Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Year In Review

I was so encouraged by someone from home this weekend, who told me that she regularly reads my blog to keep updated on our family's prayer requests and how we are doing (hi!). Which made me feel bad, because over the past several months (okay... um... year), pretty much all I've posted have been my Project 365/366 pictures, and I'm about a month behind on those!

So I am sitting down a few minutes at a time as I get the chance, and hopefully I'll eventually get a post typed up. I originally intended to recap just the last couple of months, but I realized that I haven't really updated the blog about our family since we moved back from Moldova 11 months ago. Sure, if you follow my pictures or are my friend on facebook, you've gotten some idea of what's been going on, but I thought I'd just give a nice overview of the entire past 11 months since we've moved back to America, getting more detailed as it gets to the more recent months.

June 2011: We moved back to America and lived between our parents' houses. Everyone had a great time catching up and enjoying the summer.

July 2011: We spent more time with family, and at the end of July, moved back to Louisville for Josh to go back to seminary.

August 2011: We began to settle in and look for a church. Josh started working at Starbucks until he could find something else that would provide better, and he also started school. Jude started getting therapies and evaluations for his language and social delays, and I did a lot of canning and freezing.

September 2011: Continuing to settle into our new life, we joined Kenwood Baptist Church and cultivated new friendships. Jude (and Mama) enjoyed playing around our apartment complex in the cooler weather.

October 2011: Jude was finally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which we had been expecting for a while. We visited Elk Lick Baptist Church, where Josh pastored before we went to Moldova, and I launched Wild Berries Photography.

November 2011: We all survived our neighbor's super creepy Halloween decorations, Jude continued therapies, and Josh continued applying for ministry positions. We spent a quick day and a half in western Ky with our families for Thanksgiving.

December 2011: Josh and I got to see Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb concert, we Skyped with everyone at the school in Moldova during their Christmas party, Eric and Stephanie came to visit, and we were blessed to celebrate Christmas with our families.

January 2012: Josh went on a mission trip to Athens, Greece with TLI and we celebrated my and Jude's birthdays (Jude's is in February, but we celebrated with family a little early). The Lord answered two big prayers this month: Josh started a management position at a local company that one of his regulars at Starbucks offered him out of the blue, and we got just enough in our tax return to buy a second vehicle.

February 2012: Jude turned three years old and started preschool in a special class for kids with communication troubles. Josh's sister got married and we were all three in the wedding. We also, after over a year of trying for a second child, learned that I was pregnant, and then just a couple of weeks later learned that the baby had died.

March 2012: We cheered on Murray State and UK in the NCAA tournament and had some crazy weather (tornado, snow, and then a heat wave in the same week). I had surgery because the miscarriage wasn't finishing naturally. Josh began showing physical symptoms of stress from his new job, which is an exceptionally hard job for someone working 40 hours a week, but he was doing it in only 32 hours a week and also going to seminary.

April 2012: We celebrated the Resurrection with our church family, and Mammie and Memaw came up for a VeggieTales Live show, which Jude LOVED. During Jude's spring break, I did therapy with him at home and he did really well, so we decided to pursue home therapy instead of continuing preschool. School was a good thing for him, and we loved his teachers, but therapy is a better thing for him right now. Josh began talking with his boss (a wonderfully kind man) about job options that would better serve both him and the company.

May 2012: We aren't very far into May yet, but Josh was given the option last week of either doing his job full-time (which would require quitting seminary) or resigning with a three-week severance deal. Since our whole purpose for being in Louisville is for Josh to go to seminary, he chose to resign.

In the midst of all of this, we (and especially I) have had a terribly difficult time with missing Moldova and our lives there. You expect reverse culture shock in the first couple of months after returning, but shouldn't I be over it by now?

We had an encouraging conversation a couple of weeks ago with a couple who have been back in America for several years now after being missionaries in Ecuador for many years. They helped us realize that we didn't really experience much reverse culture shock, but we are instead grieving a loss-- loss of those relationships, loss of our identity, loss of a culture that we loved, loss of the blessing and fulfillment that comes from doing what you are called to do (we know that we are supposed to be here now, but it is different because being a seminary student is not a life calling). They compared it to grieving the death of a loved one-- you have to move on, but you never get over it, and that's okay. That has been so freeing, and I've actually grieved less since that conversation. Just to know that there isn't something wrong with me for grieving like that.

Add to that the fact that we rarely ever get a full night's sleep (and sometimes only get a couple of hours) because of Jude's sleep problems. There's a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method.

I know this is getting ridiculously long, and if you've stuck with me and read the whole thing till now, then you probably have a better attention span than I do, but I just wanted to sum it all up to say that it has been an incredibly difficult year in almost every way. Even so, God has shown himself increasingly faithful and increasingly kind with every mounting trial. He continues to draw us to love and trust him more wholly, and for that we are eternally grateful. Josh wrote a blog post 8 months ago called Escalating Impossibility, which expounds on these thoughts, and it is a blessing and encouragement to take a few moments to re-read it. God brought it back to our minds recently because even 8 months ago, we couldn't have known how much more difficult things would be now.

Some specific ways you can pray for us:

1. That God would provide for us financially. We are specifically praying for a ministry position for Josh that would adequately meet our needs. It will take a miracle for this to happen in 3 weeks, because we know how slowly churches can move, but we also know that God is bigger than a slow pulpit committee.

2. That God would help us with Jude. Specifically, that we would be approved quickly for the Michelle P. Waiver, which will pay for in-home therapists, and that He would bring us the right people to help me. Also, that He would give us wisdom as we explore options for Jude, and that He would ultimately use these treatments and therapies to heal Jude. And lastly, that we would figure out the cause of his sleep troubles and we could all start sleeping well.

3. That God would work in us in all of these trials to slough off our sin and doubt and make us more like Christ, and that He would be glorified both by us and by those around us.

4. That God would help us to be content in Christ, and that we wouldn't covet circumstances or possessions that He hasn't given us.

5. That God would grow our family, either through pregnancy or adoption, or both.

If you read through all of that, then thank you! I'm going to try to be slightly more dedicated to blogging from here on out, so hopefully my next word-y post won't be another year in review this time next year.


  1. Stacy, it is so good to know how we can pray for you. I had no idea about your recent loss. I am so sorry. I am praying for you today, sister! The Lord set the course of the Hutchens family before anything came to be, and He will complete it. Praising God for your example of faithfulness. -Monica Bidwell

  2. Stacy, thank you for posting this. Thank you for being real and authentic and also clinging to the Lord. There is much glory given to Him in this. I will be praying specifically for you and your family. Love to you!!