Archive for December, 2010

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A Look Back At Our Furlough

12/23/2010

In October we were able to take a trip back to Texas to spend time with family and friends. Just thinking about those weeks brings a smile to my face! There is just something so wonderful about walking into arms and homes that know you so well, that love you so completely. After a year of so much newness, it was a blessing to be back in the so very familiar. I felt like a little child again as I enjoyed every drive-thru ordering experience, every trip to Target or Wal-mart, and every meal at Chilis with giddy excitement (I think Amy was embarrassed for/of me!). I wept during our times of worship at Highland in Abilene, and The Hills in Ft. Worth, as I was so overcome with gratefulness for the body of Christ. How precious it is to have places where you know your children are taken care of and are loving Bible class taught by men and women who love the Lord and love children so very much. To hear singing that you haven’t heard for over a year. To sit next to dear friends and family members and worship our God together. As Brynn said with wide eyes, “Do all of these people bow to Jesus?”. She is so accustomed to seeing people worshipping/bowing in Buddhist temples here that she was surprised to see so many followers of Christ in one place!

We got to do pumpkin patches, the Ft. Worth Zoo, Chuck E. Cheese, trick or treating, jumping in fall leaves, and many trips to Chick-Fil-A, Sonic Happy Hour, and Taco Bueno. We got to sit on our friends’ couches and laugh and share stories from the past year. We got our favorite home-cooked meals from our moms and dads. We had fun road trips, long talks with siblings we miss so much, and being spoiled by our moms. We had precious moments with Derran’s grandparents. We got to visit our old house and see neighbors that we love. Derran got to hunt with his dad, and I got to go on long walks with mine. I got to see my niece (who when we left was barely crawling after major shoulder reconstruction surgery) RUNNING around and talking like such a big girl! We attended our 10 year Abilene Christian University reunion and were blessed to see so many friends that we love so much all in one place. We got to share a great evening with our small group from church that we love so much. We were also blessed with a meal and fellowship time with our Missions Committee. Brynn and Meg had a five week long playdate with cousins and friends and grandparents–and they couldn’t get enough! Derran got to spend some weekends with guy friends that encouraged, shaped, and called him to be more like Christ—and of course had a lot of fun camping, grilling out, and watching the Rangers, too! I got to spend time with my wonderful sisters and so many of my close friends as well. It was so fun to laugh, be together, of course cry :), pray together, and encourage one another. We finally got to meet our new nephew Colt. I also was able to love on friends’ new children I hadn’t met yet, and a special little boy who had been adopted since we were gone. One of my dearest friends had a baby while I was there, and I was thrilled to be able to hold such a new little one. My spirit was full to the brim as I soaked up time with women that have walked with me through so much. What a FULL, wonderful, just-what-we-needed time in Texas!

It was a blessed time being “home”, and it was also nice to come “home” over here. We were ready to sleep in our own beds and get back into routine. It has been harder being back than I thought it would be, so I will be honest and say that. The goodbyes when we left were just as tough–I don’t suppose they will ever be easy.  But God has been so faithful to us here. He is providing more opportunities for friendships for us and our children. Relationships are growing deeper as we share more experiences together with our neighbors. He is faithful. It is exciting to be doing things like birthdays and holidays for the second time around now; there is a sense of peace and confidence that comes with knowing you’ve done something before. I’m thankful for our two homes on opposite sides of this world and how both sides shape and bless us in such different ways–couldn’t live without either side. It was so good to see so many of you. Thank you to all of you for the ways you show us your support and love–we count you all as great blessings in our lives!

Enjoy some pictures of our trip!