Month: September 2013

A story of waiting, surprises and love

On this last day of September I am feeling a bit reflective. Maybe also because my husband and I just passed the 5 month mark of being married. This may not seem like a lot but when you know our story you may see why each month I am more and more surprised and excited at how God works things for our good. I felt impressed to share this story as I hope it will encourage many and I know it will give glory to God and that is reason enough to share! 🙂
I have always loved to travel and see new places. Growing up as a pastor’s kid (PK) I was very familiar with missions and felt that someday I would love to go on a mission trip but wasn’t sure when or where. When missionaries would come to our church and speak, I was always fascinated by their stories and excited to see how God worked in and through them. I was always praying that God would show me what He wanted me to do with my life and how I could best serve Him. It wasn’t until 2010 that I had my first opportunity to go overseas on a mission trip. Beirut, Lebanon was my first trip and as I prepared to go with my team from church I was excited and a little nervous as I was going into the unknown. When we landed in Lebanon I actually felt at home and at ease. The people we met, the scenery, the language, everything fascinated me! I was so excited to just soak everything in learn as much as I could in the very short time I was there. We were all really busy while visiting and as we came for a children’s camp, it took most of our time and energy.
On the last day we were there I met a man that would forever change my life, though at that time I did not know this.
Let me back up a little. I have been a hopeless romantic since I can remember. Even as a little girl I remember being so excited to grow up, marry and have children. As I grew older, I felt there must be something wrong with me that I didn’t desire a career and couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I went back and forth with several things in college, trying to decide what to study. I ended up with a Business degree because I felt it would be practical once I finally decided what to be when I grew up. 🙂 All I really felt I wanted to do was be married and have children and this kept coming up as each year went by and I wasn’t married. The Lord brought several men into my life that I had the opportunity to get to know and at times I felt that maybe this time it would be “the one”. But each time there was something that kept me from moving any further and the Lord’s voice seemed to say, “not yet, keep waiting”. Well, for those of you who know me, waiting is not easy for me. I am very impatient and want things to move forward and work out right away. But I find that with the Lord things are different and I know my ways are not His ways, and I am very thankful for that! So, the years went by and I kept working, going to school and waiting.
In 2010 when I went on the mission trip to Lebanon on the last night our team went out to eat as a group with the coordinator from Lebanon and she invited her brother to come as an extra driver for our group. He agreed and a friend of mine and I were the ones that happened to ride with him. When I got in the car I was kind of quiet as I wasn’t sure what to say to this stranger. After dinner I felt this guy was looking at me but I wasn’t positive….so on the ride home I thought maybe I should at least make small talk. Well, the small talk turned to a getting to know you time and we chatted about family and how he liked Lebanon, if he had ever been to the states, what he liked to do for fun, what his job entailed, etc…. After my friend and I were back to the hotel and getting ready to head with our group to the airport I felt the conversation I had with this man keep rolling in my head. When I got home, I friended several people on Facebook from the trip that I had met and this guy was one of them. He wrote me a message and this surprised me but we started corresponding. The relationship that developed was unlike any I had ever had before with a guy. Usually, a relationship with a guy entailed dating and then if it didn’t work out I just didn’t see them again. But this relationship started as a really wonderful friendship and we talked about any and everything. Life, church, relationships with family and friends, how we grew up, questions about the Bible and just life stuff. I found myself being excited when I would get a message from him and waiting each day just see what he would say. This was so foreign to me that my family immediately noticed and would ask if I was sure there was not more to this relationship than friendship. I would laugh and say “of course not, we are just friends, he lives on the other side of the world!” After almost 2 years of this I was on vacation at Christmas with my family and I received a message from this man saying he would like to get to know me as more than friends. I literally almost dropped my phone and my heart started pounding and I didn’t know what to say. I wrote back that I would think and pray about it. He agreed and after a day or so I told him that I would like to get to know him better as well. We started talking every day and I really was excited but still apprehensive because I just didn’t see how this could work out long term. As we continued to talk over the next few months, that summer, he asked me if I could come to Lebanon for a couple of months. I thought, seriously! two months? What is he thinking? And what if I get there and we don’t click and then what happens, I have to stay anyway? This seemed like a bad idea….yet I was still curious, what if? So, I prayed about it and decided I didn’t always want to wonder what if and so I agreed to come but just for one month. I packed my bags and headed to Lebanon. My trip was an adventure as I had some plane delays and a detour. Finally, after traveling for 24 hours, I arrived and when I stepped off the plane and saw him face to face for the first time in two years, I just felt comfortable right away. After meeting his parents and family I felt so at ease and welcomed that I was excited to spend the month there. We began sightseeing and spending time together and with his family and friends. I fell in love with the people and the area and loved spending time there. After a few days we began talking seriously about marriage and what it would entail if we decided to embark on this adventure. 🙂 I was excited and apprehensive at the same time, but knew that this was what the Lord wanted for me after much prayer and the time I spent with this wonderful man. We were engaged after three weeks of my being there and I went home with a ring on my finger! My family was very supportive and excited for me but there were so many details to still discuss and decide. Before we got engaged we did talk about the fact that I would probably need to move to Lebanon and this was a big decision, however, I knew that if I agreed to marry this man, God would work things out for our good. It might not always be easy, but it would be good. To make a very long, detailed story a bit shorter, when I went home it was so hard for me to leave this man I now knew I loved and so it was with a heavy heart that I came home and tried to stay busy planning a wedding. We decided to wait 9 months to give ourselves time to plan a wedding and continue planning for a place to live in Lebanon and the details of his visa to work themselves out. We were engaged in July 2012, married on April 28, 2013 and I arrived in Lebanon to live as a new wife the first week of May 2013. Much has happened in the 5 months that we have been married. But I see God’s sovereign hand in every aspect of our lives and know He will continue to be in control. I am so grateful that I waited for God’s best for me as this man is everything I could have ever wanted and more. He challenges me to grow, encourages my talents and loves me even with all my faults. We laugh together and have so much fun just being together. We are excited to see what the future holds for us and know that we are living proof that if you will wait on the Lord He has things for you beyond what you could ever have imagined. This is true not just in relationships but in any area of your life. He is faithful and can ALWAYS be trusted. May He encourage your heart today as you rest in Him.

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Mirror, Mirror

For those of you who may not know, we are renting an apartment while we are building one in a town not too far from us. Renting has been an interesting experience for me and my sweet husband and his amazing family cleaned and set up house for us before I arrived in Lebanon this past May. I was so happy to come to an apartment that was already ready for us. My husband a friend even built shelves and a small desk in our room for me. 🙂 Anyway, after we moved in I realized that one thing was missing, which for a girl is a very important thing….a mirror. We have mirrors in the bathrooms but of course they are small and you can only see from your shoulders up….so this posed a problem when I would try to get ready and want to see if my outfit matched my shoes, or if this top went with these pants, etc. After I realized the need for this, my husband and I talked about it and he said it would be really easy to pass by and get a full length mirror but the place where he would need to get it is closed after he gets off work and not open on the weekend as it’s an industrial area.
I like to think I am a pretty resourceful person…at least most of the time and I do enjoy a challenge. So, not too long after we moved in and I realized my need of a full-length mirror, I thought to myself, I can use the mirror in the elevator. This seemed perfect to me, though keeping the door open to our apartment while I run out into the hall to check my oufit is sometimes a challenge. 😉 And, my plan doesn’t work when we are on the generator. I have taken to wearing outfits that I know I have worn together before and hoping for the best.
So, this past Tuesday my husband was off work and I thought, perfect, this is the best time to go get a mirror! I mentioned it to him and he agreed. We drove to the industrial area, he went in to ask for the proper measurements and we left in less than 30 minutes with not 1 but 2 mirrors!! I was SO incredibly happy, my poor husband probably thought I lost my mind! It’s just the little things sometimes. 🙂
So, next time you come visit, Mom, you will have a mirror!

Just thinking…

It is Monday morning in Beirut and I wanted to give an update on what has been going on with me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures with me to post but will write more later and include them as I have some interesting ones from a wedding I attended a week or so ago.
Mostly I have been writing about daily happenings and I know this is good as it is interesting since things are different here and the customs and traditions are fun to learn about. However, I have been prompted to share in this post about some things the Lord has been teaching me.
Since I have been in Lebanon I have had so many “new” things to experience. When I came last summer I enjoyed my time and learned a lot but there is still something very different about living here all the time. I knew there would be adjustments but I realize now that you can’t be prepared for everything. Growing up, I moved a LOT. Around 11 or 12 times with 7 of the moves being to different states. Those of you who have done this know that this is not easy and can in fact take a toll on your desire to meet people and make friends for fear of being disappointed when you have to leave and you lose touch. Over the years I have tried very hard to not let this get to me and to keep reaching out no matter how long I thought I might be somewhere. I have learned that the only thing you really do have that is worth it in life aside from your relationship with Christ are the people you meet and the friendships you form. I am so very grateful for everyone that I have crossed paths with in all my moves as they have taught me so much, and many of them are still friends that I cherish. Those that I have lost touch with are hard to let go because at one time they were so much a part of my life, but I know that the Lord has people in our lives for a season and we will be together in heaven again, hopefully soon. 🙂
In all of these thoughts and the reminiscing I have been doing lately, the Lord has been teaching me how precious and important is each moment that I have. Living in Lebanon is a great place to practice cherishing the moments because relationships and family are highly valued here. I enjoy the times we spend with family and friends and I am learning not to be in such a hurry to get to “the next thing”. I know I have a long way to go but I am very thankful to have this opportunity to learn this valuable lesson.
Another lesson I am learning is how much I have for which to be thankful. I know you have all read the news lately about the situation in Syria and when I see the refugees everyday and hear stories about different families it makes it so much more real. It is so very sad the things these refugees are experiencing. There are a few churches and some organizations doing great things to serve and help these people, but sometimes it seems like there is still SO much more to do. The Lord has been showing me that I should be thankful about the little things that I enjoy every single day. He is my provider and I know that nothing happens to me that He doesn’t see or care about. I hope and pray that I will be a light and an encouragement to those around me and be His hands and feet where I am everyday. Each moment of life is precious and the things we have and enjoy are from His hand, they are not ours anyway, and you can’t take it with you.
I am just one woman and wife living in a country where I am still trying to adjust, but I pray that I will make a difference no matter how small. If the Lord is leading you to do something that is uncomfortable for you just remember that He holds the future and when He leads the best thing you can do is simply obey and leave the details to Him. He is ALWAYS faithful and can be trusted completely.

Lately

So, things have been busy lately and I realized it had been a while since I had talked to y’all.
Just a recap on the past month. My sister-in-law, Salwa, arrived to visit from Africa. We have all had a great time visiting with her. My sister-in-law, Gladys, had her baby. They named her Jacie and she is adorable! She has already added so much joy to all of our lives. 🙂 Then, Jad, Amy and Andy all celebrated their 14th birthdays! We enjoyed celebrating them. Lots of August birthdays!
We found a great cocktail a place in the mountains. I think this may have been the third time we have visited in the last month or so…. 😉
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This past Sunday we went to my brother-in-law’s church in Zahle. It was a wonderful day! My handsome husband and I took the opportunity to take some photos since the scenery was so beautiful.
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It’s starting to cool down some in the evenings and I think fall is coming. We won’t have many fall days before winter gets here so I want to try to enjoy them.
Today, we had an amazing breakfast at my mother-in-law’s house. It was so yummy! Very healthy too. 🙂
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I am enjoying the time I have had adjusting to Lebanon and being a new wife. But I knew I would need to start working soon as it’s important for me to be busy, especially in winter when there is not much opportunity to be outside. So I started a job yesterday at the Lebanese Baptist Society. I will be a liaison between Lebanon and the USA to communicate what ministry needs and opportunities we have in which churches, individuals and foundations can be involved. I am excited to see how I can help. More to come! 🙂