Oh, what a summer it has been. Definitely one for the memory book. I don't mean to go overkill, but I do want to record the amazing way God revealed His plan for us... if you're just looking for the bullet points, scroll down to the pictures. :)
The story of this summer actually begins in early January, on the long drive home from our Christmas vacation. As we talked about the new year and what our plans and goals were for our family, we agreed that the Holy Spirit was at work in our hearts... shaking things up, if you will. We had no idea what he was up to, but we felt led to pray specifically and persistently about the future of our family. Before we even made it home, God had provided a new job for me that would allow me to be more focused at home with our girls, something I had been feeling called towards. We were amazed, to say the least.
For the next six months, we simply prayed and waited on him. We were happy and so incredibly blessed in our family life, our jobs, our church and community, but still felt a sense of expectancy. Over the weeks, the Lord brought us to a place of openness to him and his will.
In June, Daniel and I felt ready to start trying to grow our family. One week later we found out we were already pregnant. I just love how God did that... the first of many proofs that he had a plan and we should just trust and obey and enjoy the ride!
Here's our most recent picture of our sweet munchkin at 12 weeks. Just this week I've started to feel little movements. I can't wait to meet him or her in March!
Telling the girls was amazing this time, because Elli totally got it! She jumped around excitedly with the biggest smile on her face! We have a video and pictures of it, but I'll have to post them another time. Over the next few days, she drew many many pictures of our family, and if you look closely you can see the baby in my tummy. :)
I have an app on my phone that tells me what size the baby is in comparison to fruits and vegetables, and she asks to see it almost daily. At first, I didn't think Caroline was catching on, but then she started "hugging the baby," and even stuffed her dolly in my shirt, telling me it was the baby. The girls got to be present for the 12 week ultrasound, and the doctor sweetly printed out a picture for each of them and showed them where the head and arms and legs were. Once again, I didn't think Caroline really understood, but the next day while face timing with my parents, she grabbed the picture and pointed out to them all the different parts. Her excitement only increases our joy!
Also in June, Daniel received an email from a family friend and architect from his hometown. "Would we ever consider moving back to Kansas?" he wondered. We have always thought about moving closer to family, so of course we were willing to consider; but without that six months of the Lord working in our hearts, I'm not sure especially Daniel would have been so open. His job here is kind of amazing, and to even think about leaving it was hard.
So began a long conversation with this architect, more specific seeking for the Lord's will, and lots and lots of waiting. I like to make plans, so this was the most stretching part of this journey for me. I was forced to slow down by the first trimester exhaustion and nausea, and although at the time I hated it, I see now that in the Lord's great mercy, he used my weakness to accomplish his purpose. I have longed for many years to move closer to our family, but he used this time to bring me into complete submission to HIS desires for me and our family. All I could do was wait and trust in his goodness. And boy is he good!
We decided to be as open and ready as we could be for whatever he had planned, so finished up projects around our home, getting it ready to put up for sale. This part of the story is perhaps the most unbelievable to me. We never put a sign in our yard, and only accidentally put our home up for sale on Zillow. We meant to list it as "make me move," but in God's providence, it showed up as "for sale by owner." Within a few weeks, our house sold to a wonderful Christian family with two little boys our girl's ages. We had them over for pizza to discuss details of the contract, and Daniel and I couldn't be happier that this home is going to them. Not only did God provide a buyer, but he exceeded all of our hopes and dreams financially. Another way he was paving the way. Of course, we had some anxiety about selling our house before we really knew where we were going to go, but we felt that as long as God kept opening doors (and so clearly!), we needed to walk through them in faith.
There were so many moments that God used in this process, but one of the more humorous was this series of fortune cookies. (Side note - pad thai has been a bit of a craving for me this pregnancy!)
Well, long story shorter, on Monday God made his ways clear and Daniel accepted a position with the architecture firm in Kansas. Just in time for my favorite season, we will be moving to Kansas! Home sweet home. This decision has been bittersweet, as we are leaving relationships and communities that we love dearly and will definitely miss. God has been so good in the way he has led us, though, fully giving us HIS peace. I loved this devotional that somebody posted on facebook a few days ago... I can't remember where it was from, but here's the screen shot I took. I'm so thankful for his peace as we "Dare to trust him! Dare to follow him!"