Saturday, May 23, 2009

For my amazing husband

I'm sure it doesn't come as news to anyone that I was the one who wanted to venture on this journey.  When I initially told Jay that I thought we should seriously look into it and contact World Help, he said, "Well, you can email them.  I don't think anything will come of it, but you can see.  As long as God opens doors, I'll walk through them, but I'm not going to do anything to help it along."  A little reluctant, huh??  If you know Jay, you know he comes from a small family.  They are extremely close-knit and so supportive and loving.  But Jay is the baby of the family.  A 28-year-old baby.  Before we were married, he hadn't spent any significant amount of time around young children and was extremely apprehensive around them.  Enter the Hampton (my maiden name) clan!  I have seven nieces and nephews, all of whom (with no encouraging from their new uncle) quickly attached to the new addition to the family.  My nieces view Jay as a jungle gym- when we're in town, climbing all over him is their favorite activity.  

That being said, even though I may have sprinted through those doors that God opened for us to be here, I found myself running back to tug Jay along every step of the way.  He couldn't believe this was happening.  When we were offered the job, we took a few weeks to pray about it.  Suddenly, I had cold feet.  I knew if Jay wasn't happy, I would be miserable.  We would be giving up our lives.  But in the end, Jay thought it was what God wanted for us.  We accepted, and went from ZERO to THIRTEEN children in one day.

This year has definitely been a journey.  The first few months were extremely difficult for Jay.  While we were in training camp, we essentially had no freedom (every minute of every day is accounted for) and for my laid-back, go-as-the-wind-blows husband, that was hard.  The minute the kids arrived, I jumped right into my role as "Mommy in America," and Jay had to warm up to it.  When we began traveling, Jay felt like all he was doing was driving a bus, and that was another hurdle to jump over.  Eventually though, he settled into this crazy life.  It has been the hardest thing we have ever done or could imagine doing.  But we have learned so much along the way. 

I have learned that I need Jay to keep me sane.  When I am being OCD, he helps me take a step back and teaches me not to sweat the small stuff.  Because I am not legally able to drive the bus and have no mode of transportation, he has taken me to Walmart/Target/the mall hundred of times because he know how difficult it has been for me to have given up that independence.  He has let me take over much of the RV with my clothes and shoes and books.  He doesn't feel neglected when I am surrounded by thirteen children that all require my attention.  He lets me take my shower first in the morning and doesn't complain when there's no hot water (WE LIVE IN AN RV!!!).  He doesn't mind that I call my mom on the phone fifteen times a day.  He lets me read for hours at a time on the bus while he's driving 400 mile stretches.  He loves me even when I'm inflexible or demanding.  He left everything he knew- his job, his friends, his family, his tennis/jiu jitsu/running, his house, his dogs- to do this for me.  And now I am going to be there for him.

I will be devastated to say goodbye to these children.  But there is a season for everything, and this season is quickly ending.  We will pray for them every day, we will be reminded of them every hour, and we will miss them every minute.  But we are ready for what is in store.  Jay is officially the new worship pastor at New Covenant Church in Greenwood, South Carolina (www.newcovenantlife.org).  We are so excited about what is to come, and can't wait to be SETTLED in a new place.  We are looking forward to joining this church family and getting to know the people there.  When we visited, everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and we knew we could so easily "fit" there.  YEA!!!  God has answered so many of our never-ending prayers!

We have a little more than TWO WEEKS until the tour is over, and only TWELVE concerts left.  That is so surreal.  Please be praying for us as we prepare the children (and prepare our hearts) for their departure.  We will leave to fly them back to Uganda on June 17th.

I'll leave you with some pictures from a recent excursion to D.C.  We decided to take Martin and Gift because we thought they were the only ones who would really appreciate it.  We had such an amazing day!
 
The whole gang in front of the Washington Monument.   I always wonder what people think when they see such an eclectic group together!
Martin said he wanted to see the Capital more than anything in America.  He wanted a picture to be able to show his mom he'd really been there!
Priceless.

Doing their "boy" thing

Standing in the Capitol at the exact center of the city. (If you're wondering why the grown-ups are all wearing sweatshirts and they're in shorts and flip-flops, it's because they think we're babies and they say they're "not freezing."  It's not because we neglect them!

8 comments:

Tripp said...

oh my gosh... if that picture of those boys looking at the Capitol building isn't about the most incredible thing. Man. You guys are so great and I love you both. Jay- thanks for helping Taylor follow her wild dreams. Love you both!

Mom said...

I don't even know what to say to this post. (I'm crying and I have to go to a wedding in a few minutes!) I'll write later when I'm not MUSH.

Heather said...

Can't wait til you guys get here! Enjoy the rest of your time with your children!

- Eric and Heather Evans

Erin said...

Aww, Taylor, you and Jay make such a great match for each other. I know it will be so hard to leave those beautiful faces, but I can't wait to see and hear about SC. And I'm already planning a visit!! Enjoy the last few weeks with the crew. Miss and love you guys!!

shannon said...

Tay and Jay-- We love you all so much and I am so thankful that we have Jay in our family. I am looking forward to your new life in SC, a new season (hopefully the season of babies). You will look back on ALL that you two have done and say how in the world did that happen. Only GOD. He has blessed you both with each other and made a power team of the Lord. Love you -- Shan (part of the crazy Hampton clan)

Mom said...

This year has been incredible. This year has been HARD. But through it all, you two have counted on each other, one helping the other when needed, the other doing the same. You've become quite a team and we are so proud of you! What a lovely tribute to that wonderful husband of yours, Taylor. He's a good man and I'm so glad you found him!
I am going to be praying so much for you as this journey comes to a close. The emotion to come will probably feel overwhelming at times. Saying goodbye to those kids of yours will be the most difficult part of this whole experience- even harder than the beginning! We'll be here for you when you need a shoulder or two. And I must say... We can't wait to say "Welcome home!"

Sarah and Ryan said...

Taylor.. I know I've said this before but you are such an amazing writer! I was bawling by the time I finished this post. What an adventure this last year has been for you and Jay. You have changed the lives of those children forever and I know they will never forget their time with you. I am so excited for you guys to be "settled" and start your life again in SC.

Sarah said...

This last post made me tear up. I'm going to miss reading your posts- you're truly a gifted writer.
I jumped on my couch when I read that its official and you and Jay will be in Greenwood. I cannot wait to see you- soon! Love Sarah H.