I had planned on taking a month or two off this year, and it's turned into 12.
2017 was a year full of emotion and trials, and yet God was there at every corner guiding me and caring for me.
January began our second year of homeschooling, me running PaperFromHeaven, and John taking more language classes. We were also serving at a local church where John was the senior pastor. We had great vision for the year and saw everything moving forward in the same direction it had been the past few years. Our goal was to serve God faithfully.
By the time February rolled around the trials had begun. Within the blink of an eye God told John that the work was done at the church we were at. We spent a full week in prayer and ready for what was to come, but unaware of what laid ahead. The end story is that John resigned from the church and we moved on. February was a full month of high emotion and long sleepless nights.
March came with a new and fresh look. We also were looking for a church family to attach ourselves to so that we would have a spot to continue to serve our community. At this time we didn't know how long we would be in the local area and wanted to be tied to a local body of believers. We found a temporary home at Exchange Church in Roseville, NC. Financially, God provided abundantly through PaperFromHeaven as it was our only income.
April + May are a blur. We did what we needed to do to get life done. Everything kept moving forward, but it felt as if so much was missing. John and I longed to serve, even though we were at many different churches serving (pulpit fill + drumming). God was constantly being faithful and giving us the finances we needed to move on with seminary. John was applying for local pastor jobs that would allow him to keep doing school. Sometime near the end of May we realized that John was finished with his language classes and he could finish his degree online. At this point we changed our prayers and began asking God if we could go back to California to serve long term.
June + July were long difficult months. We didn't know anything of the future. The hope of the new year had completely worn off. School for the boys was over and every day was a feeling of not knowing what was coming next. John was gone for 3 weeks during those months playing with Illumination Project at camps from Alabama to New England, and I just kept sewing. God was telling me to get rid of things, to make life more simple. To trust him and walk by faith. We were searching our churches and praying over communities that God might have us serve. Near the beginning of July we began contact with a church in Northern California. We fell in love with the area. The more John talked with the leaders in that area the more clear everything became as they described our exact prayer list of what we had been praying for.
August came quick and with energy. John and I traveled to northern California for John to preach in view of a call at a church. His mom flew in the day before we left. We came home early on a Tuesday morning, my parents arrived Wednesday morning for a pre-planned vacation. Thursday was Ephriam's birthday and we were all awaiting the "phone call" from the church to hear the vote. All of the grandparents left on Friday, and we moved out of our apartment and left North Carolina on the following Monday. We spent the last 2 weeks of the month traveling across the US (again) visiting family and friends.
September brought new life. We arrived in our new home in Fortuna CA and began serving a local church. We spent most of the month getting used to a new life, new schedule and adjusting.
October + November again were a blur as we continued to move forward in life. We began our homeschool year the beginning of October and we were still working through all of the emotions that comes with transitioning. I reopened PaperFromHeaven and worked through multiple schedules and making everything work together.
December has hit strong as a closure to this year. Realizing that I did nothing that I planned in early January, but yet I see God's faithful hand working through it all. It doesn't "feel" like Christmas, everything is new. We are celebrating our family traditions with the boys, and trying to learn new ones. I am trying to find the balance with making new friends and holding onto friends from the past. How to love and encourage people from different seasons of my life. How to homeschool, be a pastor's wife, and how to run a business. I am trying to do it all, and do it well, and do it for God's glory.
I am anxious for a new year and a new beginning and a fresh start. I am eager to begin writing the Bible again, because somewhere amidst the chaos of 2017 I put down that habit and haven't been able to find the energy to do the little things again. I am excited to learn and share that with the women in my church. I am anxious about our 3rd year homeschooling and praying that the schedule and routine will fall into place for the boys. I am looking forward to 2018 and what joys + trials it will bring.