New Apartment Update!

Recently, I had several requests for pictures and an update about our new apartment. We were so excited to find out we should be able to move in early summer! Yay!! This experience has been so new for me; picking out tiles, appliances, cabinets, etc. But what a fun experience to share with my husband! We visit every so often to see the progress and sometimes I just stand in the rooms imagining what it will be like to be there in OUR home and being able to have people over and all the memories yet to be created. God is so good!
The home is beautiful, the workmanship and the design but the surrounding area is also beautiful for which I am so grateful. There are trees around us and nature and it makes me feel so at peace. I wanted to share some pictures so you can have a “tour” of sorts.  🙂

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This is looking into the kitchen from the dining room. We had a cutout made in the kitchen so we could have a bar for extra seating and to open up the kitchen so we can see the beautiful view. 🙂

Baabdat view balcony

This is the view we can see from the kitchen looking out through the dining room onto the balcony. I love that there are a few balconies at this apartment. Lots of outdoor living space which we will LOVE in the summer and fall especially.

 

Baabdat room

 

This is the kids’ room. I was really excited there is so much light in this apartment!

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This is the kids’ bathroom. I am really happy with the pattern. We chose black and white for both bathrooms. I like the silver pattern in this one.

 

Baabdat room 2

 

This is our room. I love the window!

 

Baabdat balcony

This is our long balcony that we plan to close in and make additional living space. It is beautiful and has this gorgeous view….

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I might just sit all the time and look at this view. It’s breathtaking!

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We go pretty often to see the progress and I always like to take a photo op. 🙂

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Even the husband has to stop for a photo. 😉 This is in our entryway. Isn’t he cute!

Baabdat entrance

This is the door that was put in recently. It’s still in plastic wrap but I love the color of the wood!

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This is the back of the apartment where we will drive in to park under the building. The terraces will be planted and I think they will look lovely when they are finished.

There have been a lot of decisions so far about the apartment…what color should the tiles be, how to design the kitchen, what color cabinets, do we want gypsum board, etc. It has been fun though and I am excited to be there and make it our own.

We hope that our home will be filled with family and friends. My hope is that when people enter our home they feel the love of Christ and they feel at home. Relationships are the most important thing we have in this life and I want to make sure we welcome others and provide a respite from the busyness of life.

So, welcome to our home!

Is Winter Over Yet?

Winter in Lebanon is a curious thing. We had news that this winter could be the worst Lebanon has seen in 100 years. However, so far, we have had only one short bit of bad weather. I am not complaining; I’m actually very grateful it hasn’t been bad. There are many reasons I am grateful but one in particular is that I am not very good when it comes to cold weather. What I have found here though is that even if the actual temperatures are not very bad the cold that is here seems to be a damp cold that just lingers. Maybe it’s because the homes are built to hold in the cold because the summers here are so warm or maybe it’s just that the heating systems are so different from those I was used to growing up. Either way, it is hard to get used to the cold that settles in my bones and never seems to leave. I have become accustomed to wearing layers and always having a blanket when I am at home, or simply never taking my coat off when I go anywhere. Often, if I am home during the day I wear my coat! I am very grateful to have a roof over my head and a heater. I would never dream of complaining when there are so many who are struggling to make it through the winter with much less. I simply want to share about what my experience has been during the winter since it’s my first in Lebanon.
On a lighter note, we went to have my car washed the other day and as we were sitting in the outside waiting area (on one of the warmer days in winter), I smelled something that made me think of trips to the zoo when I was young. I looked around and couldn’t figure out from where the smell came. Then I turned to my right and looked up and saw this.

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That’s right, a monkey. Now, you may ask, why is there a monkey in a cage at a gas station/car wash? My answer, I have no idea. It was the strangest thing! The monkey had Lebanese bread in the cage and some candy wrappers so it has a very interesting diet. It was huddled at one point in the corner of the cage under a jacket, then when it saw me watching, he came out and started running back and forth in the cage and jumping up on it. I think at one point he smiled at me too, but I was never sure if it was a smile or a grimace, like he wanted to jump at me. Yikes! Anyway, it provided good entertainment as we had a long wait that day. My husband told me later that if I wasn’t home one day and he wondered where I was he would come check at the car wash to see if I was with my new friend. He would. ☺
A couple of Sundays ago we were thinking of where to eat for lunch and I told my husband I had seen a sign for Chili’s somewhere when I was out one day. I asked him if he knew if there was one in Lebanon and he said yes, that he had been to one before. I wanted to say, WHAT, there is a Chili’s in Lebanon and you NEVER told me?! I LOVE Chili’s and used to go there quite a bit when living in Atlanta. My mom and a friend usually go there once a week for lunch and every time she tells me she’s been there I feel homesick for Chili’s. So, that particular Sunday I had my Chili’s fix. It was SO good and tasted like a little piece of home. I also found out they do have Chili’s famous chips and salsa and though we didn’t get them that time, we will definitely get them the next time!

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Things have been quite busy for us lately, one reason why it has been a while since my last post. But I am happy to have a routine and feel a little more settled each day. We are looking forward to moving into our more permanent home hopefully in the next few months!
Recently, we had a lady visiting us at my office from the States who is an educator in South Carolina. I had the privilege of accompanying her to a school in the mountains in Lebanon for Syrian refugee children. I had been to the location of the school many times but never during the week when it was in session. What an eye-opening, humbling and amazing experience it was for me! There are 147 children attending from grades K-4. The subjects are Math, English, Arabic, Geography, Science and History. Most of the children in attendance have been out of school for 2 or more years as a result of the war in Syria. They are all so happy to be in school again that the principal shared that they have very few absences. I was mostly an observer the day I went. The friend who was with me read stories in English to the children with the help of a translator and the children just listened with rapt attention. I was overwhelmed at the need for education these children have. The school is doing what they can but desire to do so much more to help the refugee children and their families. Please keep these precious children in your prayers as well as the teachers and the principal and all those involved in making this school possible. If you are interested in knowing more about the school and/or the relief work that is going on through the organization with which I work, please let me know. There is still much to be done!
God has been working on my heart to be more sensitive to His leading in opportunities to serve that might be right under my nose. I am ready to be a part of whatever He has in store and long to make a difference where I am placed. I have had the opportunity to sing at a couple of churches since moving to Lebanon and am thankful to be able to use this gift again. I have missed singing so very much and pray that there will be many more opportunities open up soon. I am humbled and thankful to think of the place I am in now and how there are so many needs right in my own backyard.
Please pray for us as we seek to be available to where the Lord is leading us to worship on Sundays and to be involved during the week. We want to be used and know that God will direct in His perfect timing.

Preparation for Life

Coming into a new year usually prompts reflection on the old year and anticipation of what is to come. It seems everyone does this at one time or another and makes resolutions to be healthier, more successful and happier in the New Year. Since 2014 started, I began to think about my life and not just this past year but looking back over my whole life. I turned 32 this year and though that is not old by any means I felt I had enough years to think back over the changes that have taken place and where I am today compared to my childhood, teens and 20s. As I reflected, I began to realize there was a pattern to my life and to how the Lord has worked in my life and prepared me for each step of my journey with Him. I moved a lot growing up. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Until I was about 15 I had never lived in one place longer than 3 and a half years. My dad was in the ministry and we moved from church to church throughout the years as his ministry roles grew and changed. As a kid this was sort of an adventure. We were homeschooled so there wasn’t really the trauma of being uprooted from schools for which I was grateful. However, when I reached my teens it was no longer really that “exciting” to move from place to place. I found it difficult sometimes to want to make friends or try to invest in activities or people because I wasn’t sure how long I would be there. Throughout this time though, the Lord would prepare me emotionally before each move. I remember when I was old enough to realize this was happening. It was clear when we would be reaching another move because I would feel a bit restless and ready for a change. Then I would hear from my parents that we were moving and I was already prepared in my heart to go willingly. Don’t misunderstand; it was never easy in the sense that it was always hard to leave friends and places in which I was involved. But I never seemed to struggle very long with a discontent of being in a new place and having to make new friends. As a result of moving so much, I feel that I had a great preparation for life. It is never easy to put yourself out there and hope people like you. I am naturally more introverted and I had to learn to go up to someone and introduce myself. This doesn’t come naturally to me. It is still hard and I would much rather be a listener and observer in a crowd instead of the one starting the conversation. But I have learned that if you want to have friends you have to show yourself friendly. Often this means making yourself uncomfortable at first in order to be comfortable and at ease later. These lessons have stood me in good stead all my life and each new place I went I was able to put these into practice with great success. In our moving adventures my family and I met a lot of interesting people and have seen some beautiful places. We had a lot of friends who were missionaries and friends in all different kinds of business and ministry. I always felt that my world was large and open and I longed to travel more so I could experience for myself the places I had heard about from friends. When I was 18, my parents sent me to Europe with a friend as part of a larger group for my senior trip. It was probably one of the best times of my life, seeing such wonderful sights for the first time. I was so happy! This trip opened up a desire in me to travel more but it wasn’t until I was 29 that the Lord opened up the door for me to go overseas again, this time to Lebanon. I went with a group from my church and I fell in love with the country and the people. My mom told me later that I came home and said, “I could see myself living there”. I had never said that about any other places I visited. After this trip, I was praying I could go back the next year but the Lord had other plans and I went to Thailand on a women’s mission trip with a different church. This experience was wonderful! I loved Thailand, the people and the food. This was yet another experience of getting out of my comfort zone and loving on people I didn’t know and sharing God’s love with them. I learned that a smile goes a long way! Over the next few months I began to seriously talk to a man I met on my mission trip to Lebanon in 2010 and thought was just a friend. We had begun talking not too long after I left the mission trip but I didn’t feel any romantic interest in him or feel that a relationship could go anywhere if started. The Lord had other plans in His way to prepare me for the life He desired me to live. Through a series of events, I lost the job I had at the time and went through a period of searching and asking why. During this time, this man was always there as one of my biggest encouragers and simply as a wonderful friend. Over time I began to think that there might be something there deeper than just a friendship. We kept talking and in the summer of 2012 I went to visit him and his family in Lebanon. I was there for 4 weeks and on the 3rd week we got engaged! I went home the next week with a ring on my finger and my heart full of plans for our future. We discussed things over the next few months as we planned for our wedding. I decided that I would be willing to live in Lebanon as that was where my fiancés job was and again, I felt the Lord preparing my heart and He gave me a peace that otherwise could not be explained. In April 2013, I was married to an amazing man that God gave me and we started our life together in Lebanon in May 2013. I am so blessed and feel so privileged to be a part of a story larger than myself. God prepared me all my life for change, moves, uncertainty and being uprooted. He showed me He was with me each step of the way and that He is ALWAYS there and ALWAYS faithful. I am so excited for what this New Year holds and though it isn’t always what we would call easy, life with Him is exciting, adventurous, beautiful and challenging. photo

With a fond goodbye….

Today is the last day of 2013. Wow. There really aren’t enough words to express all that has happened in this last year. I went through a lot of changes. Things are good though and I am looking forward to see what God has in store for me in 2014. I am thankful that I can look forward to a New Year since I know the One who holds the future.

I have promised several of you that I would blog about Christmas in Lebanon, so here is the promised post. 🙂

Christmas in Lebanon is beautiful! There are lights and decorations pretty much anywhere you go. Here are a few pictures that I collected that are all from different towns and areas of Lebanon.

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This next picture was from our drive back from my brother-in-law’s place in Zahle on Sunday. There was much more snow a week or so ago. Hopefully I will get to see more soon. I love snow! As long as I am not stuck in it. 😉

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We had a lovely Christmas Day lunch at my husband’s parents’. As usual there was SO much food. And lots of desserts! I did some baking for the occasion as well. 🙂 The pictures at the top are of the Christmas breakfast I made for me and my husband. I made scones that my mom always makes. They were so yummy!

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The next pictures are of the baking I did for Christmas lunch. I made “buckeyes”. The yummy peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. I kind of messed up the dipping so I just drizzled the top of all of them with extra chocolate. 😉

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My birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my sweet husband bought me flowers, a watch and took me to a wonderful Italian restaurant. What a fun evening! He’s a keeper!

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Christmas morning, we opened our gifts to each other. I got a beautiful coat and he got a sweater and some cologne. It was a nice morning spent together. Our first married Christmas. 🙂

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Let’s watch the old year die with a fond goodbye

And our hopes as high as a kite

How can our love go wrong if

We start the new year right? – Irving Berlin

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And Happy New Year!

May His love and grace fill your heart with joy this new year as you go forth with Him trusting each step of the way. Lots of love from our family to yours!

Pre-Christmas reflections

Christmas in Lebanon is a very fun season. There are lots of lights and decorations pretty much everywhere you go. I enjoy seeing what each shop will do for their windows and how each town and village has their own take on the Christmas season. In my next post I will have pictures to show you. 🙂

As I was reflecting on Christmas, and trying to believe it’s already that time again, I was reminded that I shouldn’t feel hurried this season and need to take time to rest and spend time thanking the Lord for the blessings of the past year. He has been so good to me. A LOT has happened this year. I got married, moved to a new country, started to study a new language, started to learn about being a wife and picking up new traditions in a new culture. I can tend to be very hard on myself and have a perfectionist tendency. However, this new journey I found myself on has done wonders for working at this flaw in my character. I have always wished I was more laid back and easygoing about life and boy does God have a sense of humor! He set me in the middle of a very easygoing culture with an easygoing husband. I am very thankful that I am on the way to learning how to relax more and not worry about the things that don’t matter.

God is good, all the time, and I know that He knows what is best for us. His ways are so much higher than ours (see Isaiah 55:8-10). As I look towards Christmas, I want to make sure I remember that though I have lots of “things” I would like to do to make this season “merry and bright”, the brightest light I can shine is the Light that is within me. My prayer for this Christmas and the New Year is to let that Light shine brighter and brighter so that is all people see when they look at me.

A Thankful Heart

Thanksgiving is here and I have found it came up on me all of a sudden. What should I do to celebrate this day that I love? This is my first Thanksgiving away from my family in the States and it is bittersweet. I have always loved this day and remember fondly the times we would spend it with our dear friends the Matthews famliy.

Thanksgiving 2007

(My best friend Sarah and I cooking for Thanksgiving 2007)

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(Best friends, Thanksgiving 2007)

We all have traditions that are “ours”. They have been started at one time or another and seemed to stick. One of my favorites for Thanksgiving is we would always have Krispy Kreme donuts and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I don’t know why this has always been the way we did things, but it was and I will always remember that. This year, there is no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch from Lebanon, however, I did manage to get Krispy Kreme donuts. 🙂
This year, I need to create new traditions with my husband and set a precedent of celebrating this time of year that will carry on and on when we have children of our own. I was reflecting on what this day means to me and noticing all the “thankful” posts day-by-day on Facebook. I am so glad that there are still people that choose to be thankful. We serve a God who is in control and who loves us and cares for us no matter our circumstances or those of the world around us. How can we help but be thankful?
So, I am going to do what I can to preserve this time of year as a time of sincere thanksgiving to the God who I owe everything I am and all that I have. May He be glorified in my life this time of year and always.

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(Noelle and Wissam, Engagement photo 2012)

So much to learn…

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Since I have been in Lebanon I have felt I am learning one thing after another. One day it’s cooking, one day it’s customs, one day it’s language (who am I kidding, EVERY day it’s language!). There are so many “new” things. My personality is such that I struggle with perfectionism (big surprise, huh?). I want to put this behind me and so lately I have been really seeking to notice when I am falling into this habit and work on changing how I think and act in regard to this area. It is very hard to be a perfectionist and at the same time adjust to all the “new” things around me without exhausting yourself. Hmmm….go figure. This is exactly what I have experienced the last few days. I feel exhausted. Last night, I finally broke down and had a good cry. My husband asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I am just tired”. I then went on to explain to him how I was trying to “fix” everything around me, make everyone happy and that it was making me very tired. He patiently listened and offered some very good advice which I want to always remember. He said someone once told him, “carry things lightly”. Hmm, doesn’t that bring to mind a certain scripture verse? Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This really resonated with me and I realize that when I worry and am fearful that is going against what God has already told me that He is in control and will never leave me or forsake me. I should learn from Him. He is gentle and in Him I can find rest for my soul. Isn’t that what we all long for, rest? Each day has enough trouble of it’s own without worrying about what is coming next or how I can “fix” things. I realized that I can never “truly” make things right because anything I would do would always be temporary compared to how God makes things whole and complete. When I focus on the Truth and remember Whose I am and that He holds my future, it really puts everything into perspective. Thank you, Lord for this reminder. I am going to focus on ONLY You and there find rest for my soul. Amen.

What is home?

 

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I am back from being away in the States visiting my family and friends. It was a good trip and I enjoyed my time so much. I wish I could have seen more people while I was there but the time was too short!
My sister-in-law, Diana, went with me and that was nice to have her there to get to know my parents and sister better and to spend a little time with my brothers as well.
Before I left for the trip, I was contemplating what it would be like going back after being married and moving. I wondered if I would feel strange being back in the house and if I would feel “at home”. I quickly discovered I fit right back into things and did pretty well remembering where things were. 🙂 However, something had changed. I no longer felt it was “home”. I started asking myself. What is home? What does it really mean? I miss my family and friends in the States when I am in Lebanon and I miss my family and friends in Lebanon when I am in the States. So, to me, this meant that “home” was really wherever my family and friends are. So, it is up to me to work at making both places “home” whenever I am in the States and when in Lebanon. Ultimately my true home is heaven and I know that when I arrive there I won’t feel out of place anymore. But until that day comes, I will work on making wherever I am the best home I can.

Two fun days in pictures

Marhaba! (this is hello in Arabic). 🙂
I noticed that I haven’t posted any pictures in a while so I wanted to share a post of just pics today. There have been two really fun days in the last week or so and they both involved going to the same place. My husband and I went to Tannourine in the North and saw some gorgeous cedars. We loved the area so much that yesterday we recommended that we take a family trip there. It was SO much fun and I got a lot of good pics. You can enjoy the fun time we had. 🙂

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I still can’t believe how beautiful these trees are! Each time I see them I am still overwhelmed.
The next set of pictures are of the family fun day to the same cedars as above. Lots of laughter was had and a walk that was technically 45 minutes took us about an hour and a half with all the stops for photo shoots. 😉

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These are my in-laws. 🙂

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My beautiful niece, Amy.

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The cousins just hanging out. 🙂

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Just the guys.

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One of the most beautiful views that we saw that day.

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“Someone” thought we should do our version of the Titanic pose. 😉

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All in all it was a wonderful day!

I am so thankful for a wonderful family!

 

 

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.