Monday, July 29, 2013

In Limbo

"So, when are you leaving for New Mexico?"

That seems to be the most common question I get these days. After all, my husband's last day of work at the Mayo Clinic is this week! We have no house to sell. We've made arrangements for Brad's ordination. We are ready to go! Well, almost...

But the answer continues to be, "We don't know." That's right; we do not know when we are leaving for New Mexico. Even though the official paperwork has been processed and the congregation in Dulce is awaiting our arrival. We are anxious to begin ministry there. But we do not know when that will be.

And it's frustrating to be in limbo! I want to know. I want to finish planning the packing; there are so many things I can't begin to pack until we know how long we'll be here... What if we need those fall/winter clothes?

So, when are we leaving for New Mexico? And what's holding us up?

The short answer is that there are two "employers" in this mission posting: the congregation itself and the mission board of our denomination. The two entities are trying to work out what's best for our arrival, and there are multiple factors to consider. We should have a plan by the end of this week, which is good. And it's possible that our arrival in New Mexico is as early as August 20th... or as late as mid-September!

In limbo. Not so much fun. I like to have a plan. But I also know that God's plan is infinitely better than mine would ever be. So, I am praying for patience, wisdom, and grace in this waiting-time. I am praying that my ability to trust God will increase instead of my frustration. And I keep on packing... slowly...

When are we leaving for New Mexico?? On God's timetable. And it will be perfectly right!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I'm exhausted. Too tired to see straight. Running on fumes... Ever been there? 

Of course you have! We all have times in our lives when the circumstances lead us to expend more energy than we can comfortably use up. It can happen at work, at home, even on vacation. For me, it's a combination of trying to get ready to move, leading the VBS assemblies this week, and having beloved family as guests for the week.

We've been having a wonderful time at VBS and with our family guests! I wouldn't wish either away... and it's turned out to be amazing that they happened on the same week: Our wee one's cousins have been attending VBS with her. What a great thing to share!
I've also enjoyed the trips we've taken with our family guests. We've been to the zoo, the aquarium, and more! It's been great to spend time by the fire and the pool together. We are so blessed to have this time before we move so far away.

But still, I'm exhausted. Physically and mentally. Totally fried. I think if I went to bed right now, I'd sleep until tomorrow!

So, what do we DO when we get exhausted? How can I get through two more nights of VBS assemblies filled with shouting, singing, dancing, and excitement? How can I possibly have the energy to fulfill my role as enthusiastic leader?!

The Bible clearly tells us the answer.... over and over and over again. I searched my Bible app for the words "sustain," "refresh," and "strengthen," and I found so many instances of God sustaining, refreshing, and/or strengthening His people that I cannot possibly list them all! One of my favorites is Isaiah 41:10: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Whoa. That's marvelous! Read it again: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Let the enormity of that promise fill you for a moment. 

Not only can we dispense with fear, but also dismay! Never do we have to face the world alone or helpless! Even in my exhaustion, I can lean on Him and know (yes, know) that He will get me through. This isn't magical thinking, and He is not a "short-order" God, dispensing our wishes like a genie. This is the Truth, and I can trust that however He meets my prayer, that answer is the very best one, even if I can't see that at the time.

So in my exhaustion today, I will lean into Him for all things.

Friday, July 19, 2013


We have lived in our "temporary" housing for over a year now. One month from today, we expect to be driving West with a loaded truck, an all-wheel drive vehicle, and a trailer filled with kayaks. Without really expecting it to, this place has turned into home. We've celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and two Easters here. It will be sad in some ways to leave this green, open, and forgiving space. We've had a lot of fun here.

I know I've said before that I've always sought a place to call home for the rest of my life. I've been such a vagabond, all my life long. It would be good to have deep roots in a place. Instead, I am moving from a temporary home to another temporary home: a parsonage. It is surrounded by beautiful Chinese Elms and it's large enough to serve our needs and then some.  Now, don't hear me wrong: We do not anticipate leaving Dulce, NM anytime soon! We're expecting to live in this parsonage for 10-15 years. But it will not belong to us. And that's okay.
I've really come to a new understanding of home lately. Home isn't the house in which I live. Home  isn't the house or the town in which I grew up. Home is with God. Home is that state in which I am restful in the knowledge that God provides for my every need, every step of the way. (Matthew 6:25-34) And truly, home is that place where Jesus sits at the right-hand of God, where every tear is wiped from every eye, where death has no foothold. (Revelation 21:4) So for now, I will let my roots grow deep into the Word of God, and I will rejoice in the work He is doing in me to prepare me for my eternal home. 

Then there will be no more moving for me. I will be home at long last.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I sent this text today to the little cutie on the right in this picture (She's now 26!): "I'm outraged by the outcome of the Zimmerman trial." My daughter texted back, "Yeah, I think everyone is."

But they're not. The only outraged comments I saw on Facebook today were from Black people or the parents of mixed-race kids. Only one of my White friends said anything about it at all!

Many of the outraged comments were about things I can deeply relate to and wrote about when Treyvon Martin was killed. As the mother of the now-adult Black man on the left, I understand the fears of every mother of a Black man. I've read some insightful and even witty responses to the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman. Among the best is this post by Alex Fraser.

But the most poignant thing for me came in a discussion with this
little cutie on the right. She's now 6 1/2 and wondered what Mom was so upset about this morning. At first, I was tempted to avoid explaining such a complex and deep problem in our society, but I decided to try.

In our discussion, she asked why the man would kill the boy who was just walking through the neighborhood. The easy answer was, "Because he was Black," but that didn't seem right to me. It wasn't that simple. Almost everyone, including George Zimmerman, would deny that the color of a person's skin is a reason to kill them... Finally, I answered, "Because the man was scared of the boy."

She persisted, "But why was he afraid of the boy?" And I said, "Unfortunately, lots of people are scared of Black boys and men." "That's dumb," she said. "J's not scary!" See, J is the little boy in the picture above, my son. Our 6-year-old's birth father. Her adoptive brother. Family. Known.


How would this situation have been different if George Zimmerman had known Treyvon Martin... or anyone like him? How would the jury have decided if it had included Treyvon's peers, instead of being all almost all White? (There was one female minority juror of undetermined descent.) If someone on the jury had known what it was like to be a young Black man?

How might you feel differently about the verdict if you have truly known young Black men? White Privilege is such an insidious beast...

And again I'm struck by my own White Privilege these days: I could have chosen to ignore the verdict with my six-year-old. I almost did! I didn't have any choice at all in addressing similar events when my first two kiddos were young. By the age of six, my older daughter had been repeatedly screamed at to keep her "n*** a**" off a neighbor's lawn. By the age of six, my son was being followed in stores, even when he was with me. By the age of six, there were neighbor kids we knew never to invite to play...because they would always tell my kids they couldn't do something-or-other because they were Black.

Six-year-old Black kids know the injustice and discrimination of today's America. It is only the White kids and the White kids' parents who have the privilege of ignoring race.

So, if you are White, connect yourself to the Black community. No, it's not easy. No, it's not comfortable. But it is essential! And if you are a White parent, don't assume the White Privilege of ignoring race. Talk about racial issues, news stories, etc. Intentionally take your child places where children from many backgrounds are present. And be connected, so they'll be connected.

It will take all of us to make a new future for each of us. Make it personal, like it is for all of us who love young Black men.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Great is Thy faithfulness! I have been reminded of this in multiple ways this week. Psalm 16:5-6 touched my heart this morning: "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance."

This is David speaking to our beloved God... and we DO have a beautiful inheritance. Not that every circumstance is beautiful! Far from it, but that our God promises that we are His... and that is beautiful!

My husband has waited in faith to be called, never pushing himself, but allowing God to work in the hearts of numerous search committees... and in our hearts, as well. We have prayed through many interviews that this is the place to which God is calling us. And honestly, there have been very few discouraging moments in the two+ years of waiting.

Two years ago, we weren't searching for a mission posting... But when a church in the Jicarilla Apache Nation in New Mexico appeared on the RCA website a year ago, I encouraged my husband to send his information to them. He prayerfully did so. It was many months before we heard anything from them; but they wanted to interview him. That made it more real; did we really want to move so far from our families? So far from our expected future?

More prayer. Much more prayer! God continued to bring this congregation to our minds in positive ways. Brad was invited to preach at the church in April; we all traveled to seek God's will in this. It became quite clear that both the search committee and we had known God's leading in this. We felt drawn to Dulce, to the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church, to these people... and they felt drawn to us.

The process has taken more than 12 weeks, but it is official today: Brad has been called to be their pastor! Our family will be moving to Dulce, New Mexico in August. We will be sustained by your prayer, as we have been sustained through the long wait.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Be With Me

It is my habit to read my devotional and pray in the mornings. I usually walk prior to this, listening to Christian music, but otherwise, it's the first thing I do...

Well, except when I'm pulled into a game of Words with Friends...

Or when I check in with Facebook before I read and pray...

This morning was one of those mornings. I really wanted to relax, I thought. I would read and pray later, I decided... But that doesn't usually happen once the hubbub of the day begins. So, I chose to read my devotional and pray... kind of, anyway.

I caught myself rushing through the Bible reading, hurrying the meditation on God's Word. And my prayer, tossed up to heaven, was "God, be with me through this day." And God tossed back my way, "How can I be with you when you won't take the time to be with ME?"


The truth hit home. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." I've known I'm not so good at the be still part, but it's a practice I try to do at least sometimes. This morning, I set aside my iPhone, and stilled my mind... and felt God's presence. I prayed earnestly that God would continue to mold me into His image. He's definitely not finished with me yet!

God be with you this day.

Monday, July 1, 2013


This morning, I was pondering my devotional reading from Seeking God's Face by Philip Reinders, which included this passage from I Peter: 8b. It says, "They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do." This and similar verses have always bothered me; why would God destine people to disobey, to go to Hell? Why would He choose some people to be with Him forever and others to be separated from Him forever?
As I was questioning this, I realized I still had Sovereign by Chris Tomlin running through my head. I had been listening to it on my morning walk, and it was stuck. The words that created an interesting juxtaposition are,
"Sovereign in the mountain air,
Sovereign on the ocean floor,
Sovereign in the dark,
Sovereign in the dawn."

I cannot question God's motives; He is Good in all things, in all times. I cannot question God's ability; He is almighty. I cannot question God's authority; He is sovereign. I do not know whether God extends His grace to all people for their acceptance or rejection, or whether God has chosen some people to be damned. What I do know is that God is in charge, not me! I don't have to understand His plan, any more than my six-year-old has to understand my plans. I can simply trust that God has it all under control.