Somewhere shortly after starting this blog, it became an adoption blog. Which wasn’t initially the intention, but it’s where life was, and will always be marked by. But no longer defined by. So one last adoption related post, and then we are back to the original intention. Encouragement, to be a resource (mainly of recipes), and really my own external processing.
My word for 2017 was restore. Adoption wasn’t so much a process we walked through, but a phase of life I will always look back on. A lot happened in those three years, probably of which adding a family member was one of the most normal things. The harder things God asked us to walk through…seeing our friends change, or just flat out decide they didn’t want the relationship anymore, and leaving the church we helped plant, along with unforeseen financial and personal challenges, (the adoption gnome is real!) were the harder ones.
I think for me personally, the hardest was the laying down of self. I don’t do things half way and am all in, so adoption and paperwork became my life. And then once we were home, attachment and bonding became my life. And when 2017 rolled around and we’d been home 6 months, still in a lot of ways in the thick of it, I asked God to restore the desires of my heart.
There was lots of things we laid down, or took a back seat on to adopt. One was the idea of me having a life outside the home again. I was on the verge of having all three kids in school full time, and then basically started over. We had wanted a little more space, namely a basement and an extra bedroom, and that needed to wait. We wanted to serve more at church, but I couldn’t leave baby girl for extended periods of time yet. I wanted to be more present at the kids school, but that also proved difficult with aforementioned challenges, and her reactions to the classroom.
I still can’t believe all he did this year. It astounds me.
While moving seemed ridiculous this time last year, I’m typing this looking out at our new home, that I got to lovingly design after gutting it. I’ve been able to host numerous dinner parties, oodles of kiddo parties, fun events, and simply open our doors to our neighbors and friends and it has filled my heart with so much joy. Hospitality is in my bones and it’s such a thrill to be able to use that gift.
I’m room mom for both of my elementary school kids and have been involved with the PTA this year. Which might have been a little more than I would have originally intended, but when you have the best teachers, and they and your kids ask you, what’s a girl to do?!
Chris and I are now leading the Gwinnett community group for Passion City Church, which is no small undertaking, but one we are both so excited about. It feels like a very natural fit for both our giftings, and the ability we have to use them at this juncture in life. Plus it takes us back to our days with leading with Cru and how we met, which is so much fun. It’s been more than a decade since we got to serve side by side, and while it’s demanding it’s also cultivating.
I’ve started my own business (again) where I make meals for busy families who can’t manage a home cooked meal, but want the health benefits of one. I get to help families gather around the table together and feed them good healthy food…what can be better than that?! Plus honestly, it’s a huge help in keeping me structured in my own meal planning and feeding my kids normal meals while husband is traveling.
Naomi has started school and has absolutely flourished there. She loves it and has been asking most of winter break when she can go back! We’ve never had a fall baby before, but between a slight language delay still in play, and her being wicked smart and more than ready, we are considering a pre-K for her in the fall.
In on year, I feel like I went from being stagnant, holed up in a house with a 3 year old most of the time (even lunch dates were rough), feeling isolated and disconnected, to being myself again, full of life, doing things I love. And I’m so overwhelmingly grateful. Like I’ve cried tears of joy as I reflect on it all. God is so, so good.
I’m also aware that this isn’t everyone story. That maybe life phases, or adopting/having a kid with more intense special needs doesn’t make all the above feasible.
Which is part of why I feel like God has been whispering in my ear the idea to “love lavishly” is 2018. I have been given much, so I want to share the love. To find ways to love on those in hard phases. To love on our team in community group. To be a good friend. To pour so intentionally into my kids who are all at really great phases. And to keep loving my husband. In 2018 I want to throw love around like confetti.
In my experience, often love looks a lot like listening, and helping.
So in response to hearing from so many mamas how they would love more help with meal planning and recipes, I’m hoping to regularly put my weekly options from Meals by Kate up here, and even loop you into a few of the recipes I’m with it enough to plan out and photograph. I’m still insta-storying lots of them too! So stay tuned!
And thank you to all of you that have followed this ride the whole way, and so many of you who kept believing in me and encouraging me to get back to this space, even when I didn’t have the words or thought they were worth reading. Your encouragement has meant the world to me.