God-hugs

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?

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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