Friday, April 20, 2012

A New Adventure

Been a little quiet lately here in cyberworld---but now I'm back to share a bit about how God has been at work in our lives!

He has been at work in INCREDIBLE ways and I've just been taking some quiet time to let it soak in. 

I finally learned the lesson that when my head is full of chaos, when I'm unsettled/off-balance emotionally that I just need to back away, pull inward, and seek God's face fully.  In the past, I would fight it and spiral downward until EVERYTHING was falling apart.  I've finally recognized that the typical cause of that uneasiness is that God is ready to reveal something in my life and that I need to slow down and open my heart to hear it. I had been feeling that for about two weeks, so I knew that God was about to show up in a big way!

In recent months when I made the decision to say "no" to many things, even things that I REALLY loved and had such value it was very difficult but I knew it was the right decision.  I constantly was given reminders that saying "no" to things now meant that I would be able to say "yes" to something later.  I didn't know when that would come or what *that* would be. 

What matters is that God is putting our feet on a new path.  A path that isn't an easy one, but one that is going to have countless rewards.  I'm sure people will think I am crazy at times (I at times feel that way!).  I know this, when God is in it....who cares what the world says!  I can't even listen to my own doubts.  I have to walk in faith.

You see, years ago (which is beginning to feel like a lifetime) I had a dream.  *I* had a plan.  *I* had a direction for my life.  In college, I was working towards my social work degree and had a heavy focus on children's ministry.  *My* plan was to partner with some youth ministry leaders in Honduras that were in the initial stages of building an orphanage.  Though God led me down a different path when He gave me the incredible gift of my PRICELESS husband and then later our blessings of children, my heart has still had that calling in it. 

The calling in my heart just moved in a new direction:  to my family.  Same ideas, same message, same heart---just not across the world!  That "calling" in my heart has shaped the mother, wife, friend, daughter of Christ that I try to be.  It pushes me and encourages me to STICK with it, to "finish what I started" on those HARD days.  It is the basis of what motivates us to continue to homeschool after this many years.  It is what doesn't let  me settle with "good enough".  It is what pushes me back to Proverbs 31 DAILY. My "mission field" became my home.  AND IT'S MORE THAN ENOUGH!

However, we see some doors opening that are the result of that same seed that was planted all those years ago. 

For the past 7 months, I have had the incredible blessing to provide childcare for a precious little girl a couple of days a week.  It has been such a joy.  For those that know me, you know that I have an insatiable desire and passion for little ones.  It can't be quenched.  Many look at me like I'm crazy when they realize that I THRIVE on having a wee one around!

Because I've felt so adamant about giving her the full attention she deserves and the balancing of my own family's daily needs (especially with home education), I didn't desire to expand that childcare to any others (except for a dear family friend if she were ever in need!). 

Yet, God moved.  He has moved in a HUGE way. 

Saying "no" to those other families and saying "no" to those other activities/ministries/responsibilities has allowed us to NOW say "yes" to something bigger. 

We, as a family, have a desire to be involved in missions.  We have for a VERY long time desired to adopt.  We want to partner with organizations that focus on the orphan.  There have been hurdles with adopting and doors have closed, but we prayerfully wait for that to change.  We still feel VERY led to be on a mission field some day, whether that be short or long term.  God will have to lead on those details!

ALL of these things require finances we just simply don't have.  Though we are less than a year away from FINALLY being 100% debt free (and 45 days away from only having ONE bill!), our long terms goals require finances beyond that.  We've felt like our desire to become debt free is just a baby step in a bigger plan. 

In my heart, I had already been wondering how we could bring our goals (even though we don't know ANY of the details, we just know the general direction) to reality faster. 

Was I saying "no" to God when I was saying "no" to opportunities that just seemed to pop up out of the blue?  Was I preventing our goals of ministry from happening by my own lack of faith?  Tough questions.

Several weeks ago, Kevin and I found this switch that allowed us to begin communicating on a MUCH deeper level than we had ever experienced  (which is hard to believe!).   To say that the Holy Spirit has taken over both of our lives with a new power is an understatement.  We are finally seeing the results of digging into His word, earnest prayers, and just connecting at the heart. It's dramatically changing and shaping us. 

The one thing that is happening is that we are SEEING God at work.  Seeing, not just believing by faith.. Little miracles are in front of our eyes constantly.  Problems that didn't seem possible to deal with, suddenly have had solutions.  The list could go on endlessly....

One of those conversations allowed me to share my heart about where I felt God was leading, but that I had confusion as to whether it was my own emotions or God's leading.  Sometimes THAT IS VERY HARD to separate. 

So we began to pray about that direction....

And HE answered.  Instantly.  Like I have NEVER experienced in my life. 

I was in process of sending an email to a friend asking her to pray specifically on a couple of topics and JUST as I was reading her response email----I saw another email from a name from someone I didn't immediately recognize. 

The email was God's answer. 

With much prayer, thoughtful consideration, countless conversations....we stepped through the door of faith and have opened our home to some additional childcare. 

Because I do NOT ever want it to be "just a job" and I truly want it to be a ministry, I have been seeking God's direction and leading on how to proceed.  I know this:  I have some adjustments ahead of me and it's not something we are taking "lightly"....but GOD IS IN THIS!  His hand is ALL over it! 

What I didn't know when the conversations were taking place was that Kevin was hidden away AT THAT SAME TIME praying for financial blessings to be poured out because of our desires to serve God in a BIG way. 

Many times we wait for YEARS for answers to prayers....this time it was instant.  Literally before ink could dry to paper (even though it was actual a series of emails!). 

Had I not started saying "no" all of those weeks ago, I wouldn't have been in position to say "yes" now.  I would have missed the opportunity that God had been giving us.  Just even in the basic daily way we have been doing things in recent months was preparation for this "yes". He's allowing me to share the love I have for babies with a family that is in desperate need of childcare and wants their child in a Christian home those hours.   I truly see it as a ministry opportunity.

In the bigger picture, *this* is the beginning of us being able to work towards our long terms goals financially, one day at a time, but a bit faster than before.  It isn't to buy bigger or better things.  It isn't to have more stuff.  It's so that we can begin to build financially so that when God finally does say "GO!", all we have to ask is "Where?"

Walking in faith.  Believing as He has opened doors (much more than I can write in a single post).  Wondering what the future holds and what His ultimate plan for our family is, but knowing we couldn't be in any better hands.  Knowing that this new adventure is just the first step in a new direction He has for us, but so incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to soak it in.  MANY decisions on our plates to think through, many uncertain things.......but know that we are on track.  We finally feel like our purpose is beginning to fall into place!  I know there are going to be days ahead that I'm just physically exhausted from balancing EVERYONE'S needs to the fullest capacity I can provide---but I know that with God:  ALL. THINGS. ARE.POSSIBLE!

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