Another year

It's almost the end of the year. Seems like 2009 just came in and it's time to usher it out while 2010 enters the scene. Some years, I've not even given the passing year a glance as it ended with not so much a bang. Other times, I'd enjoyed the year so much that I was sad to see it go.
Change is always an anxiety producing time for me. I long for it, while at the same time I am afraid of it. I've moved a LOT in my life, and childhood fears and memories add a lot to my anxiety. As an adult, I've found myself moving by choice an awful lot as well. While part of me longs for a place to call home, another part always thinks of what might be somewhere else. A new job, a new church, a new neighborhood and house. It thrills me to think of it.
As we sit here in New Orleans trying to figure out what our next step is, I find it exciting to think of moving one more time. I had told Paul when we moved to Mississippi that he had better plan to die there. I added in that if he ever mentioned moving after that move, he had better plan to die a little sooner than originally expected. But then God came calling and we moved to seminary.
We've looked at Boone, NC and a job with Samaritan's Purse. There is a job in Georgia with Habitat for Humanity. There is a newspaper job in Dallas. So many things to think about....
and then I drive the boys to school every morning in uptown New Orleans and go to their conferences and hear how spectacularly they are doing, all the friends they've made, and how much they are learning....and a part of me yearns to stay right here in the Crescent City. And don't get me started on the Touro. I love it there, even though things have been difficult for me in some ways. The people are one of a kind. I love them, I love the culture, I love the fact that when I'm in a predominantly white group of people I feel out of place. LOL. That absolutely cracks me up, but it's true. I went to the Wal Mart in Slidell one day and kept feeling like something was "off". Then it occurred to me that the majority of shoppers that day were white.
We don't fit in at the seminary any more, that is for certain. I get aggravated when students who don't work outside the gates or go to church with anyone other than other seminary students think that they can make a difference in a city they know nothing about. I actually witnessed a student telling a local woman that Katrina was a long time ago and it was time to move on. I have never been so embarrassed. What made it worse was that he identified himself as a Christian and as a NOBTS student. This woman knew that I was a Christian and that I lived at NOBTS. It horrified me. For over a year I had built a relationship with this woman and in one fell idiotic swoop, I lost credibility because of one person that didn't know anything about what he was talking about. I wish the seminary would require all the students to take a class on tactuful communication. Is there such a thing?
I've taken more than my share of deriding comments about my return to work and placing the boys in school instead of homeschooling them. And Paul has got to be the most underpaid, undervalued writer ever to grace the campus of NOBTS. We've really gone through the ringer while we've been here. Sometimes I think of things that have happened here and get angry and upset and wonder why we stayed...but I know why we did. God didn't give us the okay to move on. And so we've bit our tongues, sat on our hands, and gone on.
I feel like change is coming. As the Gaither song says, "I just feel like something good is about to happen..."
I sure hope so....stay tuned!


I shouldn't be surprised by how God works, but after 38 years of walking with Christ, I am consistently amazed that He is so present in my life. When I feel so badly about myself, or my parenting skills, or whatever it is that has me down, He never leaves me. He is right there with me, just where he promised to be. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20.
I have a friend named Robin. We have made an agreement in recent months to hold one another accountable and to pray for one another. In the midst of my no good, very bad day yesterday I texted her to ask her how she was doing and to let her know I had just prayed for her. She replied briefly that she was fine and we'd chat later.
Today she sent me a long note detailing how I must've been praying at precisely the right time. She needed to feel God's presence and I was able to reassure her that in that moment I was lifting her up to our Father in heaven, who loves her (and me!) so much more than we can think or even imagine. It's such a simple testimony to His love for us and His faithfulness. He is with us always. Always!
I shared with Robin some of the struggles we'd been facing lately, and asked her to pray for us.
First I had a huge problem at work. It was a blow to me personally as well as professionally. But I dealt with it. We prayed our way through it and hung in there.
Then I started getting traffic tickets. I know that sounds unusual. It is. I am 44 and had never been in an accident up to this point. I'd only gotten a few traffic tickets in my driving career, and then they were very few and far between. In a span of 2 weeks, I was looking at 3 citations, 1 accident, and a total fine of nearly $500 for all combined.
OK....I admit I was getting a bit skeptical. If this is Satan trying to drag me down, it's working. I know that he cannot do anything to a believer without getting permission from God. So I tell myself that God is allowing all this. OK, fine. Not sure what the message is, but I'm a bit ticked. I don't get it. I'm working as much as I can, our family barely gets to go to church due to my work schedule and 2 piece o'crap vehicles, and now this. Right before Christmas. I admit --- I thought that God was NOWHERE in sight in the midst of all this. He's off helping Franklin Graham raise millions for orphans in Uganda, or helping Beth Moore write another best selling Bible study. But here in New Orleans with the South family, who'd given up everything, moved to a violent city, and now sat here nearly broke with Christmas approaching.....I didn't see Him in this picture. And then the final straw? The van died. On the way home from school, it died. I admit I had a moment (more like an entire evening) where I could totally identify with Job's wife. I just did NOT get it.
This morning, Robin pointed me to a message from a missions conference she'd just attended with her husband. I watched the entire thing, tears in my eyes through most of it, as God gently and lovingly reminded me of the call that He placed on our lives in January of 2005. Paul and I knew that God had spoken to us, He had laid His hand on our hearts and told us in no uncertain terms that we were to go. Not knowing what that meant, we surrendered. We sold our house, packed our belongings, and moved to a still shaky and uncertain post-Katrina New Orleans for seminary. It seemed the logical place to start.
4 years later, with multiple changes that have taken place in our family, we were quite honestly beginning to question that call. I was back to work, we'd added a 3rd child to our family, we'd quit homeschooling and put the boys in school....our lives looked dramatically different than it did when we came here. "How could this be what God wanted for us", we'd ask one another often. We didn't have the answer. No one did.
And then Robin sent me that link. Walker Moore. He may have spoken to a group of pastors in Arkansas before Thanksgiving, but today he spoke to a skeptical woman sitting in her 800 square foot seminary apartment, ready to throw in the towel and quit.
No, I correct that: it wasn't Walker Moore. It was our Almighty God speaking through a man who had himself surrendered his life to God's work. And it's all it took to reignite the passion that God placed in *me* some 15 years ago. And it reminded me of the feeling of complete peace that Paul and I had as we walked to the front of our church in Biloxi, on January 1, 2006, and told Chip Stevens and our entire church family that we would go where God wanted us to go, and we would do what God wanted us to do. We believed that with all our hearts then, and I believe it now.
And then, from way back in the portion of my brain that stores all those Scriptures I've memorized over the years came a familiar, loved verse....
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)
Perhaps I'd gotten too busy. Maybe I've tuned him out with children, TV, radio, washing machines and dishwashers. I've gone to work and listened to monitors and babies cry and IV pumps....but I didn't listen for Him. The noise of the world had drowned Him out. But He hasn't budged. Hasn't gone anywhere. He is right here, speaking to me and to Paul, and even to Tucker, Griffin, and Anne Claire; He's getting them prepared for the job that is marked for our family---the one for eternal purposes with our name on it.
No, He hasn't gone anywhere. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20.


Do you ever feel like things are just falling apart all around you?
Just when I think that things can't possibly go more awry, they do. I find myself so overwhelmed that I am not sure what the proper response I laugh, because the calamity has just gotten too out of control? Do I cry, because I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel?
My wise husband says to just pray. And so I do, and I'll continue to do so, until God makes some sort of sense out of a very senseless world....