Location: Our new apartment (in Indianapolis) at 5:30pm on the 17th of February.
Quick facts: All five of us are good–blessed and highly-favored of the Lord. Babies are healthy, mother-in-law is wonderful, and our marriage is better than ever. We enjoy the bad weather from our new apartment’s big window, and we still are off-line and apologizing for not responding to your emails.
As I watch the freezing rain that canceled our ministry gathering tonight turn to enormous flakes of snow, I am thankful that I arrived home from work early to find a quiet house with resting children and happy ladies. We are SO enjoying my mother-in-law’s presence with us this month, and if I am not mistaken, so is she! We feel so blessed that she willingly weathered the difficult journey to spend this time with us, and the Lord’s favor was on her travels and continues on her visit thus far. Our great God also protected each family member from the rotten cold that kept me home from work two days last week, and H. and E. are taking turns in the spotlight of their grandmother’s attention. M. also benefits from the help around the house, and I just LOVE all of it! “How great the Father’s love for us! How vast beyond all measure!”
Our new apartment closer to church and closer to my parents is spacious and filled with blessings. We certainly miss Franklin, but we have benefited from the move. If you are reading this, it means I managed to find some internet somewhere to tackle our hundreds of emails. We still plan to line up internet, but we have just had a lot of other priorities in life lately. One of them has been praying for you, and even without access to the web, we pray together for you and miss your company.
The Lord has been working mightily within us, convicting and growing us, even as we read the updates from you that are awaiting responses. We recall our days of international networking and being on the front lines of our fervent faith, and we realize that the Lord wants more from us than we have been giving. M. and I are both praying about how to be faithful in the situations in which we find ourselves. Our marriage is splendid, by the grace of God, but we feel that we have failed to use it effectively to minister in the world around us. Thus we are seeking the Lord’s leading as we reassess our priorities in prayer and fruitfulness. We are trying to invest ourselves more deeply in our church, and we are speaking to mentors whom God has put in our lives. We are also lifting up our prayer life for the Lord’s reworking. We have had some remarkable prayer times of late, as well as some very humbling moments as the Lord breaks our heart and rebuilds us into His image.
- Do you ever feel like God has more for you, if you would only let Him lead you into it? More life, more grace, more love, more wisdom, more blessing, more responsibilities, more challenges, more faith?
- Do you ever feel like you failed to be obedient at a point in the path, and now you have to pray about how to get back into the center of your Father’s will?
- Do you ever feel like you have tried your hardest to be a faithful disciple and yet somehow you find yourself like Peter, being rebuked by Jesus, or like the other disciples, arguing who is the greatest, or like Saul, fighting against the very Lord you are called to serve?
- Do you ever feel like life is passing you by without you acting boldly to sow into each moment for a hundred-fold harvest in the future?
Oh, how I have missed writing! Oh, how I have missed being in close contact with each of you, listening to you, celebrating with you, grieving with you, praying with you, encouraging you, being encouraged by you!
My work is going well. Our children are developing beautifully. Our church is moving forward. Our Lord is speaking to us, even as He surrounds us with wonderful friends and family. It is difficult to conceive of the extent of our blessings.
That also makes it hard to explain why we struggle so much to stay in contact, to be on time, and to do other little things that are normal for most people. Maybe those of you who are parents of small children can identify. Maybe those of you who have lived in a foreign culture or a cross-cultural marriage know what we are experiencing. Maybe those of you who have waded through life’s challenges and spiritual lessons have an idea of what we have faced.
Or maybe not. Maybe we are weaker than most Christians. Maybe we are less capable than most new parents. Maybe we are less flexible than most international travelers. Maybe we fall more, struggle more, and are in need of more grace. Maybe we just can’t cut it; maybe we are destined to fail.
I am learning that this is not a bad place in which to dwell. To abide. In my weakness, He is strong. In my failures, He is sovereign. In my frustrations, He is peaceful. I have learned that like the snow outside my window, I like watching His grace, His peace, His miracles. Even if it means I am sitting wrapped up in a seemingly impossible challenge.
So to answer you question, yes, I am working on responding to your email. I am hoping to start teaching and preaching again. I desire to be a sharp and effective tool in the hand of the Spirit of God. I am eager to have dinner with you, or to meet you for coffee. Or to work in the center of my Father’s will with you. But while you wait on my note or my call, please join me in waiting upon the Lord. Join me in laying our hearts before the Lord, saying, “Behold, Lord, here is my heart, and my hurts and my holy desires. Grace them into a reflector of Your glory, a lantern of your Light!”