Celebrating as a Family

As we approach August, my husband and I are anticipating the biggest celebration we’ve yet to experience during our entire time of knowing one another.  Yes, we do have four kids and each of those birthdays was a celebration – but I only carried each child for nine months.  This, this has been carried, prayed through, cried through, struggled through, cheered through and anticipated since two weeks after we met ten years ago.  It’s been ten intensive years since starting this long journey (when neither of us knew what we were saying “yes” to) for my husband to become a family nurse practitioner.

These years have been filled with much life, much heartache, much celebration and much trial.  We’ve moved four times, bought our first house, had four children, started homeschooling for our oldest kids, had job changes, finished one degree just to turn around and start the next, had family struggles, had money struggles, and had a lot of loneliness.  So many good and hard aspects of life have happened in these ten years but as I look forward to the next two months, I see so much worth celebrating.

Celebrate Kayla Anderson

I see my husband, his dedication to schooling, and his heart for being able to serve others in a wholesome way in the health field. I want to celebrate that beautiful vision, determination, and strength to follow what he felt called to.  I see my children who are understanding life in deeper ways because their dad is amazing at devoting special time to them. I see their hearts yearning for more of that, the day coming over the horizon when he won’t have to spend endless days studying at the local coffee shop.  I want to celebrate their great attitudes, perseverance, and that they are almost there, too!  I see my days of solo parenting changing and looking differently after August.  I celebrate having my partner coming alongside me in fuller ways as we work through many more of our parenting years!

I see both our family time and our bank account being less stretched.  I am celebrating the idea of less stretching and more of the fun family outings that my adventure-seeking family thrives on!  I see so much good in store for us after these long 10 years of often painful hard work, taking the next steps in obedience and waiting for the graduation date to near.  But just as my time always came for childbirth, there will be a day arriving soon where the intense schooling is in the past, where we can hardly remember any of the pain and struggle but only the celebration of graduation day.

John 16:21 “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”

So, when those friends and family ask what we’ll be doing in August when he’s done – despite conflicting feelings of “is it silly to celebrate a college graduation when you’re 32?” or feelings that after so much isolation from schooling, he may not even really have friends anymore – I eagerly tell them, “we’re going to celebrate!”

Yes, we are going to celebrate.  I don’t know much else about what we’ll be doing aside from that, but I do know we are going to call up all our friends and family and gather everyone who has been on this journey with us and we are going to celebrate this long and hard season coming to a close. We are going to celebrate what the Lord has set out before my husband to accomplish.  We are going to celebrate that we have seen blessings even in the trials of this long season.  We are going to celebrate lessons, hard work, and perseverance that we have been taught as a whole family.  We are going to celebrate that we’ve never lost hope in His plan because God has given us all strength and endurance.

All the while of anticipating and preparing for this celebration time, the verse that keeps coming to my mind is Psalm 34:8a, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” This Psalm is an invitation from David to trust in the Lord.  To celebrate in what the Lord has done for us.

Kayla Anderson Celebration

My family has waited, pursued and trusted in a calling from the Lord.  And now?  Now we are so eager to celebrate what the Lord has done for us, to give thanks to Him.  As we get near the end, we are getting a taste of what life will be like on the other side of graduation and there is no doubt, the Lord is good.

 Kayla AndersonKayla Anderson is married (for better or for worse) to the one who she knows without a doubt that God created her to be companions with.  Together they have four young children, Ezekiel, Asher, Ellery, and Alder, and run a hand-crafted soap shop.  She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and is in a season of learning how to gracefully be the central point and glue of their family.  Thank the Lord that she has Him to look to for wisdom, guidance, and strength!  She loves reading in the quiet, early morning hours, decorating their sweet little home, writing has been part of her soul since she learned how to write letters, and her love of coffee runs deeper than her coffee pot.  You can find more from Kayla on her blog or Instagram.
Photo Credit: Pexels and Pixabay

A Sense of Wonder

Author: Kate Franken

Hours before walking across the stage to receive my high school diploma, my mother presented me with a heartfelt gift that I’ve treasured in the years since. While I sat on my floral bedspread in my downstairs bedroom, she walked in and put a CD into my black boom box. She let the words of Leanne Womack’s song “I Hope You Dance” speak of her hopes for me and the uncertain future. It was a CD I wore out easily in the years to come. The  frequent replay of the song reminded me of my mother’s love and expressed so many desires I had for myself.

These lines have not grown faint as years have passed:

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.”

“Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.”

These words resonate deep within my soul. They speak to the yearning I have for something more, something outside of myself. They draw my eyes to the author of wonder. And at Him, they urge me to stare.

Carve the sky wonderWonder ignites our faith. It invites us to look beyond the things of this world. It opens our eyes wide to the greatness of our God. Who performs wonders that cannot be fathomed. Like a moth to a fire, I am drawn in, craving to know this God of Wonder.

I often wander down a winding dirt trail on a hike up a tree-covered mountain, or drive the back roads to marvel at the wonder of His creation. He never ceases to capture my heart with the beauty of the sun, with its rising and setting.

“So that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.” -Psalm 65:8

Innately, I’m drawn to how God carves the Earth and paints the sky. His work falls nothing short of a masterpiece.

As I sit in awe of His creation, my heart swells with joy, for the beauty that surrounds me speaks of His love. He created this beauty for our eyes to witness. His love lacking in nothing.  His love is not broken. It is complete.

He loves us so much; He wants a relationship with us. And through the wonder of His creation, He reveals Himself.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”-Psalm 19:1

Wonder stareGreat is His glory. His strength is mighty. He sustains all things. He is faithful. He is peaceful. He is worthy of all worship. He is incomparable. He is without equal. He alone reigns.

I didn’t quite know what a sense of wonder would yield, as I put on that blue graduation gown. Now, a decade out, I am grateful. To know the riches of that wonder, feeds this strong, ever-deepening relationship I have with my Creator. There is nothing that compares.

Readers, What do you do to keep your sense of wonder alive?

kate-squareKate Franken is a 4th grade teacher and a volunteer coordinator at her church in Oregon. She enjoys indulging in raw conversation whilst savoring a cup or more of coffee. Her hunt for good books and podcasts is endless. She finds refuge surrounded by trees, on hiking trails, with her two dogs in tow. She is especially fond of mountaintop views, wit, “best teacher ever” love letters, breakfast, a painted sky, and Jesus. She has a heart for connecting people to His church and encouraging others into relationship with Him.