by Michelle Akins, children and family ministries
We bought a horse last weekend. I’m used to a five-pound dog. There is an 18-foot trailer and a 22-foot truck in my driveway. I normally drive a minivan. On September 23, Alan and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. There were days, now long ago, we wondered if we would stay married. We have two freshmen: one at Newberg High and one at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. We need only three plates out for dinner these days. This summer we moved (after 16 years) from a corner lot in the Oak Knoll neighborhood to a nine-acre property just outside the city limits with a significantly smaller 1966 ranch home. There have been a few changes in the Akins family life these last four months. They are good. We’ve hit some milestones and are in the throes of a huge learning experience. While there are moments of stress, the predominate feeling I’ve had through it all is peace. God has been faithful, alive, and active in our girls, in our choices, and in some amazing outcomes. The ride is mysterious and incredibly fulfilling.
At age 43, I continue to learn more and more about grace, what it means to love people just as they are, to release judgment, and to value relationship. I am no longer a slave to fear. However, I would be lying to say I keep it together in the moments where I disappoint others and/or myself. I’m grateful to be up to my eyeballs in a community where there are people I love who will explore with me what it means to follow Jesus, to invite transformation, and live it out.
My 35 hours at NFC each week are full of varied types of interactions and responsibilities. They continue to challenge and inspire me. I consider it all worship—from teaching 1st/2nd Sunday school to sharing my heart and administrative skills at Women’s Bible Fellowship (a.m. and p.m.). The old perfectionist in me longs for the day I will know how to do it all “right.” I realize just as quickly how silly it is to pine for an unrealistic expectation. Meanwhile, I press on with joy and gratitude, thanking God for each day, each personal connection, and each moment to serve and be served by you.