So, okay, this blog is a long time in coming.
I wasn't sure whether or not to keep this specific to this blog or not, but decided to go with a double post. My apologies is you read both blogs.
About four years ago, in the midst of infertility woes, I joined a blogging group for Christian women who were trying to get pregnant but who were having difficulty. This group of bloggers was found at another hosting site (not Blogger--gasp!), and most of the posts were private and personal--read only by ones subscribers or allowed readers. Several friendships were born of that blogging stint. One friendship in particular, though, has turned into a true, lasting friendship. We both eventually moved our blogs to blogspot addresses. After four years of keeping up through email and blogging, I finally got to meet my long-time blog pal Allison.
Allison and her husband, Chad, live near the heart of Washington, D.C. and attend Capitol Hill Baptist Church. They have a beautiful son, Isaac, who is 19 months old. Allison blogs at Life's Lost and Found, and although she is on a blogging hiatus right now, I sincerely hope she gets back to it when life slows down a little. She blogs about faith, chronic pain, parenting, and life in general. You will be blessed by what you read there.
Throughout my years of blogging on infertility, Allison has been one of those people who has constantly pointed me to the cross of Christ. Whatever my emotion, whatever my doubt, whatever my ache---she was quick to empathize and even quicker to comfort me with the sovereignty of God...which is exactly what I needed. I did not need people to tell me how much I deserved children (I don't) or how sad my life was (it wasn't) or how unjust infertility is (it isn't) or that they were certain I would have kids at some point (no one can promise me that) or what a great mom I would someday be (yet to be determined--I foresee a huge failure). What I DID MOST CERTAINLY need was people in my life who would lend me that glimpse of eternity, who would tell me that yes, my suffering was painful but it was for my GOOD. I have a handful of people in my life who loved me with my sanctification in mind. Allison is one of those people. I am so thankful and indebted to her for her encouraging emails and blog posts. I hate that I didn't say this to her face when I met her for the first time last week. Allison--I'm SORRY I let this slip! THANK YOU for being Christ to me during some really hard days of my life!! You have no idea what your friendship has meant to me!
Capitol Hill Baptist Church hosts a conference for pastors a few times per year, and my pastor-husband was graciously invited and sponsored by Allison and Chad to attend. Imagine my surprise and excitement to receive a beautiful letter of encouragement from them last November with a generous gift for our next adoption in addition to an invitation to stay with them while my husband attended the Weekender conference at CBCH!! Plans were made and before I knew it, our trip to D.C. was at hand.
What I didn't plan on was a raging sinus infection a week before our trip. In a display of extreme stupidity, I put off going to the doctor because I thought I should just let my "cold" run its course. Stupid. The morning of our flight, I felt absolutely horrible. I felt like someone had been digging in my sinus cavities with a fork. Every upper tooth ached. We boarded a plane with our 21 month old (who was GREAT on the flight!) and the pressure from flying only made my sinus infection worse. HOWEVER--I was so excited to meet Allison that I was able to ignore it at first. She met us in baggage claim at the airport--so much tinier than I expected! Seriously, Allison, you are like a little pixie I could just put in my pocket! We hugged immediately, and surprisingly--meeting someone you've "known" for four years but have never seen face to face wasn't weird at all!! She and her husband were awesome hosts and were SO very sympathetic to me because yes, I got a whole lot worse before I got better. To make a very long story short, I ended up going to a walk-in clinic and got some antibiotics that made me really sick, but I really needed the antibiotics, so....what was I supposed to do? I felt pretty horrible most of our five days there. Allison was so great to let me sit in my jammies and relax without feeling any pressure to go and do anything. She treated me to an afternoon at the spa complete with facials, manicures, and pedicures. Obviously, I felt a lot better after that. ;-)
While my husband was in conference much of the time, Allison and I talked and talked--and basically just filled in the gaps between emails and blog posts. It was fun to get to know the personality behind the typed print attached to her name. She and Chad asked lots of questions about our ministry here in Missouri, and I was shocked to compare my slow pace of life in the Mid-West with their fast-paced, busy life in the city. Our sons played SO well together! And what a blessing it was to watch these two long-awaited blessings play together right before our eyes. [I have to insert here that her son Isaac pretty much loves me. That kid was so cute and so affectionate! I could just eat him with a spoon, if you'll pardon the Southern expression.]
As for my husband, he gleaned SO much helpful information and insight during the Weekender. It was providential that he was able to attend at this point in our church's life. We are hopefully on the cusp of a transition, and I think the conference was invaluable in helping William teach and lead through the transition. Add to that that he and I both just enjoyed Chad and Allison's company so much...it was a great trip. Alas, I did not take one picture. I know, I know!!! Neither did Allison and she is a photographer!! We just never had our cameras out at the right moment and it went by so quickly. Next time!
Sometimes I wonder why I blog. I wonder--what does it matter, what does it do for me, what does it do for others, if anything. There are plenty of good reasons not to blog, that's for sure. The length between my posts will show you that I think about not blogging a lot. That said, though, God has so blessed me with a friendship born of blogging. In a seemingly simple attempt to find camaraderie in the midst of infertility, I found a life-long friend. There wasn't any reason our lives should have intercepted, really, but God in His infinite sovereignty and grace has woven our lives together in a unique way.
Last night I sat among my church members for corporate prayer and listened to their prayer requests and heartfelt prayers. After being at CHBC, it's tempting to compare how one church does one thing and how another church does another thing. It's tempting to compare my life to Allison's. It's tempting to imagine living in a large city as opposed to a really small town in Missouri. But when I think about how God has worked in our lives, how differently He has chosen to use us for His kingdom, I can really only be thankful for His plan. I journaled this morning:
It was good to be back in fellowship last night for corporate prayer. I am thankful for our ministry here. Even though things at Capitol Hill Baptist are on a much larger and seemingly more professional scale, our ministry is not devalued in that light. I am incredibly thankful to be here, investing in these people, at this point in time. What a privilege to pour out our lives here! I looked around at the faces of the people in prayer last night and was thankful for each one. I know their hearts, their struggles, their sufferings, their desires to faithfully follow Christ. What an immense blessing to walk alongside them. God is so good to us to place us here, even after the early rocky years. He has people here who love Him, whom He is preparing for eternity. Oh, may William and I be faithful to encourage them to hold fast.
I love that God has woven together a tapestry of His people all across the world. It is a beautiful thing indeed.