That’s what I thought the last 3 weeks would be. That’s what I expected anyways. And while I’ve never actually been to Paradise to compare, I don’t think this counts! I should probably back up and fill in some of the holes since my last post…
Disclaimer: I want to warn you that there will be a lot of Jesus in this story. I know that makes some people uncomfortable, possibly even annoyed. There are lot’s of ways I could share about this transition without mentioning “God stuff”, but it wouldn’t be real. Jesus is our life, and the reason we even have this life. And the least we can do is give Him the credit. I don’t want to be afraid to be effective for Christ! To those who don’t believe in God, life on earth is all there is, and it’s natural to strive for this world’s values- money, popularity, power, and pleasure.(NIV teaching notes, Phil 1:20) I want to be radically different, and see life from an eternal perspective. I want my purpose to be speaking boldly about the God that changed my life! I will never force my views on any of you, and I will do my best to share our journey with humility. I will also consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ as long as I can faithfully represent the Gospel. You don’t have to read the stories I share on our family blog, but I do encourage you to read the greatest book ever written and one I will reference often, the B. I. B. L. E. :) I have so much to work on as I strive to be more like Christ, and I will write about those things in the days to come. I’m not better or holy-er or wiser than anyone else with breath in their lungs, but I am forgiven, and that make’s this life a lot easier to walk!
So…I encourage you to continue reading only if you want to hear about this journey from an eternal perspective And maybe, just maybe, think about checking out a church this Sunday! You don’t have to commit to anything, just sit and listen. And then tell me about your experience!
After returning home from our crazy, unplanned, “faith-trip/road-trip/homeschool adventure” things just weren’t the same. We knew within a day that we had not experienced the last of Texas. I think part of me was hoping that our short visit there was all God was calling us to. But the other part of me knew He was calling us to a lot more commitment than that. We wrestled with what that actually was as Kenny’s first day of work grew closer. While on our trip, Kenny had accepted a position that would require us to live in Chicago for 6 weeks and then California for another few weeks while he trained. We were both excited about the idea of extending our adventure and I could totally see our family living in the wonderful 2 bedroom suites Kenny was told we would stay in during training. But things started to get a bit confusing just a week before the move, and there were many last minute curveballs about the job that made Kenny very uncomfortable. One of the issues was quite funny as I look back, but at the time I was shocked that they had changed the hotel room on us and actually expected me to raise our 4 young kids in a very small hotel room in the bad part of town. Funny because I have been raising our 4 young kids in a very small hotel room in the bad part of town :) God has such a sense of humor. But there were much more serious issues that came up in those last few days and Kenny took some time to discern if he was making the right choice with this company. After conversations with wise people in his life and seeking the Lord’s advice, it was made clear that this was not the path most desired for us by our Maker. And that weekend at the MN Homeschool conference, we received confirmation after confirmation that we were to walk away from the MN job and pick up and move to Texas. What??? Kenny asked for 3 days of prayer before sharing with the people in our life, it was clear that this was not a time to make quick decisions.
And three days later, we started preparing for the move to Texas! It was a difficult season to go through, some dear friends found out because of circumstances out of our control, while others just didn’t understand. We knew we were doing what was right, but it was hard to explain that to the people around us. And after three weeks in Texas, it’s still hard to explain! It’s been like one of those movies you see that takes so many unexpected turns you don’t fully understand the plot until the final minutes. And each time you watch the movie over, you pick up on details you missed the first 5 times. I don’t know exactly how to share what God has taken us through since Kenny made the decision to move our family to Texas, I just know I am so glad I have been working on Godly submission, or I would have missed it all!
My memory is terrible so I can’t recall most of my childhood, but I don’t believe I have ever lived the way we are living now. What we hoped would be an easy (considering the circumstances) transition to Texas has turned out to be the biggest “turn your tables upside down” experience of our marriage. We imagined it would take a day or two to find a house to rent using Craigslist, and I had pictured us planting flowers in our new garden (yeah right :)) within a week! Well, it turns out that people don’t use Craigslist here like we do back home and the only way you can find a house for rent is by literally stumbling upon it. After a week of this craziness we decided to try apartment complexes. We had found a place that wasn’t exactly ideal, but it was a place so it felt good enough. Hours before signing the lease, we learned that there is a law in Texas regarding how many people can occupy an apartment. Maybe this is a law in MN too, but I’ve never heard of it. The rule is 2 people per bedroom. The apartment we were looking at was a 2 bedroom. Do the math…we would have to get rid of two kids! We didn’t want to break any rules, and we desperately desire to grow our family if that is what the Lord has planned (and we truly believe it is!) so we knew that an apartment wouldn’t work for our family. Kenny started training with his boss during the day and at night we would pile into the van with a movie for the kids and drive around the city looking for the “For Rent” signs mixed in with all of the campaign signs…lovely timing! After the first few houses fell through we learned that we were competing with a HUGE rental market and we didn’t have to wonder why we never got picked. 4 kids + dog = No Thank You. So if you are counting, that’s three very long weeks. It has stretched me as a mother like nothing else can. I was recently a full time working mom with a very social life, and I am now much like a single mom with no one to meet for a burger. That sounds really lame, but I really like burgers with my girlfriends!!
Sometimes it’s too much for me to handle, and I am quickly reminded by the Holy Spirit (Jesus talk again…it basically means God whispering in my heart) that I need to continue to count my blessings and seek the hidden treasures throughout my days. So here are some hidden treasures I have found in this mess:
• The librarians know my kids by name since we go there almost every day! It’s free. And it’s air conditioned. And you should see the way one of the librarians’ face lights up when Mackenzi walks up to the desk!
• I have already figured out which parks are awesome and which ones are not. That took me years to figure out back home!
• I made a friend! And someday I will tell her how her boldness affected my life.
• Indoor McDonald’s playlands are not all the same so it’s like a new adventure every time. And they are everywhere. And you can play in them if you just spend a dollar on some milk.
• The swimming pool (at our small hotel in the bad part of town) is always freezing, even on the hottest days! That one is a treasure for my kids, not me. I don’t understand, but they don’t seem to notice the ridiculous temperature.
• I have a reason to learn Spanish! I always thought learning one extra language was enough (in my case, it was German), but now I have a desire to learn Spanish too! My sister would be so proud! I have moments of desperation sitting at the park as a group of moms are all talking and laughing nearby. The only problem is that it’s all in Spanish.
• I get to use my creative side again! 6 people living in a hotel room can become quite chaotic. After a trip to the local dollar store, I was able to get crafty with hooks and bins! I’m sure the maids laugh when they open the shower curtain and find my makeshift closet, or move the table and find our homeschool classroom.
• I’ve been given the freedom to focus on my children and the Lord! I can’t believe I’m actually able to see it as a blessing now, but for the past month my phone hasn’t been working. I stopped getting voicemails months ago, but in the past few weeks phone calls and texts didn’t come through either. Amazing how God can fill your time once He has your undivided attention!
• I’m outgrowing my old comfort zone! We are definitely a minority in this area and at first it was shocking. Dallas is NOTHING like Chaska! The other day I got to spend time with a non-caucasian (I apologize, I really have no idea what race he was) homeless man as he helped me with the van. Kenny was at work and I had no idea what I was doing with the tire. He asked if he could help, and I got to ask if he knew the Gospel! It was a wonderful experience that I don’t think I would have handled well a few months ago.
• I’m starting to understand the importance of Sabbath! If I had moved into a house shortly after arriving, I would have spent the past few weeks getting plugged into a hundred activities before they ended for the summer. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t be ready for God to use me. My batteries would have been run dry and I would have been too tired, or too busy for God to use me in the ways He had planned. I have learned that sometimes God will say no to good things so that He can say yes to greater things!
I know there are many more, some I have recognized and some I didn’t even see. And while I don’t have a lovely story to share about how we moved here and found a wonderful house right away and everything is all roses, I do have a story that God will use someday when it’s ready to be shared. Whether it’s in a marriage ministry or a first generation believer conference, I know He will show me how to use this for Kingdom work!
Our Pastor at church shared some quotes from a man named David Livingston during this mornings message. I found one that seems to reflect my current prayers perfectly:
“God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.”
― David Livingstone