Sunday, August 11, 2013

oh ninevah!

a few posts ago i mentioned something about grief and writing about grief.

now at that time i was, in my heart, referring to the grief i experience every now and then when i think of my family and what it used to be before the fostering and adoption of the middles and littles.  and i was referring to the grief i experience every now and then when i think about what i thought our growing family was going to look like and what it really looks like.

and maybe just maybe i will write about that grief.

but for now i'm going to write about a new grief.  the grief i experience every sunday as i stand next to my hubby in church and someone smiles or says "hi" and the waterworks start as if someone close to me died.

now before i start, let me say, i've never experienced the loss of a loved one (mom, dad, sister, brother, hubby, or child)  my hubby's father passed away a couple years ago.  and although i was not super-duper close to him, i miss him.  he was one of the most godly men i have ever known.

see here's the thing...we're movin.  i don't know when.  not really sure how.  but we are.  and my hubby is gone all week and i'm home all week with 6 kiddos.  and then the weekend comes and he's home and all 6 kiddos plus me want time with him.  that undivided time with him.  but he can't.  not that he doesn't want to.  he does.  but he can't.  'cuz he's workin on the projects that need to be done before our house can be sold.

so when i stand next to him in church, the same church we've been attending for the last eight years
...the same church where i was baptized (twice - once in GR and once on our trip to israel with our pastor)
...the same church where b and sj were baptized
...the same church that watched our family grow from the patten4 to the patten6
...the same church where we had q and k dedicated
...the same church that invited us to pray with a small group of people to seek God and his will for the Westside
...the same church that saw the patten6 grow into the patten7 and then saw mo dedicated
...the same church that cheered us on when we asked, "what would it look like to start an orphan care ministry?"
...the same church that watched our family grow from the patten7 into the patten8 and then saw j dedicated
...the same church that because of the last reason came around our family and supported us through meals, gift cards, money, babysitting, sleepovers, prayer, prayer, prayer.
...the same church that graciously accepted my stepping down from the orphan care ministry in order to work on my "downward spiraling" marriage and family that was in complete chaos.
...the same church where two other broken and desperate Jesus followers who had worked through some shit  junk in their marriage said "yes" when my hubby asked if they would meet with us and walk us through the valley of our marriage
...the same church that gifted us with a trip to israel and because of that trip our lives have been changed forever (so many reasons i'll have to save that for another post)
...and last and really the most important. because if this didn't happen then none of the other reasons really matter - the same church that every sunday teaches truth and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  everything.  EVERYTHING.  points to Jesus.
so when i stand next to my hubby in church, i cry.  no.  sob.  because it hurts.  it's like someone told me i have two months to live. and because i want to get the most out of life i go and participate and am real and soak in everything i can before we will no longer be standing next to each other in that church.

have you ever been part of something like that?

honestly.  even with all that.  i have hope, joy, and peace of what God has for us in ninevah jackson.

because whatever His plan far better than we could ever imagine.

so i go back to telling myself what i learned in israel...



in His grace.  and.  always.  everything for His glory.



  1. Steph,
    I so enjoy reading your blog.... your heart-wrenching, gut busting, laugh out loud, lay your heart out there, hearing the call blog about the original 4 then 6, 7 and 8. Thank you for sharing your story. It has truly made a difference in my life and I'm sure many others.

    Although I haven't been at Crossroads for the last year (I really didn't wanna leave but God threw me into a brand new church and I'm being challenged and loving it there) I often think of you and would have loved to get to know you better!

    Hang in there chickiepoo, for He knows the plans he has for you and He WILL bless and keep you in the palm of his hand!

    Lynn Syrjala-Taylor

  2. Well, neighbor, you've brought tears to my eyes with this post. I don't want you to leave. I will miss you so much, even though we don't do anything socially. I feel like you are my family and I trust you to take care of me when I am in need. And, I am willing to help you with whatever you need. But, God must have other plans for us. I trust Him, and will accept whatever He has in store for us in the future. I love you all.

  3. Tears rolling sister. I feel your heart and it does hurt. Mark just said to me yesterday, "I'm going to miss turning to the side seeing you crying, and turning around seeing Steph crying." It's been an amazing journey but there's more ahead of us. I already looked and Lansing's a great half way point. We will find the best pedicure and lunch spot we can. I still remember the FIRST time I ever saw Steph Patton. You were standing in front of church talking about the orphan...tears rolling, voice breaking. I remember praying to God, "I like her and I want to know her." God answered that prayer and he will continue to answer our prayers as friends and fellow sisters in Christ. You have made such an impact on me and graciously loved and accepted all the "junk" about me. Love you and trust me, tears are being shed over here too. Thanks for last night. What a blessing!