Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another Adventure

So by now we're already half way across the United States. We're staying with good friends in this beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Getting out of mexico was a bit rough on our family since Naya, for the first time in her life, was struggling with excess gas and 'stuff' bad enough that she was in extreme pain and even vomiting. This was literally the day before, and 2 days into our trip. So we decided to take her to the emergency room in San Diego to make sure nothing severe was happening with her. $700 later and nothing to help ease her pain or pass the gas, we continued our journey. Thank God it all eased away from her within the next day or so. We drove up California to Dos Palos to visit/meet Theo's uncle Bika and aunt Judy. Theo hadn't seen them since he was in elementary school and I obviously had never met them. While we were still on the west coast, we felt we should go and see them, which turned out to be an amazingly right move. God revealed many things about the Steinhauer family to us, and in particular, Theo gained a new aspect of his identity. The relationship God produced in such a short visit is astounding and although there was always that blood relation there between uncle and nephew, now there is a true family/emotional/spiritual and even father-son relationship there. The things God can do are just amazing.

After that, we began the journey across the Mojave Desert which was very interesting. Barren land...nothingness for miles and miles. Then Naya and Olivia both came down with a funky stomach thing which was giving them "diarrhea in the desert." This made for ALOT of stops along the road for that day and a half. Theo and I learned some lessons in patience and compassion there. :)  Turns out, thankfully, it wasn't a stomach flu or anything, but the anti-parasite medicine we had given all the girls as we left Mexico were kicking in and doing their job. I have given them those meds before with no side affects at all, so we didn't realize this would happen. Talk about bad timing. On our way out of Mexico, our good friends Nic and Michelle gave us a little potty for the girl in case we needed it, and boy did we really need it! So thankful for God's provision!

Now at present we are looking at the most beautiful view of the Rocky mountains. It's been so good to stop the long hours of driving and rest here. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but Theo is getting to work on a ranch for 2 days with a close brother {Zach} and earn a little income to help out with our needs. It's good "manly" work out on the mountains....outdoors...working with his hands. I know he's been craving this for a bit! Not to mention he gets a little testosterone going! Poor thing has been stuck in a van for days on end with all us girls...even our dog is female! Getting blisters on his feet from walking the ranch for 7 hours straight and cutting up his hand yesterday did him good. He was almost boasting about it, not complaining!

Hanging out with the Woods has also been such a blessing for the girls and I. Me hanging out and catching up with Whitney and the girls playing with Nina and sweet little Elsy has been fun. I'm so thankful the Lord has given the girls more friends to play with during our rest stop for the week.

Next, we'll be heading to Kansas City where we're SO looking forward to seeing more long time friends. We'll be staying with more dearly loved friends, Mona....Sean's mom and his sister Holly. We just love those people and are so blessed that they offered to host us while we're there. My girls love Mona and Holly too which is that blessing again...truly is like family. Hopefully we'll have time to catch up with all the friends we have there before we make our final stop in LeRoy, Illinois for a couple of months.

The Phillips' have been a family that are truly family to us. They've loved us since before I even had Stella and have taken us in so to speak for years. Theo and I just love and cherish them and their invitation for us to stay with them until Galia is born was truly a Godsend. They are such a nurturing, loving and disciplined family so we're really excited to park it there with them for a bit. After recovering a few weeks from having the baby, we plan to continue down to Florida before flying to Haiti.

We are currently praying through the different opportunities that we know of regarding work and serving the Lord in Haiti. We know for sure we are supposed to be there for the next big chapter of our lives, but the actual roles we'll play are still being revealed to us by God. We have a few ideas, but know there's a bigger picture that we're not aware of yet. We're so happy to be passed the fear of the unknown and are truly beginning to walk forward when He says 'GO' whether or not we have all the answers lined up. It's the journey of developing our faith and trust in Him, and it's done us well thus far to surrender and trust Him.

We know we'll need lots of prayer coverage while transitioning to life there. It's such a different world in literally every aspect, but I'm excited to go and see what the Lord has for us to do there! Of course my first responsibility will still be loving God, my husband, and my children. That alone will keep me busy no matter where on earth we are! But in terms of assignments...it'll be interesting to see what His plans are!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Not like Mary

Today is our final day in Ensenada, Mexico and we're getting ready to leave. It's been a hectic few days, but the Lord is so kind and faithful to meet our needs as they come. Seemingly last minute, we got a big 12 passenger van that fits all of us as well as our belongings. It's such a blessing and we know God orchestrated the deal for us. Even more than the sweet deal on the van, God did something eternal...He restored a relationship. I won't go into details here, but I'll say that bitterness was turned into love in the midst of working out the van thing. Incredible! Only God.

Well, I really wanted to write, because this morning as I had a few minutes in the Word before the girls woke up, I opened up to Luke 2....the birth of Jesus. Lately I've been thinking of Mary and how toward the end of her pregnancy with Jesus, her and Joseph had to make a long trip traveling across the country, and I thought for just a moment, how I could sort of relate to her in that way. That was until this morning when I read the account in the Word.

Verses 6 and 7 say this.... "And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them."

Now as I pondered that, I realized that I can't relate to Mary AT ALL! I have a van tons of belongings for my family including some nice clothes and blankets for my daughter, Galia Elizabeth, who isn't even born yet. We have a huge box of coloring books, school supplies and toys that we're able to bring with us for the other 3 girls, besides a suitcase full of their clothes. I'm even able to bring things that I didn't think would make the trip, like my sewing machine.

I also began to think about all the friends we will be stopping and staying with along our journey across the country and what generosity and hospitality they are offering us before we've even left Mexico. And I thought about the place where we will be for me to deliver the baby in Illinois. I've said many times that it's the "ideal" situation for us, and I still believe it is. I was extremely humbled and sobered and sad and happy all at the same time when I realized that the Lord came as a baby and was born and laid in a manger because there was no other place for him and his parents. He was wrapped in pieces of material while I have 'nice' clothes and for my baby. Even when we get to Haiti, there is already a crib, highchair, swing and tons of other baby gear and house furniture waiting for us there. I'm humbled literally to tears at the thought of my King's generosity and love for me and my family, all while He had the lowest of options for himself. My journey doesn't compare to Mary's, and really, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that although we're not owed anything good at all in this life, we have been given so much good...even beyond our necessities, He gives us so many comforts. I'm thankful that we're learning to not be greedy and have the mentality of entitlement and rights, but He shows us how to be humble and tender...like Himself.  God is so good and generous. I love Him.