So in two days Darcey will turn 1 and before we reach that milestone I realise I should probably update those who are interested on the incredible milestone we passed just over three weeks ago.
I can’t quite believe that much time has passed here already. If I’m honest, I’ve been putting off blogging about it. The only reason being that I know, try as I might, I will never do justice in words to all that God has done for us since we hugged, cried and said goodbye to my family at George Best Airport in Belfast last month.
We had so many people praying that our journey would go smoothly. Two flights with three children under 5. The first, just over one hour and the second, just under eleven. We began at lunchtime in Belfast and landed in Los Angeles at around 4am our time. Here are some pictures.
The first short flight was great. Isla and I flew to spend time with Auntie Stephanie when Isla was 9 months, she didn’t remember it much, and I’d rather forget that flight! So this was like a first time for all three. Paul took Darcey on his lap and the two of them snored all the way to London. The rest of us read, ate, chatted to flight attendants, ate, read and ate. It wasn’t just easy it felt like a really fun adventure! Prayers answered.
We saw Heathrow in a blur as we went straight to the “The Big Plane”. Opening ceremonies made no difference, it was a breeze. Isla had tuned into Disney before most people had found their seats and Ruairi followed swiftly behind. Darcey began and continued to make friends with anyone who’d make eye contact. Air New Zealand was great, their spacecouch worked just like they showed in the video and all three children stretched out and slept for a chunk of the flight. Meanwhile, Paul and I sat back and marvelled at how easy it was. Thank you to those who prayed for our journey, we were carried here by your answered prayers.
The less said about customs the better. “Welcome to the US” was not so welcoming, but that was quickly forgotten when our real welcome party came into view. New friends, who already feel like old friends, greeted us with much needed smile and hugs and we were filled with a sense of relief and genuine joy.
On the short drive to our new home in Santa Clarita we got an impression of LA. It’s true what they say, stuff here is big. Big cars, big roads, big buildings, it’s just big. But it’s starting to seem more manageable and we’re starting to feel less small!
Arriving at our apartment. This is where my words will definitely let me down. In our heads it’s gone 4am and we are just thankful to have arrived somewhere that we can set the bags and children down! We knew there were beds waiting for us, an answer to prayer from months previous. We knew someone had given us a table and a chairs, that the children would have some toys to play with and that we had a fridge. But really we had no idea what God had for us. We opened our front door and found ourselves completely speechless. Our apartment was good to go. It was just too lovely. I know I say lovely far too much but it was so, so lovely. Photos of our family hung on the wall, the sofa and the armchair matched, the fruit bowl on the beautiful kitchen table overflowed with fruit, fresh flowers were on the side in a vase. The children’s bunk beds were made, pink and blue. Darcey’s crib was ready for her even if she wasn’t quite ready for it. We walked through the rooms unable to speak to each other as we took it all in. Friends watched the children while we filled in all the necessary paperwork and then they left us to it, to make ourselves at home. We still couldn’t speak! It was only then that we started going into cupboards to discover they were full to the brim with everything we could think off. Crockery, pots, pans, a steamer, a blender, a crock pot and cutlery. In others there were shelves of food: Cheerios, pasta, tuna, ketchup and cookies to name a few of the provisions. Then our fridge, which to us looked more like a wardrobe, was jam packed with goodness too. It was impossible not to cry as the reality of what had been done for us started to sink in. Bedding and toileteries, office supplies including Paul’s all-time favourite post-it notes had all been donated. The cherry on the cake: an iPad from the Brennans, we’d be able to take everyone at home on a Skype tour of our new place. Every last detail covered. This had been a huge project, lovingly undertaken by others for us. Amazing.
I wish we had taken a video of our first few minutes here but I don’t think we will ever forget how we felt. The overwhelming evidence of God’s love through his people welcoming us to seminary life will remain one of our happiest memories. In Psalm 89 it says
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”
There are times in our lives where we experience the riches of God’s goodness in a very tangible way. Our journey here and our arrival at this apartment was one of those times. I could echo the words of the Psalmist with my whole heart. I am thankful that as time here as gone on this feeling hasn’t passed. I only have to look around myself at this place and am reminded of how God has brought here and is taking care of us completely.
So many people have been involved in His plan for us, I will never be able to fully convey how grateful I am to them. To those who have prayed us here, supported us financially and continue to do so, and to those who lovingly made this home for us thank you so, so much.
We were excited to see how God would provide for us but it was daunting, stepping away from the security we have known until now. We need not have worried. Our Father knows all that we need and so we must not worry about the tomorrows. If you are praying for us, please pray that Paul and I would seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Pray that we would remember not to be anxious, so that all the glory would go to Him.