It’s kinda crazy reading back over my last published post…a letter from Brad explaining as best he could about the transition that was ahead of us. We had no idea what this journey would look like…how it was to unfold. How could we have?
Nine months later, we are…thankful. Peaceful. Joy-filled.
We’re five months into our new home: a foreclosed fixer upper that is beautiful and difficult and so-far-from perfect but somehow simply perfect for us.
We spent our first school semester homeschooling our five children, followed by another semester of homeschooling three (ok, threeish…alright, alright…two and a half. I turned Micah over to playing a few months ago!). We are in the final stretches of registering and landing all five children in schools here in this beautiful town that I still can’t believe we live in.
We’re part of a growing, thriving, healthy, exciting ministry
. After spending much of 17 years in the same place, in the same home even, we are in the full throws of adjusting and stretching and growing…making mistakes and having moments of comfort.
It’s such a warm, fuzzy, wonderful word.
When I think comfort, I see myself cuddled under a blanket with a fire burning nearby…in our old home in Colorado.
The same home where our now-12-year-old learned to walk.
The same home where Brad and I experienced so many early-marriage-newlywed bickerings and made so many memories.
I think of unexpected visits from forgiving friends who caught me in my sweats (or…pajamas) mid-day more times than I care to admit.
When I think comfort, I remember walking into gatherings and prayer meetings at our church…in the same room where we had said “I do” years before.
The very opposite of stretching. Comfort could very easily turn into settling.
And that’s what Colorado had become for me. After years of asking the Lord to move us somewhere warm, somewhere near water, somewhere with humidity and salty air, I had settled. I was completely content to view the beautiful mountains of Colorado every day. To watch our children experience kindergarten and graduation from the charter school one mile away from our home. I was digging deep…growing vulnerable with friends in new ways. I had found avenues of ministry, ways of living out some passions that were fun and fulfilling and rewarding. I had what seemed to be a clear path in front of me.
Until it wasn’t clear anymore.
In the beginning, it was so hard to imagine that God could actually be moving us on to a new thing. We were full of questions: had we done something wrong? had we not stewarded well? how could it possibly be God’s plan to move us away from the people we loved so dearly? our family? a church home that we loved so dearly?
But in the end, it was His plan. It IS His plan. He has more for us to do. New adventures to explore. More growth for us to experience. More relationships to develop.
In this God-adventure, calling does not equal comfort.
He is more interested in the journey than the destination.
He is after our hearts, fully given over to His plans and desires.
And sometimes He has to kick us out of the nest in order for us to stretch out and fly.
I had come to this conclusion before we even knew where the next place was. I am so thankful that He cares so deeply about my heart…about my growth…that He is willing to watch me struggle. He is willing for me to be confused, upset, even angry at His plan. Because He knows that in the end, it brings US CLOSER. This struggle brings me closer to HIM.
I once heard someone say, “You’re happiest when you’re at the center of God’s will.” However, I believe it is entirely possible to be in the center of God’s will and very unhappy about our circumstances.
God’s will does not always equal happiness. He does not walk with us to make us happy.
He walks with us so that we may become more like Him.
So that our vision becomes His vision.
So that our passion for people goes deeper than our personal happiness.
We were at the center of His will back when Brad wrote that letter almost a year ago. And we weren’t happy about it! There was nothing happy about choosing to leave the people we loved so much.
But there is a peace that comes from walking with Him. From following Him into the pain, into the unknown. There is a peace that goes far beyond happiness and comfort…and this peace leads to a deep joy and satisfaction. It leads to such inner strength and amazement as we watch His plans unfold before our eyes.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 MSG
Not deficient in any way.
What we all desire, right?
This is what I contemplate now…here, where God has given me those deep desires I had hidden in my heart. As I walk the beach and taste the salty air and watch my kids splash in the ocean. These seemingly fleshly desires that He that He wrapped up and handed me. I am still amazed at how much joy can come out of so much pain.
So friends, let us press in. Let us lean into ALL that He has for us, even when it’s difficult. Let these present tests and challenges, this pressure…let them do their work. So that we may become…
Not. deficient. in. any. way.