Gather it up…

Today my sweet husband gifted me with a couple of hours to myself. So, I find myself holed up in a coffee shop, fingers on a keyboard, poised to type what has been rolling through my head for the last 10 days. Before the computer opened, I spent some time reading in my newly “decorated” (I use quotation marks because the designer is my two year old, and her tool was a ballpoint pen) Bible. Specifically, Psalm 104. A couple of verses jumped out to me that seem to coincide with what I am feeling today…

“These [His created ones] all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.”  -Psalm 104:27-28

Y’all, it’s been a crazy week and a half. 2 weeks ago we were encouraged. Encouraged in our call to love the people of the church God has called us to. We were excited…hubby had an initial interview with RUF at his dream campus. We were feeling a bit more settled and secure than we typically do.  Then hubby interviewed. And less than 24 hours later he was offered the job – a job that we could never, in a million years, say no to.

So, here I sit, through the buzzing chaos of last week…and truly, buzzing is a fitting word given the fact that I felt the TIP OF MY NOSE buzzing last Tuesday afternoon due to shock and probably a blood pressure spike, haha…ready to reflect on the Lord’s tender and compassionate faithfulness. It’s tender and compassionate even when it feels fast, furious, and neon. It’s tender and compassionate because He knows, deeply knows, us.

  • Almost a year ago as we brainstormed campuses we feel like Andrew would be gifted to serve, and love serving…we named three. One, Duke, had just been filled and was largely what piqued our interest/put the charged paddles back on old dreams. The other two felt like ideals – and neither, to our knowledge would open any time soon.
  •  Hubs was hired in a way that is pretty unheard of for filling RUF positions…after a first round phone interview. Though we have never doubted that the Lord has called us to our current call and is using us here, it has often felt like climbing a mountain.  This door to this campus with RUF was thrown wide open in a way that I am largely unfamiliar with in a lifetime of walking with Jesus. He removed the obstacles, He allowed us to walk out to an overlook to see lovely vistas.
  • Hubby was set to be voted on to become an associate pastor of our congregation that same week. The shock of his hire made the loss of that sweet and encouraging vote feel loud and confusing.  But a dear friend anchored us in reality when he reminded us…”This is clearly the Lord’s will for you. Can you imagine being called to RUF just weeks after the congregation votes? This is hard, but it is equivalent to breaking an engagement as opposed to annulling a marriage.” Goodness. Yes.
  • We’re operating on a cash budget and I’ve been attempting to be dedicated to meal planning so that we don’t end up eating out last minute in our exhaustion.  Last week I planned every meal, with the exception of Tuesday. The day he was offered the position. In my apple note, there was literally a “?” next to Tuesday.  God wasn’t “?” about Tuesday. He knew we would need to rejoice and grieve, and do so with our church’s interim pastor and his wife.
  • My in-laws planned a trip to visit us over a month ago for last weekend. Hubby and I knew that with the timing of the job offer and the congregational meeting/vote, we would need to expedite our process of telling sweet friends, adopted grandparents, and congregants our news of leaving. Thanks to my in-laws, we were able to blaze through those hard conversations…something that would be impossible without their love and their gift of childcare. (They won’t say this but I will, we seriously abused their childcare services! They got a sweet trip with the girls, but got tumbleweeds from us! Love you, grandma and grandpa!)
  • This post may get edited to include more as the fog continues to lift from my brain. 😉

Precious Father, thank you for this good gift.  Thank you for vibrantly assuring us of your provision, your tender care, your loving-kindness. Lord, I feel so undeserving and so treasured as I gather it up. As we look toward future things, please continue to guide us…through good-byes, through first hellos, through the selling of a beloved home, through the search for a new home.  You are here, in this place. And we are glad.

Rest on the Road

IMG_1415

Growing up in rural Missouri, it was a treat when we got a Starbucks within 20 minutes. I gave Starbucks far too much money during high school and massage school. My first real job was even working for a small suburban cafe within an orthopedic doctor’s building that was “Proudly Supplied by Starbucks”. Then, I moved to Maplewood. Maplewood, Missouri is by no means “city living”…but suddenly I found myself within walking distance to multiple local coffee shops and within a 15 minute drive to EVERY good independent roaster/coffee shop St. Louis had to offer. A couple years after that, Andrew entered my life and introduced me to home roasting, tasting notes (who knew coffee could carry oh so many adjectives!), and the world of a quality cup of black coffee. Starbucks began to fall low on my coffee totem pole – begging for only a couple of yearly visits for seasonal calorie binges. Give me all of the peppermint hot chocolate, please!

But now I have a toddler who wants to wake for the day so early that she confuses the night owls. At the same time as we “fall back”. At the same time as her excellent sleeping baby sister decides to be a normal newborn and wake up 3 times before big sister is up and at ’em. Y’all…I am running on EMPTY. Sunday mornings are tough anyway…fellow wives of pastors, please weigh in, please tell me it won’t always be this bad? I feel terrible tearfully hugging my husband at the crack of dawn on a Sunday as he is preparing for the biggest morning of his week. I feel terrible telling him, “Sunday’s just kind of stink…”.  How do you be vulnerable and honest in your utter exhaustion when you know he that already feels a sense of responsibility/weightiness as he is absent from his family but diligently loving and shepherding a flock on the morning of the week that is unfailingly the hardest for every young family? It’s true. They’re HARD. And, the work that he is called to (we are called to) is important, God given/ordained, and I am so very proud of him. That “and” is important. So, we hug and we kiss through my tears and then I shoo him off knowing that it’ll be better for him when he’s not looking at my face anymore and it’ll be better for me when I can “kick in to gear” and do all the things.

But, that’s not what Sundays are for either. Doing all the things? The Lord’s day is about rest. How I long to walk into that building ready to worship, ready to sit at the feet of Jesus…He says to come weary – and boy, do I – but I also tend to come flustered, with a brain that is sinfully churning out worst case scenarios and to do lists and grumbling about lack of sleep or behavioral glitchiness (in myself and in my toddler).

So…yesterday I got the girls dressed, we piled in the car for a drive in an attempt to give my big girl some quiet time before several hours worth of nursery play. I found our nose pointed toward the nearest Starbucks. It may not be independent…but it has a drive thru and some really beautiful cups (though, I must say, this particular design looks a little like Harley Davidson’s ideal Christmas cup #flames). And friends, I actually joked with my husband later that we may need to add Starbucks into our budget as a line item during this very weary season. Or maybe it wasn’t a joke… 😉

Why the “joke”? Because yesterday morning the Lord, in his ever gentle leading, brought this weary mom rest on the road. Both babies slept in the car. A perky employee coaxed a smile out of my grumpy soul. Silence opened my eyes to the sunshine blazing through the chill of the morning. Words of hope serenaded me through the radio as I clocked minutes and miles before worship. Caffeine probably had a little to do with my brighter eyes, but even more than that…I was met and ministered to in a (dirty) black Kia Sportage.  That precious half hour filled me.  He brought me peace and joy that didn’t disappear the moment I parked my car.  He reminded me of his provision in the great and the tiny…the serious and the silly.  He allowed me to intimately register how he SEES me and KNOWS me when I got the dreaded text from the nursery saying that my big girl needed extra mom snuggles on a rare day that Andrew was not preaching or leading the Lord’s Supper and thus was free to hold our sleeping newborn.

“Even when I walk through the dark, scary, lonely places…I won’t be afraid. Because my Shepherd knows where I am. He is here with me. He keeps me safe. He rescues me. He makes me strong and brave.” -Sally Lloyd-Jones in found 

 

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” – Isaiah 40:11

He’s still meeting me on Monday. And I know he’ll meet me on Tuesday. Because he is faithful. He does not abandon his beloved. He gently leads the weary and the lonely and the scared.

So the Sunday morning Starbucks runs will probably continue. And I think the mama weariness will, as well. But because of yesterday’s rest on the road, my soul has been watered by my sweet Shepherd…and his water never runs out.

3 years.

12065817_628119817325_4577668548870856258_n

3 years ago yesterday we kissed at this kissing well. It’s not just any kissing well. It’s the renowned Davidson College kissing well that, legend has it, predicts a very likely future with the one that you kiss in its presence. Facebook actually reminded me that I posted this picture there along with the oh so witty caption, “Hubby finally kissed a girl at the kissing well. She liked it. I think the odds are good.”

3 years ago I stepped my feet onto the South Carolina red dirt for the first time. We newlyweds traveled to Spartanburg, SC to visit some dear friends who had recently moved back. Barry and Michele (ps. today is Michele’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Michele!!) were expecting their son, Bear, at the time. I remember feeling his strong kicks inside Michele’s belly and marveling. They took us on tours of the upstate by day and we watched an abundance of movies by night. One day we visited a delicious coffee shop and restaurant named Tandem and saw beautiful vistas atop Caesar’s Head.  We walked over the Liberty Bridge in downtown Greenville, and it was there that we first felt the Lord tugging our hearts toward this small, delightful city. On our final full day, Andrew took the reins and drove the four of us up to Davidson, North Carolina to show us his alma mater. I finally got to see the rooms, the lawns, the golf courses, the restaurants that hold so many memories for him and together play such a huge part in who he is today. Relationships come and go and endlessly change throughout life, but Andrew has tenderly held onto a significant number of relationships from that season. It was an honor to follow him along on such a special tour, it was an honor to sit in a rocking chair next to my pregnant friend while we enthusiastically cheered on our silly husbands in their very competitive Davidson College ping pong match (those ping pong tables are still in the same place, by the way).

A few days later we were back home in St. Louis, both Carolinas in the rear view, me freshly “retired” from massage therapy, Andrew jumping back into his Pastoral Apprenticeship, both of us wondering what the Lord had in store for our freshly joined future.

Now, we can see clearly what He was doing then. Now, we know less than 9 months later we would be packing our home and our dog into a moving truck bound for Greenville. Now, we have been to that cute little restaurant more times that we could count, in fact, we can walk there. Now, we take our own visiting friends to that breathtaking view atop Caesar’s Head. Now, that strong little baby kicking my hand is a strong little boy who will be turning 3 in a few months. Now, Andrew and I have added our own strong little ladies to that gathered group of friends.

I praise God that we don’t leave our future up to legend. I’m so thankful that he sees us here, knows us here, intimately. He sees the present pain and weeps with us, he sees our hopes and allows us to feels his embrace, he knows how we’ll be growing in the next few hours…in the next few days…in the next few months…and years. Nothing is a mystery to him. He has drawn near, and he IS nearness.  His nearness is our good. There are stories from the last 3 years that have taken our breath away. There are some hardships that we may have never chosen if left to our write our own stories. But this story that the author of our lives is writing? It’s far more beautiful.

How sweet it is to rest in Him.

This Is Us…

Okay. So…after 3 and a half years of marriage, an intense season of job hunting/Lord trusting/interview ruling/bandaid working (it’s worthy of mentioning that both of those “bandaid jobs” were absolutely life giving and beautiful), a big move, and two sweet baby girls; I’ve realized it’s high time to begin a blog. Mostly a family blog. Sure, I’d love to claim to be a writer…of course I’d love to contribute words of value and inspiration to this world. But, praise be, there are people who are way better suited for that job. 😉 So, if you love the Goyzueta family, you love pictures of cute babies (in a non-creepy way), or you’re just feeling nosy – you’re in the right place. Thanks for coming along with us on this journey as we rejoice, as we laugh, as we follow, as we seek to love people well through the strength of our Lord, as we fail, as we learn to walk and talk, as we PARENT (see “as we fail”), and as we grow!

Before I go, I’ll share a few fun (or potentially embarrassing) Goyzueta family facts:

  • Andrew and Amanda affectionately refer to each other as love or lovey – to the extent that if one of us uses a first name it feels reminiscent of our mothers dreadfully using our first AND middle names when we were in deep. Amanda robbed the cradle (by 2 months)…but that’s kind of fun information because both Amanda’s parents AND Andrew’s parents modeled that same set-up!
  • Emma Kay is our firstborn and she is 21 months of pure fire. I chose fire as a describing word because it matches her hair…but also because she is resilient, she’s got big and bold laughter, she’s stubborn as all get out, she was a ridiculously late teether which made her second year of life resemble a roller coaster. Everything she does, she does passionately.
  • Cora June is our second born and while she’s only 2 months old, she’s already proving to be our laid back child. She smiles at everyone and everything – but we’re still waiting on that tricky first laugh. She cries far less than Emma ever did, but boy are her vocal chords powerful…when she chooses to use them, look out! She’s a snuggler and she looks just like her daddy. ❤
  • Penzey is our toy poodle. She was our first “baby” and for the last two years has been struggling to learn that she is, in fact, a dog. She’s almost 8, and I like to think of her like the family dog in Peter Pan…always trying to take care of all of her people (while occasionally stealing a tasty morsel from them).

So, this is us. And this is Goyz Joys. Feel free to hang around for awhile.