Much of my absence can be attributed to a period of intense, deep heart-work that the Holy Spirit has been laboring over in me. I felt a need for silence and privacy, coveting each whisper and prodding I sensed from Him. I witnessed the 3.5 years in California come to a gorgeous, crystal clear full circle as reasoning and questioning were laid bare and answered.
I experienced communion and presence with the Holy Spirit that I think I doubted was a possible reality before. I fell in love with the Body of Christ, coming to know the Bride through intimate, raw time with a bunch of rag-tag believers that I would have never expected to allow past my exterior shell. I learned what fellowship in the name of Jesus alone looks like; not based on commonalities, social groups, interests, judgements, agendas or programs, but simply receiving one another under the banner of Christ's redemptive blood.
I've been challenged to want less, live with less, hope for less from this modern day society and shift my desires to more of Christ. Less means more for those in need; less stuff for me equals more life-sustaining necessities for those who have no voice, no options; choosing less things means not filling my heart-holes with anything other than Christ's satisfying food. I'm far from "there". I'm just starting to even dare think about what those changes and conscious decisions of less look like, and it's honestly painful to recognize my resistant flesh screaming NO at the thought of it. This will be a long journey, I know, but I feel a necessary one if I claim the blood of Christ has been poured into my veins.
We recently moved 3,000 miles from Southern California to Cincinnati OH and are getting adjusted and settled in to living in a totally different environment and culture. It feels very familiar and comfortable to me though, and I'm hopeful of letting myself extend roots into this soil and peoples' lives in a new way. For some reason I felt like my time in CA was some sort of gestation stage, a waiting period of learning how to just be with the Lord, to understand who He is and who I am in light of Him. It was a time of solitude and stripping away of self-applied labels and identities. I now feel prepared to go forth in a new way, in a new place.
God has already revealed answers to prayers we've been praying over the past 6 months regarding neighbors, home, community. We moved into a cute little house in the outskirts of Cincinnati sight unseen and it's a really great fit for us. Our neighbors have a boy the exact same age as Willow and they are more than generous with sharing outside toys and have been overall really welcoming. We're excited to plug into the neighborhood and a church community quickly and see how we are to be used here.
Willow is 19 months now, and Oh-How-Did-That-Ever-Happen? She is hilarious with a quirky humor and ready smile and plentiful kisses and bouncy sun streaked curls. We're definitely entering the independent toddler zone, which I'm not so crazy about at the moment, but we'll work through it and once we get it figured out, we'll be onto the next phase of challenges and adventures. I'm pretty sure her she has the gift of encouragement and affirmation, given that she applauds and exclaims "YAAAAY!" for every little thing you do. It's great for my self esteem. I'm curious and excited to see how that develops as she grows older; I think she's going to be very sensitive to the hurts and needs of others.