Tuesday, January 24, 2012


One of my biggest factors in deciding to move to Oregon was to be near my cousin Andy and his family. Andy was in middle school when I was born. He took me fishing when I was five and when I was ten brought two cars full of his friends to stay at our house on a road trip. When I was twelve he married one of the coolest women I have ever met. And a few years after that, he and Jodi started going to church regularly and raising their kids to love and serve Jesus. But we've never lived in the same state or except for a couple of years even the same coast. We've never seen each other more than about once every year on average, and it's been less since he got married.

When I came out here for my interview at Fox in 2010, I stayed with them. I loved being able to talk on an adult level with my cousin. I loved that we could connect about our faith, and I loved seeing his and Jodi's dynamic as a married couple and parents. I wanted to get to know my cousin, a part of my family, on a more than occasional-family-reunion and Christmas-day-phone-calls basis. And that desire- that hope, really, because I didn't know for sure if it would happen like that even if I was out here- was truly a deciding factor for me in choosing this school, and this side of the country.

As I've written on here before, my relationship with them is beyond anything I could have hoped. I see them every week, I am permanently invited to sleep or eat over. I babysit and read stories and pick up from practice. Jodi is really my closest girlfriend in the state, and more of a joy and an encouragement to me than I can describe. Their home is a safe place for me, and the unconditional aspect of having family here has made such a difference in my overall adjustment.

Yesterday they had something unexpected come up and called me to babysit- I drove into the city and met Andy at the house. He had some time to kill before he was leaving to get Jack and then meet Jodi, and we hung out in their kitchen talking. I ended up sharing some stuff on my mind and heart that was weighing me down. Last night before bed I texted him, "Thanks for listening, I love you." And this morning I woke up and had this text waiting:

"I love you. You are an amazing person, you have a huge heart, you're really smart and you are a beautiful person... Jesus has a plan for you, whatever that plan is you don't have to figure it out... just let it happen, be yourself and trust Him."

Today I looked back on all the prayer that went into my decision to choose this program, on my moving out here in large part on the chance that my relationship with my extended family would become real and deep and close.
Today I read that text and thought about the fact that I was receiving the kind of encouragement and prayer that only comes from really walking-through-daily-life knowing someone- from my cousin. Who before this year I'd never spent more than a few days in a row with and knew only in a same-grandparents, same-Christmas-tradition-stories way.

And I am just in grateful wonder of how God so above-and-beyond answered prayer.

1 comment:

Sara Skinner said...

Emily, I am so thankful to find your blog today and to hear how God is leading in your life! It is so exciting that you have a chance to get to know Andy and and his great family better. I lived near Seattle for five years ... it's a beautiful part of the county - I hope you enjoy it! Looking forward to following you story! :)

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.