"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Friday, August 30, 2013

and the search marches on...

This morning my heart hurts and it is sad. I'm sorting through it and trying to reconcile the pieces that fell apart last night.

We live in this awesome rental right now...it perfectly exceeds our needs. However, we deeply desire to own a home. One of our own. To update and redo and dream and create with. And that is one of our hopes in the present or not to far off future- to buy a home. As we are settling in our rental we are casually looking at homes as they come on the market.

Last week our realtor sent us an email with a house that just came on the market. It was ADORABLE. We scheduled a showing as quickly as we could. We walked through it and
fell. in. love. I mean seriously in love. It was completely our style and the type of home we dreamed about owning. We looked beyond the never-updated-kitchen and the completely gutted upstairs and the no garage and the messy electrical wiring and how all the windows and siding would need torn down and replaced and the tiny one bathroom and and and AND we dreamed and envisioned and created this cozy little home.

I jumped on pinterest and seth jumped on autocad and together we tore down walls and added walls and "built" a home. It had charm. It had character. It had potential. It was "our style" to a perfect T. AND we could afford it. And we could afford to update it. We absolutely had fallen in love with it. I kept trying not to but eventually along the way I did.

So like any hopeful-first-time-homebuyer who is in love with a home would do- we put in an offer. Admittingly, it was low, but it was definitely fair. So for three days we countered back and forth with the sellers. Three very long days. Wednesday night we put our final offer in along with a personal letter explaining how much we loved this home. And the next morning when we excitedly hoped to hear good news we found out someone else had put in an offer THAT morning. The morning our final offer was supposed to be accepted. My heart sank because I knew we couldn't really compete in a bidding war. I was sad. I was mad at these unknown people for making an offer on our house- how dare they?! I was mad at the sellers for even entertaining the idea of another offer after all we had been through together in the past 3 days. Righteous indignation, right? (no. not at all actually).

The plan was both buyers were supposed to come to the table with their very best offer by 2:00 pm yesterday afternoon. So we talked and offered our best. We brought all we could, minding the extensive updating, to the table. We were really hopeful. I mean, hello- we had been working with these sellers for 3 days and had written them a sweet, heart-felt little letter about why they should pick us. I kept trying to tell myself to prepare for the worst but my stinkin heart made that really difficult.

Seth and I kept texting that afternoon..."have you heard anything yet?!" "nope. not yet". "any news yet?!" "no, haven't heard anything yet :(". I had a feeling he would find out on his commute home from work. I envisioned him running through the front door and announcing we were first time home buyers and laughing, hugging, yada yada yada. Okay slightly dramatic...but you get it. Instead he walked in, shoulders low and sad eyes. Right away I could tell something wasn't right but I didn't want to ask. I didn't want to face it. But like it or not, I can't escape reality. A recent quote I read hit me "avoiding reality never changes reality".

He showed me the text from our realtor that said "I'm sorry, but the sellers decided to accept the other offer". I had planned not to cry if this happened. I had planned to be okay with it. We had prayed specifically that God would not give us this house if it wasn't right. We had prayed and prayed over it. But I forgot not to cry and the tears flowed. I forgot to be okay with not getting it and proclaimed "why is everything always so hard?! why does God always make our journeys so difficult". (in counseling we have been taught *relentlessly* not to use words like always/never/everything/etc because they tend to over-dramatize and under rationalize the reality). But there was no rationalizing going on in that moment. It was a pure broken and shattered heart.

I cried, we hugged. We stood, sad. Sad eyes and sad hearts. We knew it would be okay. We knew we were blessed beyond measure. We knew God would provide. But we needed a moment of just being where we were before moving on.

So what better way to move on than to tear apart the house. haha, oh dear. I felt a wave wash over me and told seth, "Okay, now let's tell eachother everything we hated about the house and why it would have been a TERRIBLE idea for us to buy it"...so for the next 15 minutes we talked through why this would have been a "terrible" purchase and why we were so much better off without it. And then at the end, I cried again because I still loved it.

So after hashing through it last night and riding the emotions and telling ourselves the typical "there's a better one out there" and "we didn't get this for a reason", etc., we went to bed still super sad but resolved to believe and trust in God who knows much much better than we do.

So I expected to wake up this morning and feel peaceful and okay about it all. Not so. I woke up thinking about owning this house and then the reality hit me, oh yeah...we didn't get it. And then came the great sadness again. I wrestled this morning with my emotions and begged God just to take away the feeling of sadness because it felt so heavy and painful and I didn't want to feel  it anymore. But it didn't just "go away". And so we had to work on it. Me and God. And as I listed off all the things I am really thankful for the pain started to ease. I realized that by praising Him simply for who He is and for Jesus that i'm so blessed. And then beginning to list off other things like the family I have and the home we have and and and, I felt the pain ease and my vision became more clear. No, i'm not fluffing it up- it still hurts and i'm still really sad about it. I am still struggling with it. But I also realize how compared to so so so many other painful situations that my family and friends are dealing with- this isn't so bad. really no so much.

It's all about perspective. I mean really, it's an incredible thing that we can even put in an offer on a home and have the ability to own a home. Seth reminded me of that in his prayer the other day, "God we thank you that we can even own a house here, we know that in some countries they can't even own property...we are blessed to even have this opportunity"....wow. Yes, it's all about perspective.

Song of the day:
God be Praised by Gateway Worship

happy friday, y'all!

Monday, August 26, 2013

my newest endeavor :)

Well I'm trying out something new. It's sort of a big step for me. It may sound like a little nothing but I am really excited about it. I have been praying for ways I can make a supplemental income for us since we've moved back to Illinois. While I am keeping my eye out for part time nursing jobs, there aren't any that would work out right now. 

I easily get stressed financially. I get easily overwhelmed. I have to keep bringing it to God and remembering that He owns it all anyways and He is the Provider for our needs.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE being home with Gracie. It's awesome. However, sometimes, I also feel stir-crazy at home feeling like I need to be working or doing something to bring in some income. 

Well in the midst of moving and living at my parents for a couple months I had some free time on my hands (ie- not cleaning/cooking/grocery shopping, etc) so I decided to learn photoshop a little better and for fun create some wall art. My sister-in-law had sent me a few ideas that she wanted me to make for her girls and it sort of inspired me to keep going (thanks Jen :)). I made a few designs and showed Seth and he said I should sell them. I was pretty hesitant at first...who would want to buy these? I really don't even know what i'm doing! I am not sure they look that great. etc etc etc.  Doubts plagued me paralleled with curiosity of what if. What if I just tried it? Even if I don't sell any, it's worth a try. Seth and my family kept cheering me on to try it so I figured why not. 

I don't know what will become of it. Maybe nothing, maybe something more. Regardless, it's fun, I feel like God opened this door as something I can do from home, and hopefully it blesses others. I hope to keep making new designs and would welcome any quotes, verses, ideas you feel inspired to share!! 

I am calling the shop Jars of Grace. Why? 1. I love Grace (not speaking of my daughter here- speaking of God's grace- that beautiful thing that we don't deserve but oh how we need). 2. I love jars- mason jars, old jars, etc. but more than their use-ability or creative functionality, my husband has a theory he calls the "jar theory". Simply, the theory is that we all have jars on these shelves in our hearts and often times when we hear something whether at church or in a conversation with a friend or reading an article, etc. we can tend to put in the the jar that is labeled "I already have heard this" and we miss the opportunity to learn something new because we label it as known knowledge and place it in the appropriate jar. Going off of that theory, my hope is that each of these designs is a tangible reminder of God's grace in our life and instead of reading a verse/quote/etc and putting it away we can read it afresh each time and be taught something or reminded of something that we need to be reminded of/taught. God's Word is living and active, it's not meant to be "put away on a shelf". 3. yes I do have a daughter named Grace so yes, it is fun that the shop includes her name in the title :).

SO after a rather long-winded explanation- that's how Jars of Grace designs was created. We will see what God does. My hope is that He is seen through these products. Like I said I would LOVE & WELCOME feedback and ideas and constructive criticism! 

To check out the shop on etsy go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jarsofgrace

Here's a few random pictures from recently:
At my cousin's wedding in July. It was on the Spirit of Peoria and was so fun to be there celebrating with Brandon and Sarah!

We tried out the riverfront farmer's market this saturday...LOVED it. Got lots of great produce and had fun browsing the breads, crafts, etc. 

Best purchase of the day- $1 zucchini! It is HUGE.

Song of the day: Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes

Monday, August 19, 2013

free tickets and catching up

I have been purposely putting off blogging for a little while. I think it’s because I have so many thoughts and so much to say that a. it probably wouldn't make much sense and b. I’m still sorting through what it is that I’m feeling. 

To update: two weeks ago we moved to Morton! We are renting a great duplex that exceeds our “needs”. We are really enjoying it here. I feel like we have finally started to “transition”…sort of. The “transition” has been much more messy and a lot less easy than I thought it would be. I think I was expecting God to make it easy for us…I mean we just left the mission field, shouldn't He be abundantly lavishing blessings on us? (note the EXTREME sarcasm). Yeah. I realized I was creating “needs” that God must meet or exceed because after all we “deserved” them ...and finally realizing a. we don’t “deserve” any of these and b. He IS exceeding all of our needs…He always does. I realize how ugly those expectations were. How easy it is to develop an “I deserve this” mentality. How gross. 

I could list off a bunch of things that we are blessed with and why God is good to us even when it’s not how we would do it…and while all of that is important and noteworthy…it dims. It dims in comparison that I am blessed because I have Jesus. (this is not a fluffy comment, it’s deeply sincere). Because if everything that was “making me feel blessed” was stripped away from me…I’m still lavishly blessed because I have an undying and everlasting Hope. I have to adjust my focus on this often. I tend to get really caught up in stuff and expectations and disappointments that I forget how seriously and intensely good I have it- solely because of Jesus.

Okay so you know when you’re listening to the radio and they have those games where you call in and attempt to win prizes? Well it turns out Seth has some kind of eerie knack of winning radio prizes. He wins things all the time. This time he won tickets to a Woman of Faith conference. SO this past weekend I went to the conference with my mom. To be honest I had some preconceived judgments about the conference that everything was going to be tied up in a bow and “this is what you need to do to be a good little Christian wife/mom/woman”. And it turns out I was wrong and God humbled me. It was an awesome weekend :). 

Out of many things I learned one keeps sticking out…God INHABITS the praises of His people. One of the speakers really drove this home in a fresh perspective I’d never before understood. The definition of inhabit means to live or reside in/to dwell/to be present in; fill. Simply put- when you praise God He shows up. When you don’t know what to do, worship Him and you will feel His presence. When you praise Him, He inhabits you. So next time you’re frustrated, hopeless, fearful, anxious, fill in the blank- literally sing praises out loud to Him and feel His presence. I'll admit it is not my first reaction- to praise God when life is hard...but I want to do this.

Have a great Monday!!

A couple of my favorite pictures from recently:

I had the extreme privilege to take some maternity photos for one of my dearest friends and had to post a few from the shoot because they are too stinking cute.