At the end of a decade and new beginnings

IMG_3295It’s early morning here in the Dominican. There aren’t many left of these for our family. We have 6 days left to soak up and enjoy what little time we have left in a country we love, with people who are the dearest to us.

Emotions war within my mind today. My heart aches to rewind this last decade and relive all the of it…
My first trip to Haiti, a summer spent visiting an orphanage countless times. A little girl near blind name Guilande, and the hope buried that someday I would have been honored to adopt her. Translating for sports camps (what a hoot!) and thankfully for this sports-illiterate girl it turned into guarding water and taking pictures because I knew nothing of both speaking Spanish or sports. I still suffer on the latter. To Friday nights with my dearest friends, watching movies on laptops, and walking to the local Chinese place for a fancy dinner out. Finding a best friend and a running partner to share all the moments of life with which would later include marriage and motherhood. Meeting Alan for the first time; oh the butterflies. Me practicing my Spanish; him practicing his English, when we both were really practicing our flirting skills in each other’s language. The time Alan came over to “talk” and looked me square in the eyes and said “so, Will tells me you like me…” and me almost choking and stuttering out a response. To a quick marriage, and a quicker pregnancy announcement. When the doctor said, “holy cow, there’s two in here.” The surprise and wonder of carrying twins, even the sickest parts of the first trimester including missing Thanksgiving and instead spending it in the hospital. Bringing the girls home at 2 months and introducing them to their new world. They thrived here in the DR. It’s the only home they have ever known. I reflect on all the teams that have come and gone and worked with our family and fell in love with the country as we have. Friends who have partnered, given, loved us and the local leaders so well. We had hard times too. You can’t go to the mountain top without first climbing out of a valley. And we had our share of valleys as we navigated life as a married, working, cross-cultural couple. To watching Alan find his place and pouring into young men and discipling 100’s through his teaching. Our kids went to school here and were mentored, loved, encouraged, and taught by some of the best men and women I know. When my sweet Stella has a breakdown in class over a note written about her, and the teacher stops the whole class for a teaching moment and prayer, you know it’s something special. This decade has been nothing short of special. Watching our friends’ family grow through the joy of adoption and difficult losses of loved ones. Being for one another in times of distress and learning what it means to step into someone’s pain and love them through it. Our community has been so special and a gift we will take in our hearts wherever we go. Everyone tells you to enjoy the moments while they last, but whoever really anticipates that it will end?

And as much as I want to live in all the memories. I must live the life God has purposed for me and for our family. There is still much to do and what an adventure when he says “go.” I am ready for a new beginning. New memories. A new way of life. Learning to live in the rhythms of grace. As I write, I can feel the tears beginning to brim. This is hard to admit. It is hard to accept. The best is yet to come, and six days from now, this decade will come to a close and a new one will begin. One that will cause us to kneel each morning, each night, and through out the day asking for wisdom, to hear his voice, to walk in his truth, his spirit, his leading. We are ready for a healthier way of living. To allowing him to feed our souls. While we know not professionally, financially, or regionally what is ahead we are ready to listen, obey, and be lead into whatever he chooses for us next. For we are secure in this:

Deuteronomy 31:8
“For the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

We will not be afraid or fearful of what is to come. As for today, we’ll be on the beach soaking up these precious last few moments, creating our final memories in a chapter of our lives that will be a mighty contender for best decade of our lives.

Thank you Lord, for the gift you have given us. We have not taken it for granted.

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