For those of you just meeting our “Smith-Party-of-9”, I wanted to take a minute to pull back the curtain behind the senes and share who we are and why today is significant…
You may perceive “settled and stable” from our instagram posts, celebrating beauty in the everyday.
I love being home with my tribe.
I love farmhouse decor and fresh baked cookies and little girls in big hair bows.
I love what God has done in our marriage and date nights are the best!
But these gifts are all just GIFTS. Not entitlements. We constantly have to be intentional about holding them with open hands. What we share through these little squares is only a reflection of the highlight reel of our family. A photograph can paint an oh so picture perfect portrait, but it is only one-dimensional.
The make-up of this tribe is eclectic and “steady and stable” may actually be a lot further from the truth than you think.
This is a season of life that we are embracing with great joy and gratitude, but our story has been one of extreme dichotomies and the stability of now is a tide that we know will ebb and flow.
You see, we’ve lived most of our life overseas in circumstances that have been very different. We’ve navigated both the bitter cold of Ukrainian winters and the unbearable heat of tropical south east Asia and her year-round 100 degree, 100% humidity…. We’ve weathered monsoons and political uprisings…. We’ve sat for hours at boarders for visa runs and been shut in for weeks when daddy traveled and the babies were young. We’ve spent a Christmas under the glow of twinkle lights in Budapest, and a Christmas under the tin roof shacks of migrant worker camps and with refugees. We’ve lived without a car, without a clothes dryer, without a dishwasher and have learned that ‘necessities’ in life are far fewer than we think. And those life lessons have too, been gifts of grace!
We’ve spent seasons lonely and longing for “home” and now find that we have redefined “home” in very loose terms. I was making plans to see an old friend from Thailand at my childhood home over Thanksgiving and she referenced looking forward to seeing me “in my natural habitat“. It gave me pause to think. My “roots”, maybe, yes. But my “natural habitat” is morphing with the moves and cultures and languages and lifestyles that have influenced mine.
Our kids only friends at times have been each other. But it has strengthened their bonds in a unique way as they navigate what it means to be a third-culture-kid and share circumstances and memories unique to them. They’ll always laugh about food poisoning from street food our first week in Asia and they still pray for the little Cambodian kids who stole our hearts.
This is us.
We currently live in the US, but our hearts and mission and ministry still center around the hurt in the world outside of the comfort of the American Dream. Our commitment continues to serve the local church in regions of the world that need leadership training, development, resources and churches planted. This isn’t a side job, or an occasional mission trip….its full time ministry and its our heartbeat! Our tethering to the US and its comforts and conveniences is temporary, we know. We embrace it…loosely…and pray for the strength to let go when its time to uproot again and pioneer a new country and anchor a new team.
Our ability to do this work is enabled and funded by the generous financial gifts of friends who partner with us. Chad is currently in Asia for 3 weeks developing leaders who are passionate and sacrificial and who humble us as we observe their dedication to the fulfillment Great Commission.
These are long days as a ’single mom’, but there is grace for each, and that brings us to today…
Today is significant because it’s #givingtuesday
This day ushers in a season of intentionality and giving back after a week of giving thanks for Gods blessings. Many people at this time evaluate end of year giving in this charitable season. We say it often – our work is possible only because of others who share Gods heart for the world and take ownership to see the Gospel go forth. We could not do it without you!
We know the needs are many and money doesn’t grow on trees and everyone is finding budgets tight around the holidays. Just inviting you to link arms with us for a cause, for a purpose, for changed lives! To support a work that we are vested in with all our heart. Because the reward, the reciprocation, the treasure, the investment….. is eternal!!
Special thanks to the amazing Olivia Long Studio for a fun family photo session. This sweet photographer had the patience of a saint to deal with a cancelled shoot (thank you hurricane Florence) and then our family rocking up 30 minutes late to the postponed session. She was flexible, accommodating and just delightful in her engagement of our family….a daunting task for many! Unruffled by a toddler throwing tantrums when we ran out fo fruit snacks and calm, cool and collected with the inferno we shot in late summer in the south with no air conditioning! If you’re in the Greenville area, hit her up for Christmas Card photos!! A gem of a sweetheart.