Short Version . . .
Chad and I have been married for 9 years. We have 2 amazing kiddos, Ava (4), Grayson (2), and look forward to adopting our son, Easton, from Ethiopia in God's time (asap!).
I love . . . Jesus, New Orleans, to cook, to eat, Ava's laugh, Grayson's smile, Parenthood (the TV show), frappuccinos, dates with my love, a good book, my church, going to the movies, sleeping, and laughing til I cry.
Long Version . . .
First of all, we are a family that loves Jesus! We follow Him and His call to make disciples of all nations. Everything else is filtered through this one foundational fact . . . who we are is because of Who's we are.
Chad and I married right after college and were so clueless! I mean, really directionless. God led us to Doulos Ministries where we served at a residential care facility for troubled teens . . . for a year . . . our first year . . . working 70 hours a week . . . with "challenging" teenagers. Life was beyond crazy, but God is faithful and He not only preserved our marriage, but taught us so much both individually and as a couple.
Chad felt called to seminary so we packed up and moved to New Orleans in 2004. Neither of us were overwhelmingly excited about living in The Big Easy so we fully intended to pack back up in 3 years after Chad had his masters. Ha ha . . . jokes on us . . . we're still here! God quickly changed our heart about the city as we got involved in ministry through our church.
Imagine, then, our surprise at being kicked out of our home a year later by Hurricane Katrina (or "Trina" as Ava affectionately calls her!). We did not handle the storm well. We were basketcases. We didn't trust in the Lord. We were miserable. We just wanted to go home. And we did . . . 9 months later.
After moving back to NOLA, we again became involved in ministry through our church, Edgewater Baptist Church. Chad even raised support during his last year of seminary so that he could work at the church doing college ministry and whatever else needed to be done. In the Fall of 2007, we were making plans for Chad to become a hospital chaplain after graduation. About this time we found out I was pregnant, only to lose our first precious baby Ashton at 9 weeks. This was the greatest heartbreak we have ever endured, but we walked through it together and with our eyes on Jesus (we learned our lesson after Katrina and processed this grief well).
God used our loss to close the door for Chad being a chaplain which left us clueless about what to do next. About this time, the leadership of the church asked Chad to stay and serve a few more months because we were without a pastor. We had just found out in December 2007 that I was pregnant again, when a few people mentioned to Chad that he should put his resume in for the pastor position. We seriously laughed out loud! Edgewater has had some incredible men as pastor and it seemed so big that we couldn't even imagine Chad as the pastor. God, of course, had other plans! After a few more trusted men encouraged Chad to submit his resume, we did . . . out of obedience, but with no illusions that it would come to anything. Imagine our surprise a few months later when Chad gets an interview, and a second interview, and then we finally realize that this just might be God's plan for us! We were so humbled and grateful that God had given us the desires of our hearts . . . to stay in New Orleans with the faith family that we loved so much!
Chad started pastoring Edgewater in August 2008, just 2 weeks before Ava was born. To say that we were under major stress is an understatement! At 38 weeks pregnant, Ava was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta . . . a heart disorder that would require surgery soon after she was born. We had people all over the world praying for our baby girl's heart. From that point on, everything I said I didn't want to happen, happened. We had to evacuate to Shreveport because of Hurricane Gustav when I was 40 weeks pregnant. They didn't have a pediatric cardiac surgeon in Shreveport so we were preparing for Ava to be flown to Little Rock or Dallas after birth. After 23 hours of labor and a epidural that didn't work, I had to have an emergency C-section. Talk about craziness!
All that stress quickly turned to rejoicing . . . the doctors did four EKGs on Ava's heart and each one showed the same thing . . . her heart was perfect!! God had completely healed our daughter! Even before she was born, God was using Ava to bring glory to Himself! We still had some issues with Ava in the hospital (she choked, lost too much weight) so Chad and I had to have a moment where we placed her on the altar, surrendered her into God's hands, and chose to trust Him with her life.
A little over 2 years later, we did the very same thing when Grayson was just 2 days old. Our little man had tremors after birth and had to be in the NICU while they ran tests to determine the cause. Again, we had to choose to trust his life to his Creator and Savior.
Our kiddos are such an incredible blessing and bring us so much joy! God constantly uses them to teach us, mold us, humble us, encourage us and love us. We are so excited that God has called us to adopt . . . we can't wait to add Easton to the mix!
So . . . Chad is pastoring at Edgewater, I'm staying home with Ava and Grayson, and we still love living in NOLA! We are blessed beyond measure, but know that it doesn't end there. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are being refined, the old self and the sin that so easily entangles is being scraped away, anything that doesn't glorify God is being stripped off . . . the process hurts, but it is what following Christ is all about. We live to know Him and make Him known!