On January 31st Rachel and I welcomed our second son into the world, Oliver Bruce Johnson. Bringing a child into the world is beautiful, miraculous, joyous, and mysterious. But newborns are challenging and we’ve experienced more than we bargained for. Rachel had some complications during the delivery, which I won’t go into now, but it’s left us experiencing an array of contrasts over the past week or so. There has been profound joy side by side with suffering. Pain, frustration, exhaustion, anger, longing, sadness, anxiety have all been swirling around in our hearts and minds. We’ve had bad days, yesterday was particularly challenging and yet despite all that, God has been faithful and held our spirits aloft. We’ve been trying to take each day one at a time and there are so many reminders of God’s love; sun shinning into apartment, Rachel’s mom helping out, friends and family visiting, friends bring meals, good food, good coffee, the Olympics, frangipane, laughter, music… all miracles. And the greatest of miracles: our children. Archie our first and Oliver our newborn certainly test our patience at times, though never cease to bring us joy, lighting up even the darkest of moments. God is good, in the midst of suffering, God is good.
I read Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, fairly often and I’ve read her posts lately about her and her oldest daughter traveling to Uganda. Before she left, she wrote about how she was going to see Katie Davis and the amazing work she is doing there with Amazima Ministries– the child sponsorship organization that she founded. I didn’t know very much about Katie Davis, but had heard of her book, Kisses from Katie, so I decided to buy it this weekend with a Barnes and Noble gift card I got for my birthday.
Katie Davis and her daughters
Well, let me tell you, I just gobbled this book up! For some reason it was just so refreshing for me to read. I feel like the simple message of “God loves YOU!” gets lost in a lot of messages that I am accustom to hearing. To hear of a woman younger than me, on her own, adopting 14 daughters with such joy just kind of blows my mind. I’ve been kind of in a rut lately, feeling unstable with the future feeling very unknown. But her words really reminded me that God loves us so much and we just need to obey by doing the work set right in front of us and He will show us the rest in due time. Sometimes I get cranky when I have too much to do, or simply work that I don’t want to do. But it is in the little things that we serve and love God– the laundry, the cooking, the meeting of basic needs. How we care for the ones we love shows how we see and love God.
**Also, thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway! We were excited to get as many entries as we did and we plan to offer the prints in our etsy shop in the coming months! The winners picked at random were Dena Swenson and Liz Anderson. Congrats ladies!
In the past nine months we’ve been in a perpetual state of transition with no clear vision of what the future will hold due to many unknowns. Last week was particularly difficult. Both Rachel and I were feeling overwhelmed with everything. We’re in the middle of some legal issues with our house, which we are renting. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with our house once our renters move out, then figure out where to live. Speaking of where to live, we’re really itching to move out of Rachel’s parents house, not because it’s bad, but because we miss having our own space. On top of all that, it’s been challenging being involved in church, as we currently live much farther away, and our faith has suffered as a result. Oh, and we’re trying to figure out how to start a business. I was actually suppose to take a letterpress class this week, but it got canceled. I don’t say all this to be a downer or to make anyone feel sorry for us, but mainly to be honest and because all these things are part of life. And though things have been tough of late, there has been some good.
We celebrated Rachel’s 30th birthday last week which was a lot of fun and we celebrated fathers day this past weekend. I took today off of work and we were able to get a lot done and have some fun time together as a family. Some really good news we have is that we had a realtor do an evaluation of our house and as it turns out, he thought we’d be able to sell it within a price range that would work for us. There’s a lot of work to be done after our renters move out, but it finally feels like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel with this house (it’s been a long road).
Finally I just wanted to say, for me personally I’ve had a really hard time trusting in God with all that’s been going on. Last week when things felt really hard I finally gave in spending a lot of time in prayer and I definitely felt a bit of the burden lift. It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves, even in difficult things and feel like we have to figure it all out, but that really doesn’t get us anywhere. I was reminded of a song called “Consider the Ravens” by Dustin Kensrue. It’s about God’s provision and it was really comforting to me last week.