Photo by Rock and Valley
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve shared a little about our lives and what God has been doing within us.
If I’m totally honest, I would say my silence has been intentional. Although I’ve peppered my social media posts with updates here and there, the past six months have been rough on us. For this reason I’ve purposefully hid, keeping our struggles private excepting only a few close friends and our family and clients on a need-to-know basis. Now that we’re on the other side, I’d like to share more about just what this past half year has meant for the Chappell family. I promise to keep it as short as possible. :)
Dustin and I have always had it on our hearts to move back to Texas, where we both grew up and where both of our families still reside. Additionally, Dustin and I have been praying together for years about taking on a lead worship pastor position at an amazing church we could call home (up until this point, he has held associate positions and campus worship leader roles). We trusted that God would fulfill both of these promises, but ultimately waited on His confirmation to act…and what a challenge that proved to be! Waiting can feel like a desert, and sometimes even fire – but thank goodness for spiritual refinement in the midst of it all. In the meantime, we made friends both in North and South Carolina and whole-heartedly invested in relationships until further word from the Lord.
After living on the east coast for six years, it became unanimously clear that we were being called back to Texas. Dustin and I strongly believe that God doesn’t call you away from something – rather, He calls you TO something – and it was finally time. However, we didn’t experience the immediate sense of overwhelming relief we thought we might after waiting for so long. You see, Dustin and I were being called to leave everything – his full-time job as a campus worship leader, a beautiful home, my clientele in Columbia I’d worked so hard to build – all out of faith and obedience to what God had instructed us to do. And it was terrifying.
The kicker? We had no clue what the future held for us. All we knew was that it would be good, because God is good and we were following His call on our lives. With a toddler in tow, a baby on the way, 99% of our belongings in storage, and absolutely no promise of a job on the horizon, the three of us moved into a single bedroom in Dustin’s parent’s home. If it sounds miserable, it’s because at times it was – but thank God for provision and for both of our families who loved and supported us so well throughout that trying season. I can remember so many nights crying myself to sleep as I learned to let go of the empty “comforts” that we no longer could call our own. The process of depending less on on myself and the world and more on the Lord felt like an addict’s detoxification (really). As time went by, I succumbed to grace and began to once again hear the song of promise that God had always sung over our family, however faint it seemed.
The following weeks went by in a blur. I traveled back and forth from Texas to Columbia to continue serving my amazing brides and grooms while Dustin flew across the country for interview after interview. My pregnancy continued (and still continues) to progress well, but we became increasingly frustrated with the lack of employment. Plus, without the ability to put down roots, I couldn’t market my business. We both began to feel hopeless and started questioning our calling. That is, until God placed Legacy Church in Plano, Texas in our path.
Dustin was far along in the interview process with an out-of-state church and at the same time was fostering a relationship with the leadership at Legacy Church. Both were very different churches and attractive in unique ways, but similar in that both were interested in hiring Dustin into a lead worship pastor position. After months of waiting for God to open the perfect opportunity, it was almost funny that two were now available to us at the same time, but the reality is that we were frozen for fear of making the wrong choice. We spent night after night praying, deliberating, and sometimes arguing with one another about which path to take until finally we had to come to a decision. Together, we decided to become a part of the leadership and community at Legacy Church…and at last, the overwhelming sense of relief we’d been waiting on for months fell upon our family. We were mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted, feeling like the storm around us had finally ceased. We felt…home. And that’s the best feeling you can have after walking in the desert for what might seem like ages.
Where are we now? Well…Dustin has been journeying, dreaming, and planning alongside the amazing staff at Legacy Church for almost two months now. We’ve formed relationships and friendships faster than we could have ever imagined. Austyn attends preschool at Legacy Monday-Thursday and gets to ride to and from work with Daddy. I am 28 weeks pregnant with a little boy who will be making his debut January 30th. I’ve booked three weddings in Texas and have one more in Columbia before my maternity leave (three more after baby boy arrives). We move into a huge apartment in a little over a week. We are among old and new friends as well as our incredible families. We are beside ourselves with excitement that we will get to raise Austyn and our January baby with her grandparents – something we’ve only dreamed about until now. Most importantly, we have seen God at work in the storm, in the silence, in our waiting. We are living proof that God not only hears our cries and our petitions, but He answers them, too. He is the Great Promise-Keeper, and He is good…oh, he is so good.
Well, I promised to keep it short, and unfortunately I don’t think I’ve quite done that! Hopefully you’ll forgive me if I share some recent personal photos of life…nowadays. :)
One of Austyn’s first days at preschool…the fire department came by and gave a presentation for the children. I was informed that Austyn was a little scared of the fireman’s suit (not pictured)!
A Trunk-or-Treat event at Legacy Church for Halloween this year! Austyn dressed as a Minion from Despicable Me (I called her Mademoiselle Minion) and was the cutest thing I’d ever seen! She got to hang with family and friends and play tons of games, plus stock up on gobs of candy, of course!
Pregnancy announcement photos! Our amazing friends Pedro and Lili (of Rock and Valley photography) did an incredible job capturing the joy and excitement we are feeling over expecting a baby boy in January!
I LOVE life with my best friend.