Emily and her husband Steve are dear friends of ours. I had the delight of working with Steve in ministry and traveling with him in Congo before he knew Emily. Then, John and I had the privilege of performing their wedding ceremony together! This remarkable young couple inspire me with their faith and authenticity. It’s an honor to walk alongside them on their journey! I asked Emily 5 Questions…because I knew she’d be honest and reflect from a heart seeking God.
1. Over the past year and a half you’ve had an experience that has been deeply painful and disappointing. Can you describe what happened?
In early 2013, my husband and I got the green light to travel to Congo to meet and pick up the little girl and little boy that we were in the process of adopting. We had spent 13 months previously preparing our home and our family for the addition of 2 more little ones, a little girl 18 months old and a boy 2 ½ years old. Although we knew it would be crazy to have 4 little kids in our home, we felt that adoption was always supposed to be a part of our family’s story and felt that it was a desire that God had placed in our hearts.
We had been prepared for the fact that the little boy we were adopting might be a little older than what we had originally been told, perhaps 6-9 months, however, when we met him in Congo he was clearly at least 6 ½ and was a very angry, emotionally fraught child, quite prone to physically aggressive outbursts. Continue reading
Sarah Wineland (on the left, with her sister in this picture) is one of my delightfully brave friends. Actually she was Maggie and Katy’s friend first, but they have generously shared her with me :)! I asked her to guest post on this Fearless Friday. Enjoy!
My first brave moment came when I was 13 at a summer camp. We were whitewater rafting and had stopped at a large jumping rock. Being the timid, quiet child that I was, I didn’t want to jump. A counselor encouraged me to “just try it,” and the experience was exhilarating and indelibly life-changing. I suddenly realized I couldn’t let fear keep me from experiencing a full life. Life was meant to be lived vibrantly, and safety wasn’t necessarily the best route. I decided to live more daringly and face my fears head-on. (Residual effects of this decision have included: eating various bugs, learning to be vulnerable, taking more chances, living in several countries, taking a job doing maintenance on septic tanks, climbing the Grand Teton, and leading worship.)
In my adult life, I haven’t always succeeded at living fearlessly. I tend to be risk-averse and a people-pleaser, at times avoiding conflict. Back in December, a friend of mine insisted that I watch this TED talk about vulnerability by Brene Brown, and it sparked something in my brain. Like my summer camp experience, it reminded me that I live too fearfully, too timidly, in my approach to the world and other people. I needed to find strength to jump off of those proverbial rocks into the river. So I determined that 2013 would be my year of living fearlessly. I would aim to do something that scared me at least once a week, with the hope that fearlessness would become a lifestyle.
It started with the little things. Continue reading