It's been a year

It’s been a year

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of us arriving in Fremont, CA. It has been 1 year since we began making this place our new home. And wow, has it been a year!  It has been a hard year. It has been a good year. It has been a challenging year. It has been a year of learning. And I really can’t believe it’s been a year. In many ways, I still feel like it’s only been a few months. And in other ways, I feel like this has always been our home. But one thing is for sure. It’s been a year that we have seen God’s provision like never before.

From our pictures from Facebook and instagram it may appear that we are constantly on vacation. And you would be almost right! We are privileged to live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. When we first arrived and walked into our apartment full of moving boxes up to the ceiling, I remember thinking to myself,  “This is where we’re going to live?”  Now when I walk out of our apartment door and the CA sun and cool breeze hit my face,  I say to myself, “I actually get to live here?!” Amazing.  Feels a little like vacation.  Every time we see that beautiful coast line. Every time we watch the sun set.  Every time I eat that Indian food. If only I had known there was an abundance of delicious Indian food at my fingertips, I would have moved here much sooner. I’m telling you, the struggle is real. There are some nights I just look at Ricky and say, “Get me Pakwan (our favorite Indian food within walking distance), or don’t talk to me.” But really,  I have grown to love this place we call home.

But with any new move, there are challenges. Struggles. Temptations. This past year revealed a lot about ourselves and where we were putting our dependence. It opened our eyes to reveal just how much we really needed Jesus. But God, over and over again, poured out his grace and mercy on our lives. He has given us new friends who encourage us and sharpen us, He has brought old friends who have moved here to work and be a part of Redeemer, and He is bringing new people in our lives to share the Gospel with.

Ricky and I were recently discussing how the past few years have been stepping stones to prepare us for our work here in California. It’s easy to think of those transitions as a waste, but those opportunities better equipped us for what God had planned for us. Ricky has owned his own electrical business, has worked as a lay person in our local church, and has been the worship and youth leader for a church. And now, he works part time at REI, prepares and leads music for our church plant among other things, helps out another local church with youth and music, and delivers fresh pastries to his favorite coffee shop: Devout. I have had past experience with being a Nanny and working with people, and this past year God has provided several babysitting jobs for me. I have the wonderful opportunity of organizing and working with our children in our nursery ministry here at Redeemer. My point isn’t to look at us and see how much we’re doing here, it’s to point out that God has been preparing us for our perfect fit. Ricky’s job at REI allows him to actively be involved with the people of our community while doing something he absolutely loves: selling outdoor stuff. God has provided side jobs for me like babysitting, online learning coach, and direct sales that allow me to stay at home and raise my son (and hopefully more 😉   And in between all that, most importantly, we get to work with our small body of believers here at Redeemer to further advance the Kingdom of God. What a privilege and joy. And it has nothing to do with us. It has everything to with God. Ask me a year ago if I was happy about living in a tiny apartment. Ask me if I would want to babysit someone else’s child. Ask me if I wanted to be in charge of nursery. The answer to all of those would be no. But God has graciously worked, and continues to work in my heart to reveal that it is truly joy to serve others and to serve Him.  We love the flexibility that these “jobs” provide, which is why you may see us out exploring CA quite often!

And we haven’t forgotten about you; our friends, our supporters, our families. You are what often keeps us going, by pointing us back to Christ. You have encouraged us this past year. You have prayed for us.  You have given of your time and money. You have taken time to ask, “How are you really doing?” And we are grateful. We need you. And we don’t take for granted, for a second, the sacrifice you are making to help provide for us here. We don’t take your friendship for granted. We are going to fail. And we may not get that thank you note out right away, or ever. But we are thankful for you and we love you. And really, you all need to take a vacation out here.

So, it’s been a year. And we are excited. We are excited about how God has changed us this past year. We are excited to see what He will do in our lives this coming year. We are excited about what He’s doing here at Redeemer Church. And we are excited that we get to live in beautiful California and call it our home.

This is Joy under the Sun.

Family Picture Aug 2015 resized