Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Choking Back Tears

It's officially begun. The dreaded goodbyes. The part I've purposely been pushing from my mind for weeks now is quickly becoming unavoidable and I'm sad.

Yesterday, some of my co-workers took me out for a "farewell" lunch. There were thoughtful gifts and kind sentiments from a pretty wonderful group of people and I couldn't help but get choked up. I'm so gonna miss these folks, the ones who were able to make it and those who couldn't. For the last three years I've had the privilege of working with people who are so gifted in what they each do. I have so much respect and admiration for each and every one of them.

Then today I met with someone I usually only deal with through email, though occassionally face-to-face. She hugged me before she left and wished me well and told me I would be missed. I'll miss her too.

Next week will be the worst. It's my last week and even as I type that, I'm choking back tears - unsuccessfully, I might add. I've loved everything about working for my church, from the people I work with and for, to those involved in the ministries I help serve. I wasn't wanting to go back to work three years ago and I hated the events that made it necessary but I couldn't be more thankful that God opened that door and shoved me through it. It's been one of the best experiences of my life and a big part of me truly wishes it wasn't coming to an end.

Oh, here we go again. Where are the tissues...

Be blessed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

All This Moving Stuff

Howdy folks! Have I told you lately how awesome I think God is? Well, based on the date of my last post, I haven't told you anything in a month and a day so I guess I haven't. Well, He is.

Preparations for our move to FL have been progressing nicely - THANK YOU, JESUS! Every time a potential glitch has popped up, God has smoothed it out. More than that, everytime my worries and doubts have popped up, God smoothed those out too, with specific-to-my-prayers scripture. I have been loving this time with the Lord. I don't think I've ever experienced Him like this before. I know I haven't.

My friend asked me recently if this move is different from the other moves we've made and my husband asked me something similar as well. This move is different. For instance, when we moved from Virgnia Beach, VA to San Antonio, TX, God gave me a peace about that. Throughout this whole process though, God has, little by little given me not just peace, but a confidence that He is leading this and is working out every detail.

I was on our church's annual women's retreat down in Rehoboth Beach, DE when my husband called to say we had an offer on the house. I told you in my last post that in our heart of hearts, we weren't really expecting the house to sell. Not in this market. So I was more than a little shocked when he told me. One of my very best friends was on the retreat with me and I was afraid to tell her. I knew she'd be upset - shoot, I was upset. My mind immediately went to all that we'd be leaving. Our friends, my kids' schools, our church, a job I love with people I absolutely respect beyond words...I thought of the devastation this would be to my kids...This is the closest I've lived to my mom, sister and her family in NY in 14 years and now I'm going to leave? Again? I was completely torn in half.

But God was SO good to me. He made sure I'd be in the best possible place to receive this news - this women's retreat. The speaker was a woman by the name of Sharon Thomas with Established Footsteps Ministries and she spoke on, of all things...moving! Moving from one spiritual place to another and making sure to build your "house" on the Rock. It was so fabulous. Every message was SO specific, SO encouraging. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I think I did both at different times.

But the best came late Saturday morning. Every year, an hour of quiet time immediately follows the Saturday morning message (and precedes LUNCH & 5 hours of free time). We are encouraged to get by ourselves to pray, read our Bibles, answer some questions based on that morning's message and just basically reflect on what God might be saying to us. The weather was gorgeous so most of us, myself included, chose to go down to the beach. I got as close to the water as I could - without letting it actually touch me. (It was, afterall, only April. In Deleware. The water was freezing!)

I began to pour out my heart to God - my fears, my worries. I desperately want to be doing the right thing by my family. I think now of the story where Moses tells God that if He wasn't going to go with them into the promised land, he didn't want to go at all. That's pretty much how I felt. I believed that moving would ultimately make life better for my family but if He wasn't leading it, if He wasn't behind this, I didn't want to go anywhere. I asked Him to please not allow us to get one toe out of His will. And I do, afterall, have plenty of good reasons to stay. I've changed so much in the last 5 years and feel like I've experienced the biggest growth spurt of my life with regard to my relationship with Him while here. I don't know what a future looks like somewhere else but I could see possibilities for each of us for continued growth and ways and places to get involved if we stayed.

I had my Bible with me and began to read various scriptures. Through those and through what God spoke to my heart, my faith grew a little bit and I began to believe He might actually be behind this move. He told me through His Word that I could trust Him and to remember and think of those things that I know about Him; that He is the Good Shepherd who never leads His sheep astray. He reminded me that He doesn't stay behind in PA while we move elsewhere but He would go with us and, in fact, has gone before us. It was this back and forth conversation with Him. It was the coolest thing ever.

And that's kind of how it's been throughout this whole process. Another friend of mine told me that during the retreat, God had put it on her heart to give me this small binder full of index cards on many of which she wrote, by hand, scripture verses about trusting God for my future. Verses like Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Those verses in that binder are like gold to me. A treasured gift. One I carry with me constantly, refer to frequently and add to periodically.

Yes, God is awesome. I'm just sayin'

Be blessed.