Saturday, September 11, 2010

Settling In... Kinda

Lowell's new post (WITH PICTURES!) on our other blog...

Making Up My Mind

God and I had an interesting conversation yesterday.  After a FULL week of trying to get settled into our new temporary home, into a new school for the kids, a new job, a new daycare, new roles at home, new weather, a new church, a new city, new country, new friends, a new language (eh?), I was still feeling wiped out.  OK.  So maybe the language isn't completely new, but lots of other stuff has changed dramatically for our family in the last weeks and the transition into life here hasn't gone as smoothly as I dreamed it would.  The kids have done super.  We can tell that Timothy is a bit irritated with all the changes and is testing all the boundaries to see if they're still there, but even he has done remarkably well with his new "school".  His teacher is super sweet and (praise God!) his little daycare class is right across the hall from Toby's class!!! How cool is that?  : )  Mikaela and Toby are enjoying their new school and having tons of fun with the two kids from Paraguay whose parents are in training with us.  Our house is beautiful, our program is going to be rigorous but is off to a great start and the people we're in training with are quickly becoming good friends.

So what was the problem?  Well, that would be me.  I was exhausted when we got here - physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually...  and I haven't felt so unsettled and discombobulated in -- well, ever!  And all week I've been struggling to stay positive and not get discouraged.  I knew I needed to give myself time, but instead of it getting better as the week went on, it was getting worse.  A few things came up this week that left me thinking "I didn't sign up for this!"  And the struggle I was having adjusting left me afraid of how I will do when the adjustment is even more dramatic.  I just plain got scared - but mostly felt sort of depressed.

In His never ending grace, God called me on it yesterday.  I spent some much needed time in His Word and ended up reading Lamentations 3-5 and Revelation 15.  Lamentations is pretty full of... lamenting while Rev. 15 has an amazing section of worship sung by victorious saints with harps.  While I noticed a major contrast between the two passages, I didn't feel very moved while I was reading (though I do want one of those harps someday!), but afterward felt God pretty clearly telling me I needed to make up my mind.

"Do you want to be here or not?"

(Long pause.......)

I knew my answer was going to be "Yes" but I wasn't ready until a few hours later to admit it.  I knew I had to really think through it and choose what I wanted because I had the distinct feeling that if I wanted to go home, He would let me.  And I didn't want to decide what I wanted based on how it would impact all of you or our church back home or our youth group...  this time it was just about deciding for myself what I wanted.

"And if you do want to be here, do you want to spend the next 3 1/2 months lamenting or worshiping???"

Well, that was an easier question to answer.  But later as I prayed with a friend from home (on the phone) I realized one of the reasons I was struggling with the first question was my fear about what "being here" means.    I'm not just saying "yes" to being here.  I'm saying "yes" to going somewhere further away and far more foreign than this little city.  And I needed to make up my mind again that I still want THAT.

So, I did.  : )  And somewhere in between God asking the question and my finally answering it a few hours later, the fog lifted and the sun came out in my heart and my head.  I'm done with the lamenting and am feeling at peace and more at home than ever... at least for now.  I'm also so grateful for the lesson God taught me because I KNOW that I'm going to have to keep making up my mind every time I discover new challenges.  Every time I think "I didn't sign up for this!" God will likely say again...  "No, you didn't.  So what do you want now?  Make up your mind."

And sometimes, knowing what I want will make all the difference.
"And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name.  They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:  'Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.  Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name?  For you alone are holy.  ALL NATIONS will come and worship before you...'"  -Revelation 15:2-4

Saturday, September 04, 2010

We made it! (and I miss you...)

Hi everyone!  I'm sitting here with mixed feelings...  excitement, sadness, exhaustion, disorientation, hope, expectation, gratefulness...  We made it out of Fresno and it was nothing short of an act of God and the Body of Christ at work through our family and friends that ushered us out with grace and peace and joy.

But...  that's part of the problem!  During our last couple of weeks in town, (and here's where my throat starts to tighten and I'll have to start blinking hard) so, SO many surrounded us and helped us.  When we got down to our last hours at our house, we were able to finish everything just on time because of every single person that helped.  I wonder how many I can remember that helped in some way or another...  There was Paula, Renae, Chris, Brandon, Gerald, Matt, Bruce, Ted, Robert, Rick, Bryan, Monica, Carol, Sadie, Jamie, Melissa, Coleen, Hillary, Brad, Angel, Darrell, Sue, Helen, Harold, Lorraine, Tom, Carmen, Carol, Todd, Sandra, Kirk, Karen, Edd, Brandon, Bill, Sharon, Steve, Steve, Denise, Jenni, Ryan, Dave and Dave...  and I KNOW I'm forgetting some more. (And that doesn't even start to count the people that have spoken words of encouragement to us or have been so faithfully praying for us!!!)  But do you see my point?  Every one of you wrapped your hearts around us in so many ways, that I got used to you being around and now I'm really starting to miss you!

I know I'll be fine and the kids will be fine.  Tomorrow we will see some people we know who have traveled even further to come here for training and on Tuesday we will see many more that we already know and love.  I can hardly wait.  Because I need the Body of Christ.  I love the Body of Christ.  I will miss my home church  while we are gone, but I can't wait to worship with other Believers tomorrow.  I know, I know...  what am I going to do when we're on another continent???  Well, I know there will probably already at least be some other Believers there as well.  But anyway, God knows - and for now, I'm looking forward to connecting with His Body here...  even though I'm missing you.  : )


Below is the official thank you...  (Thank you!)

Dear Family & Friends,

As I write this we are driving through Oregon on our way to Abbotsford. We are amazed, humbled and so grateful for the love and support you all have shown us in the last weeks.  The burden of getting everything done so we could leave Fresno was too big for us to bear alone and we knew it.  We asked God to help us and He told us nothing was impossible with Him.  He literally sent His Body through every one of you that scrubbed our floors, worked in our yard, moved our things,  repaired, painted, and fixed our house, babysat our kids and prayed for us (just to name a few of the many ways you helped.)  Your words of encouragement and prayers were life to us when we were weary and worn out.  We know so clearly that we are not going out as missionaries on our own.  We have been sent into this season of training with your support and love and we are so excited to share this journey and call with you.  Please continue to pray for us as we have so much to learn.  But we know God is with us and for us so we look forward to learning from Him and others who have gone before us.  He has promised to provide everything we need and we expect Him to continue to do that in every way.  And did you hear?  Last Sunday in church we shared that we were still waiting for a last minute miracle – a renter for our condo.  Through a series of divinely orchestrated events, we signed a lease with someone about 4 hours before we left Fresno on Wednesday.  J  How’s that for God’s perfect timing???

We love you all so much.

Eternally Grateful,

Lowell, Melissa, Mikaela, Toby and Timothy

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Almost on our way!

We made it out of our house last night...  need to finish reshuffling our bags and pay a few bills (why do I always leave that to the end???) and we'll be on the road in a few hours.  So many people helped us, it was overwhelming.  I have never felt so loved in all my life.  I'll write more when I have time...  hopefully soon. Pray for safety when we travel...

God is so good.