09 August 2022


 We are in, we finally have internet, water, power...all the things, and after a huge moving day and several more crazy days, Matt is finally home and we're no longer living in total chaos of boxes...!  On top of the genuine army who made it happen Saturday, various friends have come random times to sort, unpack, clean. We were also so blessed by a few short days with Dad and Cindy.  

Two of the girls started school today, so we had the house unpacked enough to find socks and backpacks and water bottles, but whew!  

We are praying intently that our house will sell soon...on top of the finances, it is a lot to cut two lawns and care for two homes on top of everything else...keep praying with us! Meanwhile, I'm working lots to get everything done so we can start school on the 15th, just a week behind Mississippi. 

I have been incredibly, incredibly blessed by the church these last days. They have just showed up for us big, and I am finally feeling ready to start moving from this season of "everything on hold...we're having a baby and moving" to ministering back to others the way others have been ministering to US. I will always remember this season as one in which others gave sacrificially and loved too-big.

more soon, but I am wiped!            

Email me for our new address, and thank you for praying for our family. 

05 August 2022

moving in grace

 Oh, these dear kiddos...everyone is at their max, and no one can find their _______, and we're just hanging on grace and momentum. The Lord is helping me to stop and help them work through it in high emotion moments (or at least by the end of the day), and I'm thankful for all the rich conversations that have come with this challenging season.

We sure miss Matt. This is an awful big thing to do without him, and I'm reminded how much stability kids glean just from mom and dad being in the home and in their lives. I could be a rockstar, but these kiddos still need dad very much.

He is preaching two-three times every day and the Lord's been showing up. I keep making decisions without him, so hopefully I'm not messing anything up too badly...I sure am learning a lot about power, water, paint, floors, gas, plumbing and freezers!

The rich point this week has been dad and Cindy being here.

These aren't exactly fun days with dad, but they are GOOD, and they are both taking the time to get some stuff done and also slow down for and with the kids. They have worked hard to love on our new three well and to still focus on the "old" four, and that takes a lot of intentionality and patience. 

When Dad told us he had cancer, and we told him we were pregnant, I sure didn't know if he'd been bouncing this chubby baby one day, and seeing him with the kids just works on all my heart. I am thankful for the grace of a godly and loving and wise dad in my life, every day.  My mom was a rockstar, but I sure still have always needed this faithful father. 

In the end...moving, Matt gone, Dad and Cindy here, Nikki here, no one sleeping well, trying to sell and show the house, everyday girl drama, wasp stings, fussy baby, school starting Tuesday...the Lord is strongly spread through the people and the days and the work, and I am abundantly thankful for His solid foundation and undercurrent in our lives.

Please pray for us tomorrow (Saturday), the big move, and I am praising the Lord for the community of people showing up in little and large ways to get this done, but more, to love us like Jesus does...big, unmerited, sacrificial and WELL.








01 August 2022

graces and weight, for your prayers

These are some tough days with some stories that might be funny someday, but are teary tonight. I might be learning a lot, but I'm tired a lot more. 

Saturday is the big move, Matt is in Pennsylvania, main speaking at Cherry Run Camp Meeting, and there are a million details and dailies that are choking in, and other things, like the many needs of many kiddos, that don't take a break. 

Graces.......our Nikki is here for a few days, a quiet peaceful presence and an extra set of hands. Nora turned 7 today and while it was far from what we had pictured, she is so loved. Lots of friends are signed up to help us Saturday. My dad and Cindy have a few weeks break between treatments, and got in late this afternoon to celebrate Nora, meet our bonus girls and Emma, and to help, Graces I wasn't sure we'd be given.

Heaviness for your prayers........we closed on the new house today, and still having not sold our current home makes that gift feel like a burden, financially and logistically. Mattt is far and not home till a few days after the move, and that has been harder than expected. Several kiddos are having some major issues, and the current transition is intensifying that. School, gymnastics, Latin, homeschool programs all start on the 8th, and require a lot of prep and a lot of time. It is all feeling like more more than I can handle. 

I'd be so grateful for your sweet and extra prayers. Thank you family. In our weakness...



28 July 2022

#goals

We have the idea that God is leading us to a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this minute, not for sometime in the future.
We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God‘s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now.
If I can remain calm, faithful and unconfused in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God IS being accomplished in me.


As I was blearily feeding the baby this morning and contemplating pouring my cup of coffee directly into my puffy eyes, He used today's Utmost for His Highest devotional to speak exactly to today.

Baby girl has slept TERRIBLY the last several nights. I don't know what's going on, but she can't get comfortable, can't stay asleep, and wants to eat every two hours instead of the four and five hour stretches she was giving us. 

On top of that, sleep has been evading me anyway...the midnight hours prime time to worry about this house still having not sold, and all the "what ifs" and financial concerns that come with that...concern over Matt leaving tomorrow for 10 days and the new house closing August 1st....concern over todays 10 am final and major home study interview for foster licensure...concerns over Lily, dealing with some boy issues we thought were just dumb-typical, and turns out have been more toxic/concerning...concerns over our bonus girls and some struggles/fears/behaviors that come from so much trauma that it gives mama trauma just praying for them.

Side note for the record (whoever is keeping that record book, carry on!)...dealing with new baby sleep-issues AND multiple teenage girl issues at the SAME SEASON in life is ridiculous and should be avoided at all costs. Undergoing foster licensing/training at the same time, bonus nuts.

I ran (probably more like "drug") to my devotional time this morning with three kiddos already up by six because I am not gonna make it through the morning, and He immediately reminds me in this season that feels like everyone else and their mother is at the beach, lake, river, or national park, squeezing in that last relaxing, picturesque vacay before school starts, that it can still be holy and used by Him that I am buried in a pile of nine people's laundry in a house He has not yet sold with beautiful and broken kiddos.

If this is my season of accomplishing very little, the Mighty God can still be achieving His goals. In a season when I am prone to sleeplessness, panic and worry, His purpose can be accomplished in me if I
can remain calm, faithful, and unconfused in the middle of the turmoil.

If in the middle of this chaotic roller-coaster, I can stay off it...grounded in the calm and faithful and true One, His beautiful and trusted and mysterious plan and purpose can be brought to fruition through and in me, even if NONE of my plans ever materialize.

And as I re-read O Chambers words again and again along with the corresponding Mark 6, He asked me this morning if I can get on board with that.

...if I can be good and at peace with HIS purposes instead of my own. 

...if I can be open to His refining work, even when it feels a lot harder than what I consider successes, what I consider needed, what I'd consider blessings.

...if I can look, instead of for solutions and fixes, for Him walking on the storms of my life, however continual they feel right now.

I'm so thankful He gave me this good word today, because I needed to remember that with His mighty help... I CAN.




23 July 2022

what I needed

 My dear sister pulled all kinds of strings to get her family covered for two days so that she could come alongside ours, making it here right in time for Emma's one month bday. It was SO so good to have her...like, I needed it more than I even realized until the second she got here. It was so good to have someone in my family finally able to meet the three girlies that the last months have added...and to have my sister-friend here for me to let my hair down. I could be tired, I could be overwhelmed, I could sit back and watch for two days, and she jumped right in there and loved on kiddos, took walks, played games, changed diapers, listened to stories, and was my sister. 

We had five house showings while she was here, and it was SO much easier to get the house clean and out again and again with her help. So much easier to manage six kiddos (one at camp) with four hands. So much more fun to do a few things...the Jackson zoo...picnic at the park....going to the pool, with another adult, and especially with a Lisa. 

She's just a good mama, a good aunt and a good sister, and the Lord knew I needed her now. Wish two days could be six weeks, and that her sweet girlies could have joined us. So thankful for her husband and his grandma holding down the fort, and for her sacrifice to come.  Showing up for someone : just the best thing.














18 July 2022

what spills out

The last days have been a lot of spinning plates with a wedding, three arts' camp performances, a girlie to church camp, TB tests, a neighborhood party in our new neighborhood, house showings almost every day, church, Ben's dino bday party, VBS, gymnastics, school registration and school supply shopping, counseling, and tomorrow Matt heading out of town to speak at Indian Springs Camp Meeting. 

We are officially in the chauffeuring days, and it takes some work each evening to figure out the next day! This is why mamas start to long for more structured school schedules!  After trying to sell the house on our own for 2 weeks and exhausting all our contacts/channels/leads (would have been SO good to save that so badly needed 5% :( , we handed it over to our friend/realtor five houses down today, so more showings scheduled in the days ahead. The "clean up, put away, get out" craze is one I will NOT miss, and we have promised to take all these dear kids (who have been SO flexible and good sports about it all) to SkyZone for an hour to "jump for joy" once this beloved house is sold.

We can move into the new house as soon as August 1st, but Matt is the speaker at Cherry Run Camp Meeting July 29-August 9, so we are having the house painted August 1st instead and then officially moving in once Matt gets home.  I am obviously crazy, but not crazy enough to move seven kids and I into a new house the first week of school for two of our girls by myself. 

So, we pack some everyday, can't find much of anything, and also try to keep around what we need for the next 3+ weeks. We are trusting the Lord to sell this house to the right people at the right time, and I battle to refuse to worry about the money and/or the timing continually, mostly successfully with Lady Jane's advice to give it to the Lord and "just refuse to think about it again."

Sweet slices this season have been baby snuggles (even when there is a lot to do and she never wants put down), Ben's joy over his birthday (this little man is MAJOR into the holidays. All of them. Any of them. Always), Lily and H having the opportunities to go to their respective camps, and any little moment with any one of them: learning about leopard geckos with A, learning VBS dances with a very-serious Nora, chatting in the car with Lily up front and unable to escape me, morning coffee with Sofie and Emma, whom she simply always calls "little mate", books over the bathtub with Nora and Ben, bedtime conversations with each of them, morning devotions the same. 

Pray for Matt as he travels and speaks and preaches and prepares to start teaching again in August. Pray for the family looking for this house. Pray for the upcoming move, for these precious kiddos, for the Lord to provide all the things. 

Pray for His strength and courage and patience and love abounding in our hearts, so that as we are shaken, love and patience and courage and strength spill out. 













14 July 2022

Holland

 This is hard. 

There is a lot of hard right now. 

I know I'm tired. I know there is a lot on my plate. I know the tears coming so quickly these days make sense.

But I am realizing that opening my hands to receiving all the many things we have received this season has also meant letting go of some dreams, some plans, some things that are painful to let go of.  Open hands are open hands...can't take what God's giving without letting go, too.

Embracing this season means letting go of what I thought this season would be...where I thought I would be this time in my life...freedoms, plans, hopes, dreams, independence, creativity, travel. Money I now thought we'd have this season in life for extras has been stretched instead on nine living on one income. Places we've been waiting to go...and we can't leave the state, and someday when we can, where are we going to go with nine people? Instead of more freedoms, I have a baby I can't leave for more than 45 minutes and who is up all night, and we can't leave the house if Matt's not home because we can't all fit in the car. I wanted to be doing more ministry at Emmaus, at church, in our community, and instead I'm doing more than full-time ministry all at home, and can't help but feel a bit like the world is passing me by.  

Moving to this new home and community is the right thing for the family we now have...but leaving this home and community we love hurts.  If I couldn't get two seconds before, I now have a sweet girlie or dear Ben needing or wanting my attention every. single. moment...I don't even have enough of myself TO give away. If I had very little to myself before, it is gone...gone is my time with Matt, my time for me, any hope of writing or hobbies or sleep or freedoms. The places I want to be a good friend to others, where I  want to be cooking for, sitting with and helping others, instead I am needing it from others, with very little capacity to give back.  My conversations are all about sharing, patience, putting one another in each other's shoes, working through past traumas and pain, about kindness, oh, over and over. My life is entirely lost in these dear ones this long season, and it is good and holy work, but costly...like all the best work is.

A good friend popped in this morning to talk about church, and when I found myself crying, again, she shared with me an analogy that I'm really relating to today. 

You've been planning to go to Italy, and saving to go to Italy, and researching going to Italy, and dreaming of Italian food...and you pay the price and pack your bags and get on the plane, and instead of Italy, the pilot lands in Holland. 

And Holland is good, and it has beautiful tulips, awesome cheese markets, beautiful canals, and the Lord is there. But if you had planned to see the ancient ruins of Italy and have homemade pasta, being in Holland is hard. And you've got to let Italy go if you're going to be at peace and enjoy Holland, and I just am claiming all that for today.  

What is true : when I got on the airplane for Italy, it wasn't for vacation. It was as a missionary...and so as I work through all the changes, at least I am still on mission!

Lord, help me be grace-laced and searching for the tulips today. To be accepting and embracing where You have landed me, instead of where I thought we were going. Take my desires, take my time, take my kitchen and my neighborhood, take our finances and our freedoms and our plans. Give us Holland, if that brings you glory, and hearts that let ourselves go freely and fully. 

What are you letting go of today (tears allowed, I've decided) in order to embrace what God is putting before you?

my early morning "quiet" devotions crew

Philippians 2:17, ESV: Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.



 

11 July 2022

next door


I always walk Lady Jane home on Sunday nights after dinner.  The yard is so uneven walking between our homes, and a few quiet minutes with her always do me good. 

Last night I walked her in and got leftovers into the fridge and she said, "Stacey? Lou and I bought and sold all kinds of homes in all kinds of places over the years, and we sold every single one ourselves. I guess I just figured that if the Lord could be trusted with the changes in our lives, then He could be trusted with selling and finding our houses. And He indeed sold every one."

She started to tell me story after story, her white hair curled under perfectly as it always seems to be (unless the kids and I all descend on her unannounced like we did today when a family stopped by to tour our home and we caught her in curlers).  She told me the stories of selling various homes, and how the Lord always sent the right person at the right time. Once, they couldn't sell, and at the last moment God sent just the right person. 

"Weren't you getting anxious?" I asked her, "coming that close to moving and having no one interested?"

She thought for a moment, and said, "No, I really wasn't.  Honestly, I had decided to trust Him, and didn't think about it again!"

"Try to trust Him, Stacey," she said carefully in her southern way. "Try the best you can to trust Him, truly, and He'll take care of the things that you can't."

I walked home teary eyed, grateful for her timely words, grateful for believers in my life who are genuine examples for me of His peace, His righteousness, His love.

This morning with my motley crew gathered 'round over eggs and yogurts and cereal, we read the next story in our Bible, the boy with epileptic seizures the disciples couldn't cast out. 

The father mustered an, "IF you can", and then wilted under Jesus' rebuke. "I DO believe," he finally confessed. "Help my unbelief!"

As I shared the testimony of Lady Jane with the girls, noting that even when we DO struggle to trust Him, He will help us, dear Sofie said, "I can't even picture Lady Jane BEING anxious, about anything." 

Neither can I. 

She's so formed her life after Him, that none of us can picture her NOT looking like Him, here at 90, dining with toddlers and teens and encouraging overwhelmed mamas to hold firm.

If He's opened doors for a new home, on His own and way ahead of me, can I not trust Him to sell our current home in His good time?

If I would feel more peace with it all the responsibility of a Realtor, can I not have TRUE peace with it being the Lord's job to sell? 

If He's providing for the future, can't I trust Him with the present? If He's promised to give me today what I need for and with these children, can't I trust Him with all the daunting days ahead? 

Four years ago tonight, right in this same moment, I went into labor on a tiny island in the Caribbean with Ben, and He surrounded my house in prayer and love and peace and safety and gave us a son...not even three weeks ago He perfectly provided for us the perfect timing for Emma, too. 

Over and over again, story after story, like Lady Jane, I can point to His goodness and mercy, His provision and timing...and so can't I live in this crazy season of temptation to worry and stress and fight to control, and instead be steady ask Him to help me trust Him?


Each day, looking more like Jesus...so thankful for the example next door that it's possible, in all circumstances.



06 July 2022

His hands

 Life feels like it's moving so fast these days. 

Dear Emma is two weeks old and precious as they come (except from 9 pm-midnight!...those hours she is available.) We all don't know what we ever did without her, or why it was so hard to imagine adding her to our lives. All the sweet little baby things.

We spent the weekend getting our home ready to stage, (and getting Emma to meet her church family!) which was only only made possible by the generous time and sacrifice of our dear friends. They knew exactly what to do, and helped us do it...keeping me from getting carried away by being overwhelmed and emotional, and helping us get extra furniture, clutter, books, etc, out of the house. We could NOT have done it without Steve, Julie and the kids, and I'm so grateful for the way the Lord keeps showing up in hard, overwhelming circumstances to HELP me. One friend took our dirty clothes to wash yesterday (which ended up being a mountain), various friends are still helping with dinners (SUCH a practical, time-giving gift) and another precious friend took the kids to the science museum today so we could host a few house tours without kiddos and so I could get a little rest (I have been sick and struggling to get better with just little pockets of sleep). 

Just like I never dreamed we'd ever be a family of NINE, I also never dreamed we'd be selling this beautiful house we love until the Lord called us to the next state or country.  Goodness, is it a lot of work, and you all know I dig deep roots.  If He didn't keep providing so clearly His hand, I'd be awfully tempted to get freaked out and sink-y over all these waves.

My dad has two radiations left this week and then we are on to the 6-8 weeks of predicted recovery and waiting and seeing and testing where he is at. Thank you for your continued precious prayers for Him.

Please join us in praying...

-that our house becomes for someone the provision that our missionary friend's house is becoming for us, and that it sells rather quickly (having to get it spotless and empty again and again with a new baby and 6 kiddos to evacuate is proving incredibly challenging)

-for Wesley Biblical Seminary and Emmaus University in Haiti, all preparing for new school years and new students, embracing the sacred work of shepherding the men and women God's calling to lay down lives for His upside-down and backward, totally different kingdom...Praise the Lord. 

-for Matt. He has a heavy load at work and a heavy load at home and a lot of people depending on him. Please continue to pray for God's help and grace while Matt works to bring God the burdens and do one task at a time...which additionally includes buying a house/selling a house/and moving stuff, and foster licensure stuff right now.

Thank you dear ones.










02 July 2022

doors

I am bleary eyed and have struggled with getting the kids names right all day...Mama is tired as she's ever been and baby girl struggles at night and sleeps her days away, literally waking up angry as the kids are going to bed.  

But.

The Lord is doing something, and I have to write it down. 

There are some of you I should be having this conversation with instead of pointing you to our blog...but I don't have the 30 minutes each to call and tell the story...and anytime I try to get on the phone, 11 people need something, anyway.

A few weeks ago, Matt asked me to pray about looking at houses. We bought our house two years ago as a final family of six, and adding two pre-teen girls to the mix and a baby on the way has tightened up the situation significantly. 

But.  

I love this house, and I love this community. I hate change of any kind and have had an awful lot of it lately already. I am a "make it work" kinda girl, and we can make this work always. Even if we can't all sit at the table together at the same time. Even if we've lost the guest room and Emma has to live in our room until Lily goes to college.  We can make this work.

He asked me to pray about it and be open-minded to even looking, and I said no and prayed no, and even when I stopped saying no because he was getting frustrated with me, I prayed no all the same. 

When he sent me houses to look at, I felt sick. When he told me about places that could be good, I pretended to listen like a good wife would, and clenched down in my heart.

Not the right thing. Not the right time. Not the right house.  I'm having a baby and getting finger-printed for foster care and cooking dinner and I am not open to any more change, nor am I gonna go praying for it.

So we had court Monday, and delivered sweet Emma Tuesday night, and by the time we were home, crazy man was sending me Zillow links again. I sat in my chair Thursday morning to complain to the Lord about my husband, his insanity and how to get him to drop it, because Stacey White Ayars has FINALLY rooted after a brutal uprooting, and shall not be moved again.

As I was telling the Lord all this, explaining my side and knowing He would surely be on it, His clear voice interrupted me with a "are you telling me about your will or asking me about mine? If your husband is asking you to be open, actually ask me for an open heart."

I'm sure my cheeks turned pink, for the Lord knows me well and it's not often pretty. 

You're right, Lord, I confessed, ashamed. What do I do?

Go the extra mile to show him you're hearing him. Instead of continually shutting him down, offer him a genuine effort.

So.

I still begrudgingly got on Zillow, selected "five mile radius", and "five bedrooms", picked the house out of the five resulting houses that was the cheapest, and sent Matt the link, 30 second proof to God and husband that I was (kindof) trying.

I didn't look past the first three or four pictures or do any research.  Cause I'm not moving.  I'm just proving.

Matt didn't like the house, sent me five more. I threw up my hands. At least I triedish.  Done. 

This Monday afternoon, he called and asked if I'd go with him and a relator-friend to a few of his favorite ones, if the realtor could get us in last minute.  Matt sent him a list of possible places, and our friend called back a few minutes later and said he could only get us in two on Monday: the one Stacey had found, and one other.

Begrudgingly trying to continue to convince the Lord that I was trying to be open, we packed up Ben and Emma, left the girls to the movie National Treasure, me a hot mess in an oversized t-shirt...the only thing that fits that wasn't covered in milk stains, and headed to "my" house choice.

We didn't love lots of things as we drove up. But the relator was there, the family had left, I had to give it a courtesy call. We started to walk around, me trying to keep it together and Matt not loving all the elements that were totally different than the gorgeous, modern houses he had chosen.

But then there were a slew of books on a bookshelf by his favorite authors.  Bible verses on the walls. Books written by colleagues, studies Matt has studied. A homeschool room full of the same books I know cover to cover...how long I have longed for a dedicated homeschooling space, where science experiments and art projects can stay out past each afternoon and stacks of books aren't covering the kitchen table.  

This house, it wasn't the countertops. It wasn't the crown molding, not the size of any room nor the style of the kitchen.

It was the desk next to the bed, Bible still open, glasses sitting on top as if the owner had been sitting right there reading God's Word when we had kicked them out for a moment. It was "The Penderwicks" series, well-worn as the exact same on Lily's desk we are reading through this summer. It was the maps on the walls of unreached countries for Jesus, the reminders everywhere toward mission and Jesus. 

It was a sacred space, obviously dedicated to the discipling of many children in Christ, and finding the Spirit there quickened us both.

I headed upstairs to see the kids bedrooms, guessing the family had five or six kids, and one after another you could see the love of the Lord poured out on those rooms...three spacious bedrooms, enough for our crew and one smaller, good for friends and family and visitors and eventually Emma or Ben.

As I stood in a girls room, enjoying the light and the brightly painted Bible verses, thinking of the six girls God has placed in my care, I went to leave, my eyes moving up to a plate mounted on the wall with the occupants name, and my heart stopped in my chest, dropped right out.

I called Matt upstairs as he told me about John Oswalt's book that the owners had (the last president at WBS), and pointed to the plate.

Because we know this family.

They are leaving, in August, to be missionaries in Africa. 

Leaving their lives and family and friends and church behind in Mississippi, we have been praying for them. 

Sending their first born to Asbury University to room with our small group leader's first born, taking their five others and moving continents to share God's love and life.  They had shared their hearts and stories at Wesley Biblical Seminary and Matt had been so impressed and moved by their story and obedience, he had written a check. The mom and I had talked about getting together after baby came to talk about Haiti and Africa and pray together.  Lily and their sons went to church camp together. We've been trying to find a time for them to come for dinner before they go.

I never thought about them moving. I never thought about them having a house. I had never met one of them. 

I pulled their house basically out of the phone book so that Matt and the Lord would leave me alone. And we went and walked through one house, the first house,  and it was holy. And of all the millions of people it could have randomly belonged to, it was theirs. 

On our way downstairs, misty eyed and still stunned, we stopped at a large painting of a church over the piano, and Matt pointed to the signature of the artist. Julie, our small group leader and dear friend.

We called them on our way home. Told them we had been in their house. 

We came home and walked our neighborhood with our seven like we do most nights, talking to them about the house on the way.  I choked up at that the thought of considering leaving our neighborhood, our neighbors. They have been sweet community and a mission field. 

We collected the kids and headed back to show them the house, all of us finally meeting all of this family we have prayed for.

I asked mama if it was killing her to leave their home of 16 years. She said she didn't mind, for their calling to Africa is strong.

The only thing that's breaking my heart, she said, is leaving this community. We've had such sweet community in this neighborhood, and we have shared Jesus and prayed for these homes around us for years. 

I started crying then and haven't much held off since.

We sat with them for a few hours, and the next morning offered a contract on their home, our final crazy fleece. We offered exactly what they were asking, but by the time our relator got it in on Tuesday, they had several other contracts also pending.  

"It's competitive," he warned us. "If you want this house, you should consider offering more."

Matt and I looked at each other and both knew with total peace.

"It sounds weird, but we're believing that the Lord led us to this house, and we're not going to fight or bid for it. They're asking for what they need, and we can affordexactly that. If we get the house, it is the last and clear open door. If we do not, we trust that we're not supposed to have it.  So, I know it's a little crazy, but. We're good.  If we don't get it, we're staying put, and trusting that's what the Lord has."

He called us back yesterday afternoon, and we have a house. 

A house that's a little bit bigger.  Three girls bigger. A house that can start over with our augmented family. A house that has been dedicated to training up kiddos and loving neighbors and Jesus and the world for 16 years, a house that is sending off its' missionaries. A house that is just gonna keep being and doing all the same things. 

We just named our little surprise girl "Emmaline: peaceful home" praying that we would be just that for whomever God brings us, and suddenly, despite all my resistance and all of Matt's other plans and all of the craziness of this season, the Lord has supernaturally provided a spiritually peaceful home that perfectly fits the leaps of faith that He has helped us take these past months.

And He did it first and in two days and clear, for my weary heart.  

He's been working in the future as we've tried to be faithful in the present. He's been preparing a gift that we couldn't ever of made happen for ourselves, and I don't know what to do with that but cry (I did have a baby 9 days ago, so I am giving myself some grace) and keep on walking through the doors He's holding open...some hard, some painful, some crazy...yet all sweet because we're walking through them with Him.

I couldn't have followed Him in all of these ways--from leaving Haiti to joining Wesley Biblical Seminary to now having our third home study with CPS--if He hadn't been so obviously in it, preparing a home for a family I never planned for, moving ahead of us graciously and lovingly, providing for the future as we've stepped out on Him in the present. 

So.

I guess we're moving.

Pray for us as I trust Him with the hard things...first and foremost not living next door to Lady Jane and Mr. Henry (Matt has promised to bring everyone in and take everyone home for Sunday dinners, but...not the same as being next door each day), then leaving this street and home and neighbors and true community that we LOVE deeply.  Pray for the suddenly ridiculously long list of things that must be done to buy a home, sell a home, and move 9 people. Pray for us as we are spending much time each day trying to complete foster care requirements due to the girls having already been with us for several months.  This has included hours of paperwork, medical tests, pet records, car, tax, job, house records, interviews for all nine (well, 8) of us, background checks, twin beds instead of the queen, purchasing carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers, etc.  Pray for silly me as I let go of things that are not important...but pinch...as we step out again and more.

Praise the Lord with me for His unfailing love and for His clear open and closed doors...for we are too, too tired for confusion. Praise the Lord for all the needs we are trusting Him to meet, and most, that He who calls is faithful.

Friends, He who calls is faithful.

Today, if you hear His still small voice...today if you know and see so clearly what you should do...GO friend.  When I'm up in the night with our Emma girl, I will be holding your ropes on the adventure that is following Jesus.