Friday, September 9, 2011


We've had a hard couple of days around here.

And yesterday, after 20 years of calling one church home, we finally came to the decision, that it was time to leave.

It isn't about dramatic statements, or high intrigue drama, it isn't about anything really, other than it was just simply, time to go.

It wasn't a sudden decision, some people, perhaps many, have seen it coming for a while. But it wasn't an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.

I recommitted my life to Christ in that church. My husband Neal got saved there. The two of us were baptized together there. All of our children were born to us while we were a part of that family. They are the connection through which God brought us Ethan, and they stood with us through many hard things.

And yet, it was just time.

Obedience isn't always easy. The truth is, it's a little how I imagine an amicable divorce would feel. They wish us well, we wish them well, but it still hurts. It still hurts our kids. There are still a thousand little things you have to grieve.

When I thought this morning about my husband and son never going on another Father Son camp out with our church, it felt a lot like someone punched me in the gut. When I see tears fill in my daughters eyes because she won't have her Wednesday night meetings with her girlfriends, it breaks my mother's heart a little. And when I wonder who will decide to reject us because of our decision, I won't lie, it frightens me. I am afraid of hurting, but even more, I am afraid of my kids being hurt.

This is my hope, that people who thought well of us two weeks ago, will still think well of us today. And I hope that people who believed that we are true believers who love and follow Christ will not question that now. I hope the address of where we worship will not change the opinions of our character and our integrity.

It's not easy. God has asked us to step out into an unknown. We don't have a church yet. We have no idea where God is calling us to. And all these past few days I have expressed to the Lord, "I don't want us to be nomads!" That was my word. Nomads. I don't want to be a wanderer.

We have some heavy things going on right now, which made the decision even a little more complicated, but when you know, you know. And when God says go, you go. But after a long meeting in our home with a trusted shepherd to help us through, I headed off to bed.

As tempting as it was not to do my daily reading, I determined that I was going to see through my promise to the Lord about reading my bible passages every day. So in my Bible that I am using for the year through read, there is commentary along side each chapter, excerpts from assorted books. And the excerpt was by Max Lucado and his book And the Angels Were Silent. It talked about how one of God's favorite words is "Come." Come you who are weary... Come you who are thirsty... Come. And it said, "God is a God who invites. God is a God who calls. God is a God who opens the door and waves his hand pointing pilgrims to a full table." And as I read that, it registered with my spirit.

The word "pilgrim" stood out to me. And I felt like the Lord was saying, that we are not in fact becoming nomads, but for a season, we are becoming pilgrims. So I had to look up the words.

nomad - 1. a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of the pasturage or food supply. 2. any wanderer; itinerant.

pilgrim - 1. A religious devotee who journeys to a shrine or sacred place. 2. One who embarks on a quest for something conceived of as sacred.

I felt like there was a promise for us in the difference between those two definitions. And it is what I am holding onto right now.

Yesterday when I picked V up at school and told her that our departure from our church was inevitable, she began to cry. I spoke Jeremiah 29:11 over her as we stood on her school campus and tried to comfort her. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Later when we got home, she was working on her school verse with her dad.

It was Jeremiah 29:11-12, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. I said, "Victoria! Do you see? God wants you to know that verse is for you!

This morning I asked her how she was doing. And she said, "Mom, did you hear in my verse how it said if I prayed God would listen? Well, I prayed last night he would help me fall asleep before your meeting so I wouldn't get up and bother you." And she said, "And I think just before I fell asleep, maybe, I might have heard God speak to my heart."

I asked her what she thought she heard. She said, "He said, 'I have a plan.'"

Yes, He does.

Please say a prayer for our family. Transition is hard, but God is good.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hard Things

It's nearly 3 am and I cannot sleep. My mind is heavy, my thoughts constant. It's not confusion that keeps me awake but constancy. Thought after thought is running through my mind. Overload of concerns and information keep me from closing my eyes. It's not unrest exactly, but even with the residing peace in my soul, I feel burdened.

Without deciding to, my husband and I find ourselves in the position of teaching our children hard things. As a parent I find myself teaching my children something almost all the time. But sometimes the lessons are thrust upon us and not chosen. I find myself in the midst of that.

Teaching my children that mom and dad don't always have all the answers is difficult. So many things in life have simple answers, and honestly as parents, we often make decisions in the teaching process just for the purpose of giving our kids resolution. Lots of things are "black an white" enough that you can make a choice and live with it.

Right now my children are learning that not all decisions are "black and white." They're also learning that some decisions can't be made quickly. That's hard for me. I'm the kind of person who likes to lay everything out, pros and cons below each option, at least mentally, and look at the choices and go with one. But right now, things aren't all that simple, and there really isn't anything that can be done to change that. And that is a hard thing.

"Follow your heart" is a worldly wisdom that works its way into the lives of us all. Often in easy choices it can actually be wisdom. But sometimes, like now for us, our hearts have to be removed from the decision making process. That's a hard thing to teach your child. That's a hard thing fr anyone to learn, and a really hard thing to walk out.

Sometimes in life you find yourself in limbo, and that too is a hard thing. Waiting and watching is probably a better description for the goal of where we'd like to truly be, but in all honesty, it really just feels like limbo. It's hard enough to find yourself dancing there, but teaching your children to keep the rhythm of that dance, it's a hard thing.

Suddenly, I'm remembering a ride on a catamaran when I was about 12 years old. The ride on that boat felt a lot like what life feels like these days, in flux. I remember laying down in the back of the boat, my stomach turning. I was so sick. As I sat and stared at the waves it just caused my head to spin and my tummy to turn. The truth is, as I look at so much of the things about me, I feel very much the same way.

I remember my dad coming along side me. He pointed to a large island off on the horizon. He told me, "Look at the island, whatever you do, look at what isn't moving, and not at what is." I just wanted to close my eyes, but "No," he told me, "force your eyes open and look at the island. Closing your eyes will only make it worse."

My dad was right. It was a hard thing to overcome the desire to just close my eyes to the waves around me, but when I did what he said and I focused on what was not moving, I actually started to feel better. The headache began to subside and my stomach ceased to churn. The waves were no less choppy, and the ride was no more smooth, but when I fixed my eyes, I was able to not only weather the ride, but to a degree, I even found myself able to enjoy it.

It's a hard thing to teach your kids, and to remember for yourself for that matter, that when the waves are raging and the ride feels choppy, you have to fix your eyes on what is solid and unmoving. When you cannot find your own bearings you have to focus what is secure.

It's a hard thing to teach your children to fix their eyes on Jesus and to overlook the waves they do not understand. To teach them to trust in something bigger than their minds can fully grasp.

As I am finishing this up, I just clicked over to my Facebook where a young man I know has left me a scripture to encourage me. He's spoken prophetically into my life without even realizing it. And the passage is a perfect way to end this post.

"Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug...For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort her waste places; He will maker her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."
Isaiah 51:1-3

Looking to the immovable Rock. It is a hard thing, but so much harder not to.