Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’. In Feinberg’s search, she follows a skilled shepherd named Lynne seeking to learning her craft firsthand, and because of it, find the power behind the words Jesus used to describe Himself.  Not surprisingly, she finds the shepherd to be a loving and patient leader who wants the best for her flock…no doubt in the same way that the Lord relates with us.

However, my revelation came when I read what Feinberg describes as “One of the most meaningful lessons about God”…

It came from the geese in the barn.

I remember that they were constantly walking around.

“What are they looking for?” I asked Lynne.

“They’re looking for their eggs,” she [the shepherd] said.

“Where are they?” I asked.

“I threw them in the creek,” she said.

My eyes bugged in disbelief. I couldn’t help blurting out, “Why?” Her action seemed so cold and cruel- a far cry from the shepherd who loved her sheep.

“Because they were infertile,” she said. “They would never hatch. I need to get these geese back to their regular life. For three months they have been sitting on infertile eggs. The only way to get them back to the way they are supposed to be living is to take away their dead eggs.”

Her answer helped me understand her action as one of compassion and wisdom. I couldn’t help but wonder how often I have sat on dreams that were never going to come to fruition or, worse, sat on empty promises of the enemy that would never yield life- only self destruction and death.

I thought back to the numerous times where God has been faithful to remind me, “It’s time to get onto the life I have for you.”

The words might as well have lept off the page! I could instantly feel the weight of them on my heart!

You see, that lovely life that I was so content living – that I was truly happy living – it had changed abruptly. One day it was exactly as I had described, and the next it seemed almost unfamiliar.  No doubt, life has a tendency of doing that to all of us at some point – a health issue is found, a friendship comes to an end, a family is torn apart, a job is lost, a loved one passes, or a combination of such things occur – and mine was of the latter category.

I was trapped in my circumstances with no way out. I felt like the life that I knew – the life that I loved – was crumbling. Some of those closest to me, those I had relied on the most, now felt like strangers to me. There were even some looking in from the outside, not knowing my situation but sensing a change, who met me in my heartache with equal amounts of gossip and speculation.

Like a goose looking for my eggs, I was frantically trying to piece the perfect life I had created back together!  Never once considering that – maybe, just maybe – God never intended for my life to be put back together exactly the way He had found it.

Maybe my life wasn’t crumbling because of outside forces or because I wasn’t strong enough. Maybe the Lord was holding the chisel – slowly picking away, stripping me of the unnecessary relationship expectations that I had put on people, when instead, I should have been relying on Him. Ridding me of the deep baggage that I had been carrying for far too long, not even realizing how it had been holding me back. Even chiseling away at the dreams that I had been pursuing, knowing ultimately they didn’t align with what He had planned for my future.

I began to ponder, “What if what I am going through, this heartache I feel, is Divine?”

I could feel the Lord beckoning me back to Him saying, “It’s time to get back to the life I have for you.”

I then became curious, “What kind of life could He possibly have for me?” (I can’t help but smirk to myself as I type that)

Months later, my husband came to me like he had done a handful of times before, with a job description he had found. He began reading aloud the extensive qualifications needed for the available position.  Not even a minute into it, I remember stopping him, snatching the paper from his hands and continuing to read the rest out loud myself! My heart was pounding and I found myself having to stop every couple of sentences to take a deep breath.  

I couldn’t believe it! They were SO specific…and yet, they were looking for Ricky!

The Location?  No other than New York City!

My daughter Gia

My daughter Gia

So I went in search for the life the Lord had designed for me…

And 6 months later I have found myself living here, in a 650 sq ft apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I have traded my 4 bedroom house in suburbia, for a one bedroom apartment in the city that costs nearly double the price. And the sound of crickets and frogs that was once outside my window, have now, humorously, been replaced with the sound of continuous honking that goes on into the night. We no longer have our two cars, but instead rely on the subway and a good pair of Nike’s to get us where we need to be. We have also (although at times, painstakingly) decided to set aside our hopes for another baby – possibly indefinitely – unless the Lord were to tell us otherwise.

So where, do you ask, is the Hallelujah in all of this?

I can tell you that it isn’t in the fact that my heartache has magically disappeared now that I’ve relocated to the other side of the country. On the contrary, I am only beginning my healing process. But instead of feeling paralyzed by my pain, I am empowered by it; knowing that God can still use me in spite of my hurts…quite possibly even, because of them.

Knowing also that although I am far from everything I have ever known in the suburbs in what feels like a foreign country at times and living a life I would have never thought I had the courage to live…that even on the most difficult of days I possess the overwhelming sense of peace that I first found in a daydream just months ago.

The peace in knowing that THIS is exactly where my Shepherd has led me.

The lord is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need.
Psalm 23:1

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Krista’s Journey from Suburbia to the Big City- Part I

Last fall, I would often find myself daydreaming; imagining where God would take me and my family next.  I could always clearly visualize myself in a room filled to the ceiling with boxes of all of our belongings in our new home. I would go on to wonder what the rest of the house would look like, and in what city our new beginning would be located in. The part of my reoccurring dream that always resonated the most to me was that, instead of feeling the substantial stress associated with the task of moving, or the loneliness of being so far from the loved ones we left behind , was that there was always an overwhelming peace that was able to lull the other feelings almost entirely. Peace that can only come from the confidence you have, when you know you’re exactly where God wants you to be.

Oh, how I longed for that peace…

Because after all, that was a daydream.

At the time, I thought I knew so clearly what God wanted for me and my family… My husband Ricky and I were happily living in the beauty that is suburbia at its finest (Shout out to Camas, WA!!!)  Ricky had a great opportunity as a youth pastor of a church that was not only everything we could want in a church, but the people attending there became an integral part of our lives.  I am almost at a loss for the accurate words to describe how much they all meant to us; they were our family in every sense of the word.

Me and Rachel

Me and Rachel

I was also lucky enough, to have some of the most uh-mazing friends! Couple friends, mommy friends, girls night out friends (you know, the ones you get reeeally loud with and laugh till it hurts! Cheaper than therapy as I can attest to, and a heck of a lot more fun!)  I even had a friend who was nearly 25 years older than me that served as my mentor for years. And then there was Rachel. Never in my life have I experienced a friendship like the one I have with Rachel.  We had only been friends for 4 ½ years and yet it always felt like our souls just ‘got’ each other. We instantly connected and the rest is history.

Rachel is always the very first person I call. One specific time I remember calling her when I was in the face of an unimaginable tragedy. And when I no longer could find the words and my tears filled the silence, I can recall her lifting me up to our Heavenly Father in prayer as she fought back the tears herself. I also remember calling her when I was 7 months pregnant and was sent to the hospital because I was having signs of preterm labor. I of course tried to call my mom, and more importantly, the man who got me in the ‘initial condition’ to begin with; My husband. But unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get ahold of either of them. Even better, my husband was out of town for the week and had no cell service. Yeah, that was a pretty bad day. Without even having to ask, Rachel instantly left work after hearing the situation I was in and drove 40 minutes to be by my side in the hospital. If I ever need a good laugh I just think back to what it would have been like for me and Rachel to deliver a baby by ourselves. Oh my… Thankfully it didn’t come to that. But yes, she’s THAT friend in my life. Always will be.

imageWhile in Washington, we were also lucky enough to buy our first house. We bought it brand new but it wasn’t anything super fancy. Although, compared to what I am living in now- well, that’s another story for a different time. We never felt like we HAD to buy a house though.  We were completely content with what we had, when it felt as if God literally dropped the house into our laps. From the moment we moved in, we made the decision to use what He had so graciously given us to bring honor to Him any way that we could. We were always having bible studies, play dates, movie nights with our teens, premarital counseling sessions, and deep fry parties! Bet you never considered bringing glory to the Lord Almighty through a vat of bubbling hot oil!  Ohhhh, Why yes indeed!  And you absolutely must get one. Like right now. You will thank me.

The neighborhood we lived in was charming. It picturesquely surrounded the local elementary school that I had so often imagined walking my children to. The tree lined streets seemed to come alive in the fall, turning every color of the sun, only to transform into pink and white blossoms by the beginning of spring.  Each night, with the windows open, we would  fall asleep to the tune of crickets and frogs. Even better however, was that we were only 2.1 miles to the nearest Costco and Walmart! Which if we’re honest, is all that reeeeally matters isn’t it?

Our neighbors were rare in that, our families were close. We would often come together and have barbeques on the street, or the little boys next door would ring our doorbell and ask if our dog could come play (seriously, have you heard of anything cuter?)  I often joked that checking the mail would take an average of 45 minutes because you would “get stuck” …er,… be “catching up” with someone down the street. The conversation would usually end with an invitation for either family to stop by for dessert and coffee that night. We accepted nearly every time.

imagePossibly the most exciting thing, was that our little family of two was growing! About 4 years into our marriage, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Gia into the world. I was lucky enough to stay home with her from the very beginning, and I remember throughout her first year of life being so captivated and cherishing nearly every moment I got to spend with her. So much so, that soon after having her, my husband and I began trying for a second child. We had the names picked out, the new nursery room predetermined, and I had stocked up on prenatal vitamins…

And then God flipped my seemingly happy life upside down.

Yes, God.

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