The funny thing about ‘Day Ones’ is they are rarely the actual first day. They are built upon the shoulders of other days-both good and bad. They serve as markers and beacons-a restart of sorts. Today was a Day One for the entire Davis crew. First day of Kindergarten, Pre-K 3, and Middle School. First day to be the biggest sister on the first floor of the school (4th grader!). First day to welcome back kids he had missed over the summer for Michael. For me, it was Day One of a new adventure that has already had oodles of dips, mountain views, bumps, and curves. I’ve been so encouraged and inspired during training at the school we all attend. I have witnessed hearts passionate to show His love and grace with excellence and integrity. I’ve been reminded clearly that God is the source of all ‘Day Ones’. He created each of us to be here in this place to obediently bring Him all glory and praise. From the literal Day One, God knew we would be celebrating this very day. God continually astounds me. May He amaze you today, too!
I met Michael Joe the very first official day at Union University. I was immediately taken with his dark hair, brown eyes, and quick smile. During university days, I would crush on him and he would remind me we were just friends. Sigh. Then I would have him meet guys I was interested in dating to give me his take on their worthiness.
For some reason, no one I dated liked Michael Joe.
In retrospect, I can clearly see it was because he was THAT GUY. He was the one I compared each prospective date up against. Michael Joe was the one who saw me through breakups, adventures, family life, and plain silliness. He was the one who opened up Davisville as a second home a jillion years before I became a Davis. He met me on Monday nights for two years at a Bible study an hour away from his home. Michael Joe was the one who encouraged me to follow His leading when the opportunity to move to China came on the horizon. He’s the one who was on the other end of the phone line after the tsunami in 2004. He listed to me shout and weep as I declared the unfairness of so many losses and asked why from the depths of my soul. He was the one I always had to be sure to see when I came Stateside. He was the one I had tough conversations with and the one I wanted to share joys with first. He was THAT GUY.
After crossing the Pacific and proposing in Shanghai, Michael Joe would soon become MY GUY. During the past thirteen years of marriage, I have seen him love unconditionally in situations which would try the saint-est of saints. He loves when every fiber of his being wants to prove he was right. He digs into the Word of God and seeks to apply it wherever he is-work, home, or out and about. Yesterday, I was blessed to hear him preach. He shared about this past year and our Indo-versary. I’ve seen my Michael Joe happier these past few years than ever before. He has grown more like Christ and sought to obey Him-even when it has been WAY OUT of his comfort zone. I can’t believe I get to do life with this incredible man.
I know the years are passing much quicker than I ever imagined, but I couldn’t be more thankful for THAT GUY in the Wrangler jeans and Razorback shirt. He’s the one my heart adores and I simply cannot imagine life without him by my side.
Happy 13th (plus 11 years) Anniversary to my Michael Joe. Yippy Skippy!
THAT GUY in High School-Such a HUNK!
A few weeks before the wedding!
Seeing how much longer I had to wait before becoming a Davis!
Right before I walked down the aisle to meet THAT GUY!
First things first-prayer
Our wedding rings are triangles-inspired by a couple that loves God greatly. The rings remind us to look to each other while focusing on God.
A long awaited package showed up today. It was sent by someone in the midst of dark and gloom as she faced the fear of losing her mom. Instead of wallowing and soaking in the ‘what ifs’, she and her family sent us JOY. Immense amounts of joy! I was in tears as I watched the gals excitedly dig into the massive box that had crossed the ocean just for us. Inside they found card games, candies, bubbles, and a parachute. I found tears and love. To know we are loved so specifically and sacrificially is overwhelming. May we never forget all of you who keep us going in our darkest times. And to Laura Beth, Jeremy, Brice, & Jenna-Benna…terima kasih ooodles. We love you guys so much.
Lissie Joy doesn’t remember hot dogs or recognize M&Ms. The Littles think pancakes are supposed to come with ice cream on top. It is now normal to analyze red sauce to determine whether it is ketchup or spicy chili sauce. We say ‘Pagi, Pak’ automatically instead of ‘Good Morning’. And bacon is a treat like no other (I don’t know if that is actually different from the USA, though!)
Just one year ago, we landed on the giant island of Java. I still recall the five-hour-plus drive from the airport looking at traffic, homes smoonched together, mountains and more mountains, terraced rice fields, and kites in the sky. The girls were exhausted and curious about this new place. Michael and I were exhausted, too. So many questions, excitement, and, honestly, fear. What had we done? Moving to the other side of the globe with four kids? No family? What if something happened?
Something DID happen.
We obeyed His leading and found a home unlike any other. We trusted Him to provide for all our needs-and He continues to do so. We have had broken hearts and spirits, but He has healed them. We have created a new kind of family in this community of strangers. We have found joy in the teeniest instances. We have lived in gratitude for things we previously took for granted. We have depended on Him because there was no other way to live.
Sustain. He will sustain you. Isaiah 46:4
I recall someone asking me how we were doing about three months into this new life. My response was that Michael and I both knew without a shadow of a doubt we were supposed to be in this place to be His hands and feet. That knowledge has seen us through ups and downs we could have never foreseen. The only way to prepare is to seek Him consistently and trust His way more than ours. He has sustained us in this journey and I know He will continue to do so, because we are His.
In early June, we left the only home we knew on this island to start anew. Moving just five minutes down the road opened up a world of difference. Instantly, we could use all fourteen seats at our table. Every family member could have a seat in the living room. Families could join us for fellowship, food, and games. There was space for kids to play and adults to talk. Just five minutes down the road.
In the past couple of weeks since we moved in, we have hosted no less than seven meals! Each family, kid, and friend who walks in the door comments on how at home they feel. Laughter comes, truths are shared, and their callings are affirmed.
Our callings are affirmed as well.
We are called here to encourage the serving. To love on those living day in and day out in the trenches. To provide refuge to those far from loved ones. To be that safe place to cry, vent, pray, and praise. Every time people cross our threshold, we are given the opportunity to obey His leading.
Thank you for this new home-a beautiful refuge in the midst of battles. Your love, prayers, support, and encouragement have made this place a reality. Thank you. Oodles. Terima Kasih, y’all!
Calling pavers with slivers of dirt around the edges a yard may be a stretch of the imagination for most of our friends. But here, it has been our little refuge. The girls have danced there in the rainy season splashing everything in sight. They’ve hosted tea parties and dyed Easter eggs. They have dug up worms or cacing. Together, they have imported more massive snails than I want to count. The girls have sprayed almost dry clothes with water from the washer hose and washed windows with the indoor mop. They have journeyed to China, the beach, the mountains, and home…all from the confines of this walled-in space. What blessings this tiny plot has provided!
If you know me at all, having only ONE KEY is not wise for me! In Shanghai, I made ten copies of my apartment keys and passed them out to those who were gifted at keeping up with things. I am not. During our university days, Michael Joe would follow me around picking up my keys and wallet that I would inevitably lay down on a shelf. He liked to see how long it would take me to figure out I had lost them. (I refuse to put into print how many times this happened or the average amount of time it typically took for me to realize they were gone!). All this to say, when we were handed ONE KEY to the house, we knew copies had to be made straightaway!
The only shop in our area was near Borma (a store I call ‘plastic heaven’-seriously, so much plastic there!). Our Grab driver took us to Borma and dropped us off saying ‘go that way’.
We went that way. For several blocks.
The Littles were with me. While they ecstatically exploring, I was doing my best to be sure we didn’t get ran over, fall into a drainage ditch, or get hugged on and patted too much for the Littles to handle! (They are SO cute, after all!). Following several short conversations where I botched Bahasa Indonesia more than I care to admit, we finally found the key duplicating cart or pembuat duplicat kunci! I have to admit-I wanted a sticker to wear to show my accomplishment. Lissie Joy was so happy to finally find it! We waved to passersby as we waited. Once keys were in hand, we sauntered off on our next adventure…because it truly is around every corner when you keep your eyes open!
The last month of school has all of us in a tizzy. Add on sickness, and you’ve got one un-fun household. A few nights ago, we were all at the end of our proverbial ropes. I knew there was a decision to make. We could either continue to let everything escalate and have a knock-down drag-out where everyone ends up grounded for the rest of their lives OR we could push pause.
We pushed pause.
Plopping down in the floor around the coffee table, I laid out my ‘Anne of Green Gables’ coloring book. I also pulled out two new ones Aunt B brought with her. I began to slowly sharpen the triangle-shaped coloring pencils as the girls’ eyes widened. Astonished, RyAnne asked ‘Are we going to get to color?’. And I smiled.
The girls joined me in the floor as Josh Groban sang in another language around us. Slowly chit-chat and giggles began to flow. “Look, Mommy! Is mine pretty?” “Mommy, do you like my rainbow?” “Momma, what colors would look best for her hair?” “Momma, my puppy is SO cute!” Inbetween the strokes of the pencils and crayons, we were able to catch up with each other and just pause.
How thankful I am that He gave me these four gals who manage to make me laugh til I can’t breathe and drive me insane in the very next instant! How blessed am I that they were willing to join me in coloring on the floor? How grateful I am for the wisdom to push pause.