Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today is the Day!

My husband woke up early this morning! He has been on the computer searching for housing. There has been another home posted since yesterday, but it is not in the city I hope we can live in. He still wants to look at it because it is in between the city his office will be, and the city I had hope we can live in. I'm thinking the whole deciding factor is how the children will react. They have always been a huge 'gauge' to every decision like this that we have made about housing. We know if their 'seal' of approval is on it, then we are in the right spot.

Today we have appointments to see two townhouses. These are actually places that our daughter found online. When husband called about them, they told us that they do not allow undergrad students only upper grad and mostly medical students. One of the places even allows us free access to the local aquatic center. The aquatic center in the city I'd like to live in is REALLY NICE! AND they allow pets. :) Josh has been wanting a dog SO BAD! (and I have too ;)

Husband seems to believe today is the day. He even believes this so strongly that he wants to check out of our hotel, and pack up to head back east after we secure everything here. I guess I'll just grab on to that, and we'll see where God takes this day. He said the worst thing that could happen is that we'd have to check back in. However, if we pack up the car, I really don't want to unpack it again until we are back home.

Yesterday did not hold any promise of a home for us here, but hoping that today is the day! Our church and Pastors are praying for are lots of friends. We are having faith that the right place will come at just the right time. We'll see what God does!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Straining Forward

We arrived at our destination where my husband will be starting his new position. The drive here was joyful. We were all laughing and having such a good time together. The excitement is here about what is before us. I knew that it wasn't going to be 'perfect' though. Everything has seemingly fallen into place thus far, but nothing is ever perfect. God keeps us relying on Him, and sometimes this means that not everything is going to work out smooth or easy.

After checking into our hotel yesterday, we began right away looking into some of the homes we have found online and learned of through realtors. Unfortunately, the one home we 'thought' would be just the right place, has already been taken. The other homes we looked at, were terrrible locations. One home was on the water. I got real excited about that one!! When we rode by, we saw there is NO WAY we can get our furniture into it! It is seriously hanging on the side of a hill....took a narrow dirt road to get to it. Then, there was no access. The front yard of the home was literally a sea wall, and dropped right to the water. Then, there was no driveway. You had to park at the top of stairs, and the stairs leading down to it were narrow and steep. Even David struggled with the height of it and lets just say it isn't going to work. The other homes we see are in places where college students are rooming together, or the rooms are way too small to hold our large 'Bernhardt' furniture.

Honestly, with being ministry minded, moving that large furniture is getting to be a pain. We hold onto it because we LOVE it so much! It was a wedding gift from David's father and mother and we cherish it for that reason. However, after moving it like going on 7-8 times now...and it takes 3-4 men to move the armoire....every time we move it we think to ourselves...wish we just had a platform bed! Also, we are always basing where we live around needing the furniture to be able to 'fit'. It is hard, because it has special sentiment, but at the same time, moving it so much is tough. I'm not sure God is done with us yet. I wonder sometimes if we are a traveling mission family.

Needless to say, we came back and looked online, in papers, in realty books for rentals, all around the surrounding cities. There is nothing for rent accept apartments or townhouses. Which would not be bad, but they are mostly in college student areas.

The thing I'm struggling with this moment...which is so selfish of me in the big scheme of this: Why would God give us the home we prayed for, a church family we prayed, a supportive homeschool group we prayed for that all became like our family away from family! Then, within a yr, rip it out from under us. I'm sure many people ask this question for even more devastating reasons. I'm not talking about other people right now, and this is just where I am at for the moment...won't stay in this mindset though. There are many people struggling over so much worse right now!!! So this is why I acknowledge that this is very selfish thinking on my part.

It took me 3 yrs to even adjust to being in the area we moved to. It was SO HARD leaving family and our Mountain Grove friends back home when we move to the east so suddenly. We had just lost our beloved father/GaGa...David's father to cancer not long before we moved. Then many other family members have died sense...lot of painful losses.

In that 3 yrs God was leading us to Harvest, and once we actually got there, we really believe this would be where we would complete a lot of healing, get rooted and serve. We were already beginning to serve in prison ministry. Our children were beginning to plug into things. Our daughter in youth band, son in media. My son and I were even training to help with video/media to edit the sermons that are televised. I was excited about this! And of course, I just love the PEOPLE, ministries there and the music ministry. I love their heart of 'outreaching' to the community and not being so inward minded (like I'm being right now). Serving at the prison blessed us I think even more than the men we were there to bless. God is doing a great work there in hurting lives and raising up men of God. I know this can continue on wherever we are. It is just difficult when you feel that you are in a 'safe' place to grow and serve. God is all about removing the safety nets, so we will trust HIM.

The scripture from Philippians that God brought to me yesterday has a part in it that says, " But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead..." The key word there for me is 'straining'. I'm literally straining forward right now. This is not easy, but I do not want to get 'stuck' like I did when we moved from our hometown to the east; Don't want it to take yrs to get unstuck. I don't believe it will. I've grown a lot, plus I have people who love and support me so much that they will not allow me to go back to that dark place of being stuck. I'll keep straining forward for now with Jesus lighting the way, and soon there will be a breaking. I will see the sense in all of this a little later. In 2011 we've gone through so many things, and seen others go through so much that does not make sense at all in the natural. However, in the spiritual, God is most glorified.

Yesterday was not a productive day. Praying today we will get some leads out from somewhere. The home God brought to us this last time, was just laid in our laps...AFTER we stopped belaboring the process of looking for the perfect place. He gently laid it in our laps out from nowhere. He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He will work it out for our good.

I keep singing this song in my head from the Rolling Stones: You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. My God will supply all of our needs according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus! I'm holding on to Jesus.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Early Spring

So it's been a long time since I've been on here, but thought it may help to pick it back up again.

Many things have gone on in my life, so I'm way behind. Most recent.....

My husband has been without a job for about 3 months now, and in that time we have learned to totally rely on trusting God for our every need. He has met every need at every turn in ways that would take pages and pages to fill!

Today, I'm so grateful to say that my husband has found a job in the field that he has been working toward and desiring to do. Hospice Chaplain. This will cause us to relocate. Fourth move, in four years...oh yeaaa! haha, I'm becoming an expert packer. In this case, if it fits into the very generous moving allowance, we may let them do the packing up for us! Now, wouldn't that be a HUGE blessing from the Lord???!!! I think, YES!!

Of course, I have these bittersweet feelings about this move. Mixed feelings, but not nearly as MIXED as when we moved to eastern NC from western NC. Whoa, that was a whirlwind of a move!

I mean... I'm truly HAPPY for HIM about this new job, because he has worked so hard, and been through so much. He deserves something this SUPER GREAT! On the other hand.....just when I fall in love with eastern NC, our church, and the peeps surrounding us-all of who God brought into our path these past yrs.......allowed myself to open up, get real and heal...begin to find my balance....I'm back 'on the road again'! Argh...that's MY eastern NC Pirate Talk for UGH!

I think we have been here during this time for what is known as 'the wilderness', our personal wilderness....our Egypt, for God to work out many things in our lives. It hasn't been easy, but working on the hard stuff rarely ever is easy. It has been a LONGGGGG 4 yrs.

While we have been here in eastern NC, I've been working on allowing God to touch some places of my heart with a hot poking stick. I was broken in a lot of ways. The song for that was...I Fall to Pieces.

For many yrs, I was real good at taking care of and fixing everyone else but myself. People have even called me a 'Florence Nightingale'. Over MANY yrs of my life, different events and situations caused a black hole in my heart to develop. Then, it got bigger because I didn't even notice it was there to begin with. A nasty abyss.

I think sins of the heart, originating from deep hurt, are even more deadly than those sins that are right out there in the open. Some of those sins of the heart being bitterness, resentment, anger, bad attitudes, rebellion, being critical and judgemental of others..... these continued on for like years.....building and creating a very ugly monster behind the mask of a seemingly sweet JenJen. (I really am nice sometimes :)

One of our Harvest staff, a dear woman of God named Sarge told me the other day, "God has more patience, than you have stubborness." Thank goodness for that!!!!!!!

Harvest has staff with the patience of JOB! Seriously. Like, the Job of the Bible. God BLESS THEM!

Pastors Tad and Treva...and Laura aka Sarge....will have many jewels in their crowns someday! To love and nurture people in the Lord like they do, and how they were so very patient with me. :) Lets just say they all earned some extra big jewels since knowing me. haha

I've been a hot mess over here in the east! I'm God's mess, and only HE can fix a mess. A person must be willing to 'go there' though. If you know me, you know that I'm very complex. A lot of layers to get through to the heart of me. It all boiled down to one thing for me...Trust. I had lost it, and wasn't ever letting it come back. Which really effected my TRUST in the Lord, and in humanity. In some instances, I had good valid reasons for trust to be broken. Still, not good when it effects WHO I am in Christ, and how I view EVERYONE.

The monster side of me turned into all sorts of toxic stuff and waste that spewed off of me at random intervals.

Over the past yr especially, Harvest Church staffers and some members too, have been peeling me like an onion (I really mean... God used different people and situations, and the Holy Spirit did the peeling). You know, when an onion is peeled, it makes your eyes water and sting...yeah that is called tears. The ripping away hurts too. A lot of tears this past yr. Then as you peel deeper into the onion, the tears get worse and the layers get tougher to peel. What a mess! The onion example is how they explained it to me (with my own spin added to it)...and it makes sense to me. I'm the artsy type who needs a good visual! Anyway, that would be me....the biggest vidalia onion you ever did pick! (I chose vidalia, because those are sweet onions, you know. ;)

Not just one person did God use to peel me, but many have helped peel those nasty layers. A very intricate process... like heart surgery. Treva said to me recently, "You would not want someone performing heart surgery on you if all they had was book knowledge, and not 'experience' working with the surgical knife...hands on experience and lots of it! You would not be able to trust." I needed a surgeon who had LOTS of hands on experience, and WITH the knowledge of the Word of God. She, and so many God has crossed my path with, they have performed spiritual surgery on me with the Holy Spirit guiding them. They are skilled surgeons.

We have only been members of Harvest for a year or so, but I met Pastor Treva a few yrs prior to our actual official 'joining'. It was a God arrangement. The Holy Spirit has peeled some of my toughest most stubborn layers away through this lady, her husband, and a woman named a surgeon doing skillful, 'patient' surgery. Their counsel goes straight to the marrow (especially Sarge's ;) - I love them all for it!

Through it all I have to say that it 'hurt so good'. :) Honestly, there were many times I really wanted to be singing that song, "Baby Don't Hurt Me, No More". Sort of a little inside joke there....that they and those who were at church today will get! Yeah, it hurts to take a look at YOUR OWN heart, and not someone else's. I challenge anyone to do that.

Lots of peeling in a short amount of time. It's getting closer and closer to the good stuff in the middle. There's some love in there to be one of those blooming onions you get at the Outback steakhouse...oh yeah, makes ya hungry for more...and some of that dippin' sauce too. haha, ok, I'm getting a little carried away....just kidding just kidding.

Basically, I'm getting around to something God can maybe work with. All the right ingredients were there together, but had to be MIXED until smooth. Then had to be put into the HOT oven to cook out some junk.

So...........when you have that kind of history with the family of God, and you trust them with your life, it is really difficult to leave them all. God has it all figured out though. I AM trustin Him in this move!

This new job and the move IS becoming more exciting to think about! There is something GREAT for our family to do in VA... the next step for the Glory of God!

The fact that he got a job so soon is honestly a miracle. I could tell you stories and stories of how the Lord is lighting this way, and how everything is falling into place; orchestrated by God. God's favor on our lives.

Still, it hurts BAD to leave. I swear it is like leaving our family and friends from western NC all over again. It is like leaving Mountain Grove Church all over again!!! It is is full of the hard stuff, isn't it? God is bigger, He really is. The consolation is knowing God "has this".

Another friend from Harvest, Kathy told me this...."Wherever we go, the Spirit of the Lord goes with us. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom." I like that thought! It is so very obvious that God is totally IN this move. NO denying it! Oh, and we will be 2 hrs closer to our hometown! There is a LOT to be thankful for! The blessings are abundant!

The heart still says 'ouch' for now, but that will get better. A little piece of my heart will always be in eastern NC... for life!

I'm thankful for much healing.... God healed me physically, and has healed many hurts of the heart. I won't hold on to the pain of the past anymore. I've.... Let....It ..... Go......those old hurts....FINALLY! *Applause Please*

A person can only do so much to show someone this art of letting go. The Holy Spirit brings the revelation to each person. We can lead a person to truth, but they have to make the choice to receive it in for themselves.

However, I cannot explain to you how the staff and leadership at our church can lead the horse to the water, and actually lead the horse to drink, accept by the power of the Holy Spirit. Or.... this has been my experience there, because I'm drinking! It is like the whole salt want more of what they share of Jesus and His love. They are led by the Spirit of God!!!! They walk by FAITH!!! They intercede for people and are a praying people! What they don't do is baby people. They truly LOVE people with God's love. Sometimes tough love. Taking a person from the milk to the Gerber Graduates, to the solid and meat!

This post is so random, because I do have mixed emotions going on here. I guess what I am trying to say very grateful I am my husband has a job, and grateful to have been where I have been this past yr. Even for the previous 3 yrs prior God led me through 'iron sharpening iron', and EVEN the very hard things of my past are working all for my good. The yrs of my wilderness. It wasn't real pretty at times, and people got hurt...which I have grieved over, but God walked with me through it all, and never left my side. He forgives me, and I forgive myself. It doesn't make me feel bad anymore.

Now, there are many people I am going to miss terribly here in the east, and those people know who they are. I won't hold on too long to this sadness of leaving. There are too many things to look forward to with God.

Yes I do believe it is time for the Spring! It is time for this flower to bloom for Jesus!

Philippians 3
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Hebrews 11:8-9
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.

We leave to drive to our new location in VA to find a home. By faith, I believe God is going to lead us to the right place to make our new home. Home is where the heart is, and my heart belongs to Jesus!

Maybe my next blog won't be so random...or have quite as many typos/grammatical errors, but I think the ones who truly know me, will know where I am coming from. For those who don't know 'my heart', maybe God will have a word of encouragement for you through it...somehow. I'll try to gather my thoughts much better next time around. I'm a little rusty with the blogging thing. Good night!