I can’t believe this day is finally here!
Can I be honest with you? The last 2 years have been really, really hard for me. While I did make some very special friendships during my stay in Texas (seriously… ones that SAVED my sanity and are lifelong!), overall my time there was definitely the hardest of my life. For those who know me well, it’s no shocker to hear that I’m no good at transitions… but this time it was different. I was a newlywed trying to adjust to this “everything is bigger and better in Texas” mentality, but in my opinion my surroundings were, at best, ho-hum. There was a general sense of pride that wasn’t merited, and my expectations were quickly shattered. Sure, I knew that I had been spoiled by growing up in the middle of mountains, with natural streams of water everywhere I looked… but just a few years ago, I had learned to trade in my trees for the sky-scrapers of Chicago. I adjusted. But -AGAIN- this time was different. Dallas has no walkable downtown, EVERYTHING costs money (and that makes it difficult to have fun when you’re on a seminary budget), and because of traffic, I lived about an hour away from anything fun, not to mention most of my relationships. It was hot, brown, and I’ve seen the last pick-up truck and Lone Star that I’d ever care to see. Add on top of that, I was working 2 jobs to support my hard-working husband through seminary (Jordan also worked 40-55 hrs a week AND was a full time graduate student YEAR AROUND). Inside, I felt like I was dying. I had hardly any time to be alive, and NOBODY to share it with.
I fell into depression.
I’m not always the best at asking for help. Sure, I’m an OPEN book, but it is difficult for me to be transparent when I’m really, REALLY struggling. I guess somewhere in my mind I always logic that “someone has it worse” and that I can push myself through anything. Besides, the nature of one of my jobs was to be the “strong shoulder” for everyone else. This caused me to pour out what I didn’t have to give. Jordan used to say to me, “Who remembers to encourage the encourager?” Another thing is that I’ve struggled with various medical issues since I picked up a parasite in Egypt (2008), and I think that being poorly nourished has definitely had it’s part to play in it all. Thankfully, my new medical problems have helped me learn more about my body and it’s physical and emotional limits. Through all my research, I’ve found out that (long story short) I’m quickly losing my battle to stress– AND THAT leads to depression. And nothing makes depression harder to climb out of than loneliness, poor nutrition, and stress.
God had to intercede.
I came to a place this past spring where I had to get on my knees and apologize to the Lord for allowing my body to control me. The Lord has given us the power over our minds, and that means the thought patterns that usually win in the darkest moments. The uphill battle became easier with Jordan’s ordination from Chuck Swindoll and graduation to look forward to. When we got word that the Lord was moving us to Florida (to a church we have felt called to for quite some time), I finally had a light at the end of my tunnel. Each box I packed was SO therapeutic– my reality was soon to be only a memory. And each step forward took the agony of knowing that my precious babies were sitting in some orphanage out of my heart. I cannot even BEGIN to describe the feeling of KNOWING that you’re called to adoption and having to wait… you feel like a horrible, abandoning mother! YOUR MOMMY IS FINALLY COMING, DEAR ONES!
I have a lot to be thankful for.
I really do have it good. My husband adores me. Is it ok to say that? Who cares– I think more husbands should be like mine!! He pursues me every day, and hasn’t let the daily trudge take away from the fact that I will always be his girlfriend. How my man fears the Lord… what an example he has been to me! I cannot tell you how many time’s I’ve said to myself, “If Jordan can do it, so can I.” I am married to a man that puts lotion on my feet almost every night and says “Thanks for marrying me, Brandi…” to which I always respond, “Thanks for asking.”
God is moving us to paradise. Ok, I know it can be humid, but thankfully both Jordan and I grew up in humidity and it doesn’t really bother us. The cultures and the blurring of ethnic lines in South Florida are exactly the way heaven will be (“Every tribe, nation and tongue”). How humbling that God would give us a taste of that now. Also 96% of South Florida is unchurched. I pretty much get to move to the mission field, but have a cheap airline that connects me to home. How cool.
My family takes SUCH good care of me. Just the fact that they are letting Jordan and I come and stay for 6 weeks to “recharge” is enough. But my precious mother has gone out of her way to turn the upstairs into a suite for us.. tv lounge and all. She has taken us shopping, spoiled us with rides on the boat, and provided endless dinners THAT I DO NOT HAVE TO PREPARE!! My parents house is snuggled in the middle of the gorgeous Tennessee mountains, and I can walk outside my door into the green Garden of Eden whenever I want. I get to watch my furry babies run alongside of me, jumping into streams, and it brings such joy to my heart. I can SMELL the grass and the trees, I hear birds chirping all around me, and I love hearing the thunder as the beautiful spring rain rolls in (RAIN!! WHAT?!).. God you are so good to your undeserving servant!!
We serve a God full of grace.
I will never fully understand the ways of the Lord… Why He loves in abundance, especially when you find you have nothing else to give. I also don’t know why He would choose to bless Jordan and I with the burden to take on the adventure of international adoption at such a young age. It is so much more fulfilling to “spill out” our money towards heavenly causes, rather than storing them up for our own. I guess the way to sum it up best is to quote an old college pastor of mine: “Our status is infinitely higher as a servant in God’s kingdom, rather than as a ruler in our own.” So may there be less of me, and more of Him.
Lord, Jesus!! Thank you for working in our times of darkness… for making us wait. Thank you for breaking me down so that –ONLY YOU– can shine through this whirlwind around my life. Thank you for going before me, into the uncharted. Thank you for teaching me the lesson of blind faith. How can I ever doubt that you will always provide.
So if you see me around, and wonder what that GLOW is… my answer to you is SIMPLY the goodness of Jesus!
Annnd maybe the little fact that… I AM EXPECTING- ON PAPER! We are forecasting two precious, curly q’s from Ethiopia… two babies that are just waiting to call me MOMMY!!! Let’s get this paperwork started!
***A song that really encouraged me this past season is entitled To Those Who Wait, by Bethany Dillon. If you find yourself asking where Jesus is these days, go ahead and click on the link. I pray that it blesses you as it has me.