A "Wee" Update

8:15 AM

      As I sit here in this darkly lit cafe in Northern Ireland, I can't help but reflect on how good life is right now. Every morning, I wake up knowing Nathan is there, the fight is over, and I'm home at last. 

      It's been a transitional few months. After getting my visa, I came to Northern Ireland as quickly as I could. Entering the U.K. with my new visa was another petrifying ordeal which incurred a few more interrogations about my intentions and more stress than I'd ever care to relive. After a year of every detail of my life being up in the air, I have stood back and watched as God settled everything into place at last.

      This week we celebrate our first anniversary! Little did we know, our first year would quickly go from the happiest of our lives, to a living hell on earth. And now I find myself walking out of the ashes into all things new.

                                                Official Wedding in Northern Ireland

      Someone asked me yesterday whether I thought what we'd been through had strengthened us as a couple. As I think back on that dark season, (how wonderful to be able to look back!) I can't truly say "our love conquered all." 

    We're a human couple. We've fought very hard for the right to be together. For the next ten years, we will have to fight again and again for that right. And yet, I can't say we are spectacularly strong people whose love has grown through the flames of torment. Rather, I feel very much like those three bible characters thrown into the fire, only to discover someone else was there, walking with them....

Honeymoon in Monterrey 

     I remember going into work and people asking me how I was coping with the enforced separation from my husband and our subsequent miscarriage. At the time, it felt almost disloyal to Nathan to say that I truly  was doing okay. Don't get me wrong, I felt my heart stretched across the Atlantic, but at the same time, a great, overwhelming peace filtered through the crevices of my soul. I can truly say, I've never known anything like it. 

      I meet so many people who pull me aside, with tears in their eyes, and tell me how glad they are I'm here, and how long they prayed for me. It is a humbling experience to walk into a country full of people who not only want you there, but powerfully interceded on your behalf. 

     There wasn't a waking moment I didn't long for my husband, especially after the loss of our child, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus was carrying us through. In fact, until the end of the entire process, there was a grace to carry on like I've never known. 

Exploring NI

     Often I wish I could get back the year that was stolen from us. I wish we didn't have to spend our first year of marriage so very far away from each other. I wish we didn't have to know what loss was like so personally, so soon.  All of us endure tragedies the depth of which only our own souls will ever know. As Anna in Downton Abbey so cheerfully put it: "All God's creatures have their struggles!"

   And yet, I am blessed beyond measure. I have a husband who worked night and day to get me into the country. I have family on both sides of the ocean who stood by me when all seemed lost. I have hundreds of the kindest Northern Irish people who have prayed, done fundraisers, and celebrated with us when I was home at last. But most of all, I have Jesus. Even when my heart grew bitter or angry at what was happening, He held me, fought for me, and overruled every decision against me. 

     I don't know if we're stronger or more in love than we would have been if everything had been easy, but I know we love Jesus more. In April I finally got my visa. This week we found our perfect home and this month, we celebrate one year of an extraordinary story of God's incredible goodness to us.

"Those who sow in sorrow will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them." Psalm 125:5-6

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