So fun! I would have been so thrilled to send a Bible study workbook to any of you who commented on the last post, because each of you are really precious to me. Really. I truly love connecting with you here, and sharing life’s battles and our common faith. But, Sara Evans was the winner, and I’m so glad I get the chance to introduce her to you.
(And just in case you wonder how I chose, here’s the site I used and the results.)
Sara’s husband, Austin, was a part of our Manchaca Baptist Church (Austin, TX) youth group way back in the day. (Circa: 1991-1995) “Austin from Austin” is the way girls from other youth groups would refer to him when we were at camps and conferences…if you know what I mean. Yep, he was quite the catch back then, but Sara was the eventual winner of his heart.
They met at Pepperdine University while studying and surfing the SoCal waves. Just kidding. I don’t think they surfed all that much, but Austin did play baseball there.
Sometime after they married, they were crazy enough to pack a U-Haul with all of their earthly belongings and drive it to Amherst, Massachusetts to live and work and help us with our church-planting endeavors here.
I absolutely loved having them here, and miss them very much now that they’ve moved to Bend, Oregon. Now, whenever young families join our church, we almost always say “Oh! I wish the Evanses still lived here. You guys would have totally hit it off with them!”
Sara exercised both the gift of hospitality as well as her gifts for administration and bookkeeping in such joyful and generous ways, and I absolutely loved spending time with her. One of the great highlights and privileges of my life was participating in the birth of her firstborn son, Dominick. It was a water birth. It was without any pain meds. And it was absolutely amazing. Sara remained her beautiful, determined self throughout the entire process and I was on cloud nine for at least a week afterward. What a blessing.
They went on to have another boy named Nolan, and then they adopted a little girl from China whose name is Maelyn. Currently, they are in the process of adopting a little boy from China. It is truly an incredible story in that their son, Nolan, was diagnosed with Freeman Sheldon Syndrome early in his life, and little YouYoung shares that diagnosis in an even more pronounced way. The tears just start flowing when I think that not only will YouYoung soon have a forever family, but he’ll have a brother who shares a common struggle and syndrome – even if he shares a different ethnicity. And Maelyn will have a brother who shares her ethnicity soon. It’s all just so beautiful to me.
If you’re interested, you can follow their family’s story here.
So, congrats, Sara. I’ll contact you soon, so you can tell me which workbook you’d like!
Okay. So I really wasn’t planning to ever mention it again, but the podcast I mentioned in a previous post aired today. Bethany texted me last night to give me a little heads-up about it, and I wish I could say that I did not experience the same horror I felt in the days leading up to the interview (which had begun to subside) all over again. But them something really sweet happened.
With much trepidation, I pushed play on the podcast app as I started off on my morning run. I truly expected to cringe at the sound of my own voice, but that’s not what happened. The story was not as random and disjointed as I imagined, my voice was not as awful sounding as I had assumed, and things that are very dear to me came out in ways that I couldn’t have manufactured on my own.
Somehow, God used my listening to myself tell my own story to very sweetly encourage me.
Somehow, my estimation of myself changed as I listened to the ways the Lord has carried and sustained me.
Somehow, I could see and hear His love for me, His acceptance of me, His working in and through me.
Somehow, I ended up in tears over the ways I don’t see myself as He does, how I condemn myself, limit myself, and believe things that aren’t necessarily true or right.
Somehow, He used my own podcast interview to comfort me and remind me of His love for me.
I did not expect that at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what I expected.
He is so good like that.
(And Bethany, thanks for having confidence in me and for being such a great host, minister, wife, mom, and encourager of the church in New England.)