Friday, April 27, 2012

"If I settle on the far side of the sea…" By Jacqlyn Shelley

Being adventurous was never a strong point for me as a child, so it never really crossed my mind to set out on a journey far away from anything familiar or comfortable. Now that I am older and since the invention of Facebook I have been able to follow a few young ladies courage to take off and head away from family and home to accomplish a dream, desire and calling. One of these women is Jacqlyn Shelley. She has a blog
that you can check out that has some really neat stories of where she has been in her life for the last year or so.

I was soooo thrilled when Jacqlyn said she was willing to take time out of her insane schedual to write a blog on things that she has learned since being in Saudi Arabia. My prayer is that her words will encourage all of you heading out to the ends of the earth to make an impact, and give you a little bit of wisdom of what to expect when you are far away from home.


If I settle on the far side of the sea…

To start off, I am a young girl from Southern Ontario whose life has taken a very different path than expected.  I graduated from Teacher’s College last year and decided that I wanted to begin my teaching career abroad.  Little did I know that the door would open for me in the Middle Eastern nation of Saudi Arabia.  The “Kingdom” is not quite like the Kingdom I heard about growing up, if you know what I mean J  but I have slowly found my way.
Saudi Arabia is not the ideal place for a single girl to live.  There are many rules that I have to follow that make life, well, interesting.  Things like not being allowed to drive because I am a woman or having to wear an abaya in public…  However, by going through these drastic changes, I have realized that I CAN survive and be brave but not by my own strength.
There are some barriers that make it difficult for me to say everything I would like to, but I can explain what I am learning through this journey.

1.      Patience is key – I have had to learn that living here is not as fast-paced as North America and I have had to drastically change my outlook on life.  This doesn’t only include being patient with other people, but with myself as well.  After all, I am new to this career and I don’t always get it right the first time.
2.      It’s the simple things that make me smile – Sometimes living here is downright hard.  I have learned to find joy in the small things such as finding a specific brand at the grocery store or sitting down at my piano and playing for hours.
3.      People are placed in your life for a reason – Although there aren’t many people ‘like me’ here, there are some people who have continuously been a blessing to me during this year.  Whether they act as my second parents, become a sounding board when I need to talk or simply take me away from this place to hang out, I am very thankful for these people.  No matter how recent they have come into my life, I know I have made lifelong friends.
4.      Make family a priority – I spend a lot of time chatting on the phone with my parents and messaging my brother and sister, but this is a necessity for me.  I don’t need to pretend I’m brave and go days without talking to them because they are the people I love more than anyone and are always encouraging me to keep going.  No matter how near or far from home you live, I think that remaining close with your family is very important.

Inspiration to keep going can come from the most unassuming places.  I recently took 13 students on a trip to China.  This trip took a lot out of me as the planning process was both time-consuming and stressful.  Most of the students don’t realize the effort teachers make but out of my group, one of the students decided to take the time to write me a very sweet letter and make a thank-you card for me.  She was the only Christian in the group of students and her words, as a 15 year old girl to her teacher, were truly remarkable.  In her letter, she encouraged me by saying, “After all, whatever happens to us in this life it’s all in God’s hands. He knows what’s better for you.  He would never put you in a place [Saudi] unless He knows it is the right place to be in at the right time.”  She closed her thank you note by saying “Thanks for the life you showed me that I could have.”  Needless to say, I was greatly touched by her words and by the knowledge it gave me that I am making a difference here.  Her letter could not have come at a better time.
There are many other things I have felt while living here.  I have gone through every emotion in the book but I continue to remember that God is in control and even though I am far away from all things familiar, He’s here.  One of the most appropriate verses I have found is
Psalms 139:9-10.  “If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.”

No matter where you live or how alone you may feel, remember these words and always be thankful.  I promise that if you rely less on yourself and more on Him, you will make it through and you will make a difference.


Blessings Jacqlyn on your journey and calling where you are!!! You are an inspiration to many young women.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our 9th Anniversary

For months I have been processing and thinking about our Anniversary. April 12th, TODAY 9 years ago, Adam and I said "I do." I wish I could literally re-live that moment over and over again. It wasn't a fantasy moment. We were surrounded with unknown, gently working through new relationship dynamics, school debt and growing pains. But looking into the love of my life's eyes I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the man in front of me was the man that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Many of you have heard me say this before but I think it was a profound moment from God that has kept my passion and anticipation for learning my husband fresh as the years have gone by.

"God gives us just enough of a glimpse of how well we fit together to get married, then we have the rest of our lives to enjoy every moment where God confirms to us why we really are a perfect match."

I am so proud to call Adam Brodrecht my husband. And as we celebrate 9 years of marriage, learning, and growing together. I would love to honour him with this post.
Here are my top 3 things that I have learned from him as he has matured through the years

1. Humility. Way before we were married he set us up for success. He opened up his heart and layed down his pride and brought me into every aspect of his life, the good the bad and the ugly. There was not a single stone unturned. I knew of every struggle and every detail of his life. We cried, hugged and prayed. I knew at that point if this man was willing to offer every piece of his heart, any trial that comes our way, we will be able to handle it. He has exampled to me through surrounding himself with mentors, how being open to accountability, honesty and challenges, brings great blessing.

2. Compassion. For years Adam has exampled to me how important relationships and people are. For me it never mattered how big or how small an issue was, if we weren't connected or if I wasn't okay. He was with me gently working through every detail until we had a peace. He has shown me how important others are through spending many late night working through life issues with friends and family even when he was heading into work early the next morning. Never once has he complained about being tired.

3. Hard work. Since we have been married I have seen Adam sacrifice himself for our family. I have seen him come home exhausted, bruised, dirty and bleeding. Emotionally stripped, and torn down. Overwhelmed, stressed and burdened. And yet, he still had enough energy to play with our girls, change the baby, help me with dishes, support my sore and pregnant body as I walked up the stairs, email me a bible verse and give me a kiss at the end of the day. Nothing makes me feel more valued than knowing that my husband is doing everything in his power to offer himself for us every day.

Man there are so many more things that I could say and I am sure many of you have an incredibly long list of why your hubby is amazing too!!!! WOOHOO to great husbands!!!!

Even though my purpose is to thank Adam for all that he means to me,

I want to encourage you married women to take the time to think about your husband, where he has grown leaps and bounds, why you are incredibly thankful that God has brought him into your life and then tell him.

To all you blushing brides never let the wonder die after the big day... there are sooooo many more reasons why God has brought your hubby into your life. Explore, search, talk, expect!!!! The wedding day is just beginning!!!

And to all the single ladies. Keep your eyes wide open because all of the amazing traits that make life incredible after you are married, should be evident even before you were ever in the picture!!!

Please feel free to post something that your hero hubby has taught you. What you are looking forward to after the wedding, or a trait that you are praying for in your future knight in shining armor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Lord rewards when you remain steadfast. By Kayla Shelley

This week I thought I would ask a friend of mine to write a post on the journey she has had since she got married and moved across Canada with her adventurous hubby. Kayla Shelley, has popped up in my mind so many times when I think of a woman who has chosen to support her husband wholeheartedly and rely completely on God. I remember when they got married and couldn't help but be reminded of where Adam and I started. So as a couple they hold a very fond place in my heart as I watch from a distance and smile. God has a beautiful plan for their lives and I can't wait for the story to continue to unfold.

"The Lord rewards when you remain steadfast. "
By Kayla Shelley

 "I remember my wedding day 4 years ago feeling so many overwhelming emotions - excitement, nervousness, anticipation. Not only was I feeling the emotions of getting married at the young age of 20, but I was also feeling the anticipation of getting married and moving across Canada - away from all of my family, all of my friends, and away from my comfort zone. I was feeling encouraged that I was embarking on this new life adventure to support my new husband as he was about to start his 4 years as a Bible college student! So many changes lay ahead of us, but we were young and maybe a little bit naive and took it all on with a sense of bravery (at least we thought we were brave).

As we drove to BC from Ontario, we felt excited. As we spent our gift cards and money picking out new household items and furniture, we were overjoyed and had so much fun. And as real life settled in, we felt these things along with frustration, discouragement, determination and faith - lots of faith! If you are married, you know how difficult it can be, especially in the first couple years, when you are taking two lives and meshing them into one. There has to be give and take, and sometimes you really just don't feel like giving!

 Needless to say, one of the most amazing things about getting married young and moving away from family and friends is that it gave us a total sense of who we were as individuals and as a married couple. We were free to be completely us, to get to know one another so easily without our old lives always surrounding us, and it was very refreshing for our souls. We made new friends, renewed our independence and made our infrequent visits with family that much more exciting. My husband, Seth and I started a family a couple years later and had daughter Peyton. We are expecting our second one in October.

Life sometimes throws so many things your way that you feel like you can't handle it, like it might be easier to give up or give in rather than stick through the tough stuff. But boy does the Lord reward you when you remain steadfast.

There have been times when God is the only lining to our dark clouds, but he is always enough. Being married has given room in my heart to love like I never thought possible before. I have learned so much from my husband, and he has been such an example to me. As I look at the four years we have been married so far, I sometimes cringe at words said, things done, and irrational behaviour. But then I look at where my family is and I put those regrets behind me and focus on how blessed I have really been. I thank God for my little growing family and my wonderful husband every day."

God bless you both and your family as you embark on another move, another baby and a whole new adventure!!!

To all of you ladies who are prepping and getting ready for your big day, I hope this has stirred again the exitement for your own adventure that is about to begin.
Support your hubby with all of your heart, embrace the passion within you and rely completely on God. At the end of the day you will be able to look back and smile.