Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rebound

Being married to a youth pastor lends itself to unique life experiences. You experience teens in a unique way. You experience church community in a unique way. You experience schedules in a unique way. Just about everything about being married to someone whose career is to love on adolescents is unique. It's a beautiful kind of unique... but unique nonetheless. 

The thing about this kind of lifestyle though is that, sometimes, it can tend to be lonely. Very few other people understand the demands on your life, family, and emotions. But there's a crowd of people that understand the tolls of ministry: other youth pastors and their wives! Once a year, Jarrod and I are blessed to be able to spend a weekend with this special community of people and share in this understanding of life in ministry. If you remember, I wrote a post about our trip to Rebound last year. We spent this past week back down in Florida (yes, again) for our yearly retreat with these other couples.

Let me first, once again, thank our church for their sacrifice and recognition of the toll that ministry takes on marriages and seeing the need for retreats like this one. Jarrod and I were able to reconnect with friends that we met last year and build some new, valuable relationships with other couples in our area. We were able to step back as a couple and examine our lives in ministry - how we can better support each other, what things we need to discuss, and reflect on the encouragement that scripture offers young pastors. We networked and Jarrod was able to discuss ministry strategies with others that are 'in the trenches.' Most importantly, Jarrod and I were able to leave our schedules and task lists behind and refocus on hearts on the Lord's leading in our lives and commit the coming year to Him. 

And here's the cool thing... Last year, when we attended Rebound we were just a couple months into our adoption. Our hearts were heavy because of the strenuous process. I remember getting away and feeling defeated, yet hopeful for what the next year would hold. I remember praying last year with the friends that I made that God would bring Jarrod and I a child in His time. I remember leaving feeling deeply refreshed and ready to continue on this journey that God had for us. 

And what a difference a year makes...

Left: 2013 Rebound Retreat
Right: 2014 Rebound Retreat

This year I walked in carrying a little girl that has touched my life in more ways than I can even name. A little girl who, one day earlier, just three hours away from this annual retreat location, had been legally declared a part of our family by a state judge. A little girl whose adoption case is now legally closed for good. Hallelujah! (More on this in a few days.)


We spent five days as a family of three in the warmth, basking in the goodness of God's plan for our lives. Although there were times when we wanted to go sit in the sun or go out to a movie with friends at night instead of rocking a baby to sleep in our hotel room, I was reminded that, one year ago, I would have given anything to be the couple with the baby at this couples retreat. Perspective is an amazing thing!


I'm awestruck at the ways that God works in our prayers when we allow Him to ability to move in our lives. We didn't even think we'd be able to attend this retreat this year due to all our travels and financials of our adoption. Yet, God was (yet again) in those details...our court date lined up to be just two days before the retreat began. A detail so simple and so small, yet so perfect. That's our God, isn't it?


Although it's wonderful to be home...and to know that I don't have to go back to Florida for another year (until next year's retreat)...these pictures and that time with my family bring so much joy to my heart. What an amazing end to this journey!

Oh and in case these pictures aren't enough, here's a cute video of Madison's first ocean experience!


Check the blog in a few days for some new pictures on updates on my (almost) four month old (what?!) and a post on the finalization of Madi's adoption in court!

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