It has been wonderful being home for a while. It has been about a month since we've been in Houston, and that in and of itself is weird. We miss our second family, the Stanfills and Houston. It's nice to actually look forward to going back to Houston... But we have LOVED being home. Things have been super, super busy.
Josh heads up a live/silent auction for the school he works for, Claiborne Christian, and that event was on Saturday, February 23rd, so we were very busy getting ready for that and it was a HUGE success. He is so talented and truly feels like he can be in the ministry without "being in the ministry" by helping CCS in this way. I have been working and in school and have made lots of progress toward my dissertation. I am so excited to say that it looks like I will be able to defend my proposal THIS semester. That was my original goal before my diagnosis, and to think that that could still be a reality is amazing. People constantly look at me in amazement of how I've been able to do all I have with everything I've been through. The absolute, 100% truth is I haven't! I haven't been able to do any of it... I have been extremely weak, needy, and broken- which has allowed God to work. He is just simply unreal. The things that happen when we are completely reliant on Him...
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting
God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow
weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall
faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who
wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and
I also have my PhD comprehensive exams coming up. This is a full week (March 18-22) and have been studying and getting ready for this. This includes an actual exam, along with a clinical presentation. I must pass these exams to be approved to graduate, so needless to say, it is a big deal and I would appreciate your prayers.
For the last several weeks, I have been getting ready to speak at Pathway Church in Mobile, Al. A college friend of my in-laws contacted me and asked me to speak at a ladies' event on March 17th (this Sunday). It is entitled "Fight like a Mom." This is their 2nd annual event and I am really getting excited. Thankfully, Josh will be able to speak with me, so this calms my nerves a bunch. This will be the first time I've shared where I've been able to give a large part of my testimony/ feelings/ emotions throughout the last 17 months. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will speak through me. I know my pain and hurt has not been in vain. It is meant to help and encourage hurting people...
One thing God is working on in me- being willing to be "seen" and share my story. It is much easier to write on a blog or share with those closest to me. It is quite another to speak at events, have people staring at me, asking me questions, etc... A website is being created to help share our story further and a book of my story is in the works....overwhelming. I literally could vomit thinking about it. The idea of being in front of others and attention being on me makes me sick. I do not want my story to be about me. I want it to be about God. I know He must use me, but it is hard for me to swallow. So thankful for these opportunities, and God is really, really stretching me. Praying for a lot of direction on all of this.
Satan has really attacked me these last few weeks, as I knew he would. I know so many can relate to this, especially pastors. When a Christian prepares to share God's word with a group, attacks are to be expected, but wow! I got to a point a few weeks ago where I was crying on my bed and almost wanted to cancel the event, because I didn't know if I could take all that was coming at me... Restlessness, tension, and body pains...I decided to press on and put on my armor and fight yet again.
1 Tim. 6:12 "Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal
life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well
before many witnesses."
I've had a lot of back pain over the last week or so. This is most probably due to my exercise.. I know I told you all about working out with my new trainer and I probably just used my back more than its been used in a looong time. I've decided to not work out this week to see if my back pain ceases. Please, please pray for me. That pain goes away and that peace floods my mind. God has been faithful and given me peace, but it is still unsettling to have the pain remain.
So, I will speak at this event on Sunday, then comps start next Monday. I also head to Houston next Thursday for a check-up appointment with my plastic surgeon. So, with comps, my dissertation, speaking at this event Sunday, my Houston appt. next week, work, and school, things have been busy. I am striving so hard to find balance in the busy. I am determined to honor the Lord with my Sabbath and find rest for my body and soul throughout each week. Many people think that if you have a free minute, it should be filled, and I am changing those thoughts for me and my family. The best way I can spend my time is seeking the Lord, so I need that time in order to keep my balance. Things that used to be very important, get pushed down the list, but it is hard for others to realize that. So, continue to pray for balance and discernment for Josh and I.
So, when we go to Houston next week, we will get our Stanfill fix, and will stop in Shreveport on the way home to see my sweet nephew.
Oh yes, I have a nephew now!!!! William James (Liam) was born on February 22nd, and he is perfect. Thank you all for praying that things would go smoothly. My sister did amazingly and she and Jeremy are such wonderful parents. It has been awesome seeing my sister in her new mommy role and I cannot wait to love on this sweet baby boy forever! I can't wait till he's old enough to come and spend weekends and fun summer days with us. I love my niece and nephew so much, it's crazy. I just pray I will be the aunt they need to help them love, honor, and serve the Lord all the days of their life! Here is a picture of my gorgeous nephew...