Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Milestones: 20 Years

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? An though one might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

On January 9th, 20 years ago, I married my best friend! Marriage is such a beautiful, but hard thing. It is also an amazing picture of Jesus Christ and the church, His bride. Four years ago, I didn't know if we would reach this milestone after Wayne was diagnosed with GBM brain cancer, which has a 12-18 month life expectancy. We decided to celebrate this special occasion with a trip away. At first we talked about going away to some exotic island for a week, but decided that we wanted to stay in the states and not have to fly anywhere since Wayne doesn't do well on long plane rides anymore. As I was looking into options, I received an email about the G3 Conference (a Bible conference) being held in Atlanta during our trip. We have wanted to attend the G3 Conference for a few years. We decided that we could have a nice trip away from the kids in Georgia. Wayne, being so thoughtful, asked if there were any races in Alabama during that time, since I have not run that state. I discovered that there was a half marathon in Mobile, AL during our trip. So, I ran state #27 while on our anniversary trip!

We decided to spend four days in the Gulf Shores after my race. We enjoyed quiet time away from the kids and our daily walks, even though it was in the 40s the entire time we were at the beach.

We then traveled to Atlanta and attended the G3 Conference. Some may be thinking, "Wow! That's romantic!" But here is the thing, it is only by God's grace and our relationship with Him that has gotten us this far in our marriage. We wanted to continue to grow closer to Him, which ultimately, helps us grow closer together. Plus, anyone with kids knows that just being away from the kids for a few days is vacation enough! The conference was so refreshing for our souls! We were able to sit under some amazing teaching by some of my favorite preachers: John Piper, David Platt, Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, and more. The theme was on missions, something I am passionate about. I ended up with 83 pages of notes that I still need to read through and digest at a deeper level. It was like sitting in front of a fire hydrant trying to take in all the beauty of God's word, His heart fo us, and His heart for missions. I left there feeling spiritually charged and encouraged!

While we were at the Gulf Shores, we decided to get our pictures taken to celebrate our 20 year anniversary. As I mentioned before, four years ago when Wayne was diagnosed with brain cancer, I didn't think that we would ever make it to our 20th anniversary. I wanted to have photos to document such a momentous occasion in our lives. I reached out to Kassie from www.kassiebias.com to find out about photos. I shared with her our story and she offered to take our pictures for free! She works with Magic Hour, an organization that helps families with terminal illnesses get photographs of their loved ones before they pass away. Kassie was such an amazing photographer to work with and I hope to take the kids to the Gulf Shores soon and get family photos with her! Let me know which photos are your favorite! I am having a hard time picking a favorite!

Marriage is a beautiful thing! If you are struggling in your marriage, hang in there. Life is messy and hard, but being with the love of your life during those hard times is so much better! I realized the other day that I have officially been married to Wayne half of my life! I would never trade any of the time with Wayne for anything else the world offers. Also, make sure to treasure every moment with your spouse or loved one! None of us know when our last day will be here on earth. Let's live each moment to the fullest loving those around us!

Monday, January 28, 2019

A New Adventure Begins

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:"

2019 is going to be a huge year for our family. The Harder Family is moving! After following God's call to move to Chicago 18 years ago, God has revealed to us that He wants us to once again pick up our roots and move...a new season in our life. We will be moving to Winchester, KY later this year. We closed on our new house last week and will be putting our house on the market in the next few weeks. If you know anyone wanting to live walking distance to METRA to get downtown, let me know!

There are so many mixed emotions as we consider this move. We are excited to see what God has in store for us in this new area since He has made it abundantly clear He wants us to move. We weren't even looking to move! We even asked Him to verify it to us by laying out a fleece (remember the story of Gideon?), to see if it was really His will. Well, He opened all the doors and so we are obeying Him. There are many things that are exciting in considering this move: being closer to family (my parents are like two blocks away), my sister and her family are 30 minutes away, our kids can have animals at my parent's farm, we will be getting a dog, and we will have more space for our family. On the other hand, there are many things that stir up feelings of sadness: leaving our church family, leaving friends, losing a very diverse environment for our children, and leaving what has become familiar to us. 

I struggled greatly with this decision at first because it stirred up fear in my heart. "Is God moving us closer to family because He knows Wayne's cancer is coming back and He knows I need extra help from family?" "Why would He take us from our church family that has been such a blessing to us?" This is where faith takes root. Will we trust God and His sovereign plan for our lives or fight Him? I'd rather be right in the middle of God's will then fight Him. 

Here is our new house: 5 bedrooms, 4 bath. We had prayed that if God wanted us to move that He would provide a house with the master on the main level (in case Wayne's cancer comes back and he needs a wheelchair) and that there would be a second bedroom for the boys on the main floor (to keep the boys and girls separate). God provided everything and even more! I am so excited that Wayne and I will have our own bathroom that I don't have to share with two smelly boys! 

You can be praying for our kids, especially the older girls. They are struggling with the thought of leaving all their close friends, especially our neighbors who they hang out with all summer. Pray that God helps us all as we adjust to our new normal and as we move. Please also pray that we will be able to sell our house in a timely manner. 

If you plan on visiting the Ark or the Creation Museum, make sure you stop by and visit us. We are about an hour away from the Ark and 1.5 hours from the Creation Museum! We have plenty of room to host our friends and family visiting in the area!