I feel like life is full of seasons of waiting (which, if you have not read the book Seasons of Waiting
So, I guess this is a good time for a Pichura update. :)
Our youngest, Caleb, has officially left the world of elementary school and will step into Jr. High in the fall (of course, being homeschooled, the surroundings will remain the same...no locker for him just yet!) That means, all our kids will either be in Jr. High or High School this coming year. He also turns 12 this Saturday...so, we are still a year away from having a house totally full of teenagers. :) Caleb has grown so much. This coming July, it will have been 8 years since I first laid eyes on his sweet little face in Ethiopia. He was a mischievous troublemaker from the start and had us laughing at his antics before he could even speak English. Like the time he ate his first hot dog as if it was corn on the cob...down one side and then the other, proudly leaving the middle for us to see. Or the time he ate his first ice cream cone but, unfortunately, chose to start from the bottom of the cone and work his way up. He was in tears at the dripping mess he created...and we realized just how much there was for him to learn. And learn he has, though he still keeps us laughing or throwing our hands up, depending on the mood of the moment. :) His smile continues to melt our hearts as it did the very first day we saw it!
Titus is the newest teenager of the family, as he turned 13 this past Sunday. He will enter the ranks of 8th grade in the fall and we are thankful for the diligence he gave towards the end of the school year to ensure that he would be an 8th grader! :) Titus will be the first to tell you that sitting at a desk is the last thing he'd rather be doing...but he has been reminded over and over that God has called him to be a student and he is to do his work heartily as to the Lord. He is incredibly excited that summer has arrived and now he can "work" at what he is passionate about...preparing to be a Navy Seal. While only the Lord knows the plans that He has for Titus, right now Titus has his heart set on joining this elite team. Bryan took him out for his birthday and they talked about the fact that, if indeed, Titus did become a Navy Seal, dying young is a very real reality. His life could, quite possibly, be halfway over already. What a sweet, sobering time it was for them to talk about the gospel and the hope of eternity. Titus is full of adventure and a young man of action. What he sets himself out to do, he'll find a way to do it. He helps our family grow in imagination and we can't imagine our family without our Titus!
Faith is 14 going on 20, and not because she thinks she is "all that" but because she has a servant's heart beyond her years. She loves kids and she is fantastic with them. Her willingness to serve and minister to the families with young children in our church is a blessing to this mama's heart as I know it is to them as well. Faith skipped a grade last year...so, she will be in 10th grade this coming fall. She is super studious but would be happy if school requirements removed math and science from the docket. :) She took a cooking course this year as an elective...and we were all amazed at the mess she was able to make in the kitchen in such a short period of time. :) If it could blow up, spill, not bake, or splat...it usually did...all over the counters and floors! She has been such a trooper, though, and continues to work through the mess to present something yummy and edible, and she's doing a great job! Faith loves to laugh and has a great sense of humor. We can always count on her to fill the quiet spaces with chatter, a joke, or a funny clip on youtube that has us all giggling. We praise the Lord that Faith lives her life, by the grace of God, walking by her name, faith. We are so thankful for every part of her...including the 3 inches that she is taller than me, as well!
When I think of a typical "middle child", Samuel fits the bill. What's funny about that is that he is really the "oldest" by birth order when you consider that it was just Caleb and him in Ethiopia. Samuel is calm, methodical, easy-going, kind, sensitive to the needs of others, a great teacher, gentle with little people (and loved by them), and a fantastic cook! When I yell out, "Can someone help me"...the someone that usually comes running is Samuel. He is also very disciplined with the things he loves, namely basketball. He had the privilege of playing on the grade 9 team of a local Christian school this past winter...and was blessed with "Rookie of the Year" at the award's night last week. Needless to say, he can't wait to play again this coming year and we can't wait to cheer him on! He came to us as a shy 7 year old boy, and he stands, literally, over me as a 15 year old young man, no longer shy, but holding his own in our family....a family made complete by his presence.
She came into the world weighing only 6 pounds 3 ounces, a beautiful petite bundle of pink. Her name, Grace Abigail, fit her then and it still fits her now. She has a spirit of grace, sensitive to the needs of those around her and she also has determination and "fight" in her almost 5 foot frame...something that Abigail, in the Bible, demonstrated. She is our most creative child...which means she sees things almost completely different than her non-creative mom does. What a gift it has been to have her point out things in life, creation, people, and situations that I am oblivious to. She helps me see beauty all around and also helps me remember what I wore the Sunday before so I don't duplicate my outfit. :) Quiet when she is out and about, loud at home....her joyful, 15 year old spirit permeates wherever she goes with sweetness and fills our home with grace!
Micah is in the middle of much change. At 16, he is working hard to finish up his 11th grade courses so he can kiss goodbye to his junior year and set his sights on his final year of high school. Of course, he's pretty motivated to finish as he is hopping on a plane next week and leaving the nest for the summer. Before he becomes a senior, he'll be a staffer at Rock Mountain Bible Camp in Pennsylvania. We are so excited for him...for the gift of work (he can't work here in Canada), for the gift of Rock Mountain and those he will work underneath, and for the gift of his grandparents and uncle, aunt, and cousins being just a drive away. We can only imagine the memories he will make this summer, even though we can't quite wrap our brains around not seeing him for almost 8 weeks. We are so thankful for his desire and excitement to go and we pray that the verse that holds his name and birth weight would be ever true of him: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) We will be walking with our dear son, all summer, in prayer!
Bryan and I....well, what can I say?! We celebrated our 19th year of marriage in January...and sometimes I still feel like we are newlyweds. Little moments, stolen kisses, long walks and lots of conversation make up many of our days. Of course, there are days when the feelings ebb, when our communication feels like we are talking two different languages, and when we look at each other and wonder how something so little turned into such a big argument. But, by the grace of God, those days are not the norm and we truly rejoice in the sanctifying work God has done in us and continues to do...taking two sinners and blessing them with joys beyond measure in each other. I think the only other change taking place in us is that calories don't seem to burn up as fast as they used to...so our walks are helpful for our bodies, as well as our communication. :)
Seasons of change...ultimately, they fill my heart with thanksgiving as they remind me that we serve a God who NEVER changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). What rest, what peace, what hope there is clinging to His immutability knowing that everything we read about our Lord in His Word...His nature, His character, His choices, His plans, His promises...are just as true today as they were before time began! What a joy is ours to watch our changeless God bring great change to our lives, for His glory and our good, through seasons of change!
"Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same and your years have no end." Psalm 102:25-27