Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Something Easy

Yesterday I wrote about wanting something in life to be easy.  Truth is - I am very blessed.  My marriage is easy.  I'm sure there will come a day when we face some struggles as a couple and where our marriage takes much more work than it does now.  But as Josh and I were talking about how hard this year has been for each of us, we realized something.  (I should probably say, Josh pointed out something.  He's much wiser - and more level headed - than I am.)  Through all this, we've had each other to cling to.  When one of us is in tears, we have the other to hold us and pray over us.  We're in this together.  This year our marriage has been easy.  I'm pretty sure I would've given up if it weren't for him.  He reminds me daily that God called us to Italy and He has a plan to get us there.  In those moments, I'm able to completely relax and put aside my worries.

God has truly blessed me.  He's given me a partner who takes so many of my stressors away, who will do anything he can to make my life easier.  We're in this black hole of 2010 together.

Apartment Life

One thing that I do not love about apartment life:  you can hear whenever the maintenance guy knocks on everyone else's door.  And that scratchy sound of a key in the door.  Mumbled voices from the breezeway.  This has been my day.  (As you can probably guess, we live in a great apartment complex if that's all I've got to complain about.)

Good things of apartment life?  I have a list.  When the appliances break, I don't have to fix them.  No lawn to mow.  Or sidewalk to shovel  (Though, I've been tempted because ours takes a good 48 hours to be cleared.)  No maintenance.  I don't have to replace light bulbs.  Those stains in the carpet are annoying, yes, but they aren't tempting me to replace the carpet.  I can have my heat on very low in the winter without worrying about freezing pipes, because the apartments around me know how to share.  I am only responsible for the cleanliness of 1000 square feet.  We travel a lot for work.  And I don't like cleaning, so that's a big deal.

I would love to live in a house, someday, when we have normal home-owner style lives.  Right now we don't, so, I remember the good things about apartments.  But we're moving soon, to another apartment, so this time would have better been spent packing.  In an ideal world that is.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Black Hole of 2010

I officially christen this year as the black hole of 2010.  Seriously, everything - this entire year - has been complicated, stressful, bumpy, rittled with disappointment and like climbing a mountain - barefoot.  Now, I am not some dreamy idealist who thought life was going to be a cake walk.  Its about ups and downs - and getting up after the downs.  But seriously, I'm pretty sure we haven't had a month where some major, stressful event hasn't drastically impacted our day to day lives.   Like I said, I am under no illusion that life is easy.  But, I was kinda hoping for some easy things.  You know - some things are really hard but some are easy.  Somehow, 2010 has been a year of every single area of our life is a struggle.  Nine weeks left - can I make it?  If we're talking literally, then yes, I believe I'll see the year 2011 unless I die or Christ returns.  If we're talking figuratively, then no, I cannot promise that I'll be sane at the end of the year. The possibility of me withdrawing completely into a fetal position consuming only chocolate ice cream for nourishment is daily becoming increasingly likely. 

In all seriousness, its been a very hard year.  If I could just trade it in, I think I would.  This year, the good did not outweigh the bad.  It was hard, every area of our life has huge obstacles in front of us right now.  Last year was so different.  Our struggles were different, life was simpler and just - less.  Simpler.  Less.  Better.  This is my aim for 2011.  Simpler.  Better.  (Less sucky.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do you get it?

I thank God for people who get it.  They get missions.  They catch our vision for ministry in Italy and run with it.  The number of people who 'get it' has multiplied over the past ten months, and I'm so thankful.  I need people who 'get it.'

Its really exciting to watch people go from not understanding at all to 'getting it' better than anyone else around us.  To be invested and interested.  I'm so thankful for those than genuinely care.  This ministry is theirs as much as it is ours.

Some people support our ministry because they love us deeply.  We couldn't do it without them.  Others support us because they share our passion for the lost and are excited about what we're doing.  We couldn't do it without them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

See you in Europe

There is something about going to school for missions.  Several things actually.   One, all your friends are missionaries.  The disadvantage of that is all your friends are raising support too.  :)  But it is far outweighed.  These friends, though all busy with life, ministry, family, traveling, working - they get it.  They understand to the very heart what we deal with.  The roller coaster, the highs and lows, surprises and utter disappointments.  They understand what its like to wait, and wait, and wait.  To make countless phone calls that lead to voice mail.  Having unreturned messages.  To have such a different mindset and outlook on life and situations compared to the people we're surrounded with.  I'm so thankful for these friends.  To them, I don't have to explain my feelings.  I can just say it, and they get it, because deputation and ministry is hard.  Hard.  Another hard thing, I want to support each and every one of them. 

Another great thing about going to school with missionaries, and working at a missions agency, I know missionaries all over the world.  Ha!  By the time I deploy to Italy, we'll have friends in Ireland, Spain, other areas of Italy, Portugal, Paris, Tanzania, Senegal, Central Asia.  Ok - if you know me you know I'm probably not planning on visiting Central Asia.  I'll invite them to visit me.

Its a weird life.  But an awesome life.  And its ours.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chips, Salsa, & Candy Corn

Its been a few weeks since I've wrote, but my blog was never far from my mind.  First I just got tired of writing about my recovery, than I was buried with work at the office and the past seven days Josh and I were on a recruiting trip to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  This past week was exhausting for me, but worth it.  I love talking with students, hearing their passions, and their journeys to discovering God's desire for their ministry.  Plus, I really love seeing their faces light up talking about using their gifts in overseas church planting.  Those moments are worth all the accusative questions.  Fun.

It was also great to spend time time Rebecca, Laurie and Joanna, catching up on their lives.  Laurie's leaving for Spain in nine weeks!  So very excited for her!!!  Their is something about reconnecting with members of the Avant family, I am so thankful to be a part of such an encouraging, loving, passionate family of missionaries.  (Added bonus - friends all over the world with whom to house swap on vacation.)

Apparently the Best Western River North is the hotel of choice in Chicago - randomly learned that our friend Jessie was staying there with her family for the urbanathlon which overlapped our stay!  I may have shrieked when I found out.  I think it's been about a year since we've seen the Lowes (missed Jaimme this weekend though.)  We talked with her Thursday night and were able to hang out and have dinner Friday night as well.  I love those friendships that you can just pick up where you left off even though life after college has thrown you all across the country; soon all across the world.  God has such an amazing way of blessing our lives in the most unexpected ways - sometimes when we don't even know we need it. 

Yesterday we spent time with our team in Chicago.  We even skyped Emily!  It was wonderful to spend time together, just talking and sharing how our lives were going.  Exploring a seven floor mall, some of downtown Chicago, and Rebecca's apartment.  Great snacks - I can never say no to chips and salsa - and great people.  The Husker loss couldn't even spoil our fun.  Or even washing dishes.  :)  Though, I think the boys may have gotten drunk on giggles.  Note to self:  don't leave the four of them alone on a small couch.  Very thankful.  Support raising is a stretching time.  Not many people truly understand the roller coaster ups and down, fears and failures that one struggles with during deputation.  So thankful for our team.

It was truly an encouraging and refreshing week.   Life as we know it begins again tomorrow, and will be forever changing for the next eighteen months when Josh and I step off the plane onto Italian soil.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Excuse Me

So remember a few weeks ago I had surgery and a side effect was burping. Well now I just burp a lot lately. I definitely just burped really loud during a chapel sermon. Great. Well, excuse me.