so remember when i told you that yahoo! news filmed us for a day for a documentary? well, it is finished and online! click HERE to watch it!!!
we were on the front page. millions of viewers. i don’t think i could have been any more nervous about it. when we heard it was up, donny and i both sat down at my laptop, took a deep breath, and watched. and by the end we both had tears just dripping down our faces. it was beautiful!!! we are so grateful to the people who put it together (especially jeff, the producer) and wouldn’t change a thing about it. i can’t express how surreal the feeling was to be seeing a video of our own life play out in front of us. over the last six months it has seemed our life has gone in fast motion, so much moving and doing and fixing and packing and working and stressing and traveling and trying our best to be intentional and loving. so much so that we hadn’t really taken a moment to step back and see how much we have actually accomplished… so many things we worried about for years with the burden now lifted. such a blessing and a relief! we just looked at each other and had this big moment where we saw that we were actually really living the life we had planned for and dreamed of for years. surreal. of course we then went and grabbed the kids and showed them the video too and they giggled and thought it was the coolest thing ever. and then we were in a blissful state for about, oh, an hour.
and then the comments started pouring in from all sorts of various media sources in response to our video. so many incredibly supportive comments, and to those i am so incredibly, overwhelmingly grateful. and then there were the words of judgement. and plain lies and hurtful, untrue assumptions about our family, our finances, our health, our intelligence, our marriage, the safety of our children, our choices, our appearance and character. i knew there was a chance that it would happen and donny and i had several very long discussions in weighing out the pros and cons before agreeing to be filmed for the documentary. we decided that the beauty in the journey was worth being shared. that we had nothing to hide. we hoped that our story may touch someone out there that may have been struggling, too. and that since truth and bravery had brought immeasurable rewards in our life since we decided to live outside the box, we felt that wanted to share. i was fully aware that we had made a choice to open ourselves up to the world. i just had no idea how much it would hurt when the darkness swept around my family. it’s one thing for a stranger to make a judgement about me (i didn’t even mind the comment about how all of my babies had really sucked all the life out of my boobies, lol!), but when it came to people making bold, untrue judgements about any sort of irresponsible parenting and putting our children in harm’s way, the pain struck so deep. granted, the video portrays us as having a very happy-go-lucky, zero stress kinda life and is only four minutes long, but we had assumed viewers would obviously know that there was much more to the story.
here is what we do know… for the first time in our lives, we are living with purpose at every single moment. we have never been more financially responsible, we are not getting assistance from anyone, we are working hard throughout this adventure. we are never for one second negligent with our children. we parent with more patience and joy and reason than ever before. our marriage is firm. our children are receiving an education of a lifetime and they are happy and secure. the bonds our family has created over the last two months is nothing short of miraculous. i could go on and on. i could choose to retaliate and hate the people that have shown us so much disrespect and vulgarness. but after much prayer and time to be still with my God, i know that the only person i need to please is Him. the judgements of others do not define me or my family. and that ultimately, God planted the seeds in our hearts for this journey and i know that He will see us through. i also know that persecution from the world about us making a choice to live bravely and do something outside the norm perhaps is the affirmation that we are doing something very right.
yesterday i was driving with brandon. i was in a state of confusion. i had my phone in the passenger seat playing music as we drove in random order. and then the song “legacy” by nichole nordeman came on. i hadn’t really listened to it since college, back when i felt like i was having constant ‘mountaintop’ experiences with God and shouting His name out loud as often as i could. and not that i don’t experience the same joy now. but i feel more drained (i’m working on that). and my mountaintop experiences aren’t necessarily spiritual highs but are more often found in the laughter of my children and in the few quiet moments, and sometimes the very loud ones, where i pause to take in all the blessings of my grown life. this song was a little nudge from the great big God. the God that wrote our family’s story on the palms of His hands long before we even existed. He is always the hero of the story. these are the words of the song…
“i don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me. i enjoy an accolade like the rest. you could take my picture and hang it in a gallery of all the who’s who and so-and-so’s that used to be the best and such and such. it wouldn’t matter much. i won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights. we all need an atta boy or atta girl. but in the end i’d like to hang my hat on more besides the temporary trappings of this world. i want to leave a legacy. how will they remember me? did i choose to love? did i point to You enough to make a mark on things? i want to leave an offering, a child of mercy and grace who blessed Your name unapologetically. leave that kind of legacy. i don’t have to look to far or too long awhile to make a length list of all that i enjoy. it’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile where moths and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy. i want to leave a legacy.’
i love how raw and humbling these words are. and i was singing it and crying. and then brandon piped up from the backseat and said, “mommy, your voice is prettier than a princess and you are my beauty!” and that’s when it hit me that all the criticism didn’t matter one bit. and that the happy little four year old blessing in my backseat was all the proof i needed that we were making the best possible choice for our family.
so that’s about all for tonight. i do want to share this blogpost with you, written by my friend ashley ann of under the sycamore. i don’t have enough words to properly explain how blessed i feel by her.
i also wish i could get up on a rooftop and yell a big, HUGE, amazing thank you to each of you reading this, for watching our video, for the outpouring of support for what we are doing, for praying for us and laughing with us and crying with us. for sharing your stories with us. all the kind words just sprinkle our days with blessings. thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!
seeing His grace in every tiny detail.
this is us…
beautiful photo by jagger photography up in bellingham, washington.