Elliana made a declaration today. She announced her choice to follow Christ-to be obedient to Him regardless of the cost. She told the world she is the Bride of Christ. My parents started a tradition of giving the girls a ring when they made this decision. Today we gave Elliana a diamond band to remind her of this forever choice.
While we know this decision won’t lead to the easiest life by the world’s standards, we are elated to see her choose to follow Christ. She has been created for God’s glory! Her heart is huge and her love for others is deep. We pray she will seek His wisdom to grow into the woman He created her to be. Today, I gave this verse to her:
We are thankful to each and every person who helped Elliana see Him and learn about God. The harvest is beautiful. Keep praying for this new sister-in-Christ! May she seek to know His heart and have her heart beat in time with His alone. We cannot wait to see how He will bring out all of the beauty that is Elliana Chivonne!
We are celebrating so much today! Family, healing, and Christmas! Most importantly, a few weeks ago Elliana accepted Jesus as her Savior. She came into our room after she was supposed to be sleeping. We had a deep-for-an-eight-year-old conversation. She confessed she had messed up and needed Him to be Lord over all of her life. Even in the past few weeks we have seen beautiful changes in her. She’s braver and kinder. Her teacher has noticed changes as well. She is working through a devotion book and asking the best questions. I’m so thankful for all of your prayers that He would draw her close. She’s in the family now! For those in the KB area next Sunday the 23rd, we are going to celebrate! Details forthcoming!
Dependency is not cherished in the Western mindset. We aim to be independent. Rely on no one but ourselves. Don’t ask for help. Suffer in silence. Be a self-sufficient adult. This idea of independence is no longer the main idea surrounding us. Here community and family rank the highest. Each seeks to help the other resulting in a culture that is beautiful and kind.
We have been in Indonesia for four months with four months of knowing about the move in advance. That grand total of eight months was in no way enough time to get every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. We had to ask for help. We had to accept it, too. Family, friends, and strangers carried us through the harried months and hours. There were times we questioned our sanity, yet His church supported us every step of the way. We had no way to know it was just the beginning of His training.
Since we have arrived on our island, we have lost every shred of what we knew before. Like children, people have fed us, helped us get around, spoken for us, and cared for us when we were ill. Like children, we have cried, thrown tantrums, and pouted. We’ve also found delight when we were brave enough to look. I find Matthew 18:1-6 running through my mind…
Looking back over these 272 days, I can see His hand teaching us to depend on Him and the body of His church. We have had to change our outlook. We have relied on the Body day after day. We, like children, have had to trust when there seemed to be absolutely no way the house would sell. We had to depend on others to pack, sell, and move our belongings stateside. We had to depend on family to care for us and our kids while their hearts were shattering. Upon arrival, we have had to depend on others to locate our housing, teach us how to grocery shop, and how to get around in a place where English is a luxury.
All the while, we have had the privilege to see the Body shine in His glory. It isn’t easy. Every month we try not to be anxious on the 11th when our support list for the past month is sent. I won’t lie. It can be scary. But every month we see the list of names that have chosen to pour into us and the outreach here. Every person and family that has given of themselves the past 272 days (and 40 plus years) has helped us arrive to this moment. It isn’t through independence that we prove our faith. It is through dependence on His promises…and acting on them as if they are true! Our step of faith has been dependent on so many who were obedient in their walk with Him. The faithful who made decisions big and small to to be the Body.
So we want to say thank you. Thank you for helping us become more childlike. Thank you for loving us like our Heavenly Father. Thank you for loving us like Him. Thank you for showing us what His hands and feet look like in the real life moments. Thank you for your prayers, for strengthening our armor, for encouragement, and for your monetary support. It all matters.
We want to encourage you to become more dependent in this next season of your journey. To trust Him so much you obey regardless. To love like Him when no love is returned. To pour into an outreach as He leads with your time, talents, and/or money. Dependency is how the Body brings Him glory-we are reminded we need Him as His body surrounds us.
We love each of you. May you succeed in depending on Him in ways you never thought possible in this upcoming season of life. Happy Christmas!
Our washer ceased functioning on Halloween day. Purchased second-hand, we weren’t guaranteed longevity with it. After unsuccessfully searching for a repairman, the reality hit hard. We needed a new washer-wet clothes mold quickly and creatures like to live in piles. Neither of those things were okay with us! A new washer was quickly delivered and crisis was averted.
But I wasn’t happy.
The new washer had taken the funds for our Christmas tree and a sewing machine for me. My response was to pout. I wish I was kidding. A few days later we had scheduled to go Christmas tree shopping. We went and window shopped. Sadly, my attitude got worse. That Sunday I cancelled plans to go purchase my sewing machine. I was knee-deep in pout.
I had shared my frustrations and sadness with a few select people. I have no doubt their prayers buoyed my spirit. And I made a choice to change my attitude. I chose to be thankful we had a washing machine at all. I also chose to let Christmas be about more than me. (basic, I know!)The next week I decided to use the washing machine box to create a tree for our home. It isn’t perfect. It falls when bumped and has cardboard showing through everywhere.
However, we made it together. We glued, cut, tore, paper clipped, aluminum foiled, decorated, ornamented, and added a string of lights. It may be my favorite tree ever.
Before adding garland, we added the ornaments with loops!
Hanging ornaments with paper clips!
Of course I brought THE hat!
Lissie Joy loves this tree!
I want to encourage you this Christmas season. I absolutely needed time to be sad, but I did not need to stay there. I’m sure you have changes surrounding you this holiday season. Find ways to deal with unmet expectations! It may mean your ornaments are strung on the wall with paper clips and ribbon. It may mean you write a Christmas letter to someone you miss more than your heart can say. Perhaps it will show up in fewer presents and more time cuddling. Perhaps His birth will be center stage when you give up the trimmings and see Him clearly. Choose to make this Christmas His. It may be your favorite-est Christmas ever.
Packing home is more than luggage and U-Haul trucks. It is Granny’s painting. It is soft blankets from a loving Nana to cuddle with in unfamiliar dark. Packing home is pictures (posed and unposed) nestled in a carry-on for safe keeping. For my big girls, it was Legos, a jillion gallon-sized ziplocks of Legos. They spend hours creating little towns with homes and shops. I think the opportunity to make your own place is a pretty big deal, especially when your parents are moving you to the other side of the planet. Literally. Then came the dolls, Kit, Camille, ZuZu, Tiana Lily, and Isabelle. Who would be in the carryons in guaranteed safety? Who would be encased in the checked baggage? Who would have to stay behind all alone? It was heartbreak for my girls to decide each doll’s fate.
For mom it was happy-colored sheers for windows. Our melamine plates, bowls, and cups…yes, 16.6 pounds of cheerful plates that wouldn’t shatter the first time they struck the tile. And books. Oodles of books. Stories as familiar as my own like The Blue Castle, The Velveteen Rabbit, and That’s Not My Dragon. It seemed nigh on impossible to fly over oceans without these friends along. Each chose a copy of His Word to bring along as well as a few studies. Movies came along, too-Barbie, SuperBook, & While You Were Sleeping. Holiday reminders of table runners, streamers, balloons, and stockings crossed the oceans, too.
The thing about moving is that everything changes-the further the distance, the more extreme the change. From new driveway to where the toilet paper is in the bathroom, it changes. From family next door to family 30 hours away by air, it changes. From being able to hop in a vehicle and run to Kroger, to arranging a taxi or grab (then hoping you can get one home when you finish!), it changes. Suddenly, your home that was your favorite place to be has become your refuge from the waves of unfamiliar that keep crashing overhead.
Packing home isn’t about things and stuff. It is the way a shell of a house becomes a place to rest, weep, laugh, heal, worship, and breathe. Our home isn’t perfection, but it hugs us when we walk in. There are faces we recognize, an old stroller by the door, and cards from back home. There are a year’s worth of notes right beside the dining room table and a photo-covered blanket on the couch. Packing home into fifty pound pieces of luggage isn’t easy, but it is key to not just surviving, but thriving.
Granny’s painting is a reminder of His promises-as is His Word.
Lissie Joy reading ‘Uni the Unicorn’ to Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Kaybrietta with ZuZu.
We brought the fort pieces with us. They love it!
Stars Hollow & a sign the Tillery’s made for us!
Friends at the end of the bed always help us sleep better.
Today marks three months since we stepped onto Indonesian soil. Three months of new and adventure. Three months of life continuing on back home. Three months of joy, tears, excitement, homesickness, and curiosity.
When the 26th pops up on the calendar, it is also a monthly reminder of His provisions, grace, and mercy. In three months, we’ve found friends, a church home, and familiar foods. We’ve seen Him calm hearts and open eyes. We’ve relied on Him as we’ve been stretched and witnessed His beautiful mercies anew each day. He is indeed faithful. Psalm 126:4-6
Seasons change. It is both a praise and heartache. We know He has created our lives with seasons, too. Regardless of what season you are in, know it is temporary. Similar to the world around us, sometimes seasons are long, but there are times they seem short! But they always change. Don’t lose heart if you are in winter. Keep planting Him in the soil around you. Sow His Word in your heart. Spring will come in His time!
If you haven’t heard the song, “Seasons” by Hillsong, I want to encourage you to give it a listen. Thank you for loving us in our seasons. 🌷🌞🍁❄️
Our house has been quite the buzz around here since a colony of honey bees moved in! It is bigger than a cantaloupe but not as round. And it is full of activity. Our guards refused to address it (I don’t blame them at all!) We’ve been told a firefighter will come to help soon! Until then, we are coming in through the garage door!