Friday, September 28, 2012

FMF - "Grasp"

I'm linking up with DaySpring's (in)courage Lisa-Jo Baker on her Five Minute Friday, and the topic today is "Grasp".
Just FIVE minutes of unedited writing on her chosen topic...just to put it out there -

START

I think of the NOOMA video, the one where Rob Bell is talking about "letting go of the good to grab hold of the better" - and his son being at the beach with hands full of shells, when he is playing in the water and a star fish happens to bob by on the top of the water. He wants to grasp hold of it so badly, but his hands are full of these shells, random bits and pieces that have washed up on the shore...and this perfect star fish is a gift from God, but he isn't willing to let go of the "every day" to GRASP hold of the "amazing".

I feel like my life is like that so often. I'm doing these GOOD things, KINGDOM things that are making a difference, and I'm enthralled to do it. But sometimes I miss an opportunity to do something AMAZING and LIFE CHANGING because I'm enslaved to doing these "good" things.

I'm wondering if that's why He (God) has removed me from my GOOD LIFE in Ky? Did He have to pick me up and move me because he knew that I wouldn't let go of these thingst hat meant so much to me?? To be surrounded by so much good, people, family, ministry, missions....that I was being too busy to see His bigger plan?? What am I doing with these empty hands now? Am I rushing to fill them too quickly, and not let HIM bring the AMAZING things He wants...just to fill my calendar STOP

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thank you...

To those that have heard my cry and feel led to pray for me...thank you!
Thank you to my daughters, who have given me precious FaceTime with them and their kids!
And please don't misunderstand...I love my husband VERY much, I need to learn to love him in new ways, and want at least another 28 years with him! After no time off the past 3 years, and a little time off the 20 years before that ( most of which was spent chasing our kids around SW MO), I need to learn to spend time with him, even if its just watching tv, or unpacking boxes!
The backgammon game is coming back to the kitchen table...

Thanks for praying!

The Monday Morning After...

I know, I know....I wrote this great blog on renewed hope - and today - well, really yesterday and now today - I am waking up needing to take a dose of my own medicine.

Depressed. Lonely. Tearful.like.eyes.welling.with.tears.as.i.type.this...ugh

From going to a life FULL to so much empty is so painful. I KNOW that there is more "out there", that He doesn't want me to be holed up in the house listening to the whimpering Abbey the Wonderdog (because she KNOWS something isn't right with me, she's that good).

I'm trying. I'm praying. I'm setting goals to get out of the house, and praying God will open a few doors.

Mark was super encouraged because 2 of the neighbors have come over to introduce themselves. One man next door; and the woman on the other side next door. They are delightful. Really. Just not kindred spirits. Not family.

And in the Mark and I still getting to know each other phase of all this - well, Sunday didn't go so well at church. I'm the lull around and see if anyone wants to go out person, and Mark has the list of things to get done after church to scoot him out.

So he surprised me with a really nice sit down lunch out - I was not expecting that at all - but seeing everyone else out for after church lunch, family gathered, friends laughing, parents connecting with college kids for the day-after-the game recovery - well, it sort of hurt more. It set apart my alone-ness even more. Well, not MY aloneness - I WAS with Mark - but it was just the two of us. Alone.

(My writing was just interrupted with a surprise FaceTime call from my oldest daughter Melissa, and 3 of her 4 kids...just to see the youngest SO happy to see me made that worth while...but again my eyes well up with tears with missing them all so much)

So, for those of you that read that last post - the one telling of all the wondrous things God did moving us from that desert place - I'm asking you to please pray for me. NOW. Because I know that those places exist, and I long to be in a place of contentment HERE. I can't change my geographical location. I don't want to be the person who is so unhappy that no one wants to be with me. I really don't want to be that unhappy!! I just need the spiritual warfare to come up around me and keep guard while my heart is so faint, so weak. Prayers to claim this home for His glory. That the dreams we have of it being a place of refuge and common ground to bring people into a place of rest and restoration would begin to be put into action. That He would begin to show me my purpose for being here...because Mark's calling is clear, and he IS content (except for where he's concerned for me) and I know that it hurts him thinking that HE is "not enough" - but it's really ME that needs to be changed. That my independent nature would begin to depend on him in ways I've not been able to because of his work before. That we would begin to see "couples friendships" bloom (cause I miss our Thursday night date nights with Howie and Lori). That God would bring "Lori's" into my life (Mark always joked because the 3 women I spent the most time with were "Lori, Lori, and Laura" - so if I was talking to any of them on the phone, or at church, I had to really clarify WHO it was I was talking with.).

I also need to learn to let go of these kids again, and grandkids. Having a bunch of them living with us was a joy, and it was hard to "let" them move out into their own place (so we could list the house), and now with us moving, not even getting to see them on a weekend, or all month long, is really hard...and seeing all those "first times" with one grandson that lived with us - and being so much farther from the newer grandson as he makes those "first time" memories...it's just hard.

And my heart needs to be enlarged - to love on "the least of these" the way I did. Kids. Grown ups. The way Jesus loves. Without borders or boundaries.

And there's a small part of me that is just seeking and sensing that I'm maybe taking a season to just pull in REALLY hard to Him. To Jesus. That maybe this may end up being a season where the loneliness draws deep from HIS well. That He will pour into me, through me. Restore me. That maybe this is so hard because I'm a little empty. Perhaps the good teaching and fellowship and ministry that I had was so good that I got lazy in drawing deep from Him. From THE Source.

So to be at this place of desperation, of heart - sobbing - gut - wrenching cries will grow me in new ways. To be more dependent on HIM (through Mark?), to be more trusting of Him in prayer, to be more open and vulnerable in my writing - because it's easy to encourage when you are in the Promised Land - and OH so hard to write at all when you are in the valley of loneliness.

But I trust Him. One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other.

(the thing that spawned all these words was the post from incourage.me this morning - and I replied there with this:

"I miss a place that holds just a few year's worth of friendships and ministry's I was up to my eyeballs in - and it was really HOME. It was a Promised Land after 40 years in the desert. We landed and got put to work. BOOM! People had prayed for 3 years for "us" to come and fill spots that needed filling. It was a perfect match.

Now we're in a much better job space for my husband, a great career (and life) move for him. After 20 years of working nearly every weekend (and often 7 days a week!!) he is home weekends. Nearly. Every. Weekend. The trade off is that he is often out of town for 3 days a week. He loves his job. He loves me too, but for that workaholic this is a dream.

We are learning all over again. How to communicate. How to tolerate. How to break into a new routine. But I'm doing it all without a kindred spirit in sight. It's only been a few weeks, but I'm already.so.empty. I could stay in bed and sleep the day away. My poor dog beckons me to take her outside to walk, to play - after a few weeks in the apartment that's HER new routine. Now there's a yard to let her out in, and I'm finding it hard to get out of my pj's on this first Monday here. Boxes beckon to be unpacked - but I'm forcing myself away from the computer and stepping into the bath to get cleaned up. To live the abundant, fruitful life that I desire.  Well, that I've lived before. Breathed. That God born through me.

If I could just pull myself off this bed.... (I'm going, I'm going...)" )

I'm going...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Victory Over a Hurting Heart - Giving God the Glory!

I've referenced my time in SW Missouri before, my "40 years in the desert" (well, it was 18, but it felt like 40!) and how I struggled there.

What brought us there was a job that took my husband off the road, restored my marriage, and gave us a chance to be a somewhat normal family. It was in that desert that we learned so much, grew so much, and fell in love all over again while driving back country roads and hiking along cold, gushing springs.

It was also the first place we encountered small town life, a lot of physical illness, and a cutting, painful hurt from a community of believers.

There's no way for me to recount the hurts that we encountered, and I doubt I could even remember every time I was hurt. I am certain that you could relate to each one we experienced -  in several different churches, several different denominations. It doesn't matter really. It's all water under the bridge... or over it!!

The thing that's important is what happened to ME through it all. I learned a LOT about how to walk with God in a new way. I learned to forgive. I learned that people often don't even know that they are being mean, or mean spirited, or hurting your feelings. I learned how to be a different kind of friend to other women. How to let my husband be my friend. How to value people the way that Jesus did. I learned that when I prayed for other people's problems, my own seemed small in comparison. I learned that the body of Christ was not yet perfected, and wouldn't be until He returns, but that's ok - I wouldn't be perfect till then either - so I could love them as we all grew.

Now all of this is looking back on situations best found under "life lessons" and I know that it hurts a little more when the wound is fresh, the scar still showing. I remember. Really. I do.

And perhaps the reason my scar is not showing so much is because of what happened after those "40 years in the desert" - in a sense, God brought us to a "promised land" of a church. I didn't think that they existed, and I'm sure that it's not perfect - but it's the closest that we ever experienced.

Oddly enough, it was a LARGE church. A "mega church" by technical standards. I never wanted to go to one, never thought I'd go to one. What I found here was that they work hard to be "many little churches that meet in one place" through the use of small group ministry. So although there are thousands that go to church, there's a small group to care for you! Actually, we were in several "small groups"-  one for our geographic location, I was in one for a weeknight study leading a missions focused prayer group, and one for missions (as a ministry source), and one for women. Whew! And they all loved on me (and I on them!!).

That was another key too - GET INVOLVED! Even if you can't do what you did at the other church, offer to work under someone else in that - or another - area of ministry. I've heard over and over, that 10% of the people in a church end up doing 80% of the volunteer work to keep it going!! Be a part of that 10%!! You'll instantly be appreciated, and it will plug you in to a smaller group immediately!

A "mega church" may not be an option for you, and I can understand that too. Before we had moved, we were driving an HOUR to get to a church where people were authentic (bumps, and all!), the Bible was taught, and we felt we were a part of the body. It was a true SACRIFICE to get to church, financially and time wise, but it was oh-so-worth-it! Nothing takes the place of sweet fellowship!!

I think that they key to forgiving past hurt is to remember the reason we go to church in the first place - not to get close to God - we should be doing that EVERY day. Church should be the frosting on the cake! It's for the building up of the body. So what if the worship isn't "your style" - if God's using you to reach out to others there (maybe other hurt people?) then we can remember that "worship" is an offering that WE bring to God - shouldn't we be able to do that no matter what songs are sung? Should it matter if it's led off key, or routine? Sing louder from the seats - since it's your offering.

I've learned a lot about forgiveness over the years - and I've had to ask God for forgiveness a lot too! Some things I've experienced, and heard others verbalize like this; "UNforgiveness is like taking poison yourself, and hoping the other person will die!" It's true. Forgiveness is the key to the real freedom! When you continue to be hurt, then THEY continue to control the situation, and God doesn't get the glory.

I love the saying that used to play on an radio station years ago, that went something like this:

"Have you been hurt in church, and won't go back? Have you gone to a restaurant and received bad service? Have you gone to a movie that ended up being bad? But yet we still eat out and go to movies, willing to give another chance...but why not church?"

It's true. We hold church to another standard. There may be a season that we need to really draw in to God and focus on healing and forgiving; but to return to fellowship at a church that's hurt you, or a new church, is worth celebrating! Give God the glory!! GREAT things He has done!! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life since the move....

This is a letter I wrote to a few friends back in KY (I almost put "back home"!! YIPES!! I don't remember ever looking back at a place as "back home"!). I thought that since it's general enough to share - I'd put it here too...just in case I missed anyone, and LORD KNOWS, the way I've been lately - I probably did miss at least a few friends that have said "keep me posted...". (forgive me!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I apologize for the group email - I just want to make sure that you all are brought up to date as much as possible...although today is a low key day, I started this last night (and fell asleep writing it!)

The trip out was uneventful and fine, and we arrived in Springdale at the apartment as scheduled on Sunday. Packing the truck in Henderson was such a chore (even with our two son in law's help - which was great!!) that by the time we'd arrived, Mark didn't want to unload it- then to have to load the truck back up and unload it to move into the house. When UHaul only had units for us to use that weren't even close to each other, Mark made the decision to not unload the truck - so all my stuff, even the stuff I'd hoped to use these 2 weeks in the apartment - is still packed up.

The house in Henderson didn't close as scheduled last Friday, but they are scheduled to close sometime within the week. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for the new homeowners. :( We are good to go though, so we can close as scheduled on Friday. :) YAY!! Since we closed with the relocation company before we moved, any delays in closing with the buyer won't affect us. If the house ended up going back on the market (which I don't foresee) we don't have anything to do with it! The relocation company is even responsible for the payments now...so we're free from all of it. 

Fellowship wise, we have made some positive steps with New Heights Church. We are taking the "Discovery" class to get into a small group - and although the curriculum looks like a new believer booklet, the pastor says it's just meant to make sure that everyone there is on the same page, since some come from other doctrines and denominations. I get that. They also launch their groups (for the most part) from there - because they share intimately where God has brought you from, the groups generally feel more connected - so they stay together as a small group afterwards. Since each ministry leader takes a turn as being a part of each group, it's also a good time for everyone to get to know them (and vice versa). Funny how that "change my heart, change their heart, change the circumstances" prayer works out. It really softened my heart towards this "step" - as I saw it as a way for them to get to know us better too.

Once we are through that, there will be several areas of ministry for us to serve, as God leads. We'll see where He opens doors and fits us in.

Besides the small group pastor (who took us to breakfast before church on Sunday) we haven't really met anyone. We have connected with the young couple we know there, and another college student - the daughter of a long time friend - who *just happens* to go there. Outside of the church I have been able to connect with a few other girls and one woman my age that we've known from living in SW MO - but they all live in AR now. 

Here in the apt complex I haven't met anyone (nor has Mark)...there's a young family that lives in the building next door that I was able to engage in conversation with the mom yesterday as I walked Abbey (she likes their cat that acts like a dog). There's a college age girl that lives next door (Mark saw her once), but we only hear each other coming in and out of the apartment, and because of Abbey I can't leave the door open :( 

I hope that moving into the new neighborhood, things will open up...but I also realize that it's coming into fall, and folks will merge indoors over the winter months. Still, I will be committed to prayer walking the neighborhood, and hope to have some sort of schedule to do that so women that are home will be able to tell that at *this time every day* I walk by with Abbey. Maybe some brave soul will step outside and I trust God to build friendships there, and I hope ministry opportunities too!!

Mark is still loving his job, the new areas he is getting involved in (different and new things like marketing, and older things in his career, like bagging - which was his background, even before poultry!!) and still able to "dabble" in the operations of making a plant (well, THREE plants) run well. Mark's a team player all the way!! He and Barry (his boss/co-worker) are in Sedalia this week...and next...but they are coming back Thursday night or Friday morning, so Mark will be here in time for closing on Friday (and moving!). They pretty much make everything fit into a normal work day (well, 8-10 hours) and when he travels, he's almost always going to be home on weekends - a huge change after 20 years of working every weekend!! I have to get to know him all over again!! We've even been playing backgammon again! I might have to break out a puzzle! :) 

I'm still not sure what God has for me...work wise...writing wise...nothing solid. I continue to blog, and will be sharing a new community online with one of my friends in IN through (in)courage - I'm not how much time that will take, and not sure where that will lead. My heart is burdened with Missionary Care, praying and encouraging - and I hope to get to Joplin soon to connect with a few people and ministries there. I keep feeling a little pull to spend a season in some sort of "regular" job - to help put some roots down here and branch out in friendships too. I just need to quiet myself to hear Him on this, and look for Him to open a door...or not. Maybe it's going to be a season of enriching our marriage, and me going with Mark when he's on the road those few days a month. We'll see!!

Well, I should get going! I need to catch up on some reading, and am having a stay at home day today (reading and old movies, relaxation!) - then tomorrow a media free day - a fast of sorts - and I've got packing and cleaning to do (a general theme these past few months) to prepare for our move out of here, and some blogging to do too!! :) Of course, I have to balance all of this with Abbey around me ankles, walking and playing with her (she's been like a puppy, playful and funny, since we arrived here!!). 

In case you didn't see on Facebook - our son Jason got engaged this past weekend!! He and Shannon Harrison will be married in the spring! She's a delightful young woman, loves God and has a heart for missions, and is a nursing student in Springfield, MO (a few hours from here). Pray for them during this crazy season in life! Pray too that they can stand firm in their faith and their relationship while he travels and she is in school, there's a lot to balance and keep God first!

I love you, and miss your company/fellowship, and appreciate your prayers - as God leads you to pray for us!! And send me your prayer requests too!! :) 
--
Grace and peace,
Marina
(ps- I'm really missing my daughters and grandkids, so extra prayers there please.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

She Said YES!!

We got a text a bit ago, and just got off the phone with our son Jason...who has just proposed to his girlfriend Shannon...and SHE SAID YES!!




We're so excited, for both of them. I know that Jason's always prayed to be a husband and father someday, and he's exhibited Christ-like love to his soon to be bride. <3 p="p">
Wow! Exciting!! Now to make it through the planning stages (not my department this time - I get to be the mom of the groom, and only do what's asked of me - which I'll gladly do!!) and then their wedding day. I see my biggest part, from now till then (and well after then), will be to pray for them. Satan can't stand when Christians build their marriage on Christian foundations, and will look for any way to pull them apart or cause them to sin. Pray for them to remain true to Jesus, that He will be the example and foundation of their love and marriage, and that they will continue to give their BEST to Jesus. THEN they will have a successful marriage!!

Join me please, as we keep them lifted in prayer! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

5 Minute Friday Challenge on "Focus"

I'm joining in on Lisa-Jo Baker's weekly challenge to spend just 5 minutes with no if's, and's, or but's on a given topic. No corrections. No track backs. Just writing in the raw.

This week's topic is "Focus"
Set my timer....ok

GO

When I sit at my computer/lap top, I can't seem to focus on anything else after a while. the stories of women, all ages, all places in life, all physical places around the world - capture me! Suddenly the space I'm in seems really insignificant and small.

I know it's not just that - I believe God's given me a reason and a season to live it in. I am just in transition right now. and just like my eyesight that seems to lose the ability to go from up close to far away very easily very quickly, it takes me time to adjust my heart. my attitude. my mindset. MY FOCUS.

Right now I don't have a focus. Well, just selfish ones. Like walking Abbey. Preparing dinner and staying off my phone/internet/email when Mark comes through the door. I need my Godly perspective back. I need His vision to gain His focus, but I can't seem to get past the fact that my entire suitcase/life is packed inthe back of that UHaul sitting out by thte volleyball court. ugh.

Soon it will be in place. The house will be closed, the walls slowly painted, and His purpose revealed. Until then I gotta keep keepin' on .  I don't know what it is...what it will be...but my heart keeps wanting to focus on Missionary Care (especially in light of the stuff going on in tthe world right now, and loving so many ppl that are caught in it...) and not having a place to put that energy, that love. So I pray

STOP

I could go on and on...but i'm not - i'm going to jump out the door in the rain, walk my dog, and take her for a ride....expand my horizon a little bit and keep praying for those friends in difficult places in the world today...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The A, B, C's of Me! :)


Age: 51

Bed Size:  K with hubby, anything w/o him

Chore I Hate: Laundry

Dogs: yep, 1 - Abbey the Wonderdog

Essential to start my day: Time with God (and brushing my teeth)

Favorite Color:  Periwinkle (or Valspar Prairie Sky)

Gold or Silver: Silver

Height:  5'1 1/2"

Instrument I play: Not a single one!

Job Title:  SAHW

Kids:  3 grown, 5 grands (1 more on the way!)

Live: In transition...almost Fayetteville, AR

Mother’s Name: Shackie (she went by Frances)

Nicknames: Meem, Miss M'rina, Gramma

Overnight hospital stays:  Yep! 3 kids + other stuff.

Pet Peeves:  Yes. (hehe) I like old fashioned basic manners.

Quote from a movie: Too many to choose just one!

Right or Left Handed:  Right for writing, but left for others.

Siblings:  Yes. 2 older 1/2 sisters (same mom) and one younger sister.

Time it takes me to get ready:  30 minutes, shower and all!

Ultimate Vacation:  Put me on a warm beach somewhere!! (Loved the Mediterranean)

Vegetable I hate:  Okra

What makes me run late:  Bad hair day.

X-rays I’ve had:  Oh gosh...WAY too many!!

Yummy food that I make:  Parmesan Pepper Pull Apart Rolls

Zoo animal:  Otters.

I snatched the idea from Stephanie Brown who snatched it from Crystal at Shine who snatched it from Beth Moore.

Now, it’s your turn.

Please choose a letter and prompt from above, sharing your response in the comment section below.

Monday, September 10, 2012

stuff. and more stuff.

I wanted to post this as a comment on another blog - but it grew into it's own post! They were discussing living with less, more simply. Something I've seen in and out of season, as God's led. Everyone's to be content - with little or much - so everyone has to keep it in perspective to their own situations.

So here it is:


We just made our second move with all our belongings stuffed in a 26 ft UHaul and one car. :) It's exciting, and humbling to know that all your stuff fits in a vehicle that small. I know I'm blessed. We left our living room and dining room furniture with our daughter and son in law and grandkids...so that's something that didn't take up space. We sold our home with all of our appliances - but the original move 2 1/2 years ago had included all those things.

We've lived as a family of 5 +1 aunt (and 2 dogs and 2 cats) in a 700 sq ft house when the kids were all little.  Then this year, in helping our oldest and her family prepare for the preparation of going on the mission field into Central America, they all moved in with us - all 6 of them - 3 grandgirls under 5, 1 infant grandson and mom and dad - into our already tight 1300 sq ft 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house.

Both my husband and I grew up living with grandparents at one time or another - and can't remember when our culture changed to "super size" houses....when did everyone need their own on-suite bedroom, and kids couldn't share beds (or closets, clothes, or bathrooms?).

So the funny thing is, that my husband - in the midst of the 560 mile drive we made yesterday (me in the car and he in the UHaul) that we'd leave the UHaul packed until we closed the deal on our house! SO - all my clothes, but one suitcase of capris, t's, tanks and undies - are in the UHaul. Packed. Until we move into the house. :) I have one pair of shoes. A swimsuit. He bought me a little dress to wear over the swimsuit in case I actually wanted to go to the pool in our apt. complex (you aren't allowed to walk around in your swim suit - no matter how conservative it is).

I'm ok. Tonight we walked around a mall, and he tried to drag me into a store I like to shop at. I told him "no", and really mean it! I've got to be prepared to live in seasons of little and lots. I looked at shoes and said "no" too (but somehow, if he offered to buy me a purse I think I'd have said "YES!!"....LOL!!).

Our season of 2 1/2 years in the little house have been a blessing - but we feel God's leading us to open our home more and more for hospitality - to minister to the needs of others, provide rest for ministry and missions partners, and feed into the faith of those that we love that might be struggling. Hard to do in such a small space, so this next house is going to be reasonably larger.

I'll never forget what our younger daughter said years ago as we walked around that 700 square foot house, floors sticky-covered in the leaked propane, needles found in the kitchen cupboards, ceiling so low I could touch it (I'm 5'2"); "I think that any missionary on the field would be happy to call this home!" It put it into perspective. I'm so blessed to have had a child teach me the importance of priority. To not let the world get the best of my joy because I don't live up to THEIR idea of successful. There's so much more to life than "stuff"!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A letter to my husband...Mark (Faith Barista Bonnie Gray's Jam topic)

Bonnie Gray likes to ask us to write on a common topic and link from her site to ours on Thursdays. I'm out of practice, but this week's letter is LONG overdue, and the timing is just...well...right.



Dear Mark,

I know that I've been an emotional dork lately. After praying with you so fervently for so long for God to lead, direct, and open a door for your next career step - now here I am all swollen eyes and crying over the move this weekend.

I'm so proud of you, and SO excited for you! I love hearing from you every day, how wonderful work is going (even on challenging days), and all the new things you are getting to do, people you are meeting, departments you are working with. I've known for so long that God created you for so much more, and how you were getting so worn out from the routine stress of the last position. It's such a joy to hear about the way things are working there at the office, how folks like your ideas, even when it stirs up too much attention, and how you are able to solve problems at many different levels. It's the ultimate "fix-it" job! It's good for me to hear you be excited about work again, even when you are tired, or things aren't going perfect - you have hope again, a spring in your step, and as you learn more and more I see you get excited about what it is that you are doing - even if you are still a "missionary in a chicken plant" - now you are in 3 chicken plants, and a huge office!! :)

In some ways, it reminds me of LONG ago, when you had hoped to get into R & D with the bagging company you worked for, before you got into the poultry industry. In a LOT of ways, what you do now is connecting to that - and that's exciting to see that God took a desire of your heart from nearly 25 years ago and brought it to fruition! YAY!!

I'm happy that soon we'll be living in the same place again, and I know that we've always been a team, but I'm ready to have you come home to me again (most) every night, and for me to get to travel with you to new places when you are on the road.

With all I'm excited about, I'm surprised that I've been so tearful this week saying my good-byes to church and friends here. I don't know what's up with that - I know that I'll get to see a lot of them at ICOM in just a few months, and am so grateful that they are willing to let me tag along there still. I think that a lot of it is walking down memory lane to when we first moved here 2 1/2 years ago. Everything happened so easily, so smoothly. Things have gone that smoothly again on the house stuff - selling here in just a few months, and finding one there to buy - but where I had no expectations for spiritual stuff when we made the move here - our friends at Team Expansion were the one's that plugged us in, and God put us right to work - NOW I feel a huge void in the area of ministry. I don't feel God laying a clear path (yet?) for where we'll be used in this new area.

I know that WE have prayed, and talked about what we'd like to do - areas we're willing to work ( is there even one that we wouldn't be willing to work in?) and ideas we'd like to put into actions to bless and build the body of Christ; but I'm at a loss. I don't feel like we're able to make these decisions, or pursue these areas of interest, and I'm not completely sure why.

And THAT makes me more sad to leave all that we've been a part of here. :(

So please, please understand; my sadness is not directed at you, or the move or the new job. My sadness is for me, having to grow in a new way (which I pray will glorify God) and walking a new path with you as we find a ministry to serve in together. Whether it's in a church (and I have NO idea what church it will be in!) or with a para-church organization, or mobilizing with Team Expansion, or ....gosh, I can't even imagine what it might be connected with....Campus ministry?? International Students?? Missionary Care?? We have prayed about all these areas - so I pray now that you'll forgive my tears, and love me through this difficult season. It is sad in my heart - the people and ministries here have nurtured me in new ways through a wonderful season here....and God kept me busy with them while you were working...and a few we got to get to do together (like all the small group memories we have...so fun!!).

I look forward to our life in this new area, and I am excited to learn the details of what God will do IN us and THROUGH us and AROUND us in this new phase of life.

I love you, more than ever, and look forward to spending more time with you as we continue to seek God, building our life, establishing our home, and renewing our love for each other in a new part of the country. Thanks so much for sharing this with me, for bringing new adventures to our marriage, for prayerfully growing me in new ways.

Forever,
Marina


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: "Faith and Other Flat Tires" by Andrea Palpant Dilley

It's been a while since I sat down and did some consumable reading - reading just for me, not for a class, or a study, just a book that I wanted to read. I've been EXTREMELY busy lately, and this was really the first time I'd had to catch my breath.

I'd received a copy of Faith and Other Flat Tires from Zondervan Publishers to preview - and it got lost in the shuffle. I felt horrible, but with moving, it has just been that busy (and unorganized).

I found the book just a few days ago, and it coincided with the fact that I was getting to a point of having some time on my hand, so I thought I'd start to read...I didn't expect that I wouldn't want to put the book down!!

This book is really well written, and tells the very real story of the author's own childhood and growing up as a MK (Missionary Kid) with a faith of her own, and how through adolescence in the U.S. church (and school) she turned her back on God.

The story is very real, very interesting. Her thought process was really intellectual - especially for someone reflecting back to her younger ages, and her doubt became very real. I loved the questions she asked, even early on, and think that it helped her to be able to then ask questions to allow her to come back to her faith in God.

Andrea's writing style is very easy to follow, but a little heady (from all the intellectual stimulation that she has access to) and she writes citing often the works of secular and religious authors that are standards on he project.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about sending their family into a mission field, as it shows good and bad ways that it impacts a child - making 3rd Culture Kids a very real topic. I think that even someone who had doubts of their faith, or considered leaving their walk with God would glean wisdom from it, but better still for those that have wondered, doubted, or was curious - or those that love someone who is walking on the fringes of faith, leaving behind their walk with God, or dancing on the fence - this book will be a great resource, a small glimpse into their mind, and a wide cast of net on how to pray for them as they wander...


The technicalities:

I did receive a complimentary copy of the book from Zondervan, but in no way did the receipt of this book influence my review.


Monday, September 3, 2012

tonight...

the air was thick with fog, the humidity holding the air heavy and still. not even a critter would dare make a sound. even the click of my tongue to prompt my dog Abbey along seemed to be too loud. quiet was the perfect sound. 

i didn't intend on walking the whole loop; the entire mile and a half that goes through the big house neighborhood...it just sort of happened. abbey kept walking on auto pilot, and the stillness of the impending darkness just pulled me along the roadside. along the roadside, trash cans pulled to the curbs for tomorrow mornings pick up. driveways full of boats pulled from the river as they celebrated the last weekend of the summer. not a person was on the street. 

no streetlights flickered on as the night crept in. this neighborhood only has house lights, and they came on, one by one, almost lighting my way.  abbey just sniffed along, drinking from the earlier rain that was still trickling down the gutters. my pace was steady, but not fast - no reason to rush through the neighborhood. i just wanted to drink it all in. it might be the last night i get to walk here. 

i thought about the friends i'd made here; neighbors next door, down the road, around the corner, even on this road. older people that invited me to church, invited me in, offered hospitality. the two and a half years seemed to have gone by so quickly. i thought i'd have more time. more time to make friendships. more time to nurture relationships. more time to invite others into my own, much smaller home. 

i wondered about the next few weeks, the neighborhoods i'll walk through. if i'll make any friends in the apartment complex where i'll live for 2 weeks. my husband has been there 6 weeks and hasn't mentioned anyone by name. i wonder too about our new neighborhood, where we'll move in a few more weeks. we prayer walked that neighborhood, and barely saw a soul. are there women there during the day? will there be friendships to nurture, relationships to build in to. will there be another couple to be friends with there, to play cards and take walks? are there any minorities there; people from other lands that i can build bridges of friendship to? 

so i'm willing. walking away from these streets, this neighborhood and familiar faces in the market place and a church that i love so much. learning to walk a new direction. a new neighborhood. a new culture in some ways. i know that God will come behind me, go before me, and walk with me all the way. i don't need to be sad, or melancholy, about the memories i'm leaving here - they are SO GOOD and show of His goodness and provision in so many ways. i will testify of His glorious ways! He will still prove Himself in my life, over and over again. i'm so grateful for all His provisions. all His gifts. 

thank you for praying me through this journey. thanks for walking beside me. no matter where this road goes.