This summer turned out to be a lot more eventful than I thought it would mainly because of a surprise trip back home to North Carolina. But I’ll extend back to the end of June when I turned 30, and the next decade of my life began.
David did so well in getting lots of friends involved in throwing me a surprise party. What’s funny is that I had actually asked him to do it. Only someone like me would understand the idea of semi-planning your own surprise party! I didn’t know the time or place: I just gave David a list of people and a few ideas and then let him run with it from there. It was a ton of fun having a crowd of folks from our life here in Redding huddled in our small town house living room. I did learn one thing: I don’t really ever need another big surprise party again. It was lovely reminder, though, that my husband will still stretch himself for me. It wasn’t the easiest thing for him to put an event like that together, so once it was over, he was truly happy he had actually pulled it off. What a sweetie and a real catch.
In July, my mother went into the hospital with some intense abdominal pain. It turned out to be a cancerous mass in her colon. She went into surgery the next day to have it removed, which was successful, but the home doesn’t run itself while you have to sit in a recliner and recuperate. Graciously and providentially, my cousin was able to give me a buddy pass of his as he works for an airline, which meant a killer deal from San Francisco to Charlotte. David, selflessly willing to see his wife leave for two weeks, was a huge factor in my ability to go home to help. It was a fantastic and intense 14 days in North Carolina. The cool, green mountains were a respite to my soul after almost a year of the dry California sun.
Spending time with my parents was overall a tremendous blessing for me. It gets weird at times with parents as you grow up and change and become quite different than they might have imagined or expected. My parents and I are on this journey of figuring it all out – working out how to be what we need to be to each other after 8 and half years of me being married and no longer under their roof. I’ve been saying for a while now that someone desperately needs to come out with a book on how this relationship – parents and their adult children – is supposed to look like, because from my perspective, it’s been a real heart breaker in some ways. I’m currently learning to honor and respect my parents a little more than I have in past several years, and I’m getting the sense that there’s a lot more sacrifice involved than people ever talk about. I’m desperate for more than just the cliché stressed relationships of adult children and their parents that you see in popular culture and movies. I’m aiming for Kingdom family, and I’m eager to learn how spiritual family can include your biological family, too, not just other folks you meet along the way that take you under their wing.
The four foster children (aged 3, 4, 5, and 8) my parents took on in June were a huge part of my visit. Unfortunately, my parents need more time to sort out a permanent arrangement for them, and they have since gone into the care of another family since my return to Redding, but there is no doubt they know my family’s love through it all. My experience in July with them left me more confident than ever in my desire to start a family. I was so tired by the end of the day from my general schedule while in NC: waking them, picking out clothes for them to wear and getting them off to daycare, cleaning and doing laundry or organizing some part of the house left untouched for a while during the rest of the day, cooking dinner, playing with them, bathing them, and then finally getting them tucked in for bed and having a bit of time with my parents in the evening. But I realized how incredible fulfilling those days were. I said to myself at some point, “This will be my 30s. This will be an offering of a good portion of my life unto the Lord,” and it filled me with such joy.
As I haven’t updated at all this summer, many of you don’t know that David and I are not doing the second year of BSSM. We decided this back in July, when we realized the finances were not coming together for our tuition plus paying rent and life expenses. As you might have realized, I have not worked all summer; I never got any positon anywhere. David took on two jobs, which has allowed me to stay home for now. Second Year seemed a further stretch than we were willing to make at this point in time. Besides, if I want to become pregnant, it makes more sense to not be doing school while I prepare and let my body absorb a new life growing in it.
So here we are: trying to get pregnant, David working hard, and us doing what we do quite best – loving people well. There is this new sense of our role here in Redding we have in this season, which is to be friends and support to people, a safe place, and one to go to for love and community within the Bethel culture. Our housemate for the summer has left, our original lease partners are back in the house, and we’re enjoying the quiet yet dynamic life we have here. Since we didn’t have to pay $8000ish in tuition, we were able to register for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) class that starts this week. We’ll have that once a week until March and receive a certification in the program that will hopefully lead to open doors in teaching English as a job either back in NC next Spring or in England the following year.
The plan is just this: finish my book while I get pregnant, have the baby hopefully next summer while in North Carolina, move back to England with said baby January 2016. These are the basic directional things we know and feel confident in God’s leading. The rest is a day to day journey in hearing His voice on each matter. It’s a brilliant way to live.