It's been more than a month since I wrote. On July 12 I confessed being brokenhearted. Today, I'm not sure about all the feelings I feel, but a big one is gratitude; I'm grateful to God for His perfectly choreographed series of no's, not yet's and yes's that we have experienced as a family over the past five years, six months and twenty-four days (since we moved into a home in the greater Washington D.C. area). This has been an unprecedented learning experience for all of us. It's been grueling and exhilarating; exactly what all of us needed to come to the end of ourselves and to the beginning of God.
Yesterday we saw 30-40 some men and women of the Waterboyz for Jesus, www.Waterboyz.org move the contents of our home onto two trucks (see photo album on facebook if you are interested). The neighbors are still talking about the remarkable way it was done. "Who were all those people?" WOW! Moved out in one morning. The first waves arrived about 9:35am, and the "finishers" left about 1pm after fitting our earthly belongings mostly onto one 26 foot Penske Truck (not a Budget truck, ala Tony Stoltzfus!)
But while our "belongings" fit onto a couple of trucks, our memories don't. Those we carry with us in our minds and hearts.
As I looked around the group that gathered I remembered rounds of golf, a trip to Myrtle beach, numerous "table" meetings where we transparently shared the struggles and victories of life, and a few men and couples whose marriages we'd served. And the number of folks we've interacted with for mutual impact is thousands more who we didn't know at all five years ago. God simply impressed on us to serve those He put on our path, and still those marching orders remain.
One friend took me to a quiet corner of the house to say goodbye. After sharing some memories and words of appreciation, he marveled at the way God put the plan together for us to move at the last minute.* I told him that the Ohio home would be our fourth in twenty years. "Will you stay there permanently?" he asked. "I don't know" I replied. We'll see what the Lord has and where He wants us to be." "I couldn't do that", he said. "I need my creature comforts, but for you guys this is a the way you live." He seemed shaken, maybe challenged; perhaps a bit scared that some of our willingness to respond to Abrahamic calls (get up and go the the place I will show you) might rub off.
But don't think it's all grand and glorious, and don't think we're lauding ourselves. The way I've done this leaves much to be desired. With hindsight there are some things I'd do differently. I'd fret less, grieve "losses" with better understanding that if God takes something away that He is freeing my hands for something better, and somehow be better for my loved ones by isolating less and not being so grouchy.
And there are numerous costs to living one's calling. One clear cost to us has been financial. We have nowhere the financial stability and security that we once had, BUT, our needs are met in an exceeding abundant way. We haven't missed a house payment or a meal. Just this morning I reminded myself to live one day at a time (thank you, Jesus), for God has promised to provide our needs. I don't have to see how He is going to do that, nor does He need me to instruct Him in "strategy prayers" (the kind where I tell Him how to do things). He wants me to live loved in relationship with Him, fully trusting Him to do what He says He is going to do. I want to believe...please help my unbelief!
Well, the sun is up and it's time to take Carly and Gabby to Wilson College. How do I feel about that? Glad, sad...you get it; the myriad of emotions that come with loss and change.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for befriending us on the journey (and allowing us to befriend you).
with love and blessings, Jeff
*On the morning of July 29 Jill and I surrendered our desire and plan to move back to Ohio. "If we don't have a signed contract to rent out our home in MD by August 21, then we aren't moving." Later that afternoon a Christian couple with two young children joyfully toured our abode. By that evening we'd agreed by phone to proceed with a two-year lease. The following week we signed to rent a remarkable home in Springfield.
Reflections about a Dying? Pastor
4 years ago