I am a firm believer that God is writing each of my kiddo's story. Nothing that has happened to them since before they were born has been a result of chance.
I believe that He uses life changes, easy and difficult circumstances, and even decisions that Brad and I make to grow them into the people He wants them to be. Everything shapes them...from how Brad and I parent them to how they are treated by other kids at school to what interests they have and even whether they are tall or short or can make a jump shot.
Even though I know this in my head, and hold tightly to verses such as Isaiah 40:11 to remind my mama's heart:
"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."
It's one thing to know it in my head, it's another to trust God with it in my heart and actually do it each day.
If you were to ask me last January what the hardest thing about our move from Minnesota to Iowa was, I would have said, "shepherding my kids, especially Sammy through the first several weeks of our transition."
I won't share all the details about her struggle here...I do believe it's her story to tell and not mine...but I will share a few of the joys that came as a result of those struggles.
First, for the first time in her life, she decided, on her own, to read the Bible every day and in one year. Our senior pastor challenged everyone in our church to do the Bible Project on January 1, and Sammy immediately asked if we could download the app on our phones. It was amazing to watch her as she discovered for herself the riches of the Word of God and how all 66 books fit together to show a beautiful story of God redeeming His children!
Second, we had a front row seat at watching a young girl, who had been told her entire life that God is good, and He is faithful, and He is sovereign, and that everything happens for our good and His glory...wrestle with and decide for herself if that was the truth or not. Brad and I could see daily her internal struggle with trying to reconcile between a good God and a God who seemed to have taken everything away from her.
And last, all of this led her to repent of her sins and call upon the name of Jesus to save her!
On July 23, at our church's outdoor service...
Sammy briefly shared her testimony...
(I love this picture of me holding Josiah, reveling in the goodness of God and His work in Sammy's life!)
...and was baptized!
We weren't sure at first whether Brad was going to find somewhere safe enough to baptize her...we weren't able to reserve the swimming beach area at Lake Ahquabi for our church service and where we were was more of a fishing area. But Sammy had her heart SET on being baptized in a lake. A blow up pool at church just wasn't going to cut it for her. She was a Minnesotan at heart, and she wasn't going to settle for any other place than a lake!