To be honest, I am surprised that this blog even still exists as infrequently as I update, but thankfully the good ol' Internet hasn't kicked me off yet. Which is good, considering that I have plenty to document in the coming months (and plenty to catch up on it
when if I get around to it). So since nap time gives me a very small window to throw some of this out there, I'll start this year with a very quick recap of what is happening around here, in hopes that I can expound on it later, and do a catch-up post about the kiddos later this week, since that would take up an entire post on its own.
So since I left you all a little bit hanging and wondering when in the world this never-ending renovation is going to be finished, trust me, I felt the same way. We ripped the house to pieces in June, and it wasn't until the week of Christmas that the very last part of our kitchen was installed after many, many obstacles. Renovating a kitchen from the studs is no joke... and between the cabinet designers, manufacturers, installers, and getting on people's schedules, there are plenty of opportunities for things to get held up. But after many mishaps and even the wrong pieces being ordered and delivered at times, I am thrilled about how it turned out! I need to do an entire before and after post, but just in case that never happens, here's our finished project (and you can see some of the before pictures here if you want):
Isn't she beautiful? I can honestly say it's exactly what we had in our heads when we looked at the space, and that kitchen island is my favorite spot in the house. It's where we have most of our meals, do our schoolwork, and hang out with friends whenever they come over. It was worth every penny.
BUT... here's the really unexpected part of our house plans...
As of two days ago, this beautiful house and all of our hard work is under contract to sell to another family. For the past month and a half, Josh and I have been praying about and preparing for a move to Birmingham, Alabama, and to be honest, one of the hardest things for me to wrap my mind around was leaving what we thought would be our forever home. And then on top of that, leaving the church that we started in the care of someone else. As you can probably guess, this was not something that either one of us saw coming or expected, which is why we purchased a home last spring.
So why the move? Over the past four years, really since the church started, Josh has been heading up the coaching and training for future church planters through the Association of Related Church (ARC). This is the same organization that helped plant us, both when we were in Illinois and again when we started our church here in Kentucky, and for me personally, the people we met through the organization and the resources they gave us were always like fresh breath in my lungs. I told Josh to run every travel opportunity by me before he committed, unless it was for ARC. The people at ARC care about these pastors that plant so much, and want to make sure that their families always stay healthy. I loved everything about it, and told him that we would always do whatever we could to help make their mission of planting 2000 churches by 2020 a reality. For a long time he was able to pastor our people here well and continue to help get these churches started, both of which he loved doing so much. But the reality was that our church continued to grow and more and more families continued pouring in, and more churches needed to be started and more planters were coming through. We did feel like eventually we would be forced to choose, but did not really know when that would be, until a couple of months ago.
Here's the thing... I love Lexington so much. When it came to picking a place that we'd call home, we fell in love with horse country. Aside from a couple of colder-than-usual winters, it is absolutely everything I wanted my hometown to be. And I love our church, and I have far too many great friends that I consider family that we have met through our church. Oh yeah, and then there's the house and that kitchen. Oh that dreamy kitchen. But when it came down to it, there is no doubt in my mind that Josh was made to do this. Church planting fans a fire inside him like nothing else, and he loves being a mentor and coach to those stepping out to plant a church. If we believe that the hope of the world will only be found through the growth of God's kingdom through the local church, then we have to do all we can to make sure great churches are started in every community. So although it's a hard thing, it's the right thing. I have not felt such a peace about a move or a decision like this since the time we decided to move here, and if these past four years are any indication of how much fruit obedience can bear, then I can't even imagine what is to come. Sowing and reaping... funny how I picked the name for this blog around the same time we planted here.
I could go on and on, and there are way too many stories of confirmation and just really amazing things God has already worked out for us to make this the easiest "yes" possible, but he probably does a better job of it anyway, so I'll sign off for now with the clip from his sermon this weekend.
Never say never. Never in a million years did I think I would marry a pastor, fall in love with Kentucky (since I lived here when I was younger and said I'd never consider it), help start a church that would grow to minister to thousands, and definitely not move to Alabama. I may be the only Vol fan in a sea of crimson there, so I know without a doubt that it's God doing the sending.
I challenge everyone to do something crazy-bold for God at some point this year. If He's whispering something to you, go for it. One tiny step can lead to another and another and before you know it, you're on the greatest adventure of your life. I'm so thankful I said "yes" to Josh when he asked me to marry him 6 weeks after we met. I'm thankful I said "yes" when it came to moving to Illinois. I'm thankful I said "yes" when we prayed about planting a church. It's always unexpected, but never fails to leave me in total and absolute awe of God's goodness.
So that's our next great adventure... hopefully I'll be better about keeping you posted this time around!