So Many Graces

There is a line from a song* that resonates in my spirit, speaking truth into my weary soul –

Your grace abounds in deepest waters.  

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Child, this is the beautiful, broken truth of my life right now – wherever I am, God goes ahead. His grace is in the midst of heartbreak and fear, wondering if we’ll ever have children. This is a place that is best described as “deepest waters.” I’m not sure how we got here, but it feels like we’re lost and the seas are churning around us, threatening destruction. But there is Jesus, calling to us. He’s never failed and he won’t start now. (another lyric.)

We’re on a new journey now, your Dad and I. God led us into unknown (to us) territory in 2011, and we followed as best we could. Kevin completed a Master’s degree in Seminary and served as discipleship pastor at a church in New York. We made a life for ourselves there.

And three years later, God called us out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail (another lyric). Our lives are different than we could have predicted even months ago. But we feel the peace of the Spirit leading us. We’ve settled into this wonderful home (the parsonage, which we lived in once before). Friendships are already rekindling – God reminding me He won’t leave me alone. We’ve prayed over people, shared meals with people, received bounty from these people. And it’s not even Sunday yet.

Child, you would be so proud of your Daddy. I know I am. He’s showing such tender compassion for the people of our congregation, and he’s using his gifts in a way that certainly makes God smile. I look forward to his first sermon this Sunday as Senior Pastor.

And all the while, as we walk out onto the open waters, we will pray and trust and listen to the voice of God.

 

*Hillsong United “Oceans (When Feet May Fail)” (<–you should listen to it)

Camp Speakers

This was originally written on June 7th. Follow up post to come!

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Hello, Little One!

Today we pack our bags in preparation for a week in Nevada City, California! We were asked in February to be the speakers for the teen program at the Sierra Pacific Conference FMC Family Camp.  Neither of us has even been to the state of California, so the location alone was a huge draw. As you know, we’ve spent the last 6 years of our lives as youth leaders, teaching them, entertainingScreenshot 2014-06-06 22.05.50 them with our antics, and befriending them. What an awesome opportunity! We eagerly accepted the invitation, and fly out of Buffalo early tomorrow morning. (I mean look at this weather forecast!)

It’s strange how the timing of this camp engagement camp worked out. Here we are in our last official week at Albion, gearing up for ministry in Monroe and we’ll be in California! Perhaps this week is just the right separation between these two monumental stages of our lives. Maybe God knew what He was doing?

My prayers for this week ahead are many.

May our words be spoken clearly and effectively.

May the messages be used by the Lord to work in the hearts of the teens.

May we develop good repoire with the students in short order.

May there be time to rest and enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

May this be exactly where God wanted us to be.

I can’t wait to tell you how it goes, Child! And I look forward to the years ahead when we’ll have you and your siblings in tow as we travel to camps for other speaking engagements. Or at least that’s the hope. Your daddy would be a great speaker at youth camps or in the adult sessions at family camps. Maybe someday we’ll all go together!

Loving you always,

Mama

 

Our Quaint Village

Dear Child of Ours,

Tears streamed down my face, unashamed, as your Daddy and I walked home from church today. We had spent the morning worshiping from the depths of our spirits with a group of saints we now call family. We shared hugs and laughs, graciously received cards and gifts, and then we sat alone in the church tying up loose ends and turning in our keys. We walked out the door, making sure they locked behind us, and Kevin said, “Well now this seems real.” I started crying almost instantly.

IMG_1906I had teared up two other times that morning, but for the most part I had held it together well. The rush of emotion as we walked home from Albion Free Methodist Church one last time seemed to catch me off guard. But I let it happen. Your daddy reached for my hand and let the tears come, both of us taking note of the sights and sounds of our quaint little village.

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IMG_1933I love this place, including or in spite of its flaws. I love the architecture and the great care taken to create an aesthetic town back in its formative nineteenth century. The details are stunning and many sites are adorned with sandstone crafted in the neighboring village of Medina.

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IMG_1910The courthouse boasts mighty Greek Revival style pillars and its shimmering crown can be seen when you enter town. The Swan Library has this amazingly oversized blue door that makes you feel like child in comparison. Its railings have seen years of use, but their beauty is still evident.

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In three years of living here, I haven’t yet grown accustomed to the breathtaking quality of the Presbyterian Church’s spire. It points to the heavens with awe and wonder.

IMG_1913 I would love to know how many miles of walks and runs and bike rides I’ve logged along the Erie Canal Pathway. What an incredible feature to a town already only miles south of Lake Ontario. Such peace can be find by the banks of the water, particularly during sunrise when the earth is just waking, and at twilight when the crickets begin to chirp.

IMG_1583I have loved a good excuse to walk everywhere, any day, whatever the weather. These sidewalks have served me well, whether cement, sandstone, or brick. Some days I walked to Tim Horton’s two or three times, and perhaps I’d journey to the library or the bank or the post office or Family Dollar. I’ve walked to friends’ houses, to church, and to the school auditorium in the rain and in the 2 feet of snow and blistering winds of winter. IMG_1929

I love walking and this town was basically meant for people like me.

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IMG_1926And so we journey home, up our own sandstone sidewalk. We take the fork to the right, and head down the steps to our “secret entrance” Hobbit Hole home. IMG_2021

IMG_2020We pack up final boxes, running on adrenaline in spite of the California jet lag and emotional exhaustion. We walk one last time to our favorite places, doing some last minute errands and eating dinner. Two or three different vehicles filled with people we love honk noisily as they drive past us. And I assume the friends in their cars have similar thoughts to me,

I wish the Eccles could keep journeying up and down Main Street, as if they’ve lived here all their lives. I wish this didn’t have to end.

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So Many Boxes, So Little Time

Child,

I’m beginning to run out of things to pack. For the last two weeks I’ve been steadily making progress, going through cabinets and drawers, finding things buried under the bed or deep in the closet. Given the tight space we live in, you might be shocked to see how many boxes of possessions I’ve managed to seal tight with packaging tape.

Though we’re not moving until June 16-17, we’re going to be in California from the 8th-14th, so we really only have….oh my goodness…three days left in this home.

This week has been filled with many “lasts” and I’ve taken to saying, “See you later” rather than tearful goodbyes. There are two reasons for this. One, I’m not sure my emotional strength is capable of tear after tear. And two, I truly believe I’ll see many of these friends again, in one life or the next.

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Our time here seems too short, and I wonder and wish for more time with so many of our friends. It seems that many relationships have only just solidified and who knows where we would have ended up. I really wish you could have joined us while we made our home in this village of Albion, New York. I wished I could have pushed your stroller up and down Main Street, waving to friends driving by. I wish we could have gone sled riding at Bullard Park or taken walks to Tastee Freeze. I wish countless teens like Catherine or Olivia, Matilda or Riley, Hailey or Savannah could have had an opportunity to babysit you. I wish those who’ve been through the infertility trenches with me, truest friends like Sheryl and Tara and Anna and Andrea, could be right next to me during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, walking me through the fears, dreaming of the future, dealing graciously with my emotional mess. I wish you could have known the love so many of these people have for you. I wish you could have played with Amelia and Jillian and Adelynn, and been mothered by Madison, Ashlyn, Sarah, and Catherine. I wish you could have been snuggled by Chelcie and Peggy, Tom and Pat, Sherrie, Jessy, Darryl, and Diane. I could list name after name, friend after friend, child after child who would have adored you.

It’s hard to not feel regret and disappointment. Yet these past three years have served a beautiful purpose and friendships forged will stand the test of time. Maybe you will get to meet some of these friends. I’ll tell you stories of our years in Albion. We could come for a visit and show you off to the whole village, and perhaps some of them will stop by our Michigan home for a time. We’ll sit in the living room, reminiscing about the years we had together, and how they went too quickly, yet how it felt like forever. We’ll laugh at old inside jokes that won’t make any sense to you. You’ll act all shy and hide behind your Daddy’s leg when our friends and their kids file into our home, but soon enough you’ll love them as much as we do and your true crazy colors will show. You’ll have a ball playing in the yard with “cousins, aunts and uncles” making memories of your own. This is my hope for you, Child.

And this is not goodbye.

It simply can’t be.

Overwhelmed

Dear Child of Mine,

I have opened up new blog post after new blog post and haven’t seemed to muster the clarity to speak to you. There are so many monumental events going on right now, all stories worthy to be told. More pictures have been taken in the last month than I have in the last twelve.

I’ve walked around town taking photos of the sites I want to remember.
I attended the final girls group.
Eccles Piano Studio held its final recital.
My mom and grandma came to the recital and helped me start packing.
We hung out with friends on Memorial Day.
We went through the second round of IUI and we’re waiting to see if this round was successful.
I’ve been a busy little bee, filling box after box every day for 2 weeks.
Your daddy’s family made the long drive to attend his ordination.
Our church held a potluck party in our honor.
The youth group met for the last time.
I’ve had 2 or 3 “appointments” or “scheduled socializing” with friends every single day for a week.
I played piano and sang for our friends’ wedding.
We’re leaving Sunday for a week long youth camp speaking engagement in California.
Two days after we return, we pack up the UHaul.
Oh, yes, and we’re moving back to Michigan.
AND your Daddy is going to be a senior pastor!

Holy smokes. That’s a lot isn’t it?

And that’s just the “big” stuff. I can hardly remember the little stuff. I’ve been on the phone with insurance companies getting quotes on auto and home insurance. I’ve turned in our address change to the USPS. I’ve made reservations for family camp at Somerset Beach. I’ve started down the checklist of companies to notify of our new address.

I want to tell you about my running, and why I love it, and what pitfalls I have to avoid. I need to confess how poorly I have been eating today, because I’ve allowed stress to win. I want to tell you how much I genuinely love healthy foods like kale and spinach and sweet potatoes and eggs, and how I hope you will too.

You should hear about all the walks your dad and I have been taking and the long conversations we’ve had. You should know I feel so loved by him, and how much I love to listen to his dreams and plans for this new congregation.

My mind is cluttered with thoughts of decor and design in our new-yet-not-new-to-us home. I have paint colors and furniture options, hardware and window treatment ideas. My notebook has lists of items to purchase, estimated expenses, and which stores to shop.

And so, Little One, all of THAT is why I’m not really talkative lately. The hectic schedule has been a blessing in disguise, keeping my thoughts from fixating on whether or not you’ve been conceived. I feel unhopeful, as if I know I’m not pregnant yet again. But there’s always the motherly corner of my spirit that longs deeply for a positive outcome. Maybe this time?  (48 months later…)

Just know I love you. I long for you. and I’m a bit of a mess right now.

Mama