Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Putting Down Roots

If you have known me long, you know that I am one to move. I don't mind change. I like an adventure. For only being 31, I have lived in a number of places. The time has come where I'm ready to put down some roots. The adventure now comes in staying, not going. We have a mission field all around us and we feel like in order to really have an impact, we have to become a neighbor, live among those we are serving, cultivate relationships...and that takes time.

In the beginning of the year, I wrote this blog: My Word for 2012: Cultivate.
Little did I know how prophetic that was in the sense that it has been an idea that has been so relevant to this season. It has also been the subject of many a sermon or bible study I've read so far this year.  Every time the word is mentioned, it stirs something in me.

It's got me thinking a lot about how I'm cultivating in different areas of my life. My friendships? My relationship with my husband? Family? Good health? Income? Ministry?

I've been reminded that it doesn't just happen. A good relationship or good friendship is not healthy if its not being cultivated on a continual basis. Good health doesn't "just" happen. It requires an intentional focus.

I want to leave a legacy of intentional cultivation. I want to look back 5 years from now and see the fruits of staying in \ our neighborhood. I want to have a stronger relationship with my husband, family and friends. I want to be deeper in love with the Lord in a way I never imagined. And ultimately....I want to be changed. Refined. Renewed.

Only when I take the time to cultivate my relationship with God can I be sure that I'm right where I need to be. Christy Nockels has a song on her new album called "For Your Splendor" that I put on repeat quite often.  The chorus reads:
 With my roots deep in you
I'll grow the branch that bears the fruitAnd though I’m small I'll still be standing in the storm.Cause I am planted by the river.By your streams of living water.And I'll grow up strong and beautiful, All for Your splendor Lord.
You can watch the entire video here:

So this is my prayer today. I so desperately want to face the storm with no fear because my roots are deep enough that I know I will weather the storm. I pray, you too, continue to cultivate the different areas of your life.

If you would like to read our full newsletter, you can do so here: The Paddocks Fall Newsletter 2012.

For His Renown,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Different Kind of Love

This is a blog that's a little difficult to type, yet it has been on my mind A LOT lately and I feel like there are probably people out there that can identify. I think when you get to be in your 30's and married, family just seems to be on the brain. It's like this natural brain shift takes place and you find yourself always thinking about future and what your family will be like (at least I do). But somewhere in the back of your mind you think...IF I get to have a family. It seems like pregnancy is EVERYWHERE. One of my step sister's is pregnant, one already has a daughter, my sister in law is pregnant with her 2nd,
one of my close friends is as well, all of my college roommates are mom's (two of them have or will shortly have 4 kids). And I have this longing that goes deeper than you can put words to.  A longing be able to experience that same thing. I'm not bitter.  I don't want people to feel uncomfortable talking about their kids or feel like they have to hide their excitement. I am happy for them and get the blessing of being surrounded by beautiful children. But there is just that longing.

If you can identify you know that you catch yourself looking at the baby stuff in target, you're always making faces and trying to get the baby in the the check out line or restaurant to smile or laugh at you, you get teary eyed in every movie that has a parenting theme. Glenn and I desire to have a family, but sometimes I wonder what that family will look like. Will they be our flesh and blood? Will we adopt? Will it look like it does now? Playing parent to the kids God brings in our path? And if it's not the first, will God still be good? Will it be "enough"? Sometimes, honestly, I want to say, "no God...it's not enough, " but I know that's not truth.  When I was younger, if you asked me what I wanted to be, I would have said, "A preacher's wife and a mom." Those were my two greatest desires. The first is in progress, but the second.....we'll see. (note: I'm not saying we can't have children, we just haven't yet and so this is all hypothetical if I'm not able to get pregnant.)

While working with inner city youth, we have been given the names, "Mama Morgan and Papa Glenn," and one kid just straight up calls us "mom and dad." We go to sporting events. We have family time: We play games. We watch  movies together. When they act up we have the hard conversations. We laugh. We make them turn off their cell phones when we have quality time. We cry. I sometimes lay awake and worry. Our phone rings at all different times. We are always looking out for their best interest even if they don't understand. We go grocery shopping and they put all manner of things in the basket. They talk back. They get mad. They give hugs. They show love. We provide a safe place. A respite. A place of laughter and love. We give truth in love. We teach boundaries.

We were talking about peace one day when we were working with middle school students at Rescue Atlanta. One of the questions on their worksheet was "Where do you feel most at peace?" My eyes filled with tears as I read sheet after sheet that said, "Morgan and Glenn's House."

Glenn and I catch each other's eyes all the time and have that unspoken moment of "this is what matters." But then the kids go home and the house is quiet and the longing is louder than ever. We went to a church last week and the pastor was speaking on singleness, but he was addressing the goodness of God even when things don't go the way we want. He shared his own personal struggle with not being able to have kids and all the experiences that come with it....but said, "Maybe it's not how God wants me to experience Him" And he talked about not lamenting things but using your situation as leverage for the Kingdom.

While I desire more than anything to be a mom, what if its not God's plan for us? What if being a Mom would prevent me from being invested and flexible to be in all of these youth's lives? What if it would prevent us from being flexible and mobile to GO and do whatever God calls? What if?

So as I wrestle for a place of peace on the issue, I'm reminded that God is good. God is in control, and at the end of the day....it's not about me. I want to be used how HE would have me to be used. To have children of our own, adopt, or to be positive role models in the lives of at risk youth. Maybe it's all three.

There are moments when this path feels too hard. It's hard to struggle to stay where we are. It would be easier to find a good paying job and move. It's hard not knowing how the bills will get paid, or trying to budget with the little you have and struggle with going to games and going to pick up kids because you feel like you don't have the money to drive all over town or pay admission fees. And then I realize....these are the struggles of the people we are reaching. I have compassion on a new level for some of these families situations. But I also know that God is always providing in ways that we know is only HIM.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just wanted to share because I never really understood that internal struggle until recently and I'm aware that some of my friends may be in that same spot. I wanted to say...you're not alone.

So while we are waiting.... these are some of the moments when my heart feels full, and it feels like enough for that moment.

Thanks for reading,

kids falling asleep on our couch