Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Relections


I am sorry I have been so quiet this week, but I've been suffering with a wickedly sore throat and exhaustion all week. I told my husband that I think I have gargled the equivalent of the Dead Sea in trying to soothe this discomfort. I might have raised my blood pressure a notch or two also, since some warm salt water definitely went down the wrong way! Yuck! We missed out on our much anticipated 'date night' Friday because I was just not up to going out. We are hoping to reschedule soon though! My creative projects were put on hold and I didn't even get my hair cut! I am grateful to be better today. I'm not sure if the children are happy I can speak out more now or not ....!

I hope that this has been a perfect fall day for you all, as it has for us here in the Midwest! Warm, sunny and plenty of beautiful fall color to speak of the majesty of God. I was thinking much about another autumn day 17 years ago today when God joined my dear Historian and I in marriage. It was a beautiful fall day as well - some say it was very cloudy and even rainy later that day ... but all that I remember is driving to the church in the beautiful autumn sunshine and taking a huge step of faith with the man I love.

I am so blessed to be loved by my quietly faithful Historian. He is just so dear to me. I am quite certain that my life has been enriched by the love of my godly husband, and I am grateful that God chose him just for me.

To quietly celebrate our special day, we went to church as a family this morning, and took another huge step of faith - but I'll expand on that in a bit! After church we actually took a nice long drive - out of state in fact! My Historian has wonderful memories of an old stopping place that he and his Mother and sister enjoyed during his teen years and college days. This past summer, when the Historian and Storyteller took our missionary guests from India to their next destination, they 'checked out' this old favorite to see if it lived up to The Historian's good memories. Thankfully, they were very favorably impressed and so the Historian chose to share the 'Back 40 Junction' with all of us for our celebration lunch ... or should I say, fashionably early dinner? It was quite nice and a real treat to have such a yummy lunch in an old time setting.

It was a lovely drive! We are back to listening to 'The Luke Reports - The Life of Jesus', another wonderful radio theater presentation from Focus on the Family as we travel about in the van these days. We listened today as we journeyed through beautiful golden farm country. We loved listening to them this past March, and I had planned on listening to them again to prepare our hearts for our celebration of Resurrection Sunday (Easter) in the spring, but we just could not wait! They are soooo good - not for very young listeners since they are very well dramatized and very realistically depict the turbulent times of Roman rule during and after the life of Christ, but they are certainly faith building. All in all it was a wonderful day, and I am so glad to have had it free to spend with our little family!

I should tell you more about this morning, yet, I am hesitant to share our 'step of faith' here simply because I understand that my readers come from various backgrounds and there are those of you who do not share my faith in Jesus Christ. I am so happy to have a diverse group of blogging friends, and would never seek to offend any of you! I pray every time I write that my heart would be seen clearly and that I would be a blessing or encouragement. Since this blog is about my life and a record of sorts of God's working in our day to day lives, I feel like I must include this step in our journey. I pray that it will not discourage you in your journey of faith or cause you to stumble in anyway.

First, I need to make it clear that we are not having a crisis of faith, we are stepping out in faith.

Earlier this past summer, both my husband and I began to feel the Lord leading us to seek out a different church family to fellowship with. This isn't our standard practice. We are not church hoppers or church shoppers - we are not 'looking for a perfect church and won't stop looking until we find one'. We are stable and committed, through the ups and downs of church life, we are there faithfully. Truthfully, the rest of the family is more faithful then I am since my health issues sometimes keep me home resting, but my point is, we are not inherently restless souls.

I also want to make it clear that we are not leaving because of any one person or event. We are not upset or wanting to upset anyone. We have a great deal of fondness and affection for our church family and the leadership there. In a sense, this makes our move even more difficult, as I think we might have listened to God's direction a bit sooner if things at our church were stressful or compromising in some way. It is often easier to make a move when you are called to something new or have a documentable reason for making a change. Not that sensing the call of God isn't definitive enough! Since this is something God laid on both of our hearts and has confirmed through His Word, we are certain of His moving ... we are just still in need of some specific direction.

My Historian began the research. He has spent countless hours examining doctrine and practice and has figured out which churches in our community support our theological beliefs. It's been eye opening to say the least. I guess I wasn't paying much attention in Church History when we discussed denominational differences. Since we have, in our ministry years, been involved in Baptist and conservative non-denominational church fellowships, I have had a lot to learn. We have prayed and sought direction. We have visited a few other churches and in the meantime, fulfilled our present commitments whole heartedly.

With everything else going on with my health, immigration frustrations, large and small home repair issues, our Pastor's family's loss of their son, and just the regular ebb and flow of life on this planet, we sort of set the call of God aside and didn't make it first priority. Gasp.

We continued to pray and seek direction, and shared our quest with the children to prepare them for the coming changes, but we didn't make a move until we felt it was a calmer time. The Historian took the lead in speaking with the leadership and our Pastor, and this morning he let the class he was teaching know. We also spoke with close friends about the move. It wasn't an easy morning, but thankfully the Lord was leading and gave us the words to say.

Hopefully, prayerfully, those who want to question us or have something to say on the topic will treat us with the love of Christ when they do so.

I've heard many young missionaries who are looking to narrow down God's call for their specific area of ministry say that it is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one parked on the side of the road. In this way they are encouraged to move forward in the direction that they feel God is leading until such a time as God changes their direction or confirms it.

I guess we are now out of 'park' and are a 'slowly moving' vehicle.

So far, the ride is peaceful. There is great relief in making the choice to follow God's leading, even though we don't have a specific destination set. Any kind of change is decidedly difficult, and this one is especially hard. It would have perhaps been easier for a time just to stay parked a little longer, but we know well the blessings of obedience, so we made the hard choice.

Once again, we are trusting God fully to lead. We'll be doing a great deal of praying, reading God's Word and seeking to visit other church congregations to see where we might fit.

And listening for that still small voice to confirm or redirect.

We would love to be involved in the church family that has some other homeschool families with which we have common interests. We have our list of Biblical principles that are unchanging. We have prayed for understanding into our children's needs, both now and in the future. We've always had a heart for small churches where we can know one another and be involved in caring relationships. We would like to be involved in a church family that will allow us to serve in our areas of giftedness after a time.

So often in Scripture, God tells His people to get moving and wait on Him to show the way. I feel like that just about sums it up - get moving and wait. Well, we are finally moving.

For those of you who love the Lord and care about this part of our journey of faith, I'd appreciate your prayer support. The Lord is faithful, and so we trust in Him.

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7 comments:

  1. We have switch churches this year. Our pastor from our old church left and their where no kids there. So, we went out and found a church that has alot of kids for my kids to interact with. We have only lived here for 2 years and it is a way for the kids to make new friends through youth and sunday school. I love reading your blog -- I was saved last year and baptized. I kids are working on that right now. Thanks for sharing -- so glad to hear you are feeling better. Much Love

    Anissa

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  2. Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful time of year to be married!

    What a difficult step of faith and yet it sounds like you are taking it in a very wise and loving way. It is a blessing that you don't have to leave because of some major conflict or disagreement, but rather because of God's leading in theology, etc. I do pray that God leads you to the right church home.

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  3. Hi Heather,
    I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and just wanted to tell you, first of all that I really enjoy my visits here. Encouraging and uplifting are good words to describe. Secondly, I will be praying for you and your family as you seek God's will in your search for the church He already has picked for you. My husband is the music minister at our church (PCA) and we have been fortunate to have been there almost 14 years now. Take care!

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  4. I really enjoyed your blog these last weeks (maybe a couple months) since I stared reading...I so enjoy that you share from your heart. Surely you do not need to apologize for your faith - or be hesitant to share. It is a blessing to watch believers listen for God's leading and follow in faith. I will be praying as you seek just where He would have you to worship and serve.

    Thanks again for sharing - and so glad you are feeling better. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

    Jennifer

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  5. My Dad is feeling the same way. We are Prodistant and he is thinking about going to a Lutheren church. At least I can still email my friends and MAYBE he will decide that we are better being Prodestants. (:

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  6. You know, I think religious faith carries immense power to positively affect people's lives, and I have immense respect for those who open up their lives to such deep faith. That being said, I think it IS possible to go overboard in terms of the extent to which your faith penetrates and influences your daily activities. It's wonderful to be mindful of God's blessings, but everything cannot be attributed to God. He put us on this earth with decision-making power and free will for a reason, and when people say things like "God joined us in marriage", or "By God's grace they won the game", it really is too much. Some accomplishments are due to the skills, abilities, and wisdom of PEOPLE, and nothing else. It's very selfish to think that God intervenes in every little aspect of life--you should give yourself some credit for the good things in your life, and while you could certainly say that the things you do are divinely inspired, you DO think for yourself, and accomplish things with your own strengths. God created everything, but I don't think he DOES everything.

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  7. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for your comment. I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this subject.

    I may be wrong in my belief, but I would so much rather believe in a mighty and powerful God whose attention to the minute details of my life both baffles and humbles me, than to attribute all the good in my life to mere chance, luck or my ability and look at God as somehow limited or simply working through my ability.

    Over and over again in Scripture I see a powerful and Providential God who is concerned with the little details - He is the same God who provided clothing for the Israelites that didn't wear out in 40 years of wandering in the wilderness! My boy wears out his jeans in 3 months or less!

    He is the same God yesterday today and forever, so as far beyond my comprehension as it is, I can have faith that He is just as concerned for my well being as He was in days of old.

    I do believe God has gifted me to serve Him in ways that please Him. By His grace I have talents and abilities to use for Him. I don't deserve it, I didn't earn it and it isn't the result of any natural goodness I possess.

    Your thoughts caused me to remember a verse in Deuteronomy 8:17 'You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.'

    I'm sorry you think that my faith is too much and too selfish. I am selfish - and I have a stubborn streak a mile wide. I have a list of faults and shortcomings as long as my arm, but but God's goodness, I have been saved through His Son, and it's only because of Christ that I have assurance of a heavenly home and a knowledge of Gods presence in my daily life!

    His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He watches me!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment! I so enjoy reading your comments when you kindly share your thoughts!