Part of my daily routine is turning on praise and worship music in the morning after breakfast. Baby-Now-Toddler J (I'll just refer to him as Mr. J from now on) really likes music, and it helps keep my mind focused on the Lord while "my assistant" and I do our morning chores. "Desert Song" by Hillsong is a favorite and aptly describes praising God in the midst of different seasons: dry deserts, tests of fire, battles not yet won, and harvests of abundant blessing.
In many ways, this first part of 2015 has been a time of harvest; words that come to mind are "joy," "peace," "answered prayers," "unexpected gifts," "hope," and "undeserved favor." Here are a few examples:
Health and Pregnancy
Some of you know I have some health problems that can make it difficult to get pregnant. In spite of that, I not only am expecting another baby, but this pregnancy has been calm and enjoyable. I braced myself for the uncomfortable symptoms I had throughout my first pregnancy, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I had typical first trimester sickness, but I was able to rest at home as I needed, and I've had lots of energy in this second trimester.
In addition, I feel notably better than I usually do when I'm not pregnant, both physically and emotionally. What a gift to wake up in the morning without pain and discomfort after a restful night of sleep! Maybe this partly why it's been much easier to be in a good mood. Whatever the reason, it's been an unexpected blessing in addition to the joy of having another baby.
Last year was a difficult year for our families; people we love dealt with illness and other challenges, and I was unable to be physically present with my loved ones in those moments. Right now both sides of our family are doing very well, and it means much more now than it did a few years ago.
Vision and Stability
Fernando and I have talked about how this year has been a time of clearer vision and a greater sense of establishment in ministry. We look back on the past few years and see how God has provided solutions and resources for specific needs in ways we couldn't have predicted or fabricated, and always at the right time. We are young and have a long road ahead of us with much to learn, but God has strengthened our confidence in His sovereignty and grace beyond our own limited abilities and knowledge. We are happy to see goals met, progress made, and hearts changed, but we know there is also more ahead.
We praise God for bringing us to the neighborhood where we have been living for almost a year, a home that can serve as a kind of "base" as we prepare to spend more time in "Wageira," a rural Garífuna community, in the future. (Our village house is in the construction process right now.) We love living where we get to know our neighbors, can take Mr. J for walks, and feel like we are in just the right place for our family. Our house now really feels like our home and where we belong.
The last lyric of "Desert Song" says, "I know I'm filled to be emptied again; this seed I've received I will sow." As we receive God's blessings with open hands, I am mindful that only God knows what will happen tomorrow or next month or in 2016 and that everything He gives us ultimately is His. As it says in Job 1:21b, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
We know some of you are in deserts, fires, and battles now, and we pray for God's perfect peace, comfort, and provision in whatever season you find yourself. We also thank you, our friends, for standing with us through good and bad times!