with a, "Hi". Never would I have ever imagined falling in love so young and getting married to my best friend. The picture above was taken roughly several weeks before Jon. asked me to be his girlfriend. I was 16 the weather was picture perfect, we found a little old bench in a small country town we gave the name, "Our special spot". Jon brought his tri-pod and camera with some chocolates to surprise me with. It was a very memorable day.That day, I can remember feeling so full of questions. Is this REALLY the one LORD? Does he really love and respect me as a young lady? Is he really what I have always dreamed of and truly desired? Or, is this just another heartache?
Don't get me wrong, those questions did go through my mind however, even though they were very present...I always knew this time it was for real.
-And that it was! It seemed like a whirlwind after that day. At 15 we met, at 16 we became girlfriend and boyfriend, at 17 Jon. proposes and we are engaged, and I bring you to the age of 18...June 27th 2009, our wedding day. THE best day of my life! I've got to say at this point...I had absolutely no doubt it my mind that this young man was the one for me. Clearly, a God-fearing gentleman. :)
Okay...so maybe I went overboard...
Our wedding day is a day we will never forget. It will always have a special place in our hearts. Speaking of "special place"...
Four months after our wedding day we discovered that I was expecting! I'll never forget the first time I saw that positive sign. It felt unreal. We were gonna' be parents! Without hesitation we called everyone we knew and told them the big news. Joy flooded our little apartment as we dreamed of baby names, and thought of others to break the news to. We were happy. Things were all going so well we went to our appointments, and made sure to try and eat right, and get enough rest. Ha! In fact, the very first day we found out we were expecting, my Husband Jon. picked me up off my feet and laid me down to catch some rest while he went and made me some lunch. He said with glee smiling from ear to ear, "Honey, you just rest now, Hubby's orders, put your feet up, don't worry about anything, Hubby's got everything under control". Haha...all I could do was smile...and dream.
One day, I was sitting on our recliner just relaxing. I began to feel small cramps. Unsure of what it was, I overlooked it, and went on to do something else. They persisted. Every week the cramping seemed to feel worse. I continued to take it easy. Of course the thought did cross my mind, "Miscarriage"? I didn't want to believe it, so I continued to go about my day to day life, and tried not to worry every time I felt a cramp, Because I knew worrying would just make it worse.
It was week number 6 and I can remember feeling giddy as ever! The cramps were still around, but the joy of the pregnancy blinded me from the pain. There wasn't any bleeding or anything so after a while, I thought of it as normal. Life was great, I was gonna' be a Mom! I'm newly married to the greatest man ever! I have so much love and support of family and friends, a great place to live, what could go wrong?
After relaxing a bit and dreaming of the future with my precious gift in it, I got up and headed to use the restroom. I was so ecstatic to be a Mommy, I sang all the way to bathroom, "I'm gonna' be a Mom, oh yeah I'm gonna' be a Mommy, lalalala, hahaha, Oh yeah that's right a Mommy I'm gonna' be a Mommy."
That song of glee quickly turned into a song of grief.
I interrupted the song with a, "I'm gonna' be a...what? A...a...miscarriage? What?! Oh God...please, no. No! WHY?
-There was a lot of that. For a very long time.
For 2 years we fought against our pain and doubt and laid every burden down and the foot of the cross.
After many failed attempts, and a trash can full of negative tests, we began to think that maybe this wasn't God's plan. Maybe we couldn't have children. Maybe we needed to face that reality. Jon and I began talking about adoption and started looking into it; seriously considering it. After much prayer and further discussion we just felt it wasn't the right time to adopt, and the means to do so just weren't falling into place. Jon and I continued to struggle with doubts and tension began to build between us. Yet through it all we clung to the cross where we laid down our burdens and daily, together, continued to hold onto hope.
The new year had begun, it was 2011. Things were going wonderful, despite the fact that the pain of our loss was still very real -we pressed on. It was now a new year, a fresh start. We were looking forward with joyful anticipation to seeing what God had in store for this new year. Meanwhile, Jon continued in his work as youth Pastor and we were enjoying being active in that for a season. After that we felt God leading us away. Jon then, at that time began thinking about not more youth Pastoring, but rather He felt God calling him to associate or Sr. Pastoring. I can remember seeing so clearly this huge shift in goals take place, it was a new, fresh and exciting path God seemed to be leading us down. One day after putting in a long days work at the feed mill; Jon came inside sluggishly walking from exhaustion, covered in dirt and dust and smelling of crushed deer corn. He smiled and said, "Hi honey, boy it's good to be home, what's for dinner?" I greeted him with a quick kiss and a gentle tap to prevent getting his work dust all over me and said, "Hey Baby, it's so good to have you home, I have been missing you all day. Dinner? I made pasta. It's not quite done, but it will be in just a few minutes. I still have bread to butter." I then encouraged him to sit down and relax. He did so. As I made my way into the kitchen to quickly finish up dinner, Jon made his way to the computer, went to his email and started sending quite a number of messages to people. Out of curiosity I asked, "What are you up to sweety?" He swung his computer chair around and looked at me and smiled all funny. I said, "Haha...what is it?" He said, "God has really been speaking to me honey." "About what?" I added. "Let's move". I said, "Move? What? Haha, why? Where?" I lowered the heat on the pasta, "dinner can wait", I thought to myself. I grabbed a lid to cover the pot with, set down my mixing spoon and quickly made my way into the living room, where Jon was.
"Okay sweety, so moving? What exactly do you mean by that?" I said. He preceded to tell me that those emails he had been sending out was his resume. It included all the ministry he has ever done, and all the places he has ever worked. He went on to explain to me that the contacts he was sending this out to were different churches all around the US. He shared with me that he was wanting to start taking this preaching passion of his seriously. He felt God was calling him to become a Pastor. I thought this was exciting news! Because, what Jon didn't know was...I felt God speaking to me about moving as well. With that confirmation and through further discussion and prayer, we knew this was what God wanted. Later on that evening Jon showed me all the churches he sent his resume out to and I took a look at his resume as well. We decided it needed some tweaking so we went ahead and put our heads together, wrote a letter to these churches, updated the resume some, listed our passions and vision, added a photo of us, contact information things like that. After the tweaking was complete we both read over it about 100 times to make sure it sounded the way we wanted it to sound and looked it over another 100 times to make sure it looked like how we wanted it to look. Finally, we went ahead and continued to look up churches that we felt God leading us to. Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Missouri, you name it! We sent it!
Now it was all about waiting. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. It was roughly about 2-3 months after that, Jon and I received an email from a Church in a small little country town about 4 hours from where we were. Jon and I read it and were thrilled! It was an answer to prayer! This was the first church that sounded interested, and wanted to find out more! Over time, we emailed this church back and forth and back and forth. And then it got serious. The church asked if Jon would drive up to visit and preach for them and meet the people. We said yes! And within a matter of weeks, we were heading that way!
To make a long story just a tad shorter...the Church wanted Jon to come back a second time because they felt it appropriate. This time, they wanted him to come back to preach in view of a call. So, we went back, bada bing bada boom it was sealed! The church had a private meeting after we left. The votes were in! We made our long 4 hour journey back home that day, feeling good, feeling blessed to have had the opportunity. Jon and I hadn't been on the road for very long, and what do you know! A phone call. "The votes were unanimous, we would like to call you here to be our Pastor, would you accept?" First thing that went through my mind was, "Is this really happening"? Then secondly, "Praise God! And pass the mashed potatoes Jon's a Pastor! We're moving!"
And that we did! We were here in no time. Packed everything up in a Uhaul and headed this way! The church was so very gracious to provide us with whatever we needed. The LORD has blessed us with a wonderful church and church family. Jon and I are enjoying ever minute of this journey. This is Jon's first pastorate and he has been the Sr. Pastor here now for almost a year. It has been great! There has been challenges and it has been at times difficult to adjust to. It was a big transition! Jon quit his job and left the town he practically grew up in, we left our families and friends and suddenly we upped and moved to a place, and a people we don't know. It was all on faith. It has been a scary yet exciting journey so far!
Once again, this brings Jon and I to yet another new year, a fresh start, the big 2012! Around the start of 2011 God called Jon and I into this full time ministry. Little did we know that God had something else up his sleeve...
A bright and sunny morning. 7:10am. July, 11th, 2011. We found out we were expecting! Surprise! Actually, it really was no surprise to us because we know that God hears the cries of his people."Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 Shortly after we moved here we decided to start trying again. Our mindset was -Faith got us here, so faith can get us there! If we believe and trust God with this area of our lives 100% God WILL hear and God WILL answer. God knew our desire, and blessed us with another gift. And we thank Him for her everyday!
He is faithful to hear the cries of His children. "Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD and He will lift you up". God lifted my burden and freed me from bitter grief and has allowed me to move forward and through this rough patch, has helped me to trust Him more. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory..."