the question about Facebook…

I was asked several times yesterday about my decision to deactivate my Facebook page. I thought maybe this would be a good way to share the thought process behind my choice.

First off, this is not a matter of Facebook being “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad”. I love that so many people use it to connect and minister and enjoy relationship with one another. I also know that it can be a time-waster or discouragement for others. These issues are not the motivating factors behind my decision.

It feels more like an invitation.

Let me explain…

A few months ago, I was feeling very overwhelmed and distrustful of people. I was also overwhelmed and saddened by everything that is going on in the world. I was discouraged by some of what I saw and read on Facebook. I also was depending on my Facebook friends for fellowship, and was hesitant to enter into face to face fellowship with people at the church we had started attending. I also had been thinking a lot about the amount of “me” that I put out on the internet. (which is ironic since I am going to be publishing this post…)

Anyway, I decided to deactivate my account and see how it affected me. Honestly, for the most part, I loved it. I didn’t love missing out on the news that my nephew had acknowledged Jesus as His Saviour, I didn’t love missing out on family pictures and checking in on my friends, but I did love the margin that it created in my life. I love the space it created for me to think and process and stay in one place (mentally and emotionally) for a longer period of time.

I started it up again once we knew we were moving because it really is an incredibly easy way to keep people posted on what’s going on in our lives. But, I knew that I would most likely deactivate it again once we were settled.

My reasons for deactivating it are different this time.

Now that we are starting to slow down and settle into one place, the whirlwind of this past year is catching up to me. I am filled with emotions and thoughts and desires and griefs that I am trying to process. I am realizing how connected my heart is to my mouth, and how I need to learn to run my heart’s thoughts through my brain before I speak. I am tired. I am sad. I am in need right now.

We have SO much hurt and evil in our world. There is so much despair. So many horrifying events taking place around us.

There is also so much beauty. So many beautiful places that God has created. So many beautiful moments. So many opportunities to live life together. So many people to love. So many people that love us in return. There are so many great ideas on Pinterest. There are so many great recipes that I’d love to try. There are so many gifts I would like to make. There are so many ways I would love to serve.

There is just SO much.

And my heart is overwhelmed.

He is inviting me right now to simplify. To ground myself in Him. To create margin in my heart, my mind and my life.

I am not saying this is a forever decision. I don’t know what the future holds. I just know that for this season, He is inviting me to be off of Facebook and do something different. I still want to live life with the people I care about, I am just going to go about it in a different way.

He is inviting me to come with Him to a quiet place. He is leading me beside still waters.

And I want to follow Him there.

where are we now? how did we get here?

I know I am way behind in updating.  I have started six or seven drafts, but then abandon them because I can’t seem to express what I want to.  So, I am simply going to “bullet-point” the past couple of months to bring everyone up-to-date.

  • End of February-we left Arizona and moved to Roach, Missouri, where my parents graciously opened their home to us.
  • March-Chris started job-hunting in Indiana and Missouri.  While looking for full-time work, he was able to work through a temp agency.  We enrolled the boys in the Camdenton school district.
  • April-Chris continued his job search, even looking briefly at Kentucky and Tennessee.  The boys were doing great in school-which was a huge answer to prayer for us.  At the end of the month, he was hired by a pest-control company and started a full-time, permanent job.
  • May 1-we signed a lease for our own apartment and spent the weekend moving in.  Chris’ job was going great.  His boss was purchasing his truck and they were talking about having him supervise and train the other technicians.
  • May 5-It was a Monday afternoon when Chris came home and told me that his boss had let him go.  When Chris asked why, the boss refused to tell him.  We suspect it was because of concerns Chris had expressed regarding illegal chemical applications.
  • May 6-God had definitely given Chris a “peace that surpasses all understanding”.  He was confident of God’s plans and His provisions for us. (I on the other hand was having a panic attack)
  • the rest of May-God really did a work in my heart regarding WHO He is and HOW MUCH He loves me.  He has promised to always meet our needs, and over and over during that month, He proved Himself true.
  • June-lots of family celebrations and time with my parents.  Chris was working part-time and enjoying his job.  He continued searching hard for full-time employment.  Alex and William both started working at McDonalds.  The boys had a couple of friends from Wisconsin come and spend some time with us, so that was so very nice (for all of us).  The end of the month started time with Michaela and time with my siblings.
  • July-Having exhausted every possible job lead that he found, Chris (on what we thought was a whim, but now believe to be the prompting of the Holy Spirit) applied for a few jobs in Wisconsin.  During that second week of July, he had a phone interview with someone from Johnsonville Sausage, which is located in Sheboygan Falls.
  • July 18-Chris had a face to face interview at Johnsonville.  A few days after returning to Missouri, he was offered a 2nd shift, full-time position.  The cool thing about asking God to lead us by opening and closing doors is that you can trust that He will.  It was very clear to us that we were to move back to Sheboygan.
  • So starts another packing and house-hunting frenzy.  His start date was supposed to be August 1, so we had about 9 days to pack up.  God led us to a home that sounded perfect for us. (That is a story that I will tell another time!!) I was excited to be closer to Michaela, to my sister and her family, and all our other dear friends, but it was so very hard thinking about leaving my parents.  I did a lot of crying during that time.  We spent our mornings packing and our afternoons and/or evenings spending time with my parents.  It was a bittersweet time for me.
  • July 29-we U-hauled it up to Sheboygan and were overwhelmed by the love and support of dear friends who came to help us unload, unpack and get settled.  A HUGE welcome back hug!!
  • August-Chris found out he didn’t start until that first Monday in August, so I loved that he was able to help with the unpacking.  I was eager to be settled, so the process has gone pretty quickly.  There were a few testing times during this period, but we were reminded that whatever God’s plan for us, His plans for us were only for our good and His glory.  And we could trust in that!
  • Today, August 27th-Chris is really liking his job and the company he works for. We are getting used to different schedules and the way it affects our family dynamics.  The boys are registered for school (though dreading the actual start date) and Alex is already practicing with the cross-country team.  All the boys have been reconnecting with childhood friends, and I think that has been very healing for their hearts.  Chris and I are waiting on God to show us His reasons for bringing us back to Sheboygan, and just living each day for whatever He brings our way.

This is just a quick overview of the past few months.  It is pretty much devoid of all the emotions that went with all these changes.  I am still working on processing those! But now you know where we are and how we got here!

 

 

100 Thank Yous: 1-5

While it is sometimes the littlest things that can send me into a downward spiral, it is also the littlest things that can turn my eyes to Jesus to say “thank you”.

I think that God “hugs” us all in our own unique ways.  The things that I am thanking Him for wouldn’t necessarily touch the heart of anyone else.  But they touch mine, so I want to share them.

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cards that make tears fall because they remind me that we are loved

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unpacking my wallflowers (I LOVE a nice smelling house!)

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being able to sit at the piano and see these precious reminders of what is truly important

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finally finding my contact lenses (you would be thrilled, too, if you were wearing the same pair for 5 months)

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perfectly timed words that gently rebuke me to direct my eyes toward His perfect plan and His loving heart

 

How has God “hugged” your heart recently?

Mark 9:24

We signed the lease for our new apartment on Thursday, May 1st.  We started moving in on Friday when Chris got home from work.

He was thankful for this new job, and that day, he was told that the boss was thinking about making him manager of the technicians.  They told him who he would be working with the following week, and Chris was feeling good about everything.

On Monday, I was sitting in our bedroom unpacking some things and up the stairs walks Chris.  It was only around 1:00, and I thought that maybe they didn’t need to work as long that day.  He told me that they told him they didn’t need him anymore.  He asked why, and the boss said that he wasn’t going to talk about.  I can’t even imagine how my husband was feeling, but I feel like I was punched in the gut.  I wanted to vomit.  How could this be happening again?

My first thought was of Chris.  My heart was breaking for him.  My second thought was of the boys.  They have really struggled with so many things over the past few months, and it made me ill to think of telling them about yet another change.  Would they blame God?  How would they feel?

My third thought was “oh no! We just signed a one year lease!!”  I simply could not wrap my mind around what was happening.  Why didn’t this happen on Friday, before the owner signed our lease agreement?  How were we going to get the money to pay next month’s rent?  How are we going to make it?

Even though we felt like we had “nothing” when we lived with my parents, we realized very quickly that we still had the “crutches” of my parent’s home, the washer and dryer that we could use whenever we wanted, the fact that they supplied toilet paper, toothpaste and shampoo.  Now, we were very much without those crutches, and feeling very weak.

For me, some of the crutches that have been removed over the past several months are a steady job, a church family, a home, family and friends, familiar culture and weather, health insurance and the ability to buy our own food, a workable budget.  My own washer and dryer.

These things have been removed, and God is asking me to lean completely on Him.  This is not easy.

Especially today.

I sat down to figure out if we could get a cheap, used washer and dryer.  I figure we are either going to spend the money at the laundromat or on our own appliances.  I just wanted to see if we could swing it.

I probably shouldn’t have tried to figure anything out.  There is no way that I will be able to make any sense of this, or figure anything out.  It is out of my hands.  The only thing I have to lean on is the One who promises to meet our every need.

I am desperately in need of Him to work in my heart.

“Lord, I believe;  help my unbelief!!  

{God’s perfect timing…as I finish up this post, “Blessings” by Laura Story just came on.  I’m gonna post this, and then crank up the volume and listen to these words while I put supper on the table for my family.}

 

our new normal: the beginning

For the past two months, we have been living with my parents in Roach, Missouri.  When we moved here from Arizona, we didn’t have any intention of staying in this state.  But, God had different plans for us.

After countless resumes and applications put in at different places around the country, and three different temporary jobs, Chris started a job on Monday with a pest control company in Sunrise Beach, about a half hour from Roach, where my parents serve with New Tribes Mission.  The company that hired him is smaller, but one that prides itself in doing high quality work.  The owner is a man who values family, and his desire is for those that work for him to be able to invest in their families at the end of the work day.  While Chris worked without complaint at the temporary jobs that he didn’t prefer, but was thankful for, I am thrilled that he now has work that he enjoys, and that he didn’t have to “settle” for whatever came along.

As it became more obvious to us that we would be staying in this area, I began to look at housing.  It seemed like it was going to be a mighty act of God to give us a job that would pay the bills along with a home that we could afford.  There just didn’t seem to be much available.  As we started looking more intently a few weeks ago, I was beginning to get pretty discouraged at what was out there.  And yet, we knew that God had us settling here and that He was sure to provide something.  We knew we just had to knock on every door that we became aware of, and walk through whatever door He opened.  It was just a matter of trusting in His timing.  Monday evening we looked at an apartment that we liked, Tuesday night our application was approved and a few hours ago, we signed the lease agreement.  Tomorrow night, we are going to start moving stuff over, and hope to have the rest (or at least most) of it moved this weekend.

I am so very thankful for my parents.  When we were trying to decide where we should go when we left Arizona, a wise friend suggested that we head to a place where we would be able to spend time healing.  Without pause, we knew that my parent’s home would be that place for us.  They were willing to make the space for us, and we knew that we loved the trees, birds and quiet of the area they live in, and that we would have the time we needed to reflect and work through some things.  They have turned their lives upside down for us, and I am as excited for them to have their space back as I am about making my own home again.

Our new home will be an apartment, and we haven’t lived next to somebody like that since Michaela was a baby.  It is weird to think about going out to your patio and a few feet away is your neighbor, grilling out on his side of the concrete slab.  The apartment is very small, but relatively new.  It has three bedrooms, but one we are going to make into a TV room so that the boys have a place to hang out with friends that they invite over. I think I am a little excited about the challenge of taking a small space and making it feel like it is bigger than it actually is.

When I first told them about the apartment complex living, my sister in law, Melissa, pointed out that God has given us a great opportunity to be a blessing to all these new neighbors of ours, and I love thinking that this is our “mission field” right now.  Chris reminded me today while we were discussing the size of the home that if we were going overseas, we would be making do with what was available.  And that’s the attitude we want to have-to make the most out of what God has provided for us.

The boys are not that far from the church where they want to go to youth group.  Alex can easily walk to McDonald’s from the house, and there are a few more close-by options for Will as he looks for a job.  There are some kids from their schools that live right across from us and the boys could walk to and from school if they wanted.

And even though we are almost smack dab in the middle of town, I will still be able to sit on our patio and enjoy the trees that fill our back yard.  I am anxious to get some flowers and shrubs planted and see if I can’t convince some hummingbirds to come live with us.

Here are a few sneak peeks of our new home…

Miles and William in the TV/Game room

Miles and William in the TV/Game room

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the living room…

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small frig, but glass top stove and built in microwave

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the kitchen

I just want to say thank you to all who have prayed for us over these past many weeks.  We know that nothing is wasted, and He certainly has a purpose in all He allowed.  We are excited to discover what our new “normal” is.  The next few weeks will be busy as we settle into our new home and the boys finish up their school year.

We were talking with them yesterday and one of the boys mentioned again that he was wondering what God’s purpose was in planting us here.  I told him that we aren’t sure what God’s plan for us is, but we are going to live out each day whole-heartedly, discovering the answer to that question…

Healing

It is good to write that my heart is healing.

It is resting even deeper in the love and sovereignty of God.

This morning, as I am laying here, I look outside and see the sun shining and the trees with their little green buds.  A cool breeze is blowing, and I hear birds singing and wind chimes ringing.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Snapseed(5)We continue to check days off the calendar.  Further and further from what was before, and moving one day closer to eternity. Chris has continued to put in applications at dozens of different places in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas.  But what God has given him right now is a part-time position at Charter Communications.  It is only a three month position, but it is filling our days and allowing us to pay the bills, so we are content with that.  He has been able to continue his lessons for his Biblical counseling certificate, and I am thankful that he has had the time for that.

The boys are continuing to like this school, and I cannot even express how happy that makes me.  Alex received the first place award in his cooking class for an ice cream contest, making horchata ice cream with coffee caramel sauce.  His class does catering for the school and community, and he really likes that.  William enjoys doing air-soft with friends that also live here at the training center.  He usually plays soccer with the students here every week.  We just learned that both of the boys will be able to get their temps and start driving, so they are excited about that.  (Yikes-can’t believe that time is here already!)

Max is as friendly and talkative as ever.  He has been reading more lately, which makes this mama’s heart happy.  And whenever he gets a chance to go “air-softing” with friends from here on campus, he takes that opportunity.  Miles also enjoys going out and doing air-soft, and he has started to enjoy running.

All four of the boys have been taking turns making a meal once a week, and it is fun to see what kind of meals they choose to make and the satisfaction of feeding their family.  We continue to have good family discussions as we work through the emotions that have surfaced over the past few months.  It is a good thing to be able to talk about these things and how they relate to God, and our beliefs about Him.

My sister came home last week from Papua New Guinea, where she served as a missionary for a year.  Aside from the fact that I love being with her, laughing and talking, it is so good to hear her stories of God’s faithfulness and to see the way that God has led her step by step as she seeks to follow Him.  I cannot wait to see where He is leading her to serve next!

As far as God leading Chris and I, we are beginning to get a sense of what He may have in mind.  Just the way that He has closed doors, and reminded us of our gifts and experiences and passions, we are sensing that maybe our life from this point forward is going to be different than it was in the past.  A different career, a different place, a different lifestyle…we aren’t quite sure of the destination, but I think we are facing the right direction now.   We have ideas and hopes and dreams, but there are some pretty significant roadblocks that would need to be removed, and of course, we know that He can and will remove those in accordance with His plan for us.  I would sincerely love your prayers as we seek His intended area of ministry for us.

My heart is finally catching up with what my mind knows to be true.  And yes, there are days that there is pain and tears, but being able to go to the source of that and remind myself of the truth, I can cry and give it to Him, rather than cry and hold onto the pain.  He is sovereign and He is trustworthy and He is pouring out His goodness on me.  Resting in just those few of the beautiful truths about Him, my heart is centering on Him.  Because of His grace-His sacrifice on the cross, knowing there was no way that we could pay the penalty for our sin, we can find peace in Him.  And that’s a promise that offers healing.

“To all those who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 1:7

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