I love a good story! Stories captivate our imaginations, impact our lives, and have the ability to shift whole cultures. Swapping stories with a sweet friend over a cuppa hot something is just the best. It's a joy to welcome Adelaide Mitchell to Story Swap today! (Every Saturday I post a Story Swap feature on my Instagram).
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What does a typical day look like for you?
I live in a house with four dudes: husband, son 1 (age 11), son 2 (age 9) and son 3 (age 6). My only homegirl is my collie-shepherd mix, Lucy. I work as an educator at the local community college. I taught Rhetoric and Composition at the college level for 8 years before option for part-time work as the babies came. My part-time role is to hire and train the college tutors and overseeing the tutoring center. I love working with college students. I drink way too much iced tea in a given day - it's gotta catch up to me eventually.
2. When and how did you meet Jesus?
I was raised in a Christian home, so I always believed in the triune God. But as many cradle Christians will attest, it wasn't until I really went through a crisis that I began to have a real relationship with the Lord. I've endured an anxiety disorder since I was a girl and it's come to a head several times in my adulthood. The hardest bout with anxiety was after my first son was born. I was having irrational intrusive thoughts and sleeping poorly. It was the lowest part of my whole life and it makes me want to cry as I think back on how low I sunk during that time. But I have also never felt the Lord as viscerally as when I went through that crisis. I re-baptized myself as I started to emerge from that difficult season because I felt like I really knew what it felt like to have the Lord carry me when I couldn't put one foot in front of another.
3. What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about some important things and some not-so-important things. I'm passionate about my children knowing the Lord and the Bible. I am starting to look into apologetics as well because I want my kids to have the verbage to defend their faith when it is challenged. I'm passionate about repairing discord in the church. The world is divided enough, and I want to see disparate Christians come together and find common ground rather than fight tooth and nail over something like whether or not women should be allow to preach. As for a not-so-important things, I am drawn to clothing as a creative medium. I love thrift shopping and believe that we Americans need to embrace secondhand items more as a culture. I also think Americans who say they love Mexican food need to go to a state that borders Mexico and make sure they try real Mexican food. Tex Mex doesn't count.
4. How are you making the most of your current season of life?
I am sticking with part-time work in order to make sure that I still get time with my kids each day. I will never look back on my life and say that I wished I had seen my kids less and made more money. I also think I am embracing this earthly life by putting myself "out there" in the sense of the blog and the faith-based clothing; it's my version of being brave. It's not easy to deal with rejection in its many different forms as a content creator. I still take unsubscribes hard, but I have to remember that if God called me to it, then He is doing something with it. Oh, and my sons and I wrote a faith-based Christmas book for families that we are looking to have bound by Christmas 2023!
5. How do you prioritize the Word of God?
That's actually what my whole blog, the Stone & the Oak, is based upon! I knew that I wanted to read the Bible in its entirety, and the symbols of the stone and the oak in Joshua gave me the framework of accountability to get my project started. When Joshua calls to the Israelites to--once and for all - turn from the Canaanite gods and worship the one true God he marks their commitment with a stone as a witness. A community of people is the stone I need to see this project through. At this point, I am 3/4 of the way through the Bible, and I like to share the wisdom nuggets I glean through blog posts and Instagram stories (more of the latter these days). I'm currently in Isaiah as my Lenten reading.
6. What has God been speaking to you about and how has He moved in your life recently?
When I felt the nudge from God to start a little small shop with faith-based apparel, I remember kind of arguing back in my thoughts: "Where would I get the materials? I have no idea how to do this. Would I have to make my own tags? I bet that would require a paper cutter!" I remember the paper cutter thought in particular, because a few weeks later, I was on a walk with my kids around the neighbourhood during our bulk trash pickup (where everyone dumps their large items on the curb twice a year). And lo and behold, there was a paper cutter on the sidewalk. My thought was "It's broken. That's why it's on the curb." Took it home to see, and in fact it works perfectly. I've been using it for my tags for 2.5 years now. It felt like a clear sign that God wanted me to pursue that little shop. I have had a lot of fun with this small shop. I have met some amazing people, watched some really lovely photo shoots unfold, and more than all, I've watched people wear their faith with pride. But last year, the work required to maintain the shop website really sucked up my time. I got to a point where I thought I would have to give it all up, so I asked God if I needed to turn away. It was many months later that I received the verse about pruning the branch to make it more fruitful three times in a single week. I hear you, God. So I closed down the website and this year I will focus more on in-person sales.
7. What story is God writing with your life?
A story of surrender. God knit together this ambitious, impulsive, control-seeking little baby girl into my mother's womb and with every stage of my life, I am finding myself constantly relearning the practice of surrender to Him. Physical anxiety? I have to surrender my body to Him. Spiritual battles in the home? I have to surrender my marriage or motherhood to Him. Striving for immediate results in creator mode? I have to surrender my haste to Him. He is constantly asking me to unfurl my fists as they grip tightly to the plans I have for my life. He wants my hands open and lifted up in a posture to receive. Sanctification for me is an undoing--a not-doing--a place of waiting, of trust that everything is under His control. In the twilight of my life, I want so badly to hear the Lord say to me "well done, still and patient servant."
Adelaide’s blog The Stone & The Oak launched in 2020 with a mission to read the Bible in its entirety and to encourage others to do the same. At ¾ of the way through the good book, she has met so many incredible daughters of God and has the privilege of running special features such as Sips & Scriptsand Theology Thursday (via Instagram). She lives in California with her four dudes (one husband + three sons), and she finds creative challenge in designing faith-based apparel.