4.07.2018

Pregnancy Round Two



I'm typing this at 38 weeks 2 days and on my first day of maternity leave! Also, I'm hoping that contractions will start any minute and that this baby will be in my arms sometime soon. Jackson was 10 days late so I'm not very optimistic but hey a girl can pray and dream right?

I realized today after putting Jackson to sleep that I have very little written about this pregnancy or this baby and I wanted to quick note some things so I can remember.

1. Pelvic Pain
My pelvic pain started early in second trimester and never left. Walking hurts, sitting hurts, lying down hurts - there is nothing I am able to do to get rid of the every constant pain. I just keep thanking the Lord for the ability and opportunity to carry this child but if being honest I have been miserable. I see woman who go on maternity leave and "nest" and to me the thought of bending over hurts and nesting isn't possible because I can't move. Don't get me wrong - I would love to nest and clean my house but I'm learning to just have so much grace over myself in this season of letting the Lord define me and not my clean house or great accomplishments.

2. Survive Nine Months
Along with the pelvic pain I am still taking dicletin. I've tried stopping the pill so many times to see if I could go without and each time has left me so dizzy and nauseous that it is not worth it. I honestly believed I would feel better after first trimester (like I did with Jackson) but this time it wasn't the case. A lot of days I was bedrest and unable to thrive. Mark and I were talking one night about how my body doesn't do pregnancy well and what we can realistically strive for in this season - we came up with the word "survive." Just get through it. That is what has kept me sane when I am feeling all the mom-guilt, wife-guilt, all the guilt of not being able to provide for my family the way my heart desires it.

3. Family Support
When we moved up to Muskoka at the end of August I was already pregnant. I don't know life up here without feeling all the pregnancy feels. We have such great family support and had amazing help with Jackson and throughout my pregnancy and I know things are going to be different with family three hours away. I know that I am called to be here in Muskoka for this season and we are really loving it but I have been thinking lots about the lack of support I will have this time around with baby #2 and feeling so grateful for the way families rally around each other no matter the distance.

4. Logistical Facts
So far I have gained about 35 pounds and that is a bit less than with Jackson. I am unable to exercise due to the way baby is sitting on my pelvis so the weight struggle has been real again watching the pounds come on and not being able to do too much. Along with that, I am always hungry. I also don't remember being this hungry when pregnant with Jackson. We still don't know the gender after being unable to find out and it has been driving me crazy - but hopefully any day now I will be able to know! Even packing my hospital bag has been rough because I have all the boy clothes... but don't want spend $ on girl outfits if baby #2 is male. I had a midwife this time around again with Midwives of Muskoka. I have enjoyed my care there but do miss St. Jacobs midwives at times. I like the familiarity and everything is so new to me up here. The "plan" is to give birth at the Orillia hospital which is 35 minutes away. I laboured so so long that I figure I will have plenty of time to get to Orillia before baby is due - but who knows.... will have to read the birth story :)


Jackson knows there is a baby in my tummy but also thinks there is a baby in Mark's tummy too - so does he understand? Not too sure. He knows the baby's crib and when we talk about the baby coming soon he points outside and talks about the van and we acknowledge that yes - we are driving to pick baby up in the van... hopefully we can keep this story for a very long time. Babies come home in vans  - it's not lying!

Last, I want to remember how great my husband is. Wow, a hundred times over. It brings tears to my eyes typing how amazing and great he really is. Through all these hormones, naps, lack of ability to do much - he selflessly stepped up and served me and our family. Starting a new job in a new town with a whole new congregation to meet is overwhelming and yet he has dove right in and loved on and served these wonderful people -while taking care of his family I am so proud and honoured and just so in love with my man for the way he is Jesus to me and our family. He has really stepped up from packing all the boxes (literally all the boxes while I slept or threw up) when we moved and has made our rental house a home. I am so thankful for him and know that I couldn't have done this pregnancy without him.

OK. Let's continue to wait and be patient. Baby we love you! Can't wait to hold you in my arms so soon.

3.05.2018

My struggle with Instagram


"I could ask myself a few questions before sharing, like: what is the purpose of this picture/video/boomerang? Am I seeking validation from strangers? Am I simply adding to the noise? Is this content going to encourage anyone? Help anyone? Brighten someone's day?"

I read this essay by Ashlee Gadd and just sighed out relief. Yes. This is exactly what I am feeling and trying to put into words but couldn't and Ashlee did it so brilliantly. I love instagram and social media and believe there is so much good that comes with it. I am often encouraged, inspired, learnt something and overall am able to keep up with people's lives whom I love. Yet, all at the same time I feel defeated and consumed by all the noise. I feel like I have to produce to be validated and the comparing game and feeling inadequate is strong. I often don't need to fill my few spare moments looking at others lives and what they are eating or drinking or wearing or who they are hanging out with it that day and ten minutes scrolling instagram normally doesn't feel life giving when I'm done.

I want to use social media for good - or again - how Ashlee beautifully writes (seriously read her writing!) "I want to walk beside you, on this very weird internet thing, and be an uplifting voice in your day. I want to take huge pauses in between each click. I want to be intentional. I want to be slow. I want to be a good steward of this space. I want to make it count."

I want this too. I don't want you dreading seeing my insta story or post knowing that it will be another picture elevating my life and making you compare it to yours. I don't want that but I have struggled with knowing how to create an uplifting space on my social media. I ask myself these questions Ashlee posed all the time when I am thinking about posting and then never end up submitting it because somewhere along the lines it doesn't seem all that important. And as these days of not posting have turned into weeks and now as I have been intentionally living this out for two months - the urge and desire I once felt to post has faded. There is huge freedom that has come with living my life unseen and I am loving it. 

If you don't know my word for 2018 is unseen. You can check out that post here. God has been working on me to produce for Him and no one else - and understanding that the things I want to produce and do for Him is not cute coffee shops pictures or perfectly styled photos or selfies or showing off my great life to anyone else. I don't want to spend time on those things - I want to spend time having strangers in my home and singing praises to God on the top of my lungs even though I sound horrible.  I want to live my days serving my husband and family and that doesn't look glamorous. I want to be up early, bible open needing God's word as my daily bread and not caring if anyone else knows I am reading my bible or not because I know it's not for them.




I am finding the addiction and coolness of instagram and social media in general really fades away when my focus is on real people having face to face interactions. Everyone knows the statistics. We are the most connected generation and the most lonely.  We crave real community - we were created for it - for face to face conversations and living life alongside each other - not watching our instagram feeds.


I am so thankful for my word this year and the insane amount of hard work Jesus has been doing on me, these past two months. I know we still have ten months to go and a lifetime of work on me in this area but I want to say that living unseen is so freeing. Friends, it is so good to live your life for an audience of one. Life is more enjoyable when you aren't trying to produce an image and you leave your phone off every once in a while. I am not hating on the internet or social media - Instagram is my favourite app and I still go on it a lot. I think sometimes the church always paints social media in a negative light and I want to be quick to say how much good can come from it but be honest that too much consumption can be suffocating.

So here I am. Feeling freedom to not share everything anymore and live more unseen and yet knowing instagram is a great platform to encourage, build up and share what the Lord is teaching me..and also keep friends and family up to date with my babies:) I am experiencing such a tension and really wanting to be more intentional if and when I post. I will continue to ask these questions Ashlee posed and really encourage you if you are feeling this tension to consider them too. I hope to figure out in these next couple months a good balance, a rhythm of sorts of being online and being hidden. I know I am definitely in a season of hiding - where it's just me and Jesus hanging out as I get to know His word better. I can sense Him preparing me in the secret because I know there will be a season coming where I will live more publicly so I am cherishing this season and trying to glean everything He has for me in it.  But I love Instagram and am learning so much from such incredible Jesus-following-women that I want to still connect and glean the good stuff from it too.

So here's to the tension. To wanting to make my presence online count for something more than a selfie or coffee shop picture. To wanting to be more intentional about what I post and when I post. To wanting my small space on the internet to breathe life into you and encourage you right where you are at. To cheer one another one in this journey and uplift each other as we run our own race in our own lanes.

Here's to learning to live more unseen.



12.22.2017

My 2018 Word ( & reflections on 2017)


I can't believe it is December 22 already. For me the days go by so slowly and at 7am I wonder if the day could ever be over and then the weeks and months are a blur - so fast.

So many people do this but the thing is to pick a word/phrase/hashtag that you want to focus on in the coming year. I've done this the past couple years and written the word/phrase in my planner on the first page so I could keep coming back to it and as I make and renew my goals.

2016 my word was strength. We had a really rough fall 2015 and that easily bled into 2016. It was an interesting season when my job was my ministry with my husband in my home on the church property. It was all connected and there was little space to breathe or create new paths but I knew my baby boy was due May of 2016 so I needed strength to get to maternity leave and then strength to sustain new life with no sleep.

2017 I didn't have a word going into the first weekend of February but God easily captured my attention when I attended the IF:Gathering and Jennie said her vision is "that we would get really good at the things that nobody sees." I loved this and was intrigued by it and started putting rhythms in place to cultivate this lifestyle but as I've been reflecting more on I still feel I need to go deeper with it.

2017 was a big year of transition but I will summarize it as a hard one. I had really high hopes coming off of maternity leave to implement all these fresh ideas and programs for our ministry and job and was excited to return back to work. After returning it work God made it abundantly clear to both Mark and I that we needed to move on. We heard this but then heard silence and we weren't sure where God was leading us. Looking back now, sitting at my dining room table in Gravenhurst I am smiling just thinking about God's perfect timing but those spring nights of defeat and unknowns left me in tears. Each day I love my husband more but wow, He did such an amazing job leading our family away from all comfort and following God's call up to Gravenhurst. Thank you Jesus for Mark and his leadership! I am so grateful looking back at seeing my hesitant heart and Mark's patience with me as he prayed God would make it clear where he wanted our family. I spent the entire summer getting ready to leave my home and also being the most sick. Honestly, August-October is a complete blur and there isn't much to write. I have never been so unproductive and so sick in my entire life. Every day was a struggle to get out of bed and Mark and I labelled those months as "just survive." That was my job. Keep Jackson alive. I napped when he napped and went to bed by 8pm most nights. I barley left the house and became really isolated in this new town because I was so sick. The nauseous and dizziness started to clear around October when I could decrease the drugs I was taking and now I only have take one pill a night or else I would still throw up but its manageable and I praise the Lord each day for that. October is when things started to turn around.

God miraculously provided the most perfect job for me as an office coordinator where I don't need childcare and can work part time and I started having energy to put into my small business as a wedding planner.I got out of the house and found some great play groups for Jackson which allowed me some awesome ministry opportunities.

So what does 2018 hold?

This past week I took two of Jackson's nap times to just sit with Jesus in silence and thank Him for getting me through 2017 and asking Him what 2018 holds. I asked Him to give me a word or a new theme but I kept circling back to the theme of being unseen. Reflecting on this past year there was a lot that was unseen. As a pastors wife I've had to quickly learn that I can't share most things, whether they are good or bad. In 2017 I learnt to a new extent how to be vulnerable, open and real with keeping a lot of my life private. This was difficult to blog about because the lessons and things I was learning were things that I couldn't share publicly because it wouldn't be honouring. But then God has been showing me that the really sacred things are not meant to be shared in public. We validate social media and sharing our highlight reels and great moments but God has been teaching me that the great moments according to His word are the things in secret, the things to sacred to share. 

For example, Mark and I have been praying for God to bring us "need" and allowing ourselves to say yes and make that margin available to say yes. I get giddy typing this because God is answering our prayer each day providing new people to love on and care for and share the gospel with. Miraculous stuff- but these things are so awe-inspiring and so great and so just for Jesus and I (and Mark). They don't make my instagram feed or facebook account. I couldn't have insta storied the moment where this teenage boy knocks on our door looking for a pastor to talk about the meaning of life with. These moments are the real ones, the ones worth living for but aren't made for the public - they are unseen

And as I wrote in my journal I realized I want so much more of this unseen life. My soul is craving these intimate moments with Jesus. A bible study recently was released by Kristin Hill called called "Go and Tell No One" and it focuses on exactly this unseen life. I love what she writes about this study:

"Even though there is a longing deep within us to be known, understood, validated, recognized, and affirmed, there is a call from Jesus that is deeper still that answers those longings in the Secret, and the Sacred, with Him. Throughout the gospels, Jesus models for us a life that seeks the Father, in Secret. In both everyday encounters, as well as miraculous, life-changing moments, we see Jesus drawing people into the Secret with Him, often with encouragement to treasure those moments by keeping them Sacred."

Yes. Yes. Yes. I believe this because I have tasted it and know it to be true. But I long for it to be more real in my life and I believe in this next season I am able to experience it at a deeper level. 

So my 2018 word: u n s e e n

How do I go about accomplishing this? Less time looking at others lives and trying to produce things to showcase my life. More time with Jesus alone. More time carving intentional space where I can say yes to whatever Jesus has for me and somehow learning not to feel pressured to share it with everyone and being OK with that. I don't think I will delete social media because there is so much good that happens on instagram but I do need to put in more boundaries and create more healthy rhythms to limit the time spent on it so I can spend it more with Christ.


So welcome 2018. I need you. 2017 was a rough year (minus these last couple months) and I am longing and expectant for new lessons. I know I am not seeking comfort as Jesus isn't found there but I am longing to look more like Christ and I know that pruning process is uncomfortable as I continue to deal with my sinful, prideful heart. But I welcome you, I long for those uncomfortable painful moments because I know that I am being molded into the image of Christ and that is my one desire. I can't wait to welcome our second born into the Hockley family and also thinking about summers living in Muskoka on maternity leave seems like a dream when there is a beach down the road from where we rent.

2017 thank you for the lessons. I know that suffering produces steadfastness and that I want that to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1: 2-5)

Do you have a word for 2018? Even if you think it's a dumb idea (my husband does!) I really challenge you to take some time to be silent and think about 2017 and all that God has done and taught you. It's amazing what He wants to show us when we make time for Him and reflect.

Merriest of Christmas from me to you! Thanks for following along through all the silence on this space. I hope in creating new rhythms that I will want to be blogging more but another babe is coming so I can't make any promises.

Your readership means so much. & as always I am an email away if you want prayer or to process anything!

XO

Mads

11.12.2017

Dear Jackson -1.5 years


 Dear Jackson,

I wanted to write down some things quick so that I don't forget because I am already starting to forget. I also need to be quick because you don't nap very long so I am literally racing against the clock. A part of me wishes you weren't so curious and so busy so you would play by yourself and I could type this post out but that is you and the moment the iPad and my keyboard is out you want to watch videos of yourself and bang loudly on the keys making writing impossible.

You are becoming such a big boy and there isn't any "baby" left in you. You are a full toodler. Exploring the world, learning new things each and every day and excited for every new adventure. Speaking of an adventure we have taken you on one these past few months. Moving cities and homes and everything fimiliar to you is a big transition - and watching it through your little eyes has given me fresh insight on transitions and having grace with myself. Everything we have thrown at you, you have taken to- except the nursery at church. You are still terrified of it and cry and I worry and stress the entire service but I know everything is a season and this too shall pass.


I want to remember that you are obsessed with birdies and make bird noises all throughout the day. Your hearing is better than mine and you always can hear the birdies and look up to find them. You also love airplanes and we see lots in the sky every day, which you point out to me every time. We must acknowledge the planes, birds, squirrels etc. Stop and watch in wonder. Then we they fly or go away you wave to them every time, seem satisfied and then continue on with the task at hand. You are a big boy and need to be treated that way at all times. Often if I am helping you willl literally take my hand off of your cup/bowl/chair etc.. and throw it away so "you can do yourself." You are one stubborn determined boy and I know that it is hard to parent that right now but you will be a force for the Kingdom of God with those characteristics as you get older.

You love helping out around the house. You empty the dishes washer (the cutlery) and proudly give each piece to us. You turn on and off all the light switches, open and close the garage, help mow the lawn, pick up leaves, empty out the laundry from the dryer and put it into the hamper and on some days you even proudly put away all your toys.. but the last example is only sometimes... we are working on that one with you.


Eating... hmm what to write about that. You love eggs and fruit and then everything else is a gamble at all times. Breakfast is normally good but lunch and dinner can be you crying and throwing your food the entire time or taking really big bites and using your utensils like a pro. Meal time is probably the most stressful for me as a Momma in this season. I want to feed you nutritious meals but you often cry if the food takes longer than 5 minutes to make and cook. You follow me around all day that when I try to sneak away to cut veggies or boil rice you know food is being prepared and demand to eat it right away.

You are still sleeping through the night about 12 hours. We switched you to one nap around 16 months and naps have been really rough for you. There have been so many transitions in your life and this is another big one so I am trying to not resent the fact that I get little to no alone time or rest during the day. This has been so hard while being pregnant and sick because every time you nap, I nap. And when you sleep at seven I am right behind you most nights crawling under the covers by 8pm. This has been tough to spend quality time with Jesus and Mark and make friends and new connections but when I keep an eternal perspective I quickly remember all that I have to be thankful for and stop worrying about what I'm not doing.

You understand everything I say to you and we communicate great! I will tell you go get a bowl, your shoes, your blanky anything and you will understand and get it for me. It is such a privilege watching you grow. You can't speak back to me but you are trying. You say "dada" "momma" "hot" "more" and make a lot of birdie noises.

Your daddy is your best friend and you love when he is around. You get so sad every morning when we drive him to work and look forward to him coming home. You are much more at ease when Dada is home and so much less clingy to me. You love when he takes you on walks (or anyone takes you on walks.. one of your favourite things) and you full out giggle every time we kiss you, "get you", chase you or make a game out of something.

Jackson, you are God's precious child and I am honoured, humbled and often teary-eyed that I get to be your Momma. Motherhood is hard but I've learnt and continue to learn that all really good stuff takes work and is hard. This journey has continued to refine me as a human and follower of Christ and I know Jesus better by being your Momma. Thank you for all your kisses and snuggles. The way you put your head on my shoulder and wrap your little arms around my neck makes me melt and gives me such purpose.

I love you sweet boy.

XO
Momma

10.09.2017

PARENTS X 2


Excited to share the news that the Hockley family is growing! We know every child is a miracle and are just praising Jesus for the little life living in me.

People always say you spend so much time on baby number one, but my the second and third you are in a different season - that statement is so true! I love these babies the same and am so joyous towards this baby but it is different. Need an example? Check out my last baby announcement On the blog here. This time around... a heart felt blog post with a photo I made Mark take with me and a toddler who just wants to run around and not take the photo:|

I think the main reason it is different this time around is that I have been so so sick. If you've been following this blog for a while you will know that with Jackson I had some morning sickness too, I may have even said how sick I was. Perspective is funny. Thinking back on carrying Jackson doesn't even feel like I was sick compared to this baby. This baby has taken every last ounce of energy from me for the past three months. I have also been extremely sick. The dicletin has kept the dizziness and nauseaous at bay but the pills make me so tired that I can't function. I've really wrestled with not feeling myself as we've packed up our home and moved and tried to transition into a new community all well feeling so tired and sick. So maybe I'll make Mark do a real photo shoot with me once I start feeling better. 

I am out of first trimester so hopefully this all day sickness and tiredness goes away shortly. God really is good though because I've been too sick to work or hold a job and right now I'm unemployed so that has been a blessing that I can sleep when Jackson sleeps. Mark and my motto right now is just to survive, not thrive. Aka: the kitchen and bathrooms are dirty but Jackson is alive and fed and loved and that is my job and then I sleep all the rest of the time. 

Baby is due early April - but I'm scared to tell people the exact date because Jackson was 10 days late and I grew very impatient waiting for our sweet little bundle. Jackson and baby will be just under two years apart as Jackson's birthday is in May. 

Anyways, SO EXCITED to share the news on the blog and this space. It will all be different up in Gravenhurst and if I'm totally honest I really want to give birth at Grand River and have my St. Jacobs midwives again- not give birth in an unknown city without all my family support. However, I am excited to welcome another life into this world! Kids are such blessings and I am thrilled for another child. 

To my baby: Jesus knows you, loves you and is forming you in my womb. I've had two ultrasounds already and been able to see your sweet little body growing and forming. You even waved to me and the technician with your little arms. 

 Baby you are loved. By the creator of the world who sees you and has plans for your life that will matter in eternity. Your momma and dada love you so much already and we are praying that you continue to grow and grow strong. You are loved dear one. You are seen. You are known. 

We love you. I love you.  I love you even if I don't ever feel better for nine months. You are so worth it. 

Can't wait to meet you sometime (hopefully) in April! 

XO


*also this is why I haven't blogged in a couple months... I've been permantely sick:( Am hoping and praying I will start feeling like "Maddie" again and can get settled and keep writing, and also clean those bathrooms and kitchen;)

7.25.2017

Waiting Waiting



This season is really interesting. Mark and I feel so exhausted each and every day. Not physically exhausted but emotionally and mentally. I know many of you have moved cities so I know there is a huge community that can totally relate.... but wow I didn't expect this. This overwhelming feeling just hanging onto me.

I am living in this tension of feeling released, excited and called to what's next and at the same time trying to remain present, tie up relationships, see people and overall leave well. With these two desires at odds with one another and so many things out of my control I am left feeling stressed and anxious.

The amount of sweet church people asking me who is taking my place and what will happen when I go and not having an answer for them is draining. I want to provide the answers and help but I can't. That is up to the church leadership and not in my control. On the other side, I want to know where we are going to live, settle down and make deep roots in Gravenhurst but that is also outside of my control. The housing market is a lot different up there without a lot of options and that is making me anxious. How do I pack, what is going to go in storage? Do I need storage? Where will I work? Should I pursue more weddings and get more serious about this side hustle-passion job or should I look for work that is stable and secure hours? 

These two popular verses that I have had memorized since I was little always ring loud in these overwhelming excited but sad kind of days. Many people quote Matthew 11:28 and know it well. It says: "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." Most people stop there and declare that over their lives as they sit on the couch and watch nextflix. However this verse isn't talking about phyiscal rest but this spiritual kind. If you keep reading the passage it says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 

Now that is something we can preach over ourselves. Jesus is saying to come to him. To literally sit at his feet and stay there. To spend time with him (not watch nextflix) and to commune and be with him.  When we do this we find rest for our souls. True rest. Rest that actually matters and is life giving. This is the rest I need in this season of feeling so many emotions and trying to leave well but being excited for what's next. 

The second verse I've been speaking over myself is found in Matthew 6:27. It says so clearly and just makes me giggle at how timeless the bible is. "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" Gah, convicted every time [and I speak this verse out loud most days and still get convicted of it...this is an ongoing struggle].

Jesus is so great and sometimes speaks so clearly. Can I add a single hour to my life by worrying about so many things out of my control? Nope. But I do. I get up from the feet of Jesus and start striving again, start trying to do work in my flesh rather than work from a place of rest. 

So here I am telling you I'm flawed and so in need of Jesus. I need his rest for my weary overhwelmed soul and I need his words to remind me that worrying solves nothing. That popular Chris Tomlin song "I need thee oh I need thee, every hour I need thee" is so true. I am in need of Jesus in this season and every season. The nice part is that I know this season has an end. Just four or so more weeks and all the boxes will be packed, A house will be found and I will be typing these blogs in a new town. But while I wait, I will continue to speak these verses over my life and praise Jesus for his faithfulness and goodness each day.

If your are going through a transition season know I am right there with you. Speak these ever popular verses out loud over your life and believe them, sit in them, rest in them. 

XO
Maddie

7.17.2017

WE'RE MOVING


I never thought I would write this blog post. I am known as an Elmira-snob. I literally love this town with my whole heart and want to see my family and kiddos grow up here. Both my parents and Mark's parents are here and all of our siblings live close by too. I want Jackson to go to the same elementary school I went too. This area is comfortable and in my opinion so dang cute.

But God. He knows best. His comfort is better than any comfort I could get from my little town (that actually isn't so little anymore).

After much prayer we sensed God calling us somewhere else. While seeking where God wanted us Mark came across an amazing associate pastor position. He loved the job description and the way they valued everything we valued in ministry. Then after some more research we found out that we knew the head pastor, who we love and think very highly of. He is a great leader and just got really excited about the "what if's" and "what are the chances that at this exact time he needs an associate pastor and Mark needs a new position." I told Mark not to apply since it was too far away but he did and I am so thankful he did.

After countless hours of prayer and seeking God's heart, visiting Gravenhurst and then church, meeting the elders and having supper with the Pastor and his wife we drove the two and a half hours home just in awe of God. He is so so good. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. God opened the doors when they were closed and did His thing. If you get one thing out of this post I want it to be that God is working still today and that He cares. The timing wasn't how I had expected it, but I've learnt by now that it is never with the Lord. His timing is best and if we would have looked years ago this opportunity wouldn't have been there.

So here I am. Giddy, excited, expectant, scared, nervous, overwhelmed and already tearing up at the thought that I can't have family dinners multiple times a week. My family are my best friends and the people I want to hang out with. Jackson had full time childcare between his grandparents which is the most amazing thing and such a neat thing to have rich deep realtionships with his grandparents. I'm nervous to make friends again, scared about trying to find a place to live but overall so at peace. I know this where God is calling Mark and our sweet family and being in God's will is the only thing I want.

I was saying to Mark this week that I just love Jesus so much. Jesus really is my best friend and I am so in love with Him. We chat all the time and through these last couple of months it's been really tough but Jesus has been so present so gracious so good. I told Mark that if Jesus calls us anywhere in the world we would go, happily because all I want is to serve Him; to give Jesus away because I 100% believe He is the answer and the HOPE this world needs. And if I believe that, my life needs to be an example of that. So although my worldly comfort is being stripped from me and leaving my family and cute town will be sad it is nothing compared to the excitement I have of doing this for Jesus. His will be done, not mine.

So logistically (everyone has been asking this) we will start the very end of August and hopefully move in somewhere then too. I will look for work once we are settled and I know the area/jobs etc. We would like to only have one vehicle to keep our costs down but I am praying for a job that is part-time where Mark could watch Jackson and I work a couple evening shifts and could take a car. We will see though what comes of this. The church has committed to two years and so have we. We will see what happens and go from there.

One last thing to add that I want to remember. I haven't seen Mark this excited in so long and it is just the most beautiful thing ever as his wife. So will you pray for us if you think of it? I am so messed up and can always use prayer! Pray for this transition and that we would leave well. And pray for Calvary Baptist. That Mark would be the pastor God wants him to be and I would be a great pastor's wife, whatever that means. I honestly have no idea still.

Thanks for journeying with us. Thankful for your readership and your interest in our little life.

XO
Maddie

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