…we can never carry out the Great Commission
(which is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel)
unless we first carry out the Great Commandment
(which is to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves).
– Tony Campolo, forward to Love Without Agenda by Jimmy Spencer and Lisa Wentzel
If you would have asked me a year ago if I was sentimental, I would have said, “no, things don’t hold much value to me.” Oh how things are different now that we have entered this stage of decided what we keep and what goes.
We originally thought that we would rent our house in our hometown. We thought it might add extra income. As we desire to live more simply, we have decide it would just be one more thing to worry about. We decided to ask a realtor to come through and give suggestion of what needs to done before we put it on the market. Now this should not be a difficult thing to do, but I couldn’t do it. This is the only house we have ever owned. We’ve lived here almost 10 years and moved in a month before Lily Bean was born. I know things need to be done before we put it on the market but I was procrastinating making the call. I was finally honest with Darrel that I couldn’t walk through with the realtor without being emotional about what was “wrong” with my home. So my loving husband made the call and took off work to walk through the house with the realtor. I stressed to make the house look as good as I could, not quite as bad as when we had the home study but almost. I have been trying to figure out if my emotions are pride based, or is it just the womenly desire to provide a nice home for my family. I really feel that God is giving me grace on this one, so I’m gonna try and give grace to myself as well. 😉
We, now, have a list of projects and a timetable to get them done. It’s a little overwhelming with our daily responsibilities and fundraising to do. We are going to need to ask for help (something we aren’t good at) and are working on scheduling some work days in the next few months. So if you or your hubby have a skill they would be willing to donate, let us know and we will gratefully put it to use. We have a lot of work to do.
You can also pray for the right buyer. We are praying that the house moves quickly once it is on the market. So here we go, just another part of this big adventure.
Jude LOVES play dough. So yesterday, I decided to make him GAK, a homemade slime substance that gets solid when you press on it but then loses it’s shape as soon the pressure is removed. You can mold it, smack it, run trucks over it, let the slime run through your fingers. It even makes farting noises if you put it in a cup and press all the air out of it. This is fun stuff.
But as Jude played, he kept getting frustrated. He loved the new gift but he wanted to play with it the way he plays with play dough. He wanted to cut it, roll it and use cookie cutters with it. But GAK in all of it’s glory does not work like play dough. I would redirect him to play with GAK in the fun ways that GAK is but he kept wanting to go back to the familiar. When he would play with it within its properties, he had a fantastic time.
As I sat and watched him play, I felt like God was trying to tell me something. As we enter this new stage of life, things are going to be different. The old ways of doing things may not work in this new environment. Things may appear to lack form but if I just keep pressing into Him and allow Him to show me the new “properties” of this lifestyle, amazing things are ahead. – gail
No, my job’s not that bad. My office is in Memorial Hall at Bethel College, above Jolliffe Auditorium. There’s a funeral here today for a three-year-old boy. As I came up the steps, I was confronted in the foyer by a display of photos and memorabilia of the little boy. Memorabilia. Those were favorite toys just a week ago. Now, they sit. Memorializing the eviscerating loss of a son, brother, hopes and dreams.
It’s an appropriately cold, gray, drizzly day, an overnight change from the previous days’ sunshine.
I knew the funeral would be here today, but I thought I would come in to work and pray for the family from the seclusion of my office, behind-the-scenes. There’s no seclusion from something like this though. I have no comfort or wisdom for this family, but I will pray and feel a shadow of what must be their overwhelming grief.
From Romans 8,
What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. All creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.
Jude yelling from the bathroom, “Can someone turn the light on for me?” I get up, cross the room and turn on the light. Jude comes out of the bathroom two seconds later and I ask him, “What did you do in there that needed the light?” Jude responded serious as can be, “I needed to see how good I look.” Oh my. – gail
Putting away Christmas decorations is usually a little sad for me. I like the way the house looks when fully decorated for the season. I also like the feeling of getting back to a routine so the emotion is usually mixed. Today, packing up Christmas decorations was different. As I put them away, I sorted which ones should come to Oklahoma with us and which ones aren’t. Some I haven’t put out for several years and those weren’t hard to put in the “not coming box” but others aren’t coming because we need to downsize, to make life simpler. It’s amazing how attached I am to certain things. I cried as I sorted and sent emails to this family member or that to find my treasures new homes.
Another text came in, a prospect boot camp student. We messaged each other off and on for several hours as I took down the nativities and the smaller tree that I put up this year, sorting as I went. We got to know each other a little and “talked” about the nations and our hearts for children in crisis. The Father used this conversation to remind me of where my real treasures are stored. Thankful for His loving reminder today.
Admittedly, we’ve not been the greatest at sending out the traditional new-year letter, but too much is going on to not take a little time to reflect.
The biggest thing in all of our lives is a career change that’s going to require a move. It’s a big process that has been at the front of our minds. Darrel has been a graphic designer for 15 years and Gail has been a homeschool teacher for nine years. Even so, the transition into full-time mission work seems like a very natural progression, something we can look back over our lives together and see that God has been patiently guiding us into this position with Beautiful Feet in Oklahoma City. There is a lot that needs to happen yet before we can move, but God is loving, faithful and good. We hope to be down there early this spring, as soon as funding and house sale will allow.
That’s the big picture; but in the midst of that, everyday life keeps on moving…
Darrel‘s job at Bethel College in North Newton has been a blessing. The round-trip commute is about 55 miles closer/cheaper and 45 minutes shorter. It’s still a very big challenge to fundraise and try to be of some help to Beautiful Feet while working a busy full-time job and wanting to be an attentive husband and father. I was also blessed to be able to join some friends for a weekend at a Benedictine monastery for some peace and alone-time with Jesus, which was a much-needed reprieve.
Gail has been blessed this year to have had some more time with friends – getting together for coffee, making Christmas gifts, shopping, and even an impromptu trip to Kansas City for cheesecake! The challenge for her continues to be managing the household while homeschooling and helping with our fundraising and things for Beautiful Feet. Intimate, supportive friendships are extremely important for her at a time like this!.
Noah is part of the youth ministry at our church and has enjoyed the chance to go to summer camp plus a couple trips with the group. He loves his friends and experiencing new things with his peers. He’s a young man who’s trying to find his niche in life as he matures. Parenting a teenager is both sobering and fun, humbling and an honor.
Lily got an email account and loves writing to and reading messages from some good friends who have moved away. She is also enjoying her friends nearby, one is a neighbor and another we get to see every week. Another developing friendship is happening at Beautiful Feet, so even though she’s very sad about leaving Kansas, she’s excited about what Oklahoma holds for her.
Jude seems to see the world from a social perspective. He’s learning about friendship, family, connecting and withdrawing, conversing… keeping all of us on our toes at all times. He has really enjoyed his friendships through Sunday school, family friends and with cousins.
All of us have a similar mix of sadness at the prospect of leaving Newton and excitement as we look forward to full-time ministry with Beautiful Feet. We’re really ready to be there and to move out of this transition phase though! We go to Nomads there every year, and 2012 saw us down there a few more times for work, meetings and to help with a community Thanksgiving dinner in Valley Brook, Okla. – a community that is gradually being transformed by the power of God’s love from a place of material, social, spiritual and moral poverty into a community where you can find love, help, understanding, forgiveness, healing and family. Add to that the fact that our position has been vacant at Beautiful Feet for some time now, and we’re really feeling the urgency!
That’s a little glimpse into what’s been going on. Be on the lookout for more news from us in the new year – we are asking for and expecting great things from God this year and we’d love to share it with you as we go.
Have a wonderful new year!