It was a normal morning. I was packing lunches and making breakfast. Dave was reading a devotional and having his bowl of cereal. As usual, the first to arrive downstairs was Maren. Looking adorable in her school uniform plaid skirt, maroon polo, and pig tail swinging as she walked. She headed to the pantry to pick out the perfect snack for school and as she is eye balling her choices she says facing the pantry, "Mom and Dad, God has given me a calling for my life. He wants me to build a school for kids who don't have one and teach at it." She then slips her bag of popcorn in her backpack, turns to me to say, "can I have cereal for breakfast?"
Yep. Totally normal.
I get the bowl of cereal ready as Dave and I pass a glance to each other as if to say, "what in the world do we do with this?" To be honest, I think we basically told her that was amazing and that we should seek the Lord more in prayer. And that was that. The morning craze continued. The days turned to weeks to months. And to be honest, we never really spoke more about that morning.
We got matched with Thabi and all the world changed. We went to Africa. And we came home. We had no idea when that plane landed, when we began our new little family of five, that change wasn't going to stop for us. And that school thing....that was gonna circle back...for more of us then just Maren.
I should take you back a few years. I know that if I would step back in time to when we said yes to adoption in 2010 I would barely recognize myself. Recognize my marriage. My family. My heart. We were so different in so many ways. It was before God wrecked us. Before He came in and did a clean sweep....at least, He began the sweeping. That tiny little yes to something we thought was so simple, so cut and dry, would be the hinge of the unfolding. And if you've been around this blog enough you have heard about that unfolding. The way God has ruined us for the average, the mundane, the fringes, or as Jesus likes to say...the least. And I have to admit, there just isn't any other place I would rather be. Living in the tension of God's plan and His unfolding has left a mark on me forever.
About two years ago we began seeing that our lives were going to change physically. We weren't exactly sure how or what or when, but we knew. We also knew that untying some of our life here was important so that we would be ready to go. We pursued full time missions in Africa. We pursued Dave working in full time ministry. Willing hearts wide open for whatever it is that would be our next place. Never would I have dreamt that our next place would not be full time missions or full time ministry.
When we got back from Africa, the girls started back at school after a few jet lagged days of not knowing what time it really was. One day, at pick up, Maren hopped in the car and told me that her school Heritage was doing a school supply drive and we needed to get some stuff for them to bring the next day. In my fog of being a new mom and home and unpacking and laundry and tired, I told Maren that we were just going to have to trust Jesus with this one school supply drive to provide for all of the needs for whoever it was that needed it without our family. Poor girl. It was a parenting win for me I know. The next day, an email came through from the school and I clicked on it. With Thabi taking her nap by my side I opened the link and video to the school Heritage was collecting supplies for, Urban Christian Academy. I watched the video. And in that moment, I remembered that not so normal morning a few months prior. I was watching 2 young girls who saw a need for a school....a Christian school.....for kids who needed it....and they were teaching at it...right here in our city! As soon as Maren hopped in the car that afternoon I told her that I learned about the school. I also noticed it was two young girls living out the same dream God had given her......I then asked if she wanted to meet them...interview them...share with them her dream. She agreed.
I sent an email to Kalie and Meredith and they agreed.
We met over pizza.
Maren had 8 sweet interview questions and they spent the dinner encouraging and pouring into her.
It meant so much to this Momma.
I left that pizza party knowing we needed to pay attention to what the Lord is doing at UCA. And selfishly, I wanted to be around them more. I wanted to be in on what God was doing there. I told Dave that night when we got home that I wanted him to meet them, Meredith and Kalie. There was no explaining....you had to hear them pour out their vision.
And so we did.
They came for dinner.
We visited the school.
It became clear.
This was our unfolding.
It was time.
This was not a place we were going to give money to, volunteer at weekly, or commit to praying.
It was a place we were going to call our school. Our community. Our people.
Savanah will have a new uniform next year and she looks so cute in it
Maren will also wear a new uniform...PJ's if you want, and I will add a title to my name!
That's right. PJ's. And I am not sure there could be a happier girl. You see, UCA grows a grade level a year and they are just one year behind where Maren is in school. So, I will also have a new title next year....3rd grade teacher! You read that right, Suzanne is homeschooling! The exciting thing about educating Maren more uniquely is what it will gain her. She will get to be apart of UCA in such a unique way. The Kindergarten teacher Meredith has offered her an internship in her classroom. Maren will get to work hands on with the students there. She will have a school community, it will just be different. When Meredith made this offer to me, I was so humbled and blown away. To think that someone would want to pour into my child and family in this way was amazing to me!
We began the house hunt really focused on where we wanted to land. And just as He does, God had a very different plan. Some of our very favorite people live in the Northeast. Pouring into that community and involved in a new church plant. When a house in that area hit the market we decided to maybe change our parameters of where we were looking and check it out.
We loved it.
We loved the community.
We love being minutes from dear friends.
We put in an offer.
We got it.
We are so excited!
The house feels like a complete gift!
Today I will sign Thabi up for preschool at a school just down the street from the new house!
This unfolding has been fast, scary, and amazing. Our current house is on the market and we are praying boldly that it will sell soon! We know there are no contingency plans with Jesus. We trust that the right family will come at just the right time.