The last 48 hours have been pretty amazing. From the outside looking in, no one would probably notice anything different. But there is most definitely something different... and as Jamie and I spent time together in prayer this morning, we couldn't help but marvel at what God is doing; what He is revealing; how He is changing us; why He is doing it now... and what led up to all of this.
It's been a while since I've had a moment to write on this site. The entire month of October was, quite literally, consumed with our L.I.T.E. Challenge. I was up at 4:30 almost every morning, typing and researching. I was used to having 5-6 months to work on the past devotionals. Here I had only 30 days... and these devotionals were far more difficult. But, God was so incredibly faithful. He taught me so much through His word and through countless others that were also spurred on by the challenges of the Gospel. During this time, I was also approached about leading a Bible study at the re-entry house... a house for women in the jail and prison system in Maine. After 6 weeks, I can't even begin to describe to you the love I have for these women. They challenge me in ways that I've never been challenged before... and I love it. As I work to teach others about Jesus, my preparation is making me a better disciple.
Our family took a trip to Rhode Island in November. We got a chance to connect with Jared and Rachel and the rest of the team while we made Thanksgiving baskets for members of the community. I must admit that as wonderful as it was to see our friends and to be a part of the amazing things God is doing there... we left with heavy hearts... wanting to stay... wanting to be daily participants on this journey with them.
We've also had our share of set backs... more than our share! We did get the septic fixed... only to have the fridge die the very next day... only to have Sandy blow through a few days later and take with her some siding off our house and shingles off our roof... only to have Jamie's car die the next week... only to find out that my mom's cancer has returned. There have been many tears flowing from this house... stemming from frustration... and anger... and sadness.
So... what does this have to do with the past 48 hours. Well... nothing.... and everything. (How's that for clarity?) Over the weekend, I had some amazing conversations with people that have played such a HUGE part in the cultivation of my faith. I spent time talking to my "big sister" in Arkansas. And as she spent time sharing with me where God has her right now... Jesus shook my heart like you wouldn't believe. As soon as I hung up the phone Saturday night, I ran up to Jamie... trying to explain what happened... and doing a very poor job. She spent time talking about the revelation of God's word... of not being able to get enough... of learning so much that her head would spin. I began to think of her time here with us... of how much she poured into others... and how it must feel to receive the replenishing Word of God... for someone to pour into you so much that your head wants to spin. I couldn't help but imagine how God is going to use this time... how He will use this time of preparation in her life. And it was that word: Preparation. A word that has been on my tongue... that I have flippantly used... that God settled on my heart.
The next day... yesterday... we went to church. Completely normal... so I thought. But, as we listened to the last worship song before the sermon, Jesus grabbed a hold of my heart... not in a "moved-by-emotion-isn't-Jesus-great" way. It was a "come-to-Jesus-your-sins-revealed-isn't-Jesus-sovereign-and-most-worthy-of worship" way. This was followed by a sermon, while focusing on the task of praying for one, dealt so precisely, so on-the-mark with the necessity of dealing with sin. I truly don't know how to explain what happened... it was like a revelation to my heart of EVERYTHING we have been struggling with over the past few months: the "misalignment" of our priorities, the stubbornness of our pride, the senseless wrestling with God. In one moment... in His perfect timing... God opened my eyes to the truth of my heart... truth that I've always acknowledged... but never wanted to surrender. But, for the first time... I wanted to surrender it... and I did. I kinda made my own alter call... now that I think about it.... a little awkward. But here's the beauty of God's grace... Jamie told me afterward that he almost went up with me... that he understood... that what he loves most about me is that I care very little about what others think... that my obedience to God trumps my fear of man.
God's timing is perfect. It's no coincidence that the impending trip to visit my mom comes on the heels of this revelation. That things are starting to move forward as we ready ourselves to leave Maine. God has been moving us to this place... very slowly... painfully slow. But, for a purpose... His timing perfect. As we sat as a family last night, circled up on the floor.... Jamie, Bible in hand, we talked about the obstacles before us... the importance of being a team... not for each other, but for Jesus... Jamie and I just marveled at God's goodness and grace... in the storm. This morning as we worked on our Nehemiah study together and then spent time in prayer, we were so thankful for His faithfulness. The video we watched (we're doing Kelly Minter's Nehemiah study) was a reminder of how God wrecked my heart yesterday morning at church. Kelly's sister told a story of a similar occurrence... of being consumed by a repentant heart... and how only from that point could she truly understand what it means to love in the name of Jesus. To love my husband, to love my children, to love my neighbors, the women at the jail, the people in Rhode Island.
And that, my dear friends, I couldn't have said better myself.