One of my coworkers at my first job after college invited me to attend church with them at Grace Community Church in Anderson, SC. It was there that I met our friends Bryan and Crystal Holder. At Grace, I was connected to a group of young people who truly lived out what they believed and I feel in love with all of them. The pastor at the time actually married Ian and I so that church holds a special place in our hearts.
Crystal and I reconnected through Facebook and I have so enjoyed following their journey through foster care and then adoption of their sweet son.
We got to hang out with them on our way out of town and were thankful that it worked out to see them, even if just for a little bit. We got to catch up on what is going on in their lives and were excited to hear about Bryan’s new job as a lead pastor at a local church plant. We are so thankful for them and their support and encouragement as we journey to Austria!
Last week we woke up at 3AM to call the visa office in Vienna. We were so thankful to actually get a voice on the phone and one that understood English too! We’ve called multiple times over the past month only to end up on hold or to get someone who doesn’t understand English. After looking us up in the computer system, we found out that we are “in process.” Don’t get me wrong, we were really happy that they actually had our documents but we were hoping for an answer like “it left our office yesterday.”
In light of that answer, we decided to hit the road and take a little time away from the daily PO Box check and the reality that our lives are simply on hold right now. I know that weeks from now this will be over and we will be establishing a new set of reality for our family but we really felt like we needed to get away for a little bit and just….be. Be with each other and be with our Father.
Some friends of ours offered the use of their home in SC as a space for our family to use for the week which has been amazing! We have really enjoyed the rest that this place has provided for us. We’ve had some really much needed conversations with our kids and with each other about this next phase of life for us. Just today a conversation with Ellison ended with some tears and honestly, that was hard. It was also very necessary to help her grieve what we are leaving behind and it gave us a glimpse into how all of this change is really affecting her.
We are all set to leave here on Friday and our next stop will be to say some more good byes to family closer to this area and friends as well. We’d love to keep you posted along the way as we travel through the great states of SC and NC.
Let the Chadwick Family farewell tour begin!
A couple of years ago when I was in a group for young mothers I was challenged to do something that I’d never done before. Our leader, Karen, asked us to think of the stages that our kids are in and to write down all of the things that we are thankful for in this season with them. It was a cool lesson in contentment. An exercise in being fully appreciative of the current.
Asher is 20 months old now and a season of his life has come to a close. He is no longer my little infant totally dependent on us for his every need. It seems like the past few weeks have ushered in a new toddler who loudly exerts his will and desire for independence. His vocabulary is growing and he wants to hang with the big kids. It makes me sad to think that those days of baby Asher are behind us.
Yesterday morning, I was gifted with a sweet moment with Asher. He was in heaven as all of my attention was focused on him and he performed for me in his little way and I laughed at him and he laughed right back at me. I got to hold him and swing him and he just laughed never fearing that I would drop him. He totally trusted me and we were enjoying each other.
As I sat there watching Asher I realized that he was perfectly content to just be with me. There are no stresses weighing him down and as long as he is fed, gets his sleep and has a playmate he is a pretty happy boy. Seeing Asher like that was a gift to my soul. It was a breath of fresh air. It gave me a picture of what it might look like to God when we trust Him completely and just relax in knowing that he is in control and that no matter what, he will take care of us.
These days as we wait, those Asher moments are rarer than I care to admit. It’s hard to clear my mind completely and just relax in knowing that He’s in control. These days my thoughts seem to be consumed with the what if’s of our situation. What if we don’t make it to Austria in time for Ellison to get into school before winter break is done…what if we can’t find a place to live to fit our family on our budget…what if we struggle to learn German…what if people outwardly oppose us being there and our children…what if our kids don’t make friends, what if they get mad at us for taking them away from everything familiar. I can spiral down a loooong road of what if’s because I have no control over the timing of our next step. When I live in the land of what if’s, I miss the moment of now.
I recently read that being discontent with where we are is showing ingratitude. When I focus so much on the next step, I miss the now and it’s impossible for me to be fully thankful for where I am now. When I can stop and just be in the now of where we are, it gives me the power to change those what if’s to even ifs’. Even if all of those things are true I still believe that the maker of the universe and I have a relationship with one another. Even if these things are true I can trust that He has a plan in mind. Even if those things are true, He loves our family deeper than I can fully comprehend. Even if those things are true I know that it’s only because of Him that we’ve made it this far.
The uncertainty of our departure date threatens to steal my contentment daily. And I can imagine that the months ahead will also bring situations that will try to do the same. In these moments and in those to come, I long to be that 20 month old version of myself trusting completely in the timing and ways of my Father in heaven.