We are a little family of 3, born and raised in the Southern United States, currently advancing the Kingdom in Bologna, Italy. David and I (Nicole) grew up in Nashville, TN, and lived there most of our lives, stead for a brief 3 year period in Lexington, KY. We got married in June of 1997, and by the grace of God added the 3rd Hannah to our family in March of 2008. Ruby Love, our daughter, is THE most tangible evidence of God’s immense love for us, but that’s another story for another day. Three lifetimes ago, before we were missionaries, David practiced civil defense law in Nashville and I had the great privilege of working as a women’s health nurse practitioner. I LOVED my job!! When I was studying to get my masters, I used to sit in the classroom and daydream about my perfect job- I got to work there for almost 5 years.
At some point in our lives, in late 2006, while we were living life, doing all of the things we had carefully considered, pursued, and planned for, we arrived at the end of ourselves through profound brokenness. It was amidst this brokenness that we heard God say “Go.”
It wasn’t magic. There was no writing on the wall. We heard no audible voices. We simply sensed in our spirits as we spent time in prayer and Bible study, that the Lord wanted more of us. More was so perplexing to me in the beginning, because when I took a mental inventory of our lives, we were already leading bible studies, teaching sunday school classes, serving our church and our community, so I couldn’t figure out what more God wanted. The answer- EVERYTHING. He wanted complete and total surrender of every part of our lives.
It took time, prayer, MORE prayer, seeking council from those far wiser than us, and countless midnight conversations between the 2 of us before we knew exactly what more we were being called to. And once we knew, I was terrified! The actual forward movement, the doing it, did not come before I had wrestled, bargained, cried, screamed and rejoiced- some days simultaneously.
We arrived in Perugia, Italy in February 2009 with a 10 month old, my mother-in-law, our standard golden doodle “Preacher”, and about 10 containers of stuff, all of which we had decided were absolutely necessary for survival in this new foreign country. Yeah, ’cause we had ANY clue! We studied language there for 2 years ( alternating in 3 month semesters while the other stayed at home with Ruby Love) before moving to Bologna, where we currently live and do university ministry at the University of Bologna.
The journey has been profound. There have been minutes that crept by like years, sadness that sought to suffocate, and joy more magnificent than any I have known prior. The thing about the journey, once you make a conscious decision that it will be a faith journey, is that it will require EVERYTHING, and so it has.
We are, most importantly, children of the Most High God. Every other single role in our lives follows that one. If we don’t do ONE thing of significance in this life, we are loved by Him; and that is enough. I believe that with all of my heart, and if you don’t already know this for yourself, it is my most desperate prayer that one day you will.
Anyway- welcome to a little slice of our life.
We write these words, post these pictures, share our victories and defeats, all in hopes that the God of the Universe will be glorified. We’re a mess most days. But we are messes that are redeemed and given worth by the One True Living God.
It’s a good life, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the world!