Year of Harvest

In every single “year end review” that has been posted I have seen a common thread: this year was … Not a good one. The word that I actually want to use can be abbreviated to two letters : C. F. 

The world hurt. Our country hurt. Alienation and angst prevailed. And so many face-palm moments. Nathan and my prevailing current events conversations went like this:

“Hey, did you see….” 

Yes or no depending on the appropriate answer.

“Are you serious?” 

And then we would sigh. Together. And just look at each other, because what was there to say?

My confession is that I did not hate this year. Despite all the uncomfortable, we were blessed beyond measure and the hard stuff has brought about movement in a better direction. This has been a year of personal reflection and acknowledgement of things holding me back. Small break throughs put me on a path of continuous change. And, 10 years in, I have a strong hand holding my hand and joining me on that path. I have seen so many prayers answered this year that my faith feels just a little stronger.

And I saw mermaids this year. My little sister got married. We went to Disney. 

I am grateful. 

I have struggled with what word to choose for 2018. Ready? Move? Malleable? 

Grow. 

I see 2018 full of opportunity and potential:

To grow.

Spiritually

Relationally

Professionally. 

Physically.

Creatively. 

I have always been drawn to the agricultural imagery in Scripture. Probably, because farming on a small scale has been such an important part of my upbringing; the back-breaking work of weeding and pruning, watering and care. I have watched apple trees die for no apparent reason.

 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. “

 We all cried over a tree full of peaches lost to a lightening stike.

” Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”

 I have seen vegetables rot because I did not time their harvest right.

 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. “

I also remember a summer snapping beans after dark and helping my mother can 128 quarts of green beans. And this year, while my Father’s apple trees failed to pollinate, Granny’s rose to the occassion and brought more apples than we could eat. 

 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

I see myself in these memories. Years where I sputtered for no apparent reason. The years where hard work and planning still ended in disaster. The year I felt like I was struck by lightening, and I was surprised we survived. 

I am hopeful that this year I will grow. I imagine I will need some pruning, and the right mix of the Son and rain and nutrients. 

And maybe, this year we might return a harvest.

When you have a big announcement…

So, if you ever were a reader, or you just happened upon this, I … uh, dropped the ball a bit. Another move, a new job and I sort of set my writing to the side. I regret that, however… that time was probably spent writing lesson plans.

However, this seemed like as a good a time as any to jump back in. Bear with me, I tend to get wordy.

Recap: In May 2014 I finished a degree that I only pursued and completed because I’d made a promise. A promise to God. I try to be reasonable in my literal interpretations of scripture, but I had “vowed” to go to seminary as a wide-eyed 17 year old,  and I did not want to fall short in that. Something about not breaking vows….

Jesus kept me in the classroom, we moved, and I allowed the grieving process of “not serving in formal ministry” progress. I know that for many readers that may seem so dumb…. for someone who has always preached and stood by the truth that there is no line dividing our lives into sacred and profane… I still believe that lie sometimes.

However, as I threw myself into my new teaching position at a new school I did grieve…. properly. I soon could see daily how my classroom (or classrooms, depending on the year) really were my ministry….my mission field.  I have prayed with, and for students. I have been mentored by other teachers that in ways I could not have imagined. In the three years since I finished my degree, I have grown more and more each year as person of faith, learning to trust His plan with peace. 

My first year at a new school I was offered the opportunity to get my ESOL (English as a Second Language) Endorsement. I had just finished a graduate degree while working and thought, surely an endorsement won’t be so bad….. I was wrong. So very very wrong.  It nearly broke me. And I literally tried to quit. I turned in a letter of “I have to quit because I am going to fail and I cannot be a good teacher and mom and wife if I have to keep spending nine hours on piddly grades….” If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you might remember that post– aptly named “I quit.” The short story is, my school would not let me quit. I struggled through that program and cried a lot. But I finished. And at the end of it, I thought, “why did I do this?

All I knew was that when I had received the email, I had felt a nudge, a jerk, a pull– something in my gut that said: THIS. DO THIS. Much like my promise to go to seminary.  It was hard, but I did it.

Two years later, another new school, a class peppered of ESOL students,  my heart is full, and my skills are put to good use. Over the last year the tug has gotten harder. That tug that you can’t think about without tears falling down your face. That voice that is shouting so loud you keep wondering, “Why doesn’t anyone else hear this?” So much so, that you repress those thoughts anywhere in public for fear of concerning those around you.

When will you go?”  Image-1

So now friends, we are going. The path that has wound itself in loops and trajectories that made little sense,is now creating a circle. In July 2018 Nathan and I will be going to Romania with our church. We will be joining Tomorrow Club ministries and serving in an “English Camp” that will give children the opportunity to learn English and hear the gospel. And friends, I can’t even type this or talk about it without tears flowing. I am so excited and humbled and full…. And we haven’t even gone yet.

And so, I have an ask, which is hard for me. I am the last person that likes to ask for help, money, or a cup of sugar.  We do have to raise the funds to go. Which surprisingly, I have little anxiety over. I do believe that the Lord will provide. We also need people to pray. Pray so much. For us, for our team, for the hearts of the people we interact with. For my sweet Corbin and Gabriella, who understand why we are going, but still aren’t sure about us being gone for a week. For God’s grace to cover it all.

If you are able and  would like to donate, the easiest way is go to this website. You can donate funds securely through our church’s website. You only need to choose Nathan or my name from the drop down tab. If you would rather mail funds, email me  or comment below and I can send you an address.  Every small little bit helps.

If you are not able to donate, but are willing to commit to praying for us as we prepare, and while we are on the trip, that is also very needed.

So, there friends, is our big announcement! Our first foray into Missions has begun!

Thank you for all your support!

-Cody

On Ten

A decade ago you changed my life.

You started it. You turned a flighty girl into the fiercest mama bear the world will know. You gave me the reason and the bravery to run after and fight for the things we needed. Someday you will understand that you, sweet boy, are the reason our family is here. You made US. 


A week in, and we knew that your will would match mine. You were the hungriest baby and I have seen that turn into a symbolic hunger in all things. You are always seeking more and I admire it so. You helped me learn the true meaning of responsibility, love, and sacrifice. 

And so, Corbin Paris Williams, I hope that you know how much you mean to me. My love for you is deep and full of gratitude. We have battled mightily at times, but I am grateful for your quick mind and tongue– even when it does get you in trouble. A brilliant professor once told me that, “people are who they will be in character and personality by the age of 10.

 If this is true, I am the luckiest. You are brilliant. Your intelligence already scares me. You are musical, artistic, and witty. More importantly, You love Jesus. You already care about the heats of your friends. You are your sister’s keeper. Your consideration and kindness to your peers puts me to shame. Your heart is sincere in your desire to do good. 


I cannot wait to see where the next 10 years takes you, but I need you to slow it down. You feel nearly grown and Mama simply cannot deal. I miss my cuddly, squishy baby. I know you will do great things; this year, and in the years to come. However, you will have to excuse me if I kiss you in public and make you hold my hand when we walk. You will always be my baby boy.